Will S+ Engineering 2.1 Detect These Specification Errors?

Our clients would like to know if S+ Engineering 2.1 (the POSTGRES SQL form) will protect them from potentially significant errors in the values of specifications.


Here are a number of errors that we have found in function block specifications in real systems. The occurence of these errors in 257 systems of various sizes and complexities is indicated.


DBDOC detects these errors in a useful way to protect client systems. Composer does not detect them usefully. What about S+ Engineering 2.1?


Integrator disabled by spec value

- default value of S4 is 0

- integrator block will not integrate

- 51 instances in 28 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_298.html


Continuous exception reports generated

- FC222 S8 and FC223 S9 Default to 0

- 8922 instances in 153 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_145.html


DAANG alarm control not an integer

- S20, if not an integer, is always an error making alarm action unpredictable

- 9 instances in 6 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_90.html


DAANG both de-alarm and return alarm

- documented as being illegal

- 20 instances in 5 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_89.html


DAANG illegal alarm control

- other illegal values for the alarm control specification

- 5 instances in 5 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_88.html


DAANG suspicious alarm period

- rules appear to be violated

- 10 instances in 3 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_91.html


Function block disabled

- FC 3 F(t) Lead/Lag disabled with non-zero lead and/or lag values because S2 is unwired

- FC 8 Rate Limiter disabled with non-zero rate limis because S2 is unwired

- 1105 instances in 147 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_297.html


Harmony I/O block illegally wired

- an empty input reference at the start of a chain will not give a compile error

- however, the module will fail to go into execute

- it can take days to figure this out

- 38 instances in 8 projects out of 257

- the instances all were from uncommissioned work, because the logic could not be executing with the error

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_95.html


Illegal spec value: should be 0 or 1

- unknown if controller looks at zero or non-zero or at the last bit being 0 or 1

- 22 instances in 7 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_149.html


Illegal spec value: Spec S7 from 0 - 100

- illegal values of FC 30 AO/L block significant change specification

- presumably acts like a large value, so the only exception reporting occurs at the regular elapsed time interval, typically 60 seconds

- 177 instances in 35 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_146.html


Integrator disabled by spec value

- S4 defaults to 0, so an unwired input does not integrate

- 51 instances in 28 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_298.html


Multilevel alarms disabled

- parameters suggest 2nd and 3rd high and low alarms are intended, but they are not enabled

- a client specifically requested this check because the error had caused a plant upset when a 2nd high alarm did not happen

- 1776 instances in 56 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_62.html


REMSET limits out of order

- not known what the block does with the low and high limits out of order

- 13 instances in 11 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_261.html


RESTR block order wrong

- the RESTR block saves the previous instead of the current value of the designated block

- 13 instances in 5 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_65.html


Specification out of valid range

- numerous function blocks are checked for errors in specifications

- 1452 instances in 120 projects out of 257

- https://gmcl.com/Help/build_error_299.html


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Geoff Michaels   

asked 6 months ago



No information can be given as SPE 2.1 is not yet officially released.


answered 6 months ago


By Geoff Michaels on 8/20/2017 | Like (0) | Report

Thanks. Obviously, if SPE 2.1 will do this, the feature must already be in place and under test by the alpha / beta sites. The only information I got privately was that there is not yet any significant new error checking implemented. Do you think it should be?

Add New Comment


SPE 2.1 is not yet officially released, so can not be answered

This is not the right forum to discuss the issues on product under Development


answered 6 months ago


By Geoff Michaels on 8/21/2017 | Like (0) | Report


This is a forum for experts. Who else ought to have knowledge about this area? The product is scheduled for release Q2 of 2018, so it better have important things developed by now. It will be used for systems controlling plants worth many billions.

If people are not already testing this type of error detection, one must conclude it is not included. In two decades, Composer never implemented this. Obviously, if SPE 2.1 will do this, the feature must already be in place and under test by the alpha / beta sites. So far, information I was given privately was that there is not yet any significant new error checking implemented.

There are risks and vulnerabilities involved that I am sure you and other experts understand. Do you think these should be addressed by SPE 2.1?

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