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First Experience - Component PanelView

There has been a few of us wondering about the new Component PanelView, so being that I just had my first experience with one I figured I would share it with you.

This is a smaller system with only 2 screens that is interfacing with a MicroLogix 1500 via a 1761-NET-ENI. This system is a duplicate of another system that I built using a Standard PanelView 2711-B6C20. As simple as this system is, I opted for 2711C-T6C. The primary function of this PanelView application is to show status indication of the system, so there are only a few operator controls on the screens.

To put it simply I am fairly impressed with the Component PanelView. One thing to remember if you are going to use it is that the power supply is 10-30 Vdc, it is not available with 85-240 Vac power source. This was fine for this app, but I have another application where 120Vac would be nice. The unit shipped with a basic application already on the system, which has multiple screens with generic tutorials on how to get connected to the unit. This was quite nice because it got a few other non-tech guys familiar with the connectivity basics within a minute or two.

Just as a note, if you are going to hook up this unit to the Serial port of a SLC or 1500LRP Chanel 1 you need to use the 1746-CP3, DO NOT USE THE 2711-NC13 like you would use with the Standard PanelViews.

Getting online and programming can be done either by the USB Port or the Ethernet Port on this unit. To accomplish USB programming you will have to install a USB device driver, but no other software is necessary. I chose to connect via Ethernet, where as no software or drivers are necessary at all. I used IE7.0, although you can use Firefox, I even had success with Linux (Ubuntu) running Firefox, and I am pretty sure that others Browsers will probably work as well. The user interface is really pretty clean and easy to understand. The main screen gives you status of the unit along with all the Terminal settings and applications information. You will also create and edit your application from the buttons on this screen. Through the Terminal Settings window you can change things like screen saver settings and terminal security which can prevent anyone else from accessing the unit, which is a nice feature especially if this is to be placed on a network. One thing that I am not thrilled with, is the screen saver. I haven’t found a way in which to change the Screen Saver image. I also haven’t found a way to shut off the Back Light after a certain period of time. You can adjust the “Dimmer” feature for the screen saver, but not shut it off. Perhaps these would be good future features.

The File Transfer is also fairly nice, allowing you to upload the Alarms, Recipes, and both upload and download the application. Even though there isn’t any “Offline” software for this (that I am aware of), at least it is a way of backing up and duplicating it to other units easily.

Creating your first application with this is fairly straight forward, although it does help if you are, or at least were familiar with the ways things were done with the Standard PanelViews. Even though the Programming interface is nothing like the PanelBuilder, many of the object properties are the same along with a long awaited visibility object property. One big difference, is that you have to have the Tag created first, in order to assign it to an object. You can not create a Tag from the area where you assign the Tag like you could in the past. There are several objects that the Standard PanelViews don’t have, like the Trend. The Trend object is pretty nice and fairly easy to setup as well, this is something I will definitely be using in future apps. If you are like me and constantly use Shortcut Keys to attempt to speed things up, well forget it, there is stuff on the “Menu Bar”, but it was still something to get used to.

I haven’t tried any of the other communications protocols yet, but it looks like the most popular protocols are included, both Ethernet and Serial protocols, which could be quite nice. Along with the protocols, processor types for many different brands are also included, which should simplify the setup for many applications. Unfortunately Pass-Through is not a possibility, at least at this time, which would be one extremely nice feature and perhaps maybe it will be included on a future version, but for now we are out of luck.

While building the application is pretty easy and in my opinion self explanatory, the only real bug that I ran into, is the validating of the app after building it.   While you would think that the folder would validate the whole project, I found that is not the entire case. I had to use  , which looks like it not only validates the project but converts it to something that the terminal can use, because once you save the project after the validation, you can run your app.

Both a Pro and a Con is you can see / test your app as your building it to ensure that the layout is exactly what you want, although it is not functional while editing. But the down side is you can’t edit a project while trying to use the screen for production. This is where an Offline software or editing capabilities would be handy.

Overall I give it 2 thumbs up. Considering price, functionality, ease of programming, and features I will choose the Component PanelView over the Standard PanelView without hesitation.