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  • Another Productivity 3000 programming flop

    Well after waiting for 3 releases for Automation Direct to fix the printout of the Productivity 3000 programming software it still looks like crap. Unless you you a font so small that it is almost impossible to read, there is no chance of getting a line of code to print on one line.

    My first printout of the new version (hoping against hope) was so mis-aligned that you would be ashamed to show it to a client. It looks like something one of my grandkids would to for a grade school paper. Despite claims that they would fix this, NOTHING was done. You still have to hack on the ladder logic to get it to print on one line even though it looks just find on the screen.

    It is almost easier to use something like Snipit to capture the ladder logic and save it as JPG files than it is to try and get an entire program to line up correctly.

    I was ashamed to show the last printout to the engineer and this was after Automation Direct had worked on it trying to get it presentable. And the only comment they had to make when they sent the printout back was that I was initializing my variables in the program wrong. Too bad that they don't understand enough about realworld programming to understand that you don't want to pre-load variables everytime the program starts. Maybe the variables are ok as is and you only want to reload them if some for of indicator says that the variables are not loaded.

    I am so agrivated with Automation Direct and their lack of care for producing the best software they can that I am ready to go back to AB full time. When was the last update you received for Directsoft 5? Can you retrieve the upper level double word variables from a Click using another Automation Direct PLC. I still cannot, and it does not matter what the master PLC is, the Click still returns an error when trying to retrieve this data. And this has been almost 2 years but still no fix.

    Their number one rating in customer servce damn sure does not apply to fixing problems that are reported. I will be that the weird problem of making the background color and foreground color the same on some data screens still exists. Or the weird offset of the selection block when it select part of the previous rung and part of the following rung. Their answer, we have never seen this before. If I had a dollar for everytime that I have heard this from them and eventually it was fixed, I would be running for president.

    If I have another crash of the Productivity software while working in it, I am scrapping the whole P3500 system. I have this last project to finish after I had draw out the ladder logic so it will look correctly in the printouts and then they can junk the system for all I care. The same goes for the Click. Such simple requests as to have an add on analog module still don't exist. And there is mothing cheap about having to upgrde a complete processor because I needed one more stupid analog input. If I am going to have to mix the systems then why not stick with the AB MicroLogix 1400 where I have Ethernet, serial and module expansion INCLUDING analogs for the same price that I am spending to kludge up a system for one more analog.



  • #2
    Originally posted by MikeMc View Post
    Well after waiting for 3 releases for Automation Direct to fix the printout of the Productivity 3000 programming software it still looks like crap. Unless you you a font so small that it is almost impossible to read, there is no chance of getting a line of code to print on one line.
    MikeMc: We hear you loud and clear. We are currently working on the rung optimization which will greatly improve the printing option, but it will be in the next major release. The latest version was a Maintenance Release that addressed a few minor known issues and without the addition of new features. Our goal is to have v1.7.x released later this year. In the mean time we apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your feedback.
    - J. Payne
    "Controls make the world go round"

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    • #3
      It has been 2 years and the printing issues with Productivity Suite still have not been fixed. v1.10.0.11 is even worse than before. The software has never been able to save print margins from session to session. I could work around that issue by resetting them in every programming session if I needed to print something.

      Now I can't even get them to save within a session. As soon as I change them, close the Print Setup dialog and reopen the dialog, they are back to 1" margins in all directions. This occurs in both the File Menu Page Setup and the Print Dialog Page Setup. With some of my installed printers selected as Default in Windows 7, the Landscape selection will not stay selected as well.

      This is ridiculous and infuriating. Any first year software developer should be able to write a proper printer routine. Does ADC ever intend to fix these printing issues?

      Comment



      • #4
        Rant Mode [ON]

        This post is a rant. If you don't like critiques, don't read any further.

        SAI, you've resurrected an old thread - but for a good reason.
        V1.9.0(13) did not forget the margins. V1.10.0.11 is completely clueless about retaining the margins.

        V1.10.0(11) Release notes bugfix item 6 Printing from Print preview screen missing pages.
        What does this have to do with Page Setup margins?
        What was the reasoning for muddling with the code for the printer page setup?

        Someone where I work wonders why I do NOT jump on the latest release....
        He says "They released it for a reason!" That may be true, but I cannot use it for a reason.
        I don't jump on the latest release WITHOUT a compelling reason to do so.
        I try to do regression testing of my code -- It is hard to maintain/fix PLC code workarounds for buggy editor/compiler/firmware.

