Frecuently asked questions

Communications

Make sure your computer is switched on and in a mode which can communicate, ensuring particularly that it is not in the set up or starting up mode. Make sure your computer is connected to a PC or a compatible converter and that the wiring is correct. Make sure there is no possibility of any interference in the cable run from the device to the PC or between the device and the converter. If you are connected to a converter, check that the latter is properly connected to the PC. Verify that the grid is not overloaded with an excessive amount of devices. If your computer is connected by way of a 232-485 converter make sure that the switches are in the correct position. Make sure that the equipment bus does not have devices that communicate at different speeds or have the same device number. Check that the PC port is working properly.

Make sure your computer is switched on and connected to the communications network. Make sure there is no possibility of any interference in the cable run from the converter to the PC. Make sure your PC is correctly connected to the communications network and can communicate with other equipment connected to the network (for example with another PC). If you are using a router, make sure the communication port is redirected in the router, to the converter address.

To communicate with a TCP2RS converter located in a sub-network different to the network in which the software is located, we can use a router as shown in the following image

The TCP2RS converter should be added as follows

  1. Enter the router address (192.168.120.201)–In the “Converter Address” field.
  2. Redirect ports ‘10001 ’and ‘30718’ in the router to the converter address (192.168.15.205) (see router  manual)

Java Client

Check that the local computer has the Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape (Mozilla) or Firefox browser installed. Ensure that the Java Virtual Machine JRE 1.6 (6.0) or later is installed. If they are not installed the browser will provide information and guide us through the installation process.

If the applet appears but a message is displayed warning that there is “no communication with the server” or “the required information could not be recovered” ensure that the communications engine is running.

It is possible that some fonts applied to the controls when designing a report or a SCADA screen do not exist on the machine on which  the applet is downloaded and, as a consequence, the font chosen may be markedly different from the original.

It is possible that a conditional control or a formula refers to a variable of a device which does not communicate or that has not yet been interrogated for the first time. In a SCADA screen, if we are dealing with a condition nothing will appear and if we are dealing with a formula a dash ("-") appears until the value can start. In a report, if there is no data in this period and we cannot assess the condition of a conditional control, nothing will be displayed and if we cannot assess the definition the same will occur.

It may occur that when assessing the formula we come across an invalid operation, such as the square root of a negative number or a zero division, in this case a question mark ("?") appears on the SCADA screen and the report will show the definition of the formula. If we are unable to assess the condition of a conditional control, nothing will be displayed.

It may not be possible to represent the assessment of the formula of an expression, because either its control or assessment configuration returned an out of range value. In this case the “#” character will appear.

When an event does not occur when you think it should, or vice versa, check that this condition can be fulfilled and make sure the event is enabled at some time by the calendar and that the condition can be fulfilled during that interval. Verify that the devices involved in assessing the condition of the event communicate properly and ensure that the communication engine is running. Make sure you have permission to see this type of event and you have checked the notify and/or register box.

If the incident appears not to have carried out actions that have been defined, check what has actually occurred in the list of events. If the event has still not produced the programd action or actions, check that the equipment upon which it should have acted is on and communicating correctly. Should the action involve the running of an external application, check that the application is properly installed and that the command and parameters are correct (you can put this action in a run control in a SCADA screen test to see if it behaves as expected).

If the graph appears to have dots missing, verify that this is not because the variables are being represented with different periods.

If the bar charts has widths that are not correct, ensure that the values are separated by the distance marked by the driver period. For example, if a device saves data every 5 minutes and we change the period to 15 minutes, the bars will be superimposed when displaying the bar graphs for the values prior to the change of period (every 5 minutes). If we change the period to a lower value, the bars prior to the change will appear narrower than necessary. In any case, the bar graphs of values separated by the distance shown in the Driver registration period will always appear correctly.

If you do not see any values when you think there should be, ensure that you have not zoomed in an area without values or that the Y-axis is not forcing levels for values which do not exist.

