Cimplicity Alarm Time Display Issue


Thread Starter


Dear all,


I appreciate if somebody advice me to solve the problem of difference time appeared between the alarms noticed in the alarm display of cimplicity HMI and the time of HMI's PC. The controller which is using is MKVI and the software is toolbox version 11.5. I need the procedure and all steps of doing a synchronization between the both times.


Each HMI CPU (the PC) has its own internal clock, which is part of the BIOS (Basic Input Output System), and has its own battery (which needs replacement from time to time).

Each HMI displays the time of the control system it is communicating with on the CIMPLICITY display--which <i><b>can be</b></i> different from the HMI CPU time <i>if time synchronization is not used on the UDH (Unit Data Highway)</i>.

Alarms and events are supposed to be stamped with the time of the control system they are annunciated by--that's the important time of the system, the control system time.

Time synchronization is covered in the GE manuals provided with the HMI, usually in a Documentation folder on the HMI. (The file names are usually the GE publication number, which isn't very descriptive when looking for information. I highly recommend taking some time (as much as an hour or so) and opening each and every .pdf file in the appropriate folder and noting the subject/title of the file, writing it down. Then close the file and rename it, using some indication of the subject/title added to the publication number. For example, GEH-6421.pdf is the 'Mark VI System Guide' file. The file name could be changed to 'MkVI System Guide-GEH-6421.pdf'. Just remember to leave the filename extension as .pdf so that it will automatically open when someone double-clicks on it.)

Time synchronization can be accomplished WITHOUT a master time source, or even a time synchronization card. GE uses an open-source technology called NTP (Network Time Protocol) on HMIs connected to a UDH such as Mark VIs and Mark VIes use, and it can be configured to use the HMI CPU time as the master time signal, which is periodically broadcast to all nodes on the network which, when properly configured, will adjust their time clocks to match the master signal being broadcast.

Again, this is all covered in GE documentation provided with the HMI. And, it has changed over time and with various versions of HMIs and TCI and CIMPLICITY. It's necessary to understand what equipment and software available and provided with the control system at your site, and then enable and configure it to do what you need it to do. Toolbox, for example, has to be configured to synchronize its clock to a master clock, also.

Finally, I sense that possibly (probably) the Mark VI internal clock and the HMI CPU internal clock have drifted apart (as they will do when unsynchronized). There is a method, which can be found using the Toolbox Help feature or by reading the Toolbox manual, to download the HMI CPU time to the Mark VI. This can be done periodically by operators; many sites without time synchronization do this every Saturday night at midnight (it's a manual operation, so the operators will have to be trained and reminded to do this, but it's just a couple of clicks--though I do believe it requires some password level if password protection is enabled on Toolbox).

Hope this helps!
Dear sir,

thanks a lot for replying.

I would like to inform you another thing. this issue is only with the clock while the date is up to date with the PC. the problem with the time is about 8 hour shift between the alarms and the PC time.


I had occasion yesterday to use a recent copy of Toolbox (11.7) and found the method to download the PC's time (from the BIOS clock) to the Mark VI. Go to Device, Download, View/Set Time. I think it's pretty similar for most newer Toolbox versions (since about v.9, I believe).

Just out of curiosity, igvman, does the difference between the PC clock and the Mark V clock equal the time difference at your site from GMT, or as our French brethren would prefer we call it: UTC?

Is the time zone set correctly in MS-Windows?

Is there a red, white or green "clock face" icon in the System Tray (the MS-Windows toolbar area at the very far right of the Toolbar (next to the clock, usually)? If so, that means NTP is installed on the HMI (it's an MS-Windows service). If it's not green, that means it's not working.

I believe in one of the GE publications there is some description of configuring NTP--but like most descriptions, it's too brief and not a step-by-step procedure for configuring and/or troubleshooting the service.

I seem to recall that some settings in Toolbox can affect the display of time on MS-Windows if NTP is enabled. And, it has to do with UTC.

I wish I could be of more help; we really don't have much information to work with. This is a common problem on sites which didn't purchase time synchronization and a master time source (IRIG-B; GPS). There are workarounds, as noted previously, but if someone tried to implement NTP and time synchronization and didn't do it correctly then the knock-on effects can last for a long time.

Please write back to let us know how you fare!
Dear sir

Thanks too much for your efforts and for valued information. you're right the clock of NTP is red and some times seemed with cross. i tried to reconfigure the NTP, but failed also as you mentioned there is no devices installed for time synchronizing. for your inquiry I'm sure the time zone is correct and here we use the +3 GMT and it's working properly and no issues with it. the issue only with the 8 hour lead the local time in the alarm display. tomorrow i will trying to do the steps which you did them in the toolbox.


I've seen sites where NTP was installed when it should not have been (sometimes, it's installed automatically from one of the GE software distribution disks). And, I believe that even if it's installed correctly it won't make HUGE jumps (like eight hours) when the time discrepancy is so large. (And, no; I don't know what the maximum time discrepancy it will try to overcome is.)

Again, properly setting up NTP requires setting up NTP on the HMI CPUs AND in Toolbox. It doesn't require a time synchronization master, or even a time synchronization card in the HMI CPU; one of the HMIs can be set as the NTP master for all the nodes on the UDH. And, again--MANY sites without time synchronization masters and -cards, have the operators simply download the time from one HMI to all Mark VIs on the UDH once per week, sometimes more often (but the operators usually complain about anything more than once per week).

I would suggest if you know that NTP wasn't provided with the original equipment and wasn't properly set up, that you delete it from the HMI. You can do this using the MS-Windows Control Panel 'Add/Remove Programs' applet, or you can stop the NTP Service from the MS-Windows 'Services' applet (just scroll down to the NTP service, and right-click on it (from the Administrator level) and select Stop or Disable to prevent it from starting on subsequent MS-Windows re-starts. I believe NTP consumes some CPU resources, so if it's running and trying to send/receive time signals when there aren't any to send or receive that's using valuable CPU resources (time and RAM) which are unnecessary if it's not being used. (My preference would be to just remove the service permanently, if you're not going to try to get it working.)

Hope this helps! Looking forward to hearing what the results of your efforts are!
Dear sir,

Good news, the task is accomplished and I succeeded to fix this issue via depending on your efforts through supporting me by rich and valued information. it's as you stated. I did a reset to the Bios time within toolbox then device then download and view set time. after that both times are equal.

thanks so much
they are very helpful

Best regard