Frequently Asked Questions
The following sections list the questions most frequently asked regarding SapphireTrend. If you
query is not answered, we would be delighted to answer it directly.
Installing and Updating
- How to Upgrade an installation
To upgrade SapphireTrend:
- Download the new setup.exe file from the SapphireTrend web site Downloads page.
- Copy the new setup.exe to the target machine or to a network drive.
- Double click the setiup.exe file to run the Installshield.
- Follow the on screen prompts - this will de install the existing version.
- Double click the setup.exe file again to run the Installshield for a second time.
- Follow the on screen prompts - this will install the new version.
- A typical upgrade should take no more than a few minutes.
- Upgrading a Collector node will not lose any existing data from your SDRs. However, no new data will be collected whilst the upgrade is taking place.
- There is no need to upgrade all your SapphireTrend client nodes at the same time as the Collector node is upgraded as the Network API will handle any version incompatibility issues.
Using the Sapphire Collector
- Is there a way to increase visible Plot Acreage?
A common request from users is whether the Title Bars can be removed from stPro Plot windows to increase the visible plot acreage. This can be especially painful with sessions that have a large number of tiled plots as a significant amount of the application window is given up to displaying the Plot Title Bars.
The answer to this is no as the Plot Title Bars provide useful context about the plot and are also required to allow the basic windows operations such as "Maximize", "Minimize" and "Restore Down". The Plot Title Bars are also used for logic such as Selected Plots so their removal would inhibit some of the basic stPro functionality.
A good work around is to customize your Desktop appearance to make the Title Bars as small as possible. This preserves all of their functionality whilst freeing up additional space for the plots.
To do this under XP or Windows 2003 perform the following steps:
- Right click on your desktop and select Properties.
- Select the Appearance tab on the Display Properties dialog.
- Click on the Advanced button.
- Click on the Title bar in one of the displayed windows. The Item drop down should now show "Active Title Bar".
- Reduce the font size to the smallest size that is still legible. This will require some trial and error to establish a setting you are happy with.
- Once you are happy with your font size, reduce the Size of the Active Title Bar to the smallest possible setting. The value for this changes depending on the chosen font, so it's important to be happy with the font size before attempting this.
- Re tile your plot windows to take advantage of the additional plot space!
Note: changing this setting will effect all applications, not just stPro, so it may not be suitable for all users. It is recommended for use primarily when a box is a dedicated trending node.
- Is it possible to cap the maximum graph refresh rate?
When connected to a Sapphire Collector, the default refresh rate for a plot is set to the base frequency of the chosen SDR. Thus if the SDR has a base frequency of 0.5s, plots will update every 0.5s.
In some cases it may be desirable to slow down the graph refresh rate to minimize the load placed on the Collector. This can be done on a per PC node by setting an entry in the registry.
To do this create a String Value called "MaxRefreshPeriod" in the following registry folder on the stPro node.
->Jemmac Software Ltd
The value is specified in Milliseconds, so a value of 5000 would mean a max graph refresh rate of 5 seconds. Once set, all new instances of stPro will have their graphs refresh rates capped at 5 secs.
- Re-ordering columns
V2-3 of SapphireTrend provides a mechanism for re-ordering and hiding columns on some of the key dialogs. These include the OPC item list controls and the pens mapping tab.
To re-order a column, simply left-click on the column heading and drag it to the desired location.
To 'hide' or 'show' columns, right-click on the column headings and then either select or de-select the approriate column.
Note, as columns can now be displayed and hidden serveral new columns have been introduced including 'Owner' and 'Created' for OPC items. Owner indicates which user added the item and Created indicates the time and date when the item was created.
- Loading Session files on Startup
To load a session file automatically when an stPro session is started:
- Create a new Short cut specifying stPro as the target.
- Add a second parameter to the "Start In" field specifying the path and name of the required Session file (i.e. "C:\Program Files\Jemmac Software Ltd\Sapphire\bin\STPro.exe" "c:\sapphire files\session files\plant overview.sphsession").
Double clicking on the shortcut will launch stPro with the required session file already loaded.
- Making multiple plot windows look the same
To quickly setup a number of plots such that each plot has an identical set of 'custom' view attributes, do the following:
- Start-up stPro.
- Create a New plot window.
- Set the view attributes for the plot window as required.
- Create the required number of remaining plots.
- Click in the window of the plot that has the required configuration (to make it the active plot window).
- Right click to launch the Plot menu and select View->Apply to all.
Each of the plot windows will now look identical to the first plot window.
- 'Live' plot properties updates
When working with Pens via the plot properties dialog, the changes that are being made can be evaluated without closing the dialog by 'parking' the plot properties dialog off to the side of your screen and using the apply button to view the changes.
As long as the dialog does not obscure the active plot, you can view your changes on the fly!
