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X-RSW-SV Vacuum Compatible Rotary Stages (FW6) User's Manual

X-RSW-SV Vacuum Compatible Rotary Stages (FW6)


Zaber’s products are not intended for use in any critical medical, aviation, or military applications or situations where a product's use or failure could cause personal injury, death, or damage to property. Zaber disclaims any and all liability for injury or other damages resulting from the use of our products.


Zaber’s motion control devices are precision instruments and must be handled with care. In particular, moving parts must be treated with care. Avoid axial loads in excess of the rated thrust load, axial and radial impact, dust and other contaminants and damage to the drive components. These will reduce the performance of the device below stated specifications.

Do not touch vacuum devices with your bare hands. The oil from your skin can significantly increase the pump down time of your chamber. Always wear cleanroom gloves when handling high vacuum positioners and other high vacuum components.

Leave the device in its packaging until you are ready to put it into your vacuum chamber. Once the device has been removed from its packaging, make sure the device is stored and operated only in clean, dry environments.

Overheating Precautions

The lifetime of the motor and stage will be prolonged by keeping the operating temperatures as low as possible. The motor housing temperature of Zaber's vacuum devices should never exceed 80°C, as the longevity of the devices will be compromised.

Monitoring Temperature

There are a few ways to monitor temperature on Zaber devices:

  1. A and X Series devices have an integrated temperature sensor on their controllers. This may be polled in ASCII using the get system.temperature command. Please see the protocol manual for more details.
  2. A K-type thermocouple or other temperature sensor may be mounted to the stage to monitor temperature in order to reduce the risk of overheating. The thermocouple should be attached to the device's motor housing. An example of a proper mounting location is shown below.

T-NA-SV2 Thermocouple(2).jpg

Duty Cycle and Run and Hold Currents

The default run currents on Zaber vacuum devices are typically set lower than their non-vacuum counterparts, however under high duty cycles they may have to be further lowered. Combining low run and hold currents with a reduced duty cycle will often prevent overheating in all but the most extreme of cases.

It is good practice to reduce the hold current as much as is practical for vacuum devices. Positioners with an A pitch lead screw often do not need a hold current at all to maintain their position. Reducing the hold current is an easy way to reduce the heat generated by your vacuum stage or actuator.

Please contact Zaber Technical Support to help select the optimal duty cycle and current settings for your positioner.

Vacuum Baking

Vacuum devices can be vacuum baked to reduce pump down time and outgassing. The procedure is to heat the device to its recommended bake-out temperature at a vacuum of less than 10^-3 Torr for a period of several hours. Allowable bake-out temperature for Zaber's vacuum devices is 80°C.

Do not exceed these temperatures as there are polymer based components in the stage and electrical components in the controller that can be permanently damaged or have their lifetimes significantly shortened by overheating.

Conventions used throughout this document

  • Fixed width type indicates communication to and from a device. The symbol indicates a carriage return, which can be achieved by pressing enter when using a terminal program.
  • An ASCII command followed by (T:xx) indicates a legacy T-Series Binary Protocol command that achieves the same result. For example,
    move abs 10000 (T:20:10000) shows that a move abs ASCII command can also be achieved with Binary command number 20.
Not all ASCII commands have an equivalent Binary counterpart.

Quick Tutorial

We recommend using Zaber Console to communicate with the device(s). For other software options, see the Software page. Please refer to the ASCII Protocol Manual and/or Binary Protocol Manual for more detailed information on the available commands.

Initial Set-up

X-RSW-SV Setup

  1. Daisy chain all integrated devices together using the RS-232 "Prev" and "Next" connectors (see Daisy-Chaining Devices for more details). Next, supply power to one or more devices. Many products share power through the daisy-chain cables. The power indicator on each should light up.
  2. Download and install Zaber Console. Start Zaber Console and select the communications port the first controller is connected to. For instructions on how to find the available communication ports on your system, please refer to: Appendix A - Available Communications Ports.
  3. From the Console, issue a renumber (T:2) command to all devices (Zaber Console may prompt you to do this also). The first device in the chain (closest to the computer) will become Device 1, the next will become Device 2, and so on.


