FAQ

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General Questions

  • What are the Key Advantages of XXT products over others that are available?

    XXT knows how to build rugged and reliable MWD equipment for the modern directional/horizontal drilling market. That is what we have a reputation for doing.  Our firmware and software are Best-in-Class, and our systems are known to have the highest degree of compatibility with QDT systems.

  • Are XXT tools compatible with tools from other manufacturers?

    XXT is known to have the highest level of QDT compatibility available, specifically with QDT V01.6x and, within certain limitation, QDT V02.0x firmware-based telemetry components.

    Most manufacturers do aspire to being QDT/GE compatible, so a significant level of compatibility does exist between XXT and various manufacturers.  XXT recommends and can offer support only for the use of xxMWDconfig/PCTM and other XXT xxMWD/PCTM applications. That being said, XXT has successfully focused on achieving a high degree of compatibility with QDT compatible systems with the intent of allowing XXT equipment to be mixed-and-matched with other QDT equipment.

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Technical Questions

  • How can I communicate with my XL50?

    The application running on your PC communicates with the XL50 via a DB9 Serial COM Port Interface or USB Virtual COM Port.  The application may be a Terminal Emulator such as Procomm, HyperTerminal or XXT’s own xxTerminal application.  Additionally, if running xxNETserver, it can be configured to communicate with the XL50 via your COM Port.  The COM Port must be configured to match the Serial Port on the XL50 (e.g. Baud Rate, Data Bits, Stop Bits, Parity).  XXT has a How-To document which can help you to configure your PC COM Port for communicating with an XL50.  While this How-To is specifically intended for configuring the Procomm Terminal Emulator program, the same basic settings apply to other programs as well.  The How-To document is called: How To Setup Procomm for XXT Tools

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above.  How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.  Also keep in mind that a COM Port can only be used by one application at a time, so if xxNETserver is running and using the COM Port, then your Terminal Emulator will not be able to connect to it and vice versa.  Be sure that some other application is not already using your COM Port when trying to use it within any given application.

  • How do I communicate with the Tool?

    Each node in the Tool String must have a unique Node Address and the Baud Rate settings for each node must be the same in order for all nodes to be able to communicate.  The Tool String (ToolBus) is connected to Port-0 of an XL50.  Port-1 of the XL50 is connected to the PC’s COM Port.  Typically when you’ve verified all of your connections and are still unable to communicate with all of the nodes on the ToolBus, it’s a Baud rate mismatch problem. The Baud Rate of the connection between the PC and the XL50 (Port-1) is separate from and may be different from the Baud Rate of the ToolBus and Port-0 of the XL50. There is an easy method for normalizing the Baud Rates of all the nodes on the ToolBus.  This method is outlined in the How-To document:
    How To Match System Wide Baud Rates

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above.  How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.  At the command line “Chat Prompt” of a Terminal Emulator program, you can test to see which nodes are communicating by entering the command:  [##]asw?  This command is preferable to [##]Ping! or [##]ver, because GE nodes respond to the “asw” command, whereas they may not respond to “ping” or “ver”, so if you have any GE nodes in your Tool String, “asw” should be used.

  • What additional features are provided by the XXT “G2” capability?

    The Second Generation xxMWD Firmware, a.k.a. xxMWD/G2 or “G2” for short, provides several new features, some of which are compatible with or similar to the qMWD/QDT/GE Version 2 firmware changes:

    a) The new “Rotation Monitor” provides the ability to detect tool rotation and measure rotation speed. This process is proprietary to XXT and is designed to minimize additional sensor power consumption when possible.

    b) The RPM Down-Linking/Signaling feature provides an alternative method of down-linking simple commands to the tool (non-QDT compatible).

    c) The ability to invoke Repeated Synch Word and Repeated Survey Data transmissions can be used to overcome issues associated with lost-circulation conditions (QDT compatible).

    d) Short-Flow-Off Telemetry Control can be used to temporarily inhibit survey data transmissions and/or inhibit or limit toolface/logging/steering data transmissions (QDT compatible).

    e) Rotating During the Transmit-Delay Interval is another method to optionally inhibit Telemetry Transmissions or to skip survey data transmissions (non-QDT compatible).

    f) Dynamic Data Sequences optionally allows changing the content of the telemetry data stream based on whether or not the tool is rotating and whether or not optional focused-gamma instrumentation capabilities indicate uniform gamma count rates while rotating (QDT compatible).

    g) Two additional Toolface/Logging/Steering (a.k.a. “T/L”) Sequence Definition Strings (TSq5 & TSq6) have been added for convenience and flexibility (non-QDT compatible).

    h) Use of the QDT-defined ‘y’ format syntax in Sequence Definition Strings has been added for QDT-compatibility when available:  This format is used to efficiently telemeter the Log-10 of wide-ranging parameters (such as resistivity) and is functionally equivalent to the XXT ‘x’ telemetry format (‘x’ telemetry format is not QDT compatible).

    i) The Gamma High Limit (GaHL) parameter has been added for QDT-compatibility (per GE document OC-TIL-20925052, 08 January 2009). This new telemetry feature is also applicable to xxMPTx/Q V01.50 and xxMPRx/C/PCI V01.50.

    j) New Gamma Logging enhancements include an independent Gamma Logging Interval (GaLogI) and an alternative file format gam2Log that increases the maximum data points by a factor of more than 3 (up to 53,144). This enhancement is also applicable to xxMPTx/Q V01.50.

  • How do I manage the behavior of Battery 2 in the Tool String?

    Typically the Downhole Tool begins by running off of Battery 1, then  as Battery 1 wears down and its voltage drops below a specified voltage threshold, Battery 2 is seamlessly switched in to continue to power the tool along with whatever capability remains in Battery 1.  There are a number of parameters that are used to configure the behavior of Battery 2, including:

    • BThr/BatW –QDT/GE Low Battery Voltage Threshold and Warning Flag
    • LoVWthr/LoVW – XXT Low Battery Voltage Threshold and Warning Flag
    • Bat2 – Battery 2 Status Flag
    • BatV/BEvT – Battery Voltage and Battery Voltage Evaluation Time

    Information about these parameters and how to use them is provided in the XXT How To document: How To Manage BATT2

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above.  How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the MWD > MWD support >  XXT Documentation menu item.

  • How do I configure xxSAPC and xxDRT to function as a WITS Server?

    The xxDRT and xxSAPC applications both have WITS Server capabilities.  Any parameter known to the XXT system can be WITS’d out of a Serial COM Port. XXT has a quick overview about how to configure the xxSAPC/xxDRT applications to serve up WITS data:
    How-To Use WITS with xxDRT & xxSAPC

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. How To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.

    Please read the notes in the How-To document about Windows Vista and Windows 7. These operating systems changed the way that the WITSmap.dat file can be accessed (as opposed to the way things were done in Windows XP). XXT addressed this issue in xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite V02.10. So, if your Windows Operating System is Windows Vista, Windows 7 or later, you must be running xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite V02.10 or later if you want to edit your WITSmap.dat file.

  • Can xxSAPC/xxDRT take WITS data IN from other devices?

    Currently, only Depth data can be WITS’d into xxSAPC/xxDRT.

  • What’s the Depth Server?

    Once Depth data is provided to the xxSAPC/xxDRT, it can serve that Depth data to other PC’s in the system using xxNETserver, via the Depth Server feature of xxSAPC/xxDRT.  Depth Server can be configured and enabled by selecting it from the Menu Bar of the xxSAPC/xxDRT screen:

    Setup > Depth Tracking

  • How do I provide logging data to third-party equipment?

    Depending on the configuration and resources of the PC you’re using to run the XXT xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite, there are several possible ways for you to connect to 3rd Party equipment for the purpose of providing logging data.  Some of the things to consider are:

         •  How many COM Ports do you have on your PC?

         •  Do you have an XL50?

         •  What kind of cables do you want to use to interconnect things?

    XXT has a How-To document that presents three possible methods for interconnecting your PC to third-party equipment: How To Provide 3rd Party Logging Data

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.

  • What’s the difference between a Gateway port and a Network port?

    The Serial Ports used by the xxNETserver application to communicate with other nodes in the system can be configured to have a Port Type of either Gateway or Network.

    Gateway means that the only data packets which xxNETserver causes to come out of the PC COM Port(s) are packets relevant to the connected XL50 and any nodes that are actually connected to that XL50.  This is what you want when your PC COM Port is connecting to a Tool through an XL50.

    Network means that any and every packet seen by xxNETserver comes out of the PC COM Port(s), regardless of which node they’re for and whether or not that node is detected as being present in the system.  This is what you want when connecting to 3rd Party logging devices.

    As of xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite V02.10, the default setting of xxNETserver’s Serial Port Type was changed from Network to Gateway.  Keep this in mind if you are expecting to see all data packets on the COM Port (for example when using 3rd Party logging devices).

    xxNETserver’s Port Type can be set as desired (Gateway/Network) from the xxNETserver Menu Bar:

    xxNETserver > Setup > Serial Port Type.

  • How do I apply our company logo to the XXT xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite screens?

    By default, the various applications comprising the xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite display the XXT LLC logo.  The logo field can be customized to display your own company logo instead.  The method for doing this is described in the XXT How To document:

    How To Apply Your Company Logo

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.

  • What licenses are required to run the various xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite applications?

    An XXT License can reside in an XL50 or in an MPRx.  As long as a valid and sufficient license is detected anywhere in the system/network, any applications requiring such a license are able to run. Keep in mind that the license needs to be accessible over the network. For example, if the MPRx in your Laversab 4100 DRT contains your “D” license, but your Wireless Connection to the 4100 is not functioning correctly, any applications you may be running on your Safe Area PC (SAPC) are not able to see the license, and thus are not be able to run.

    No XXT License is required to run the following xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite applications:

    • vmIndicator/PCTM
    • vmAnalyzer/PCTM
    • xxMemIO/PCTM
    • xxDirKTutility/PCTM
    • xxPCNodeInfo/PCTM
    • xxNETserver/PCTM
    • xxNETmonitor/PCTM
    • xxMWDWaveformAnalyzer/PCTM

    An XXT “B” or “D” License is required to run the following xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite applications:

    • xxMWDconfig/PCTM
    • xxRollTest/PCTM
    • xxToolTest/PCTM
    • xxTFOutility/PCTM

    An XXT “D” License is required to run the following xxMWD/PCTM Program Suite applications:

    • xxDRT/PCTM
    • xxSAPC/PCTM
  • How do I simulate rotation of the tool in a shop environment?

    During downhole operation, information about tool rotation is derived from the three-axis Magnetometers and Accelerometers in the Directional Sensor.  In a shop environment, it is not feasible to actually rotate the tool when doing rotation-related testing (for example to verify proper operation of rotation-based Dynamic Sequences).  For this purpose, XXT provides for the ability to simulate rotation.  An XXT How-To document is available on this topic: 
    How To Use Simulated Rotation

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.

  • How do I configure and use the Gamma functionality of the XXT DIM?

    When considering Gamma, it’s important to keep in mind that the following three Gamma-related activities are distinct and can operate largely independently of each other:

    • Gamma Measurement/Acquisition (updating of the system parameter “Gamma”)
    • Gamma Logging (downhole logging of Gamma Data)
    • Gamma Telemetering (timing and resolution of the Gamma value telemetered)

    There are a collection of parameters that address each of the above aspects, and in some cases, there are interdependencies between various parameters. XXT has a How-To document that explains how to configure and use the Gamma capabilities of the XXT DIM:
    How To Configure the Gamma Parameters of the XXT DIM

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above.  How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item

  • What are Dynamic Sequences and how do I use them?

    Toolface/Logging (Steering) Sequence Definition Strings are predefined to specify how various data parameters are telemetered while drilling. But depending on whether you’re rotating or sliding, different information is needed. For example, when sliding, you’re very interested in your Toolface Angle (TFA), but when rotating, TFA has no relevance. Dynamic Sequences provide the capability to predefine different Toolface/Logging Sequence Definition Strings, and then automatically use whichever one is appropriate, depending on various conditions such as whether you’re rotating or not, and if you are rotating, whether your Gamma readings are uniform or non-uniform.

    The use of Dynamic Sequences requires the ability to perform Rotation Detection, so when configuring your Dynamic Sequences, be sure to also configure Rotation Detection accordingly. XXT also recommends that you enable “Resynch” capability (in Telemetry Settings) when using Dynamic Sequences. XXT has a How-To document that explains how to configure and use Dynamic Sequences: How To Setup Dynamic Sequences and Resynch

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.

  • How do I configure the Telemetry Formats of the data appearing in Sequence Strings?

    When Survey Sequence Strings and Toolface/Logging Sequence Strings are defined, each parameter included in a string must also include information about how that parameter is to be telemetered.  For example, how many bits will be sent to telemeter the value, and what kind of data is being telemetered?  Data parameters are presented according to a format called “tn.b”, where:

    • “t” is the data type (e.g. unsigned integer, floating point, etc.)
    • “n” is the number of bits to telemeter for that parameter
    • “b” is a number that usually indicates the “weight” of each bit, but the definition of “b” can vary depending on what the type “t” of the data is.

    Sometimes, the “t” and “b” do not need to be explicitly indicated if the range of the value and the data type are already known, for example with Inclination or Azimuth.  Indicating the proper data type, resolution and bit weighting is very important to make sure that the data is telemetered as intended. XXT has a How-To document which explains how to specify Telemetry Formats as used in the Sequence Strings: How To Understand Telemetry Formats (tn.b)

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above.  How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > How-To Notes menu item.

    Complete details on the very important topic of Telemetry Formats can be found in the XXT TechNote:

    SeqStringsGVsVVars&tn.b

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. TechNote documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > Browse Documentation menu item, then open the TechNotes folder (a peer folder to the How-To folder).

  • How do I set up a Windows VPN to allow remote access to a well site?

    It is possible to configure a Well Site PC as a VPN Server to allow customers to gain remote access to their Well Site by a Client (i.e. remote) PC.  There are two TechNotes which describe how to configure such an arrangement when using the Windows XP Operating System:
    XXT-TechNote-VPN-ConfiguringWellsiteVPNServer
    XXT-TechNote-VPN-ConnectingToRemoteWellsite

    Additionally, there is a complementary companion How-To document about how to configure such an arrangement when using the Windows 7 Operating System:
    How To Setup a Windows 7 VPN To Allow Remote Access to a Well Site

    These documents are available for viewing by clicking the document names above. TechNote and How-To documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > Browse Documentation and 
    Help > How-To Notes menu item.

  • What's the difference between Gravity Toolface (gTFA), Magnetic Toolface (mTFA), and Automatic Toolface (aTFA)?

    The Toolface Angle, as computed using the signals from the Directional Sensor’s Magnetometers is referred to as Magnetic Toolface or mTFA. The Toolface Angle, as computed using the signals from the Directional Sensor’s Accelerometers is referred to as Gravity Toolface or gTFA. Whether mTFA or gTFA is the more useful of the two TFA types is determined by the measured Inclination of the Tool.  When the Tool’s Inclination (Inc) is less than the Inclination Threshold (IncT), then mTFA is more useful, otherwise gTFA is more useful. IncT is configured in the Telemetry Settings group of Configuration Parameters. When aTFA appears in the Toolface/Logging (Steering) Sequence String, it means that the TFA that’s being sent is either gTFA or mTFA, depending on whether Inc is greater that IncT or not, respectively, and can select between them dynamically on the fly, automatically giving the driller the most useful TFA.

  • How can I display parameter names and values I’m interested in on xxSAPC/xxDRT?

    xxSAPC and xxDRT have an area of the screen just to the right of the Compass Rose called Data Tabs. There can be up to four user configurable Tabbed screens which can be populated with any parameters of interest to the user. Just right-click in the Data Tabs field and select Setup Data Tabs. Then follow the prompts to configure each of the Tabbed screens with the data of interest.  XXT has a TechNote which describes how to use the Data Tabs feature of xxSAPC/xxDRT: TechNote-xxMWD-Custom Data Displays

    It is available for viewing by clicking the document name above. TechNote documents are also always available to you via the menu bar in any XXT PC Suite application via the Help > Browse Documentation menu item, then open the TechNotes folder (a peer folder to the How-To folder).

  • How do I download the configuration that’s stored in my Tool into a file for analysis?

    When troubleshooting a problem where a Tool doesn’t seem to be behaving correctly, it’s very important to review the configuration that’s actually stored in the Tool itself, as opposed to simply reviewing the configuration file that is believed to have been used to configure the Tool.  To do this:

    a) Connect the Tool to your PC via an XL50

    b) Confirm that all Tool Nodes are communicating by issuing a  [##]asw?  command

    c) Open xxMWDconfig and wait for it to initialize

    d) Click the teal-colored Download box on the xxMWDconfig screen, follow the prompts

    e) This causes the Configuration stored in the Tool to populate the fields of the various xxMWDconfig parameter groups.

    f)  From the xxMWDconfig Menu Bar, click File > Save As and select a file name and path that suits you.

    g) The Tool’s configuration can now be reviewed from within xxMWDconfig, or by looking at the config file (.cfg extension) that you saved off.

    When contacting XXT for help with a problem, supplying us with the Configuration File as downloaded from the Tool is of great help.

  • How can I determine the range limits for any parameter on an XXT node?

    Via xxNETmonitor or a Terminal Emulator prompt, query the parameter of interest using a “/?” following the parameter name.

     For example, if you want to know what the possible values for the Port-0 Baud Rate parameter “BR0” on the XL50 (Node Address 14) are, you would enter the following command:   [14]BR0/?

    The response is:  xxHelp(Numeric Options:  BR0:   4800,   9600,  19200 &  38400)

    Note that this command works for XXT nodes, but may not work on nodes from other manufacturers.

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