        V1.4 release :: Lose remote node non-array tags in network read/writes thread
        V1.4 release :: GUI lockup at 100% when transferring FROM PAC.
        V1.4 release :: dataview laggy or non-functional

        V1.5 release :: caused my upload/download/open/save times to increase from seconds to many minutes. thread

        V1.6 release :: could NOT search for anything with a '[' in the tagname thread
        V1.6 release :: could not search for arrays with a specified index thread

        V1.7 release :: tasks with array tags [Index out of range] will trash the GUI [item 7 V1.8.0(19) release notes]
        V1.7 release :: bit array Normally Closed contact not working as expected [item 13 V1.8.0(19) release notes]

        V1.8 release :: Editor trashed my project thread

        V1.9 release :: Data View sending unwanted data to controller thread
        V1.9 release :: RS-232 baud is unstable at anything above 2400 - cannot find a thread/post to link

        It has been a steady progression of a bugfix unleashing another bug -- which in turn forces another.................
        I have mentioned, on more than one occasion, that I would pre-release beta test and then I could yap in a closed forum. No response.

        Even with these issues, I still like the power and possibilities of the PAC.
        Finally, we get support for Ethernet/IP but what Easter Eggs will I find?


        And JAVA. With no intention of platform portability, the power of java is wasted.
        With JAVA out of the picture, I would guess that the editor/gui would respond much faster.
        The [Apps], [Tasks] and [Inst.] flyouts would fly out instead of creep out.
        Copy and Paste would not require several KBytes of JAVA Object Serialization/De-serialization to duplicate a rung.


        EDIT: (2017/04/21 a bit late, but I just had need for this post, so I thought that I should be fair and update.)
        I was offered, and began the paperwork for a P2K closed-beta (I hope that I can mention this, now.)
        The process stalled when my AD contact had personal/family/medical(?) issues, so I cannot fault my contact for this.
        The end result was that AD (and I) failed to continue the beta enroll process - I did contact AD to further this, to no avail.

        EDIT: (2017/07/16) spelling and V1.9 baud issues
        Last edited by kewakl; 07-16-2017, 09:50 AM.

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        • #5
          Don't let it sour you on ADC PLCs in general and go back to AB. Just start buying Do-Mores instead of P3Ks! Do-Mores rock!

          Comment



          • #6
            Originally posted by ControlsGuy View Post
            Don't let it sour you on ADC PLCs in general and go back to AB. Just start buying Do-Mores instead of P3Ks! Do-Mores rock!
            Yeah, I should dump the 21st Century Technology to go back to some 20th Century Technology because ADC can't compete in the 21st Century. Let's just all go back to the Series One / TI 305 because that is state of the art technology...

            Why hasn't ADC answered these new posts? Yeah, it's embarrassing for them isn't it?

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            • #7
              Well.....OK Nancy! I was taking about Do-More (and I don't work for ADC, I'm an integrator). Get back to me when you know what you're talking about.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ControlsGuy View Post
                Don't let it sour you on ADC PLCs in general and go back to AB.
                I cannot afford the Popeye-style milking arm of RS/AB.
                I like the (controllers) hardware and (editor) software, but the support is ____________ (fill in the blank!)
                And (if I remember correctly) the comms software was notoriously difficult to get working for anything other than a simple Go Online.
                On the SLC platform, almost every other model required another comms hardware device.
                I never got my USB-PIC adapter to install/connect!
                RS/AB was always 2 or 3 versions behind in terms of what PC OS they supported.
                AB-Tech had to remote-in (2 hours) to install RS-Logix500 Starter 8.20(CPR9). It installed OK, just failed activation.


                So, NO. That ain't happening!

                Oh well, this isn't an AB grievance thread, it is an AD issue thread.

                Originally posted by ControlsGuy View Post
                Just start buying Do-Mores instead of P3Ks! Do-Mores rock!
                I would consider Do-More, but I have a significant investment in networked PACs with hundreds of analog channels per station.
                I would rather maintain ALL PAC machines instead of mixing platforms.

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                • #9
                  You could turn all the P3K's into dumb I/O running from Do-More CPUs (yes, I really like Do-More enough to do that). Then you wouldn't have any (or much) program per se in the P3K's, you'd just have Do-More's with some unusual remote I/O.

                  Understand if it's not practical in your scenario, but it is an option where you might be able to jettison the parts of P3K that annoy you without having to buy all new I/O.

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Gentlemen you bring up very valid points and we do appreciate your feedback!

                    Printing is an area that we’ve been working on in almost every release so we can provide a better solution based on the feedback that we’ve received. Printing is complicated when you’re working with long tag names and larger function blocks. We’re continuing to strive to make it better and I do believe it’s much improved, but it doesn’t mean we’re satisfied. As ‘kewakl’ mentioned, the margins were retained in v1.9 as they should be, but that regressed in v1.10 and has been fixed in the next release candidate. We do apologize for this setback.

