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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:11 am 
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Hi

I have asked this question on the Seaward forum but have not had any response from them and was wandering if I would have more luck here.

I am thinking about purchasing a Europa Plus to replace an aging manual PAT as I now have a growing number of smaller jobs. I also intend to start bar-coding all appliances to make the job quicker.

I am also looking at software, and a friend has shown me Simply Pats software, which look very easy to use. The only problem with the software is it dosnt allow you to upload tests back to the tester. This is something he would also like to be able to do, but was told by the *EDITED yourselves* that seaward would not disclose any technical information which would allow *EDITED Your* software to do this.

Is patguard elite the only option from seaward or other software manufacturers that will allow me to upload data back to the tester, if so I may have to look at the megger which I believe also has an upload option.

I cant believe that there isn’t more software out there that allows you to upload to seaward testers, if what my friend has said is true I think its pretty poor that *EDITED Seaward* forcing users to use patguard elite.

i really like the look of the europa, but would prefer not to buy patguard elite.

Thanks dom


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 2:09 pm 
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Hello Dom, and welcome to the SimplyPats / PAT Testing forum

I have edited your post in places as it looks like you have copied the text from the Seaward Forum.

I am sorry that you have not yet received a response from Seaward on this matter, I will try to help the best I can.

The Seaward Europa Plus and the Megger PAT4 DV/3 are both good PAT Testers, and as you have already stated, both offer support for uploading data back to the tester.

However, your friend is correct when he says that SimplyPats is not able to upload data back to the Europa or any other Seaward PAT Tester for that matter. The ability to upload data back to Seaward Testers is something that we would really like to add to SimplyPats.

We have asked Seaward if they would be so kind as to supply us with the necessary technical information needed to allow us to achieve this, however to date they have refused our request.

I believe that PATGuard Elite is the only software currently available that will allow upload to Seaward Testers, however you may want to seek further advise from one of the many specialist Electrical Testing distributors available throughout the UK, and of course Seaward themselves should be able to give you a definite answer.

As you have already pointed out, the Megger PAT4 DV/3 has the ability to accept uploaded data. In SimplyPats Version 5.2.7 we have added the ability to upload to the Megger PAT4 DV/3, and as this PAT can also be equipped with a Bar Code Scanner, this PAT Tester may be an option considering if you really want the features discussed without using Seawards PATGuard Elite.

I presume that you have already seen SimplyPats running as you mentioned that your friend is using it, if not please feel free to download the demo from the main SimplyPats web site http://www.simplypats.co.uk/

If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Regards Carl

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 12:11 am 
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Thanks for your reply, I have downloaded the demo of simply pats. Seaward have replied to my post today but really didn’t take note of the last line in my post, the bit about not wanting to purchase patguard elite and all they could go on about was how much money they have spent adding the upload to there testers.

They don’t seem to realise that its money from people like me that allows them to carry on, but as a customer I want to be free to make my own choices in what I use. I don’t want to be told that I must use patguard elite just because I want to be able to upload to the europa, I don’t want to use seaward software full stop, not because its no good I just don’t want to keep all my eggs in one basket.

My friend has given your support the thumbs up and said that it was excellent, I also like the fact that simply pats is upgraded free of charge on a regular basis, he has been very impressed with what has been added in the upgrades, does the demo have all the latest addons.

If I have any questions I will call you, I need to get this sorted out soon before the work gets too much, I am certainly gong to look at the pat4, funny how they allow you to upload without using there own software. Looks like seaward have lost a sale this time. Thankyou for your quick reply.

Dom


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:09 pm 
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Hi Dom

It is disappointing that Seaward have chosen not to make their technology available to 3rd party developers, however by doing this they are losing potential sales, as you have already demonstrated in choosing not to purchase a Seaward product.

It is nice to hear that users are happy with the support offered by the SimplyPats team, and that the free updates are welcome additions. We do listen to feedback from our Users and try to include suggested features where we can, the forum is a testament to this.

