Tutorial: SimpleHMI programming of SPLat controllers
Date originally written: January 2012, before the advent of the HMI430 controller with integral touch screen. This tutorial is written around an HMI device (Android or PC) external to the SPLat controller. It is still a good starting point for understanding the HMI430.
SPLat controllers can support a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) software client called SimpleHMI. SimpleHMI is available on the following devices:
- (From 3Q2014) SPLat controllers with integral touch screen, such as HMI430;
- Your personal computer as a SimpleHMI client built into SPLat/PC;
- An Android phone or tablet running our SimpleHMI app and connected to a SPLat controller via Bluetooth. Bluetooth adaptors are available for SPLat controllers.. Download SimpleHMI for Android
- A personal computer as a standalone Windows program. Download
"Big picture" features of SimpleHMI:
- Extremely simple to program (we called it SimpleHMI for a reason!);
- All application-specific programming is in the SPLat. The SimpleHMI device (Android or whatever) always runs factory standard code. In the HMI430, there is only one program to write and maintain, unlike competing solutions where a controller (typically PLC) and an HMI device must have separate programs that need to be kept "in sync" with each other;
- The Windows version is designed for functionality rather than beauty. The more fancy a display gets, the harder it is to program and maintain. That said, it allows clean, logical screen layouts customized for each specific purpose;
- The Android version supports limited graphics functionality. It is intended to allow Proof of Concept user interface to be implemented quickly and easily, as a pre-cursor to a full Android/iOS app when your product gets into volume production.
- Highly configurable buttons to trigger actions in the SPLat controller;
- Ability to display SPLat data on the SimpleHMI screen;
- A very easily programmed method of getting an end-user to supply configuration data to the SPLat;
- Built in data logging capability (Windows and Android).
SimpleHMI can reduce the effort required to program an operator interface with multiple configuration settings by as much as 90% compared to the simple character LCD and buttons approach.
Outcomes (what you will get out of this tutorial)
- You will get started with programming SPLat to utilise the SimpleHMI;
- You will discover some powerful techniques for debugging SPLat programs;
- You will gain a good insight into the use of Hash commands.
Prerequisites (what you need before you start)
- A working knowledge of MultiTrack programming (this all builds on MultiTrack);
- Good skills with SPLat/PC;
- Any SPLat controller with language dialect 27 or later, with programming cable, set up and working with SPLat/PC. Ideally the controller will have some visual output indicators and some way of easily turning some inputs on and off;
- The latest SPLat/PC.
Note: It is possible to fully develop an application using the SimpleHMI built into SPLat/PC, connected via the regular programming cable. A Bluetooth adaptor is needed for connecting to an Android device, and is available on our website. It is easiest to do most of your work using SPLat/PC, then fine tune against the Android device. If you are using a SPLat EC1 you can use a 3rd party JY-MCU Bluetooth adaptor, but make sure the SPLat program uses 9600 baud (many of the examples are coded for 38400 baud).
How long will it take?
The tutorial shouldn't take very long to complete, maybe an hour or two to get the essentials (providing you have the prerequisites in place). After all, we do call it SimpleHMI!
So let's get started!