We use ABB System 800xA, among other systems, for our industrial automation classes. I spent many hours researching the best approach for our needs. Below are summaries of my adventures in getting a new system up & running.

We received “System Version 6.0.2” on a USB enabled, read-only SSD. We also received “System Version 6.0.3 Updates” wrapped in two layers of zip files.

I burned the first four primary zip files to a double layer DVD for safe keeping, and I did the same for the three remaining primary zip files. You might as well burn a second copy of the DVDs, just to be safer. Remember to use UDF if you want to preserve the long file names of the primary zip files; I didn’t. This isn’t a real issue, due to the doubly layers of zip files.

Copy the files off the SSD to a directory on a writeable disk. Unzip the contents of each of the seven primary zip files to another directory. Unzip the contents of the first secondary zip file to a third directory or immediately to the 6.0.2 directory. The extraction process will automatically refer to the last six segments. Copy the contents of the third directory to the contents in the 6.0.2 directory, if so desired. Be sure to answer yes to overwriting all existing files. Afterwards, you may delete the directory containing the secondary zip files.

You need at least 30 GiB of free space for the 6.0.2 files, and close to 48 GiB of additional free space while extracting the 6.0.3 update files. Once you have merged the 6.0.3 files with the 6.0.2 files, you’ll end up with close to 41 GiB.

You must rename the file named PartialMedia.mediainfo. I chose the name WPartialMediaX.YmediainfoZ. The important part is to rename the file extension to something other than .mediainfo.

I think it’s unnecessary, but you can edit the FullMedia.mediainfo XML file to match the version number found in PartialMedia.mediainfo. I ended up with this XML file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <MediaType Value="Full" />

If you want to run System 800xA 6.0.3 as a single engineering node, you may choose between Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows Server 2012 R2. Forget about Windows Server 2016 or newer. Let’s hope a future System Version 6.0.4 will recognize Windows Server 2016.

If you decide to run Active Directory on separate nodes, you may indeed choose Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016. ABB RNRP runs happily on any version of Windows, as far as I can tell.

Once you decide to run all other kinds of System 800xA software, you are limited to Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or Windows Server 2012 R2. Again, forget about Windows Server 2016. The new Node Preparation Tool doesn’t get very far on unknown versions of Windows.

I’m amazed at the numerous manual steps to be performed for each node. Granted, it’s the only way for a workgroup environment. ABB should nonetheless promote the use of GPOs in larger environments run by domain controllers. If only certain nodes needs specialized settings, then we should create subtrees of specialized OUs beneath the Industrial IT OU, and sprinkle the GPOs and the computer/user accounts as appropriate.

Here’s a list over what to enforce using GPOs or by other means:

  • For pure educational systems: reduce the tight security by allowing shorter and weaker passwords for the engineering and operator accounts. You should still use long and strong passwords for the other user accounts such as Administrator, 800xAService, and 800xAInstaller. (GPO)
  • Disable autorun in general. (GPO)
  • Disable autorun of Server Manager. (GPO)
  • Add various user accounts to the local Administrators group, for instance Domain Users, 800xAService, and 800xAInstaller. Yes, this can be accomplished using the right setting in a GPO. There’s no need for manual tweaking on each node.
  • Use roaming user profiles to ensure the same settings are replicated for each user account on each node. (GPO and a “share”)

Also, I recommend finish tweaking all GPOs prior to adding members to the domain. This way, all nodes get their policies without delay. Otherwise you must run gpupdate or reboot each node.

If you install 6.0.3 on Windows Server 2012 R2, remember to install these updates before launching the Node Preparation Tool:

  1. KB2919442
  2. KB2919355, which consists of several files which must be run/installed in this order:
    1. clearcompressionflag.exe
    2. Windows8.1-KB2919355-x64.msu
    3. Windows8.1-KB2932046-x64.msu
    4. Windows8.1-KB2959977-x64.msu
    5. Windows8.1-KB2937592-x64.msu
    6. Windows8.1-KB2938439-x64.msu
    7. Windows8.1-KB2934018-x64.msu

The old System Installer for 800xA 5.1 did ask for the username and password for the installing user (800xAInstaller), whereas the new Node Preparation Tool doesn’t. In other words, you must babysit each node and log in as the installing user after each reboot.

You can work around this deficiency by using “AutoAdminLogon“.

Here are three sample .reg files:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

Yes, these are all string values (REG_SZ), even AutoAdminLogon, which you would otherwise expect to be a DWORD (REG_DWORD).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon]

Usually, the DefaultDomainName value is already present on domain controllers, but not on member servers nor on workgroup nodes, and it may be left in place after completing the installation of 800xA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>