How To Backup And Restore A Fanuc R-30iB

Ah, the old backup game. What could be more fun than taking backups for a dozen, a hundred, or a thousand robots? If you’re reading this, you probably know that there is something that’s a lot less fun than managing backups: not having a backup when you need one. Reprogramming a production robot from scratch – now that sounds like a pain. In this post, we’ll look at how to backup and restore a Fanuc R-30iB controller.

An image of the front panel of a Fanuc R-30iB controller. You can see the Fault Reset, Cycle Start, and E-Stop buttons, along with the Fault and Power indicator lights. Used as the header image for a post on how to backup and restore a Fanuc R-30iB controller.

Contents of this post:

Types Of Fanuc Backups

Like many electronic controllers, the Fanuc R-30iB offers more than one possible backup method. The two common Fanuc backup solutions are referred to as “MD backups” and “image backups” (or “IMG backups”).

Fanuc MD Backups

MD backups preserve the “user-editable” portions of the controller. To be specific, MD backups record the contents of SRAM, which consists of the following:

  • Teach Pendant programs
  • Frames
  • Variables
  • Mastering
  • Menu settings
  • I/O configuration
  • and more

MD backups are not a complete controller backup. If you lose a main board or FROM/SRAM module, or otherwise have to completely reload your robot controller, an MD backup will not get you up and running by itself.

With that said, it would certainly be better than nothing. If you had a similar robot nearby, you could backup and restore an image from that robot. After doing so, you could restore your MD backup on top of the image. You would have a lot of work to do before you’d be out of the woods, and would be reteaching a lot of positions, but at least you’d have all of your programs.

When would you use a Fanuc MD backup?

While MD backups won’t fully restore a controller, they do have their distinct uses. I would say MD backups are most useful for two purposes:

  • Development and debug
  • Quickly restoring a single (or a few) teach pendant program(s)

In the shop where I work, a common use for MD backups is as reference material for debug and development. Robot programs that are stored in your MD backups can be viewed in a text editor, if you’ve saved your ASCII programs, or converted to readable forms with Fanuc utilities. If you’ve consolidated your backups onto one computer, you can use them to compare logic from similar applications or to borrow logic for new robot programs.

Additionally, MD backups can come in handy big-time if you have to revert to an earlier robot program.

For instance, let’s say the integrator on the previous shift moves a position to try to improve cycle time. During your shift, you find that the new position causes a portion of the robot dress to contact the part. If you have a copy of the MD backup on a thumb drive (or in PC File Services), you can quickly load your backed up version of just that one program.

Fanuc IMG Backups

An image backup is a complete image of the robot controller’s contents – both FROM and SRAM. If you have an image, you can fully restore the robot in the event of FROM/SRAM module or main board failure. An image stores everything that an MD backup stores, plus the robot’s core software, patches, and any software customizations that have been loaded for your facility.

Image backups are obviously the more complete backup solution. There’s no doubt about it – it is an absolute necessity to maintain an image backup for each and every robot, especially for production robots.

With that said, IMG backups do have one major drawback. Their contents are not easily read. As a result, they don’t offer the same value in reference and simplicity that’s found with MD backups. Images are all or nothing – their only use is to completely restore the controller.

A Final Thought On Fanuc Backup Types

You have to have images. There’s no getting around it unless you want to be teaching every point and doing a ton of config whenever you lose a main board or controller.

If you’re already visiting every robot in your facility to take image backups, it’s only a few more minutes per controller to take MD’s as well. You might as well perform both backup processes at each robot. You’ll get the images you need, plus the MD’s, which might just come in handy for development, debug, and partial restorations.

