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Version Information SystemTera 2.23

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New or Improved Functionality

[STA-2653] – Redesign Pulse Counter

Time has shown that there are a number of factors which may introduce inaccuracies when counting pulses, e.g. to determine the consumption from gas meters.

Some of the problems are related to the configuration being too complex and some are conceptual problems. The improvements have been designed to eliminate the conceptual problems and make the configuration easier to understand at the same time.

The following problems might lead to inaccuracies in the number of pulses being logged to cloud storage:

  1. If the physical pulse source is a relais, contact bounce may create more pulses on the wire than intended. Because Server-V and Server-S can process up to 1kHz pulse sources reliably, they are too sensitive for “slow” pulse sources which do not take care of debounce. Even reed relais will sometimes generate more than one pulse per open – close – open cycle.
  2. The configuration of polling interval (property of inputs in configuration) and number of values (in pulse counter attribute aggregation properties) has to create exactly one value per “Data acquisition period [s]” (in installation details, SystemTera Server tab). If the configuration is incorrect and more values are created some values will be lost. If less values are created some pulses will be written to cloud storage more than once.
  3. There is a race hazard between the creation of new pulse sum subtotals for the data object attribute and between committing the subtotals to cloud storage. If the timing between the two processes changes, the result of one aggregation subtotal will be logged twice and another subtotal will be lost. To our knowledge this is a very rare problem.

The following improvements address these problems:

  1. The pulse counter input now offers a software debounce feature. Activate if necessary depending on your type of application (Available on Server V only).
  2. When using local data storage: configure the pulse counter data object property for data logging to “All values”, and select a number of values in the attribute aggregation property which is a good compromise between volume of data created per day and possible data loss as a result of a power loss or unintended reboot. This way it is not possible any more to create a wrong count in the stored data by making a mistake in the configuration.
    When using cloud data storage: configure the data object as has been done before. A future release will bring the same options as are available for local data storage now.
  3. When using local data storage: the problem does not exist any more when configured as described above.
    When using cloud data storage: the problem will be solved once the “all values” option is available for cloud data storage.

The following tickets are related to the pulse counter improvements:

[STA-2656] – Meter Administration: additional counted units “l”, “kg” and “t”

[STA-2815] – Server V: Enhanced Inputs, Release 2.23.1

[STA-2818] – Aggregation Type “Sum” dispatches the last value for storage during system shutdown

 

[STA-2656] – Meter Administration: additional counted units “l”, “kg” and “t”

In the meter administration tab, section meter counters the following additional entries can be selected for the drop down field “counted units”: “l”, “kg” and “t”.

[STA-2761] – Persistent Remote Management Commands for Software Update, Config Update, Value Update

If a SystemTera.Server is offline while the SystemTera.Manager is used to send a software update, send a configuration update or send a new value for a data object, these actions are queued in the SystemTera.Cloud until the SystemTera.Server is online again and able to process the command. The same is true for sending values from the SytemTera.App via the SystemTera.Cloud.

If a new value for a data object attribute is queued, and another value has already been put into the queue before, the previous value is removed from the queue.

The current state of the queue can be viewed using the SystemTera.Manager. See [STA-2804] below.

Note: While this is usually a big help when dealing with less reliable internet connections on some installations, this can cause surprises if e.g. a command is queued to switch on a light and the server does not come online until days or weeks have gone by.

Previous versions only had very limited or no support for automated command retries for offline servers.

When updating the software of a SystemTera Server to this version: if the first attempt to reload the configuration after the update is not successfull the current configuration has to be resent to the server via an explicit command from the SystemTera.Manager.

[STA-2783], [STA-2829] – Support for für Energie AG and Linz AG hourly flexible tariff

SystemTera Server now support access to the hourly pricing of the flexible electrical power tariffs of Energie AG and Linz AG.

The tariff data can be accessed in the configuration by adding the elements “Linz AG smart pricing electricity tariff” or “Energie AG smart pricing electricity tariff” to the Ethernet node in the bus objects tree of the configuration.

The tariff data enables configuration of applications where appliances can be operated selectively when electrical power is cheaper during the day. An example would be operating a pool pump during the cheapest 8 hours of the day, using an  “if” rule in combination with the “index of current hour in daily price sort order” attribute.

The following screen shot shows sample data from the Energie AG tariff:

Attributes for start of energy rate, energy rate per kWh and savings per kWh (in comparison to now) are available for every hour until +12h.

[STA-2790] – Limit the number of alert emails per month

The number of alert emails which can be sent from one installation has been limited on a per month basis.

The free basic cloud service includes 50 emails per month.

All paid cloud services have a limit of 1000 emails per month. This limit is intended to prevent an erroneous configuration from flooding the system with email requests.