If when placing the paint pot control on a SCADA screen, it does not behave in the manner expected, ensure that:

  1. The condition or conditions defined are right for each color.
  2. The area in which the control is positioned has a uniform color. It is possible that the area where the paint pot is positioned has different colored dots but with very similar tones, which at first sight appear the same. The paint pot control only spreads through identical colors.
  3. The area to be filled with the colors defined in control is not part of another control. The paint pot control only interacts with the screen background and does not take into account any of the other controls. Do not attempt to use the paint pot to fill, for example, an image by way of the image type control.

Check that your anti-virus is not blocking the software.

For security purposes, the software does not send e-mails if the mail server does not have the Transport Layer Security (TSL) option activated and the mail server only supports Plain, Login or NTLM authentication protocols, since these are not very secure for sending information.

If this is the case:

  • To increase the security of your mail server and in order to allow the software to send e-mails, TLS/SSL encryption should be enabled. If you want, you can add another authentication method such cram-md5, digest-md5, gssapi or an external one.
  • If TLS has not been activated, one of the previously suggested authentication proposals should be added; the protocols already functioning in the mail server can be retained, since they will not be used by the software. The authentication method for the smtp server CANNOT be any of the following: plain, login or ntlm.
  • If the system still does not send mails check that your e-mail server has a user with the same name as the configured address. The software will use the configured e-mail address for the user.

For security reasons, Java Applets have some fairly significant limitations with regards accessing the resources of the local machine on which they are running. One of these restrictions is being able to run applications on the local machine. Nevertheless, this restriction may be disabled by adding the following line to the java.policy  permissions file situated in the installation of the JRE virtual machine:

  • permission java.io.FilePermission "<<ALL FILES>>", "execute";

It must be noted, however, that the Applet cannot directly display files from the run control, in the way SCADA can. So, if we wanted to show an image in applet it is not enough to enter the name of the image in the run control, but rather we should enter the application we want to use to show the image and, as a parameter, the image to show.

N.B: The option to launch external applications very much depends on the system in which applet is running, and it is highly probable that it will only work in the system for which the application has been developed.

The applet can be viewed without carrying out any other special action from all operating systems that have Java Virtual Machine 1.5 (5.0) or later and an HTML browser. Among others, the following operating systems would satisfy these requirements: Windows, Linux, Solaris SPARC, Solaris x86, Solaris AMD64, Linux AMD64, etc.

Although there is a specific tool to draw lines, it is possible to carry out this function in two different ways:

  1. Draw lines you want in the background image beforehand.
  2. If you want to draw vertical and/or horizontal lines and it is not practical to use the method above, it is possible to carry out this function by way of a simple trick. The procedure involves obtaining a solid rectangle or square image of the color you like for the line (this may even consist of a simple pixel image). Then add an image control and assign the previous box to it. Disable the fields of "Maintain real size" and "Maintain aspect ratio" and use the control to obtain the desired horizontal line and / or vertical thickness desired.
  3. Add a text control and write the text "________" (underscore characters and as long as needed) This creates a horizontal line. This method has the advantage that it allows vertical or diagonal lines to be applied by text rotation (90 or 270 degrees for vertical lines), color changes, as well as allowing the thickness to be changed by modifying the size.

Diagonal Line

You should remember that the images that can be included on the SCADA screens and the reports must have been added previously through the image manager. Therefore it is necessary before starting to design a screen or report to add the images you will need through the image manager.

Any event added to the system contains a variable that indicates how many times it has been enabled, how many times it has been recognized, how many times it has been deactivated, how long has it been active, if it is active at the moment and how much time has elapsed since it was last enabled.

One can also count how many times something has occurred in the current hour, day, etc. For this purpose a forced calculated variable will be created and initialized to 0 and an event, which when a condition is fulfilled performs the action of forcing that variable to its same value plus one unit.