MD Backup and Restore Process on Fanuc R-30iB

How To Perform a Fanuc MD Backup

  1. Obtain a thumb drive with plenty of room available:
    • A typical MD backup is around 10 MB, depending on your robot programs and other content
  2. Insert the thumb drive into either the USB port in the black door on the controller (UD1:) or the USB port on the right side of the teach pendant (UT1:)
  3. On the TP, press the MENU button then select File -> File
  4. On the FILE menu, press F5 [UTIL]. If [UTIL] is not shown above F5, press NEXT until [UTIL] is shown and then press F5
  5. Select Set Device
  6. Select either USB Disk (UD1:) or USB on TP (UT1:), depending on where you inserted your thumb drive
  7. Press F5 [UTIL] again and select Make DIR
  8. Enter a new directory name that will help you remember which robot you’ve backed up. I like to use the Upper Case input method (like my old Nokia flip phone)
  9. Once you have made your new directory, you should be taken there. The directory listed on the top line should be UT1:\ (or UD1:\) {YOUR-NEW-DIR}\*.*
  10. Press F4 [BACKUP]
  11. Select All of above
  12. You will be prompted to “Delete UT1:\ (or UD1:\) {YOUR-NEW-DIR}\ and backup all files?”. Press F4 YES
  13. The MD backup will commence. Typical backup time is ~2-3 minutes, depending on the contents of your robot

Backing Up ASCII Programs

If you would like to save the ASCII (human-readable) versions of the robot programs as well, then, without leaving your thumb drive directory in the FILE menu:

  1. Press F4 [BACKUP]
  2. Select ASCII programs
  3. You will be prompted to “Save UT1:\ (or UD1:\) {YOUR-NEW-DIR}\{PROGRAM-NAME}.LS?”. Press F3 ALL
  4. The ASCII program backup will commence. Typical backup time is ~2 minutes, depending on the contents of your robot programs

How To Restore From a Fanuc MD Backup

  1. Obtain a thumb drive with a previous MD backup for the robot you’re working on
  2. Insert the thumb drive into either the USB port in the black door on the controller (UD1:) or the USB port on the right side of the teach pendant (UT1:)
  3. Perform a Controlled Start:
    1. Cycle power to the controller
    2. As soon as the robot starts to power back up, hold PREV and NEXT on the teach pendant to be taken to the Configuration Menu
    3. Type 3 and press ENTER to initiate a Controlled Start
  4. Once the teach pendant boots back up, press the MENU button then select File -> File
  5. On the FILE menu, press F5 [UTIL]. If [UTIL] is not shown above F5, press NEXT until [UTIL] is shown and then press F5
  6. Select Set Device
  7. Select either USB Disk (UD1:) or USB on TP (UT1:), depending on where you inserted your thumb drive
  8. Navigate to the directory in which your MD backup is stored. If no files or directories are shown, you will have to press ENTER on (* * (all files)) to see the thumb drive’s contents
  9. If [RESTOR] is not shown above F4, press FCTN, then select RESTORE/BACKUP to toggle between restore and backup
  10. Press F4 [RESTOR]
  11. Select the type of restore action that you want:
    1. System files (system variables, servo parameter data, and mastering data)
    2. TP programs (.TP, .DF, and .MN files)
    3. Application (“Non-program application files”. If you know what this means, let me know in the comments.)
    4. Applic.-TP (All of the above, except system files)
    5. Vision data
    6. All of above
  12. You will be prompted with “Restore from UT1: (or UD1:\) (OVERWRT)?”. Press F4 YES
  13. The TP will show “Accessing device. PREV to exit.” for about 30-60 seconds, then the restore will commence. Once it begins, typical restore time is ~2-6 minutes, depending on the contents of your robot
  14. As many files as possible will be restored. Once the restore is complete, you will need to perform a Cold Start:
    1. Press FCTN
    2. Select START (COLD)

