MrPLC Member
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  1. HMI/SCADA selection for HVAC energy management

    This is just a copy of my reply to your PM: Your application sounds more commercial than industrial and is not really part of my experience. I can offer some advice. Every SCADA package demos well.  It's not until you actually start working with it that the deficiencies come out.  Find users of your top picks and quiz them.  Also see if there is demo software available and try it out.
  2. What is your favorite and least favorite HMI software?

    Well I believe they think they are.  They even have a manual that covers part 3 of the standard.  Unfortunately my understanding is that the standard is so loosely defined that compliance doesn't actually mean much.  Not like you can take a siemens program and load it on an ab.

    When you setup your generic Ethernet module, make sure you select the correct data type.  This has snagged me more than once (sorry to admit).  It's very easy to forget and use the defaults and just fill out the number of input/output and config words.  I believe it will show a valid connection on many devices, but the data transfer will be messed up.
  4. Easy to use 3rd party HMI to use with ControlLogix L82

    I am very partial to the Inductive Automation Ignition platform.  Am using it with contrologix, plc5, slc etc right now.  I would suggest conerting your connection to your Modbus/rtu network to an Ethernet based interface.  Ignition is a server/client based system and ethernet is much easier to connect to.  Moxa sells some great little gateways to allow connections to legacy networks like that.  You mention desktop, but if you are interested in a local HMI then I would suggest RedLion.  Also connects well to the logix.
  5. What is your favorite and least favorite HMI software?

    I'm not sure if that was a rhetorical question or not.  Pain the the neck usually causes downtime. Pretty easy to figure the return on downtime cost vs equipment/development cost.  I'm not really a fan of anything Mitsu - PLC's, displays, cars, etc.  Me and Mitsu just dont seem to get along.  The AB software is really expensive; however, it works.  It has a lot of features and they keep improving it.  I'll pay for quality.  Also there is a time component.  I can program twice as fast - maybe even a greater multiplier - in the RSLogx5000 platform versus most others.  Partially due to my experience with that compared to others, but also due to the structure and ease of programming in that package.  The hardware is also pretty solid.  Install and forget.  Let the spares gather dust.  Finally there is a sanity factor. What's left of my sanity after years in this business is worth paying a little more to me.  Most of the Japanese processors seem to target eliminating my remaining grasp on reality. 
  6. How do you test PLC logic?

    I run the test versus a test document for functionality.  Retesting is a case by case basis.  Most of my logic is very modular so just rechecking the module will ensure good results.  I had full chemical plants come up and run perfectly after an I/O field checkout. Just don't see the need for a separate piece of software to do what is already manageable in the controller itself.  In addition it cuts down on training as engineers already understand how to program the Logix.  These other packages will need training and time to come up to speed on the simulation software configuration.  Simple is always better in my book.
  7. Load different programs on power up with compact logix

    This really does sound more like a recipe application rather than a new program situation.  Many places have a hard time keeping up with one application for a PLC.  I think you would find it to be an organizational nightmare to have several programs for a single machine.  Also keep in mind any changes to the machine would require changing all of those programs.  I think you want to avoid the multiple program path at all costs.
  8. How do you test PLC logic?

    This is the way I have always done simulation.  Maybe every project I have done would be considered simple to people here, but I have simulated full chemical plants fairly easily with this method. Every program has logic that automatically puts all I/O into an inhibit mode when simulation is selected.  Simple items like valves, motors and drives have blocks that handle I/O transfer.  Simulation of that module is part of that block.  Batching, temperature control, flow, pressure, etc. are not really hard to simulate in a basic manner.  Generally the simulation is to wring out the program so I never had to actually model the process.  My purpose was not really to assist the chemical engineers in figuring out their process as it was to make sure my system could control the process properly when it was installed.  In addition to simulation, this allowed me to train the operators on the system before the actual startup.  I really never have run across a system that I could not effectively simulate this way.  Someone did mention servos.  That is an area I never had to simulate, but over the last 30 years I have put together some pretty complex systems and never found a third party system that added value to what I was already doing.  Most of my recent systems were Logix systems and they are particularly suited for this type of simulation.
  9. InTouch Comms

    If my memory serves me right (can be questionable), I think the only way you can connect to any of the emulate programs is via RSLinx.  You would need to setup an OPC connection from RSLinx to Wonderware.  You will need the version of RSLinx that is capable of this - not the Lite version.
  10. Panic has many great points.  He hits on one of the areas of industrial controls that many just dont get.  You cant spend money in an industrial or even business environment with the same attitude that you would in your personal finances.  Most people's personal finances are on a fixed budget.  When you spend money it is an expense and generally is not going to affect your future income.  Very different in an industrial environment where saving money may cost you money in the future as Panic describes.  Especially if your cost savings create downtime in the future.  Two different mind sets.  The one thought that I would add to Panic's reply is that of maintainability.  If you put in an oddball application or controller into a facility, what happens if the facility needs outside help?  My mentality over the years was to only put in equipment and software that had a wide range of support available in the area.  As a contractor, I would tell my clients that I want them to return to me because I did a good job not because there was nobody else to support their system.  With that said, many of the big players in the industry have excellent support and also an ample supply of contractors familiar with their products and available to help if there are problems. 
  11. What is your favorite and least favorite HMI software?

    Just noticed this comment.  Yes RedLion products are in wide use here in the US.  They are my goto for HMI (and yes free software but not my major concern) and they also own Ntron switches which I have been using exclusively for years. I gotta say, my work is all done in the industrial sector.  Paying for good software is not a big issue to me.  Paying $500 or $5000 for a piece of software that is going to be used on a $10 million dollar line doesn't seem a big issue to me as long as it is a good solution for the line.  There are too many people in the industrial world that treat things like this as if it was a personal expense.  If I can save an hour of downtime with quality software in an industrial environment, then I have generally paid for the software.  Just a thought.  Different mindset is necessary.
  12. RS LOGIX 5000 V15

    If you only have the standard version of RSLogix5000 then you can purchase a separate license just for FBD.  You can check with Rockwell or your rep to determine what your status of ownership is there.
  13. Connect to an AB Logix5555 via 1756-ENBT?

    I would suggest starting with the Ethernet I/P driver in Linx first as that is the easiest - if it works.  There are times that network hardware or other unknown gremlins tend to make that driver not work.  That's when I back off to use the Ethenet device driver that Joe describes.  In all likelihood that is why he first asks what driver you are using.  Many of us have learned that if you are trying to use the Ethernet I/P driver and its not seeing your devices to just bail and go to the Ethernet driver. 
  14. What is your favorite and least favorite HMI software?

    Mike you may be interested in Inductive Automation's Maker edition.  They have just offered a freebie edition of their SCADA that looks really cool for playing with at home. 
  15. Periodic Task Overlap Issue

    Did not know that.  That would explain why when I was writing the post above I couldn't find the overhead settings on my L81.  Thats  a really nice feature!