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Polaris Digital Wrench .: Errors and Troubleshooting .: Communications Problems .: SmartLink Communications .: SmartLink Communication Problems

SmartLink Communication Problems

Important:
Before trying to diagnose problems with SmartLink Communications, read this article:

There are 3 Communication Status Messages related to the SmartLink module.
 
No Connection to SmartLink:
Pins 4 and 6 of the 9-pin serial connector on the SmartLink Module are connected together internally. When the Digital Wrench first checks the serial port on the PC, it looks for a connection between these pins.  If there is no connection, the "No Connection to SmartLink Module" status message is displayed.
 
Possible Causes are:
  • The SmartLink Module is not connected to the same Comm Port that is selected in the Digital Wrench Configuration Screen, (or its just not connected).
  • Defective SmartLink Serial Cable (open circuit on pin 4 or pin 6).
  • The serial cable to the SmartLink is not the correct type.  While there are many cables that will "fit" between a PC and the SmartLink, if the wrong cable is used (not a 1:1 wired serial extension) communications will fail and the SmartLink module could be damaged.  Do not use anything other than the serial cable that came in the SmartLink Kit. 
  • Use of a USB-Serial or PCMCIA Serial card that does not comply with the full "RS-232" Serial Requirements, (Digital Wrench cannot "read" these pins).
  • A defective Serial Port.  This could either be a "broken" port or there have been found some PC's with built-in Comm Ports that do not function properly, (commonly found on "very inexpensive" PC's).
  • A PC that has been in Suspend Mode, or Hibernation.  Some laptop serial ports do not "wake up" properly if the PC has gone into Suspend, or Hibernation while Digital Wrench is running.
  • A defective SmartLink Module, (a very, very unlikely situation).  It's almost impossible for the SmartLink to fail in this manner.
Finding the Problem:
  1. Make absolutely sure the correct serial cable is being used.  Use an ohmmeter to verify that all 9 pins in the cable are connected 1 to 1, (pin 1 connects to pin 1, pin 2 connects to pin 2, etc.)
  2. Connect the SmartLink Module to the serial cable, (doesn't need to be connected to a vehicle) and then measure the resistance between pins 4 and 6 at the end of the cable that connects to the PC serial port.  If the pins are connected together (nearly zero ohms) then the SmartLink Module and serial cable are working properly  If there is no connection then the most likely cause is a defective serial cable, or connections to the SmartLink module.  Use the ohm meter to track down the open circuit.
  3. If the cable and module test ok, make sure the correct comm port is selected in the Digital Wrench Software.
  4. If the correct comm port is selected and you are using a USB-Serial or PCMCIA Serial Port card, then the most likely cause is incorrect configuration of the adapter or an adapter that doesn't provide the functions needed for Digital Wrench.
  5. If you are using a built-in comm port there is a possibility that the port is defective.
  6. Always reboot Windows and restart Digital Wrench after changing comm port configurations. 
No Power to SmartLink Module:

This message indicates that the Digital Wrench has detected the serial port pins 4 and 6 connected together (indicating a SmartLink Module is connected to the port), but the SmartLink module does not respond to commands.

Possible Causes are:
  • Module is not connected to the Vehicle Connector
  • The Vehicle Ignition Key is not turned on (Ranger Vehicles)
  • There is no power present in the Vehicle Connector
  • The Vehicle Interface Cable is damaged.
  • The SmartLink Serial Cable is damaged.
  • The serial cable to the SmartLink is not the correct type.  While there are many cables that will "fit" between a PC and the SmartLink, if the wrong cable is used (not a 1:1 wired serial extension) communications will fail and the SmartLink module could be damaged.  Do not use anything other than the serial cable that came in the SmartLink Kit.
  • The SmartLink Module is not programmed correctly (Red LED will be on or flashing)
  • The SmartLink Module is damaged.

Finding the Problem:

  1. Connect the SmartLink Interface Cable to a vehicle and make sure the ignition is turned on. Do NOT connect the 9-pin serial cable to the SmartLink module at this time.  Then, connect the SmartLink Module to the Vehicle Interface Cable while watching the Red LED on the Module.
  2. If the LED flashes On & Off once when the module is plugged in, power is present at the connector and the SmartLink has powered-up correctly. In this situation, either the Serial Cable to the PC is damaged, or there is a failure in the SmartLink Module itself. Check the serial cable with an ohm meter to make sure there is a connection on all 9 pins (pin 1 on one end connects directly to pin 1 on the other, pin 2 to pin 2, etc.). If the serial cable is ok, then the SmartLink cable is defective or not programmed correctly (see reprogramming note below).
  3. If the LED did not flash On & Off in Step 1, disconnect the module from the Vehicle Interface Cable and check for battery power between pins 15 and 6 of the cable. Be Extremely Careful Not to Short Pin 15 to Pin 6 / Ground or You Could Blow a Fuse in the Vehicle. If there is battery voltage present, then the SmartLink module is either defective or not programmed correctly (see reprogramming note below).
  4. If there is no power in the Vehicle Inteface Cable connector, either the cable is damaged,or there is no power at the vehicle diagnostic connector. Use a voltmeter to check for power coming from the vehicle on pins A and D of the diagnostic connector.

 No Response from ECU:

This message indicates that the Digital Wrench is able to communicate with the SmartLink Module, but the vehicle is not responding to requests for diagnostic information.
Possible Causes are:
  • Vehicle Ignition Key not on (ATV)
  • Damaged Vehicle Interface cable
  • Damaged SmartLink Module
  • Damaged or Unprogrammed vehicle ECU
  • Damaged vehicle wiring or diagnostic connector

Finding the Problem:

  1. Make sure the ignition key is on and the vehicle ECU has power. If the engine will not start there is a problem with the ECU, power or vehicle wiring.
  2. If the engine will start, restart the Digital Wrench software, (especially if the PC has been in Standby, Suspend or Hibernate mode).
  3. Refer to the Vehicle Interface Cable schematic and use an ohm meter to check each circuit of the cable for opens or shorts.

 Reprogramming the SmartLink Module:

If the Red LED on the SmartLink Module is on steady or flashing on & off, then the Module may need to be reprogrammed.  To reprogram the SmartLink;

  1. Connect the SmartLink to a Vehicle & the PC and run Digital Wrench.
  2. Click on the Configuration (wrench) button
  3. On the Configuration Screen, click on the "SmartLink Module" tab.
  4. Once the SmartLink Information Screen appears (may take a bit), click on the Select File button.
  5. Select the file to program into the SmartLink, (currently the file name is SmartLink_ProgramV149.spf) and select "Open"
  6. Click on the Reprogram SmartLink button & follow any instructions that may come up.
  7. When the "Reprogramming Complete" message comes up the process is done.
  8. If the Reprogramming does not complete, or you cannot get it to start, either the connections to the SmartLink or Vehicle are not correct or the SmartLink is damaged.

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