Every time the device is powered up or reset, the positioner should be returned to the home position. This is achieved by sending the home (T:1) command to the individual unit or all units. Until this is done, most positioners will only allow motion in one direction, towards the sensor.

If it is not possible in your application to home the positioner after every power-up, see the tools parking (T:65) command. Parking allows the device to be turned off and then used at a later time without first having to home the axes.

Using the Device

Several commonly used ASCII commands, and their Binary equivalents, are shown below. For a full list of available commands, please refer to the Command Reference section below.

Command Description
/1 1 get pos↵ (T:60) Query the current position of Device #1 Axis #1.
/1 1 move abs 10000↵ (T:20:10000) Move Device #1, Axis #1 to position 10000 microsteps.
/2 1 move rel -12800↵ (T:21:-12800) Move Device #2, Axis #1 in the negative direction by 12800 microsteps.
/1 stop↵ (T:23) Decelerate and stop ALL axes on Device 1.
An axis number of 0 or no axis number implies all axes on the device, or the device itself.
/move vel 153600↵ (T:22:153600) Move ALL devices and ALL axes in the positive direction at the speed 153600.
A device address of 0 or no device address implies all devices in the chain.

Modifying Device Settings

Here are some examples if you would like to customize particular device settings. Refer to the ASCII Settings or Command Reference section for detailed descriptions of each setting.

Command Description
/1 set maxspeed 100000↵ (T:42:100000) Set the speed of all axes on the device.
/1 get maxspeed↵ (T:53:42) Query the axes' speed.
/1 system restore↵ (T:36) Restore all the settings of Device 1 to the default.

Built-In Help

Zaber X-Series devices feature a built-in help guide, providing a quick and easy reference for all Commands and Settings that the device has. To access the help, send: /1 help (for help with Device 1). The device number must be specified in the help command. This feature is only available in the ASCII protocol.

The device will respond with a detailed description on how to access specific information about commands and replies, as shown below:

@01 0 OK IDLE WR 0
#01 0  '/stop'     stop all devices
#01 0  '/1 stop'   stop device number 1
#01 0  '/1 2 stop'   stop device number 1 axis number 2
#01 0
#01 0 Type '/help commands' for a list of all top-level commands.
#01 0 Type '/help reply' for a quick reference on reply messages.
#01 0 Visit for complete instruction manuals.

To access help for a specific command, for example the move command, send:

/1 help move↵
@01 0 OK IDLE -- 0
#01 0 move abs {x}             Move to absolute position
#01 0 move rel {x}             Move by relative position
#01 0 move vel {x}             Move at constant velocity
#01 0 move min                 Move to minimum position
#01 0 move max                 Move to maximum position

Device Overview


All images are shown looking into the device.

RS-232 Communications

M8 4-pin Connector Pin Previous Next Colour
1 Power Power Brown
2 Ground Ground White
3 Receive Transmit Blue
4 Transmit Receive Black

Default Settings:

  • Baud Rate: 115200
  • Protocol: Zaber ASCII


  • Supported Protocols: Zaber ASCII, Zaber Binary
  • Supported Baudrates: 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, 115200
  • Bits: 8
  • Parity: None
  • Stop Bits: 1
  • Flow Control: None


Vacuum devices may have obstructed or hard to view LED indicators. If you can not locate the indicators, please contact Zaber Technical Support.

Green - Power
  • On: Controller is operational.
  • Blinking at 2Hz: The power supply voltage or device temperature is out of range.
  • Fading in and out slowly: The device is parked. See the tools parking (T:65) command.
Red - Error
Yellow - Communication/Busy
  • On: Device is moving, or data is being transferred.
  • Blinking: Device is under manual control via the knob (in Velocity mode). The blinking rate is proportional to movement speed.
  • Blinking at fixed rate: Packet corruption has occurred for ASCII commands sent with a checksum.
Blue - Slip/Stall
  • On devices without encoders, the blue LED will turn on briefly at power-up, system reset, and after a manual factory reset.


