Can't figure out how to install AXE027 USB cable

abenn

Senior Member
#1
I'm transferring my PICAXE editor and files to my laptop, having successfully used them on my desktop PC for many years. Editor and files are no problem, but I'm stumped on how to get my AXE027 USB cable running on my laptop.

My laptop is running Windows 10, fully up to date. I've been on the internet and installed the AXE027 software from picaxe.com using the automatic option, and my cable makes a "ding" noise when I plug it into the USB port. But when I try to download a program to my PICAXE project I get an error message "Can't open port COM1". I've also tried to use the manual install option, but I get a zip file which, when unzipped, gives me a bunch of files, mainly .dll, which I don't know what to do with.

I've been to Windows Device Manager and found the AXE027 PICAXE USB listed with a yellow ! , and a message saying "The drivers for this device are not installed (code 28)", but clicking on the "Update Driver" button results in no drivers found. Where do I find it, please?

I know this must be an FAQ, but I'll be darned if I can find it in this forum or in the FAQ section using the Search function.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
#2
With PE6 installed; click Help -> About menu options and locate the "AXE027 Driver Folder" link on the right. Click that and note the directory name.

Go into Device Manager and manually install/update the drivers pointing Device Manager to that directory.

This is usually a two-step process, firstly installing the USB drivers, then the Virtual COM port drivers. So look for a second item with a yellow exclamation mark after the first part of the install.

Or you can point Device Manager at the directory you extracted the .zip file to.
 

abenn

Senior Member
#3
Thanks Hippy. I found the directory path, and then pointed Device Manager at it for each of the two yellow exclamation marks I saw. And it's working.

Why does it have to be so tortuous though? Every other device I have connects and configures itself automatically these days.
 

srnet

Senior Member
#4
Every other device I have connects and configures itself automatically these days.
At a place where I used to work, 5000+ Windows PCs on site, failures of 'automatic' installation of USB devices were not uncommon.

One day maybe it will cease to be a problem with Windows.
 

abenn

Senior Member
#6
At a place where I used to work, 5000+ Windows PCs on site, failures of 'automatic' installation of USB devices were not uncommon.

One day maybe it will cease to be a problem with Windows.
Yes, but if I understand it correctly, the AXE027 cable is not designed for automatic installation, and always needs human intervention.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
#7
Yes, but if I understand it correctly, the AXE027 cable is not designed for automatic installation, and always needs human intervention.
It depends how one looks at it. The only devices which support fully automatic installation are those which Windows knows about or where it can find the drivers itself without requiring manual assistance.

The pre-installer should provide for automatic installation of the cable, once the pre-installer has been run of course. That is no different to any device which Windows itself cannot automatically handle; for those there will always be some degree of human intervention required.

The main issue is that the pre-installer does not always work as expected. It is not always entirely clear why that is when it happens but it can be because the AXE027 has been plugged in before the pre-installer has been run. In such cases Windows initially sees the AXE027, does not know what it is, cannot find drivers for it, then defines it as an "Unknown device" and it may cling to that even when the pre-installer is run later. Once the pre-installer is run Windows may identify it as an AXE027 even if it hasn't updated or installed the drivers. This can also happen with other devices which are plugged in before any pre-installer for those is run.

This would explain why Windows appears to know a device is an AXE027 but does not have drivers installed, appears as an AXE027 with the exclamation mark.

There may be other causes but they are hard to determine. When the pre-installer works it works. When it doesn't, by the time it's on the system as 'not working', the opportunity to determine why it's as such has often gone. In many cases people genuinely cannot remember if they plugged the cable in before running the pre-installer or not.

While we do see a few issues regarding AXE027 installation there are many more cases of AXE027 being installed without issues, and one would presume most are using the pre-installer and that it has worked for them, because it seems unlikely they would be manually installing drivers.

The details for performing a manual installation are in the documentation, instructions for downloading the AXE027 drivers, extracting them, and pointing Device Manager at the extraction directory, are described.