[STA-2801] – Assign entire time switch to single attribute

On the generic data object a new attribute type “Time switch configuration” is available.

On time switch bus object a new attribute type “Whole configuration” is available.

Using these attribute types, the entire configuration of a time switch including all on off times can be assigned to a single attribute.

Background note: The attribute contains the information as a JSON format string, which is also displayed in debug mode.

It is planned to provide a widget for editing all settings of a time switch in a future release of the SystemTera.App. This will simplify configuring a visualisation containing time switch settings because just one widget will have to be configured instead of one widget per on time, off time, and day of week assignment.

[STA-2804] – Visualization for pending remote SystemTera Server commands

When the cloud cannot forward a command to a SystemTera Server because it is currently offline, the commands are queued until the Server comes online again.

The SystemTera.Manager log screen for installations now contains the list of currently pending commands below the list of log entries.

[STA-2807] – Improved watchdog: Dealing with SD card problems

The micro SD card in the SystemTera Server is essential for starting up the server and to provide the full functionality during normal operation.

If an SD card fails during operation, the server might continue with most of its functionality still running, e.g. collecting and sending data und executing rules in the rule engine. Therefore a failed SD card might remain unnoticed until the next power cycle. When power is reaplied, the server will not be able to boot the system and load the configuration without the SD card being present, and at this time it is not capable any more of telling the cloud about the problem.

The following functionality has been added to recognise a failed SD card early on and to make the problem visible in the SystemTera.Manager:

  • The software watchdog continuously monitors the SD card.
  • If the SD card is not visible to the operating system any more, and the server is still connected to the SystemTera.Cloud, it will generate a “Entering rescue mode due to SD card file system access problem” log message in the cloud.
  • The server stops and boots into rescue mode. In rescue mode, the local web server is running, but remote access and execution of a configuration are not possible. Rescue mode can be entered using just flash memory on the CPU board without using the SD card.
  • The LEDs 1 – 3 on the server change to solid red.

The following functionality has been added to enable a failed server to restart in case of intermittent problems with the SD card (e.g. because of corrosion on the contact pads):

  • The server tries to access the SD card and resume normal operation once an hour.

[STA-2813] – Debug mode: Data object attributes are now read / write

It is now possible to edit data object attribute values in the debug mode of the configuration screen instead of just viewing the current status.

Edited values are sent to the server when either the enter key is pressed or the cursor is moved to another input field.

 

[STA-2818] -Aggregation Type “Sum” dispatches the last value for storage during system shutdown

Previous System Behavior:

If a pulse counter data object attribute is configured to aggregate the sum of n values, a new value is dispatched for processing after every n values received from an associated pulse counter input. If the server is restarted before n values have been received, the current subtotal can be preserved by configuring startup behavior as “Last value before system start”. Using this configuration the server will initialize the counter with the subtotal preserved from before the reboot, otherwise the pulse counter subtotal will be lost.

System Behavior now:

If a pulse counter data object attribute is configured to aggregate the sum of n values, a new value is dispatched for processing after every n values received from an associated pulse counter input or before the system is shut down for reboot

It is recommended to leave the startup behavior as the default “no action” behavior, and to configure the local data storage property “data logging” to “all values”. It is planned that a future release will also provide this option for cloud storage.

[STA-2819] – New bus object attribute to query cloud online status

The bus object SystemTera.Cloud now also offers the attribute “Connection to cloud established” to check whether the server can connect to the cloud service. This attribute facilitates the definition of a rule to automatically reset an unstable modem via a relais if the connection has been lost for longer than a defined threshold.

[STA-2820] – Configure type of curve for diagrams

The edit dialog of the chart configuration of the visualisation contains a new property “Display”, which replaces the checkbox “Difference to preceding value'”.

Measured curve: The values of the curve are connected using direct lines. Example: The values of a temperature sensor are stored every 5 minutes. This setting will result in a standard line diagram, giving the visual appearance of a linear change of temperature between measurements.

Rectangle curve: The values of the curve are connected using horizontal and vertical lines. Example: A temperature setpoint is recorded every time the setpoint changes. This setting will show the setpoint to remain constant (horizontal line) until a new value is set, where there is a vertical line to the new setpoint value.

Difference to preceding value: Show the delta between values.

[STA-2834] – Remember SystemTera.Manager login data

The SystemTera.Manager can now remember your SystemTera user credentials. If you select the “Remember user credentials for automatic login” checkbox, your user name and password will be encrypted and stored in your Windows user profile file structure. When you start SystemTera.Manager the next time, it will login automatically using your stored user credentials. You can end automated login and delete the stored user credentials by selecting “Log Out” in the SystemTera.Manager start screen.

