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Product Support

PICOwatt® Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 
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1. 
I can't access my PICOwatt® unit's website?

The most common issues affecting your ability to connect to your PICOwatt® are related to the Wi-Fi settings you used to configure your PICOwatt®. Here are some tips you can you use to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connection issues:

(i) Please enter your Wi-Fi network SSID, and assuming your Wi-Fi network uses Wi-Fi security, your Wi-Fi password again using the Network Setup Utility from the Product Support page. Please take extra care to enter UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols as needed and follow the instructions to load the settings onto your PICOwatt® unit.
(ii) If you still cannot access your PICOwatt® unit's website, please try connecting a different device, such as a mobile phone or laptop computer to your Wi-Fi network using the same Wi-Fi credentials as used to connect your PICOwatt® unit.
(iii) Although your PICOwatt® unit should have rebooted during loading of the settings you applied earlier, please turn off (unplug) the unit, and wait 5 minutes before restarting (plugging in) your PICOwatt®.
(iv) Please make sure your Wi-Fi router or access point is running the most recent firmware released by the manufacturer. Although most modern routers have a setup tab for the firmware update, please refer to your router's documentation or the manufacturer support web site for specific instructions.
(v) Restart your Wi-Fi router - most routers just need to be unplugged, wait 5 minutes and plugged back in to restart. If in doubt, please refer to your router's documentation or the manufacturer support web site for specific instructions.
(vi) Are you using MAC address filtering to help secure your wireless network? If you have MAC address filtering enabled on your Wi-Fi router, you should try temporarily disabling this feature. Successfully connecting without MAC address filtering enabled means that you've entered the PICOwatt® MAC address incorrectly (or not at all).
 
2. 
Which Wi-Fi security protocol does PICOwatt® support?

PICOwatt® supports Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2). WPA2 provides the highest level of security and is the preferred Wi-Fi security protocol.

 
3. 
Does PICOwatt® support Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)?

PICOwatt® does not support WEP.

Although its name implies that it is as secure as a wired connection, WEP has been demonstrated to have numerous flaws and has been deprecated in favor of newer standards such as WPA2. Note that the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that WEP had been superseded by Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).

 
4. 
Does PICOwatt® support Wi-Fi Protected Setup?

PICOwatt® does not support Wi-Fi Protected Setup. A flaw in Wi-Fi Protected Setup allows WPA and WPA2 security to be bypassed and effectively broken in many situations. Devices, such as PICOwatt®, that implement WPA and WPA2 security without using the Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature are unaffected by this security vulnerability.

 
5. 
I can't access my PICOwatt® unit's website, can I restore the factory default settings and start

The Network Setup Utility includes an option to restore your PICOwatt® to the factory default settings. Please access the PICOwatt® Network Setup Utility from the Product Support page. Note that this configuration option will be accepted by PICOwatt® units running software versions v1.012018002001000 and above.

If you believe your PICOwatt® is running software older than this version, please email support at tenrehte dot com for assistance.

 
6. 
How do I configure my PICOwatt® unit with a USB Thumb Drive if I'm also using a USB Ethernet Adapter?

To configure a PICOwatt® unit when using a USB Ethernet Adapter, please follow these steps:

(i) Power down the PICOwatt® unit.

(ii) Remove the USB Ethernet Adapter.

(iii) Insert the USB Thumb Drive containing the network configuration file you wish to use. The network configuration file must be named picowatt_network_setup.txt, and the network configuration file should have been saved to the top level folder or directory of a USB Flash drive. Do not change the file name, or edit the file manually. Changing the file name or editing the file manually will cause the automatic setup to fail. Any existing wireless settings will not be changed on failure.

(iv) Power on the PICOwatt® unit. Once powered on, please allow sufficient time (10-15 minutes) for the unit to configure itself; you may notice that your PICOwatt® may reboot once or twice during this process.

(v) Assuming the PICOwatt® was configured with credentials to access your Wi-Fi network, you can confirm the configuration by accessing the unit with your browser.

(vi) Once the unit is configured, power down the unit, remove the USB Thumb Drive, insert the USB Ethernet Adapter, and power on the PICOwatt® unit. Once booted, you can access the unit via your wired network too.

Be aware that if your USB Thumb Drive contains both a network configuration file, picowatt_network_setup.txt, and a software update file, picowatt_software_upgrade.bin, the network configuration file will be processed first, causing the PICOwatt® to reboot, prior to processing the software update file. Please allow sufficient time (15-20 minutes) for the PICOwatt® unit to configure the desired network settings in addition to updating its software.

Please note that the USB thumb drive used to save your network configuration file should be formatted with the FAT32 file system and this formatted file system cannot be encrypted. If your computer or work environment utilizes or requires encrypted file systems, please make sure you temporarily disable file system encryption for removable devices such as USB thumb drives.

 
7. 
Why can't I access my PICOwatt® using the LAN URL

There are a few reasons why the LAN URL could not be working:

(i) As a benefit to users, Tenrehte uses an Internet based dynamic DNS service provider to host the DNS settings for the "pico-watt.net" domain name. Therefore your PICOwatt® must be able to access the Internet in order to register its IP address with it's fully qualified domain name (FQDN) tpw<serial_number>.pico-watt.net. If your LAN does not provide access to the Internet, your PICOwatt® unit will not be able to register it's IP address with it's FQDN.

(ii) Note that it takes a few minutes (typically less than 10 minutes) for a newly registered IP address to become published and visible to users. Note that for a new PICOwatt® unit you are just installing and booting for the very first time, DNS registration and publishing could take a bit longer, typically less than 90 minutes.

(iii) Depending on your network topology, it can take a few minutes (typically less than 10 minutes) for a new network device, such as PICOwatt® to be addressable on the LAN due to resolution of network layer addresses into link layer addresses, a critical function in multiple-access networks.

(iv) If you assign a static IP address to your PICOwatt®, please make sure this address is currently not being used by another device on your network. Assuming your network also uses DHCP to automatically configure devices, you should check the range of address assigned to your DHCP server and choose and address that is outside of this range. If you are familiar with using the command PING on your computer, you should also PING the address you plan on assigning to your PICOwatt® (with your PICOwatt® powered off) to confirm that the static IP address is not currently not being used by some other network device. If possible, we recommend that you use a DHCP IP address reservation to help minimize network address collision issues later on.

(v) Confirm that your PICOwatt® has booted and is connected to your Wi-Fi network by observing the lights on the unit. If the Ready light is on steady your PICOwatt® has booted and is ready for operation; if the Ready light is off, your PICOwatt® is either powered off or is booting. If the Wireless light in on steady your PICOwatt® is properly connected to your Wi-Fi network; if the Wireless light is flashing, your PICOwatt® is attempting to connect to your Wi-Fi network. If the Wireless light is flashing for an extended period, either your Wi-Fi network credentials were entered incorrectly, or your Wi-Fi network is not accessible.

 
8. 
Why can't I access my PICOwatt® using the WAN URL

There are a few of reasons why the WAN URL could not be working:

(i) As a benefit to users, Tenrehte uses an Internet based dynamic DNS service provider to host the DNS settings for the "pico-watt.com" domain name. Therefore your PICOwatt® must be able to access the Internet in order to register an IP address with it's fully qualified domain name (FQDN) tpw<serial_number>.pico-watt.com. If your LAN does not provide access to the Internet, your PICOwatt® unit will not be able to register an IP address with it's FQDN.
(ii) It takes a few minutes (typically less than 10 minutes) for a newly registered IP address to become published and visible to users. Note that for a new PICOwatt® unit you are just installing and booting for the very first time, DNS registration and publishing could take a bit longer, typically less than 90 minutes.
(iii) The WAN URL, http://tpw<serial_number>.pico-watt.com, is meant to be used to access your PICOwatt® unit from the Internet and therefore the IP address associated with the FQDN tpw<serial_number>.pico-watt.com is typically discovered as the WAN or public IP address of your Internet firewall / router. Therefore to enable access to the WAN URL, you must configure port forwarding on your firewall / router. The HTTP server on your PICOwatt® supports ports 80 (http://) and 443 (https://) [we recommend you use the https port]. Configuring port forwarding on your firewall / router is beyond the scope of this FAQ, please email support at tenrehte dot com for assistance.
 
