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Old October 26th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #1
psychosunshine
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Maple SYstems, C-More Panel or EZ Automation HMI

I am trying to decide which HMI to use on a machine.

I need a 7 to 10 inch touch panel for a small machine, and I can not decide which HMI would be best to connect to my SLC 5/03. I want to use ethernet, but I am willing to settle for the serial port. I have been thinking of upgrading my SLC 5/03 to a 5/05 to get an ethernet port, but I was looking for an HMI with a serial port and an ethernet port, so I could do either. The price is not that important. I just want an HMI that is easy to program and works well.

I've been looking at Maple SYstems, Automation Directs C-More Panels and EZAutomation.net
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Old October 26th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #2
Ken Roach
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I'll be the first to suggest Red Lion's G3 or G3 Kadet HMI over any of those.

You'll find some recommendations of Maple, EZ-Automation, and C-More devices on the Forum, but they are the low-price side of the market and it shows in hardware and software quality.

Consider the new G307K2 'Kadet', or the full-featured G308. Both have serial and Ethernet connectivity to SLC controllers.

You'll probably see that the G307K2 has identical hardware to a Maple Systems unit, but with the powerful, popular, and easy-to-use Crimson 3 software.

You'll find a handful of veteran Crimson 3 users here on the Forum, to the point where Red Lion cites PLCTalk.net in their User Manual as a community resource.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Roach View Post
I'll be the first to suggest Red Lion's G3 or G3 Kadet HMI over any of those.

You'll find some recommendations of Maple, EZ-Automation, and C-More devices on the Forum, but they are the low-price side of the market and it shows in hardware and software quality.

Consider the new G307K2 'Kadet', or the full-featured G308. Both have serial and Ethernet connectivity to SLC controllers.

You'll probably see that the G307K2 has identical hardware to a Maple Systems unit, but with the powerful, popular, and easy-to-use Crimson 3 software.

You'll find a handful of veteran Crimson 3 users here on the Forum, to the point where Red Lion cites PLCTalk.net in their User Manual as a community resource.
I highly recommend Redlion.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #4
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I know a lot of people that recommend Redlion, but I've found C-More to be much easier (intuitive?) to use when it comes to basic HMI features.

From my experience, Redlion has more options when it comes to usage, but C-more has done the basics quicker and easier. My use of HMIs is limited to basic troubleshooting help and machine status. I don't worry about things like logging, recipes (to an extent), using the HMI to handle basic programming functions, etc. For me it's just there to tell the operator what the machine is doing, or trying to do, and the PLC handles everything else.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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One of my favorite things about the G3 is boot time. When you lock out your machines frequently, being able to start them up and have a fully functional HMI 8 seconds after applying power is money in the bank.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 03:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by OkiePC View Post
One of my favorite things about the G3 is boot time. When you lock out your machines frequently, being able to start them up and have a fully functional HMI 8 seconds after applying power is money in the bank.
I don't think I've seen a C-more take very long to boot up, turn on the power, and it's up and running in just a few seconds.

AB's little panelview components (which ever one have the programming onboard over your internet browser) though... the distributor showed me one and it took close to a minute to boot up.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #7
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Having used a lot of different HMIs, my vote would be:

1. Red Lion
2. C-More
3. Whatever else you feel like
999. PanelView Component
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Old October 26th, 2012, 08:01 PM   #8
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I use the Maple Systems HMI5000 series for most projects. It is definitely more capable than the Cmore and a LOT less expensive than a Panelview. For what you want to do, the HMI5070TH would work fine.
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Old October 27th, 2012, 02:47 PM   #9
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I will add my vote for the Red Lion G3 series. I have only done 2 projects so far but I do like them. The software is very good and its free!! like most people I shy away from free software as you usually get what you pay for. But the Crimson 3.0 has made me thing twice about that stand. Price wise I find them to be in the ball park as other similar size screens. Something worth looking into.
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Old October 27th, 2012, 11:15 PM   #10
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Well, I appreciate all your responses. It looks like I may go with the Red Lion 7 inch unit (G307K2). As Ken said it is the same hardware as the Maple Systems, but the software must be better, with everyone here liking it. I am definitely one that thinks the AB Panelviews are way over priced for the features that are available. And the software is a bit expensive too. I've also always thought that HMI manufacturers should give away the software, just to support the hardware. That makes it easy for us. Red Lion can make the money from selling the hardware.

I'm glad I am not the only one that thinks Panelview is a bad choice. It still does not explain why I still see them everywhere.