      [R$CAL_FORCED.COUNTER1]=[R$CAL_FORCED.COUNTER1]+1

We then just need to add an event that would reset this counter to 0 when the date was outside XX / XX / XX 00:00:00 (00:00:00 hours each day) with which the counter would have the number activations of the day in course. The counter reset could be carried out with a variable forced control on the SCADA screen, in this case manual instead of automatic.

The data displayed in a report is log data grouped together for the period of the report, therefore we have a value per period (if it is an expression where several variables are involved the value of each variable is recovered for the period of the report and the expression assessed).

For practical purposes, the values of the variables that are used in the reports can be consulted by requesting / services / user / records.xml  (which is documented in the XML user requests section).

Imagine then we have a report with the following appearance:

Report generated

 

The report is grouped by day, in particular, we are viewing June 11th. It shows that there are a number of values in red, inside boxes, the first value on the top left corner corresponds to the variable CVM 2.VI1 K ".

To see that value through a HTTP / XML request to the server we can do the following:

http://192.168.5.52/services/user/records.xml?begin=10062008220000?end=11062008220000?period=ALL?var=CVM K 2.VI1

This request, if carried out with the browser, will return something similar to the following:

Result of the request from the Internet Explorer browser

 

Where, in the "value" field we have the desired value. This request can be done directly from, for example, the Excel spreadsheet, by simply writing this request in the dialogue "Open" (instead of the name of a file). Excel will interpret the previous XML and generate a table with data:

"Open" request with Excel 2003. In D1 we have the data.

The client is a Java application. As a Java application it runs on a virtual machine with a limited memory for it to run assigned by default. Normally this amount of memory allocated by default is sufficient for running the program. But perhaps for very large tables this memory is insufficient.

For these cases it is possible to run the client application forcing the virtual machine to assign more memory to the program. This is accomplished by running the program from the command line with a parameter indicating the maximum and minimum memory available for the program.

  • java -Xm256m -Xmx1024m –jar AppletScada.jar

As you can see the parameters Xm-and-Xmx allocate a minimum and a maximum quantity to the program.

To simulate the behaviour of a switch (e.g. to act on a digital output) we need a conditional control and two controls to force the variable. The conditional control would contain two images, one with the representation of an open switch, with the condition that the digital variable is 1, and another with the representation of a closed switch, with the condition that the digital variable is 0.

                                  

A control is positioned on the left part of the control to force a variable with a digital output value at 1, while another control is positioned on the right-hand section to force a variable with the output value at 0.

To add a small animated image the conditional control combined with the "second" function in the condition is added. First, save the images that make up the animation using the image manager. Suppose your animation consists of a sequence of 3 images. Assume further that we want our animation to change every second. Therefore we will have to create a list of formulae on the SCADA screen which will return module 3 of the "second" function (which will vary between the values, 0, 1 and 2). The function is as follows:

mod(second,3)

Let us suppose that this function is called MOD. Now we can define a conditional control with 3 conditions, where each condition displays one of the images that form the animation. The following shows control properties:

The result is that one of the images that make up the animation is shown every second. As can be seen, there are many combinations to be carried out and a large variety of opportunities to exploit using this technique.

There are two ways to do a level control on a SCADA screen. The first one is to use a conditional control, where each control is an image with a different level and where every condition indicates what should be fulfilled to reach this level. Here are some images showing us specific examples with their conditions:

                                                                

[CVM K 1.VI1] == 215                 [CVM K 1.VI1] == 221               [CVM K 1.VI1] == 224

Another option would be to draw the level control at the bottom of the SCADA screen and use various paint pot controls to paint the desired zone. Thus, we could draw on the screen background something like the following:

The inner part, although it seems all the same color (white), it is not and is divided into grids with different whites indistinguishable one from the other and by the human eye (for example, it is impossible to distinguish between white RGB 255.255.255 and white RGB 254.255.255).

Then we place the paint pot on each table with the desired condition and tolerance 0 to prevent painting adjacent tables, which are very similar in color.

With this, the result is a progress bar (or control level) which can be configured as desired.

