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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #1
monkeyhead
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PLC features wish list

Seems like a good season for coming up with wish lists. Post features and goodies that you wish your favorite PLC had.

Mine:

1. The ability to sync with NTP (network time protocol) servers. Seems like I'm forever fighting with clock drift and daylight savings time...

2. I wish that all Ethernet interfaces on PLCs would support plain old raw TCP for interfacing with standard networked applications. At some point most PLC's with an ethernet interface rely on TCP encapsulation, they should be able to transfer data this way, similar to the way data can be passed on a serial port.

3. Enough memory to store comments and descriptors in the PLC.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #2
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Quote:
3. Enough memory to store comments and descriptors in the PLC.
This would be my absolute #1 wish. In today's world of 16GB flash drives, I can't believe new PLCs are still being introduced without this capability. Even the Logix PLCs, with their supposedly wonderful tag-based variables, don't store rung comments in memory.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur View Post
This would be my absolute #1 wish. In today's world of 16GB flash drives, I can't believe new PLCs are still being introduced without this capability. Even the Logix PLCs, with their supposedly wonderful tag-based variables, don't store rung comments in memory.
That, and I wish every PLC out there had a USB port -- wait... Not for programming, that should be Ethernet, but for having a simple place to plug in a standard thumbdrive, and upload/download a program without any need for software.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 12:26 PM   #4
cornbread
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Lets have a PLC with ample ride thru time to cover any and all power blips!
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cornbread View Post
Lets have a PLC with ample ride thru time to cover any and all power blips!
I'd consider that part of your pre-conditioning, and wouldn't want it in the PLC, unless it's completely optional.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #6
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I'll second that USB port. USB has been around for twelve years now -
and legacy ports have been disappearing from laptops ever since - its about [expletive] time the PLC makers got on board.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #7
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And how hard is it to purchase a $10 cable?

http://www.emtcompany.com/products/a...FQSwFQodBl9ulw

Redesign costs money.

The cost of this cable, is far less expensive then attempting to redesign an existing product.

New product development is a different story.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #8
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I'd like to see the day of the week represented as a number. While the processor may know the date and time, the A-B's (with which I'm familiar) do not know if it is Monday, Tuesday, etc. And yes, I do have logic running to solve this problem, it just seems it would be sooooo simple for the processor to produce this useful bit of info.

Bill
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
I'd like to see the day of the week represented as a number. While the processor may know the date and time, the A-B's (with which I'm familiar) do not know if it is Monday, Tuesday, etc. And yes, I do have logic running to solve this problem, it just seems it would be sooooo simple for the processor to produce this useful bit of info.

Bill
Which day is the first day of your week?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
And how hard is it to purchase a $10 cable?
A USB to serial converter (whether it's in a cable or built in to the PLC) is not the same as native USB support. Those things are nothing but a kludge. I agree with your point about new product development--I certainly wouldn't expect Allen-Bradley to introduce a new SLC processor with a USB port--but frankly I don't see it happening much with new products either. ControlLogix was introduced in 1998 and what do we get? Still serial ports. All these new programmable relays and nano controllers that are proliferating the market? Still serial ports or serial disguised as USB.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #11
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Depends on what you call first. Sunday = 0, Monday = 1, etc. In retrospect, woulda been cleaner if Monday were zero, 'cuz then it would be simple to determine a weekday (DAY <5). But I did this many years ago and have too many processors running the logic to make it worthwhile changing now.

Bill
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Old December 16th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #12
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Heh... when the PLC manufacturers start offering USB, they'll provide either a terminal strip connector or some bizarre proprietary connector just so they can charge 3x more for the cable.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 08:32 PM   #13
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... Not for programming, that should be Ethernet
Absolutely, and the IP parameters should be accessible and modifiable from a small LCD on the front of the unit.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kolyur View Post
This would be my absolute #1 wish. In today's world of 16GB flash drives, I can't believe new PLCs are still being introduced without this capability. Even the Logix PLCs, with their supposedly wonderful tag-based variables, don't store rung comments in memory.
I agree, in addition how about upgradeable memory. I also belive all PLCs should support on-line editing.
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Old December 17th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #15
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This could realistically happen soon if the PLC makers decided to do it:
Ethernet + OPC UA everywhere. = everything can speak with everything.
However, it wont happen. The big guys will pursue market dominance through proprietary standards.

In the distant future ... I wish that there is a common object-oriented programming package that integrates al and everything seamlessly into each other. Logic code + data + alarms + hmi object + multilanguage user texts + multilanguage comments etc. A program change in an parent object shall make all derived objects update automatically throughout the project.
Would be nice if this was an open standard too. So that you could freely choose the PLC hardware vendor.
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