Anyway, thanks again everyone.
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Old October 28th, 2012, 05:30 AM   #11
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The point that sold me on Red Lion is that there is a 15 or 20+ page thread where Red Lion's support group is asking us what we want. Show me where the president of any other large company is online at midnight asking technical "geeks " what can we do to make it better. They listened!!!
Some of those guys at Red Lion post questions here for us. They answer questions almost daily if not multiple times a day.

If you are used to using standard HMI programming software then the Crimson 3 might look a little tough. After you do 2 systems I bet you will be on here recommending them as well.

I once cared about software price being free or costing money. It can be a multi edge sword.
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Old October 28th, 2012, 08:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgreenewv View Post
999. PanelView Component
LOL... Well they made the top 1000
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Old October 28th, 2012, 09:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychosunshine View Post
I am trying to decide which HMI to use on a machine.

I need a 7 to 10 inch touch panel for a small machine, and I can not decide which HMI would be best to connect to my SLC 5/03. I want to use ethernet, but I am willing to settle for the serial port. I have been thinking of upgrading my SLC 5/03 to a 5/05 to get an ethernet port, but I was looking for an HMI with a serial port and an ethernet port, so I could do either. The price is not that important. I just want an HMI that is easy to program and works well.

I've been looking at Maple SYstems, Automation Directs C-More Panels and EZAutomation.net
I have not tried it, but I believe the models with RS485 isolated ports can be connected directly to DH485 with the correctly wired cable. This is something I was going to investigate with a G304K (old 1).

This would let you keep your 5/03s, and use the Ethernet port on the K2 to check on the machine with a PC and a web browser. The G3 should also be able to send data to any other PLC on the Ethernet network so can be a data bridge between the 5/03 and the rest of the system.

You can even allegedly go online through the G3 as a bridge using RSLogix but to do this requires the HMI stop functioning, and the installation of some third party com port redirector software.

If you really need RSLogix access, you can bridge to CH0 with a Digi One IAP module, and then the G3 and other devices on the network including your programming PC can access both of them via Ethernet.

If you do decide later on to upgrade, it is a simple thing to change the communication path to the 5/05 in Crimson 3.0. The G3 can work through a Digi, NEt-Eni, serial with either DF1 or DH485 protocol, and more...those are the methods I have used already.

With Crimson 3.0 there will be a bit of a learning curve, but that will be offset by high productivity pretty quickly.
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Old October 28th, 2012, 06:57 PM   #14
psychosunshine
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OK. Well, does anyone know how I am trying to import the tags from my SLC 5/03 project. I exported them to a CSV file, but when I try toi import them, the software appears to not actually do anything. There is no tag list. Does anyone know how to help? Thanks.
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Old October 28th, 2012, 07:34 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by psychosunshine View Post
OK. Well, does anyone know how I am trying to import the tags from my SLC 5/03 project. I exported them to a CSV file, but when I try toi import them, the software appears to not actually do anything. There is no tag list. Does anyone know how to help? Thanks.
http://www.plctalk.net/qanda/showthr...ort+RSLogix500

Also, I don't know if it's covered in the linked thread(s) above, but if you try to massage the csv file with MS Office ware, it will foul up the file, inserting extra commas for every missing field to pad them out.

When the imoprt mechanism in Crimson 3.0 encounters all these strings of commas, it bails, with only a glimpse of an error on the bottom status bar.

I fixed this manually with notepad++ with show all characters turned on. I had the raw and the edited side by side with compare highlighting, then a few select/copy/find and replace plaste clicks later, my csv saved from an xls sheet was repaired.

If you don't get the 'success' dialog box and see the import tags being listed as imported, then it bombed out.

Get Notepad++.
By copying and pasting the correct section with line returns and commas format from an unadulterated csv file into the one that MacroShaftExcel decided to flub up for me. I could identify, select, copy the wrong, find, paste, replace, copy the correct, paste, replace all and it's fixed.

Notepad++, I have barely tapped its power, but it rocks out of the box. It's like the wireshark of text editors.

I think with OpenOffice it is easier to import/save without these hassles, but my final workaround was to use a dummy copy of the rss file with all non-HMI stuff purged out before exporting.

This allowed me to define the data stream in all directions up front, and I like limits and generic structure when it comes to HMI comms. Many would say this defeats the purpose of importing. It is a question of style, not right or wrong.

Only importing what you need from a stripped down RSLogix file may not hold any real performance advantage except for the storage space of the tags not being accessed on your PC. But it is nice not to have a list of addresses to wade through during development. Describe them as you go, marking them used, leave space between groups, (use array tags on the Crimson side).

If you like a clean and planned structure with generic tag names like I do, then this method works. Just leave lots of room for expansion so you will never have to change it.
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Last edited by OkiePC; October 28th, 2012 at 07:58 PM.
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