The properties of control cannot be changed in accordance with a condition. However, we can simulate the change of these properties, using a conditional control. Thus, for example, if we wish to change the color of a text in accordance with a condition we add a conditional control with two text type controls which are exactly the same but of a different color, and specify which conditions need to be fulfilled for each one to be shown. Likewise, we can also change the orientation, font, size, etc.

We can also make a control be an image or a text in accordance with a condition using, as in the previous case, the conditional control.

All devices have a variable called STATUS that shows the status of the device using a numerical value (for example, [CVM144.STATUS]). The meaning of this variable is the same for all devices and can be used in the conditional expressions (see the appendix to check the types of variables and their possible values)

To show documents previously stored on the PC the run control can be used. If we wish to show a PDF file, we can enter its name directly (including the complete path) in the program field, so that the file will open in the related, defined program when running the screen and clicking on the control.  Likewise, we can do this with any file type which has an associated program to open it. (DOC, TXT, HTML, WAV, MP3, MPG, AVI, etc.)

N.B: This option will not work on systems which do not run Windows, nor when using the applet.

To produce an event according to the status of one or more devices, use the STATUS variable of the device in the event activation status. The possible values of the STATUS variable can be seen in the variable type appendix.

Since the events generate a number of variables associated to them, we can even see how many times an event was enabled, how many times it was deactivated, how many it was recognized and how long it was enabled.

To produce a sound in response to an event, we should add an action to run an external program and enter the corresponding (WAV, MP3, etc.) with its full path in the program field. For the action to take effect, you will need to have a program installed that can play back this type of file (for example, Windows Media Player, Sonique, Winamp, etc.).

If what is needed is simply reproducing a bleep on the client application, an action associated with this event can be added to carry it out. Likewise this action can occur during activation, upon acknowledgement, on deactivation or while active.

Support for the audible alarm action on the client in response to an event

In a similar manner to the previous point, adding an action to run an external program and entering the file to be shown (PDF, TXT, DOC, etc.) and its corresponding path. For the action to take effect, you will need to have a program installed that can read this type of file (for example, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader, etc.).

The screens are designed to be properly viewed with a minimum size of 1024x768. You must increase the size of the window to the recommended minimum size, if your screen is configured at 1024x768 you must maximise the screen.

With some platforms when a graph is made and the tooltip is viewed it disappears and the background turns black. If this occurs you must start the client with the following command line:

java –jar –Dsun.java2d.d3d=false AppletScada.jar

The PowerStudio client application continuously makes many connections to the server. In Windows the open sockets (ports) for making the connection are limited, and in addition they cannot be used for a specific amount of time after having been freed up (WAIT). Thus, in Windows XP, for example, by default the user applications are allowed to use ports 1024 to 5000 and also by default, a port will remain in the TIME_WAIT state for 4 minutes after it is closed, before finally being freed up by the operating system.

In Windows it is possible to change this policy by modifying or creating two registry keys that define this behavior (you need to execute regedit application for Windows). These keys are:

MaxUserPort

TcpTimedWaitDelay

Located in:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESystemCurrentControlSetServicesTcpipParameters

Both keys are DWORD type and you have to create them if they are not available. In the first we assign the maximum port number, which is set at 5000 by default and we can set it at 20000 (in decimal format). In the second we define the time in seconds that we want a port to remain reserved after having closed it (for example, we can set it at 30 in decimal format). These parameters must be verified in both the server and the client computers. Remember to reboot the PC for the changes to become effective.

For other operating systems consult the specific method for configuring this behaviour.

When the client is run as an embedded applet in the webpage within a browser, the authentication is managed by the browser itself. The authentication screen displayed by the browser, usually only allows the user name and password to be entered. If you wish to access as an anonymous user you must use the following access data:

User: anonymous

Password:anonymous

This will provide access to the system as an anonymous user as long as this profile has been defined in the engine (by means of the editor).

May be you have a standard version. You should acquire a SCADA or Deluxe version.