- Restricting stPro to Collectors only
It is not always desirable to allow users to connect directly to DA and HDA OPCServers as this can present an unbounded load on the underlying OPCServer (and hence control system).
Where this is the case, specific PC's (and thus users) can be configured to only offer Sapphire Collectors in the connection dialog.
This is achieved by performing the following steps:
- Log on to the required PC with admin privilege.
- Run Regedit
- Open up the [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Jemmac Software Ltd\Sapphire] Key.
- Create a String Value called "SapphireCollectorsOnly" and set it to "Y".
To temporarily revert to showing OPCServers the value should be set to "N". Alternatively the String Value can be deleted entirely.
- Backing Up SDRs Online
A number of sites have enquired whether it is possible to backup SDRs whilst a Collector is running. The answer to this is yes as the Collector does not take an exclusive lock on the SDP files.
Options for backing up SDRs are as follows:
- Performing a simple file copy operation on the required SDR folder (including the contents).
- Via backup applications such as Veritas Backup Exec or BrightStor ARCserve backup.
In order to restore a backup the Collector Service must be stopped before the restore is initiated.
- Adding items to an SDR
There are a number of ways to add new items to the SDR:
- For large numbers of items the 'Batch Add' facility should be used. This takes a Comma seperated file as it's input. Performing a 'Batch Dump' of an existing SDR is a quick way to determine the file format ...
- For individual items the 'Add Item' option should be used. If the name of the required OPC Item is known it can be manually entered. If not, then the item can be selected from the list of items supported by the chosen OPCServer by using the browse facility (click the '...' button to the right of the Item Name field).
- Where a group of items are to be added with the same settings (i.e. resolution type and collection frequency) then the 'Browse Items' option should be used. This option is similar to 'Add Item' but allows more than one item to be selected at once. Having selected the required items the user can then add them 'en mass' to the SDR.
- Adding similar items to a Collector
If you are already collecting an item such as "af101.pv", then similar items can be added without the need to re-enter the item details or to browse the underlying OPCServer.
To add an item called "af101.sp" using "af101.pv" as a seed:
- Select the 'Tools->Edit SDR' menu option.
- Double click on the required SDR in the 'Select SDR' dialog.
- Double click the 'source' item in the list of existing items (in this case af101.pv).
- Click the 'New' button in the botton left of the Item properties dialog.
- Change the Item Name to be the name required (in this case af101.sp).
- Click Apply.
You have now defined a new item for collection using the same 'settings' the source item (i.e. the frequency, data location, resolution type etc).
Note, this can be particularly useful if you are already trending a parameter for a given tag and wish to start trending another parameter.
- Informing Users about Shutdowns
When performing routine maintenance on the Sapphire Collector you can notify all the active users by using the 'Send Message' facility in the stManager.
To do this:
- Go to the 'Sessions' tab in the Manager.
- Select the sessions to whom you wish to send a message. Note, multiple sessions can be selected by holding down the shift key (select a range) or control key (select specific sessions).
- Once the sessions have been selected click 'Send Message'.
- Type the message you wish to send and click 'Send'.
A dialog will appear on the machines that have active sessions containing the chosen message.
- My operators are accessing Sapphire trends on their consoles. Does this mean a licence is required per console?
Yes. The stOCX is a SapphireTrend component, so any node running it requires a licence (rule 1).
- I am running an application that reads data from the stOPCServer, but have not installed any Sapphire components on the node. Does this node need a licence?
Yes. Accessing Sapphire data from a third party application requires a Sapphire licence on the clients node (rule 2).
- I am accessing data from the stOPCServer on a node that already has a licence. Do I need a second licence?
No. Your existing licence allows you to access data from the stOPCServer (rule 4).
- I want to install the stOPCServer remotely from the Sapphire Collector on a node in a secondary domain so. Do I need an additional licence?
Yes, if the node you are installing on is not already licenced (rule 2).
- I want to run the stOPCServer locally on my Collector node. Do I need an extra licence?
No (rule 4).
- My AE's access Sapphire remotely via TS. How many licences do I need to run Sapphire in this mode?
The number of licences required is based on the number of concurrent users who can access Sapphire in this manner (rule 3). If 5 users can access Sapphire concurrently via TS, then you need five licences.
- I am running 5 third party OPC client applications that will get their data from the stOPCServer on a single node. Does this mean I need a licence per connection?
No. Once a node is licenced, there are no restrictions on the number of connection that can be established from that node (rule 4).
- I am not interested in running the SapphireTrend components on my node - I simply want access to the Sapphire Data. Can I buy a Client Access licence?
No. To keep the licensing model simply, we elected not to introduce a client access licence. Your access requires a full licence (rule 2).
- I have an Operator Station which consists of eight screen with 4 PC's. We will be running trends on all eight screens. How many licences does this require?
You will need four licences, one per PC (rule 1).