I installed rslogix 500 on a computer that originally had rslogix 5. Seems easy enough. When I moved the activation it somehow put the activation of the rslogix 5 onto the masterdisk of the new rslogix 500. Now, I can't move the activation ANYWHERE. I have tried several different things including moving the old activation back to the C drive and installing the rslogix onto another computer and trying to move the new activation over, but it's completely gone at this point. Anybody have ANY ideas???
You may check with Rockwell on activation keys for different packages. With a license, you are entitled to a free copy of activation key per year.
For several reasons, the sequence of events you describe can't actually have happened exactly as you recall them. Rather than try to unwind what happened, I recommend that you figure out where your activations actually are right now. The special section at Rockwell Software's Technical Response Center (440-646-5800, press 3, press 2, press 1) can help with this quickly, but here's something to try:
Put your Master Disk in each computer you have touched during this adventure and run the application A:\RESET (or A:\RESETW on newer Master Disks). The reset utility starts by doing an inventory of all activations, moveable and otherwise, on the local computer. Browse A:, then C:, then any other logical disks visible on each local computer, and find where each activation resides today. If you used other Master Disks, you'll have to do this for each of them.
If an activation is on the wrong Master Disk, use A:\EVMOVE (or A:\EVMOVEW) on that disk to move it where you want it. If you find the activation on the wrong hard disk, use A:\EVMOVE(W) on the right Master Disk to move it back to the Master Disk and then to where you want it. (Generally, that would be on the logical hard disk upon which you have installed the product.)
Hope this helps!
Rexel / Central Florida
Call Rockwell. They have been very responsive to me when it comes to master disk issues. I normally get disks the very next day. Also you may want to reset the master disk first (follow web instructions) and try that.
assuming that yours are "legal" copies of the software, have your "master disks" physically on hand and a computer with a floppy drive fired-up and ready to go (not necessarily the computer that you'll be using for the RSLogix software)... then phone Rockwell Technical Support at 440-646-5800... navigate the phone system menu for "activation issues" (that's 3-2-1 at the time of this writing)... they can give you a "reset code" which should take care of your problems... this can also be done on the Rockwell website, but it's usually better to have a person to talk to on the phone...
If you are under support, just call RSI and they will fix your problem.
If out of support, you can always try running off the floppy.
Call AB for a new activation disk. In the meantime the existing floppy has an unmovable activation on it. If you put in into your floppy drive you can use RSLogix500 until you get the new disk.
If the activation is not in the C drive nor the diskette, then you have to contact Rockwell and give them the serial number of your software in order to get a new master disk with the activations.
When you have sorted your problem ie got your keys back put them back on your floppys and use a software called teledisk, i believe you can download it free, to make "Back-ups"
It means can i make duplicate master disk if Key is inside master disk using this software teledisk. pl clarify.
how does the teledisk work do you need the master
disk or a copy.
or does it release the activation code within the master disk.
Just curious - I have been happily placing my RSLogix500/5000 activation on a small USB drive for years (a 1GB IBM drive salvaged from an old notebook inside a $39 'BAFO' enclosure). This allows the activation to move between systems just by moving the drive (or at least betwen my 2 Win2K systems).
Has anyone tried to place a Rockwell key onto one of those small flash dongle drives?
- LynnL, www.digi.com
I would be careful about testing this. If it allows you to transfer it, you might lose your software key. These copy protection systems typically work by doing things with the hard drive that are outside of the drive spec. This is what prevents you from simply copying the activation file and why file system repair utilities can destroy the file.
USB flash drives are compatible at the FAT file system level, but may not have enough low level similarity to a normal hard drive to allow the copy protection systems to work. That is, they may be close enough that the software will store the key on the USB flash drive, but it may not recognise the key as valid when you try to recover it.
I suppose there could be a market for special USB "keys" that allow secure storage of software activation keys. They would probably be much more reliable than floppy disks and would solve the problem of laptops that don't
have floppy disks.
I don't however like copy protection software activation keys. Some software vendors will refuse to replace them unless you buy an annual software "maintenance contract" from them. This is like being forced to buy a new car if you lose your car keys.
London, Ont. Canada
When you're already buying a car with the hood welded shut :^)
I've never understood their vehemence on this point either, What possible use would you have for their software if you didn't own their hardware? And if I owned 50 of their PLCs, I'm still not going to buy more than a couple seats. It would only make it much more convenient if I had more seats, Inconveniencing me isn't going to make them any more money. Overall, their programmer to PLC ratio is pretty low, I would think it would make sense to build the software cost into the hardware. And the burden of all that license management and support for all the related problems has to be fairly high as well. I would think widespread pirating of their software would demonstrably improve the market for their hardware. If they could just get over that absolute control thing. I might even buy a rack to work with at home if I didn't need $3000 to use it. I can almost see it for pure software plays like autocad, but tied to the hardware, it would make for interesting analysis if they are actually accomplishing anything more than annoying the very folks who want to use their hardware. Of course, it would break the upgrade mill, but that's a major badwill item anyway.
On February 13, 2004, Curt Wuollet wrote:
> Overall, their programmer to PLC ratio is pretty low, I would
> think it would make sense to build the software cost into the
> hardware. And the burden of all that license management and
> support for all the related problems has to be fairly high as
> well. <
The software for most of the automation hardware I use can be freely downloaded from the manufacturer's web site. The only exceptions are PLC and associated MMI panel software. In other words, most manufacturers of automation hardware would appear to agree with you on this point. The PLC manufacturers are the exceptions, not the norm.
> I would think widespread pirating of their software would
> demonstrably improve the market for their hardware.
Most customers don't take the software cost into account when standardising on a particular brand of hardware. The software is just an afterthought. The major PLC manufacturers can therefore charge whatever the market will bear for the software after the customers have made their hardware decisions. The price of software seems to be more closely related to the PLC manufacturer's market share than it is to any value to the customer.
> I can almost see it for pure software plays like autocad, but
> tied to the hardware, it would make for interesting analysis
> if they are actually accomplishing anything more than annoying
> the very folks who want to use their hardware.
I would have to disagree with you with regards to CAD software and say that Autocad is grossly overpriced for simpler jobs such as electrical schematics and technically inferior for the more complex ones. They enjoy their present market position because of customer lock-in to DWG file formats. File format translation (including to DXF) often introduces artifacts into the drawings which require you to fix up the translated drawings manually. This causes problems when exchanging drawings between companies (e.g. supplier and customer) unless they are in the same format. I have owned other CAD software in the past, but Autodesk's means of dealing with low priced competition has been to buy up the companies and terminate their products.
London, Ont. Canada
From a manufacturer's point of view (for which we are one of PLCs) it has always been our belief that you cannot have a PLC without a method to program it, therefore the software is included with the controller.
With the mass acceptance of the computer, you no longer need handheld programmers to do this. Thus, we now have programming software. One version for each manufacturer (and for some manufacturers, multiple versions for different products). If you find the right manufacturer, you might find one software package that will handle all of their controllers.
The common thinking among other manufacturers is that if it has an associated cost, it must have an offsetting revenue. Hence, this is why you have companies charging for their software. To get into the paying for support issue would be a whole other thread itself.
You have companies being run by accountants, and even worse the stock market. You always have to beat the whisper number, or else the company stock will tank...lol. This is why many of the manufacturers have lost touch with their customers.
3857 Orangeport Rd.
Gasport, NY 14067
wwjd - wdjs
With regards to Stephen Luft's reply, I find it rather interesting that you mention accounting practice as one of the reasons why software is often charged for separately from the hardware. Earlier in this discussion, I had been framing a reply along these lines, but never sent it.
Many very large companies have the illusion that detailed accounting can be a substitute for understanding the business and the market. The idea is that if you can count everything, you don't need to understand it. This was what was behind the fad for splitting large companies into tiny "business units" - making the accounting easier even if it increased operating costs. Unfortunately the world isn't that simple.
We had a related discussion a few weeks ago "Re: PLCS: Why do you pay for PLC programming software?" where I compared PLC software to the video game console market. That is, the cost of entry (for PLC programming software or game consoles) can be lowered to gain new customers who will generate additional revenue later. Since the customer is required to make an up front investment in either case, the seller can reduce the risk of that investment by assuming some of the investment cost and recouping it on items with repeat sales potential.
Low entry costs make sense for a company which wants to grow by increasing market share. High entry cost is for companies who simply want to extract maximum revenue from existing market share.
On February 18, 2004 17:59, Stephen Luft wrote: <clip>
> From a manufacturer's point of view (for which we are one of PLCs) it has
> always been our belief that you cannot have a PLC without a method to
> program it, therefore the software is included with the controller.
> The common thinking among other manufacturers is that if it has an
> associated cost, it must have an offsetting revenue. Hence, this is why
> you have companies charging for their software. To get into the paying for
> support issue would be a whole other thread itself.
> You have companies being run by accountants, and even worse the stock
> market. You always have to beat the whisper number, or else the company
> stock will tank...lol.
> This is why many of the manufacturers have lost touch with their customers.
