After two frantic days of back-and-forth with the test equipment supplier Humboldt I finally got the Direct Shear test software "registered" (which involved repeated trips across the parking lot with the lab computer on a wheeled trolley to hook it up to the internet). Wheeled the machine BACK to the lab, reconnected everything to the actual shear device, input all the sample, project, test parameter data into the application, clicked on "Run Test"...and...nothing.
So...frantic rechecking every input and connection, adjusting parameters, attempt to start shearing motor manually fails, weapons-grade cursing everyone and everything from person who invented the goddamn direct shear test, to Humboldt, to James Watt for having encouraged people to mess about with goddamn science...at which point I notice the Big Red Emergency Stop Switch is pushed in, disconnecting the motor.
Gently pull BRS to "off" position. Recheck parameters. Click "Run Test".