We do understand that is not always enough, do appreciate the frustrations which can arise when installations don't go as planned, so we will help those who need pointing in the right direction the best we can. Usually AXE027 issues are easy to solve, most are simply because the instructions have not been followed or have been over-looked. We don't blame users for that; it's simply how it is.
 

srnet

Senior Member
#8
Having said that Windows and USB devices can be somewhat troublesome in general, of all the serial USB devices I have used over the years, by far the one that has caused the fewest issues is the AXE027.
 

abenn

Senior Member
#9
Thanks for the explanation hippy. All I can say is I've installed my AXE027 three times, I think (once originally with Windows XP, then with a new PC and later a new laptop with Windows 10), and each time it has required manual installation -- and each time I've forgotten how I did it the previous time! And on the same computers I've never had to manually intervene when adding printers, cameras, smartphones, etc.; so my experience is the exact opposite of yours srnet :confused:
 

GAP

Senior Member
#10
I followed the bouncing ball and installed the driver.
Win10 can see the device AXE027 is in USB controllers in device manager, I can read the properties OK but programming editor cannot open a COM port it is displaying "Non Available".
I had to go to COM port in device manager as well and install the driver there.
When I did this on my old XP machine it was just a case of running pre installer and it did the rest, WIN10 could not run pre installer for some reason.
 
#11
Need Further Guidance...

With PE6 installed; click Help -> About menu options and locate the "AXE027 Driver Folder" link on the right. Click that and note the directory name.

Go into Device Manager and manually install/update the drivers pointing Device Manager to that directory.

This is usually a two-step process, firstly installing the USB drivers, then the Virtual COM port drivers. So look for a second item with a yellow exclamation mark after the first part of the install.

Or you can point Device Manager at the directory you extracted the .zip file to.
1-8-2018
Further guidance requested:

The AXE027 and it's driver worked on my old computer ( also had alot of difficulty installing driver in 2011 ).
Can not again get it to work after several hours of attempts on new computer.
This above msg. and solution appears to have potential, if I can get some questions answered.

1. should I delete all driver files installed in my previous attempts before attempting anew?

2. assuming I should start with cabel disconnected ( and the 20M2 picaxe board )
at what point do I connect cabel?

3. if I have to do this manually, then assume I shall end up with a zip file.
Have never worked with zip before, so can you advise on how to "extract" such a file?

4. I have pe6 installed, but can not find "help->about menu". All I see is a "?" at the very upper right that is a "help icon"
but no link to "menu options".
 
#12
Can not locate PE6 "Help"

With PE6 installed; click Help -> About menu options and locate the "AXE027 Driver Folder" link on the right. Click that and note the directory name.

Go into Device Manager and manually install/update the drivers pointing Device Manager to that directory.

This is usually a two-step process, firstly installing the USB drivers, then the Virtual COM port drivers. So look for a second item with a yellow exclamation mark after the first part of the install.

Or you can point Device Manager at the directory you extracted the .zip file to.

1-10-2018
I have looked all over the latest editor and cannot locate "Help->About menu options" for assistance in manually
installing the AXE027 driver. Can someone tell me how to find the AXE027 driver folder in the menu options? TIA
 
#13
Regarding the latest Editor, I can not find : "Help-> About options" to locate the AXE027 Driver Folder.
Can someone kindly provide information to find "Help" in the Picaxe Editor? TIA
 
#14
The instructions do not align with my experience either.

However, these steps get me to the AXE027 drivers folder:
From the "File" Menu, Select "Help"
Under "Technical Support" you should see the 5th item: "AXE027 Drivers Folder"

The AXE027.pdf file needs updating. It appears to gives detailed support for Windows 7, which is around 10 years old! It does mention Windows 8 but both of these operating systems differ from Windows 10.

Having said that, I recall that the AXE027 driver loaded like a dream when I upgraded to W10 a few years ago.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
#15
Regarding the latest Editor, I can not find : "Help-> About options" to locate the AXE027 Driver Folder.
Can someone kindly provide information to find "Help" in the Picaxe Editor? TIA
When using PE6 with the ribbon enabled there is a blue circle to the right containing a question mark. Click that and it it is the equivalent of selecting the Help -> About menu when not using the ribbon.
 