London, Ont. Canada
Whoa there! Michael :^)
I was playing the Devil's advocate and saying I could _almost_ see it. Autocad and their allegiance to the Dark Lord of Redmond have been an enormous impediment to many things I have tried to accomplish. It is the sole application binding many operations to the monopoly and a
jagged rock in the stream of change. And yes, it is grossly overpriced and one might wonder if the economics of volume totally escape them. And they _have_ adopted the monopolistic tactics of their heroes. But there is one thing I give them credit for. That is that, at least it
isn't a grossly inferior product supported by such artifice and treachery. Bouyed _only_ by their proprietary formats. If they could come to understand that and lower their prices, open their formats and support the fact that an awful lot of workstations users have no interest in MS crashware for simulations, etc. that may run for weeks at a stretch, I think they could stand on merit. But, they've hitched their wagons to a falling star and will probably
sink with them. I'd be interested in hearing from this group, who has the right stuff to replace them on the premise of being more Open and more useful. Are there serious contenders out there? I haven't seen too many.
On February 18, 2004 18:20, Curt Wuollet wrote (re Autocad): <clip>
> But there is one thing I give them credit for. That is that, at least it
> isn't a grossly inferior product supported by such artifice and
> treachery. Bouyed _only_ by their proprietary formats.
I would have to disagree with you completely on this point, and say that this is in fact a very accurate description of their product. The only people I know of who are still using AutoCAD are using it for electrical schematics. It used to be widely used for mechanical drafting, but I don't know of anyone who is still using it for this. Competitors such as Solidworks are considered by most people to be vastly superior to anything AutoCAD has to offer.
> If they could
> come to understand that and lower their prices, open their formats and
> support the fact that an awful lot of workstations users have no
> interest in MS crashware for simulations, etc. that may run for weeks
> at a stretch, I think they could stand on merit.
AutoCAD simply isn't good enough for large scale simulations, besides which those types of applications run on Unix/Linux clusters, not Windows desktops. If you are doing this sort of work, you probably have two computers. You have your Linux workstation for CAD work, and your Windows computer for e-mail and memos (because the IT department says so).
AutoCAD is a middle of the road CAD package which has nothing going for it other than a lot of people already know (or used to know) how to use it and there are lots of existing drawings in DWG format. It is probably still widely used in architectural jobs where the main criteria for selecting it is that there are lots of low priced AutoCAD chimpanzees available for short term contracts. The main criteria for replacing AutoCAD for electrical controls work would be to have a fairly simple package that can deal with DWG files reliably. There may be some decent candidates available now, I just haven't been motivated enough to look at any for a few years.
> I'd be interested in hearing from this group, who has
> the right stuff to replace them on the premise of being more Open and
> more useful. Are there serious contenders out there? I haven't seen too
I can't make a recommendation at this time. However, I thought perhaps I may mention an opinion on what I think would be a very nice feature that I haven't seen yet. It would be very handy if the CAD software and programming (e.g. PLC and other) software could share a common symbol list. That is, when you add a device to a PLC output on an electrical schematic, it would show up automatically in the PLC program symbol list, and visa versa (or some convenient way of synchronising the two). A convoluted import/export function doesn't really accomplish the same thing, as it doesn't accomodate design changes mid way through a project very well. For this to work well though, the CAD and PLC software vendors would have to be willing to swallow the idea of open data formats, and I haven't seen any evidence of that yet.
London, Ont. Canada
That last part is something that I had been thinking about for a while. Since we (for the most part) work with a symbolic language, how is a ladder editor that much different from CAD? Why should you have to draw your system twice? Once the proprietary barriers come down, the benefits from integration could be amazing. You don't offend me at all with your dislike for propped up monopolies. I would be lying to say that I would be upset if their greed destroyed them. But, I'm hoping that there are converts to a better way of doing software. After all, if IBM can become a strong force for OSS, surely there's hope that some will join the wave rather than being washed away.
Re: Discussion with Curt Wuollet over integrating CAD and PLC software:
I think that to integrate CAD and PLC programming software, you need to have a common set of semantics for what a device is. For the CAD software, these would be "blocks" with attributes. For the PLC software these would be definitions of addressable I/O. This would include networked I/O (or other addressable content) as well as conventional local I/O.
If you did your project in the ideal order, you would finish the drawings before you started the PLC program. In this case, the PLC programming software would read the definition files and see that these addresses were already defined. The PLC symbol names and comments would be those defined from the drawing. In other words, you wouldn't be entering this information twice.
If the project involved some back and forth, that is changing the drawing after the PLC program was started, then the information would need to flow both ways. If you addressed a new I/O point for an existing card in your PLC program, this would need to show up on the schematics. If the PLC software defined the device type, then this could appear directly on the drawing. If it was undefined, then this would appear as an undefined symbol in your drawings, and you would need to use the CAD software to complete the information. If you were to add a new I/O card or block, then either the CAD software would have to automatically insert a new page, or it would have to go into some sort of CAD limbo until you could deal with it properly. Perhaps both methods may be appropriate depending upon the type of device and how you want to handle things for that project.
