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Old April 23rd, 2003, 05:11 AM   #1
BobB
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Thumbs down RSI developing software

I have just purchased a Schneider Twido starter kit to evaluate these small PLCs for some jobs I have coming up. Price was good, cable software etc included.
Installed software and attempted to use it without reading the online manuals and help. Bad mistake.
Lots of function keys shown across the top bar. Beauty he says and madly begins hitting function keys. Nothing happens. Had a closer look at the bar and the function keys seem to only select various things like timers, counters, open contacts etc for use. The next step is to use the mouse and click here, ckick there, get RSI from clicking.
Has anyone used this software yet and, if so, found a simple way to operate the programme?
Lots of things to set up on the side like timers, counters, registers - all very confusing. What ever happened to simple to use software where one can use a function key to select something, it pops up in the right place on the screen and then all the configuration, symbols etc are typed in, the enter key is pressed and one can move on to the next element.
If there is no quick simple method to operate the software, I think I have bought my last Twido.
I have found over the years that the European style of software is a pain to program.
Others programmes force one to type in % symbols etc.
Some require one to type in, for example, %I0.0.1 to describe input 1 at position 0 in the rack etc, etc.
I think I have been badly spoiled by using Omron Syswin, and now CX-Programmer to write software. Most of the others are too difficult and slow to use.
For example, to insert a timer in the latest version of CX-Programmer one would type in F8 TIM 23 #40. This refers to F8, function - TIM, on delay timer - 23, timer number - #40, time band 4.0 seconds. How easy is that compared to all this other click and drag nonsense.
I think I must be getting old and crotchetty (older and crotchettyer?) and becoming very hard to move away from my preferred brand.
If anyone can indicate to me an easier way to use this software I would be most appreciative.
and banghead
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 08:56 AM   #2
seppoalanen
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Maybe the French thinking defferently, i had earlyer Citroen CX. It really was different than other cars, the body lift works hydraulically from 4" to 13" and suspension was pneumatic.
I hope this help, you are not alone!
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 09:22 AM   #3
Jim Dungar
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You get what you pay for. but it is a nice PLC

TwidoSoft function keys are used to select a function. The function is placed into the ladder logic grid using the space bar. Movement within the grid is possible using the arrow keys. After a function is placed it can be addressed by pressing the Enter key, the address is accepted by pressing the Enter key again.

TwidoSoft is a carry over from an earlier DOS system that used the keyboard. You should be able to use most of the software without ever touching the mouse.
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 04:28 PM   #4
Eric Nelson
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My Schneider distributor was in the other day pushing the Twido (what a stupid name!). He offered to offer comparable pricing to A-D, so I'm thinking about trying one on a future project... utoh

Is there any demo software available? I checked the Modicon site with no luck. FYI Bob, there's a fairly large FAQ list for the Twido HERE. I'm concerned though about such a large FAQ list on such a new product...

beerchug

-Eric
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Old April 23rd, 2003, 04:34 PM   #5
Jim Dungar
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The FAQ list is for basic questions not because of bugs. It seems every time the phone center answers a question it is then posted to the FAQ list. I have only had to call the tech support line once.

Why provide phone support only when most people are willing to go to a website instead.
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Old April 24th, 2003, 03:35 AM   #6
BobB
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Thanks for the help and the link to the FAQ site. I am definately thinking this may be my last Twido as the software is slow and tedious.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 01:16 AM   #7
Eric Nelson
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Thumbs down Dragging out this older thread for an update...

I got one of these 'Twido Pack' starter kits a few weeks ago from a distributor. Price was GREAT (free!). I gave it to a co-worker that's interested in learning PLCs, but he hasn't touched it yet...

Soooo, I recently got in a small control panel built by another guy as part of a machine I'm doing the controls for. I'm 'consolidating' this into my panel as there's no need for it to be stand-alone (It's just a simple servo indexing system). It has a little 20 I/O Twido controller in it. I wanted to list the existing program to save time adding the logic to MY program, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to 'borrow back' my 'Twido Pack' (hey, that rhymes!).

I didn't STUDY the manual, but read enough to get started. I tried going 'online' with the PLC with no luck. After about a half-hour of changing all kinds of software settings, I discovered that the programming cable has a multi-position switch on it! Of course, the 'factory set' position was the WRONG position for the 'factory set' (default) parameters in the software (and PLC)...

I guess I should have read the manual that came with the cable!...

So far, I am not the least bit impressed with the software. For a newly introduced PLC, I expect MUCH more user friendly software. I am as disappointed as Bob with how simple it is to use... It ISN'T! Like Bob though, I have been spoiled by other software, so my opinion may be somewhat biased. I am probably similarly crotchety too!...