The X-RSW-SV can be connected to a computer as follows:

  1. Either plug the M8 to D-SUB serial adaptor (X-SDC) into the computer's serial port, or the M8 to USB adaptor (X-USBDC) into one of your computer's USB ports, then attach the device to the adaptor. You will want the first device in the chain to be the (X-PIB) so you can inject power outside of the vacuum chamber. For the USB adaptor, new computers will often be able to install the necessary drivers automatically when the cable is plugged in for the first time. If the computer reports that the driver installation was unsuccessful, you can download the drivers for Windows, Mac, or Linux here. Installation instructions and troubleshooting information are available for each operating system here. You may need to use a cable extension to reach your computer. There is no need to power-down or reboot the computer.
  2. Connect the power plug of your power supply to the power connector of the unit. The green LED should light up indicating the unit has power.
  3. Additional devices can simply be daisy-chained to the first. See Daisy-Chaining Devices below.
  4. Install software from the Software page. For the initial setup, using Zaber Console is recommended.

X-RSW-SV PC Connection Setup

As a simple first test, try entering:

/renumber↵ (T:2)
/1 home↵ (T:1)
/1 move rel 10000↵ (T:21:10000)

The parameter of 10000 in the move command above specifies 10000 microsteps. To see the microstep size (default resolution) for the positioner and how it translates to displacement, first go to the product overview page, find your product, click through to the product's webpage, and click on the "Series Specs" tab. The microstep size (default resolution) will be shown in the list of product specs either in the "Group Specifications" section or the "Comparison" section.

Daisy-Chaining Devices

Multiple devices can be connected together in a chain through the Prev and Next connectors. This allows any number of devices to be controlled from a single connection to a computer, reducing cabling demands. In addition, X-Series devices carry power through the daisy chain, so in most cases a power supply only needs to be connected to one device in the chain. Whenever a device is added or removed from a chain, a renumber (T:2) command should be sent to prevent device-address conflicts.

Daisy Chain Setup

To daisy-chain X-Series devices with T-Series and A-Series devices:

  • Ensure all devices are set to the same communication protocol and baud rate before connecting them. If any T-Series devices will be in the chain, then the communication protocol must be Binary at 9600 baud rate.
  • Connect any X-Series devices at the start of the chain (closest to the computer). This configuration will reduce the number of adaptor cables required.
  • Connect a T-XDC (or S-XDC for daisy-chaining an A-MCB2) adaptor cable to the Next port of the last X-Series device in the chain, and to the Prev port of the T-Series or A-Series device.
  • Power supplied to an X-Series device will not be transmitted to any T-Series or A-Series devices in the chain.
  • Contact Zaber Technical Support for assistance selecting connecting cables when daisy-chaining multiple series.

Vacuum Device Mounting Considerations

If possible, vacuum positioners should be mounted to a thermally conductive surface to aid in head dissipation. Preferably, there should be a conductive heat path from the positioner through to the outside of the chamber. If this is not possible, the device should be mounted to a large conductive surface within the chamber. This will help cooling by increasing the rate of radiative heat transfer.

Connecting Vacuum Devices to a Computer

Vacuum compatible devices have special requirements for their connection to a computer. Please read the instructions below carefully.


No power connectors are provided on vacuum compatible devices. Instead, power must be supplied through the data cables. A special power injection box, the X-PIB, is required.

X-PIB Power Injection Box


SV1 and SV2 vacuum devices are supplied with twisted signal wires and standard serial port connectors. The wires must be cut and connected (crimped, screwed, or soldered) to a vacuum feed-through before the device can be operated inside a vacuum chamber.

Two or three devices can be daisy chained inside a vacuum chamber, eliminating the need for extra feed-throughs. If this is to be done, it is recommended that the connectors be removed and the signal wires connected directly from one device to the next in the chain. The wires colours should be matched.

Trajectory Control and Behaviour

This section describes the behaviour of the axis trajectory when a movement command is issued.

Software Position Limits

The travel range of the axis is limited by the Minimum Position and Maximum Position settings. The factory settings for the axis are configured to match the physical travel range. If a customized range is desired, it can be changed by configuring the limit.min (T:106) and limit.max (T:44) settings to appropriate values.