To get to the practicalities of the data exchange, I can think of two ways of dealing with it. In most cases a set of symbol files in XML (or other) format could be used to define the CAD and PLC data. The PLC use for this seems quite obvious - symbol name and comments. The CAD software would need to include information relating to drawing location, connections, etc. This would also connect the schematic representation to the physical location (e.g. panel layout, or device layout in the machine). If the definition included product data (e.g. part number), this could be used to generate a bill of material (as some CAD systems can do now). If the PLC software had the device data available to it, it could tell you not just the symbol name, but also what is actually connected to it - which would be an aid to troubleshooting.
The XML file seems like the obvious and simple choice, but may have limitations for large projects involving multiple people. The problem would be in keeping the different versions in sync if more than one person can edit them. In these cases you might "push" changes from CAD to PLC only, or you might use a database instead of a simple XML file.
Another means might be to have a third application which is used for creating and editting symbol files, from which both the CAD and PLC programs import their data. This might in fact be the better way of doing things as it would allow you to create programs which automatically populate the I/O schematics and PLC symbols, perhaps even pulling design information from the mechanical drawings.
Some or even all of the above may not be entirely new. It does seem rather obvious to anyone who has worked in this field. I have seen products which do pieces of it. I haven't however actually seen anything which does all of this. I suspect that the reason for this is the lack of open standard data formats which would enable the exchange of data between software written by different parties. In the present market situation it would be possible to create an import/export mechanism between pairs of proprietary products, but not a free flow of data between any combination of products.
Perhaps someone will have an example of software which actually implements something like this. What I find surprising though, is that this isn't the standard way of doing things.
London, Ont. Canada
This is was Metso's DNA dcs does, my understanding. You start all your Engineering in Autocad, I will be looking into it soon and will try to update.
My $79 copy of TurboCAD works just fine for reading and changing electrical wiring diagrams created by the overpriced AutoCAD.
To Curt Wuollet (re CAD):
You might consider QCAD. Look on your computer; you might already have it as it is a fairly common package. If not, you can download it if you have a high speed connection.
It uses DXF format rather than DWG, so if you need to read existing DWG files then you'll either need a translator program, or have someone convert them for you. If you are producing new drawings in DXF format, then someone who has
AutoCAD who wants to work with them should be able to open them directly.
I haven't tried QCAD out, so I can't offer a personal opinion on it. I have used TurboCAD, and found that for anything I wanted to do it was equally capable as AutoCAD, and more user friendly. However, I did find that in some
cases TurboCAD would interpret a DWG drawing file slightly differently from AutoCAD, introducing minor errors. The problem with exchanging data files between any two CAD programs is that differences in semantics and context have subtle effects on the data. This makes the task difficult even when two vendors are trying to interoperate.
I don't however wish to over emphasize file compatability problems. For electrical schematics minor CAD format errors are normally not important. I receive drawings in DXF format from several companies we deal with (they use
special electrical schematics software) and the problems have been comparatively minor.
One final note on QCAD. There are two different QCAD programs from two different sources. One is a 2D mechanical drafting program, which is the one I am referring to. The other is a package for electronic schematics, and as far as I am aware is completely unrelated to the first one. You need to be careful of this if you are doing an internet search.
London, Ont. Canada
On February 23, 2004, Michael Griffin wrote:
> You might consider QCAD. Look on your computer; you might already have it as
> it is a fairly common package. If not, you can download it if you have a high
> speed connection. <
I did have QCAD until they switched versions and I had to obtain newer QT libraries. I don't have a fast link anymore and I haven't had the time to deal with TrollTech and get all the newest stuff. It was one of the more promising Open offerings.
> It uses DXF format rather than DWG, so if you need to read existing DWG files
> then you'll either need a translator program, or have someone convert them
> for you. If you are producing new drawings in DXF format, then someone who has
> AutoCAD who wants to work with them should be able to open them directly.
> I haven't tried QCAD out, so I can't offer a personal opinion on it. I have
> used TurboCAD, and found that for anything I wanted to do it was equally
> capable as AutoCAD, and more user friendly. However, I did find that in some
> cases TurboCAD would interpret a DWG drawing file slightly differently from
> AutoCAD, introducing minor errors. The problem with exchanging data files
> between any two CAD programs is that differences in semantics and context
> have subtle effects on the data. This makes the task difficult even when two
> vendors are trying to interoperate.
> I don't however wish to over emphasize file compatability problems. For
> electrical schematics minor CAD format errors are normally not important. I
> receive drawings in DXF format from several companies we deal with (they use
> special electrical schematics software) and the problems have been
> comparatively minor.
> One final note on QCAD. There are two different QCAD programs from two
> different sources. One is a 2D mechanical drafting program, which is the one
> I am referring to. The other is a package for electronic schematics, and as
> far as I am aware is completely unrelated to the first one. You need to be
> careful of this if you are doing an internet search. <
This becomes a sequential thing, when I have time and desire to upgrade my Linux box, I'll probably get QCAD running again. Xcircuit has been meeting all my needs in the meantime.
