The real-time controllers have a "Time server" IP input in their setup. That is great, but it is not great that the time server has to be a piece of NI software (Logos). If it was possible to specify an NTP server for example (and/or other standard protocols), this feature would be much more useful.
Most of the time we need the PACs to be synced with a third party system.
We have some software which runs in different versions on the same hardware and in testing, we often need to have the software running for benchmarking or debugging from the development environment.
A major pain is the inability for devices within a single project to share an IP address (when not connected). I would suggest that multiple targets within a single project should be allowed to have the same IP address set (although of course only one can be connected at a time).
Any controller that contains either a USB or SDIO card would have a bootstrap loader, available when the controller is in safe mode, that would allow the controller to be loaded up to operational status (OS, Drivers, RTEXE, etc...) from a deployment image contained on the removeable media. This would allow a replacement controller to be unboxed and installed in a stand alone system without the need to install software from a development computer.
This is one of those things that sort of bridges between a hardware and software request.
As cRIO's are deployed in ever growing applications, it would sure be nice if there was an option to use SFTP (and disable FTP altogheter) on the controller. Ideally it would be supported at the OS level, i.e. the existing cRIO FTP server is upgraded or extended to include SFTP as well.
If this is already supported, try searching for "sftp" or "crio sftp" and you'll see only one 3rd party tool-kit, but I confirmed with that company (Labwerx.net) that it (labSSH) does not support cRIO/FPGA/RT targets and there are no concrete plans to add support to other targets.
NI: I call on you to either create the FTP toolkit I need to write my own SFTP server, or better yet, update the cRIO FTP server to include the "s". . . It is only one letter, how hard can that be!?
If this is already possible through some (obscure?) way, please update your site-search engine to reckognize sftp and/or crio sftp, and/or link to a KB or Whitepaper on the topic as I did not find any.
(Note: cRIO safety and security IS covered in pretty good detail in the article series starting with Overview of Best Practices for Security on RIO Systems and the linked 3 articles.)
Currently, you can view the console from MAX, but if you don't know what buttons to press... lets just say it's in there somewhere. My idea is to make it more accessible, such as a right mouse button feature off the RT Target.
It should be nice to be abble to duplicate a CRio target easily.
=> Be abble to duplicate the Target
=> Be abble to duplicate the backplane configuration
=> Be abble to duplicate a FPGA target
It should also be nice to be able to change easily ...
=> The CRIo type
=> The CRio backplane type
Some commands to manipulate targets are missing ... or are hidden ...
For example the copy/paste commands are available by key stroke ... but are not visible thru the Labview project treeview context menu.
I think that the usability of the targets manipulations should be improved.
Thanks for help.
Inspired by this post, and my own experience trying to debug a problem that only appeared when I compiled an RT executable, LabVIEW should warn the user when compiling a real-time application that contains property nodes that require access to the front panel, since those property nodes will not execute properly in an RT application and it can be very difficult to find the source of the problem if you don't know this.
It would be very convenient if we could format and install the OS/RTE on a target directly from the project window.
Currently, if I'm about to deploy a new application I typically format the target, install the OS software on it, then I deploy the application onto it...and finally I make an image of it that will serve as a way for others to deploy the application to production targets.
This involves use of NI MAX (format and install OS), LabVIEW (deply app) and RAD (make image). Doing all these operations (image-making as well would be great) from LabVIEW would make the workflow much nicer.
PS. In the project window today you have Utilities>>System Manager. The described operations should be available directly from the menu, but it would also feel natural to have these options from the system manager.
Currently, if you have hardware in a LabVIEW project (e.g. a cRIO controller, cRIO chassis, or R-Series PXI card), the only way that you can change this to another product is by adding a new one to the project and deleting the old one. It would be nice to be able to use a configuration window to change the model number of a piece of hardware to a different, but similar one. For example, if you have a 9072 in the project but wanted to change it to a 9073. Another example would be the ability to change, via menus, a PXI 7813R to a 7854R. Of course the user would have to update any code written to account for changes due to the new hardware. This is especially convenient when you are simulating and configuring test systems but aren't quite sure exactly what hardware you need. Currently, for each new piece of hardware (similar or not) you have to create a new device and copy all of the IO, VIs, libraries, etc. under the new device in the project.
We use cRIO's in industrial deployments all the time.
While a lot can be done to work around the lack of security offered by the built in FTP server, it would be much preferred if NI would add FTPS (and possibly SFTP) support, or at the very least, modify the existing FTP server solution to expose/support the following functionality:
* define users (currently, only the "password" field is used by the cRIO FTP server, the user name is ignored (or limited to the "admin" name only).
* define folder access rules on a "by user" level
Ideally, the current FTP server would be expanded further to include:
* secured file transfers via built in FTPS support, (or by adding FTPS VI's to the existing FTP toolkit)
* (secure binary transfers via built in SFTP server)
* open up and/or document how the current web configuration tool does the HTTPS file transfer interface
Currently, there are no easy way to allow our end customers to securely pull data log files remotely, and no way to prevent end customer from accidentally accessing or modifying sensitive parts of the application.
