After reading the doc, the first thing that comes to mind is debug…
Perhaps after the section on page 11 ‘Backing up your project’ we should add a section about getting into debug mode.
One of the things I had to learn as I worked with PAC Control was how important it was to backup my strategy in such a way as to be able to be able to go into debug in a moments notice.
Let me explain.
If you discover a bug in the machine/process behaviour, you need to be able to go into debug to see what part of the code needs tweaking.
If you have made changes to the code since the last download, you will get a warning if you try and go into debug mode, the warning is correct in what it says… The code that is running will be stopped and replaced with this new code.
Once you do that, the new code will start running from the power up chart, block 0.
Suddenly, the erratic behaviour is cleared up and the process starts anew… What caused the bug? You don’t know, you have to wait till the process get into the buggy condition again. It could be minutes, hours or even days before all the conditions are just right.
If on the other hand, you have a backup of the strategy that allows you to simply open the strategy and click debug and go straight in, then you can look and see what is causing the errant behaviour.
Like most things in Opto, there are a few different ways to reach this ‘instant debug’ goal.
What we did at the hospital is as soon as we did a download, and we were happy with the code, we closed PAC Control, (You have to close it, it makes a lock file which you can’t copy when its open) opened up Windows Explorer and copied that strategy directory to another sub-directory we called ‘debug’. This code was then frozen.
No one touched it.
If we wanted to make changes to the code, we did it to the original strategy that was in another location.
Another way of achieving the same thing is to have the ‘debug’ directory, and upload the strategy archive to that location, unzip it, compile it and then go into debug with that strategy. This of course assumes that you have created and downloaded the archive to the controller.
The end result is the same, the coping is just quicker.
Point is, I feel that you MUST be able to enter debug without having to do a download.
I feel so strongly about this that its not a ‘best practice’ in my mind, but a REQUIREMENT!