[STA-2839], [STA-2549] – Add support for USB to serial chips

Support for a number of USB to serial chips such as the CH340 has been added to Server-V and Server-VC.

These chips are used in USB to RS232 and USB to RS485 interfaces from various vendors.

Fixed Defects

[STA-2779], [STA-2785] – Improvement of English translations

System Behavior now:

Several dodgy translations have been fixed.

[STA-2782] – Realtime Clients cannot be launched on many systems

Previous System Behavior:

The most recent version of the realtime clients for Modbus and Telnet access to remote installations could not be started.

System Behavior now:

The problem has been fixed (a DLL was missing on the system).

[STA-2805], [STA-2806] – Watchdog often restarts SignalR process if connection suffers from 3-6 seconds ping times

Previous System Behavior:

For Server with frequently bad Internet connectivity (ping time to SystemTera Cloud in the 3 to 6 seconds range) the watchdog sometimes restarted the SignalR cloud communications process several times per day.

System Behavior now:

Error handling in the SignalR component has been improved to always properly deal with very bad connectivity. There is no necessity any more for the watchdog to restart the SignalR process.

[STA-2808] – PID Controller: Initial value for control output is sometimes wrong after reboot

Previous System Behavior:

In rare instances the initial value sent to the control output of a PID Controller rule was wrong due to an initialization problem.

System Behavior now:

The control output of a PID Controller is now always consistent with the defined parameters.

[STA-2823] – Visualization Editor: Rotation of widgets does not influence height and width

Previous System Behavior:

When a rectangular widget (e.g. heat meter) was rotated by 90° in the visualization editor, width and height were left unchanged and the widget symbol was either stretched or compressed.

System Behavior now:

When the rotation property of a rectangular widget (e.g. heat meter) is set to 0, 90, 180 or 270 the height and width properties are adjusted as needed.

[STA-2825] – Synchronous start of local data storage

Previous System Behavior:

When a data object attribute startup behavior  was set to “Last value before system start”, and local data storage was configured for the object to log data “all values”, the initialization of the attribute was often not logged in local data storage.

System Behavior now:

The inistialization of local data storage is now synchronous in respect to the startup of data objects. If local data storage files check ok during startup, local data storage always completes startup before initialization of data object attributes. As a result also the initial values of attributes can be logged if logging is set to “all values”.

Should local data storage files not pass checking during startup, the server starts without local data storage being active, and a log entry is created in the installation log in the cloud. File repair is started in the background and local data storage is started once file repair has been completed successfully.

 

[STA-2830] – Folders could not be moved in the configuration editor

Previous System Behavior:

Moving folders using drag & drop in the configuration editor cause an error message and the folder was not moved.

System Behavior now:

The problem has been fixed.

[STA-2832] – Linking a bus object attribute to a data object attribute sometimes appears to fail

Previous System Behavior:

When using drag & drop in the configuration editor to link a bus object attribute to a data object attribute, the drag & drop operation only works if the drag operation was started on the actual name of the attribute.

System Behavior now:

When using drag & drop in the configuration editor to link a bus object attribute to a data object attribute, the drag & drop operation works independent of where (hoizontal position) in the attribute column the drag operation was started.

[STA-2836] – Memory Leaks in Server S and Server V

Previous System Behavior:

Memory leaks sometimes cause the watchdog to discover that memory is running low. The watchdog then reboots the Linux system. The major memory leaks were in MBus and XL-50 support.

System Behavior now:

A number of memory leaks have been fixed. The watchdog should not encounter a low memory situation betweend scheduled reboots (every two months) any more.

[STA-2837] – On premise cloud solution: TLS 1.1

Previous System Behavior:

The SMS bridge on an on premise cloud installation stopped working after an interface update by the SMS service provider.

System Behavior now:

The .NET TLS support has been upgraded to TLS 1.1

[STA-2840] – An installation admin cannot create a new user

Previous System Behavior starting from 2.22.3:

A user with administration privileges for an individual installation (not on tenant level) was not able to create a new user any more.

System Behavior now:

The problem has been fixed.

[STA-2846] – Widget Push-button does not store default drop down value

Previous System Behavior:

When a push-button widget was used to send a value from an enumeration attribute, and the drop down list was not used to select the desired value because the desired value was displayed by default, the value was not actually stored as part of the configuration and the push button did not send a value when pressed.

System Behavior now:

The problem has been fixed.

[STA-2847] – In visualization for mobile devices the widget push-button can not be used with scene and enum attributes

Previous System Behavior:

When a push-button widget was used in a visulaization for mobile devices, it was not possible to configure a data object attribute of type scene or an enumeration

System Behavior now:

The problem has been fixed.