Jason K. Firth, C.E.T.

Instrumentation, Control, and Automation

Troubleshooting tools for Wonderware DAServers

Jan 102015

January 10, 2015

I'm Jason Firth.

When troubleshooting Wonderware software, most people know about the system management console's log, but today I'm going to talk about some of the lesser known diagnostic tools available for troubleshooting DAServers while you're using Wonderware. There's a huge amount of literature included with Wonderware, but it can be a bit overwhelming. These are some tricks I picked up that may not be immediately obvious.

To start off, you're going to have to open the system management console.

Under the diagnostics, there's a tree filled with diagnostic tools.

Let's look at what each one does.

The Client Groups tree displays all the communications methods in service, in each one, it lists all the communications that are in service.

The structures tree shows all the different topic names that are communicating at the moment. You can click each device on the list for a more detailed view of what is or is not communicating correctly.

The transactions tab ostensibly shows transactions, but on all my servers it is empty, so I can't say what it does.

The statistics tree shows statistics for the currently selected DAServer.

The device groups tree lists the tags active in each device group, extremely similar to the structure tree.

The messages tree displays information about messages currently being processed. It updates fairly quickly.

Moving on from these diagnostic tools, there are ways to show additional debugging information in your system log.

Head to your local log viewer in the system management console, and right click "local". Click "Log Flags".

You're going to see a list of services on the left, and a list of options on the right. Every global log flag you check will cause that set of debugging and status messages to be shown in the log file. Note that there's a reason these aren't all selected by default: If you select all log flags, then your log will be inundated by a deluge of minutae.

Here's some options relating to DASMBTCP, a common DAServer used for communication over Ethernet using Modbus TCP.

This quick rundown isn't fancy, but hopefully this helps other people who are trying to figure out what the DAServers are thinking when communication isn't working.

Thanks for reading!

Wonderware System Platform 2014 R2 now available

Dec 212014

December 21, 2014

I'm Jason Firth.

Yesterday, without much fanfare (at least for their customers), Schneider released Wonderware System Platform 2014 R2.

Some quick notes from reading the documentation:

  • Windows XP, all versions; Windows Vista, all versions; Windows Server 2003, all versions; Windows Server 2008, non-R2 versions are no longer supported.

  • Modern InTouch Applications now allow you to better integrate ArchestrA objects into Intouch.

  • Wonderware Intouch now incorporates the ArchestrA Graphic Toolbox directly.

  • Additional Situational Awareness Library Symbols - There are now a number of new symbols for alarms, valves, and trends.

  • Graphic Connectors - It seems a new tool is available that can connect different objects together.

  • Alarm Shelving - This seems like a particularly useful function that will let operators "shelve" a nuisance alarm for a certain period of time.

  • Enhancements to Programmatic Export and Import of ArchestrA Symbols - It looks like they've added new ways to create archestra symbols using xml.

  • Conversion of InTouch Windows to ArchestrA Symbols - This is a huge win for anyone who was going to be forced to convert their windows by hand previously. Anyone doing an Intouch to ArchestrA conversion knows what I'm talking about.

When I first saw System Platform for the first time, my instinct was that Wonderware Intouch was going to slowly fade by the wayside, and it seems this is happening. More and more, the much more powerful ArchestrA framework is being integrated more into Intouch.

I'll use it more in the coming weeks, and write more about my experiences with the new system.

There have been a lot of steps in the right direction for Wonderware in the past few years: It seems like they've spent a lot of time resolving a lot of the show stopper bugs in the core program. I'm hoping to see that continue.

Wonderware customers with a support contract can find the new software on their website at The Wonderware Development Network.

Thanks for reading!