Have you time to review
your computer hardware?

Computer hardware, Computer hardware terminology, terms, define computer hardware.

Get to grips with
your computer hardware

PC's (Personal Computer) come in many shapes and forms, find out more about the parts of a PC.

YEP, time to have a machine information systems look at the computer hardware. No don't panic, you won't feel any pain and it may well be enlightening! You never know!

How rude of me, perhaps you may want to read all about exactly what is hardware and how you would recognize it.

Defining the hardware of the various parts of a computer will come in useful, I promise sooner or later. Or maybe you'd prefer to see what is computer software, if you missed it.

Onwards then, "so what's to know about the computer hardware" is just what some producers of these systems might answer to your computer hardware terminology questions, however you ask it!

Well I would say to that, at least they’re being honest.
Still, not much help to you though is it!

Their response probably should be, "YES! What would you like to know?"
But, that's sales folk for ya!

The differing levels that Machine Information System installations can go to are only really restricted by how much dough you want to spend. The thing that bugs me is that, most of the set-ups I’ve seen start with a Rolls Royce price tag, then go up.

So is the computer hardware for monitoring systems expensive then? Well no most of them use a standard computer.

Don’t get me wrong here I’m not out to slate anyone or any system. Not unless they/it richly deserve it anyway.

The fault, if you like is the salesperson (ok perhaps I’m slating him/her a bit). They’re commission based and after the sale. Of course you already know the bigger the sale the bigger the commission. Not good for the end user footing the overall bill.

To bring us back on point the salesperson’s motivation from the company they’re working for, doesn’t allow him to marry his customers needs to a level of system that would suit them best. Also saving them from paying out money on features for a very nice all singing all dancing system, which they just won’t use.

I mean this is like buying a Ferrari to go shopping, very nice to drive for the mile or so the shops. With the roof down, wind blowing through your hair as you listen to that lovely sound of the engine purring into a roar…

Oh yes sorry, if only ha ha.
But it's only a mile to the shops, point being, that’s a lot of money to spend just to do that. A Ford would do the job and all you lose is pose-ability.

(Sorry Ford, it wasn't meant to sound like that, but hey ho)

Anyway, I know that if you were to do a computer hardware review on several systems, they would contain more or less the same type of gear.

OK so what would appear in your computer hardware review and what would you get for your money with this all singing all dancing electronic kit. What would turn up would something like what follows.

First you would get a host computer, yep the whole thing.
This would be to gather, arrange and display all the information from all the machines on the system. Probably in its own pedestal stand or cabinet with a specialized keyboard and monitor. Which would look like "a nice piece of hardware". Hmmm, very nice and flash, or expensive! If you prefer.

Then you would have 20 button boxes with 2 or 4 line LCD displays.
Again probably with a specialized keyboard. (I’m assuming you have 20 machines to monitor on a system.) That’s a button box for each machine of course (we’ll discuss what these do later on).

Again, this would be,
"a nice piece of hardware". Incidentally, this button box is normally called a HMI, which stands for Human to Machine Interface.

Rolls of screened signal cable, we’re talking hundreds of meters here.
If you have 20 machines and each one is say more than 30m from the host box (sorry, master control panel), I'm sure you get the picture.

There's no point having all this 'nice hardware' if it's not connected. Don't panic, you won't have to do that, your the paying customer remember.

Next you should get some form of signal isolators.
These isolate the signals on the machine to be monitored from anything outside its own control system. Guess what! Yep there are 20 of them too!

This bit allows the machine signals to be tapped off for system use while protecting the machine control from any external faults that may happen along. For instance, a chopped cable, this is in actual fact good practice and should always be done.

Now what else? Oh yes, you would probably get some form of RS232 wiring interface. This is to ‘link’ all the HMI button boxes to the host PC. This units purpose would allow far more inputs to the PC than would normally be possible. This is made possible by scanning all of the HMI boxes one after another but very fast.

This method of operation is called a Matrix (yes honest, it’s not just a film). The subject of input and output matrix's is a subject on its own. It certainly won't fit in this computer hardware page, so we'll leave that for sometime/somewhere else.

Now there’s something else. . . What is it?Ah yes, an installation engineer/s for about 8 weeks to install it all and commission the system into operation. 8 weeks for a 20-machine system is probably a bit conservative but would probably involve employee training on how to use it.

In conclusion of this computer hardware little look see. That, I'm afraid is about the most hardware you can expect for your forty, fifty, sixty, grand.

Essentially, I think the amount of computer hardware you get with a system is irrelevant. Your main reason for wanting a Machine Information System has to be the 'information' bit right! Surely that could all be contained in a file couldn't it?

Have a look at specific computer lead reviews, tried and tested.

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