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Old July 2nd, 2004, 11:51 AM   #1
PLucas
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WinCC Flex - Coming Soon!!

This is a little bit of a rant and also a little bit of information for those of you planning to upgrade your Protool to WinCC flex.

Yesterday, my Electrical Engineering manager buggered off (can I use that phrase, 'buggered off'? 'went to' might be the better phrase) a seminar set up by Siemens here in the south east of England. He didn't have a clue what it was about, but went anyway.

This morning he popped into my office and said "You would have found that seminar interesting", "why?" I asked. He then went on to tell me it was an 'introduction' to WinCC flex. "I have that on order, ready for when it is released" I stated. It would have been nice to have been asked if I wanted to attend!

He then went on to tell me what he could remember about it, which was not a lot really as he doesn't deal with any of the HMI and SCADA stuff we have, that falls in my lap. He was a little out of his depth technically.

One of the main points he remembered was that to run WinCC Flex, the recommended memory requirements is 1 gig!! Although it will run with only 500 meg, but apparently it will be painfully slow.

Great!! That means that none of my PG's will run it, my PC will need upgrading as it only has 256 meg memory at the moment and no CP card fitted as I use my PG's for programing.

Have any of you guys, who are planning to upgrade to WinCC flex, been told of the memory requirements or any other information about the package? Apparently, it will let you connect to a screen (HMI) remotely via ethernet and then remote control the HMI, a bit like PC Anywhere. That could be very useful.

I will be honest here and state that I haven't really looked up any information on WinCC flex, I was waiting until the software arrived on my desk before I looked into it. Maybe I should start looking now.

Any comments or info you have on this will be appreciated.

Paul
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Old July 6th, 2004, 02:07 AM   #2
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Have browsed thru the Win CC Flexible manuals and have only found a specification of the memory requirements for the Runtime software. 64MB minimum, 128MB recommended.

Also awaiting my copy of WIN CC Flexible.

NB. I have an old PG720 for S5 programming. It came with a STEP7 license, but after all these upgrades to STEP7, it cannot run STEP7 any more.
Why did I get a PG at that time ? Because if you bought STEP5 + online cable + PROMMER, then you would pay exactly the same as a PG with everything preloaded. A PG was a way of purchasing all the necessarry hardware and software, and get a free PC as a bonus.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 06:12 AM   #3
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Hi Jesper

I have only downloaded the manuals (I hadn't on friday when I first posted this) and as yet, I have not had time to browse through them.

I am only receiving this information second hand, so I can't confirm exactly what was said at the seminar.

It just made me think that I have nothing that will run this program!!! As it is, I get warnings that the memory on my PG is running low when I open some of my projects in step 7, that's with only the block editor open and Protool running!! I usually get around this by writing the project on my PC then archive it and transfer it to the PG, in otherwords I only use the PG for downloading to the PLC's and the HMI's. That way I can have the minimum amount of windows open at anyone time. I am hoping to get a new PG soon, but I won't hold my breath!! Maybe this will force Thamesport into acting and get me the equipement I require to do my job.

Perhaps, Siemens are hoping for a few orders for their field PG's with 1 gig memory?? They cost about 4000, depending on the pre-loaded software.

The reasons you stated for buying a PG is the reasons that we went down that road. I have one PG720, that I use for Step 5 only and one PG720 PII that I use for Step 7.

I shall look forward to telling the Engineering Manager that I can't roll out my latest project as I do not have a PC (or PG) that will run the software.

Paul
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Old July 26th, 2004, 04:27 AM   #4
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Well, now I have had the first go at WIN CC Flexible, and I can inform you that you probably DO need 1 GB memory and a powerful CPU as well.

On my thinkpad with 768 MB memory and 1 GHz CPU it doesnt run very smooth at all
I used to run STEP7 + PLC-SIM + Protool CS + Protool RT all at the same time with no problem (Windows reports 400 MB in use).
Has Siemens broken a good thing ?

On top of that I have found that there are several bugs in WIN CC Flexible. I thought I could just convert one my old Protool Pro projects. Not so, I am still struggling to get past the bugs.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 05:59 AM   #5
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Jesper

The WINCC flex that you are running, is that still in the beta testing stage?

That might be the reason for the 'bugs'!!

So the memory requirements I was told are correct. Is the software that much more powerful that the amount of memory is justified?

As you now have the software to play with, maybe, by the time it arrives on my desk you will be pretty much OK with it, then any problems I have you can answer!!

If you have any comments or thoughts on the software let me (us) know, especially these bugs that you have come across.

Paul
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Old July 26th, 2004, 06:20 AM   #6
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Jesper

I got to thinking, after my previous reply, and the one question I keep coming back to is, what is WinCC flex actually replacing? Is it WinCC and Protool or just Protool? That leads to my next point, do I need to upgrade to WinCC flex, or can I just press on regardless with Protool (and WinCC V4.0!!). Are there any hardware items that can only be programed with WinCC flex?

Although I have the software on order, that doesn't mean I have to use it....yet!

I expect that these question will be answered in the near future.

Paul
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Old July 26th, 2004, 06:33 AM   #7
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I think (but am not sure) that Flexible will replace WINCC as well as Protool.
It does make sense, as Siemens then only have one unified HMI/SCADA architecture.
Flexible looks more like WINCC than Protool to me.