The SimplyPats Demo contains all features found in release V5.2.6, this is the latest version currently available at this time, Version 5.2.7 is due to be released in October 2008.

I am sure the Megger PAT4 DV/3 and SimplyPats combination won’t disappoint. If you do purchase this combination before the next release, please let us know as I will arrange for update V5.2.7 to be sent to you.

Carl

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 Post subject: Seaward and Meggar
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 11:18 am 
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I was wondering if you had purchased a PAT yet, its probably a bit late for this post. The ability to upload and download data and all the speel that goes with it from the manufacturers make it sound just the thing that we all need to make testing easier and quicker. Having over the past ten years both sold and tested with the Seaward Testers and Avo Testers both using upload and download features, would say from our experience that this ability is not all it is cracked up to be. Having a simple and user friendly tester with the ability to print durable tags straight from the tester information combined with a simple, fast and efficient software (which SimplyPATs 5 is) will get you along much quicker and with a lot less frustrations. :lol:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Hi metrotest

Sorry for not replying sooner but i have not used the forum for a while.

I had a problem uploading the data to my pat4 which prompted me to post on the forum last night, this has now been sorted thanks to Richards detailed reply (late at night i may add, dont you guys sleep).

As you will now know I ended up purchasing the pat4 over the europa as I wanted the option to upload data back to the pat tester but didnt want to use the Seaward software. I have got to say that the pat has been very reliable and easy to use, and the simply pats software was deffinately the right choice, its easy to use, full of great features and produces professional looking reports. I cant wait to get my hands on the new reports in the latest update but have just realised that i need to upgrade to the Version 6 software, time to get the credit card out i suppose :(

The point of replying to your comments even after the long absence was to say that I am about to carry out my first round of retesting where I have uploaded past data back to the PAT tester, this is something that I have not tried with past retests.

Dom


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 1:53 pm 
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Hi Dom

Good to see you back on the forum and hear that Richard was able to help you out with your Megger PAT4 login issue.

Do we sleep? Yes of course we do, technology has made it much easier to communicate and be instantly informed of such communication.

Im sure that Richard had the forum open in the background while he was working on some SimplyPats code, I know from experience it is much easier to program or design when its quiet and the phones not ringing, in other words late at night.

I monitor all emails via our Microsoft Exchange Push Email server, which means that I generally get notified instantly on my mobile phone of any communication, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If im not sleeping or occupied in non-business related activities I will certainly do my best to help out if I can or at least reply to an email to say “thanks, we will look into it when we can”.

We have a large and growing user base in Australia and New Zealand and as Glenfer has already pointed out on the forum elsewhere viewtopic.php?f=43&t=431, it is not uncommon for us to respond to support requests late at night UK time.

Push Email, modern smart phones, VOIP Services such as Skype and Remote Access software such as the Netviewer software we use, are all tools that help us provide what we believe to be excellent support.

Support for our SimplyPats software out-of-hours is not something that we actively advertise as it is not something that can be reliably sustained, however it is something that we actively pursue if the technology works as intended and time permits.

I am sure the upgrade to SimplyPats Version 6 will not disappoint, we have put a lot of work into the upgrade and additional free updates, not to mention the new PAT Testing reports that have already caught your eye.

Carl


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:14 am 
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Hope you don't mind me hijacking old thread but this one seemed very relevant.

My background is in IT / software development but I have since retrained as an electrician and a while ago I purchased a Supernova Plus. Since I predominently use linux and macOS and there aren't really any non Windows PAT software packages I figured I'd write something in-house to download results from the tester and store them in a postgresql database as I have already done something similar for our installation testers.

I emailed seaward a while ago to ask if they could provide any documentation for the download format and whilst I wasn't sure they would be happy to divulge that information, having spent well over a grand on kit I was expecting slightly more than a rather curt one line reply :roll: I've actually been pretty happy with the Supernova, it's a bit of a heavy / bulky beast but does do everything I'm ever likely to need and more, but after the rude response I received from Seaward I'm not sure I'd buy from them again. They seem to feel that by preventing 3rd party development they are protecting their revenues by forcing people to buy their software, whilst this may be true to an extent, they are also alienating their customers and will arguably end up losing equipment sales to other manufacturers with better 3rd party software support.

