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Entry type: FAQ Entry ID: 25554088, Entry date: 06/11/2007

How do you display and operate alarms in Runtime?

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This entry provides an overview of how to operate and display alarms in Runtime.

1. Graphical representation using WinCC Alarm Control
The WinCC Alarm Control offers extensive possibilities for displaying alarms graphically in a message window in Runtime. The alarms appear in tabular form, with each alarm appearing on a separate line. You can parameterize the structure of a message line according to your needs; you can select the configured message blocks in Alarm Logging for display. In general, the information appearing in a message line includes the following at least:  

  • Time stamp (date and time of the alarm)
  • Message status (arrived, sent, acknowledged and blocked)
  • Origin (message text containing the location of the malfunction or alarm)
  • Event (message text describing the malfunction or alarm)

The WinCC Alarm Control enables pending, archived and blocked alarms to be displayed. There are filter and sorting criteria available for this. Statistical information can be displayed about archived alarms.
You can find detailed information about the WinCC Alarm Control i
n the WinCC Online Help under "Editors > Alarm Logging > WinCC Alarm Control" (up to V6.0) and in the WinCC Information System under "Working with WinCC > Setting Up an Alarm System > Display of Messages in Runtime" (as from V6.2).

2. Graphical representation using WinCC standard objects and "State Display" smart object
You can use an alarm's message or state tags to display the current state of an alarm on the process screen. There are detailed configuration notes available in Entry ID .
  • Using message tags to make displays dynamic
    The message tags are only available in the case of an alarm in the bit message procedure. If an alarm is configured in the bit message procedure, exactly one bit is defined within the message tags to trigger the alarm. The position of this message bit is defined during configuration in Alarm Logging. The message bit in a message tag can be used to dynamically display WinCC standard objects or the "alarm received / sent" status. You can dynamically display the properties of WinCC standard objects (change in color or flashing) or the status of the message bit.

    • The message tag does not contain any information about an alarm's acknowledge state. Consequently, it is not suitable for displaying this state.
    • If the message tag is used to make the display dynamic, the dynamized object may appear in the process screen as defective if the message is blocked; however, there will not be any entry in the message list.
  • Using state tags to make displays dynamic
    The state tag is only available in the bit message procedure, chronological signaling and analog alarm. This is a suitable way of displaying the alarm and acknowledge state on the process screen graphically. Information about configuring the state tags for an alarm is available in Entry ID 24706826.
Depending on the bit assignment of the message or state tags, the state of irrelevant bits from message or state tags may have to be hidden during dynamic display in order to reduce the number of possible states (signal states of tags). Irrelevant bits can be hidden by means of C script or VB script. When using message tags for dynamic display purposes, you can use the dynamic dialog to visualize the message bit of the message tags. If you are using a separate message or state tag for each alarm, you can dispense with hiding irrelevant bits if they are always assigned a value of 0 (not set).
3. Graphical representation using the "Group Display" smart object
The group display is an option for showing the alarm and event state for an object graphically on the process screen.
Information on the group display is available in the WinCC Online Help under "Editors > Graphics Designer > Objects > Smart Objects - Create > Create Group Display" (up to V6.0) and in the WinCC Information System under "Working with WinCC > Creating process pictures > Working with Objects > Working with objects in the Object Palette > Working with Smart Objects > Group Display" (as from V6.2).
By using 
chronological signaling, the group display's "Group Value" property can be linked directly to the "*.EventState" tag.
If you use the bit message procedure or the analog alarms, the "*.EventState" tag is not available as standard to supply the message state to the group display. As a remedy, you can configure the state tags for the event. However, the format of the state tags differs from the required format for the group display. The information about the state tags can be prepared in accordance with the "*.EventState" tags and can then be linked to the group display; see also Entry ID 
4. Graphical representation using the "Status Display (extended)" smart object (only available in PCS 7)
The extended status display allows you to combine the information from several state tags and from the alarm state in one display.
Information about the extended status display is available in the WinCC Information System under "Options > Options for Process Control > Overview of the Process Control System Options > Extended Status Display".
Entry ID 
23056481describes how to use the extended status display to visualize the alarm and message states for a measuring point.
5. "Analog Display (extended)" smart object (only available in PCS 7)
The extended analog display enables the display of an analog value to be linked directly to the alarm state.
Information about the extended status display is available in the WinCC Information System under "Options > Options for Process Control > Overview of the Process Control System Options > Extended Analog Display".
6. Acoustic display
The "Horn" editor is used to configure the output of message-related events on signal modules and PC sound cards.
Information about this topic is available i
n the WinCC Online Help under "WinCC Options > Hardware Options > Signal Module > Function of the Signal Module" (up to V6.0) and in the WinCC Information System under "Options > Options for Process Control > Horn" (as from V6.2).
7. Executing a C-action in the case of an alarm
Alarm Logging permits a C-action to be triggered in Runtime if you set the property "This message triggers an action" when when you configure an alarm. In this C-action you can program your user-defined instructions in order to respond to specific alarm events. The "GMsgFunction()" is used as a default action.
Detailed information about the "GMsgFunction()" is available
  • in the WinCC Online Help under "GMsgFunction" (up to V6.0) and in the WinCC Information System under "Working with WinCC > ANSI-C for creating functions and actions > Function description > Standard Functions > Alarm > GMsgFunction" (as from V6.2).  
  • In Entry ID 24842903 - this entry describes the alarm events when this action is executed and the meaning of the numerical value "Status" ("St:") . The status permits you to evaluate the status of an alarm in the action. This can be important in certain situations if you wish to limit a user-specific action to particular alarm events (message received, acknowledge, message sent or block).   
  • In Entry ID 15350783 - this entry describes the use of the "GMsgFunction()".
8. Acknowledging, blocking and releasing messages
  • WinCC Alarm Control
    The WinCC Alarm Control toolbar features a variety of buttons for acknowledging, blocking and releasing alarms. If you do not use the toolbar to operate the WinCC Alarm Control, you can use the acknowledge, block and release functions in the "Standard functions > Alarm" group in the "Global Script" editor.  
  • Basic Process Control functions 
    When using the WinCC Basic Process Control, there are two buttons at your disposal in the footer of WinCC Runtime, one for acknowledging alarms and one for acknowledging the horn.  
  • WinCC Open Development Kit (ODK)
    The WinCC "Open Development Kit" option provides C-functions for acknowledging, blocking and releasing alarms. Entry ID 9652128 contains the current contact options.
9. Releasing operator messages
WinCC features a number of different picture objects which allow operator messages to be generated when corresponding events occur (Mouse Action, Change, Acknowledge ...). Here is a list of some options for generating an operator message.  
  • WinCC Alarm Control enables an operator message to be generated when a message is acknowledged, blocked, released, hidden or revealed. You make the settings for this in the "WinCC Alarm Control Properties" dialog; select the "Message lists" tab and click the "Operating Messages..." button.   
  • Some WinCC picture objects, such as an I/O field, text list, check box, option group or slider object enable operator messages to be triggered when values are entered and, in some cases, a report may also be triggered.   
  • Events (such as mouse clicks, changes in value, ...) can be displayed dynamically with a direct connection. The direct connection allows operator messages to be generated as standard if a tag is used as the target of the direct connection.   
  • The WinCC "Open Development Kit" option provides the requisite functions for generating a user-defined operator message by script. Entry ID 24325381 describes how to configure a user-defined operator message.
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