The TRi-ExcelLink software works by acting on a number of "Actions"
that you can define to configure which data you want to read or write, from which
PLC, and the IP address of the TLServer to which the PLC is connected.
The "Action" also define the spreadsheet cell or a range of cells that
the data should be stored or retrieved for read/write actions to the PLC.
Since the M-series PLCs rely on the TLServer to provide them the network connectivity
as well as managing the username/password authentications, the TRi-ExcelLink software
groups all the "Actions" that pass through a particular TLServer as a
"Site". A Site is simply a PC running the
TLServer software that has an IP address and with a specific username/password (if it is
connected to the LAN or the Internet it will have an IP address shown on the TLServer
screen. TRi-ExcelLink software can also work in the local mode on
the same PC where the TLServer is located, in this case the IP address is simply a
localhost address 127.0.0.1:9080)
The program allows up to 8 Sites" to be defined and accessed
simultaneously. Each Site can be defined with up to 100 independent Actions
to interact with the PLCs that are connected to this Site (i.e. the TLServer).
Hence, the TRi-ExcelLink software allows you to, on a single Excel spreadsheet, display or
write data to hundreds of PLCs in real time!
Two Methods of Executing TRi-ExcelLink Actions
- Button: Normally you begin by defining the active Sites and the
active Actions using the TRi-ExcelLink extremely simple user-interface. When
you are ready for the show, just click on the "RUN" button to launch the
actions. The software will first process all active Actions once, follow by
periodically processing those READ Actions that have a non-zero
"Period" parameter. This is the simplest and most natural way of using
this software and requires no programming at all. There is no need to write any macro or
equations in the Excel spreadsheet because TRi-ExcelLink software automatically fills the
spreadsheet cells with data according to the manner defined in their "Action
- DDERequest from other DDE clients: TRi-ExcelLink software is
itself also a DDEserver, and all the pre-defined "Actions" can
also be remotely triggered by other DDE-capable client programs such as MSExcel, MSWord
via the DDERequest. This enables great flexibility to
programmers who wish to have finer control of the data capturing process in their Macros,
yet saving them lots of work in defining where to store the captured data . Click here for descriptions on the DDERequest and
view some examples
Once the TRi-ExcelLink software is running, you will see the following screen:
- S1-S8: Click on any of the S1 to S8 button to define the configuration
for a "Site". A Site is a TLServer that has
an IP address, a username and a password associated with it. Each Site can
be defined with up to 100 "Actions". You can define a Site
and selectively define it as either "Active" or "Inactive".
An active Site appears as a light blue color button. Inactive
Sites are shown as gray color buttons. If a Sitename has been
defined it will be displayed on the button (e.g. "Localhost Demo" in the
- Excel Filename & Sheet name: The Excel document to be opened
and used for interaction with the PLC. If the Filename is left blank then a new file
(e.g. "Book1") will be opened everytime a new action cycles begin.
- Button: When you click on this button, the TRi-ExcelLink
software will open the Excel File (if it has not already been opened), log-on to all
active Sites and carry out the active Actions defined in each Site.
The "RUN" button will turn into green
color once the process has been successfully started, and the "Stop"
button will turn into pale blue color. The following events will take place:
- All active Actions, including those with period = 0.0s, will be executed
once when the "RUN" button is first pressed.
- All active READ Actions with non-zero period will continue to capture data from
the PLC periodically.
- An active WRITE Action will be executed only once whenever the "RUN" button is pressed and automaticaly whenever any of its
defined cell range in the spreadsheet has been changed.
- If the process is already running (i.e. "RUN" button
has become green color), then each time you
press the "RUN" button again all those Actions with period = 0.0s (
including all the "Write" Actions ) will be
executed once. This also applies also to the case where the run action has been paused by
the "Pause" button,
- Button: Click to temporary suspend all readings and
writings to the Excel Spreadsheet. The program will not log out of active TLServers that
it has already logged on so that it can resume interaction with the spreadsheet
immediately when it is released from the "Pause" state. This button will change
to yellow color when paused. Clicking on the "Pause" button again will release
the program from the "Pause" state.
Note: You should
always pause the program before you start to manipulate the Excel spreadsheet
such as clicking on their scroll bars, saving the spreadsheet etc. This is because the
Excel program sometime behaves unpredictably if it receives DDE commands while
interacting with users. E.g. it could clear a large part of the spreadsheet or rejecting
or ignoring incoming DDE commands and hence resulting in loss of data.
- Button: Click to stop all the Actions and log
out from all the active Sites. The "Stop"
button will turn into red color and the
"RUN" button will turn into pale blue color button
when all the processes have been stopped. STOP button will also cancel the
"Pause" state if the program has been paused.
- Button: End the program by clicking on this button. You will
be asked if you wish to save all the configuration settings of Sites and Actions
defined in this session. All configuration settings are saved in the
"EXLCONFIG1.CFG" file in installation directory of the program. You can copy
this file to another computer to obtain the same configuration settings for the
- Button: Click to force the Excel program to save the
spreadsheet file immediately without the need to pause the program first. This is a safer
way of saving the spreadsheet data than using the Excel's own "File ->
Save" command. Please read the "Note" paragraph in the description of
the "Pause" button above, to understand the reasons why you should avoid
using the "File->Save" command in the spreadsheet program to save the data,
unless you first pause the program using the "Pause" button.
- : You can also elect to save the spreadsheet file periodically.
Enter the number of seconds between two consecutive "save" actions. The
ExcelLink program will then periodically command the Excel program to save the spreadsheet
file whenever it has made changes to the spreadsheet. If the program is not writing new
data to the spreadsheet (such as when it is in STOP or PAUSE mode) then it will not
trigger the save action. Note that Excel spreadsheet can take up a few seconds to perform
the save operation before resuming to accept incoming data from ExcelLink, so
there may be loss of new incoming data during the saving operation. Leave this
field blank if you do not wish to auto-save the spreadsheet.
- The bottom-most gray text window is for displaying system messages, including error
Configuration Action Definition DDE Control
*Microsoft (MS) Excel is a registered trademark of
the Microsoft Corporation.