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   Author  Topic: Product wish lists & pros & cons....  (Read 4385 times)
BC SYSTEMS
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Product wish lists & pros & cons....
« on: April 15, 2010, 10:46:02 AM »
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Hi,

I have been a big fan of your products for some time now,  I have some TMD24's in the field and I'm just about to add another 2-3 PLC's to the same site. 

So far they have proved to be very reliable, and the support you guys provide is unmatched in the industry.

My comments on the hardware:

1) My biggest gripe with the PLC's and peripheral cards are the lack of support provided by the DIN rail connector kit.  The PCB is a non standard size for most universal PCB enclosurse which is a shame, as this would greatly improve the aesthetics of the product.

http://www.dinrailenclosure.com/dinsupports.php

2) Connectors, I have mixed feelings over these, I too prefer the Phoenix connectors as mentioned by other posts.  I have only ever had one issue with an analogue input connection, after I swapped this with a spare connector, all was well.  I think they are practical but not optimal.

3) The new F series, I have seen one of these in the flesh but I have yet to play with one.  I?m sure they are solid like the rest of the range. I noticed some text on the PCB "CAN?, are you looking to add CAN to these PLC's and associated modules?  I think this would be a great addition.

4) Again on the F series, the analogue IO is much improved with a 10V supply, which in my experience is a standard reference.  My big problem is why did you go with the DB15?  I think this is real mistake, DB15 cables and interfaces are becoming obsolete and this should have been terminals, I appreciate PCB space is tight but this is a step backward in my opinion.

4) One thing that is common over here (UK) is that the PCBs are flipped over, with only the connectors showing on the ?clean? side of the board.  This way all the "guts" are out of sight and you have room for PCB labeling, company logo etc.

My comments on the software:

1)   Quick tags ? why can?t you add more than 5?  Surely it cannot be hard to add as many as you want?

2)   I would like to see multiple pages of PLC code, by this I mean if I have some code for say pump control no.1  on page 1 and code for pump no.x on page x for example.  All the pages can be compiled as one when downloaded to the PLC.  This is just a house keeping thing that I am used to seeing. Another solution would be to compile multiple files, although this may be flawed as keeping the IO tags unique maybe a challenge, I?m sure the complier would pick it up but it may be a headache for the programmer.

3)   Modbus mapping ? I would really like to see an option to map the data memory to a Modbus register at bit level not just word level i.e. DM[1] ? DM[16] = 41001

4)   I would also like to use the data memory as a contact in the main program i.e. use DM[1] as a contact in a circuit to set a relay or output etc  if the value in DM[1] > 0 it would be true.  I know you have setio, set relay commands etc but you have to hunt these down in your custom function, and this would be more direct.

5)   Longer IO tag names would also be nice.

6)   Import and export IO tag names, custom functions etc to excel



My apologies if any or all of the above exist already, if they do I have failed to find them. 

Regarding the hardware, to implement any of the changes there will inevitably involve a cost, for some of the items I believe the cost would be justified

All in all I like the product very much and look forward to using it in the future.
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Re:Product wish lists & pros & cons....
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 11:27:09 AM »
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Thank you very much for your very valuable feedback. We are also glad to learn that overall you are satisfied with the performance of the PLC that you have been using!

I hope the following answers to some of your questions:

1) Did you know about the DIN-KIT that we sell with our PLCs? It has been around for a number of years:

    file:///D:/websites/tri-plc.com/DINkit.htm

2) Screw terminal connectors: What we use are made by PTR Phoenix Mecano of Germany and have proven pretty reliable in many applications. There was some issue with a batch of the connector pins being slightly out of spec (diameter of the pin was too thin) and that resulted in some contact problem if the terminal block happen to be the other end of the spec (i.e. contact spacing too wide). We have fedback this issue to the connector factory and gotten the assurance that they would tighten the spec.

3) CAN bus is being planned for future product models but protocol has been decided yet. CANopen or CIA is popular in Europe but in North America it is not talked about much. Some users are more interested in vehicular J1939 spec but again it is a niche market. What kind of protocol are you using now for CAN?

4) F1616-BA has 10V analog I/O but F2424 only 5V analog I/Os, which is also extremely popular because many low cost sensors come in 0-5V range. We decided to use the DB15 connector because it allows OEM users to create their own specialty analog board (e.g. for signal processing) and connect to the PLC very easily via low cost DB15 connector cables. There was initially a plan to add a DB15 to screw terminal board if there is popular demand, but so far many users don't seem to mind the DB15 connectors we provide them and the plan for the DB15 to screw terminal board is temporarily shelved.

Software

1) I am glad you have put the quick tag to good use. Having too many quick tag may be more confusing? No?  Anyway, we certainly will send your suggestions to software development for consideration.

