Alternative Methods To Upload/Download Recipes?


#1

Over the past 5 years or so we have been using PAC Display Configurator Recipe Manager to upload/download a fairly good amount of recipes across 3 strategies. As the process has grown along with more I/O and code, the recipe upload and downloads are not always completed successfully ending up with partially filled tables of data!

I am looking for a more reliable and simply way to conduct this without having to rely on the configurator recipe manager. Maybe FTP or is there a way to just import the text files directly into the strategy tables using Pac Control Pro? I already have the front end done where clicking on individual graphic icons in display will create the correct text file names and paths where the recipe table variables are stored . I am just looking for the strategy to actually upload these text files into the tables.


#2

Hi PilotMan,

There are lots of ways to move data to/from a controller. The best way for you situation will depend on a few things. Sounds like you’re well on your way to creating some text files on your PAC Display PC which you’d like to get onto your controller?

The first solution which pops in my head involves turning your PC into an FTP server, so your controller, using FTP and perhaps file communication handles, can pull those files from the PC for parsing into whatever variables need loading up in your strategy. Although I’ve used the built-in IIS Windows features to turn a PC into a FTP server in the past, IIS tends to cause me to use bad words. The FileZilla server, on the other hand, is simple (free) and works great.

Once you have your controller and PC communicating with each other via FTP, there are several options for how you’d parse that data into tables. What will your files look like (do you have control over that?), and what kind of tables are we talking about here?

Thanks,
-OptoMary


#3

We have been using the recipe manager to upload and download since R8.5 but over time everything has grown (I/O’s graphics, controllers…) to the point where it takes a good 3-4 minutes for all the recipes to complete their transfers. When first developed it required numerous trial/error attempts to get it right since with one click of the mouse in runtime the recipes for 3 different controllers are transferred sequentially with handshakes in and out of their respective tables. Basically when we change our process to a different product, PID, alarms, and STPT’s from the existing product are first saved to their corresponding unique recipe file names and then the new ones are loaded. We have a dual server based system with 3-5 PC’s running this same runtime display.
Since the recipe files are all updated in all 3-5 PC’s hard drives running the same runtime, it appears this could also be slowing down the process.
This would be more work, but what if I only had the recipes on one PC Runtime Display?
Would that be worth the trial to determine speed/reliability improvements?

I like the thought of FTP and taking the transfers completely down to the controller level thus not requiring all the interfacing with runtime display except for maybe one attribute connected to a button click to start the process. My concern is always adding more I/O’s or comm handles can slow down our controller (I have fought this battle many times having to optimize and add more controllers to break apart the strategies) since on one I have 22 including a bunch of OPTOMMP to use with scratch pad transfers.


#4

Regarding recipes, is there a recommended way to create a generic recipe chart (program) that will take care of recipe making? I’m trying to move away from using the display program for that. I’m thinking of a program that will generate the recipe periodically, or at the push of a button, but doing it mostly from the controller. Will it have to create a text file in recipe format and send it to a PC via FTP? BTW double thumbs up for FileZilla, works great.


#5

Hi Freddie,

Glad FileZilla is working for you. :slight_smile:

Could you give us a little more info here? I’m not sure of the problem you’re trying to solve, or why you’re “trying to move away from using he display program…” Certainly you could write a chart to do just about anything, including create & send files. But for context here, and so you’ll get the best variety of suggestions, could you describe your 10,000 foot view of what you’re up to?

Thanks!

-OptoMary


#6

Under CODE CONTEST this link [B]Simple Configuration File - Subroutine[/B] I found a gentleman who had created subs for what I think is what you are looking for. I have taken his work to a higher level which directly replaces the Display program recipe manager Upload/Download recipes using the exact same format text files. These subs also have error checks to a level where they check for a specific expected table element # value dependant on flavor of recipes to ensure the successful upload/download all controlled from within the strategy. In my case there are 3 controllers that need to conduct these recipe functions every time we change products thus the handshaking is via the scratchpad since there are also different graphics display projects where the operator can make the change with a discrete pushbutton. I guess if there is enough interest I could put these Subs and the controlling chart out there but it would take a bit of time to make it more understandable for users.


#7

As Freddie suggests, Chart based recipe control, as opposed to Display based recipe control, could be nice to have. There are only ~20 views of the Code Contest files you linked, so maybe the demand for this really is low. However, if you end up sharing your work, you can count me among those interested.