                    The regression issue is a serious topic for us and we’re putting a lot of emphasis on our pre-release QA processes, we want to improve with each and every new version. We have been making tremendous enhancements to the software, including, but not limited to:
                    • Structure data types
                    • Tag I/O reassignment
                    • EtherNet/IP
                    • Bit of word
                    • Tag name wrapping
                    • Many Dataview updates – column sorting, add/delete rows, improved graphing, etc.
                    • Improved cross reference
                    • Improved search & replace
                    and many more features that are waiting for the next release. All of these are based on specific feedback from our customers.

                    Unfortunately, anytime you edit an existing code base you run the risk of introducing a new problem. Everyone has experienced this and as mentioned it’s an area we take very seriously, one we are striving to improve on. Again, I cannot express how much we appreciate when our customers tell us what you want. This is how we improve.
                    - J. Payne
                    "Controls make the world go round"

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ControlsGuy View Post
                      You could turn all the P3K's into dumb I/O running from Do-More CPUs (yes, I really like Do-More enough to do that). Then you wouldn't have any (or much) program per se in the P3K's, you'd just have Do-More's with some unusual remote I/O.

                      Understand if it's not practical in your scenario, but it is an option where you might be able to jettison the parts of P3K that annoy you without having to buy all new I/O.
                      That is an interesting idea, but some of my arrays are larger than the 200+Kbytes supported by Do-More.
                      I do alot of voltage/current measurements on quantities of up to 100 capacitors at a time - over a several hour period. These values are stored in arrays - using a 'sliding window' to minimize the amount of data required. The data that I do store is used to 'prove' a failure and to give engineering a set of data around the fault event - so that they can 'see' what the capacitor was doing for several seconds before and after the event.
                      At present, I have no intention to save this data to a database, so it remains local and I copy from dataview to Excel when required. -- another wonder of ethernet!

                      I do immediate analysis to determine and automatically disconnect failures. It works as is, and I do not have enough experience with Do-More to know if it supports the array manipulation and statistics that I require.
                      Part of the rationale for choosing the P3k was the 50MB memory, the CPU speed, the analog i/o capability and comms over ethernet.
                      So far, the first three points have been remarkable well met. It is just some of the other things that have let me down - some from the start! But I chalked that up to New Platform. That doesn't comfort me now as it did nearly 3 years earlier.

                      Originally posted by PLC_PM View Post
                      Gentlemen you bring up very valid points and we do appreciate your feedback!
                      .......
                      Unfortunately, anytime you edit an existing code base you run the risk of introducing a new problem. Everyone has experienced this and as mentioned it’s an area we take very seriously, one we are striving to improve on. Again, I cannot express how much we appreciate when our customers tell us what you want. This is how we improve.
                      Agreed! Many new features - most that I am hesitant to use because I have been bitten by almost each new version of P3k software - as indicated above.
                      Maybe it is time for AD to begin a NDA BETA 1 2 and a CLOSED FORUM for some of these issues to be found before the laundry is aired in these forums. (my post count here might still be in the double digits)
                      I know that it is not AD policy, but surely policy is changeable with overwhelming cause. Heck, AD's name is changeable - PLCDirect ------> AutomationDirect.

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                      • #12
                        Wow, I think you may have found the scenario where a P3K beats a Do-More if you need megs of memory! (Although future Do-More CPU's will have a file system and flash storage which might meet your needs.)

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                        • #13
                          So I don't waste paper I use Free PDF Converter. It acts just like a printer but you output to a PDF file. The program can be customized to fit your printout needs. Download doPDF at www.dopdf.com and STOP WASTING PAPER!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LWgreys View Post
                            So I don't waste paper I use Free PDF Converter. It acts just like a printer but you output to a PDF file. The program can be customized to fit your printout needs. Download doPDF at www.dopdf.com and STOP WASTING PAPER!
                            Does this method make a legible print on a respectable paper size?
                            -or do you use this to experiment until you find a usable font/paper setting?

                            Sometimes it just has to be on paper. For those times, I print landscape 11x17.
                            I use a font size based on the print preview of the task.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ControlsGuy View Post
                              Wow, I think you may have found the scenario where a P3K beats a Do-More if you need megs of memory! (Although future Do-More CPU's will have a file system and flash storage which might meet your needs.)
                              Yeah, but it begs the question of how much data you need *on* a PLC. If you are trying to store bulk data, PCs are great at that, and we make it very easy to put data directly to a file on a PC. If you are trying to store megs of data on the PLC and expect that data to be part of the control process, you have moved outside of what the current Do-more controllers were designed for. It has never been our intention to be "all things to all people", but we do want to be high-performance low-cost machine control, and that has driven our design choices.

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