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Author Topic: Help us design our next Do-more platform!!  (Read 24906 times)
BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« on: December 27, 2013, 10:12:51 pm »

OK...so here's the deal...

Do-more has been in the wild for a little over a year and the response has been overwhelmingly positive...however...we do get a lot of requests for platforms more like the DL06. That's not surprising, the DL06 has been so incredibly successful. The question is what that really means. The DL06 is a nice chunk of built-in I/O, with 4 expansion slots, at a good price...but what is the real driver? Price? I/O count? Package size? Expansion? I suspect it is a combination of all of the above, but I would really like to hear your opinions.

I am personally pretty fond of expando-bricks...bricks of one or more base size(s) with some form of modular expansion, so I'm pretty sure that will factor heavily in the design. The question becomes I/O counts and types, and where the sweet spots would be if there were multiple brick sizes. Obviously you want a ton of everything...in a super small package...virtually free...right? Unfortunately reality dictates that we have to make compromises.

So...with the intention of optimizing price points, sizes, and application fitness...if you could choose 3 basic brick sizes, specifying discrete, analog, and encoder/pulse I/O types and counts...what would they be and why? The key point is to *balance* cost, size, and fitness for the broadest application base likely to use Do-more. More isn't better if it drives price and size out of range.

I'd love to get a very robust discussion going here, so don't be shy!! It's pretty rare that end-users get to 'sit down' with the designers and offer guidance on a product, but that is exactly what I want to do here. So...sound off!!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 10:15:30 pm by BobO » Logged

"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
amos
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2013, 07:30:13 pm »

Yes I would agree with your thought. Something like a dl05 expandable like an 06. I like an 05 better when it comes to wiring. Something like a click is OK too. We do more smaller projects where a dl205 is overkill. Or maybe install a domore processor in an 05 and 06 .
   
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Controls Guy
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2013, 08:32:42 pm »

I almost never use an 05.  The low I/O count (8/6 expandable to 30) in combination with lack of expansion is a killer, plus no PNP outputs.

The I/O count on the 06 (20/16, expandable to 100 + Modbus) handles probably 10 times the fraction of projects an 05 will, so I use a lot more of them, but the size and aspect ratio is weird.  Prefer deeper, less panel area, with wiring arms running vertically in normal PLC style.  Don't care about having space for an LCD on the front.  I've used one of those exactly once.

Personally, I don't like I/O modules that are too dense to have terminals and you have to use a high-density connector and a remote terminal.  Once you figure in the added space and cost, you haven't saved anything over having modules with terminals.  The exception is when you can use a cable with free leads on the other end and you can connect to loads in the control cabinet.  I've used the 32-point 205 modules like that.
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deep6ixed
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2013, 03:08:39 am »

With the release of the Analog options for the Click, at our shop we have actually stepped away from the DL05/06 series for our smaller projects.  Now we use the Click for small jobs and the 205 /w a Do-More for the more complex jobs.  And by small jobs, anything with more than a few relays and a timer or two, and its done by the Click.

And I'm forced to agree with Controls Guy, sometimes smaller isn't that much better, some of these super high density connectors have really become a pain to work with.

But for the next 'Vision' of the Do-More?  Why not do something that combines the best of both worlds?  A Microbrick format like the DL05 with the expansion style like the Click?  Add more on as you need it and not be limited to just the 4 slots? 



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ATU
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2013, 09:29:05 am »

I would like to see
1. Native Ethernet Port
2. High speed I/O (50 - 100 microsecond range)  with configurable filters (program accessible)
3. Native High Speed Counters
4. Stackable I/O
5. I would sacrifice density for higher current outputs with overload protection (just hate it when I blow an output on an 06)
6. Media Card + Host Port USB Module Option
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jwbaker3
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2013, 10:17:41 am »

I would like to see the next generation of the Do More in a stackable format, so we can add I/O as needed. I like this type so we don't loose panel space unless we need the I/O and we are not restricted to only 4 additional I/O cards. Some onboard I/O would be nice more the better. As far as analog I would like to add this as needed, we use a lot of analog, some systems may use Thermocouple/voltage or RTD, 0/10 volt or 4/20ma inputs and outputs. We have a lot of systems that have 4/20 ma input and 0/10 volt output or the reverse. If we were able to setup the onboard analog as needed (0/10-4/20 in and 0/10-4/20 out in the same unit) it would be nice to have a unit with 4 analog in and 2 analog out. We need built in Ethernet and I really like the USB programming port. I would also hope we will be able to transport the program from platform to platform in the Do More family. I agree with the other post, I am not a fan of the onboard LCD, if operator/user changes are needed use an HMI and for troubleshooting use a PC. I don't use the onboard 24 volt power supply on the 06 (I know some do) if we need 24 vdc for analog of other I/O we always use a separate power supply, for noise reduction and if something fries I would rather replace a separate power supply than the CPU, if an onboard power supply was clean enough and larger than 300 ma I may use it. We will need a range of I/O from ac/dc discrete, thermocouple/MV, RTD, analog 0/10 volt / 4/20ma and relay outputs. Maybe more later.

Thanks, JW       
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BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2013, 11:56:11 am »

Great feedback guys! Thanks!!

I will respond to some of the specifics in some quoted posts following...
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2013, 12:18:47 pm »

Or maybe install a domore processor in an 05 and 06 .

Yeah...Host is really not a mechanicals-savvy company, so we would prefer something like this...but there are a number of reasons we probably won't go down this road. Some of those reasons are a bit sensitive, so out of respect for all involved I won't elaborate. It isn't totally dead, but going a different path completely eliminates multiple classes of hurdles and we feel that the resulting product will have less limitations.
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
b_carlton
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2013, 12:33:35 pm »

Actually, while we use the DL06 a lot I hope you don't use that physical platform. The add-on card slot guides and latching system leave a lot to be desired. The small add-on cards are very limited.

