A new tool available with the GT series HMI panel eliminates the need for PLC software and allows users to manage and monitor PLCs like never before.
This new tool from Panasonic is called “FP MONITOR“. FP Monitor is available for all PLC’s with a built-in USB connection.
FP Monitor can do the following:
- Read and write system registers
- Read and write registers (bit and word data)
- Force registers on/off
- Monitor shared memory
- Monitor error status
- Manage passwords
There are several modes in the FPMonitor main menu, they are:
- System Register
- Shared Memory
1. System Register: FP Monitor gives you the ability to change system registers from outside the PLC through the system registers menu. This mode displays the number of the system register in the PLC. You can change system registers from the HMI to control the configuration of the PLC (i.e. counter start address, data register hold start address, etc.)
2. Error: Errors can be monitored and cleared with the error menu. Customers/maintenance don’t need PLC software to see what error is occurring in the PLC and can therefore take the necessary actions to fix it more quickly.
3. Device Menu: This menu utilizes the a) Easy monitor, b) Entry monitor, and c) Forced on/off control methods which allows the user to easily read and write to device on the PLC and overwrite the PLC program’s command on the device.
4. Password: Passwords can now be cleared or changed from the HMI screen by using the password menu. Use this screen to set or delete passwords for password-protected PLCs. You can use 4-digit or 8-digit passwords.
5. Shared Memory: This displays the screen for reading values from the shared memory. The screen is read-only and displays the value of the shared memory address selected.
This new tool should be of great value to users in managing and monitoring PLCs in general.
Please contact Panasonic Technical Support if there are questions about these new features, or feel free to post your questions below.
For all their promise, electric vehicles won’t really hit the roads in any great numbers until charging stations become more readily available. Fortunately, the creation of a charging infrastructure is underway based on three different types of charging stations.
Here’s a look at these stations and why they need the right kind of DC relays to enable safe, effective electric vehicle charging:
Three Charger Levels
There are three different levels of charging stations, which differ in their allowable charging voltage, the complexity of their installation and the amount of time they take to charge.
- Level 1 Charging Station – 120VAC, 16A (1.92kW). Compatible with ordinary household electrical outlets, the Level 1 station normally takes 8 to 12 hours to fully charge an electric vehicle. It provides AC energy directly to the vehicle’s on-board charging system, which has an internal AC/DC converter. Because Level 1 stations are “plug and play” with regular residential outlets, they can be installed in the home without professional help.
- Level 2 Charging Station – 208 to 240VAC, 12 to 80A (2.5 to 19.2kW). Level 2 stations provide a fast charge time of three to six hours. They, too, provide AC energy to the vehicle’s on-board charging system where conversion to DC energy is done. Because of safety concerns related to their higher voltages, Level 2 stations must be permanently installed by a licensed electrician. These stations can be used either indoors or outdoors and are suitable for public or private installations.
- Level 3 Charging Station – 300 to 600VDC, 400A Max. Level 3 charging stations, which are also DC fast chargers, provide DC electricity to the car’s battery. Because AC-to-DC conversion is not required, they take only 20 to 30 minutes to charge the vehicle. This method of electric vehicle charging will dominate the public charging infrastructure, serving as “gas stations” for electric vehicles.
Relays For Electric Vehicle Charging
High capacity DC relays play a crucial role by cutting off current when the vehicle is connected or disconnected to an electric charger. Typically, these relays will be implemented in both the charger itself and in the vehicle’s electrical system.
For example, our EP Relay would typically be used within the design of the charging station itself. It features a hermetically sealed construction, with a hydrogen gas mix enclosed within a ceramic capsule to enhance arc reduction at high voltage and current values.
In addition to current protection, relays also see use in battery monitoring systems. Our automotive-rated AQV and AQW relays, for instance, are used for battery management within hybrid vehicles. With their high switching speeds and electrical isolation, these relays are ideal for scanning battery cells.
Download our guide to relays for electric vehicle applications. For more information on relays for electric vehicles and charging systems contact Aiman Kiwan.
Have you or your team ever lost, or, been unable to obtain an original copy of a PLC program? With no means to contact the original programmer? This situation can be not only be costly and time consuming, but more importantly, it forces you to perform a program upload that will most likely generate unwelcome machine-to-ladder code conversion errors.
With FPWINPRO, and a comment memory supported PLC this is no longer a problem. An FPWINPRO tool, not often found in other software, allows you to save the entire project into the PLC, and that Project can be extracted at a later date. This means that years later, a new programmer can extract a line for line copy of the original FPWINPRO project. This includes the original comments for variables, ladder comments, and variable names. This tool is only available in FPWINPRO, not FPWINGR software.
The tool mentioned above is not the typically used “Upload program code and PLC configuration” process used daily. That tool is very different. If the original programmer doesn’t specifically use the “SAVE PROJECT INTO PLC” process then only the machine code is downloaded into the PLC which lacks comment data, variable name data and original ladder structure. If only the machine code is downloaded, the software compiler can try to interpret the machine code into a Ladder Diagram for you, however, this process isn’t always 100% successful. Complicated, and heavily nested programs may cause “impossible to draw” networks. This will also add considerable time for a new programmer who will have to interpret the converted ladder program. I would always recommend using the “Save project to PLC” feature on your PLC.
The table shows which Panasonic PLC’s have the ability to “Save Project to PLC”. If your PLC supports comment data then you can save your project on the PLC. Please review the PLC’s user manual for more detail.
To perform the “Save Project to PLC” you must be online with the PLC. Go to the Project menu/Save as/Project on PLC…
For help with storing your PLC Program using FPWINPRO on a Panasonic PLC, contact Nehemiah Jandroep.