Their reply did just make me more determined to find some time to look at this and after spending some time this weekend i've sucessfully reverse engineered the .sss download format. What I would like to concentrate on next is uploading results back to the tester. I notice from the SimplyPats website that "SimplyPats will only upload the Appliance ID and Test Codes for the Seaward PAT Testers", and I'm curious as to what other information seawards own software uploads as I've not yet had a chance to play with this. I've seen some mention of comparing against previous test results when retesting an appliance but I am not sure if this relates to items stored in the main tester memory or in it's upload memory?

Anyway, I'll let you know in due course how I get on and gladly share data with you on anything I figure out - likewise with the .sss data if you wish but I'm assuming you've already got this well and truely nailed as you would have had a much wider range of test instruments and hence a much wider data set to work with whereas I need only concern myself with the Supernova Plus as this is all we are using in-house.

Martin.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:24 pm 
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Hi Martin

Thanks for your rather interesting post, no need to apologies about starting up an old thread, that’s what forums are for.

All I am going to say on the subject at this time is… It’s interesting how different companies choose to work, some are open and can see the advantages of working with others, while some choose to go it alone.

Perhaps some of our other forum members may have some thoughts or comments on this matter?

Carl


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:40 pm 
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Hi Martin hope you can help me. Do you have any information on the technical structure of the SSS format that you could share as I have been asked to do an import routine for a friend of mine.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:10 pm 
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Hi Karl

Maybe you want to give us a ring and see if we can help with your requirements?

We have written routines to download and import data from some 40 different PAT testers and have experience at data conversion from almost all the PAT testing Management programs produced in the last 15 years.

we also have experience with several different platforms including PC, Windows Mobile Compact Framework and Android, both in our shrink wrapped product SimplyPats and also for facilities management companies and bespoke solutions for blue chip companies.

Regards Carl


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:34 pm 
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@riverstyx et al. There is some Python code floating around the internet that documents the .SSS file format as I understood it after looking at it. I would caution that this was done without access to any of the machines, nor software and from a sample size of only three .SSS files (one version 1, and two version 2; with only three fails between the lot), none-the-less the structure is 16-bit big-endian and simple in nature. The schema (mapping the meaning of individual test codes and results) could do with some wider testing. Hopefully this would be enough to help you understand the Seaward .SSS file-format and improve interoperability beyond what Simplypats/PATGuard/etc offer.

The Python code is at a technical level though, so if you're looking for an MS Windows-style GUI application with CSV import/export you will probably be better off getting Richard and Carl's Simplypats software, as that already works! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:29 pm 
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@sladen (and anyone else who is interested) - If you would like to pm me your email address I'll send you over what I came up with, there are some notes I made on the file format, as well as a number of perl scripts I wrote whilst doing the reverse engineering - I can't remember exactly what I have, and they aint gonna be pretty as they were all hacked together as part of the reverse engineering process, but they might offer some insights.

There are two formats in use (or at least there were when I last looked at this almost 3 years ago) - one for the Supernova machines and one for the Primetest 350. Most of the work I did was on the v1 format as I only had access to a Supernova. I did obtain some v2 download files and these looked a little puzzling until I worked out that:

- each record starts with 0x02 and is terminated with 0x03
- any time 0x02 or 0x03 occur within a record, they are prefixed with 0x7F
- any time 0x7F occurs naturally within a record it is prefixed with another 0x7F.

Once you split the file into individual records, then strip out the 0x7F prefixes, all the record lengths and CRCs start to make sense.

Anyway, I'm certain this is not really the place for detailed technical discussions so feel free to contact me off forum if you'd like copies of what I came up with and/or to discuss further.

Kind Regards,
Martin.


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