A Comedy of Errors

So, Engineering company A decides they are smarter than PLC supplier B. Supplier B, of course, is smarter than A and fully understands that whack-jobs from B don’t know what they’re doing.

Using the best logic possible for network layout in an industrial system, we’ll go ahead and with as the network. We’ll also assign a couple of VLANs manually, but not so they can actually be resolved properly.

Engineering company B and Automation Equipment A supplier now agree that this is the best layout possible. Of course, these companies hate one another and do not actually speak, so the reality is that the systems are completely opposed. Also, they are completely opposed. Oh, I mentioned that already?

So, the best possible layout for any industrial network is to setup as your network. Now, go ahead and layout the network such that it does the greatest things ever.

Pretty sure that greatest things ever is somehow a misnomer.

Apple II VGA (Briel Computers)

After seeing one of these on various sites and the fact that it’s open-sourced on GitHub I’ve decided to get a PCB and I’m now waiting on the various chips to arrive. I’m planning to test in both Apple II+ and Apple IIe Platinum. While I have both a monochrome and a color (Amdek) composite monitor, it would be far more convenient to use an LED monitor except when looking for the “real” experience. More to follow as I get this built and start testing.

Saloon Music Box (Dungeon Crawling, etc.)

Attached is a Saloon Music Box outline, not yet complete but something I’ve used in various campaigns for a number of years.

Saloon Music Box

  1. Purpose

The Saloon Music Box is a magic item designed for use by saloons, bars, and other locations that act as gathering and meeting sites for friends and acquaintances. These music boxes play various tunes and set an atmosphere for the locale and generally result in an increase to normal daily revenue. They also have a number of special abilities (and a cursed version) that allow the owner/operator to adjust the effectiveness.

  1. Common Music Box Information

The Music Box comes in a number of varieties as shown below. There are some additional powers and capabilities that will be addressed a bit later.

  1. Plus 0

This is a quasi-magical version that doesn’t have a direct influence on any give race, class, etc. On a given day, the Plus 0 unit will provide a bonus (or perhaps penalty) based on the following D6 roll. The GM may decide whether to roll the die or allow the owner/operator to roll the die.

Roll of 1 on 1D6: This will result in a 10% reduction in profit for the day and any level 8+ magic-using character will sense that something is influencing the patrons. They will have to investigate to uncover what’s going on, though.

Roll of 2 on 1D6: This will result in a 5% reduction in profit.

Roll of 3 on 1D6: No adjustment to profit.

Roll of 4 on 1D6: This results in a 7.5% increase in profit.

Roll of 5 on 1D6: This results in a 12.5% increase in profit.

Roll of 6 on 1D6: This results in a 20% increase in profit, +1% for each bonus point from Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma of the owner/operator.

The roll is adjusted (if desired) by the Wisdom bonus of the owner/operator.

  1. Plus 1 to Plus 3

These Music Boxes can be general use (+1 to +2) or can target a specific Class, Race, Occupation, Gender (+1 to +3). 1D6 roll can similarly be by GM or by owner/operator. Wisdom bonus and Charisma bonus apply.

Roll of 1 or less on 1D6: This results in a -15% profit for the day and any magic-using patron will immediately sense that something is fishy. The GM can play this out as desired but best practice would be to have the owner/operator locked in irons as employing cursed magic against citizens of the realm and to “teach them a lesson.”

Roll of 2 to 3 on D6: +15% profit. Additionally, one patron will “accidentally” leave a sum of 1 to 100 GP (1D100) if (4 or less on D6), 1 to 100 GP + 1 magic item up to 500 GP in value (5 on D6), or 10 to 100 GP + 1 magic item up to 2500 GP in value (6 on D6).

Roll of 4 to 5 on D6: +25% profit. Similar to 2 to 3 above but 10 times the value, however the box keeps 20% of the profit.

