Last week I was contacted by an OEM for my advice on the best way to create reports that customers could view in Microsoft Excel.
Since his equipment was outfitted with the PanelView Plus 6, I suggested the first option we should discuss would be the one already built-in to his existing HMI: Rockwell's DataStore Plus ActiveX extension.
FactoryTalk View Machine Edition and the PanelView Plus always had the ability to log data using a built-in datalog feature. However, I've found this implementation of datalogging so limited that I describe it to new clients as, “just a historical log for trends.”
What's limited about it? For starters, each ViewME project can only run a single datalog model which logs to a single file. And this log file is limited to 300,000 data points (expanded to 1,000,000 in version 7.0.) The log file is also in a proprietary file format. And while there is a free utility to extract the contents of the log file, providing access to the file can often result in the need to restart the Machine Edition project.
So in my opinion using the ViewME Datalog feature for anything beside historical trends is cumbersome. On the other hand, Rockwell's free DataStore Plus ActiveX extension is a very practical data logging solution.
NOTE: The DataStore ActiveX was available for use with the older VersaView CE / PanelView Plus CE models. However, to use previous versions on those devices you had to download and install it yourself. Today with the PanelView Plus 6 and ViewStudio 6.0, the DataStore Plus ActiveX is just one of many extensions which come preinstalled.
The DataStore Plus ActiveX is designed to give the PanelView Plus 6 and ViewME runtimes the ability to datalog up to 100 Real tags and 50 String tags. It's also not limited to a single file, or a certain number of records like the built-in datalog. In fact, it has several options which determine the format and content of the log files, and it's only log limit is the amount of storage space on your target storage device.
DataStore Plus also allows for time based creation of new CSV files, and can automatically purge old files base on number or age. In fact, there are so many options its just easier to include screen shots versus trying to list them all (see the pictures on right.)
How the DataStore Plus ActiveX works:
In most cases, you'll want to put the DataStore Plus ActiveX on a display that remains open at all times. This allows it to continuously run and log data.
If you don't have a display which always remains open, you can easily create a new “on top” display to host this ActiveX. Often, the always open display will be launched as the initial display. Then, it in turn will launch the original initial display. This is accomplished through the use of the Global Connection's “remote display number” setting.
Well that's it for DataStore Plus ActiveX basics. Later in the week I'll post a step-by-step procedure for setting it up.
Until then, If you have any questions or comments please don't hesitate to let us know by using the “post a comment” link below.