#17
I am dumbfounded!!!!
Back in January, I had difficulty getting the AXE027 to work.
This forum was helpful ...in particular after reading the post by hippy on 21-09-17.
After working for awhile the cabel stopped working again....would not download.
I came back a day later and it Worked !? Couple days later stopped working and later did not work; after a few days it stopped!!!
I have spent numerous ( waaaaay too many ) man hours attempting all sorts of things suggested in this thread and in the AXE027 USB Cabel Manual.
Nothing helps and I continually get "Error: Hardware not found on COM3" ! after download attempts.
I am using Windows 10 and maybe that is part of problem?
To my mind, there are so many variables and things to do that it are not only confusing but is a set up for mistake making.
ex. 's:
1. when should one or other or both ends of cabel be plugged in?
2. two download options
3. extract zip file/s or not?
4. use "pre-installer" or not?
5. finding the AXE in Device Manager
6. making sure has correct driver in directory
7. having to go to properties ect.
8. and many more possible choices/changes and places to go and do things that may not be done correctly.
9. the AXE manual documentation not what showing on my computer ( again Win 10 related? )
Also if ever get all of steps correct, have to do similar all over again and hope get correct for "virtual com"

I have this amazing piece of technology...the Picaxe 20M2 and I cannot use it!

I went so far as to purchase another AXE027 to see if it will work ( when get's here ).... shows how frustrated my frugal self is with getting this to function correctly.

I know, I can test the cabel myself as I did 5 yr.'s ago the first time I used this cabel and had similar difficulties but am tired of trying things!

I am almost at point of switching to Arduino but really do not wish to change.

Am hoping this board can assist in getting the cabel to work.

Probably ideal solution would be a tech rep on telephone ( or a real time msg situation to communicate with each other)
to walk me thru this step by step.....( is this possible ? )

Hopefully the forum has some quick and easy solutions.

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

techElder

was Texasclodhopper
#18
"Error: Hardware not found on COM3" ! after download attempts.
That sounds like you need to perform the HARD RESET procedure when attempting to download a new program into your PICAXE.

Basically, you turn the power off to your PICAXE, click Program Download and then turn power on to your PICAXE quickly.
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
#19
"Error: Hardware not found on COM3" ! after download attempts.
That sounds like you need to perform the HARD RESET procedure when attempting to download a new program into your PICAXE.
If COM3 is identified as "AXE027 USB PICAXE" or similar then it would seem that getting the "hardware not found" message is a good indication the correct drivers are installed, working, that the cable is usable, and the issue is with the PICAXE not acknowledging the download initiations. "Hardware" being not found indicates the PICAXE chip, not the AXE027 cable.

Once the AXE027 drivers have been installed, there is very little which can go wrong with them, there is nothing really which can be fixed by reinstalling them.

There does however seem to be some natural tendency to blame the drivers when it's something else, much as there seems to be a natural tendency to blame the hardware when it's a software problem. And, as we all will probably have experienced, once we have decided something is or is not the cause of a problem, we tend to believe that it must be so, find it difficult to see it otherwise.
 
#20
Texas,

Thank you for your advice.

I have tried a "hard reset" as part of the many, many attempts to get this to work.
Upon your advice, I tried again without success.

If you have anymore suggestions, I shall appreciate it.

jaba
 
#21
hippy,

Thank you for the reply.

I shall sub out the 20M2 chip for another based on the intimation that it may be the Picaxe chip.

I do not understand your last paragraph as related to my situation?

Also, I would appreciate your suggestions for a solution to my problem.

Thanks,

jaba
 
#22
I have spent numerous ( waaaaay too many ) man hours attempting all sorts of things suggested in this thread and in the AXE027 USB Cabel Manual.
Nothing helps and I continually get "Error: Hardware not found on COM3" ! after download attempts.
I am using Windows 10 and maybe that is part of problem?
I can understand your frustration.

One thing that does not appear correct to me is that you are trying to use an AXE027 USB to Serial interface cable but you are getting error reports for COM3.

I use PE6 on Win10 with an AXE027 cable. I have taken a series of screen snips from my local PE6's workspace explorer, showing the options available in the COM Port drop-down list. (Note that the AXE027 cable could have almost any COM Port number, starting at #4.) I would not expect the AXE027 to use COM3, though.

Can you check that the COM Port that you are trying to use actually says "AXE027", similar to my screen snip.