I haven't been following this thread too closely, but if you need Autocad capability for a fraction of the cost try
Intellicad. It provides full 360-degree compatibility with .dwg files. http://www.intellicad.org Originally an Autocad clone (V14) by Visio, it was dropped when Microsoft bought Visio. I think you can find a package for less than $100 if you shop around. There are many
providers. Check the members tab.
We already went over your points in the longrunning thread, Why do you pay for PLC programming software?, at
However, since this thread is actually about activations, note that the automation industry experience with support for software without copy protection is hideous. When an untrained end user purchases a second-hand machine and wants support on the PLC, it's got to be paid for somehow.
Charging for the activation and renewals is the channel for that payment.
Rockwell and the other majors have been giving away full-featured evaluation copies of their programming software via CDs and download for years. To actually use the stuff, you have to pay some money. And, as I keep bringing up, why is the trivial cost of PLC programming software any kind of an issue in a successful plant?
Hope this helps!
Rexel / Central Florida
On February 17, 2004, ScienceOfficer wrote:
> We already went over your points in the longrunning thread, Why do you pay
> for PLC programming software?, at
> http://www.control.com/1026150562/index_html <
Well no, actually we didn't. Lots of excuses were made for the upgrade mill, and lots of shouting about how people hafta get paid. But little rational discussion occurred about how the costs should be distributed. Or if there was actually any corelation between costs and price.
> However, since this thread is actually about activations, note that the
> automation industry experience with support for software without copy
> protection is hideous. When an untrained end user purchases a second-hand
> machine and wants support on the PLC, it's got to be paid for somehow.
> Charging for the activation and renewals is the channel for that payment. <
OK, Include the software with the processor and charge for support. That way people like me, who've given up on phone support long ago wouldn't carry the burden for those "untrained end users who purchase second hand machines and want support". It doesn't wash! Let's just agree that they
want a continuous residual revenue stream that can be retapped with a few bug fixes and a little file format mischief. I'm fairly sure in aggregate, we've paid for quite an education for everyone who's mildly interested.
> Rockwell and the other majors have been giving away full-featured
> evaluation copies of their programming software via CDs and download for
> years. To actually use the stuff, you have to pay some money. And, as I
> keep bringing up, why is the trivial cost of PLC programming software any
> kind of an issue in a successful plant? <
In today's economy, with the pressure on manufacturing, the "trivial" cost of light bulbs is examined closely. If four figures for a slip of paper saying you can have another person use software that you've already bought and paid for was, in fact, "trivial" we would all have a lot more licenses to work with. I'd like to take a poll on how many readers believe they could ask for and get all the licenses needed to make working really convenient. I suppose looking down from way above these things are of no great import, but from down here, getting "my own" license is like the Holy Grail. And the industry wide practice of
using ancient versions as long as they'll somewhat function points out how "trivial" upgrade costs are at budget time. Everyone who has the latest and greatest raise their hand!......... That's what I thought :^) Down from the mount, on the dirty side of the wall, that's the way it really is. Looking down it's trivial. Looking up it's a major PITA. Unless I'm missing something. Perhaps if we had the bean counters trade places with us for a week.......
I suspect it'll be pretty hard to marginalize my view on this one. No matter how you slice it, walking a quarter of a mile to get to a licensed copy kinda ticks me off. I'll bet I'm not alone :^) I suppose most folks are just used to this kinda BS. I've seen life without it.
Curt, Curt, Curt:
Some of us have companies who are forward thinking enough to give us the tools we need to do our job, they pay the annual support and we have all of the licenses we need.
We have a control network and we have 2 servers that have the licenses on them and also a bunch of laptop (portables) with their own and we serve out the licenses to the roughly 50 Maintenance terminals around the plant and have NEVER not had a license available.
If the company you work for will not give you the tools to do your job, don't do it, and if you have to walk a half mile to use the tool, charge for the time, or if you are hourly who cares, not your problem, your problem is to do the best you can with the tools you have. If they don't give you the tools and it bothers you this much, ....leave.
Once again, do not go and assume EVERYONE is one way or the other, you cannot generalize your opinion into everyone elses.
My company is forward thinking enough to recognize the investment and the payback to doing so and not so cheap as to realize the waste of paying you to keep walking back and forth......apparently yours isn't.
We also pay the support (chump change in the big picture) so YES we always have the latest and greatest..............
Just another OPINION ......
And some of us work in the beleagured manufacturing industries, at least for the moment. Where forward thinking may not be the issue. But I'm happy for you and your data point has been registered.
