FAQs - Partner Software

Yes, there are many instruments that can be automatically identified by the 5500 controller. Please contact your sales representative for more information.
Yes! The key is to set up your test tags as numeric test tags (Integer or Floating Point). Test tag configuration is done under Tools/Configure/Test Tags.
Microsoft® Access makes this easy! The available options vary depending on the version of Access you are using. For the details, just use the Office Assistant to get help on "export to web page".
Yes, but a separate adapter cable is required for each instrument. Please contact your sales representative for more information.
Specimen Queuing also works during a test! You must first enable During Test Entry from the View menu. Then, when a test starts, the Run Time dialog box will not disappear but will minimize itself in the lower left corner of the screen. Just restore it to regular size and use Specimen Queuing as normal!
Currently Partner displays the date on your test results screen as you have it specified under the regional settings for the Windows® operating system. In order to change your regional settings: click on the Windows® start button, select control panel, and choose the regional settings icon. From this screen you may change the format in which the date and time are displayed under the "Time" and "Date" tabs of the dialog box. You may need to exit Partner and restart in order for the change to take effect.
Partner displays numbers in scientific notation when it doesn't have enough space to display the complete number on the screen. This often happens when resolution settings are left at the default. For instance, Partner might be calculating a Tangent Modulus as 30210620.000000000 psi (due to a resolution setting of 0.000000001), but displaying it as 3.02e+007 because of limited screen space.
Partner has a great deal of functionality... much more than can be mentioned in this short collection! Some of the best ways to learn about Partner are to peruse both the menus and the help system.
You can use the "Next Section" and "Previous Section" buttons to quickly navigate through the wizard.
  • Select File
  • Change Database and select the database on your network. If you need to create a database on the network select File
  • Create New Results Database and specify the network path when creating the database.
You can use Numeric Test Tags to easily vary control rates and target levels without having to go back into the wizard. For instance, you could create a test tag called "Initial Rate". Then, in the wizard, enter "Initial Rate" instead of typing in a number.
The Tools menu in Partner reflects the contents of the Tools folder on your hard drive. Any shortcuts, programs, or documents that you place in the Tools folder (under your installation folder, which is C:\Partner by default) may be launched from Partner's Tools menu.
If you have chosen one of the options under the Parameters menu and the OK (or Finish) button is disabled, it is probably because a result is open. Some items, such as control parameters, may be viewed but not changed for results.
Expressions are also accepted! For instance, if you wanted your second zone to go twice as fast as the first, you could use the expression "Initial Rate" * 2.
You can use the Play, Pause, Stop, and Full Screen buttons to control the animations.
Partner's Results Manager (under the Tools menu) makes it easy to copy, move, and delete results! Users must have the "Configure the System" privilege to use the Results Manager.
It's easy to create a new results database. Just go to File... Create New Results database. Several customers create a new database each month (EX: "January 2002.mdb", "February 2002.mdb", etc.).
In Gentest, you should not end a test by jumping directly to the Manual Control Zone or the Return To Start zone. Instead, use the End Test action.
You can use the Specimen Queuing buttons (immediately below the Warning message and Run Test button) to enter information for up to 20 specimens at once.
The wizard provides a quick way to set up the fundamental parts of a procedure. However, the wizard only includes essential items. For finer control, try selecting any of the options under the Parameters menu.
To export the results for a single test, it is best to open Partner and select File/Export/Results as text. To export the entire results table, you can use one of the following methods in Microsoft® Office. 