Minimum Position
When the Current Position is less than the Minimum Position value, the axis cannot move in the negative direction(towards the motor).
Maximum Position
When the Current Position is greater than the Maximum Position value, the axis cannot move in the positive direction(towards the motor).

Movement Speed

The movement speed of the axis depends on axis status and various speed settings. If the axis has not been initialized by the home (T:1) command or by moving towards the home end of the axis, movement speed will be constrained to fail-safe values. The home status of the axis can be determined by reading the limit.sensor.triggered (T:53) setting (the binary command additionally requires a value of 103).

Movement speed of the axis is specified below:

move vel (T:22)
The axis will move at the specified speed regardless of home status.
Knob movement in Velocity Mode
The axis will move at the specified speed regardless of home status.
The speed is specified by the knob.speedprofile (T:112) and knob.maxspeed (T:111) settings.
Other movement commands - when the axis has not been homed
The axis will move at the slower of the maxspeed (T:42) and limit.approach.maxspeed (T:41) settings.
Other movement commands - when the axis has been homed
The axis will move at the speed specified by the maxspeed (T:42) setting.


Quick Command Reference

All X-Series devices ship with the ASCII Protocol enabled by default but the Binary Protocol is also supported.

ASCII Protocol

The following table offers a quick command and setting reference for the X-RSW-SV. Follow the links to view a detailed description of each instruction or refer to the ASCII Protocol Manual.

Quick Commands

Parameters in square brackets, e.g. [clr], indicate that the parameter is optional.
Parameters in italics, e.g. value, indicate that data, typically a number, needs to be provided.
Parameters separated by a pipe, e.g. abs|rel, indicate that one of the parameters in the set need to be provided.

Command Scope Parameter(s) Returns Firmware Versions Description
estop Axis 0 6.06+ Instantly stops motorized movement.
get Device and Axis setting value 6.06+ Retrieves the current value of the device or axis setting.
help Device commands
command ...
0 6.06+ Displays the help information for the system.
home Axis 0 6.06+ Moves the axis to the home position.
move Axis

abs|rel|vel value
stored number
index number (6.21+)
sin amplitude period [count] (6.22+)
sin stop (6.22+)

0 6.06+ Moves the axis to various positions along its travel.
renumber Device value 0 6.06+ Renumbers all devices in the chain.
set Device and Axis setting value 0 6.06+ Sets the device or axis setting setting to the value.
stop Axis 0 6.06+ Decelerates the axis and brings it to a halt.
stream Device Refer to the documentation Refer to the documentation 6.12+ Performs an action related to streamed, interpolated motion.
system reset Device 0 6.06+ Resets the device, as it would appear after power up.
system restore Device 0 6.06+ Restores common device settings to their default values.
tools echo Device (message)
0 6.06+ Echoes the provided message (if any) back to the user.
tools gotolimit Axis limit dir action update 0 6.06+ Moves the axis to a limit sensor and performs the provided actions.
tools parking Device



6.06+ Parking allows the device to be turned off and used at a later time without first having to home.
tools setcomm Device rs232baud protocol 0 6.06+ Sets RS232 baud rate and communication protocol for RS232 and USB.
tools storepos Axis

number [position|current]


6.06+ Stores a number of positions for easy movement.
trigger Device Refer to the documentation 0 6.06+ Configures actions to be performed on the device when a certain condition is met.
warnings Axis [clear]
0 6.06+ Displays the active device and axis warnings, optionally clearing them if applicable.

Quick Device Settings

The settings listed below can be inspected and modified with the get and set commands described above.

