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Old July 11th, 2019, 07:19 AM   #1
AutomationTechBrian
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Upgrading PLC & HMI... The Panelview file?

This is a question about the old Panelview file on a legacy machine.

I got a call from a customer asking me if I could help him upgrade the PLC and HMIs on 3 machines. He said the Allen Bradley PLCs were from SLCs from 1997. That sounds good.. I've got Logix 500. He said the HMIs are old Panelviews... pretty sure that means Panelbuilder32, which I don't have, but might be able to borrow from a customer.

But the part I get hung up on is upgrading the HMI. Is the compiled file on the Panelview any good for reading the tags? I don't think he has the source file.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 08:20 AM   #2
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Yes, the "compiled file", or "runtime" is on the HMI, but if it is as old as you say, you cannot, to the best of my knowledge, get it reverse-engineered back to the development file.

Even the newer RSView (FactoryTalk View) development software did not get that capability until around Version 6, so if your HMI was built using PanelBuilder, it's a one-way process.

If it is not too complex a HMI, then most likely your only option would be to completely re-do it from scratch, or get your customer to have a damn good hunt around for the development file, in them days it might have even been on a floppy disk !
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Old July 11th, 2019, 08:33 AM   #3
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That's what I figured. Thanks! I don't know what I'm going to find when I visit the customer next week, so I'm just trying to think everything through a little. I can imagine pushing buttons on the HMI and looking for bits closing in the PLC. I'm wondering if scripting in the HMI was a thing back then. That might be a little harder.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 08:47 AM   #4
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If the HMI's are 1400E's there is a different software package needed. Not very common. Plus, even if you do find the source files, you will need an old VM to run the software. Later versions would run on XP.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 08:56 AM   #5
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Thanks! I still have an old Windows 98 laptop. And I pretty much too everything using VMs on my current laptop. Now if we're talking Windows 3.1, that might be a different story. I redid a plastic extruder running wonderware and rslogix 500 on Windows 2000. There was also panelbuilder32 on that PC. I would be able to utilize that PC if it was any use to this project. But if the runtime file is all I have, I don't know if there's any use for it.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutomationTechBrian View Post
That's what I figured. Thanks! I don't know what I'm going to find when I visit the customer next week, so I'm just trying to think everything through a little. I can imagine pushing buttons on the HMI and looking for bits closing in the PLC. I'm wondering if scripting in the HMI was a thing back then. That might be a little harder.
I was never, and never will be, a fan of an HMI being anything other than a "window" into the controller. Let the PLC do the thinking, and the HMI do the Interface, as its name suggests, between the Human and the Machine.

About the only things I might let pass is logical combinations of tags to determine "visibility" criteria, but if I were starting anew I would do those in the PLC as well.

As for VM's, I'm working on a version 5 PanelView project as we speak, and had to install an XP VM to keep the database at 32-bit. Letting the database conversion utility loose on it caused more problems than it solved, so I back-tracked and went for a 32-bit VM.

At least '97 wasn't pre-windows, but if I remember correctly the earliest PanelBuilder was a DOS program, and didn't use the Windows GUI.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:10 AM   #7
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FYI, some PVA files could be uploaded and used to create a PBA file, not always, but most of the time. Very large applications are sometime missing data. Even if some is missing, might be enough for a conversion.

Last edited by Ken Moore; July 11th, 2019 at 09:26 AM.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:30 AM   #8
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Visibility... That's right! I forgot about that. I guess that's why I'm bringing it up here. it also just occurred to me what 1997 means as far as operating systems. I am assuming rslogix 500, but I don't know if it even existed in the Windows 95 days.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutomationTechBrian View Post
Visibility... That's right! I forgot about that. I guess that's why I'm bringing it up here. it also just occurred to me what 1997 means as far as operating systems. I am assuming rslogix 500, but I don't know if it even existed in the Windows 95 days.