I also work in the "beleagured manufacturing industries" just a little smarter one... not that far north of you in Northern Minnesota.
With regards to the discussion on software costs between Curt Wuollet and "ScienceOfficer", I have a modest proposal. Perhaps Mr. ScienceOfficer would care to give Mr. Wuollet a few dozen free copies of the software, and everyone should then be happy all round. After all, if the cost is "trivial", why bother charging for it?
London, Ont. Canada
OK, then everything that needed to be said was said in the previous thread, and it didn't convince you. Moreover, you continue to believe that companies making hundreds of millions of dollars in this market are wrong, and you are right. This represents a tremendous entrepreneurial opportunity!
Take those insights and build a PLC company to service the market niche you find so valuable. No expensive support staff will be necessary because your market by definition won't use it. Now, take a look at the business
plan: Your target market is plants that won't pay a trivial $499 each for
the basic licenses of RSLogix500 (9324-RL0100ENE) needed for maintenance to be more effective. That will be a problem when you talk to the venture capitalists, so I guess this won't work. How can you make any money from clients that are defined by their firm decision to not spend any real money?
Yes, we have seen how plants, even successful ones, are looking at every penny these days. We've even noted a death spiral phenomenon: Giving bonuses to maintenance managers based solely upon year to year cost reduction. Sorry, we have no way to prevent the death of these clients. Is your company one of these?
Curt, you mistake your own niche for something wider. You actually read the manuals, and draw on a wide experience to solve the problems you face daily. Meanwhile, we get support calls daily that start like this: "I got the box, and it has some manuals and a CD. What do I do now?" Worse than that, we get calls that start like this: "My widget machine stopped. It's got one of your products in it. Fix it."
Charging for software and support is what the market currently supports as a way for successful vendors and customers to interact. This can change, but it's what's out there now.
If this is a problem, then it's an opportunity. Put me out of business or quit whining. I can cheerfully live with either outcome.
Can we get back to technical problems now?
Larry Lawver Rexel / Central Florida
On February 22, 2004, ScienceOfficer wrote:
> OK, then everything that needed to be said was said in the previous
> thread, and it didn't convince you. Moreover, you continue to
> believe that companies making hundreds of millions of dollars in this
> market are wrong, and you are right. This represents a tremendous
> entrepreneurial opportunity!
> Take those insights and build a PLC company to service the market
> niche you find so valuable. No expensive support staff will be
> necessary because your market by definition won't use it. Now, take
> a look at the business plan: Your target market is plants that won't
> pay a trivial $499 each for the basic licenses of RSLogix500
> (9324-RL0100ENE) needed for maintenance to be more effective. That
> will be a problem when you talk to the venture capitalists, so I
> guess this won't work. How can you make any money from clients that
> are defined by their firm decision to not spend any real money? <
Your target market is apparently quite upscale. I haven't worked anyplace that cheerfully dashes off a large check for more software.
I would be quite satisfied with _only_ those that think extra seats are a bit spendy and non-trivial.
> Yes, we have seen how plants, even successful ones, are looking at
> every penny these days. We've even noted a death spiral phenomenon:
> Giving bonuses to maintenance managers based solely upon year to year
> cost reduction. Sorry, we have no way to prevent the death of these
> clients. Is your company one of these? <
No, it's the same old market conditions, the price of scrap steel and foreign competition. The kind of things that spelled the end of most manufacturing jobs in the USA.
> Curt, you mistake your own niche for something wider. You actually
> read the manuals, and draw on a wide experience to solve the problems
> you face daily. Meanwhile, we get support calls daily that start
> like this: "I got the box, and it has some manuals and a CD. What
> do I do now?" Worse than that, we get calls that start like this:
> "My widget machine stopped. It's got one of your products in it.
> Fix it." <
Perhaps this is because you purposefully sell the software with the line that "any idiot can use it". You shouldn't be surprised when they call. And the niche I'm in seems to be rather broad, including a large proportion of the readers. You might hope that I'm atypical, but the only thing different about me is that I know how well the alternatives work.
> Charging for software and support is what the market currently
> supports as a way for successful vendors and customers to interact.
> This can change, but it's what's out there now. <
Since they have little choice in a shrinkwrap world, I think that they support it is a bit strong. The majority of the comments I read here indicate that getting the answers you need _without_ calling support might become fairly popular. Of course, they do support it in a fiscal
> If this is a problem, then it's an opportunity. Put me out of
> business or quit whining. I can cheerfully live with either outcome. <
I'm not whining, I'm reacting. And I don't seek to put anyone out of business, merely change the way it's done to something better for the user.
Read one of your software licenses. Then imagine that asymmetry applied to anything you own besides software. Imagine buying other consumer goods under those terms. How happy would you be? Would it be even acceptable?