Bottom line. Just like my least favorite, GE software (Sorry, Steve!), this software requires you to type that damned % symbol before every address, so you WON'T see me ordering a Twido for any of MY applications!...

beerchug

-Eric
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Old June 25th, 2003, 01:25 AM   #8
BobB
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Eric, I am glad someone else hates bad software. Yes, it is terrible going back when you have been spoilt.
As a matter of interest, which software spoilt you?
Omron CX-Programmer spoilt me.
Isn't it interesting to see the Siemens people complaining about Siemens way of doing things? You either luv 'em or hate 'em. I am of the latter.
Regards

Last edited by BobB; June 25th, 2003 at 01:27 AM.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 09:09 AM   #9
Jim Dungar
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%

IEC61131-3 requires the % character in front of all variable addresses (i.e. outputs -> %Qx.x). This is to differentiate them from symbols (i.e. valve_1). If your PLC software is fully compliant with IEC it will have this feature.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 09:51 AM   #10
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Hey Bob, where's the Siemens angle in this thread? Or is it a case of "Any opportunity's a good 'un."
Eric, maybe there's an option to 'switch off' the IEC mode and just program in LAD. Most other software has this option.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 05:29 PM   #11
Eric Nelson
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Re: %

Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Dungar
IEC61131-3 requires the % character in front of all variable addresses
Well then, it's time for a revision of that standard...

Maybe when IEC61131-4 comes out, not requiring the %, I'll re-visit the Tele and GE packages...

beerchug

-Eric

P.S. Boyo, if you know of such a 'switch', please clue us in!...
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Old June 25th, 2003, 05:43 PM   #12
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Actually Eric, in the GE Fanuc software packages, you don't have to type in the '%'. You can use the variable names instead of the addresses (they were called nicknames in Logicmaster). If you haven't assigned names to variables before you start programming, all is not lost. Simply enter the address '%I123' as '123I'. When the software sees an entry in the format where the first character is a number, it translate that as an address. If the first character is a letter, the software assumes you're entering a variable name, so when you try to enter 'I123', the software looks for that entry in the variable name table, and when it can't find it, it squawks at you.

I used to have similar curses directed against AB addresses forcing me to use the ':' character (stupid SHIFT key forcing me to either set down my beer or risk pouring it all over my keyboard) until somebody pointed out to me that RSLogix lets you use either the semicolon or the colon.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 06:04 PM   #13
Eric Nelson
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Yeah, I know about that trick Steve. Most other software works that way too (see THIS POST of mine). Fine for I/O, but who wants to pre-label all the %M and %R bits that you 'might' use?...

To each his own I guess. We all have our favorites!...

Now, please explain why GE starts address numbering at "1" rather than the more common "0"...

beerchug

-Eric
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Old June 25th, 2003, 08:34 PM   #14
BobB
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Yes, what a pain IEC is.
Boyo, it was not particularly a shot at Siemens just bad software. I used their hardware and windows software and had some awful experiences, TWICE!!! The software was awful. "Online" and "offline" screens. Go to "offline?" screen to do "online" changes. When you get back to the "online" screen it has all happened and you see nothing.
Even worse, the software downloaded the whole programme, not just the section where the changes had taken place. You could hear relays turning on and off as the software downloaded. End of online programme chganges. Hopefully they have fixed those things in later revisions.
I might add that the Hitachi software behaved in exactly the same way and probably came out of the same software house. Never used that again either.
The other undocumented feature I got from Siemens was that the processor could not see the expansion rack. Cost a lot of time and air fares. Siemens in Sydney (Ozz) could not fix the problem either. It was a firmware problem at the end of the day. Had to purchase a high end processor to fix the problem then try and get my money back. Like extracting teeth.
The other thing I dislike immensely with IEC is that it is symbol based, well every package I have used is based that way. I prefer to type in numbers and not fool around with symbols. They are a pain in the "A" and software development time is extended considerably by having to use them.
I guess that is one of the major reasons I like Omron so much. The PLC memory is a big "sheet" of I/O that are only numbers. NO %, NO X OR I, NO Y OR Q. The disadvantage I guess is that if one has always developed software in the restricted %X,Y or I,Q zone a broad expanse of channels from channel 0 to channel 2500 odd is a bit daunting. You have to know where you are going or you can get lost easily. The lovely thing is if you want to use channel 1499, bit 11, you only type in 149911 and the software puts in the . for you producing 1499.11, provided you are using BOOL. If you are using integers, you would type in 1329 to use that channel.
I find that hardware generally is much alike. Some PLCs have better function sets than others or use functions in better ways. Although, I complain bitterly when I have to make my own unidirectional or bidirectional shift registers, or the PLC does not have a "bitcount" or "linear approximation" function for example. The software is where I can make or lose money. No point in being in business is you are going to lose money.
That's my two cents worth. I am now going back to hammer the keyboard. Programming a BMS system at the moment. Damn thing is flow chart based. Another pain in the "A". If you want to do something that is not programmed into the flow chart functions, you have to write script. Give me a good PLC and software any time.
beerchug
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Old June 26th, 2003, 02:36 AM   #15
boyo
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Hi Bob,
Sounds like you had a bad experience with Siemens. I wouldn't argue with you on the hardware issue, that sounds like a bug and is inexcusable but I think the software is ok, by and large. Like any vendors product I guess it takes some getting used to but it sounds like you downloaded the whole program instead of the individual block where you made the changes.
Eric, the only experience I have is with Siemens but in both Step 7 and Microwin, for programming the s7200, it's possible to select an IEC mode where it's not necessary to enter the '%'. Just enter the variable and the compiler automatically adds the '%'. In the case of Step 7 if you enter a partial symbolic name it even prompts you with a list of possible symbols.
BTW BOb, I agree with you about IEC. In general I can't see why anyone would want to program a plc in IEC. I don't think the two were made for each othere but I suspect IEC is a hangover from a digital electronics design background that a lot of us may have.
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