No one is perfect, but locking bug fixes, wiring diagrams and product drivers behind a paywall is not good for customer relations.
Update, December 2020: Thankfully Rockwell has made the new version of this Tech Note publicly available here.
Original Story: I'm a huge Rockwell fan, but sadly my attempts to get them to stop requiring a support contract to access product bug fixes, drivers, and wiring diagrams hasn't gone anywhere.
The latest example is a new issue that users who download the free PanelView Plus version 10 firmware run into if they have an older version of FactoryTalk View installed.
According to a trusted and experienced user, if you download and install version 10 firmware on a system that has FactoryTalk View Studio version 9 or earlier, it “breaks” (Rockwell's term) the pre-v10 Firmware Upgrade Wizard currently installed.
The error that comes up is said to be, “The program can't start because the HelpWrapper.dll is missing”
The good news is, Rockwell is aware of this and has already published a fix in their answer ID 1071864.
In case someone out there is in a jam and can't access that paywall “locked” tech note, here's how you go about fixing the issue:
First, search for and delete the new Firmware Upgrade Wizard executable that the v10 firmware installed on your system.
You'll find it with the rest of the FactoryTalk View executables in the “\Rockwell Software\RSView Enterprise” folder under “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)”
You can also find it by searching your computer for “FirmwareUpgrade.exe”
Next, re-install the prior version of the Firmware upgrade Wizard you previously had installed, and you should be back up and running!
Note: If you don't have your ViewStudio install files or disc, you can thankfully grab the Machine Edition Firmware Upgrade Wizard for free from Rockwell's own website.
To do so, start by searching for “FactoryTalk View Machine Edition” here.
From the search results select the Machine Edition product.
Then select downloads, and in the popup you'll see the free link to download the Firmware Upgrade Wizard: (you must be logged into Rockwell's website, but that is also free.)
So what do you think?
If you buy a software package and it doesn't work, should tech notes about how to fix bugs be free?
Or when you buy a product should the Windows drivers for said product be free, or require a support contract?
Or how about wiring diagrams needed to wire a product but omitted from the manual… should they be locked behind a paywall?
Please share your thoughts, opinions, or questions by clicking on the “post a comment or question” link below.
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