1. GE iFIX Quick Start
This article will discuss how to make a connection from WIN-911 to iFIX and includes the following topics:
- Where to install WIN-911 with iFIX
- Accessing WIN-911
- iFIX Security
- Installing iFIX SIMS
- iFIX System Configuration Utility (SCU)
- Watchdogs (Optional)
- Health Alarms (Optional)
- Heartbeat (Optional)
- Notifier Setup
- Configuring a Callout List (Tactics & Strategies)
- How to Bring Alarms Into WIN-911
- Troubleshooting using LogViewer
- Opening a Support Case
For more information on getting started, please review the iFIX Install Checklist.
A. Where to Install WIN-911
When integrating WIN-911 into an existing GE iFIX system, there are four recommended architectures to use:
- A single GE iFIX Application with a single WIN-911 system
- Redundant GE iFIX Server Nodes with a single WIN-911 system
- Two or More GE iFIX Remote Server Nodes with a single WIN-911 system
- Redundant GE iFIX Servers with Redundant WIN-911 systems\
Each of these architectures requires the use of different combinations of WIN-911 licenses and add-ons. To understand where to install iFIX, you can review the Network Diagram. You can find additional information about Nodes and Licensing in the Node Licensing documentation.
B. Accessing WIN-911
WIN-911 is configured with a web-driven interface that resides in the Internet Information Services (IIS) of the WIN-911 host computer. There are two ways to open this website:
- Clicking the shortcut that was created in the WIN-911 host's start menu,
- Opening a browser anywhere on the WIN-911 network and entering the WIN-911 Configuration URL.
The WIN-911 Configuration website can be accessed from any computer that is on the WIN-911 network, if you have the proper credentials. Simply open a browser and enter the URL: http://'WIN911 computer name'/WIN911.
NOTE: The last segment of the URL does not contain a hyphen in WIN911. For example: if WIN-911 is installed on a computer named COMP1 and you are a remotely located user (say on computer COMP6), you would start internet explorer and enter http://COMP1/WIN911.
C. iFIX Security
If you are using iFIX Security, you need to create a dedicated iFIX user account for use with WIN-911.
This user account must have the appropriate permissions to acknowledge alarms.
For information on how to create a dedicated user account, or on GE iFIX Security, please refer to the iFIX product documentation.
D. iFIX SIMs
The following note only applies to users with iFIX 5.8 SP2 or iFIX 5.8 R2 SP2, and if you are using another version of iFIX you can skip this section.
f you are using this version, then you must download the latest GE SIMs from the GE website. The links to the Alarming and EDA SIMS are required for importing tags and acknowledging alarms.
These SIMs are available through the following links (NOTE: GE login required):
Occasionally GE combines SIMs into other SIMs, or into a Service Pack. If you cannot find the SIMs, check GE’s SIM and Service pack tracking document: SIM and Service Pack tracking document.
If you do not have these SIMs installed, you will encounter the following errors:
- WIN911_Source_iFIX_Runtime_WPFHost.exe crashes when attempting to acknowledge an alarm
- WIN911_Source_iFIX_Runtime_WPFHost.exe crashes when attempting import of Blocks
E. iFIX System Configuration Utility (SCU)
Open the WIN-911 configuration workspace then select Alarming > iFIX > Source.
To successfully integrate WIN-911 into your existing iFIX infrastructure, you must configure the iFIX System Configuration Utility (SCU) to start two executables as part of the iFIX startup sequence:
- The alarm queue
- The WIN-911 iFIX Runtime Source
The queue must be started before the runtime source.
These two applications must be launched and active before WIN-911 may import blocks from iFIX.
They are also required for remote alarm notification.
Follow these instructions to make sure that iFIX launches both apps at startup, and in the proper order.
You may need to include a Start-up Delay for the WIN-911 WPF Host Runtime app. If so, you can use the Command Line /d<seconds>.
F. Watchdogs (Optional)
Watchdogs check tags for alarm activity. If the specified tag does not generate alarm activity within a user-defined interval, WIN-911 will activate a watchdog alarm.
Please note that this alarm must be pre-configured by the user. Ensure all Watchdogs are configured with database blocks that are dedicated to this unique purpose. Combining Watchdog blocks with other SCADA functions will cause the Watchdog not to function properly.
For more information, view the iFIX Watchdogs and Heartbeats Webinar. The video is set to begin playing with iFIX.
G. Health Alarm (Optional)
In case that the iFIX indicates a problem preventing queue processing, WIN-911 will activate the built-in Health Alarm. You may associate the Health Alarm with the strategy of your choosing in order to control the notification of this alarm.