9. 
Are "Double-NAT" network configurations supported?

NAT (Network Address Translation) allows sharing a single Internet connection with many network devices (such as computers, tablets, media servers, PICOwatt® Smart Plugs, etc.). Routers, firewalls, and some modems that allow multiple network devices to be connected - either over Ethernet or Wi-Fi - use NAT to do this sharing.

"Double-NAT" is when you have 2 or more devices on the network handling NAT services connected in a back to back network configuration. For example, you might have a Wi-Fi router (configured as a Wi-Fi router not a Wi-Fi access point, access points typically do not include a NAT service) plugged into your main router.

While you may be able to tweak a "Double-NAT" network configuration to the point that your network is operational, in general, "Double-NAT" network configurations are not supported and should be avoided.

 
10. 
Can I update the software on my PICOwatt® without being on the network?

Yes you can update the software on your PICOwatt® by using a USB Thumb Drive.

(i) Download the latest PICOwatt® software from the the Downloads area of our support site for latest product software. Save the chosen software update file as picowatt_software_upgrade.bin to the top level folder or directory of your USB Thumb Drive. Note that the software update will not complete successfully if the software update file is not named picowatt_software_upgrade.bin.

(ii) Power down the PICOwatt® unit.

(iii) If you are using a USB Ethernet Adapter, remove the USB Ethernet Adapter.

(iv) Insert the USB Thumb Drive containing the software update file you wish to use, and power on the PICOwatt® unit. Once powered on, please allow sufficient time (10-15 minutes) for the unit to update it's software; you may notice that your PICOwatt® may reboot once or twice during this process. Assuming the PICOwatt® was configured with credentials to access your Wi-Fi network, you can confirm the software update by accessing the unit with your browser.

(v) If you are using a USB Ethernet Adapter, power down the unit, remove the USB Thumb Drive, insert the USB Ethernet Adapter, and power on the PICOwatt® unit. Once booted, you can access the unit via your wired network too.

Be aware that if your USB Thumb Drive contains both a network configuration file, picowatt_network_setup.txt, and a software update file, picowatt_software_upgrade.bin, the network configuration file will be processed first, causing the PICOwatt® to reboot, prior to processing the software update file. Please allow sufficient time (15-20 minutes) for the PICOwatt® unit to configure the desired network settings in addition to updating its software.

Please note that the USB thumb drive used to save your software update file should be formatted with the FAT32 file system and this formatted file system cannot be encrypted. If your computer or work environment utilizes or requires encrypted file systems, please make sure you temporarily disable file system encryption for removable devices such as USB thumb drives.

 
11. 
Can I use an encrypted USB Thumb Drive to update or configure a PICOwatt®?

PICOwatt® does not support USB Thumb Drives with encrypted file systems. The USB Thumb Drive used to save your software update file or network configuration file should be formatted with the FAT32 file system and this formatted file system cannot be encrypted. If your computer or work environment utilizes or requires encrypted file systems, please make sure you temporarily disable file system encryption for removable devices such as USB thumb drives.

 
12. 
How accurate is a PICOwatt® unit's clock?

Although the onboard clock is accurate, for highest accuracy PICOwatt® includes support for the Network Time Protocol (NTP), an Internet protocol used to synchronize the clocks of computers to some time reference. NTP is an Internet standard protocol originally developed by David L. Mills. NTP is highly scalable, fault-tolerant protocol that will automatically select the best of several available reference clocks to synchronize to achieving true time operation. As long as PICOwatt® can reach the Internet, the default NTP settings provide a high precision clock. For private networks, or you are running NTP locally on your network, you can set PICOwatt® to listen to the local NTP servers. If possible, we recommend using NTP with PICOwatt®.

 
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