Wednesday, October 16, 2013

“Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close up”

So here’s a shameless plug for a great YouTube video that’s about to go viral.

For use with our Electronic Marshalling, we’ve released the CHARM Diagnostic App for the iPhone for interpreting and diagnosing the LED lights on CIOC Characterization Modules.  Using either the built in camera or manual detection, the color and blink rate of the CHARM’s LED is translated into useful diagnostic information.

In addition, wiring schematics for all 21 available CHARM types can be called up to ensure proper wiring and aid in troubleshooting.

We spared no expense in getting some top Hollywood talent to promote this new app – you can check out the video here.

Oscar balloting will start after the first of the year, but we're hoping to take home a “Duncan”

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Get More Descriptive with your Alarms in DeltaV v12

Sometimes it’s easier to get your point across with less; other times you wish you had more time or room to explain yourself.  Submitting an abstract for Emerson Exchange is like that – you end up having to be creative to get your point across in the limited number of characters you’re allotted.

One place you hate to be limited is in your alarms.  The more information you can provide your operators, the better they’ll be able to respond.  Back in version 11 of DeltaV, we added Alarm Help functionality, to capture and display detailed information about an alarm, what to do when the alarm comes in, and what might happen if no action is taken.

And while you can get this detailed information for any individual alarm, it would be nice if there was more information available when you look at the Alarm Banner, the Alarm Summary display, or Process History View.

So in version 12 of DeltaV, we’ve added a new feature called Alarm Descriptions.  You’ll find the Alarm Description field on the Advanced tab when configuring an alarm in a control or SIS module:

When you configure an Alarm Description, the text you enter gets concatenated with the module description for use in the Alarm Banner:

Alarm Banner without a configured Alarm Description
Alarm Banner with a configured Alarm Description 

In the Alarm List screen, the Description field will contain the module description or the new Alarm Description, if one exists:

Alarm List without a configured Alarm Description


Typically a control module would contain process information associated with a single process signal or control loop.  In this case, using DeltaV Alarm Types can provide an acceptable level of detail associated with an alarm.  While this may be adequate for single analog control or monitor type control modules, additional descriptive information for discrete types of alarms and SIS SIF modules are necessary.

The description shown in the alarm banner and alarm list is associated with the module itself, not the process variables used within the module.  Because this information can be critical for the operator to troubleshoot an interlock or safety trip, engineering workarounds have been developed.  These include adding additional Alarms Types or new, separate modules to the system whose sole purpose is to provide more descriptive information to the operator when one of these events occurs.

Alarm Descriptions remove the need to create these extra components and all the work associated with them while providing the operator with the additional information he needs.  Now if I could just get additional information into my abstract submission…

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DeltaV Version 12 Fun Facts and Features – Part 4

We’ve given a helping hand to Books On Line in Version 12.  Never fear, you’ll still be able to launch BOL right from the task bar in DeltaV Explorer, just like you always have.

The first change you’ll notice is when you right click on something like a function block.  Prior to v12, you’d see a menu like this one with one of the choices being What’s this?

In v12, we’ve replace the words “What’s this?” with “Help”.  Not a big deal at all, and rest assured Help and What’s this? are going to get you to all the information you need. 

Prior to v12, What’s this? used to bring up these mini help dialogs:

What’s we’ve done in v12 is to combine the mini help dialogs into BOL as the first page of a larger section:

We’re using the same compiled HTML code to convert the mini helps into the rest of Books On Line, centralizing all the help information within DeltaV.  Access to the more detailed information is easily available from the links at the bottom of the topic overview.

One other change is the location of the compiled HTML files – they’re no longer in a BOL folder on the C:\DeltaV drive of your DeltaV machine.  They’re located in a Hlp folder in the same location.  You can still copy this folder off and drop it onto your laptop’s hard drive for easy access to Books On Line wherever you are.

