Frequently Asked Questions provide a great source of information in regard to many aspects of using PowerDB. Inside the PowerDB application, in the Help menu, you can find links to two FAQ documents. One covers the basic operation of the program, while the other relates specifically applies to test form and subform design. We encourage you to review these documents from time to time as they are updated with every new release of the software.
Q: How are external documents printed as part of a job report?
A: PDF documents attached in a job can be printed with the job report using a PDF distiller program, usually available as a free download on the web. For details and step by step instructions on how to accomplish this, click here. In Version 11, a PDF output option was added into the program.
Q: Can I import files created by DTA software?
A: Files created by DTA 5 (xml) or DTA 6/7 (dtax) can be imported into the power factor test forms of PowerDB. Files created by DTA 6/7 are supported only in Version 11 or later.
Q: Can I change the logos on the forms?
A: YES! Anything on a form can be modified. Sections common to multiple forms, such as logos, headers and footers, are defined in one place and included on many forms. One change updates all forms where it is used.
Q: Do I have to be a computer programmer to design my own test forms?
A: NO! Editing forms is done visually (drag & drop). VBScript® is used only to provide calculations on forms. Calculations can be as simple as a = b + c …which is nearly as easy as using a calculator.
Q: Do I have to make database changes to add forms or to add fields to a form?
A: NO! Forms are added to PowerDB by copy-and-pasting existing forms, or by using the “New” button. Each field on a form has a property box that allows you to give it a “tag name”. Giving a field a “tag name” is all that is necessary in order to save data values on a form to the database.
Q: Can multiple users in an office access the same database?
A: Although this can be done on a network, it is not recommended. To prevent corruption of a database and for the fastest response time in using the software and its features, we recommend all users utilize a field database on their local PC with frequent synchronizations to the master to keep everything up to date.
Q: Can I use PowerDB strictly in the office rather than giving laptops to my field techs?
A: YES! Blank forms can be printed for field technicians to fill out by hand. The test results can then be entered into PowerDB by office personnel. Office data entry is simplified since the data entry screens and printed forms are identical.
Q: Do I need a license for each machine I run it from?
A: Running PowerDB without a license operates it in “reader” mode. Any machine used to modify data must have a license.
Q: I made our forms in Word (or Excel, or Access). Why do I need PowerDB?
A: The test forms in PowerDB are an important but small part of the entire system. The forms provide calculations and charting, and give you the capability to access previously entered data for pre-population. PowerDB maintains historical results for each piece of equipment that you test; so finding and reviewing past test results is easy. Report generation can be done for a job in just one step which produces a cover page and cover letter, table of contents, paginated test result forms, and cross-referenced comment and deficiency summary reports.
Q: Can PowerDB control my test equipment?
A: PowerDB supports instrument drivers for a variety of instruments from several different manufacturers. Click here for more details about instrument drivers.
Q: What are the system requirements to be able to run PowerDB on my computer?
A: PowerDB is an application installed on individual Windows PCs or laptops (Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10). A minimal machine configuration will have a 2 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM and at least 2GB available hard drive space. No other software applications are required to operate PowerDB. A PDF distiller is recommended.
Q: What is PowerDB's scalability?
A: Microsoft Access is typically used for field databases. In PowerDB version 10 (and later), SQL Server Express can be used in lieu of Access to enable PowerDB field databases greater that 2 GB in size. The PowerDB master database can be either Access or SQL Server, though SQL Server is recommended for reliability and scalability.
Q: What are the requirements for running on a Windows Server?
A: The software must be installed on each machine that runs PowerDB. There are no special requirements for installing on a server that will run the software. Our customers are using a variety of Microsoft operating systems as a server, from Windows XP to WinServer 2008 64 bit. Administrative privileges are only necessary to install the software. Disk space, processors, and memory requirements are minimal. Reserving 20 GB of disk space for a SQL Server master database will likely provide plenty of room for a decade or more of data collection. This is dependent upon how many sets of data you collect (estimate based on 8000 per year) and what type of data (estimate is based on typical numeric and text data collected by our customers, not on image data.
Q: What versions of SQL Server does PowerDB support?
A: MS SQL Server 2005, 2008 R2, 2012, 2014 and 2016. Consult the recommended system requirements for SQL Server provided by Microsoft. Hardware requirements for various versions of SQL Server can be found here.
Do you have a question about PowerDB?
Or you can always call us at 979.690.7925.
There are several options when it comes to training on the use of PowerDB. These include:
Onsite classes at your facility: For any period (2-day up to 5-day), conforming to your schedule and customized for your specific applications, for any number of attendees. This is also useful for initial setup of your databases, settings and test forms.
Classes provided at our facility in College Station: These courses may be attended by various types of users (utility, testing company, industrial, institutional) where you can interface with others in industry. We provide both 2-day (basic usage) and 4-day (basic usage plus test form design) courses, up to four times per year. Click here for our current schedule.
Online training: In blocks of 4 hours can be conformed to your schedule and customized for your specific application. Any number of attendees may attend.
Contact PowerDB for more details on each course or for pricing.
The statement below applies to the 2 day PowerDB basic training courses (form editing not included).
An extended support program is available to provide ongoing support to Licensed Users of PowerDB.
The PowerDB Extended Software Support Program provides a free copy or download of any new software release or update as well as telephone and email consulting covering general usage of the software. New releases include new features, enhancements, instrument drivers, data imports and test forms.
The support program includes bug fixes and general assistance with custom form development. Subscribers are also eligible to attend PowerDB training courses (does not cover the course fee).
An Internet Users Forum is also available where Extended Software Support members can post questions, discuss software applications and ideas and share information with their peers.
To have continuous support, be sure to subscribe within 1 year from the date of initial shipment of PowerDB, and annually thereafter.
PowerDB licensing is enforced by either a serial number softkey or a hardware key (often called a "dongle") that plugs into a USB port. Without a key PowerDB will run in "reader" mode. This key allows you to easily move a single license between machines installed with PowerDB.
- If a USB Key is lost, you must provide the associated license serial number for replacement at minimal charge, or you must purchase a new license at full cost.
- If a USB Key gets broken, return it to our office and we will replace it for $90, plus shipping.
- If a legacy software key is lost (e.g., due to hard drive failure) there is a $90 replacement fee. The lost license may be replaced with a USB key or a software key.
A Google Group discussion forum has been created for the purpose of providing a place where users of PowerDB software can ask questions, share ideas, and engage other users to enhance their own use of the software.
The forum is moderated by members of the PowerDB staff, but our oversight is minimal as the primary goal is for our users to interact. If a question or other inquiry goes unanswered, we may step in to provide any information that we can to assist.
If you are interested in joining and participating, follow the links provided here: