Managing Multiple Hard Drives with Multiple PNAs   'B' Models Only!

 

This document discusses the steps involved in maintaining multiple hard drives for use with one PNA, or managing a spare hard drive (or multiple spares) for use with multiple PNAs. This page only describes the procedure for the "B" Model PNAs (N524xB, N522xB, N523xB, and N5264B; those with the 12.4 inch wide screen display) running Windows 7 or Windows 10. This also applies when there is a mix of Windows 7 and Windows 10 drives.

For older PNAs, please refer to this web page for "A" Models or older.

Note: While the term HDD or Hard Disk Drive may be used, all "B" model PNAs actually use an SSD (Solid State Drive.) The procedures are identical and one could use mechanical or solid state drives interchangeably.


There are a couple of scenarios where hard drive maintenance is a bit out of the ordinary. This document is intended to explain how to handle these situations with a minimum of problems. These two cases are:

  • Maintaining multiple hard drives for a single PNA. Typically this will occur in high security areas where a group must share the PNA with others, but also require privacy and security. This way, each group can have their own private drive.
  • Maintaining a spare hard drive (or drives) for more than one PNA. This could commonly occur in a rental company or any company that has multiple PNAs where they need a spare drive to ensure continuous up-time.

Both situations require slightly different techniques which are explained below. First, one needs to understand some background information.

All PNA models use a single hard drive provided by Keysight. The hard drive image is unique for each CPU type. The actual model number of the PNA does not matter as long as they all have the same CPU type. Unlike older PNAs, only one CPU has ever been used on the "B" model, so for now anyway, there is no need to worry about various CPUs.

All licensing information on any "B" model is stored in secure storage on one of the mostly-inaccessible assemblies. As such, any hard drive from any "B" model should function in any other "B" model, but with some caveats. Of course, any stored user calibrations are only valid on the instrument for which it was created.

When a PNA is shipped from the factory, it contains the below list of unique information on the hard drive. Logins, passwords, cal sets, saved files, and installed programs that have been added after delivery are obviously not included here.

  • eebudat.dat - Backup file of EEPROM information; used only for service. It is located in E:\Calfiles. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • eebudat.bak - Another backup file of EEPROM information; used only for service. Location is same as eebudat.dat above. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • TSMBBackup - A backup directory of flash data. Location is same as eebudat.dat above. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • TSMBOrig - Another backup directory of Flash data; same location as above. This is automatically generated if missing.
  • Global Delta Match CalSet.pcs - This file normally only exists on the N5231B, N5232B, and N5239B. It is only needed for certain types of calibrations. The file is located in C:\ProgramData\Keysight\Network Analyzer\UserCalSets. If lost, it can be recreated easily by the user in about 5 minutes. In this document, it is referred to as the GDM file. Remember, this file has a fixed, constant name, so you must make sure the proper one is used for any given instrument. Note: The ProgramData directory is normally hidden and may need to be unhidden for access.
  • System Default Cal - Only applicable on Option 011 (TDR) units. This file only exists on option 011 units and is located on the hard drive because the files are too big for flash memory. It is actually a directory of 2 or 4 files depending upon the number of ports. The directory name is model and serial specific and is in this format: Rx_N5242B_MY58261234. It is located in D:\Calfiles. If lost, it can be recreated easily by the user in about 15-30 minutes by running one of the adjustments. In this document, it is referred to as the System Default Cal. Since the directory is model and serial number specific, multiple directories can simultaneously exist on the drive without any interference; the PNA will always use the correct directory.

Spare/replacement drives provided by Keysight have none of the above unique information. The unique files are either automatically generated the first time the PNA is started, or must be manually generated/transferred. The following steps will help ensure the PNA is properly set up regardless of your configuration.

It helps to have a USB hard drive enclosure designed for SATA laptop hard drives. These handy devices (see sample) cost less than $20 and allow much faster deployment of working PNA systems. Keep in mind that, when using this on a PC, the drive letters will be different for any given partition.


Maintaining Multiple Hard Drives for a Single PNA


In this case we will assume you want to have several hard drives that will be installed on a single PNA. This is the simpler of the two scenarios. We will also assume that you have obtained the hard drives from Keysight.

  1. First, make sure you have backup copies of any unique file as described above.
  2. Remove the original hard drive and install the spare drive. Apply power. After some initialization and one or more reboots, the PNA screen will appear. At this point, all the above files will have already been created with the exceptions of the GDM file (for certain models only) and the System Default Cal (opt 011 units only.)
  3. For the N5231A/B, N5232A/B, and N5239A/B, copy the GDM file to the UserCalSets directory listed above.
  4. For any Option 011 units, copy the System Default Cal directory to D:\Calfiles.
  5. At this point, you should set up all account names, passwords, computer name (if a different one is needed from the default), network configurations, etc.
That's it; you are done.

You should run the Operators Check on the PNA: Utility, System, Service, Operator's Check to ensure all steps were properly performed.


Maintaining a Spare Hard Drive (or Drives) for Multiple PNAs


In this case we will assume you want to have one or more spare drives that can be used on multiple PNAs. This involves a bit more work than the above scenario and requires some pre-planning. Again, we will assume that you have obtained any hard drives from Keysight.

Pre-planning

Before any new PNA is deployed, you should have backed up the following data to some permanent storage media such as a network drive or flash drive. The data must be stored under a unique name that is both model and serial number specific so that there is no chance of confusion.
  • The entire contents of D:\Calfiles
  • For the N5231B, N5232B, and N5239B, the GDM file located in the UserCalSets directory listed above.

A hard drive for any B model will function in any other B model. However, the GDM Cal, System Default Cal, and any backup data may be incorrect/missing for any given instrument. This is why you should always transfer the above data to the hard drive whenever deploying a PNA.

In the case of short-term temporary (0-24 hours) PNA usage, it may not be worth the effort to transfer the data, but be aware that you will get incorrect result if you need to make a measurement using the GDM Cal. The System Default Cal is model and serial specific so there is no chance of using the wrong data; if the data is missing, you will get a warning message about this.

If the hard drive is new and has never been used in a PNA before, simply install it in the PNA, turn it on, and allow it to initialize. At this point, all unique files will be automatically generated for this specific instrument. If applicable, and if you have a backup file for the GDM cal, then copy it to the proper location above. If applicable (Opt 011 only), do the same with the System Default Cal directory (which will be located in the previously saved Calfiles directory.) At this point, you are done.

If the hard drive was previously used in another PNA, replace the D:\Calfiles directory using the previously saved version for this specific instrument. Do the same with the GDM file if applicable. At this point, you are done.

That's it; you are done. This hard drive will now work properly on this specific PNA.

You should run the Operators Check on the PNA to ensure all steps were properly performed: Utility, System, Service, Operator's Check


Last Updated: 23 Sep 2021