Setting Scope Writable Firmware Versions Description
accel Axis Yes 6.06+ Sets the acceleration used to modify the speed.
comm.address Device Yes 6.06+ The device address.
comm.alert Device Yes 6.06+ The device will send alert messages when this setting is 1.
comm.checksum Device Yes 6.06+ The device includes checksums in its messages if this setting is set to 1.
comm.protocol Device Yes 6.06+ The communications protocol used by the device on the current interface.
comm.rs232.baud Device Yes 6.06+ The baud rate used by RS232 Prev and Next interfaces.
comm.rs232.protocol Device Yes 6.09+ The protocol used by RS232 Prev and Next interfaces.
deviceid Device No 6.06+ The device ID for the unit.
driver.current.hold Axis Yes 6.06+ Current used to hold the motor in position, in 20 mA DC increments.
driver.current.max Axis No 6.16+ Maximum legal value of driver.current.hold and Axis Yes 6.06+ Current used to drive the motor, in 14.1 mA RMS (20 mA peak) increments.
driver.temperature Axis No 6.06+ The current temperature of the axis driver, in degrees Celsius.
limit.approach.maxspeed Axis Yes 6.06+ Maximum speed used when approaching a limit sensor.
limit.cycle.dist Axis Yes 6.20+ The length of one full rotation.
limit.detect.decelonly Axis Yes 6.06+ Deceleration used when stopping after a limit sensor has triggered.
limit.detect.maxspeed Axis Yes 6.06+ Maximum speed used when moving away from a limit sensor.
limit.home.action Axis Yes 6.06+ Automatic limit switch action.
limit.home.pos Axis Yes 6.06+ The updated position of the sensor, when triggered.
limit.home.posupdate Axis Yes 6.06+ Position update to occur when sensor is triggered.
limit.home.preset Axis Yes 6.06+ The default position of the home sensor.
limit.home.state Axis No 6.06+ The state of the home sensor.
limit.home.triggered Axis No 6.06+ Whether the home sensor has been triggered previously.
limit.max Axis Yes 6.06+ The maximum position the device can move to, measured in microsteps.
limit.min Axis Yes 6.06+ The minimum position the device can move to, measured in microsteps.
limit.start.pos Axis Yes 6.19+ Start up position of the axis.
maxspeed Axis Yes 6.06+ The maximum speed the device moves at.
motion.accelonly Axis Yes 6.06+ Sets the acceleration used to increase the speed.
motion.decelonly Axis Yes 6.06+ Sets the deceleration used when decreasing the speed.
motion.index.dist Axis Yes 6.21+ The distance between consecutive index positions.
motion.index.num Axis No 6.22+ The current index number.
pos Axis Yes 6.06+ The current absolute position of the device.
resolution Axis Yes 6.06+ Microstep resolution
stream.numbufs Device No 6.14+ The number of stream buffers provided in the device.
stream.numstreams Device No 6.14+ The number of streams provided in the device.
system.access Device Yes 6.06+ Sets the access level of the user.
system.axiscount Device No 6.06+ The number of axes in the device.
system.led.enable Device Yes 6.06+ Enables the front panel LEDs.
system.serial Device No 6.15+ The serial number of the device.
system.voltage Device No 6.06+ The voltage being applied to the device.
version Device No 6.06+ The firmware version of the device. Device No 6.17+ The build number of the device’s firmware.

Binary Protocol

The following table offers a quick command reference for the X-RSW-SV. For convenience, you may sort the table below by instruction name, command number, or reply number. Follow the links to view a detailed description of each instruction or refer to the Binary Protocol Manual.