> Can we get back to technical problems now? <
This is a technical problem for me and perhaps others as well. But I can understand your reluctance to discuss it.
Sadly, it doesn't work. I say "sadly" because your idea would have solved a commercial problem I was trying to handle with one of my sales reps when I saw your post...
I tried all available methods under Win2K to transfer activations to a USB "thumb" drive. All were blocked by the limitation that came with NT: The activation transfer system is not supported for removable drives on WinNT
and beyond. (I've always suspected that this prohibition came from problems with users in the previous generation transferring activations to RAM drives...)
While I'm reporting that my experiments were futile, I'm not saying that the goal is impossible. I'm just saying it's not possible in a supported environment under Win2K. I can imagine unsupported solutions that would work under other operating systems that would not violate any license
Hope this helps!
Rexel / Central Florida
Well, it cannot just be "removable" since I happily place them on removable USB-based hard-drives. More likely the copy scheme queries the drive for parameters used to encrypt/fingerprint that drive in the file to prevent ghost-copy of the drive. My USB hard-drive must have those
parameters, a USB "thumb" drive may not?
I didn't worry too much about testing this - as long as you have your original Master diskette Rockwell gives you the option of playing dumb (gee, the hard-drive crashed ...) and calling up to reactivate a few times. ;^) For me, the "gain" of being able to move the key between 2 computers was greater than the potential "pain" of having to reactivate a lost key.
I recently received a Powerpoint presentation regarding AB's new licensing scheme. I did not look at it real close, but it apparrently involves the use of a USB dongle.
There will be three new activation systems for customers to choose from over the next year or so, and the USB dongle version is only likely (IMO) to be used by people that absolutely cannot attach their computer to a network. The other two versions will replace the floppy and networked activation systems that exist today with new Internet and LAN based systems for moving activations.
There is a demand for the dongle option, but I think Rockwell Software wants to stick as much as possible to systems that permit tech support to get a customer up and running as fast as possible after any computer disaster. The current system works as long as the Master floppy is intact; the new network-based systems won't require any physical media to be handled at all.
Hope this helps!
Rexel / Central Florida
I went through the presentation and as best I can tell they want an extra $150 for the dongle, and it appears there is no way to move any license except by going through AB (either telephone or internet). i can't imagine why they would think this is an improvement for most people.
With the restructuring of domestic manufacturing many corporations are cutting their
Engineering staffs and empowering technicians. dealing with activation keys is a real problem on the shop floor and in the field.
``10 or 20 different software protection schemes, exchanging laptops , upgrading operating systems,obsolete software and their keys,lost master disks,etc. point being many technicians are now able to upgrade or spec out systems such as idec that do not require activation schemes. one wonders if the bean counters are taking lost market share into their calculations.
As a former technician and now teacher in this field I share your concerns.
The problem is largely restricted to Rockwell products. Most of the rest do not attempt to screw their customers for software licences.
The feedback I get from my students is that their are ways around the "sharing" activation and licence problems that are not in the manual.
My solution is simple.
I have just purchased a set of Siemens products.
Use EVMOVECF.EXE to move the activation TO the memory stick.
Use EVMOVEW.EXE to move the activation FROM the memory stick.
The memory stick needs to be formatted as FAT32.
To check to see what the current format is:
1. DOUBLE click on My Computer
2. RIGHT click on the drive that is the memory stick
3. LEFT click on properties
4. Under the General tab you can see the existing file format
5. It will be FAT or FAT32
6. If it is FAT32 you do not need to format the memory stick
7. If it is FAT you will need to reformat the memory stick
WARNING: reformatting will erase all data on the memory stick
To reformat the memory stick:
1. Double click on My Computer
2. RIGHT click on the drive that is the memory stick
3. LEFT click on format
4. Under File system use the down arrow to select FAT32
5. If the option FAT32 is not there, go to a different computer
6. Under format options make sure Quick Format is NOT selected
7. Click on start to begin format
If a firewall is blocking the attached files EVMoveCF and EVMoveW,
then go to this website:
Click on this link (IT'S THE 3RD QUESTION):
How do I transfer activations to a VersaView 200R non-display computer?
Select "DOWNLOAD EVMOVECF UTILITY"
This will get you ONLY the EVMoveCF utility
You can copy the EVMoveW utility from your master disk
Another option is to log into the Rockwell Automation Knowledgebase:
1. Online Tools
2. Knowledge Base
3. Search by technote ID
4. Enter this tech note ID: G112630101
EVMoveCF and EVMoveW are both available for download from this tech note.
Created 05-20-2005 John Redella Changed 03-24-06
It is very easy to copy your RSLogix 500 key and make as many as you want as long as you have a system with Windows 98 to make the copies on. You cannot make the copies in XP. But once you make them, you cna use them anywhere.
