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EKF Equipment Testing

Review: EKF Equipment

The purpose of the article is to analyze the equipment that appears on the Russian automation market. In this review, we will consider hardware automation components from EKF. We note the features of the hardware, the opinion about the software.
This review is personal. If you have a different opinion, write in the comments. It is possible to understand all the possibilities of this equipment only in the process of assembly / programming / operation.

We tested the following equipment:

1.Controller F100-12A-R
2.EMF-D-16Y-R discrete output module
3.HMI EKF PRO-Screen 7E operator panel
4.Internet relay ePRO 24

Before analyzing the direct operation of the EKF controller, we paid attention to the external features of the installation and software. The controller itself looks very compact (from the palm of your hand), there are removable pad connectors. The front panels have an indication similar to the Premium controllers from Schneider Electric. The compactness of such products is of great importance in small-sized cabinets, where for a number of reasons there are restrictions on dimensions. It should be noted that there is a fast internal bus for connecting I / O modules that are connected via the side connector.



  The fact that the pads are stuck directly into the front panel and the wires are forced to block the controller itself looks like a significant drawback. See below how the installation of connections will look like.


 Now for the PRO-Logic master software.
The program is small and installs quickly. Installed on a virtual machine with Windows 7.



It starts quickly and the program interface looks like this:


 At first glance, it looks very ascetic. Let's start learning by reading the HELP file
At first glance, everything that may be required to study the product is there.


 There is no Russian language. Let's start the program:
Controller model F100-12A-R, so select the appropriate fields.
I was very upset that there is no way to set variables from an arbitrary data area. It was possible to build a line of only 8 elements. This limitation seems to be a very significant disadvantage. By comparison, Schneider Electric has a LAD limit of 63 elements in a row.
Variables can only be used from a memory area, similar to what Omron does.

When trying to change the state of the contact, the program did not respond. There was a button, but it had no effect
It turns out that the design of the device is quite combative, and the software is more remarkable than the same Codesys.
Suggestion to the EKF manufacturer: it is highly desirable to put a flash drive with sample programs in the box with the controller, or post them on the website and give a link in the passport. Engineers unfamiliar with this software will be faster to master. It also seems right to create instructional videos for self-study, preferably in Russian.



There is no possibility of creating programs in the structured text language, which is a minus.



Interestingly, at each step the configurator makes it possible to screw up the project. First the entire project, then each program and each function block.



The menu shows that the functionality of SFC and ST is laid down, but not implemented.


When trying to create primitive logical statements, it turned out that there is no arbitrary possibility of creating variables. All variables must be labeled according to the register map (PLC resources).
It seems that it is not possible to use personal names for variables. You can use only the notation accepted in the program. It turned out that there is a limit of 10 columns in length.


  Brief Summary of EKF F100-12A-R Controller

It looks very compact and fits in the palm of your hand. The terminal blocks are removable, all are marked, which should exclude errors of incorrect installation. There is an internal bus (connector on the side) that allows you to systemically add expansion modules.
Of the negative points: it will be difficult to install. Above the controller, "braids" of wires will grow, behind which it will be difficult to see the modules themselves. Or you will have to do the installation with a very thin wire.
The software is not intuitive, created in the Asian style (OMRON), where all memory areas are rigidly tied to the system markup, which seriously limits the ability to program. There is no program type "Structured text".

By cost:
OWEN PLC100-220.R-M - 31620r
F100-12A-R - 14393r

Go to HMI panel EKF PRO-Screen 7E



  The panel, in appearance and the composition of the ports, is very similar to the SP307 panel from the OWEN company (similar to the Xinje brand).
Let's try to understand the software. Very pleased with the Russian-language interface. Translations are correct, do not cause rejection. The tool menu is extended, rich, intuitive.



At startup, a dialog appears:



We chose the brand of the desired panel, what we hold in our hands:



Set the desired panel address:


 I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of controller manufacturers (there are about a hundred of them).
Choosing Schneider Electric:



Several different devices can be connected to the panel.



Then there is a dialogue for choosing a service, select Modbus TCP Extended Server



Next, the program has generated palettes and you can start working

We create an indicator from the value of a bit in the word %MW0


Working with bits is supported perfectly, everything is very flexible.


This is how the linked indicator looks like:


  I was pleased with the ability to change the color of the indicators both from the state of the variable and from the state of the system. These states can be up to 255.
Let's try to load the program into the panel and see how it will work with PLC110 OWEN:


Liked the dialog box, quite a lot of possibilities


Quite comfortable and intuitive menus were quite impressive.



Of the shortcomings:

The properties windows for the Polygon and Ring Sector tools are not fully displayed, making them difficult to work with. There is no USB communication cable attached to the panel in the box. This is inconvenient, since it is impossible to compile and initially load the project via USB. I had to look for a cable "by the bottom of the barrel" for the initial download.
After the standard installation of the package, the help was not available.

We draw the attention of the manufacturer to this shortcoming.


The ability to boot over Ethernet is a significant advantage


If we compare EKF panels with OWEN SP3xx (Xinje) panels, then EKF panels are functionally richer. Mastering the EKF is not difficult, as the programming interface of the panel is intuitive. The menu has a hierarchy from general to specific. If you make a mistake, the program will give a warning. Particular attention should be focused on the fact that the software allows you to load the application program via Ethernet. This allows the software to be edited on site remotely.

The EKF software has the ability to connect to a large number of different equipment manufacturers (Schneider Electric, Beckhoff, Siemens and many more).


The panel supports a large number of different protocols that the selected equipment uses. You can combine, use one panel to poll various equipment located on the same network.


At the cost as of May 15, 2022 of two essentially identical operator panels:
ARIES SP307-R (7 inches with Ethernet) - 32400r with VAT
EKF HMI PRO-Screen 7E - 16800r with VAT

Summary: EKF panels are a solid "like".
The picture is clear, the response is fast, the software features are serious and, most importantly, understandable. Relatively low cost allows EKF panels to be competitive.

ePRO24 remote control and monitoring controller

33-min.jpg The idea of ​​creating a device controlled by wifi seems to be very successful. Open the application and you can remotely turn on and off any device, especially if there are discrete input signals. This allows you to make a system with feedback. That is, you get confidence that the signal has reached the destination (relay).
Programming the device did not work, because it was not possible to connect it to the home network. Can't find instructions on how to connect. Technical support suggested that you either need to reflash the device or deal with the wifi speed specification.

If we consider similar SONOFF Internet relays, then the interface does not require the user to register on the server and works within the home network even if there is no Internet access.

The cost of devices similar in properties:
ePRO24 remote control and monitoring controller - 8875r
Sonoff 4CH PRO R3 Wi-Fi Smart Switch With RF Control - 3450r


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