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Author Topic: New features wanted!! Apply here!  (Read 295555 times)

BobO

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New features wanted!! Apply here!
« on: April 25, 2007, 11:19:50 AM »
Ok...realizing that I might find myself frightened by the proposals..;)..I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Simple question: If wishes were free, what changes would you make to the DirectLogic PLCs?

We're leaving this wide open, so don't be timid! Post!!
« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 10:07:26 PM by BobO »
"It has recently come to our attention that users spend 95% of their time using 5% of the available features. That might be relevant." -BobO

MKL

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2007, 12:34:27 PM »
features i would put into the PLC are:

-possibility to send larger emails.
-standard ethernetport inside ( i know it will cost more, but almost every PLC i order now i have to order also a seperate ecom100 what will cost me 1 expansion slot(and money ;) )
-support for usb so i could connect for example memorystick or a barcodescanner to it, but it should also usefull to program the PLC.
- Optional cards so the plc could also be a master for: CANbus, PROFIbus, DEVICEnet.

that's it for now, if i have more ideas you will hear it


« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 12:38:50 PM by MKL »

Acadien

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2007, 06:22:23 PM »
For DirectLogic:
The ability to subdivide a project into multiple files or ladders, somewhat similar to RSlogix. Doesn't have to be the same, just a better way to "compartmentalize" a program.

For PLC's:
A co-processor card with a i386 type processor, USB and Ethernet so I could run Linux.

C-more:
A variant with linux.

LookoutDirect:
A version that runs on Linux.

Yes I am somewhat of a Linux Fan.
Gilbert G Godin PEng

PLCGuy

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2007, 09:18:16 PM »
I agree with MLK on the ethernet and usb. The ethernet card for a DL205 is 299 so a little more cost would be okay.
AD has the terminal blocks you can use as Devicenet etc. I believe they are call T1k. Why not have a CPU and use it. Some manufactures are coming out with I/O with a CPU onboard. Nice idea, it eliminates I/O blocks having to be added to a PLC inside the cabinet. I generally wire from a PLC I/O to a bank of terminal blocks for easier wiring. The T1k series with a CPU would be nice. Less space.
HMI with the PLC built in are appearing on the market also.
Some of the features of Allen Bradley software such as being able to cut and paste individual I/O in ladder is neat. In AD you have to copy the whole rung versus AB you can paste just the one item
Just giving what I see on the market, I really like using AD and would not want to see AD fall behind on latest trends.

whofbauer

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2007, 08:26:01 PM »
Hi, just gona agree with some of the others...but i just noticed you fixed some stuf (ver 5.1)with window docking & stuf, good job.
Agree with PLCGuy
Some of the features of Allen Bradley software such as being able to cut and paste, highlight, drag then drop (or kind of copy) individual segments of ladder is neat. In AD you have to copy the whole rung versus AB you can paste just the one item or grouped items.
Ive been using others software so long i just started using AD 2 years ago. Im used to writting ladder knowing im going to cut just sections of it and paste or highlight(copy)/drag/drop-paste. It would also be nice to be able to write partial rungs without having to finish the rung but have the program save like a draft.

Quote: Acadien
The ability to subdivide a project into multiple files or ladders.

Like Acadien, it would be nice to have a "folder" or "split view" that could be opened and closed in the ladder. I also would like to see better handling of mutiple windows. I use 3 21" monitors and it would be nice to have each ladder window have its dedicated xref window/data window.
As a direct answer to the question, changes to the plc, hum, maybe this is still sofware related... how about puting the pid stuf into the ladder instead of somewhere outside. its kind of frustrating having to go out of the main ladder to figure out whats going on in the PID. Havin the pid in the ladder would make it easier to troubleshoot, program i think. If it was a folder in the ladder like stated up above?


« Last Edit: May 01, 2007, 08:48:36 PM by whofbauer »

rlawson

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2007, 09:20:29 AM »
My $.02,

I agree with the above posts, especially about being to divide the program into files or such.  But the improvements that I would like to see are:

+ Being able to use the comparison instructions on something other than BCD, like real or binary.