Roll of 6+ on D6: The box (which is not particularly intelligent) senses a “true mark” and basically takes all of its money and magic items, leaving only uninteresting items. This can play out a number of ways, most of them bad, as the box basically steals everything for the owner/operator and (30% to the house) for the box itself.

  1. Cursed Music Boxes

Cursed Music Boxes are known to bring all sorts of problems to the owner/operator employing them, but generally the owner sees about 10% increase in profit per day. However, the Music Box is stealing only from guards, townsfolk, and others beyond reproach. It takes only a few days or weeks to determine whether the problem originates and it will generally be dealt with in a rather harsh manner.

  1. Specific Additional Capabilities

A few Music Boxes (2 on D10) will be capable of targeting a specific patron. This ability can be used twice per day. If the target fails a saving throw versus magic then the owner/operator can implant a fairly simple command, sleep, or gain a specific item of inventory from the target. Additional uses against the same target will result in a +2 bonus each day to the saving throw. Once the user succeeds in a saving throw against magic, the Music Box will “rat out” the owner/operator.

Another special use is a once-per-day charm for +2 or +3 boxes. If the target fails a magic saving throw, the owner/operator can ask that the target perform some specific action so long as it doesn’t go against the target’s nature. For example, a guard could be requested to release a prisoner from a cell because the prisoner had been pardoned. As long as the guard doesn’t receive any further information to contrary then he will release the prison.

Update 1756-L7x PLC Firmware

I just updated firmware in a 1756-L75 from 20.x to 32.x. I don’t guarantee any of this, your mileage may vary. Check things yourself, take your time, don’t screw this up as it will be very expensive to fix. A few tips to make life just a little bit easier:

  • Make sure both RSLogix 5000 and Studio 5000 are installed on the PC you’re going to use (RSLogix 5000 v 20.x and Studio 5000 v 32.x) or whatever
  • Download ControlFlash Plus 5+. ControlFlash 15 or higher is required but they’re both kind of a pain. I think you get a little bit better feedback on ControlFlash Plus.
  • Put your downloaded firmware files (.zip) into the C:\Username\Downloads\RA folder, this should be one that is setup for scanning if you look in CF+ settings. Refresh firmware when you first start CF+ if you haven’t already used that particular firmware. If you get errors about the DMK, ZIP or file signatures or whatever, just download the absolute newest version of CompactFlash Plus. Rockwell is not user friendly.
  • You’ll need to connect to the PLC with the old v20.x software and place it in remote program mode.
  • Our network configuration is really jacked up so you might have to look for other paths in FactoryTalk Linx or RSLinx for CF+ to update the firmware versus how you normally connect for monitoring or troubleshooting. From what I can tell as long as the path can connect to the PLC in question, it can update it
  • Before you do anything else, though, load the current ACD file into RSLogix 5000 and then change the controller version from 20.x to 32.x. This will prompt the system to load Studio 5000 with the new firmware level. Save this file with V32 in the filename just to make life that much easier (it will also be automagically updated but a file with an extension of acd_v20 will be saved too). As it does the conversion watch for any errors; messages and such might be trivial but actual errors need to be understood prior to upgrading.
  • Note that your program will be deleted after CF+ is done. You’ll need the version you saved from Studio 5000 to download to the CPU, otherwise there will be no program.
  • AOPs/AOIs seem to carryover between versions. I didn’t have to reload or download these, but there’s really no telling what’s going on in the background.
  • Before the conversion, I downloaded every conceivable option from Rockwell. Their engineering groups don’t appear to talk to each other at all so I highly recommend you assume that you need every single app, firmware, file, AOI, AOP, etc., that you can possibly find. You might get lucky but I’d lean towards being screwed.

If the firmware update that it’s successful, download the Studio 5000 v32 saved earlier and then place the PLC back in remote run. The easiest thing is to see if any I/O not responding or other flags for issues. If the processor returned to remote run mode you’re probably ahead of the curve. Start testing…

PowerFlex 700 AFE (Active Front End) various issues

Turns out that you can’t simply download firmware and flash to PowerFlex 700 AFE (Active Front End) with Control Flash or other tools. This particular application for a PowerFlex 700 AFE 20Y requires a special cable, special software, and something not labeled as a firmware file on Rockwell’s web site. Updates will follow….

