Field Station 5.0

 

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Why You Should Update to Field Station 5.0

Above all else, the principal reason for updating your Field Station(s) to Version 5.0 is that Base Station must be updated to Version 5.0 and your Base and Field Stations must be the same version to work properly together.

Key features and improvements of this new release of Cornerstone Field Station are:

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User Requested Features These include operational and performance improvements, expanded transaction security and audit tracking, enhanced display and presentation features, and easier to use input and selection actions.  These are described in more detail below.

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Latest HART Specifications - Updated to the very latest HART standard parameter tables published periodically by the HART Communication Foundation.

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Support for Many Smart Instruments - Optional Model Support libraries provide comprehensive HART configuration and calibration support for a wide variety of instruments from ABB, Honeywell, Rosemount, Yokogawa and many other manufacturers.  Use one Cornerstone Field Station program to manage ALL of your HART instruments, regardless of the manufacturer.  Many new and updated ModLibs have been added since the introduction of version 4.0.

It is very important that all current Field Station users purchase the update to this latest version to:

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Access New Features - Take advantage of new and improved features to reduce your maintenance costs, improve regulatory compliance, and improve product quality.

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Access New HART Instruments - New or revised ModLibs to support new and updated HART instrument models are only built for the latest version of Field Station.  You must update to the latest release to gain access to these new capabilities.

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Insure Compatibility with New Windows - Only the latest release is tested for installation and operation on new PC hardware and Windows operating system software, including Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

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Repair Problems - The new release incorporates the entire collection of problem fixes and other internal improvements implemented since the release of the previous version.

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Continue Access to Technical Support To provide the most responsive customer service, it is not practical for a software developer to maintain support capability for outdated versions of products.  Technical support, including consultation concerning application questions, troubleshooting, and problem resolutions, is only available for the current version established by this new release.

What's New in Field Station 5.0

This Summary describes the most notable new features and significant improvements to existing functions that were added in moving forward from the previous version 4.0 to the current version 5.0 of Cornerstone Field Station.  The improvements are numerous and have been introduced throughout all areas.  For purposes of review they are grouped into the following functional topics.

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Operational and performance improvements

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Expanded transaction security and audit tracking

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Enhanced display and presentation features

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Easier to use input and selection actions

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New libraries to interface HART instruments

NOTICE - If you are a current user of Cornerstone Base Station,  you should receive before May 1, 2004, an official notice from us with information about updating your software to version 5.0.  If you have not received your notice by that date, please click on the link below to contact us about your update.

Update Inquiry Form

Operational and Performance Improvements

CD ROM Media - A primary objective for Version 5.0 is the delivery of Field Station on CD ROM.  To achieve Version 5.0, the entire installation program and packaging was re-implemented to work from CD.

Windows 2000 and Windows XP - Version 5.0 is the first version to fully support installation and operation on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.  Version 5.0 is required for ongoing support in either of these environments.

HdataLink2 ComLib This advanced ComLib is now installed as the default HART modem ComLib for Field Station.  Version 5.0 is the first release to include this improved, higher performance HART modem interface as an integral part of the installation package.  The HdataLink2 ComLib is required for operation on Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

Updated Authorization Software - Version 5.0 utilizes the latest release of the authorization software which is necessary for best operation on Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP.

Latest HART Tables - During the installation, the Vendor, Model and Units tables are updated to the latest tables released by the HCF.

More Flexible File Structure - The user now has more freedom in assigning the location of Tag Note files.  During the installation of a virgin standalone Base Station or Field Station, an opportunity is given to provide a path for the Tag Note files and templates, similar to the way that an opportunity is given for the specification of an alternate Database path.

Faster Reports - In the Reports Window, Query processing now processes up to 100 records at a time, rather than 10.  This improvement speeds up report generation.

Expanded Field Station Capacity - The number of history records that may be kept by Field Station for each device has been expanded.  This allows greater flexibility in organizing and managing the scope of work performed on Field Station before an upload to Base Station must be done.

Expanded Transaction Security and Audit Tracking

In response to customer requests and following the consensus of audit guidelines, Version 5.0 contains improved security and transaction tracking features.  The basic objective of these modifications is to better protect against unauthorized access and changes and to better document the change process.

Sign On Security

The Sign On function was changed so that a user is only allowed three consecutive attempts to sign on the Cornerstone Station.  Each unsuccessful attempt is logged to the Event Log.  If the user attempting to sign on is not a System Manager or if the user attempting to sign on is a System Manager and there are at least 2 System Managers in the user database, after three consecutive unsuccessful attempts to log on, the user name is deleted from the User database and a Deleted User event is logged in the Main Event Log.  To facilitate this change, the User Name was changed from an edit field to a drop down list, which allows only the selection of user names in the list.

Change Security

The same approach employed for Sign On security has been extended to the approval of selected changes.  When a change to one of the covered parameters or functions is attempted, the user is requested to verify his password before the change will be made.  The Verify Password dialog allows the user up to three attempts to enter the correct password.  Each incorrect attempt is logged to the Main Event Log.

The actions covered by this new level of change security are listed below.  Additional comments are provided where necessary to fully describe the actions for a particular function.

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Setup Event Log

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Setup Error Calculations

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Setup Calibration Schemes

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Setup Workstation Function - If the correct password is given, the parameter is changed and an event log message giving the old and new settings is placed in the Main Event Log.

