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Connecting to Legacy Telemecanique XBT Terminals

Connecting to Legacy Telemecanique XBT Terminals

As legacy hardware begins to fail, support can be difficult for a variety of reasons - not the least of which is the deprecation of programming software and debugging tools. I recently helped a customer restore the program to an old Telemecanique (now owned by Schneider Electric) XBT-C terminal, and wanted to pass along some lessons I learned. This guide will be for the XBT-C series terminals, but should be similar to other legacy devices as well.

Getting Started

First and foremost, you will need a computer running either Windows 95 or Windows 98 that has a native serial port. I tried a Win98 virtual machine on my development computer with a USB-to-Serial converter and was not able to establish a connection. Luckily, DMC has an old Windows 98 development laptop available with a serial port.

Next, you will need a programming cable. As far as I can tell, the cable only requires Ground, Transmit, and Receive - so it would be possible to build a cable if you don't have one on-hand. That said, you're better off using one from the manufacturer for reliability reasons.

Finally, you will need to download XBTL100, which is the programming application used with the legacy XBT family of devices. Version 2.3 can be downloaded directly from Schneider Electric here.

Connecting to an XBT Terminal

Connect the serial cable between the computer and the XBT terminal. On the terminal, make sure the keyswitch is set to Configuration. Press the Funct key until the display shows "CONFIGUR. MEMORY", then press "ENTER". Note that you may have a terminal configured for the French language if the XBT unit or machine was purchased from a European OEM. Luckily the menu options are fairly obvious if you know what they are supposed to be in English.

Use the "INCR" and "DECR" buttons to select the appropriate connection mode. This will typically be "SER. PORT RS 232C". Press "ENTER" when done.

As above, use the "INCR" and "DECR" buttons to select the baud rate, number of data bits, parity, and number of stop bits (pressing ENTER after each selection).

Select "CONVERSAT. NO" and then press ENTER. The display will show "CONNECT LINE". At this point, the connection is configured. Press either "INCR" or "DECR" to put the XBT in serial communication mode. The display will show "AWAITING MESSAGE". Make sure you don't press ENTER at this point, because it will take you to the beginning of the serial connection settings menu (and you'll have to repeat the whole process over again).

Now, on your programming computer, launch XBTL100. Press F3 to bring up the Utilities menu:

  • If you already have a program that is to be downloaded to the XBT, press F1 and follow the prompts to load a project. Then, press F2 for "Transfer PC --> XBT".
  • If you need to upload the program from the terminal to the computer, press F4 for "Transfer XBT --> PC".
  • If you just want to compare an offline program with the program on the terminal, select F7 for "Comparison PC - XBT".

While the transfer is active, you should see each message on the terminal display, and XBTL100 will show which message is being transferred. Please note that sometimes there may be a series of blank messages in the program. This will look like inactivity on the XBT, but the transfer will still be active. Do not disconnect the serial cable until XBTL100 indicates that the transfer is complete. 

Voila! 

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