Static IMG (Flash replacement)

IconConfiguration PC software

case study

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Introduction

As we know, many of the modern electronic modules from various producers are designed as microcontroller embedded systems. This allows customers to achieve different functionality by modifying some module parameters, which are, in contrast to a main firmware, configurable by the external configuration software run on a desktop, laptop or handheld computer.

The measured value converter is a typical example of such module. Many producers offer electronic systems which, by using common hardware modules, make possible to process the inputs from various types of sensors, and convert them into unified current and voltage outputs (e.g. 0-10V, 0-20mA, 4-20mA, etc.). Some functionality of such device thus depends on the actual configuration stored in the memory of the converter.

Configuration software

Figure 1: Measured value converter, configurable by PC software

The typical features of configuration software are:

  • The configuration of a valid set of module parameters. The configuration software ensures that the final configuration will contain only those values and combinations of parameters that are actually allowable in terms of proper functionality of the electronic module.
  • Storing the parameters into a database or a configuration file for later use (e.g. use of modules with identical functionality)
  • Download feature (configuration parameters from PC are downloaded into electronic module, in order to adjust the behavior of the module)
  • Upload feature (configuration parameters are loaded from electronic module to PC in order to store the actual configuration)
  • Printing of the configuration
  • Creation of log file about the progress of parameterization
  • Monitoring of module operation
  • Simple monitoring of the measured values (data can be displayed as graphic or text)

Firmware is often stored in updatable Flash memory, which makes possible to update it (or parts of it) in case of need. Manufacturers of such memory modules use to provide special software tools or modules, able to do this procedure with ease. They may be added to configuration software in order to extend its scope of use to the areas such as manufacturing of electronic modules.

The configuration software may be also utilized to configure far more complex devices than the converters mentioned above. Programmable logic controllers (PLC) and operator terminals can be also based on microcontrollers. As for the PLC, sophisticated computer applications are used to create PLC programs. These offer are either text-based programming methods (such as “Instruction List” - IL or “Structured Text” - ST) or graphical based programming methods (such as „Sequential Function Chart“ - SFC, „Ladder Diagram“ – LD or „Function Block Diagram“ - FBD).

TAs for the operator terminals, there are visualization applications which are able to create visualizations of technological process.

Besides of configuring various microcontroller embedded systems, the configuration software may also be applied to applications like OPC servers, SoftPLCs and database systems.

SAE Automation has been developing the configuration software for various customers over the past few years, thus gained a lot of experience of this kind. We developed or participated in the following configuration tools:

SPSPlucG

Configuration software

Figure2: Graphical terminal MT-120,configurable via SPSPlusG
SPSPlusG was the projection software run under DOS. We created the following parts:
  • Font editor
  • Graphical screen editor
  • Download and Upload features for graphical types of terminals
  • Printing features

RS-97

Configuration software

Figure 3: Exploitation of electronic camshaft in the car compactor

Highlights:

  • Configuration tool for the electronic camshafts
  • Project setup for the group of compactors with camshafts
  • Printing features

Configuration software

Figure 4: offline programming of the RS-97


SPSPlusWin

Configuration software

Figure 5: Overview window with the wiew of all screens of the project

  • font editor and convertor (.fnt and .fon files)
  • adjustment of download and upload features for various terminals

Configuration software

Figure 7: Importing SPSPlusG configuration to SPSPlusWin

SPSPlusWin is the projection software under Windows. Highlights:
  • the ability to import configurations from older SW SPSPlusG
  • graphical screen editor for graphic and text terminals

Configuration software

Figure 6: „Drag and drop" functionality - works within the project scope as well as between projects

  • download/upload to/from graphic and text configurators
  • print-out generator

UTM-95

Configuration software

Figures 8,9: UTM-95; Configurator and terminal for UTM-95

Highlights:

  • configuration tool and terminal program in one application
  • configurations stored in .ini files
  • ability to change the configuration online (via GSM network)
  • service mode allows the user to load .log files from UTM-95 module via network

OpcDbGateway – configurator

Highlights:

  • runtime configuration (programming) of SoftPLC, embedded in OpcDbGateway
  • configuration of process database and configuration database
  • ability to configure OPC server address spaces
  • monitoring of process points connected through external OPC servers
  • ability to runtime-configure alarms, which are processed in OpcDbGateway
  • report definition and management
  • log file management
  • verification of configuration files, error locating
  • creating configurations (programs) in graphical editor
Configuration software

Figure 10.: OpcDbGateway configurator

Configurator for OpenModbus OPC server

Highlights:

  • configuration of OPC server address space
  • monitoring of process points connected through external OPC servers

I.S.Wizard for I.S pac

Configuration software

Figure 11: Configuration software I.S.Wizard for I.S PAC

Highlights:

  • configuration of measured value converter
  • allows to create projects for converter employment
  • printing of project information
  • configuration download
  • configuration upload
  • monitoring of process points (both graphical and numerical form)
  • ability to copy and clone modules within a project
  • ability to copy and move entire subdirectories within a project

BMS-2 – configurators

BMS2 is programmable radio remote control system. BMS2 configurator allows to:

  • configure I/Os of mobile industrial machine controlling system
  • adjust parameters of radio communication
  • adjust parameters of CAN bus communication
  • download/upload configuration
  • print the configuration
  • download firmware to BMS2 flash memory
Configuration software

Figure 12: BMS-2 Configurators

Configuration software for OPC Server telecontrol

Highlights

  • configuration of OPC server address space
  • monitoring of process points connected through external OPC servers
Flex4Grid - Horizon 2020 project
News
28.07.2017
Extensions DLLs, configurations and examples of process databases for OpcDbGateway and SAEAUT SCADA are starting to be published as open source on GitHub in repository OpcDbGatewayEnhancements. We would like to welcome the contributors to this project. ...
29.06.2017
OpcDbGateway enables to process data collected from different external processes and to write data to them using different means of inter-process communication. This article describes possibilities and one concrete implementation of inter-process communication based on the piping of standard output of an external process to OpcDbGateway runtime process. Ready-made or custom console applications communicating over pipes or parameters of command line interface string can considerably enhance configurable and/or programmed functionality of integrated applications based on OpcDbGateway
27.06.2017
OpcDbGateway enables to enhance base configurable functionality using custom DLLs. Data exchange between core runtime application and the custom DLL can be provided over a C-style functional interface or over shared process variables of the process image memory. Advantages and problems of both methods are discussed in this article.