Blog

Redundant Control Systems: Siemens S7 400H Series PLC and WinCC

There are certain control systems, such as in nuclear power plants and airplanes, that cannot be disabled or shut down, even momentarily, because of the threat to people’s lives. In these applications, a redundant control system must be in plac...


Using Devcon Command Line Utility to Rescue Unresponsive USB Devices

When choosing a piece of hardware, you will likely be confronted with many options from different vendors for what interface (PCI, PXI, USB, Serial/GPIB, LXI) that device will use to communicate with your software controller, so how do you choose? ...


IE Tab for Google Chrome

I liked Firefox. It had tabbed browsing before Internet Explorer (IE) and seemed lighter and faster. The plug-ins were also a great feature, especially IE Tab, which ran IE from within Firefox. It was very easy to change the rendering engine and you ...


WSS or MOSS - Which Version of SharePoint is Right for Us?

Looking back over the last three years of implementing SharePoint solutions for a wide variety of clients (large and small), I would say this is the number one question clients ask me when looking to get started on their first SharePoint portal solut...


Building Customer Relations... on the Soccer Field

On a recent project in Guangzhou, China, I had an opportunity to join a soccer outing with guys from our client's factory. Ok, so maybe it wasn't a FIFA World Cup caliber match, but we had a great time pitting the engineering department ve...


IEC61131-3 Data Structures (Encapsulation = Domination!)

Encapsulating your data into custom Data Structures will allow you to Dominate (maybe not the world, but at least your PLC) I'm going to conclude my series on the IEC 61131-3 standard by examining the benefits of Data Structures. (If you misse...


New PXI Battery Simulator for PHEV Automotive Applications

For a recent DMC project I had the pleasure of working with Pickering Interfaces, a well-known international PXI hardware vendor, to supply an off-the-shelf PXI card which can simulate 6 chemical battery cells. Since such a product did not exist at t...


Using Microsoft's RichCopy Tool

Sometimes copying and pasting from Windows Explorer just isn't good enough. It's fine for every-day file handling, but if you have to migrate all the files on a drive, but can't use a program like Ghost to carbon copy the volume, Windows ...


Communication between Siemens HMIs and non-Siemens controllers

Ever wanted to use those very nice looking Siemens touchpad HMIs with a third party controller Siemens doesn't officially support? On a recent project I was presented with the following scenario: a customer already had several Siemens touch-scree...


IEC 61131-3 Function Blocks - Unleash the Power!

If you are a programmer, an OEM, or end user that utilizes IEC 61131-3 compliant PLCs, you should MUST read this article. In the 3rd part of my series on the IEC61131-3 programming standard (you can check out the previous part 1 and part 2), I wil...


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