Enhanced Display and Presentation Features

These enhancements are found throughout Version 5.0.  The list includes expanded fields, more powerful tree controls, improved list presentation and column arrangement, 3D effects, the more widespread inclusion of device type abbreviations and category icons, and a general review for standardization and consistency in the user interface.

The Database Select Instrument From List Function dialog was enlarged and the Selection Criteria display area was reduced to show more instruments in the instrument list.

A Print button was added to the Select Instrument From List dialog to allow printing a report of all the instruments currently listed in the instrument list.  The report prints two lines for each instrument in the list, showing the information in the list columns.

The labels in the instrument summary are now right justified instead of left justified to match label fields in dialog boxes, and the Area field in the instrument summary can now display up to 3 lines of text in order to show the complete Area path.

In previous versions, Group codes, Cal Scheme codes, Vendor Codes, Model Codes, and others were stored as part of the item text in list boxes or combo boxes when these names were listed.  This practice determined the width of the list or combo boxes and resulted in names being truncated because the control was not wide enough to show all the characters of the name.  In Version 5.0 the widths of many of the controls which display Groups, Schemes, Vendors, etc. have been expanded to show the complete name.

The maximum number of rows that can be displayed in the Reports window was increased to accommodate higher resolution display settings.

In the HART Comm window, two additional lines in the instrument summary group area are reserved for use by the connected instrument for the display of instrument specific information.   

Improved monitoring dialogs support an even wider variety of HART devices by allowing unit strings to be displayed in the Monitor Numerical and Monitor Graphical dialogs whose codes do not conform to the standard HART table for units. 

In the Edit Calibration Function for conventional instruments, the calibration schedule is now shown for the selected Calibration Scheme.  For HART instruments, the calibration schedule and all accuracies are now shown for the selected Calibration Scheme.

In the Print Selected Instruments Function, an Ignore Case check box was added to the Print Selected Instruments dialog to allow, when checked, the current sort column of the instrument list to be sorted via a case insensitive sort. 

3D effects were added to the instrument list in the Connect Instrument From List dialog.

Instrument Type abbreviation and Category Icon for the selected Category were added to the Configure Identification dialog boxes.

The Max Number of Event Log Entries increment is now fixed at 100 instead of varying with the hard disk geometry and file system installed.  The number of entries can be varied from 100 to 25,000 in 100 increments.

In the Download to Field Station Function that operates in Base Station, the error reporting for download errors was made more informative.  Specific errors are now reported for most failures, rather than the previous general error reported.  Also, the download attempts to continue for errors which are not fatal to the completion of the download.

Easier to Use Input and Selection Actions

As noted above in the discussion of enhanced display features, improved tree controls have been implemented.  These controls not only enhance the presentation; they also add flexibility and capability to the instrument selection process, as well as being more consistent across all Base Station functions.  The instrument list in the Multiple Instruments Function dialog was changed to use the latest tree control to allow the display of the same instrument information as the Select Instrument From List dialog.

A View push button was added to the Select Instrument From List dialog to allow the viewing of the instrument parameters via the View Instrument dialog for the currently selected instrument in the instrument list.  This is a fast, easy way to check the details for an instrument without having to enter the Edit function.  This is tremendously useful for a quick review of parameters or for confirming the instrument to be selected from several that are almost identical.

The Tag and ID controls in the Select Instrument dialog and in the Connect Instrument on Network are now drop down lists which show up to the last 100 Tags or IDs that were entered previously in the dialog to make it easy to pick a recently selected device.

The Main Event Log Report Criteria dialog was enhanced to provide additional report criteria options.  Both the User and the Event fields are now combo boxes which allow the selection of a given user or the input of a wild card string to be used as the criterion.  The Data field was added to allow the input of a wild card string to be matched against the data portion of event log messages.  For example, the Data criterion can be used to find all event log messages that match a specified Tag.

Controls for entering the time of day were added to the Edit Instrument Dates dialog to allow the entry of the time when editing the instrument dates. A control for entering the time of day for the Last Calibration Date was added to the Instrument Replicate Function dialog.

Controls for entering the time of day for the Last Calibration Date and the Next Calibration Date were added to the Confirm Calibrator ID dialog.

The labels in the instrument summary group are now right justified instead of left justified to match label fields in dialog boxes.

In the Instrument Add Function, the vendor list now only shows those vendors which have models defined.  This reduces the potential for wasted effort and errors.  Also, an icon field was added to show the Category icon for the selected Model in the Models list, and a control for entering the time of day for the Last Calibration Date was added.

An Ignore Case check box was added in several dialogs where the user selects one or more instruments (e.g., the Select Instrument From List dialog).  When checked, the current sort column of the instrument list is to be sorted via a case insensitive sort.  Previously, all column sorts were case sensitive.

New Libraries

New versions of all optional components for Base Station, Field Station and Configurator were released with Version 5.0 of all three of these products.  There are new libraries, updated libraries to support newer instrument revisions, and some new features in existing libraries.   Previous 4.x or earlier versions of these components will not work with Field Station 5.0.

For a complete list of the currently available interface libraries, which could include additional ModLibs added since the release of version 5.0, please access our Model Libraries page.

 

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This site was last updated on 17 May 2005.