Restoring a Single Robot Program From a Fanuc MD Backup

  1. Make sure that the file you want to restore is not currently being edited
  2. Obtain a thumb drive with a previous MD backup for the robot you’re working on
  3. Insert the thumb drive into either the USB port in the black door on the controller (UD1:) or the USB port on the right side of the teach pendant (UT1:)
  4. On the TP, press the MENU button then select File -> File
  5. On the FILE menu, press F5 [UTIL]. If [UTIL] is not shown above F5, press NEXT until [UTIL] is shown and then press F5
  6. Select Set Device
  7. Select either USB Disk (UD1:) or USB on TP (UT1:), depending on where you inserted your thumb drive
  8. Navigate to the directory in which your MD backup is stored. If no files or directories are shown, you will have to press ENTER on (* * (all files)) to see the thumb drive’s contents.
  9. Find the {PROGRAM-NAME}.TP program that you would like to restore. Scroll down so that the name of that program is highlighted.
  10. With the program name highlighted, press F3 LOAD
  11. Press F4 YES
  12. If it’s an existing program, you will be prompted with “UT1:\ (or UD1:\) {YOUR-BACKUP-DIR}\{PROGRAM-NAME}.TP already exists”. Press F3 OVERWRITE
  13. The restore will commence. Once it does, it should only take a few seconds, and you should see “Loaded UT1:\ (or UD1:\) {YOUR-BACKUP-DIR}\{PROGRAM-NAME}.TP” when the restore is complete.

IMG Backup and Restore Process on Fanuc R-30iB

How To Make An IMG Backup

  1. Obtain a thumb drive with plenty of room available:
    • A typical IMG is around 64 or 128 MB, depending on your robot model
  2. Insert the thumb drive into either the USB port in the black door on the controller (UD1:) or the USB port on the right side of the teach pendant (UT1:)
  3. On the TP, press the MENU button then select File -> File
  4. On the FILE menu, press F5 [UTIL]. If [UTIL] is not shown above F5, press NEXT until [UTIL] is shown and then press F5
  5. Select Set Device
  6. Select either USB Disk (UD1:) or USB on TP (UT1:), depending on where you inserted your thumb drive
  7. Press F5 [UTIL] again and select Make DIR
  8. Enter a new directory name that will help you remember which robot you’ve backed up. I like to use the Upper Case input method (like my old Nokia flip phone)
  9. Once you have made your new directory, you should be taken there. The directory listed on the top line should be UT1:\ (or UD1:\) {YOUR-NEW-DIR}\*.*
  10. Place the robot in Teach
  11. Once in Teach, press F4 [BACKUP]. Hit the right arrow button to go to the second menu page and select Image backup
  12. On the Desination device menu that pops up, select Current Directory
  13. You will be prompted to “Cycle power?”. Press F4 OK
  14. The robot will restart and the image backup will begin
  15. The Fanuc image backup process takes about 4-5 minutes and then the robot will start back up
  16. If you’re taking backups of many robots, it goes a lot quicker if you get about 5 thumb drives per person and perform multiple backups at the same time

How To Restore An IMG Backup

  1. Obtain a thumb drive with a previous IMG backup for the robot you’re working on
  2. Insert the thumb drive into either the USB port in the black door on the controller (UD1:) or the USB port on the right side of the teach pendant (UT1:)
  3. Restart the robot and load the Boot Monitor:
    1. Cycle power to the controller
    2. As soon as the robot starts to power back up, hold F1 and F5 on the teach pendant to enter the Boot Monitor menu
  4. Type 4 and press ENTER to go to the Controller backup/restore menu
  5. On the Controller backup/restore menu, type 3 and press ENTER to select Restore Controller Images
  6. Type the appropriate number to select your device (UD1: or UT1:) and press ENTER
  7. Type the appropriate number to select the directory in which your IMG backups are stored, or type 0 for the next listing of directories or -1 for the previous listing of directories, and press ENTER
  8. Once you are in the appropriate directory, type 1 for OK (Current Directory) and press ENTER
  9. Make sure the FROM and SRAM images are the appropriate size (64Mb and 2Mb respectively for the controller model I was using). If everything looks good, type 1 and press ENTER
  10. The restore process will begin. Once initiated, the Fanuc image restore process takes about 5 minutes
  11. When the restore is complete, you will be prompted with “Press ENTER to return >”. Press ENTER
  12. Type 1 for Configuration menu and press ENTER
  13. Once the Configuration menu loads, type 2 for Cold start and press ENTER
  14. After the robot restarts, check for mastering errors. Correct any errors
  15. Validate that robot program positions have not changed. Reteach positions as necessary

I hope this helps!

I hope this is helpful for you. For more automation content, plug in your email address below and I’ll let you know whenever I have something new for you. Thanks for reading and happy robot programming!

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