If you need info right away, post a comment. I’ll speed up my post.

PowerFlex 755 CIP Motion Group

If you have a PowerFlex 755 defined in a Motion Connection within a Motion Group on ControlLogix and are getting an error code 16#0010, in particular check that your Safe Torque Off card (possibly other safety cards) are in Slot 6 on the PowerFlex. There are several other restrictions and requirements on slot assignments and use so see Rockwell’s KnowledgeBase if you have questions about what’s allowed and what’s required. Search for powerflex 755 cip motion slots and that will help narrow it to the correct topic. Note, your mileage may vary, this is not an official Rockwell statement, just something I’ve gotten burned by on 2 separate occasions now. Recommend that when you are changing drives, take photos (or notes) about wiring and also the particular slots. Many of these modules can be installed in multiple ways, but only 1 specific layout will actually work.

Emerson AMS can’t talk to any live devices

So recently could not connect to any live devices on Emerson AMS, either on the device list or through the Multiplexer list. Our system uses Spectrum Connects to provide virtual multiplexers, which I found wasn’t running in the background. Further research showed that each time I tried to start Spectrum Connects it gave a an error similar to #1 Picture Not Available.

After tinkering a while, I finally went ahead and rebooted the server. I then ran Spectrum Connects which started and scanned just fine. Once complete, I started AMS Device Manager. At first it still couldn’t see any live devices so I stopped AMS Servers in the system tray, closed out Spectrum Connects, and then restarted Spectrum Connects. After Connects was online I brought AMS Servers back up and then started AMS Device Manager. At this point, it reconnected to everything and seemed to be working fine.

As a point of interest, I occasionally have to rebuild the hierarchy in AMS Device Manager or even search for all devices to get it working. We’re currently on v 14.xx of AMS but I’m not sure about Spectrum Connects.

PowerFlex 7000 Series PanelView Plus 1000 v 6 Fatal Error FE

If your PowerFlex 7000 series Rockwell drive has a PanelView Plus 1000 v 6 (2711P-T10C4A9) that is giving a Fatal FE error when booting, you can try the following. Note that this PanelView is now obsolete and you’ll need to contact Rockwell for the correct replacement as there is supposedly a special firmware loaded into these PanelViews that make them specific to PowerFlex 7000 use. Also, the programming is not stored on the SD card in the PanelView but is instead on an Ethernet card located near the main control boards in the black section of the drive. The SD card in question is a molded gray and contains the application that the PanelView loads on booting. The PanelView is not critical to the operation of the drive.

0: Attach USB keyboard to either PanelView USB port

1: Press and release RESET on back of PanelView

2: Immediately press and hold DEFAULT on back of PanelView

3: Once boot menu appears you can release DEFAULT

4: Press down arrow on keyboard to select boot options

5: Press right arrow on keyboard to select boot option that includes “Safe Mode”

6: Press up arrow on keyboard to select Boot with Selected Options and then press ENTER key

7: Assuming it works, you should see the normal drive graphics. You can now disconnect the USB keyboard

NOTE: This was determined by trial and error and I don’t guarantee your results will match mine. Given supply chain issues, this might help limp along. You will probably have to do this after any power cycle or reboot as I have been unable to get the PanelView in question to boot normally since initial failure.

Windows Server 2019 TCP/IP not properly configured

If you are attempting to setup Active Directory, DNS and DHCP on Server 2019 (and probably others) and get a message that TCP/IP is not properly configured, make sure your server is plugged into a network switch such that the connection is live. I spent several minutes on this, checking adapter configuration and rebooting until I simply plugged the machine into a network switch. I was trying to configure the machine offline and didn’t have it plugged in, just had the IP, subnet mask, gateway and DNS settings input.