Method 1 

  1. Start up Microsoft® Access and open the results database of interest. 
  2. Open the "Results" table and select File | Save As/Export. 
  3. Make sure "To an external File or Database" is selected and click "OK". 
  4. In the "Save as type" combo box, select the desired file format. Typically Microsoft® Excel or Text. 
  5. Type in a name for the exported data in the "File name" combo box and click the "Export" button. 
Method 2 
  1. Start up Microsoft® Access and open the results database of interest. 
  2. Open the "Results" table. If you don't want to export the entire table, highlight the rows that are of interest and select Edit | Copy. 
  3. Start up Microsoft® Excel, Microsoft® Word, Notepad, or other application. 
  4. From within the application, choose Edit | Paste. Your results should now be in the target application, formatted to suit the application.
You can obtain help on most of Partner's dialog boxes by pressing F1 while viewing the dialog.
If your graph looks somewhat like a staircase, the X and Y axis measurements may be being rounded too coarsely. You can set the rounding under Parameters...Measurements.
  1. The first step is to save your data points as a text file. To do this, open the test result of interest, and select [File - Export Data Points as Text] from the menu bar of Partner. You will be prompted for the name of the data point file. 
  2. Next, you need to use Excel to open the text file you just created. To open a text file in Excel, select [File - Open] from the menu bar of Excel. 
  3. Next, select your data points file. This should be a *.csv file and is typically found on your PC in the Partner/DataPoints folder [You may have to change the file type filter to "All Files (*.*)" if your file name does not appear.]
  4. After selecting the correct *.csv file click the Open button.
  5. Your data points should then be imported into Excel. 
If you are not at this step, you probably have an older version of Excel and will need to continue with the steps below:
  1. You will now be at the Text Import Wizard. 
  2. Click the Next button and make sure the comma delimiter is selected.
  3. Click the Finish button and your data points will be in Excel.
Partner accepts expressions in many places that only numbers would normally be entered. There is no obvious visual cue at such places. However, if you type a non-numeric character and the units drop down box disappears (indicating that the edit box is now expecting an expression, for which units are meaningless), then you know that an expression may be entered.
Many Partner calculations have a Domain page. This page allows you to specify a subset of the test data that will be made visible to the calculation algorithm.
At a minimum, the following three steps must be performed to make a working Gentest procedure: 1. Add a zone under "Zones for Test Mode". 2. Tell Partner when to start collecting data. This is typically done by adding a Zone Entry event to the first zone (or the first zone after Soft Start) and making a Change Data Acquisition Scheme action under this event. 3. Tell Partner which zone to go to when a test first starts. This is always done by modifying the Go To Zone action which is found under the Start Detection Event in Events Monitored During Standby Mode.
After opening the result select Parameters | Run Time. This will bring up a dialog which displays the Test Tags and the answers. Click on the answer you wish to change and type your new answer.
Partner accepts expressions in many places that only numbers would normally be entered. There is no obvious visual cue at such places. However, if you type a non-numeric character and the units drop down box disappears (indicating that the edit box is now expecting an expression, for which units are meaningless), then you know that an expression may be entered.
Logical Expression is the most powerful selection on the Domain page. It allows you to restrict the calc data in an infinite variety of ways. For instance, you could use the expression "Speed 2" AND ( "Load" > 500 _ [lbf] OR "Position" < .021 _ [in] ) to specify that a calc should only use data collected in Zone 2, and then only if the load was greater than 500 pounds or the position was less than 0.021 inches.
Everything under the Parameters menu is saved on a per-procedure basis. Items under Tools...Configure are global settings.
You can reduce the number of wizard pages. Go to Tools...Configure...Wizard Options.
You can easily configure Partner to store to different databases for different procedures. Just open each procedure and select the Database item from the Parameters menu.
The menu item File | Change Results Database allows you to switch the active database so you can view results that are not stored in the current database. Remember to change the database back to the original one before running more tests.
After a test is over, you can zoom in on part of the graph by simply clicking and dragging to form a rectangle over the desired region. You can zoom back out by double clicking the graph.
Many calculations can be enabled for during test calculation. However, such calculation is typically only possible if the "Defined Points" option is chosen on the Domain page
Automatic calibrating transducers should be calibrated when: 
  1. A transducer has been added for the first time. 
  2. Transducers have been switched 
  3. A Calibration Check reveals the instrument is more than 0.1% out of calibration 
Notes: It is good practice to auto calibrate frequently. Performing an auto calibration on a regular basis ensures that your system is as close as possible to the last verification.
The instrument should be in its normal "start" position. That is, starting pin installed, starting lever in start position, starting button engaged, etc. If it is not feasible to hold the instrument and auto cal the instrument at the same time, it should be attached to a specimen in its normal starting position.

Instron software verification documentation, accreditations and certificates can be viewed and downloaded here

