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TRi-ExcelLink   Version 2.0 - Helps
Site Configuration    Action Definition   DDE Control


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

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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

  1. startbutton.gif (671 bytes) 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 Configuration" window.
  1. 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

Home Screen

Once the TRi-ExcelLink software is running, you will see the following screen:

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  • 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 diagram).

  • 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.
  • startbutton.gif (671 bytes) 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, 
  • pausebutton.gif (285 bytes) 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.
  • stopbutton.gif (722 bytes) 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.
  • ExcelLink12.gif (272 bytes) 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 TRi-ExcelLink software.
  • savenowbutton.gif (302 bytes) 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. 
  • autosave.gif (478 bytes) :  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 messages.

Site Configuration    Action Definition  DDE Control

*Microsoft (MS) Excel is a registered trademark of the Microsoft Corporation.