Interact HMI Driver Problem


Thread Starter


Hello Control,

I am definitely not on par with any of your knowledge of HMI automation or even computers in general. That said, please don't be upset if the following seems poorly explained. I am trying my best.

I created a huge problem with an industrial inline machine at my company. Basically, we were running the "Interact" HMI software, which was run from a DOS runtime environment on Windows XP. This worked fine for many years, so although I know XP is not ideal for DOS emulation, it has worked for upwards of 10 years leading up to this incident. I tried to boot it up one day, and somehow messed up the computer-PLC interface. I literally clicked the wrong thing once. I opened the driver instead of just running the emulator, and somehow messed up the whole interface. :(

The computer connects to the PLC using a RS-232 serial connector and the PLC is a TI-545. The driver we are running is a TI Series 500 that was originally provided by Interact years ago. I have a STRONG feeling that the driver is the source of the problem here.

So, right now, after many hours of troubleshooting, I have managed to get the emulator working, but I cannot get full/correct communication from the PLC back to the computer. For example, I can turn certain parts of the machine on/off, yet the computer will not display temperatures of different baths or conveyor speed, etc. This is especially a problem because alarms would not be triggered if I were to say, turn on a heater in one of the baths. The feedback loop is not functional so eventually the heater would just burn down the machine, which is most definitely something I am trying to avoid.
I know that this is all probably vague but is there something I could try? I have tried changing the COM port (COM1 controls parts of the machine but doesn't get correct feedback, and COM3 can't control anything but gets a lot of feedback that is all wrong.COMS 2/4 simply will cause the DOS emulator to fail upon startup) and the Baud Rate (9600 seems best and was default). I have also tried lots of other drivers, but I am fairly certain that this TI Series 500 is the right driver (since the PLC is a TI 545).

Anyone have any experience with Interact or any ideas at all? Seriously guys, I'm desperate. :( I am quite young and the last thing I want with my company is this expense to my name.

I am happy to post screenshots of the software/hardware /machine/anything if that will help.
> Sounds like the HMI is talking, but not receiving. Has the
> comms wiring changed at all. Take a look at this:

Thanks a lot for the suggestion. I looked into it, but I really think this is a software problem since the connections haven't changed.

I got it working! For an hour....I found a back up of the driver and installed it and the machine was running perfectly!

Until I tried to copy that driver on to a thumb drive so I could keep the backup, and then Interact failed to boot again.

I didn't mess with the driver! I just copied it onto the thumbdrive...Now I am worried that the filesystem is so old (probably FAT32 since it is running DOS) that maybe I somehow corrupted the file by trying to copy it?

I am so worn out from the emotional rollercoaster of fixing this old machine....I was elated when I got it working

My idea for tomorrow is to do a system restore to before I ever started troubleshooting, run the virgin driver (without trying to create a backup), and see if that works. If so, then I'll try to ensure process repeatability so the machine can boot and run reliably moving forward.