Better the central unit, with the triple com ports and varying numbers of embedded I/O (possible some high speed or analog) then add-on cards for other HS counting, analog, comms etc. 
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An output is a PLC's way of getting its inputs to change.
BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2013, 12:52:43 pm »

I almost never use an 05.  The low I/O count (8/6 expandable to 30) in combination with lack of expansion is a killer, plus no PNP outputs.

The current thinking is to have 3 or 4 brick sizes, from very small to pretty large. The key here is that Siemens and AB have units down in the 6/4 range, that while not terribly capable, do have a place. In DL, I think DL06 is the highest volume, but DL05/DL105 have sold a fair amount as well. Click is probably eating into the DL05/DL105 business pretty good, but I don't have those numbers. There is certainly a place for low counts though, and ADC is selling a big pile of Click. The key is clearly that low I/O counts need low prices to match.

The I/O count on the 06 (20/16, expandable to 100 + Modbus) handles probably 10 times the fraction of projects an 05 will, so I use a lot more of them, but the size and aspect ratio is weird.  Prefer deeper, less panel area, with wiring arms running vertically in normal PLC style.  Don't care about having space for an LCD on the front.  I've used one of those exactly once.

Vertical is hard with bricks, but natural for expansion. The whole justification of a brick is to save cost by putting as much into the infrastructure as possible...one housing, large PWBs, one power supply. That naturally tends toward horizontal. Modular is flexible, but bricks are cheap. While not always optimal, cheap sells. If the cheap also happens to be good, cheap sells a lot. That's our target.

Personally, I don't like I/O modules that are too dense to have terminals and you have to use a high-density connector and a remote terminal.  Once you figure in the added space and cost, you haven't saved anything over having modules with terminals.  The exception is when you can use a cable with free leads on the other end and you can connect to loads in the control cabinet.  I've used the 32-point 205 modules like that.

I see us using Euro style terminals, primarily due to cost, flexibility, and abundant supply. My personal preference is 5mm, although for 16 point expansion it will probably have to drop to 3.5mm. Not sure about 32 point. It inevitably becomes the answer for somebody, although I doubt the volumes are very high.

Upon choosing single stack Euro style, your X dimension is driven almost exclusively by the required screw heads for the target I/O count. We could probably pack stuff a bit tighter if we went with a custom terminal, but we are trying to minimize custom and maximize value. The result will likely be a package somewhat larger than it needs to be...but...hopefully with a cleaner installation due to more relaxed spacing.
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2013, 12:55:25 pm »

A Microbrick format like the DL05 with the expansion style like the Click?  Add more on as you need it and not be limited to just the 4 slots? 

That is precisely the vision.
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2013, 12:57:53 pm »

I would like to see
1. Native Ethernet Port
2. High speed I/O (50 - 100 microsecond range)  with configurable filters (program accessible)
3. Native High Speed Counters
4. Stackable I/O
5. I would sacrifice density for higher current outputs with overload protection (just hate it when I blow an output on an 06)
6. Media Card + Host Port USB Module Option

Current picture answers 1 to 5 very well. We would definitely like to do #6 as well, although not sure where in the road map it will fit.
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
cyounger
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2013, 01:08:14 pm »

How about a motion controller style similar to a trio in size and come out with remote I/O that can hook to it.
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BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 01:18:49 pm »

I would like to see the next generation of the Do More in a stackable format, so we can add I/O as needed. I like this type so we don't loose panel space unless we need the I/O and we are not restricted to only 4 additional I/O cards. Some onboard I/O would be nice more the better.

I agree that stackable is the best choice, and once you choose stackable, you largely eliminate slot limitations.

As far as analog I would like to add this as needed, we use a lot of analog, some systems may use Thermocouple/voltage or RTD, 0/10 volt or 4/20ma inputs and outputs. We have a lot of systems that have 4/20 ma input and 0/10 volt output or the reverse. If we were able to setup the onboard analog as needed (0/10-4/20 in and 0/10-4/20 out in the same unit) it would be nice to have a unit with 4 analog in and 2 analog out.

Good feedback. Not sure about the design implications of voltage and current from the same channel, but configurable voltage channels is no problem.

We need built in Ethernet and I really like the USB programming port.

We are considering a two tiered approach. A stripped model with just USB and no analog, and a higher end model with analog and Ethernet.

I would also hope we will be able to transport the program from platform to platform in the Do More family.

The only limitation would be platform dependent resources. If the new platform were to contain features that other platforms didn't support, the program would obviously need some work. As far as moving between platforms, it would work exactly like it does now...which if you haven't tried it, it's completely automatic to move between the Sim, T1H, and H2.

I don't use the onboard 24 volt power supply on the 06 (I know some do) if we need 24 vdc for analog of other I/O we always use a separate power supply, for noise reduction and if something fries I would rather replace a separate power supply than the CPU, if an onboard power supply was clean enough and larger than 300 ma I may use it.

We would likely try to support a low current supply for the guy who needs a little for a sensor or two, but for cost considerations, I don't see us trying to replace a bulk supply.

We will need a range of I/O from ac/dc discrete, thermocouple/MV, RTD, analog 0/10 volt / 4/20ma and relay outputs. Maybe more later.

We would support all the standards. If not built in, certainly as option modules.
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
BobO
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Yes Pinky, Do-more will control the world!


« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 01:21:40 pm »

How about a motion controller style similar to a trio in size and come out with remote I/O that can hook to it.

Motion controller? We'd like to do something further down the road, but the near term product is just an old-fashioned PLC built around Do-more.
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"We would rather apologize to 20% for what we chose not to do, than to apologize to 100% for what we did poorly." -BobO
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