Using IST’s Diagnostic Mode and Testing Equipment


IST makes it easy to test your equipment using diagnostic mode. You don’t even have to run a “fake race” to do it! Here are the best practices for testing equipment, and troubleshooting hardware that isn’t working.

Running Diagnostics

MEETWARE/TIMEWARE – Diagnostic menu

Screen showing CTI connected for deck cable testWe recommend testing your hardware equipment FIRST, as soon as you have everything out and hooked up. Software issues are easy for us to diagnose and fix over the phone, but hardware can be trickier. Once you have all your cables laid out and plugged in, go to MEETS/DIAGNOSTICS/DECK CABLE. First, make sure that the Status box is green, and the Marker is counting T0, T1, T2, etc. This lets you know that your CTI is plugged in and communicating with the computer. Second, go along the deck cable and press each touchpad and backup button in turn. As you do this, the person at the computer will see the I/O number and the Device Name change to reflect the pad or button that was hit. If you have a scoreboard, the information will also show up on that lane. This allows you to make sure that you have a good connection to your pads and buttons.

Screen showing scoreboard number patternNext, exit that screen and go back to MEETS/DIAGNOSTICS and select SCOREBOARD. After a few moments the computer and the scoreboard will display a numeric pattern. Double check to make sure that the pattern on both matches. If it does, click Continue to run through all the characters on the scoreboard. This allows you to see if any pixels are out.

POLOWARE – Diagnostic Menu

Screen showing POLOWARE hardware diagnostic testYou will find the POLOWARE diagnostic menu under MATCH/HARDWARE DIAGNOSTIC. On the screen you will see the main scoreboard, game clock, shot clocks and buttons. You have the option to test some or all of the items. When the screen comes up it will ask you to verify the pattern on the scoreboard. When you click continue the scoreboard and clocks will run through their characters both on the screen and on the physical devices. If you click a connected button, you will see the button represented on the screen get clicked as well. This lets you know everything is working as expected.




Once you have run the diagnostic, you can diagnose a few different hardware issues.


Timing equipment setupIf the CTI Status in the Deck Cable Test shows red: First start by double checking that all the cables are plugged in. There is a USB cable that goes into the back of the CTI and to your computer. There is also a power cable. Make sure that the power light on the front side of the CTI is solid, and the data light is blinking. If the data light is not blinking, unplug the CTI from power for 30 seconds, then plug it back in. That should fix that issue.

If everything looks like it is plugged in correctly, go to Windows Device Manager. Look under PORTS (COM & LPT) and make sure that there is a USB TO SERIAL COM PORT listed with a COM number. If there is not, check under OTHER to see if there is a USB device that hasn’t been installed. If there is, you probably need to re-install the driver for the CTI. You can find more information about that here: Scroll down to DRIVERS. You can also find information about other USB issues under COMPUTERS on the same page.


If the touchpads are showing up when you touch them, but not in the right place there are a couple things to try. First, go to UTILITIES/PAD SETUP. If your pool’s lane 1 is on the far end (away from the timing table), make sure that REVERSE OF POOL is selected. If lane 1 is closest to your timing table make sure SAME AS POOL is selected. Assuming the selection is correct, but pads still seem to be registering in the wrong place, click the opposite selection and then reselect the original. That usually fixes it.

The other thing to do is to go down along the deck cable and make sure that all of the pads and buttons are plugged in with the correct polarity. The ground pin (with the tab on the side of the plug end) must go into the black connector for both buttons and pads. If it doesn’t, odd things can happen especially in pools with metal gutters.

Photo of can of electrical contact cleanerIf a particular touchpad or button is not working you can try unplugging and re-plugging it a couple times. Buildup can occur if items have not been used in a while. Most of the time that will be enough to knock the coating off. You can also clean the connections with electrical contact cleaner. Another idea is to take a working pad or button and put it in that spot on the deck cable. If it still doesn’t work, it could be either the cable connection or a pin on the 25-pin connecter that plugs into the CTI. You can visually inspect those for damage or missing pins.

There is more information about diagnosing deck cable and touchpad issues here:, scroll down to the bottom for TOUCHPADS, DECK CABLES AND BACKUP BUTTONS.



POLOWARE issues are typically easier to diagnose. If nothing is going to any of the devices, the first thing to check is your assigned COM ports. Go to Windows Device Manager and check PORTS(COM&LPT) to make sure there is a serial port and what that port number is. Then go to POLOWARE and select PREFERENCES from the main menu. Now set the Main Scoreboard, Game Clock, Shot Clock and Button ports to that COM number. Exit, then go back and try it again.

photo of water polo cables and connectionsAnother thing to try is double checking all of the connections. The Polo Brick must be connected to the computer and all items connected to the brick. If you are using a USB to Serial adapter to connect the Polo Brick to the computer that can be a failure point. Check for the PORT in the Windows Device Manager. If it isn’t set up as a USB To Serial COM port, go to our website at Scroll down to DRIVERS for instructions on how to set it up. You can also find information about other USB issues under COMPUTERS on the same page.  The other possibility is that the adapter has gone bad and you will want to swap it out with a different one.



Fixing Hardware Issues

Regardless of what the issue is, IST can always help you troubleshoot and fix it. Although we can’t always fix hardware problems over the phone 10 minutes before your meet, we can fix them. If you are having hardware issues and want some help troubleshooting them, call us at 800-835-2611 (9am-5pm Eastern Time), or drop us an email at [email protected]. We’ll help you walk through common issues and troubleshooting. If it is something that we need to fix we’ll issue you an RMA number and have you send the equipment to us. We will ship it back to you fixed and cleaned.


Posted in
International Sports Timing, Scoreboards, Grand Rapids, MI
Scroll to Top