+ Doing a search on a specific memory address that is used in a formula within an IBOX does not show up in the search results, nor does it in the XRef view that it is actually being  used in a particular ladder rung.  The only way that I can find it is to manually scroll down through the program until I come upon it.

+ A inconvenience that I run into frequently is - for example, I have quite a few analog values that are in bin format, but in order to do some manipulating (floating point math) on these values, I must convert all of these addresses into Real.  Then when I have to use the comparison instruction, I have to convert yet another time to BCD.  What I end up with is lots of BIN, REAL, BCD values of all of the analog memory addresses.  I need an easier way to do all of this math without all of the duplicate versions of memory addresses.

+ A ramping IBOX that is NOT filtered.  I would like to specify a starting point and an ending point with something like a rate variable that I can utilize in a linear fashion, instead of the FILTER or FILTERB IBOX which is not very linear.

+ A more versatile analog scale IBOX.  One that you can specify more things then just hi and low engineering values.  For example, be able to scale counts (2000 to 1000) to (1500 to 4000).  Inverted scaling.  I had to scale an analog input value from 2.1 volts (860 counts) to 7.8 volts (3194 counts) scaled to output 0 to 10v (0-4095).  It was fairly easy to do but it could have been easier with a more versatile IBOX.  And more than just 12 bit resolution.

+ PID setup tab - Configure supports 12, 15, and 16 bit.  The T1F-16AD-2 analog input terminator field I/O has a 14 bit (13 bit with sign) resolution.

+ A ramp soak IBOX or something of that nature that shows the time elapsed and remaining in a particular ramp/soak segment.  And a CANCEL or STOP for the ramp soak, not just the start/hold/resume/jog.

Justa few minor observations, that is all that I can think of on the spur of the moment.


Robert
« Last Edit: May 02, 2007, 09:23:18 AM by rlawson »

BobO

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2007, 05:56:39 PM »
Ok guys...thanks for the feedback so far! Keep 'em coming!

Without going into detail, I will say that a number of these features are going to show up in products in the future. I won't say which features, and I won't say when, but cool new stuff will be coming out...  ;)
"It has recently come to our attention that users spend 95% of their time using 5% of the available features. That might be relevant." -BobO

MKL

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2007, 03:32:59 PM »
just some other thoughts:

-full duplex serial communication on the serial ports so you can read and write at the same time:)

-MRX and WRX boxes for H0-ECOM100 .

-more memory and some kind of recipe function.






chris.zeman

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2007, 10:12:19 PM »
A few things that come to mind:

----------
DirectSoft: Complex AND above a JOIN

I would love to see all the RSLogix type features mentioned above implemented into DirectSoft. Dividing my programs into individual ladders would be great, but I love Logix's data view. It's nice to hover over individual bits and see the description. Changing values is also a breeze. I guess I would also like the ability to FORCE inputs and outputs, but it's not that important to me.
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ECOM Modules: Ability to authenticate with an SMTP server

Chris

Jackk7

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2007, 06:47:03 PM »
The more numbering systems you have available, the more confusing things can get. Each numbering system has some advantages, so it becomes difficult to get rid of any of them - with the one exception of BCD. BCD is a system made up of all the disadvantages of the other numbering systems. It can't show polarity. It can't keep track of decimal points. It's hardly efficient to use up 16 bits and only get 4 unsigned digits.

Hex does have an advantage in getting larger numbers in smaller spaces, but Hex and BCD are both products of the bad old days when hardware was slow and programmers were cheaper than microprocessors. It's time to get BCD and Hex out of the software we are creating now. While we're at it, in AD programming, Octal isn't as annoying as BCD since it doesn't hide in the data, but why do I have to do entries in base 8, when everything I'm working with is a computer that can make the conversions way faster than I can?

Goodby to BCD. Goodby to Hex. Goodby to Octal. Humans work in Decimal numbers and computers are just going to have to learn to cope with it.

BobO

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2007, 11:23:54 PM »
Sweet! Thanks guys! Bring them on...

Regarding numerical radii:
Despite there being 5 displayed formats, there are really only 3 encoding schemes: BCD, real, and integer. Meaning...octal, decimal, and hexadecimal are all encoded identically...despite being displayed as radix 8, 10, and 16. At times each has its purpose, but doesn't effect the way the hardware sees the number. The values 012, 10, and 0xA are all the same in hardware...the 4 bit binary value 1010.