There’s a chance that after you copy BOL over to your PC, you might get a screen that looks like this when you double click on the masterbol.chm file:

If so, take a look at the properties of the masterbo.chm file:

Go ahead and click on the “Unblock” button and things should work just fine.  Also, you’ll most likely have to put the BOL folder on your local PC, since you won’t be able to launch compiled HTML files over a network share.  Thanks to Scott Thompson at RE Mason for these .chm tips.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

DeltaV Version 12 Fun Facts and Features – Part 3

My buddy Klaus Erni, the DeltaV Hardware Product Marketing Manager, has a couple of smaller, but pretty neat projects associated with the V12 release of DeltaV.

The first is a fiber optic connection option for our Wireless IO Card (WIOC) – the Fiber Optic IOP.  With this little gizmo plugged into the WIOC carrier, you’re no longer constrained to the 100m limit of copper CAT5 and can really extend the distance for locating your DeltaV wireless field device access point.

His second project is the new the 24 VDC Power CHARM.  This one’s kind of interesting – the purpose of this CHARM is to supply 24 volts to 4 wire transmitters like a MicroMotion.  It now gives folks a simple alternative for wiring up these 4 wire devices without the need for a lot of extra stuff in rack room panels or field enclosures.

The process variable comes in on a normal, HART input CHARM, and the device is powered by the 24 VDC Power CHARM.  You can install the Power CHARM right next to the HART CHARM or locate a group of Power CHARMs in a separate baseplate.

You don’t have to configure anything in DeltaV for the Power CHARM to work, but you can if you want and reference diagnostic information about the power being supplied to the transmitter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

DeltaV Version 12 Fun Facts and Features – Part 2

One of our projects in Version 12 is our Licensing Revamp.  We’ve made counting IO licenses and managing them much easier.

The first thing we’ve done is gotten consistent in counting Device Signal Tags (DST’s) across all our supported bus technologies.  In previous versions of DeltaV, a single Foundation Fieldbus device counted as a single DST; it didn’t matter how many signals came in on that device, it only counted as one DST.

We’ve extended that methodology to our other supported busses – DeviceNet and Profibus.  Each field device on these bus segments will count as a single DST.  So if you’ve got a drive or motor from an MCC coming in via DeviceNet with multiple signals (start, stop, running, current, etc), it'll only count as a single DST.

Probably the licensing change I’m most excited about is how we’re handling serial IO.  In the past, folks would bring multiple registers from a serial dataset into one module in DeltaV (we called them “landing modules”).  In the landing modules, we’d convert the register IO references into parameters that then got picked up by other modules in the system.  This allowed us to keep the DST count down when dealing with large amounts of serial data.

In Version 12, we’ve eliminated the need to use landing modules by just counting a single DST per serial dataset.  So whether you’re bringing in 50 or 100 integer registers into a single dataset, it will only count as one DST, no matter how many different modules reference the registers from the dataset.

Eliminating the landing modules eliminates a lot of unneeded complexity – your control modules reference serial IO just like they would reference other IO types.  Engineering and troubleshooting are simplified and controller loading is reduced by not having all those landing modules.

And to better help keep track of licensing, we’ve created an I/O License Demand utility.

You’ll be able to see how all your I/O effect your license usage before you ever have to download a controller.  And it won’t matter what type of licensing dongle you have attached to your system, the I/O License Demand utility will still give you the right information.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DeltaV Version 12 Fun Facts and Features – Part 1

One of my New Year’s resolutions (and performance review goals) was to start blogging more frequently, so I thought I’d put together a series of posts about some of the new and enhanced features in the upcoming release of DeltaV, Version 12.  SIS Electronic Marshalling, Virtualization, and Batch Analytics are three big features, but I thought I'd start by covering some of the smaller, but important updates.

We’ve started taking orders for V12 and delivery is expected later this year.  So what can you expect?  Let’s start off with Microsoft OS version support.

In V12, both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 will be supported.  Not only are they both supported, they can coexist on the same DeltaV system.  Now for folks putting in a new V12 system, this isn’t that big a deal – all the workstations and servers will be the 64 bit version of the operating systems.

But customers with V11 systems that are thinking about upgrading to V12 won’t have to worry about including an OS change along with the rest of their upgrade plans.  Their 32 bit OS versions will work just fine with V12.  And down the road, if they need to expand, 64 bit OS machines can be added and will work just fine with their 32 bit cousins.