Instruction Name Command# Command Data Command Type Reply Data
Reset 0 Ignored Command None
Home 1 Ignored Command Final position (in this case 0)
Renumber* 2 Ignored Command Device ID
Read Register 5 Register Address Command Data
Set Active Register 6 Register Address Setting Register Address
Write Register 7 Data Command Data
Move Tracking 8 n/a Reply Tracking Position
Limit Active 9 n/a Reply Final Position
Manual Move Tracking 10 n/a Reply Tracking Position
Manual Move 11 n/a Reply Final Position
Slip Tracking 12 n/a Reply Tracking Position
Unexpected Position 13 n/a Reply Final Position
Store Current Position* 16 Address Command Address
Return Stored Position 17 Address Command Stored Position
Move To Stored Position 18 Address Command Final Position
Move Absolute 20 Absolute Position Command Final Position
Move Relative 21 Relative Position Command Final Position
Move At Constant Speed 22 Speed Command Speed
Stop 23 Ignored Command Final Position
Restore Settings* 36 Peripheral ID Command Peripheral ID
Set Microstep Resolution* 37 Microsteps Setting Microsteps
Set Running Current* 38 Value Setting Value
Set Hold Current* 39 Value Setting Value
Set Device Mode* 40 Mode Setting Mode
Set Home Speed* 41 Speed Setting Speed
Set Target Speed* 42 Speed Setting Speed
Set Acceleration* 43 Acceleration Setting Acceleration
Set Maximum Position* 44 Range Setting Range
Set Current Position 45 New Position Setting New Position
Set Home Offset* 47 Offset Setting Offset
Set Alias Number* 48 Alias Number Setting Alias Number
Return Device ID 50 Ignored Read-Only Setting Device ID
Return Firmware Version 51 Ignored Read-Only Setting Version
Return Power Supply Voltage 52 Ignored Read-Only Setting Voltage
Return Setting 53 Setting Number Command Setting Value
Return Status 54 Ignored Read-Only Setting Status
Echo Data 55 Data Command Data
Return Firmware Build 56 Ignored Read-Only Setting Build Number
Return Current Position 60 Ignored Read-Only Setting Position
Return Serial Number 63 Ignored Read-Only Setting Serial Number
Set Park State* 65 Park State Setting Position
Return Digital Input Count 67 Ignored Read-Only Setting Pin Count
Return Digital Output Count 70 Ignored Read-Only Setting Pin Count
Return Analog Input Count 75 Ignored Read-Only Setting Pin Count
Return Analog Output Count 77 Ignored Read-Only Setting Pin Count
Move Index 78 Index Number Command Final Position
Set Index Distance 79 Distance Setting Distance
Set Cycle Distance 80 Distance Setting Distance
Set Auto-Reply Disabled Mode* 101 Auto-Reply Mode Setting Auto-Reply Mode
Set Message ID Mode* 102 Message ID Mode Setting Message ID Mode
Set Home Status 103 Home Status Setting Home Status
Set Auto-Home Disabled Mode* 105 Auto-Home Disabled Mode Setting Auto-Home Disabled Mode
Set Minimum Position* 106 Minimum Position Setting Minimum Position
Set Acceleration Only* 113 Acceleration Setting Acceleration
Set Deceleration Only* 114 Deceleration Setting Deceleration
Set Move Tracking Mode* 115 Tracking Mode Setting Tracking Mode
Set Manual Move Tracking Disabled Mode* 116 Tracking Mode Setting Tracking Mode
Set Move Tracking Period* 117 Tracking Period Setting Tracking Period
Set Baud Rate* 122 Baud Rate Setting Baud Rate
Set Protocol* 123 Protocol Setting Protocol
Convert To Ascii* 124 Baud Rate Command Baud Rate
Error 255 n/a Reply Error Code

* The settings for these commands are saved in non-volatile memory, i.e. the setting persists even if the device is powered down. To restore all settings to factory default, use command 36.

Troubleshooting X-Series Motion Devices

The following sections contain tips for troubleshooting common problems.

Front Panel Indicators

Green LED On
The device is powered on and is operating normally.
Green LED Fades In and Out
The device is parked.
Issue a tools parking unpark (T:65) command, or home (T:1) the device.
Green LED Flashes Slowly
The operating conditions of the device are outside of the recommended range.
This will occur when the supply voltage is either over or under the recommended range, the internal temperature has exceeded the set limit, or the driver has been disabled. Check the following:
  • The input voltage is within the operational range of the device. This can be read from the device with the get system.voltage command.
  • The device temperature is within range. This can be read from the device with the get system.temperature command.
  • The driver is not disabled. If the driver is disabled the result of the warnings command will contain the FD flag.
Green LED Off
The device is not powered.
Check the supply connections and power adaptor for correct operation.
Red LED On or Flashing.
A critical error has occurred.
Please contact Zaber Technical Support.
Yellow LED Always Off or Flashes but No Reply.
There are communication errors.
Please see the Communication Errors section below.

Unexpected Behaviour

The axis doesn't respond to a move command.
The axis needs to be homed before use.
Send the home (T:1) command.
The axis is moving on its own and running against the ends of travel.
The position encoder has de-synchronized.
Reset the device by power cycling it or sending the system reset (T:0) command, then re-initialize it with the home (T:1) command.
The axis is moving very slowly. It used to move faster.
The speed settings may have been changed inadvertently.
Send a system restore (T:36) command.
The axis makes louder than normal noise during travel and is frequently slipping.
This condition happens if the thrust needed is more than the thrust available from the axis.
Check the following:
  • The force on the axis is less than the maximum thrust.
  • The voltage matches the specified voltage. Read the voltage using the get system.voltage command. Voltage less than the specified voltage for the device will reduce the positioner’s maximum thrust.
Test the following:
  • Try a slower target velocity. Stepper motors produce more thrust when moving slowly.
  • Try a lower acceleration and deceleration.
  • Clean the screw and lightly re-grease it with a grease that does not degrade plastics.
The axis has repeatability errors smaller than 4 full steps.
If steps aren't being skipped, friction or loose parts may still cause some variation when returning to a position.
Please contact Zaber Technical Support.
The axis doesn't cover the full range of travel, or runs into the end.
A setting might have been inadvertently changed.

Communication Errors

There is no communication with the device; the Yellow LED does not come on or flash.
There are several things that should be checked:
  • Make sure the correct serial port is selected. Try selecting other serial ports in the software.
  • Check the baud rate, hand shaking, parity, stop bit, etc. when configuring the serial communications software. The required settings are listed in the RS-232 Communications section above.
  • Make sure there are no bent pins in the ends of all the data cables
  • Make sure the device is powered. The Green LED should be on.
  • If the computer is a laptop running on batteries, try plugging in the power. Some laptops disable the serial ports when running on batteries.
  • Make sure a null modem adaptor or cable is not being used.
  • Make sure the correct adaptors(if any) are being used. Refer to the pinouts in the RS-232 Communications section above.
  • If the problem was encountered when trying to control the device with custom software, try using one of the demo programs from the Zaber website to verify that the hardware is functioning properly.
Two or more devices both respond to commands sent to device 1.
Most devices are shipped with their device number set as 1. If you connect the devices through Zaber Console, you will be prompted to renumber them. If you aren't able to install and open Zaber Console, send the renumber (T:2) command in the software you are using to set all of the device numbers to different values.
The Yellow LED comes on briefly when sending a command, but the device does not move and does not reply.
Check baud rate, hand shaking, parity, stop bit, etc. are set as per the RS-232 Communications defaults.
The device numbers may not be what is expected, issue a renumber (T:2) command. Make sure that the computer does not transmit anything else while the devices renumber.
If using the Binary Protocol, check the following:
  • 6 bytes are transmitted and that the device number and command are valid.
  • The software does not transmit any control characters such as line feed and spaces.
  • That the serial port is not configured with a termination character (it often defaults to linefeed).
If problems are encountered when using custom software, try using one of the demo programs from the Zaber website to verify that the hardware works.
The device does not behave as expected when software sends it a series of commands.
The computer might be set to Unicode. This is common for languages that use non-Latin based characters. Go to Control Panel/Regional and Language Options/Advanced. Select a language for non-unicode programs. This should be English or another Latin based character language.
Check what is being sent out of the serial port. has a list of some tools to monitor serial ports.
In Binary mode, the device does not send replies but otherwise works.
Auto-reply might have been disabled via T:101.
Send a system restore (T:36) command.
If the problem is encountered when trying to control the device with custom software:
  • Use a demo program from the Zaber website to verify that the hardware is functioning properly.
  • Make sure that the receiving part of the code or commercial package is correct.
  • Check the serial port settings are correct.
  • Check connectors for bent or broken pins.
In Binary mode, the device sometimes returns fewer than 6 bytes.
This typically indicates a problem with the serial port settings. Some serial ports are set to automatically recognize and remove specific control characters such as carriage returns when they appear in the RS-232 receive buffer.
Check that the settings are correct and are not removing or replacing characters.

Slipping and Stalling

The axis makes noise but does not move.
The axis is stalling.
Try removing all external loads. If the axis now extends and retracts normally, the problem is excessive load. Try to reduce the load and ensure the load is less than the maximum thrust. A higher thrust or torque can be achieved by lowering the speed of the axis using the maxspeed (T:42) setting.
If an axis is stalling with no external load at default speed and acceleration settings then it requires servicing.

Warranty and Repair

For Zaber's policies on warranty and repair, please refer to the Ordering Policies.

Standard products

Standard products are any part numbers that do not contain the suffix ENG followed by a 4 digit number. Most, but not all, standard products are listed for sale on our website. All standard Zaber products are backed by a one-month satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, we will refund your payment minus any shipping charges. Goods must be in brand new saleable condition with no marks. Zaber products are guaranteed for one year. During this period Zaber will repair any products with faults due to manufacturing defects, free of charge.

Custom products

Custom products are any part numbers containing the suffix ENG followed by a 4 digit number. Each of these products has been designed for a custom application for a particular customer. Custom products are guaranteed for one year, unless explicitly stated otherwise. During this period Zaber will repair any products with faults due to manufacturing defects, free of charge.

How to return products

Customers with devices in need of return or repair should contact Zaber to obtain an RMA form which must be filled out and sent back to us to receive an RMA number. The RMA form contains instructions for packing and returning the device. The specified RMA number must be included on the shipment to ensure timely processing.

Email Updates

If you would like to receive our periodic email newsletter including product updates and promotions, please sign up online at (news section). Newsletters typically include a promotional offer worth at least $100.

Contact Information

Contact Zaber Technologies Inc by any of the following methods:

Phone 1-604-569-3780 (direct)
1-888-276-8033 (toll free in North America)
Fax 1-604-648-8033
Mail #2 - 605 West Kent Ave. N., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6P 6T7
Email Please visit our website for up to date email contact information.

The original instructions for this product are available at

Appendix A - Available Communications Ports

Finding Installed Serial Ports


  1. Open Search or Run from the Start Menu or Taskbar, type "Device Manager" and press enter.
  2. Expand the Ports (COM & LPT) category.
    • In this example there are two serial ports available (COM1 and COM15), which are both USB adaptors.


  1. Finding devices
    • Open a terminal and execute the following command:
    dmesg | grep -E ttyU\?S↵
    • The response will be similar to the following:
      [ 2.029214] serial8250: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
      [ 2.432572] 00:07: ttyS0 at I/O 0x3f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
      [ 2.468149] 0000:00:03.3: ttyS4 at I/O 0xec98 (irq = 17) is a 16550A
      [ 13.514432] usb 7-2: FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0
    • This shows that there are 3 serial ports available: ttyS0, ttyS4 and ttyUSB0 (a USB adaptor)
  2. Checking port permissions
    • Using the ports found above, execute the following command
    ls -l /dev/tty{S0, S4, USB0}↵
    • The permissions, given below, show that a user has to be root or a member of the dialout group to be able to access these devices
      crw-rw---- 1 root dialout 4, 64 Oct 31 06:44 /dev/ttyS0
      crw-rw---- 1 root dialout 4, 68 Oct 31 06:45 /dev/ttyS4
      crw-rw---- 1 root dialout 188, 0 Oct 31 07:58 /dev/ttyUSB0
  3. Checking group membership
    • The output will be similar to the following:
      adm cdrom sudo dip plugdev users lpadmin sambashare
      Notice that dialout is not in the list
    • A user can be added to the dialout group with the following command
    sudo adduser $USER dialout↵
    • Group membership will not take effect until the next logon.


  1. Finding devices
    • Open a terminal and execute the following command:
    ls /dev/cu.*serial*
    • The response will be similar to the following:
    • This shows that there are two serial ports available, both of which happen to be USB adaptors.
    • There may be other devices that match this query, such as keyboards or some web cameras. To determine which one corresponds to your USB serial cable, try repeating the command with and without the cable connected to the computer, to see which one appears and disappears.