H. Heartbeats (Optional)
WIN-911 can indicate its operational status by writing a changing value to an integer value in your SCADA.
We call this function a Heartbeat because it provides a vital sign to iFIX, allowing for corrective action to be taken in case the WIN-911 system is offline.
The heartbeat takes the form of an Integer value that varies between 0 and 9, at intervals you choose. After the value reaches 9, it resets to 0. Then the process is repeated.
If the value fails to update within the specified time, you can assume that WIN-911 is in an impaired state and is no longer able to receive alarm event information.
To set up a WIN-911 Heartbeat, complete the following steps:
I. Configuring Notifiers
WIN-911 offers four different options for delivering alarm notifications; email, SMS, Voice and the WIN-911 Mobile App. The next step in the process is to create the Gateway connection for all desired notification methods and add the users as contacts in WIN-911. If you are not familiar with this process review the How-To notifier videos.
J. Configuring a Callout List (Tactics & Strategies)
This section will define how to create a notification list and using Tactics and Strategies. Alarms will trigger a Strategy, which will then start a Tactic (callout list). If you are not familiar with configuring Tactics and Strategies review the instructional video.
The term tactic in WIN-911 refers to the callout list of users to be notified in the event of an alarm. Basic tactics are available with any WIN-911 license, while the Advanced Tactics are available only on the advanced license.
- Retries - Additional notification events
Delay Between Retries - Time between notification retry.
- Delay After - Allow time for the user to address the alarm before moving onto the next contact.
A strategy is the list of policies put in place when the alarm occurs. This includes the starting, stopping and renotification actions. The alarm will occur which will start the strategy. Basic Strategies (shown here) are available on any license, and the Advanced Strategies require the Advanced license.
- Start Tactic – Which callout list will be started
- Stop Condition – When to stop the callout list.
- Renotify on Any State Change – If the alarm changes states between unacknowledged/acknowledged or Active/Inactive, then the users in the tactic would be renotified. The stating, stopping and renotifying policies should be determined by the end-user during the configuration of WIN-911.
K. Understanding iFIX Alarm Terminology
WIN-911 listens for alarm updates via an alarm queue. Alarm updates coming from an alarm queue will include an Alarm Area and if you're using Custom Alarm Areas, WIN-911 will miss the updates. WIN-911 will only listen for Alarm updates using at least one of the default iFIX Alarm Areas which are the letters A - P. You can still use Custom Alarm Areas but you must also include at least one of the default Alarm Areas. This article will guide you through this process.
- Alarm: A Block condition indicating that a process value has crossed a pre-defined limit and requires a response.
- Operator Messages: System, database, or operator information that does not require a response.
- Alarm Areas: A physical or functional division of a plant that acts as a routing table for alarms and messages.
For WIN-911 to function properly, the alarm block must be assigned to at least one standard (non-custom) alarm area. iFIX allows blocks to be assigned multiple alarm areas, both standard, and custom, including all areas.
In the screenshot below you can see this block is using a custom Alarm Area called Control, in order for WIN-911 to function properly, you must also include one the default Alarm Areas which again, are the letters A - P. You can see we've added the Alarm Area A. Make this change to all your Blocks and WIN-911 will now read the Alarm updates from the Alarm Queue.
L. Bring Alarms Into WIN-911
It is important to understand how to use filters (also known as Subscriptions) to bring alarms into WIN-911.
The iFIX data source supports two different methods of being alarms into WIN-911. However, you only need to use one of these methods.
- Subscription Filters
- Allows filtering on Block Names or Areas
- Filters are less taxing on the processor
- Dynamically brings alarms over
- Add a new alarm that fits an existing filter, and that alarm is already filtered into WIN-911
- Need to know exactly where alarms are going, so you don’t add alarms to an incorrect alarm strategy
- Alarm Import
- Similar import process to Version 7 of WIN-911
- Group alarms and point to a specific strategy
It is recommended you use filters to bring your iFIX alarms into WIN-911, as it is a dynamic process and does not require as much memory.
For more information, watch the iFIX Filter and Import Video.
M. Testing and Troubleshooting
By now all the following steps have been completed:
- Connection between WIN-911 and iFIX with the SCU setup
- Optional: Watchdogs,Health alarms and Heartbeats
- Notifier Gateways
- Notifier Connections (people)
- Tactics and Strategies
- Alarms Brought Into WIN-911
The next step is to trigger a test alarm and verify it was sent to the proper user. If the alarm does not appear use the WIN-911 Log Viewer to troubleshoot the alarm.
1. Open windows explorer and find the Log Viewer tool
2. Verify the alarm was sent to the appropriate strategy:
3. Double click the alarm for more information about the dispatch process: