By Lyle Cmerek
In the course of working with ultrasound systems in the field, there will inevitably be a time when a system experiences catastrophic software corruption and will no longer boot up. To successfully repair these systems, it’s important to gather all pertinent data about the ultrasound system and create a system backup. In this article, I will offer some tips for collecting and storing this information so it’s ready to use when needed.
Each ultrasound system make and model varies as to what is needed to perform a software load and restore system settings. For example, on the Philips iU22 and iE33 you must log into “techadmin” or “service” to create a backup of the license options file. On the Philips Epiq and Affiniti, the license option file is included in the backup without having to login. However, on the Epiq/Affiniti and iU22/iE33, you must log into “service,” “techadmin,” or “support” to restore the licensed option file after a software load.
On some GE machines, you have to manually input encryption strings to restore the purchased options. Other GE models store the purchased items on a dongle that is plugged into the BEP. If this is the case, don’t forget to swap this option dongle over to your new BEP if you are replacing the BEP.
These are a few examples of what is needed to bring back the purchased license options, but the necessary items after a software load vary from machine to machine. It is beneficial to know what is needed on each machine for a software load. I personally like to keep backups and vital information on the machine somewhere, in the event that a customer or coworker is working on this machine instead of me.
It is also a good idea to identify and take note of your system’s hardware and software revisions. For Philips systems, the hardware revision is typically indicated by a letter and sometimes a letter followed by a number; i.e. A cart, F.3, or G.1. Hardware revisions are important to know if you need to order a part for your particular system.
On GE ultrasounds, how the software revision is indicated depends on the make, model, and when the unit was manufactured. Sometimes it is noted as a BT/breakthrough level such as BT09 or BT12. Whereas on other machines, the hardware revision of that machine is dependent upon the BEP you have and the circuit board make up of the front end; GFI versus MRX or 1 GTX board versus 3 GTX boards.
For most machines, software and hardware revision information is also included in the system’s error logs. I typically save a copy of the error logs from each machine, so I can look up hardware information from that machine if needed in the future. I also take pictures of all unique information that is specific to that machine. This includes, but isn’t limited to, the serial number, hardware revision, software revision, every page of the network configuration, specific button configuration information, wireless network information, etc.
Taking a picture of all of this information may sometimes seem like overkill, but I personally prefer to have more information needed on a machine than not enough. Having hardware and software information specific to each machine is vital so you can order the correct part for your machine or troubleshoot your machine. This information is also good to have when reaching out for technical support. I like to keep all of this information on my computer, so that I can use it when needed.
The examples I used and information provided in this article reference just a few different models from GE and Philips product lines, but getting in the habit of properly documenting and backing up the ultrasounds you service will always be beneficial. If you take on a new ultrasound machine that you are unfamiliar with, I highly recommend formal training, doing some research or reaching out to a trusted multi-vendor ultrasound expert to help guide you.
Lyle Cmerek is an Customer Service Engineer for Avante Ultrasound. For 24/7 Technical Support, call 800-958-9986 or visit www.avantehs.com/ultrasound.
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