While octal numbering is frowned on by many folks, many consider it easier to use when the underlying I/O is grouped by 8s. Is it easier to have X0-7, X10-17, and X20-27...or...X0-7, X8-15, X16-23? It's a matter of preference and there are folks on both sides of that argument. Octal does cause confusion at times though.

Now hex is another issue. As a programmer, having a number system that makes it easy to directly see specific bit or byte values is invaluable. In the code that I write, I routinely use both decimal and hex...specifically because I need to visualize bits. A value of 0x12345678 allows me to see the bit values in each nibble of a 32 bit integer. At times, that is hugely beneficial...say when trying to isolate individual bytes due to each byte having its own meaning. That same number expressed as decimal is 305419896, and clearly each byte's effect on the total number is completely obscured.

BCD on the other hand, is a holdover from a bygone era and has no practical purpose in a modern controller.

I think the real answer is a more flexible system that allows you to choose base 8 or 10 for I/O numbering...since both have value...and constants that are user selectable. In "C", we can specify base 8, 10, and 16, as well as floating point, simply by the way we enter the value. An octal value has a leading 0...04000, a decimal value is just the number...2048, a hex value has a leading 0x...0x800, and a floating point value has a decimal point....2048.0. All 4 of those values are 2048. The octal, decimal, and hex versions encode to an integer, and the floating point is a 32 bit "float" in "C" parlance.

With a system like that, you can basically do what you want. No more K1, or R1.0....just 4095 or 0xFFF or whatever...your choice. Any problems with that approach?

You never know....stuff like this may be coming to a DirectLogic PLC sooner than you think. ;) We are certainly listening....
"It has recently come to our attention that users spend 95% of their time using 5% of the available features. That might be relevant." -BobO

chris.zeman

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2007, 09:40:26 PM »
That's exciting to hear, Bob!!!  ;D

I was originally going to post one other idea I had earlier, but can't seem to recall what it was. That's okay; another one comes to mind.

One of my co-workers, though, has been working with controllers from Z-World, and their SBC's allow you to upload your own custom HTML files. I don't know if it would be possible or not in future versions of the ECOMs, but it would be great to have that capability! :)

Hey! My memory came back!!! :D How about an iBox for Report-By-Exception?

Chris

b_carlton

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2007, 07:33:32 PM »
Features within the PLCs themselves

1. Ability to have timers and counters work with binary instead of BCD (systemwide selection)

2. AND above a Join, probably involving a 'logical push' and 'logical pop' instruction

3. Inline Double word and REAL comparisons

4. User created IBoxes - probably defined in the Interrupt/Subroutine area, identified by a number

Features within Directsoft

1. Ability to assign a nickname to a subroutine and call it by that nickname

2. The same for Data Lable areas

3. Use of the LDA command with a nickname

(Are you seeing a trend here?)

4. Assign memory space to a Data Lable by an amount of space without assigning a value to each space. Something like a 'Reserve Memory X' command in addition to the ACON and NCON commands. Directsoft may just generate a bunch of NCON's with 0 as the argument. That would be ok.
An output is a PLC's way of getting its inputs to change.

franji1

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2007, 08:54:00 AM »
b_carlton,

Welcome to the Host Engineering forum!  Nice mug!  BTW, I don't look like Jack Lambert.

ALL your ideas are excellent, some of which we already knew about from the ADC forum.  We are hot-n-heavy in the middle of development, and this is the kind of stuff we are looking for!

chris.zeman

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Re: New features wanted!! Apply here!
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2007, 05:22:17 PM »
I'm preparing to be at home for 2 weeks, and a couple ideas came to mind. I was setting up the firewall at work to allow for connectivity to multiple controllers at work.

1. Export/Import Links
2. Allow for entering a domain name or IP address.

Here's one more that isn't important, but would be COOL. DirectSoft scans the network for ECOM's when setting up an ethernet link. How about the ability to enter specific search parameters, such an IP address (or domain name) and port numbers to scan. DirectSoft could then find all ECOM's that are accessible from outside a firewall.

Like I said, it isn't important, but it sure would make things easier. :)