How to edit a PanelView Plus (ViewME) MER Runtime file

Recently a client asked how he would go about editing a PanelView Plus .MER file his customer had sent him.

Unfortunately there' no simple answer to this question, so in today's article we'll cover the basic steps you need to take to extract ViewStudio projects from ME runtime files.

Converting a version 5.0 or greater .MER runtime file back into an editable project

If you’re using FactoryTalk ViewStudio 7.0 on Windows 7 64 bit, and your .MER is version 6.1 or 7.0, then you’re in luck. As long as the file was created to allow “conversion,” and you either know the password or there isn't one, then it’s as easy as running Rockwell’s Application Manager and choosing, “Restore runtime application.”

Application-Manager-on-W7-ME-Selected-Restore-Runtime

However, if the .MER runtime file is a version 5.0, 5.1, or 6.0, you’re going to need a 32 bit Windows OS with ViewStudio installed in order to restore the runtime application.

Application-Manager-on-XP-ME-Selected-Restore-Runtime

If you want to take that version 5.0-6.0 application and use it on Windows 7 64 bit, you'll first need to download the “Legacy Tag DB Tool” and export the Tag DB (check back Wednesday for a article on this subject.)

Recovering pre-version 5.0 .MER runtime file

If your MER file is older than version 5.0, well there is no easy answer. ME Runtime files prior to 5.0 were not designed to be recovered back into a project, and the following procedure won’t recover 100% of it's contents.

The first step in the process of recovering a pre-5 .MER file is to load it into ViewME Station on a 32 bit Windows OS, the most common of which is Windows XP.

MERuntime-Configuraiton-Menu-XP

NOTE: Most projects won’t “load” in the “free” demo version of ViewME Station runtime that comes with View Studio. That version is limited to projects with 5 or less graphic displays.

If you don't actually own a ViewME Station Runtime license, you'll either need to be in the 7 day grace period (more on that HERE) or you'll need to obtain a 30 day temporary license from your local Rockwell office or authorized distributor (more information on this HERE.)

When you do load (do not run) the MER file into ViewME Station Runtime, the software extracts the MER file's contents into a hidden temporary folder.

This hidden folder is typically found under “Documents and Settings\User Name\Local Settings\Temp,” although the exact path changes slightly from OS to OS.

The name of the hidden folder the MER runtime get's extracted to is typically “~MER.00.”

MERuntime-~MER00-Folder

To recover this project, you should first copy the entire ~MER folder to a more accessible and less temporary location. Then, open View Studio ME and choose “new,” then “import,” and then select the .MED file inside the ~MER.00 folder.

FactoryTalk-View-ME-File-New-Import-MED

FactoryTalk-View-ME-Import-Wizard=Select-MED

The above process will import the extracted .MER file contents into your new project. It will contain the original graphic displays, tags, and many other parts of your MER runtime. However, text heavy parts of the project like Alarms, Parameters, and Macros, as well as the RSLinx Enterprise (or other) communications setting, will not be successfully recreated.

NOTE: You can find the RSLinx settings in the ViewME Station Runtime software under Terminal Settings, Network and Communication Settings.

Additional Reading

For more information on this subject check out the following Rockwell Knowledgebase documents:

I hope you found the above article about editing MER files helpful. If you have any comments, questions, or corrections please don’t hesitate to leave them by filling in the “post a comment or question” link below.

Sincerely,

Shawn Tierney
Automation Instructor and Blogger

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Shawn Tierney

Shawn began sharing automation news and know-how online in 1996 when he launched his first BBS. Then in 1999 he moved to the internet launching ShawnMichael.com, which he later renamed ShawnMTierney.com. In 2013 he moved his automation efforts to a new website, TheAutomationBlog.com, which has since become the most popular independent industrial automation blog on the web.
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28 Blog Comments

  1. Hi Shawn,
    Currently required to upload a runtime application from a panelveiw 700 which the client believes is about to break, and then transfer this runtime application into a new HMI of the same make and model. I have done so in the office however all I get when I run the application is a blank grey screen with no screens etc. I was just wondering if the HMI has to be connected to the PLC or if there is an issue with the procedure I just described. The uploading of the file from the original HMI was done via the transfer utility in Factory Talk ME. Would using a USB as described above potentially work as appose to using a transfer utility in ME that may cause conflicts due to it’s version? Thanks.

    • Good morning Martin,

      Using the transfer utility or USB memory stick will result in acquiring the same .mer file, so you’re good there.

      The blank gray screen is typically seen with older versions of ViewStudio when the designer forgets to choose a “default screen.” With no default screen, all you see is the gray background of the app.

      In your case, if the project you uploaded didn’t do this in the field, I would guess that the designer is using the PLC to control the initial display. So, without the PLC connected, the Panelview is not receiving a value from the screen control tag (under global connections) telling it to go to some screen, so no screen is displayed all you see if gray.

      One way to prove this would be to connect it to a PLC with the same program running in the field.

      Hope this helps,

      Shawn Tierney

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  2. Hi Shawn,

    I was able to complete the above procedure, however when opening up the studio project all of the text was replaced with a “?”. I thought your readers would be interested in how I solved this: when importing I had to change the language from English (United States) to English (Canada).. So the text really will mess up if you don’t enter in the language correctly.

    • Good morning James,

      Thanks for the tip!

      While I’ve done this dozens of times, it’s always been on English (United States) projects, so it’s good to know what to do if you get all question marks instead of the expected text.

      Thanks again!

      Shawn Tierney

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