I "cut my teeth" on DOS-based 6200 series PLC5 programming software, heavily F-key driven. Even after the Logix5 came out I still maintained I could get code into the PLC faster on the older software - F3, F1, F2, F1, F3, F1 - or something like, probably incorrect, but to be fair it was a long time ago
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Old July 11th, 2019, 09:53 AM   #10
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I had a customer who needed a PLC 5 upgraded. I worked a little bit with messaging between an SLC and PLC 5 back in school, but that's about it. I checked what they wanted for the PLC 5 software... about $10,000. That put the budget way too high.

I go into all these different facilities and see their Legacy controllers. There's a lot of opportunities out there, but a lot of plant managers don't understand the level of risk from obsolescence.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 10:14 AM   #11
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Well, good news on the plc... the customers texted me a picture and it is an SLC 5/03.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 11:17 AM   #12
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Depending on the version of the pv terminal, you may need much older panelbuilder software.

if your version can read the pva file from the panelview, you can save the application as a pba (I may have these backwards) and edit it and see what is going on.

you may also have to upgrade it to the last version of the software 3.83.01 in order to convert it to a pv+ application.

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Old July 11th, 2019, 11:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daba View Post
I was never, and never will be, a fan of an HMI being anything other than a "window" into the controller. Let the PLC do the thinking, and the HMI do the Interface, as its name suggests, between the Human and the Machine.
My sentiments exactly.

I have a customer that wants some changes done to an overhead hoist processing line, but the CLX PLC is programmed like a dumb terminal. All the timing, controls and movements are controlled by the SCADA HMI. The PLC sits and waits for it to be told to move a hoist, turn something on or off, or change a speed or temperature.

And, the German OEM holds the Delphi programmed SCADA source code tightly - they won't even talk to the customer about an update without a PO for the conference call, and will not do anything without prepayment - if they agree to do it, which they have been refusing to make the changes the customer wants.
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Old July 11th, 2019, 10:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daba View Post
Even the newer RSView (FactoryTalk View) development software did not get that capability until around Version 6, so if your HMI was built using PanelBuilder, it's a one-way process.
I briefly talked with the customer today. I have a couple of things that look favorable. First, they already had the oldest of the machines upgraded back in 2015, and they used a PanelView Plus 1250. From the sound of it, the programmer had a copy of the ladder and re-designed the HMI from scratch. I'm hoping the .mer file will be able to switch back to a .apa and give me some insight to how the machine is controlled, and I'll be able to apply it to this newer machine. It doesn't sound like they have the source file for the SLC, but it looks like they have a print-out of the ladder, with all of the comments intact.

I'll find out more next week.

Side note: Last week it was a couple of GE PLC issues. This week, Allen Bradley. Next week, it'll be Siemens. I enjoy working on it all, but I'd be lost without all of you. Thanks for all of your information!
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Old Yesterday, 08:56 PM   #15
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Follow up:

I visited the customer today. The project is upgrading 3 machine HMIs that are barely visable... PanelView 1200 Terminals. They have already upgraded a 4th HMI to a PanelView Plus 1250.

These notes are for the next guy in my shoes:

First thing I did was see if I could grab the runtime file off of the PV+. I couldn't access the file management of the PV+ because you needed to be logged in as an administrator and they lost the password. So, I fired up FTV Studio ME and used the Transfer Utility in Tools to Upload the .mer file to my laptop. (The IP address was written on the back of the PV+)

I've never restored a runtime file, so when I got home I found this video on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj2Mwe5eebo "FT View, Restoring Runtime File". I used the Application Manager in Tools, just like the video. When it was done, I closed the Application Manager and "opened" the project based on the new name I gave it. It was written in version 7 and I'm running version 9, so there was a note that I couldn't open the file in 7 any more if I converted it to 9, which is just fine.

One note... They did find some files for the old HMIs. The manufacturer evidently sent them a flashdrive with the files when they were having issues. I'm at least a little curious about what it would take to open the files. (see attached picture)

I'll be doing a separate post for the PLC files supplied by the manufacturer for the SLC 5/03.... .ach, .att, .adr
Attached Images
File Type: png PV1200HMI.png (28.8 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg PV1200.jpg (157 Bytes, 9 views)
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