With several products whose names are very similar, the question comes up quite often when there is no documentation of what a machine builder or engineer used to program your machine.
There are THREE different Interact products.
Interact with MachineShop Toolbar. (Dedicated HMI platform)
- Originally released in the early 1990s it had a MSDOS Development and Runtime environment with bitmapped graphics and fonts.
- Version 5 was the first version that had a Windows (Windows 95/98) Development and still has the MSDOS Runtime Files.
- Version 6 Development would run in Windows 2000 and Windows XP and still produces MSDOS Runtime Files.
- Version 7 is the last version and the Development will only run in Windows XP and still produces MSDOS Runtime files that work on current and all older HMI hardware.
- Interact has a modular approach to its capabilities. There were default modules in the base price and additional modules were purchased to enable those additional capabilities in both the Development and Runtime systems. The default modules were PTM, GMM, AMM (originally PAM) and NetBIOS driver.
- The Development security device was originally a Parallel Port device later replaced by a USB device.
- With the release of version 7, there are no longer optional modules. All modules are included and downloading version 7 to old hardware will prevent the Application Manager from looking for a security device. In essence, it "unlocks" all modules on any of the HMIs and is used if the internal security device in an HMI ever fails.
- The original and current HMI runtime hardware runs a DOS operating system
- The HMIs all had internal security devices which resembled a thick watch battery about a quarter of an inch think. It has "Security" silk screened on the mother board next to the socket with the Dallas Key security device.
- The PA2 series was designed when those security devices were no longer available and the Interact version 7 was released which no longer looks for any kind of hardware security from the HMI or from the Development PC.
- The HMIs that run Interact will have model numbers that look like;
- PWR, P1 - P9, PMP, PS, HPC(DOS Custom), IPC(DOS Custom), PA, PA2
InteractX - MachineShop Suite (Open HMI Platform Windows XP/7/10)
- Originally released in 2003 as our first fully Windows based software from the ground up. It is not an upgrade of Interact, it is a different product using vector based graphics and Windows fonts.
- Feature wise, it was developed as a replacement for Interact where fully Windows based HMI were required and has many of the same capabilities as Interact though not all were duplicated.
- There is an Import utility that can pull an Interact DOS runtime Panels and Tags into InteractX. Not all features or tools have a InteractX equivalent so anywhere from 50% of a complex application to as high as 90% of a very simple pushbutton and monitoring application can be imported. There is fair amount of massaging of the imported files and in many cases, it is simpler, faster and more esthetically pleasing to do the application from scratch.
- Enhanced features replaced some existing tools and modules that were limited by their DOS environment and some were left to customization in VBA and inclusion of Windows ActiveX and the ability to incorporate other Windows programs on the same platform.
- The version 1.x Licensing was strictly a "Soft" license that used a "Product Code" you received with the Development and with the Runtime. The license utility in InteractX generates a unique "Hardware Code" that changes at least every 24 hours or when there are any changes in the configuration of the hardware. If the machine to be licensed is attached to a network with Internet access, it walks you through entering registration information, asks for the single use "Product Code" and automatically generates a hardware code which it then transmits to a licensing server. The licensing server verifies that the "Product code" has not been used yet and if not, it marks it as used and transmits a validation code back to the license manager in InteractX which then writes encrypted files unique to that hardware on the hard drive. This is a one-shot process and if it is unable to update the hard drive or if the licensing works and at some point in the future the hard drive fails and you need to re-install, you need to contact support (firstname.lastname@example.org) and give us the "Product Code" you are using and we will unlock it so you can run the license manager again.
- The first HMIs were the PX family and they had the "Soft" license on the hard drive and never came with a hardware license option.
- Version 2.0 added database connectivity to SQL, Oracle, JET and ODBC Data Connections.
- Version 2.1 / 2.2 added new Licensing methods. Embedded "Hardware" licensing in the EPX and HPX HMI hardware which meant if your hard drive failed, you no longer lost the license and had to rerun the license manager. The runtime licenses for the HMIs were programmed in at the factory before shipping. Since the HMI products were getting a hardware license option, it also supported a hardware license option for PCs running Development and Runtime. The hardware "Key" was a security button (looks a little like a battery) mounted in a Parallel Port adapter. There was a utility for copying "Soft" licenses to the keys from Dallas Key that made the license portable from one system to another so InteractX could be installed on multiple systems and the single seat license key plugged into the one to be used. The same could be done with third party HMI and PCs running the Runtime only versions of InteractX
- Version 3.0 added Historical Trending tools to plot and list data from a database. The Parallel port license key was replaced by a USB Key holder that you could move the Dallas Key button from a Parallel port adapter or it came with a Dallas Key that could be programmed in the field similar to generating a "Soft" License.
- Version 3.5 / 3.6 added support for the USB Security Device called a HASP Key that was to be used with future 4.x versions. These two InteractX versions supported use with the original "Soft" license method, all versions of embedded "Hardware" licenses, the Parallel port license device, the original USB adapter that held the Dallas Keys and the HASP Key used with 4.x
- The IPX and EPX2 came out during this period.
- All versions up to 3.6 were compatible with Windows XP but no higher.
- Version 4.0 was updated to run under Windows 7 and would still install under XP if needed.
- Only the HASP USB security device works with InteractX 4.x and all other license methods were removed due to incompatibilities with Windows 7.
- Version 4.1 was updated for compatibility with Windows 10 changes in security and install path / runtime path directory requirements. It will still install in Windows 7 and Windows XP but will only recognize the HASP USB key for licensing.
- The IX hardware was released running Windows 7 64bit operating system and only works with InteractX 4.x
- The HMIs for InteractX have run Windows NT, 2000, XP and Win7
- The HMI part numbers will have an X as the second or third character in the model number.
- PX (NT, 2K, XP), HPX (XP), EPX (XP), IPX (XP, Win7), EPX2 (XP), IX (Win7)
Interact Xpress - Xpress Manager (Dedicated HMI Platform)
- Originally released 2007, the XPR HMI hardware and offline development Xpress Manager software has no stand alone runtime software. The runtime is entirely HMI based with Windows CE running a Web server service that supports the Flash based runtime Xpress application.
- Designed for Monitoring and Control locally and able to be remotely accessed through network / wide area network / Internet for applications requiring remote access, control and maintenance.
In Process, More coming.