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Industrial Automation

Help System

The help system, employed by the “Movement Controller” software, allows the operator to view the section of the “operator's manual” corresponding to the screen being displayed and to access any section of the operator's manual, the technical manual, or the software manual via hypertext links, contents or search on subject.

Requesting help, when accessing the “Heavy-Unit-Load Conveyor Zoomed Manual” screen (using the MS-DOS version of the “Movement Controller”), results in the following:

Screen dump from DOS version of
Movement Controller, 
showing the help screen corresponding to the heavy-unit-load conveyor system
zoomed manual display, converted to a “gif” file, thereby losing
some of the colour definition

Requesting help at this stage will bring up the section of the “operator's manual”, which describes how to use the help system. Basically ‘Page Up’ and ‘Page Down’ advance you through the presented section, ‘Backspace’ takes you to the encompassing section, ‘Tab’ positions you on the next hypertext link and ‘Enter’ takes you to that link. Of course, in the Linux/X-Windows and Microsoft Windows versions, this can also be accomplished using a mouse.

The help system is an online presentation of the Operator's and Technical Manuals, giving access not only to instructions on using the displays, but also discussion of the control algorithms, display of the communications wiring, descriptions of the use of the PLC data areas, et cetera.

The help system, although it uses hyper-text links, is not based on HTML. Whereas the “HTML rendering of the manual” provides the contents at the top (which we have had to present in overview and detailed form), the help system, when wound back to the main contents, will show only the names of the major sections, then as a section is selected, any text at this level will be shown, along with the list of the sub-sections. This makes navigation of a large document somewhat easier. Also, the screen dumps are not rendered by the help system.

For more detailed information on the help system, please refer to the Operator's Manual section Help.