There is an input mask associated with test tags which can limit input to just numbers, just letters or some combination of the two. Make sure your input matches the mask. To view the mask, choose the Tools | Configure menu option and select Test Tags. Highlight the Test Tag that is giving you problems and click the "Modify" button.
Your results database is getting large. Select File | Create New Results Database. This will create a new database and begin storing results into it. This should speed up the testing process. You may also wish to use the Results manager to move results to another database.
It is the customer's responsibility to arrange for the off-loading, unpacking and transportation of the equipment to the test site. This includes all insurance and safety responsibilities. If installation is included with your system, please allow the Service Engineer to open boxes and verify all parts and contents. This helps to avoid the possibility of losing small pieces or parts.
Partner can be configured to take any or all of the following actions every time a result is saved: 
  1. Run a Microsoft Access macro. 
  2. Run a Microsoft Access function or subroutine. 
  3. Call user-written code in a DLL. 
  4. Run a file.
Partner can be configured to automatically: 
  1. Store results to an Access database (done by default) 
  2. Export results to a text file 
  3. Export data points to a text file 
  4. Export results to a serial port 
  5. E-mail results, data points, or both
You have four options: 
  1. Purchase a System Support Agreement. This provides you with priority in the call queue, remote access to our engineering staff, discounts and additional services for one full year. 
  2. Sign-on to our Consultation Service line. This Fee based support provides you with priority in the call queue for those times that you just specific help. 
  3. Limited Free Technical Support on a call back basis. 
  4. Schedule a Field Service Engineer to visit your site.
A measurement expression is a means of collecting data. A measurement expression is a mathematical formula which Partner can interpret to produce data. The most common use of a measurement expression is to calculate stress. Stress can be calculated as Load / Area.
Resolution defines the smallest increment of the display. Active digits sets the number of digits that will be displayed. For example: With a resolution of 0.01 and 4 active digits the number 1.23456 would be displayed as 1.23 and 12345.6 would be displayed as 12340.00.
The Report Generator has been completely revamped in Partner version 6.1a. It now allows users to: 
  1. Display graphs of up to 128 tests 
  2. Display a company logo on the report 
  3. Use up to three criteria to filter the results 
  4. Specify the sort order for the report

Most communication errors can be solved by powering down all equipment, including machine frame, control tower and computer. They should then be powered back on in the following sequence: machine frame, control tower and computer. This should result in communication being re-established. If not, check all cables and connections and perform the restart that was described above. If this does not fix your problem, then please call Instron Tech Support at 1-800-473-7838. Please make sure that you have all relevant serial and model numbers at hand when calling.

If it is a static load cell or pressure transducer, the calibration point (and thus the cal check display) should be 50% of capacity. This could be in Pounds or Newtons, depending on the cell. If it is an extensometer, the display should show 100% of capacity.
Some wizard animations have only a single frame. Pressing the Play button on these animations has no effect.
Safety Limits may be configured for each procedure. The Partner team recommends doing this, in addition to properly using hardware limits, to protect your equipment and your operators.
There are two problems. The first is software -- running Partner with these controllers on the Windows® 2000 and Windows® XP operating systems would require Instron to rewrite the drivers used to communicate with them. This is a problem that Instron could potentially address. The larger issue, though, is PC hardware. Apex/Vertex systems require three ISA slots. It is difficult -- and becoming more difficult all the time -- to purchase a PC that has legacy ISA slots, is modern enough to run Windows® 2000 or Windows® XP, and that comes from a reputable manufacturer. Unfortunately, it is also becoming increasingly difficult to provide spare parts for Apex and Vertex controllers. Thus we encourage customers to consider a switch to using Partner with the Instron 5500 controller. For more information, please contact our sales department
After running a test, your results are stored to a table in an Access database. As your results are stored the table is dynamically updated. Therefore, if you are saving results and a new test tag or calculation is introduced (one that is not currently in the table) Partner sends Access a command to create a new field in that table. Currently Microsoft® Access limits the number of fields you may store. This is why you have received a message stating "Microsoft® Access will not accept more than 255 fields in a table." This problem is typical for users who are running varied test with different test tags and calculations. To resolve this problem: 1. Create a new database to store your results
This is done so that calculation libraries may be sold independently. For example, the Tensile Level 3 library includes the Luder Band Offset Yield calculation. Like a regular Offset Yield, it requires a modulus calc. The Chord, Secant, and Tangent Modulus calculations were included in this library so that customers could purchase Tensile Level 3 without having to also buy Tensile Level 1. When the same calculation is listed in multiple libraries of the same test type, there is no difference between the calcs. For instance, the three modulus calculations mentioned above are the same in Tensile Level 1 as they are in Tensile Level 3. In some cases this is true across test types; those same three modulus calcs are also the same in the Compression Level 1 library. However, there may be differences across test types. The Secant Modulus calc serves as an example here; it is not the same in Geotextile Tensile as it is in the regular Tensile libraries.
Are you logging commands? Unless you have been asked to turn command logging on by Software Support, you should turn it off. Thus may be done on the Commands tab under Tools/Configure/Diagnostics Another possibility is that the Partner may have been configured to save data to a text file during a test. This may be checked under Tools/Configure/Storage
If your data is important, back it up! Both results and procedures may be stored wherever a user chooses, but the default locations are C:\Partner\Results and C:\Partner\Procedures. Backing up all files in these two folders is a good way to protect your test methods and data.