2) multiple pages of Custom function: If you are using version 6.2x or 6.3x there is a "View Other Function" selection menu which allows you to open another custom function but you can always use it to view the same custom function that you are currently editing and scroll to another page in your code.

3) Modbus bit mappings - this has been available for some times. You can download the T100MD User Manual and check Chapter 5 for the Modbus mapping table to see the bit mappings. They are mapped to Modbus space 0x1xxxx and 0x2xxxx space.

4) DMs are really meant for storing numerical data. If you want to store bit data and use it for decision makings, why not just use the internal relays? You can use TESTIO(relay name) to test the relay logic states easily in TBASIC. Also they can be used more easily in ladder logic circuit which executes much faster than TBASIC. You can view their status during online monitoring. By giving them meaningful names their status are instantly visible on the online monitoring screen.

5) The new Version 6.2x or 6.3x allows up to 15 characters in the I/O label name. What version are you using? Try to upgrade to version 6.31 if you are still using the old versions. Just follow the "TRiLOGI Upgrade" link in the "Help" menu to obtain free upgrade.

Once again we appreciate your feedback and will consider them for future implementations.


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Re:Product wish lists & pros & cons....
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 03:54:05 PM »
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Hello,

I was aware of the DIN kit, but like others on the forum I believe it is inadequate.

Regarding the CAN bus, I work in the generator industry, J1939 is the standard on all new machines European and American it would be nice to "piggy back" on the CAN bus and read the broadcast messages for displaying on the HMI. 

One other advantage is remote IO, currently your limited to the IDC connector for you expansion boards or another PLC hanging on the RS485 network via net commands or Modbus.  If you have a CAN connection on you PLC and IO cards for the right application (being shellfish here!) I think it would be a good thing.  CAN to FO convertors with redundant networks are common place now and Phoenix Contact make a great module for just this.

The DB15 connector..... I'm not convinced personally, if I could do more to persuade you please let me know!

What do you think of the "Flipping the PCB" over idea?  It makes the product look much more modern. 

For the software side of things, having additional pages of tabs for each page helps keep the code organised, again if this is something your software bods could look at I'm sure I?m not the only one who would benefit from this??

Modbus mapping

This is a big section for me as every PLC I have use's this gateway.  I have studied section 5 many times but to me (again please correct me) inputs, outputs and relays are mapped to bits i.e. 40001.1 , 40001.2 etc, but the DM's are mapped to words, i.e. one DM per Modbus word.  If possible I would like to group 16 DM locations to create one 16 bit register, this way I?m only reading one word and not 16!!

I would like to use the DM's for bit mapping within the program purely because this is what I?m used to.  Both European and American branded PLC's do this.

I?m using 6.31, I keep myself up to date as you progress the software with each version.

Appreciate you response and thoughts.
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Re:Product wish lists & pros & cons....
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 05:53:19 PM »
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Perhaps you have the older version of the User's Manual which did not show the Modbus mappings for the bits? Please download the newer version  from the website:

http://www.tri-plc.com/documents/T100M-man.pdf

The last column in table 5.1 shows the mapping to the bit address space instead of the word address space.  Page 5.2 also describe the bit address mappings.

Thanks for the suggestion on the PCB design. It is unlikely for us to change the hardware design for the "flip over" that you mentioned. It means soldering components on both sides which could easily double the assembly cost.
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Re:Product wish lists & pros & cons....
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2010, 04:22:10 PM »
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Hi,

I have the latest version and like described above the DM are mapped to words not bits.  Only the inputs, relays and outputs are mapped to bits.

This is a shame,  I don't think it would be hard for the software bods to have a flexible option to map x to words or bits.  You could use the standard map of user defined.

Cheers
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Re:Product wish lists & pros & cons....
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2010, 08:13:51 AM »
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DMs are 16-bit quantity. Each DM can contain up to 16-bit of on-off information. I am not sure why it should be "mapped" into single bit space.

If you want register to represent ON/OFF space you can always use the internal relays (there are 512 of them).

If you prefer to group the status into a single DM you can use the SETBIT function to set individual bit inside a DM to represent different status. These can then be read as a group by a Modbus master.

If you need to spread the bits in a DM into bit-addressable relays, you can simply do the following:

    RELAY[1] = DM


  • RELAY[1] represent internal relay bit #1 to #16. This means that all the 16 bits in the DM become bit addressable by an external MODBUS host using Modbus function 01 or 02.


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    Re:Product wish lists & pros & cons....
    « Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 02:23:05 AM »
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    Hi,

    I was aware of being able to use the relays but unaware of being able to use the SETbit function for DM.  this is great news Thanks!
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