Troubleshooting

This section lists some problems you might encounter when using Abel, and some suggests how to get around them. If the answer to your problem isn't here, see Support.

Sometimes I press a key but Abel doesn't take any notice.

Click on the bells window (but not near a bell) or the blue line window and all will be well! Probably you did something that caused your keyboard characters to be sent elsewhere; clicking on the bells window or blueline window corrects this.

When I ring using the keyboard, sometimes my bell rings several times when I only pressed the key once!

Did you hold the key down? If you did, even for a second, then the keyboard autorepeat may have kicked in. Try pressing the keys for a shorter time, or changing your autorepeat so that it doesn't start quite so soon. You can find the autorepeat settings by clicking on the Windows Start menu, then Settings/Control Panel and then double-clicking on Keyboard.

Did you set the "Key up/down action" option, in the Ringing Options? If so, the bell will ring once when you release the key, and once when you press it.

The bells don't ring evenly - it sounds like ‘real' ringing, not like the perfect ringing I expect from Abel.

There are lots of things that might cause this. Here are a few of them:

Are you running other programs at the same time as Abel? The rhythm will become uneven if other programs try to do work whilst Abel is ringing, especially if those programs perform any disk activity or try to access the serial port. Particular culprits are: programs such as Word Processors performing an auto-save to disk; personal organiser synchronisation programs such as PsiWin for Psion Organisers; and digital camera interface programs. Try and make sure that Abel is the only program running, and if necessary remove programs from your Windows startup that interfere with Abel. If you need to be sure that Windows doing disk transfers won't interrupt the rhythm, runnng Abel immediately after starting the PC can help.

Has your screensaver started up? This can slow things up, especially on slower PCs. Turn it off by right clicking the screen background and selecting Properties or Personalize from the menu.

Are you running Windows NT? NT is not good at running real-time programs such as Abel. If you are running Windows NT, you should try to set your computer up so that it can boot as a Windows 95 or 98 machine too (sometimes called ‘dual booting').

Are you using a very very old PC? Abel should run fine on anything from a 100MHz Pentium upwards, but you might have problems with machines less capable than this.

Is the ‘bad striking' feature turned on? Right-click one of the bells then click the All Off box or Reset All button to make sure it's turned off.

Check your DirectX settings. In C:\Windows\System there is a progam called DXDIAG.EXE. Run this, then click on the tab labelled "Sound", if there is one. Check that the "Hardware Sound Acceleration Level" slider is all the way over to the right (so that it says "Full acceleration"). You will get uneven ringing if this slider is set to "No acceleration", even on quite fast PCs.

The sound is unbalanced - some bells are much quieter than others.

Abel uses stereo effects to make it sound like you are in the middle of the ringing circle. Some sound cards don't seem to like this much, and make some of the bells sound really quiet. If this happens to you - or you don't need the stereo effects (if you are in the tower, for example) - you can turn off stereo effects on the Options/Sound Options screen by clicking Mono. Alternatively, you can try moving the bell circle around by clicking on one of the bells, or you can try adjusting the treble and bass controls of your sound card or amplifier/loudspeakers.

I try to run Abel but it doesn't work and I get some strange message about DSOUND.DLL

This file is part of Microsoft DirectX, which Abel needs to be able to run. A suitable version of DirectX is included by Microsoft in all versions of Windows since Windows 98SE. If you're using Windows 95, or an early version of Windows 98, you may not have a suitable version of DirectX installed. In that case, read the file ReadMe.txt in the Abel directory on your PC (usually C:\Program Files\Abel 3\readme.txt), which gives instructions on installing DirectX.

I've connected some external bells using sensors like you said, but they don't seem to work.

If they're connected using control signals, try turning on Abel's port monitor (View/Port Monitor). This will tell you if signals from your sensor are arriving at your computer. If not, you'll need to check your sensors. If you are getting signals, check your external bells configuration.

If the sensors are connected using a Multi Bell Interface, consult the supplier of the MBI.

Abel normally rings fine, but every now and then it seems to miss out one of the bells… it just doesn't sound, though the on-screen picture changes OK.

This seems to be a 'feature' of some versions of DirectX: Abel asks DirectX to ring a bell, but sometimes it doesn't do it! There are a number of things you can try to get around this:

I'm trying to add my own bell sounds to Abel, but I keep getting error messages...

If you've been creating your own Bell Definition File (see Defining your own bell sounds) and you get error messages such as "Error 1004" or "The current Bell Definition File does not specify a bell sound for the pitch of one or more of the bells", the most likely cause is that in specifying your bell sounds you have managed to leave a 'gap' in the MIDI note ranges. Make sure that the start and end note values for each line in the Bell Definition File match the previous and next lines, leaving no gaps. For example:

BDF, Broken Towerbell sound
tbell.wav, 61, 65, 45
tbell8.wav, 73, 90, 67

The first line (tbell.wav) specifies that the lowest note that will use this WAV file is MIDI value 45, and the highest note is MIDI value 65. The second line specifies that the lowest note is MIDI value 67. Thus there is a gap - MIDI note value 66 can never be played, and if you choose a tenor pitch that means this note value is needed you will get an error message.

I've entered a composition that contains rounds twice, but Abel always stops the first time rounds comes up - how do I make it carry on?

Make sure that your composition says how many times you want rounds to come up. You do this using the "Stop at rounds" control on the Add Composition or Edit Composition dialogs. Then, make sure that the "Stop at rounds" button on the toolbar is NOT pressed. This button will override whatever is set in the composition, so if it's pressed Abel will always call "That's all" when rounds comes up for the first time.

If your composition doesn't specify how many times rounds should appear, then Abel will stop the first time rounds come up if the Stop At Rounds button on the button bar is down. Otherwise, Abel will keep on going until you tell it you've had enough by clicking on the "Stand" button!


See also:

  Support and program updates
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