It would be possible to build a custom HTTPS file server on the cRIO, but I have several issues with this approach: it adds development and maintenance of another module to our code, it would most likely require another client side application for the customer to use, and most importantly: a lot of our customers have data collection servers set up to pull data over standard FTPS directly into their historians and their database systems.
Today we have to remember to build the application prior to deploying it. Instead of just throwing an error if we choose to deploy without having built first; either automatically run a build if necessary, or offer to do so.
Very often it would also be nice to just be able to select "Run as startup", and get all 3 stages done automatically (build, deploy, run as startup).
Given a project topology like this:
Windows PC Host <-> cRIO-9024 <-> NI-9114 backplane <-> NI-9144 EtherCAT #1 <-> NI-9144 EtherCAT #2 which is run in hybrid scan mode, during development I wish that it were possible to, for example, tell the project to run without EtherCAT #2 being physically connected, instead using virtual/simulated IO. As things stand now, when I try to switch from Configuration to Active mode, I get an error saying that "the slave device cannot be found".
More generally, I often find myself thinking that the project explorer needs a good way to "comment out" various pieces of the project without having to resort to "Remove From Project".
Many developers have the primary ethernet port of their development computer reserved for the corporate intranet/internet access.
Unfortunately, MAX and other tools like RT System Deployment Utility expect the targets to be connected to the same primary port for initial configuration, because they do not allow the specification of a local IP on which to exchange the UDP configuration packets.
Being able to select the ethernet port on which the RT system is connected, e.g. through a ring control populated with all available NICs and their local IPs, would facilitate devolopment enormously in such constellations, because the developer would not need to switch cables and IP configurations every time he needs to reconfigure the RT system.
It should be nice to add a new "Build specification" in Labview RT which could generated something like a RT Target installer.
This installer could contain ...
When the installer is executed, it should be nice to show all the available targets ( Like in Max ).
The user should have to select the destination Target in this list.
Then it should be nice to show the target configuration (like in Max), initialized with the setting contained in the installer.
An installation could be like this ...
This feature could be an easy way to deploy RT application without having a Labview RT installed on the host computer.
A RT application could be installed completely by a final customer of the application, without having to install the Target, drivers ...
This could also be nice to clone many times a RT application.
Changing the IP setup currently requires a restart. It is now possible to change the configuration of all network interfaces programmatically using the System Configuration API, but it's not possible to put such changes into effect on the fly, so you actually have to shut down your application to put the changes into effect, something that might not be allowable.
So let's say e.g. that I have a controller with dual network interfaces and I want to reconfigure one of the network interfaces (turn on DHCP e.g.) - but I do NOT want to stop the RT application, because it controlls processes via other interfaces, and those processes must be kept alive. If it was a Windows PC, I could have done it. On an NI controller, which is ironically then typically used for more critical tasks, I cannot.
I have recently to work with a RT application.
In this application, i used a property node in order to get all values of an ENUM.
=> This feature works fine when you debug your application using LabVIEW on the host !
=> But the same code doesn't work in real RT execution.
I know very well that some property nodes doesn't work in RT programming, but when you have to go from windows application, to FPGA, to Crio, ... you often forgot this point ! LabVIEW should help us to limit this kind of mistakes !
It would be nice, if LabVIEW could break RT VI's, or generate a list of warning during RT application build, when an application is using non RT compatible property nodes !
It would be nice to get this warning during the compilation time, and not only at runtime !
It would also be nice, if the LabView RT debug tool could generates the same errors than a real RT target.
Thanks for help.
Right now, you can simulate the I/O from an FPGA target. Timing features and other hardware-specific VIs are not executed, but the code still functions and allows you to debug certain aspects of it without working through the compile process. It would be similarly helpful if you could simulate the real-time controller, or a cRIO in scan mode, with simulated IO. Again, the resultant VI will not be truly realtime, but it would allow useful development without having constant access to the cRIO.
When developing RT code (especially system upgrades) it would be truly helpful to have a virtual machine (VMware, MS Virtual PC, Sun Virtual box, etc....) that would allow us to run the actual VxWorks OS and LVRT in it's native environment, within the Windows OS. This would allow the code to run on the actual RTOS (I realize that determinism would be scacrificed) and provide the ability to actually test the functionality of the code in the actual environment to ensure that it runs as it should. It would also preclude the need to have a bunch of RT controllers sitting on the shelf in the event that you might need them.
There is and emulator for PDA module, why not for RT.
The cRIO chassis can only be configured to to use one time server for time synchronization. If that time server fails, the only recourse is to detect that in some way, edit the ni-rt.ini file, and then re-boot the controller. This is rather clumsy, and it would be helpful to have alternate IP addresses.
The best thing about Pharlap is that it will run dll's like Windows.
Making shared libraries for VxWorks (*.out files) is quite an arduous process if you don't have Wind River software. The GNU toolchain, that used to be the free alternative, does not work on Windows Vista or 7, leaving those of use who have chosen to upgrade out of luck.
It would be great is LabVIEW could provide a way to compile *.out files from the Application Builder and thereby provide more complete support for development on the CompactRIO platform.