COMx All My Ports.jpg
 

hippy

Technical Support
Staff member
#23
Also, I would appreciate your suggestions for a solution to my problem.
The solution would appear to be as Texasclodhopper suggested; that to downloading into your PICAXE simply requires a Hard Reset.

When, as a result of the program previously downloaded, the PICAXE may be busy doing something such that it doesn't see the download initiation and acknowledge it. In these cases the "Hardware not found" error will be given.

Some programs may always ignore download initiations, but some may go between ignoring and sometimes not ignoring which is what I think may have happened to yourself.

To me this does not seem a cable fault or driver issue simply that the PICAXE is not responding as you were expecting. It seems to me you tried to fix the non-existent driver issue when all it requires is a Hard Reset.


(Note that the AXE027 cable could have almost any COM Port number, starting at #4.) I would not expect the AXE027 to use COM3, though.
COM1 and COM2 are the ones which used to be fitted to all motherboards as physical RS232 9-way ports. COM3 is the first one which would normally be assigned for other types of ports, so COM3 is as I would expect.

In your case it seems Windows has allocated an Intel Active Management Technology port to COM3 so the first available port for additional USB-to-serial interfaces will be COM4.

On systems which don't have that Intel Active Management Technology, COM3 would normally be allocated to the first USB-to-serial device installed.
 
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#24
Inglewoodpete, hippy and all....

I sincerely appreciate your assistance in attempting to get this solved!

Having said that...the INSANITY continues.

The GOOD NEWS:

Got it to work, therefore fairly confident that cabel and 20M2's are OK.

The BAD: stopped working...!?!?!?

In 2012 I rec'd an email from Tech. Supt. that suggested changing the "baud"

Why not try, so I did.

Went to Device Mgr. > Ports > RT. click on "AXE...." > click on "Properties" > select "Port Settings" and changed baud from 9600 to 4800.

Plugged in 5V power to board A ( the USB end of Cabel was plugged into COM 3 ).

Plugged in Picaxe end of cabel and then,,

Downloaded,,,,it WORKED !!!!!!!!

Removed cabel from Board A.

Plugged 5V into Board B and cabel into this board and

NOT WORK ?????

Changed baud back and forth from 4800>9600>4800 ect, a few times and gave up!?

Anymore thots on how to correct this erratic behavior are appreciated. ( also Thanks in advance )
 
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premelec

Senior Member
#25
Have you understood and used HARD RESET procedure Tex referred to? There are things in running programs that will prevent downloads of another program or modification. HARD RESET will bypass most of these... if that does not work you likely have a hardware problem - loose connection - solder joints etc...
 
#27
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that there is an intermittent connection in the cable. Most likely in the 3.5mm 'phono' plug end. There have been a couple of cases discussed on the forum over the past few years.

Go to the Workspace Explorer/COM Port/Configure and Test/Test Download Cable. Wriggle the 3.5mm plug on the cable about during each of the tests and see if an intermittent connection is evident.
 
#30
UPDATE: but first... thanks to all , esp. latest----> bear and Inglewoodpete for their guidance.
I shall test the cabel.

Back to the UPDATE... I fiddled with the axe cabel, esp. phone plug and >>> Surprise a program loaded!
But then no more would, even with more fiddling.
I shall attempt Inglewood's tests and see.
Also have a new cabel arriving, so shall see how it does.
 
#31
I think you're onto it :).

If it is a bad connection in the 3.5mm plug, cut the plug off and replace it. Just note the wiring connections described in Manual 1 - Getting Started.
 
#32
I tried the new cabel with the old stereo 3.5mm Download socket and it would not download the software.

I ordered an new stereo socket and shall try this with old and new cabels.

I also ordered a breadboard cabel adaptor which should make for an easier connection.
( probably did not need to order both.



:confused:
 
#33
Aha! After many posts, we may getting onto it. Are you using just the square(ish) 3.5mm socket on a breadboard, without extending the pins?

If so, you'll need to do what I did:
BB_SerialBot-4.JPG BB_SerialTop-3.JPG
 
#35
inglewoodpete and premelec,

Inglewood, I take it from your photos that you did some soldering to make your pins longer? I ordered a new stereo socket and I shall probably have to do what you suggested ( soldering for longer pins? ).