Follow the below link and download file evmovecf.exe. It will allow you to move your activation from/to anything you desire including flash cards. Hope this help!
Can't believe you guys call yourself nerds!
It's funny that those who state that the software should come with the hardware miss two things.
Software has to be purchased to use any PC. It doesn't "come" with the PC. Just because it isn't broken out from the associated hardware doesn't mean you're not paying for it. Nothing is free.
Those companies that DO give their software away have to... they couldn't sell that crap in it's current state.
Rockwell Software doesn't make hardware... Rockwell Automation (Allen-Bradley, Reliance, & Dodge) do. Rockwell Software is a separate company and as such needs to turn a profit. They give it away, they don't stay in business. How many others in here work for a company that gives away it's chief products & services.
Finally, because the number of people using PLC software is not even close to those using say Microsoft Office products, the lack of a large volume makes it all the more crucial that Rockwell Software (ore any other similarly situated company) takes steps to insure a more thoroughly managed return on invest by employing copy protection schemes and other measures. Someone above though they were big "command freaks" for doing this. That person obviously knoew little on R&D and ROI.
I have no problem specifying and paying for AB software, which is generally of very good quality. Having said that, I believe it makes little difference if Rockwell Software is a separate but wholly owned entity or a division or whatever in terms of the activation discussion.
OK, lets follow this logic. Rockwell Software does go bust. No problem for Allen-Bradley. Nope. They make and sell hardware, not software. The fact that there is no way to program the PLCs will not in any way diminish their popularity with end users, because the hardware is excellent.
Well, there may be sound reasons for splitting off a software business, but it is rather naive to believe that PLC software and hardware are independent, at least now that third party developers are largely gone.
This is more about business that ethics, and suppliers and end users are obliged to look after their respective interests. On copy protection, they diverge.
I don't think the original poster wanted 'something for nothing' he just wanted to use what he'd paid for. Having been left stranded by faulty token systems from Omron, AB and Siemens, I understand the frustration.
Strange, because as I write, AB are offering, for download, a free version of RSLogix 500, fully functional for certain models, but with no technical support.
I assume that they are financing this on the back of PLC sales, precisely the mechanism we are told can't happen.
That's not really a fair statement I don't think. There is potential upside to offering the limited trial version as people may decide they like the AB programming paradigm and one day specify AB hardware on a project that would not have otherwise had it. Meanwhile the downside is almost nonexistant: minimal or no development cost for this version, no support cost, and little chance of discouraging future sales (only people building machines with only the 16 point Micrologix and who never need tech support can use this as their sole programming software). The implicit comparison isn't really apples to apples.
Steve Myres, PE
Of course that brings up the point that the incremental cost of the 10,000th copy of RSL is also pretty close to nothing which favors the give away the software to sell the hardware viewpoint.
It looks like it is only for one model. I would guess they are doing this as a way of getting people to try their low end products. Who would buy a $125 controller an than pay $1500 for the software.
It seems unlikely that however many extra $125 PLCs they sell, that this is an attempt to sell PLCs by giving away the software.
I'm curious. What else would it be, given that the software is pretty worthless without a PLC and vice versa? I think it has a lot to do with many competitors making it reasonably cost effective to buy a low end PLC and use it. After all solving a small problem for <$200 is attractive. Add another zero and it's pretty much out of the question.
I have that product - it is exactly ONE model last I looked; the $89 1761-L10BXB (and don't forget your $35 cable!) It is 24vdc power, four relay out, six 24vDC in - not likely the most common combination.
This has nothing to do with "financing this on the back of PLC sales, precisely the mechanism we are told can't happen."
This is only to cover the following 5 common "complaints".
1) We've used Modicon PLC since the dawn of time - we want to "try" an AB PLC but cannot convince the boss to spend $1000 for a "try".
2) We need "N" PLC to use for a training class ...
3) I am a student & want to learn PLC programming
4) We need an AB PLC for basic protocol testing (OPC, HMI, etc).
5) We need an AB PLC for basic support of small AB PLC with non-AB products.
Many of Digi's tech support people also have this combo for basic RSLogix500 exposure. We are customer #4 and #5 above.
- LynnL, www.digi.com
The post I was referring to stated explicitly that
> Rockwell Software is a separate company and as such needs to turn a
> profit. They give it away, they don't stay in business. <
As stated, some people download the software and use it only with the supported hardware, Where do Rockwell Software make their profit then? Don't underestimate the cost to Rockwell to provide this software release. It is of course entirely possible that this was a speculative
release by an 'independent programming company' financed by future software sales, but I suspect that the finance for this project came from the promotional budget of AB. My point is simple, programming software can be financed in many different ways, come to think of it, all the programming packages I have were either given freely, included on training courses, or 'bundled' with initial hardware purchases of PLCs or Programmers, so for me this link has always existed.