Currently you need Flexible to program the new TP170 Micro, OP77B, and the MP270B 6". All other panels can be programmed with Protool.

I would definitely postpone the conversion until Flexible has its crinkles ironed out.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 06:45 AM   #8
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Wow, I missed your post before the last one.

My version is the final release (v. 1.00 Hotfix 2).

The bugs that I have found (so far) have to do with the verifier.
The compiler generates some errors that it points to but cannot locate. So I cannot find the errors in order to fix them. banghead
Probably the errors in my project comes from the "migration" utility that I use to convert from Protool.

Also, with repeated attempts at compiling, some "internal errors" start to pop up. And eventually some system messages appear telling you that "Win CC Flexible has to shut down" whereafter nothing happens (!?).

And, Flexible seems to be ridiculessly slow. Maybe thats a bug too. Some Siemens programs have been very slow in the first releases.
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Old July 26th, 2004, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by JesperMP
Currently you need Flexible to program the new TP170 Micro, OP77B, and the MP270B 6". All other panels can be programmed with Protool.
As I don't use any of the panels you mentioned, I will certainly postpone using WinCC flex until I am forced to use it or I have a PC/PG capable of running it, which ever comes sooner.

Thanks for the feedback.

Paul

P.S Are we the only ones looking to use this software????
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Old July 26th, 2004, 08:09 AM   #10
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Wink

Quote:
Originally posted by PLucas

P.S Are we the only ones looking to use this software????
No you are not the only ones. I have a copy lying at my desk at work but since i'am on holiday now i trying not to think to much about work
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Old December 29th, 2004, 08:21 PM   #11
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wincc flex memory

Sorry chaps,
You will not be pleased to know that 2 gig is what you really need to run WinCC and new version of S7.

Doesn't matter what you have heard or what you have been told..
We have all the same problems with a multitude of engineers in the field, the fact that what they own and run now as software and computer is unable to be of any use in the future.. a big cost to upgrade !!

I work alongside Siemens programmers and developers at the hard end of the spectrum ( making it work on site ).. ps, they have also changed the firmware in some of the PLC's.. so your common blocks (like PID controllers) are no longer available at the expected locations !!.. so if you run a library of blocks for development, you will have to change this as well.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 08:35 PM   #12
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We're waiting for WinCC Flex to run on the MP-370 with WinAC. Currently we use Protool, A Dell server with WinCC, and NetPro at an extreme license fee total to do what we need. We were told we could use WinCC Flex for all this at the design phase but our product wasn't delayed near as long, we started shipping in June and we still can't get WinCC Flex for the MP-370 with WinAC. I'm looking at other options for on-line access such as a Java app and Native TCP on an Ethernet card.
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Old December 30th, 2004, 02:00 AM   #13
Terry Woods
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Jeeeezzz...

Siemens is sounding more and more like AB all the time... sigh (puke)... sigh.

I can't decide which is worse... AB... Siemens... AB... Siemens???

There is something more human-like about TI.

I have heard some say that they actually refuse to give-up their TI because they love it!

I don't know that I've actually heard the same from, the so-called, AB lovers.

But then, if I do hear such, I'm sure it's from those that have never tried TI.

"Those that praise the Dark-Side have never seen the Light-Side."
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Old December 30th, 2004, 03:45 AM   #14
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Not sure if a lot of us were around when TI was considered to be a cutting edge technology. Regards Alan
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Old December 30th, 2004, 04:22 AM   #15
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Thanks Alan!!! Makes me feel older than my 61 years. Loved TI. So did a lot of Siemens distributors and systems integrators that continued to use TI under the Siemens banner.

Interesting that the last large Siemens job in which I was involved specified Siemens. We all went that way due to the spec. The main contractor use, you guessed it, TI, with Profibus as an interface. They are a major Siemens distributor but still prefer and love the old TI stuff. Profibus and the Siemens PLCs caused us all a lot more problems than you would want to know about. There were 13 contractors involved in the job along with the main PLC/SCADA contractor. What a mess.

People wonder why I hate Siemens, the above mess plus undocumented features such as the processor would not recognise the expansion rack, etc etc. The first Siemens attempt at Windows software was an absolute nightmare. Glad to get out of the job. Lost heaps. If I see Siemens specified, I run the other way. Perhaps unfair but the job was a nightmare.

MAN!!! I am running 2 gig memory on my PC and run Word, Excel, Citect SCADA, Omron CX-Programmer, Omron CX-Protocol, Omron Device Net Configurator, graphics program and a few other program as well withiot any problems with XP Pro as the operating system. Also do my e-mail and connect to this, and other sites, with Internat Explorer. Have Siemens got it that wrong?

Terry, you are absolutely right when asking if people will not give up their TI. I can assure you they will not!!! By the way, I am so old that I can remember the old TI black boxes that were really re-badged Hitachi PLCs, with the exception that the inputs were 120VAC. Hitachi were not allowed to sell the 120VAC input units under commercial agreement. I was selling Hitachi at the time.

Richard. I feel sorry for you having to put up with the resultant chaos!!!
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