However I also ordered a Breadboard adaptor so this soldering shall maybe not be necessary!?!? ( Premelec, I believe this is what your link is to in your message but from a different source ( I have purchased from Picaxe
...neither item has arrived yet).

Appreciate the guidance and hand-holding!

Am also planning on testing my old AXE027 cabel.
 
#36
The cable tested fine during loop and voltage tests.
Therefore, I assume the problem is in the "stereo picaxe socket". Shall know better when the new socket arrives unless there is a test for the socket???
Thanks again!
 
#37
Yes, I used 0.7mm tinned (solid) copper wire and soldered the pieces to the short pins on the socket. If you don't have that, then strands of thicker house wiring copper or the right size would do the job. I cut the ends at an angle for easier insertion into the breadboard. The standard socket is OK for stripboard or printed circuit board but too short for breadboard.
 
#38
Today I soldered the AXE029 Breadboard Adaptor in hopes of a better connection and better stability for downloads.
IT WOULD NOT DOWNLOAD !?!?!? Perhaps I did a poor solder job?
I suppose I could somehow attempt to test the adaptor similar to the paperclip test on the stereo plug but have had it...trying to get the 20M to download consistently.
I am either incompetent or way too stubborn to still be hassling this.
The inconsistent downloads have been going on since January 8 of this year with no resolution.
It is ridiculous that I must purchase another part in attempting to get downloads to the chip.
It is also very sad that I must solder this part and for whatever reason it still not work.
How can a good company allow this to happen with their product?
Why must it be so tedious and take several confusing software steps to get downloads to their product?
I have no idea what to do now, other than abandon the Picaxe chip.
 

manuka

Senior Member
#39
Oh dear - sorry to hear you're despondent... Cables & connectors can indeed be a hassle,especially in today's BT/WiFi/NFC/cellular wireless era. However, & in spite of their early Y2K age, PICAXE's are still "the little micro that could" for many applications, so STICK WITH IT !

It's fair to say that suspect connections & wiring blunders often are THE culprit. I've just helped an offshore final year student with an involved Arduino driven LoRa project that "just won't go", & after numerous emails & images we finally tracked it to a wonky jumper lead. ARGH ...

Hence ensure pins are actually making connections !

FWIW breadboards suit simple 3 header pin programming - refer pix. Additionally the cheap Chinese "blue" CH340 based TTL-serial programming leads are very PICAXE friendly. While still teaching I bought crates of them (at under US$2 each) to give free to students. Refer my post #12 on this past Forum mention.

Stan. (Wellington, NZ)
 

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rq3

Senior Member
#40
Today I soldered the AXE029 Breadboard Adaptor in hopes of a better connection and better stability for downloads.
IT WOULD NOT DOWNLOAD !?!?!? Perhaps I did a poor solder job?
I suppose I could somehow attempt to test the adaptor similar to the paperclip test on the stereo plug but have had it...trying to get the 20M to download consistently.
I am either incompetent or way too stubborn to still be hassling this.
The inconsistent downloads have been going on since January 8 of this year with no resolution.
It is ridiculous that I must purchase another part in attempting to get downloads to the chip.
It is also very sad that I must solder this part and for whatever reason it still not work.
How can a good company allow this to happen with their product?
Why must it be so tedious and take several confusing software steps to get downloads to their product?
I have no idea what to do now, other than abandon the Picaxe chip.
It's really time for photos and code! The AXE029 datasheet really isn't very clear as to where the two resistors go, so you have a 50% chance of doing just that simple step wrong. No fault on you!

I use the USB to 3.5 mm cable in a commercial application, and I KNOW that my 3.5 mm socket is flakey. Sometimes I have to rotate and "scrub" the jack into the socket several times before even the hard reset process will work. But since I know the source of the problem, I know eventually it will work, so I live with it (because I'm too busy and lazy to actually fix it).

If you provide pictures of your set-up, and a copy of your code, I'm sure the fantastic members of this forum can get you going. Don't give up! It's very, very unlikely that you are seeing multiple hardware faults. Some simple thing is getting in the way of realizing your needs.
 
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