Support - PanelPilotACE

What connectors do I need for my PanelPilotACE?

Details for all the connectors required can be found by downloading the file to the left.

Please contact our sales team if you have any questions.

How do I use the RS232 on the new V2 Design Studio?

The RS232 works using three elements, one hardware element (Serial COM Port) and two function element (RS-232 Receive and RS-232 Send).

Within the hardware element you must specify standard RS232 properties (baud rate etc.). You must also specify the service type; native if you wish to communicate with another PPA device, Terminal otherwise. The "Terminal Mode" property specifies whether the data should be wrapped with a prompt (easy to use within a terminal) or should be raw (device to device). Then you will need to specify send/receive terminators and separators. The terminator signifies the end of a given RS232 command and the separator is the character used to separate multiple values. 

The RS-232 Send element allows you to specify a serial port (the hardware element) and then numerous "Send Values", this element can be called much like any other action and when it is it will send each value (enclosed within specified pre and post messages) separated via the "Send Separator" specified in the hardware element and ended with the "Send Terminator" specified in the hardware element. The values will be sent in sequential order from top to bottom. 

The RS-232 Receive element allows you to specify a serial port (the hardware element), when this has been selected you will be able to specify an "Alias". In order for an RS-232 Receive to be used it must have a unique identifiable command at the beginning, if no alias is specified then the name of the RS-232 Receive element will be used as the command; if an alias is specified then the Alias will be used as the command. A Receive Separator should follow this and then all values you wish for the device to receive also separated by the Receive Separator and then finished with the Receive Terminator. Then you will specify a list of receive properties/variables, this is where the values will be stored again sequentially from top to bottom as first received to last received. 

For example if the Alias was set to "rx", separator set to comma and terminator set to [CR][LF] and the specified receive value was a text boxes Text property then the following would set the text boxes text value to "Test": 


RS-232 Receive also gives you the option to perform an action once the receive has been completed so you could store a value as a variable and then call an action to display it or modify it with a maths builder before displaying it. 

N.B. we are in the process of creating further tutorial videos to aid in development with new features.

How do I upgrade my device so that it can operate with the new version of the design studio?

Once you have installed the new version of the design studio you will have access to the automatic update feature. This works for both the design studio and the device software.  If you have a device connected that does not have the latest version of device software then you will see a cog icon next to the device. Simply click on this and follow the steps in order to upgrade your device software.

I've been using the BETA software, how do I upgrade to V2?

If you have been using the Beta version of the design studio then you may find that your device software will not upgrade to the V2 device software. In order to get around this you will need to first downgrade your software to the original version:

1) Please download the file "downgrade_to_1678.ppsw" file below:

2) Load up the Design Studio (the latest version is preferable).
3) Connect your device to the computer.
4) Wait for the device to appear in the top right corner of the design studio.
5) Select the options button (three white lines).
6) Select "Upgrade Device Software" from the drop-down menu that appears.
7) Navigate to the file you downloaded "downgrade_to_1678.ppsw" and select it.
8) Select "Upgrade" from the window that appears.
9) Upon completion the pop up window should disappear and the device should now be back to non-beta version.
10) Follow standard steps for upgrading to the new V2 device software.

Is it possible to output 4-20mA from a PanelPilotACE display?

We have found a third party device which converts the PWM output to a 4-20mA output. Take note of selecting the part number on each website. As there are options depending on your specific needs. Most importantly D3 is needed for any part number you choose as the frequency of the Panel Pilot falls in that range. For example, ISO D3-P3-O1-Q01:

I want to implement a spinner that will let me set a variable but I can't find a way to increment the variable. How do I do it?

A maths builder has been added to the Design Studio in V2 of the software to provide this functionality.

How many copies of the Windows software can I install?

The software is free to use and you can install it on as many PC’s as you like. What you’re not allowed to do is sell the software, reverse engineer or modify it in any way. 

Why is the I²C and SPI capabilities of the hardware not available in the software?

Whilst the current software release does not allow you to make use of these our software team is busy adding these features. This feature is our top priority and we expect to make it available in the next few months.

Why does the PanelPilotACE software not discover my device on Windows 8?

This is an issue with Windows 8 and requires you to disable driver signature enforcement. Instructions for doing so can be found in our Installing Panel Pilot Driver On Windows 8 documentation.

Do I need to buy a QT/Digia run-time license?

No, each SGD 43-A is sold with a commercial run-time license from Digia who own the QT platform on which PanelPilotACE runs. You can find more information about this on the Digia website:

My clock is set to the wrong time, how do I set the clock?

Open up the Panel Pilot ACE design studio and connect your device. Assuming your device has connected correctly you should be able to select it in the Device drop down box in the top right of the studio. Click the button to the right of the device selection that looks like three white horizontal lines. From the dropdown menu that appears select "Device Configuration". Then tick the "Set Real Time Clock" check box and ensure the correct time is selected (+1 refers to GMT+1). Hit the configure button and the application will be updated. 

Where is the mounting bracket shown in the data sheet?

The mounting bracket is located in the box below the white tray which holds the SGD 43-A in place. 

Is there a quick way of testing my projects without having to wire to the SGD 43-A?

The development board (SGD 43-A-DK+ - this includes a display) generates all of the inputs and indicates all of the outputs that are available on the SGD 43-A. Analogue inputs can be varied using dials, digital inputs can be turned on using switches, digital, PWM and alarm outputs are shown by status LEDs. Screw terminals are also available for quick connection of actual signals.

I see that you have a temperature add on board for the PanelPilot M. Can I data log with this?

Unfortunately not. While we do have a configuration that will give you the live reading of the temperature (using the thermocouple add on board) the display does not support data logging. We would recommend using the EL-SGD 43-ATP instead.

I am looking for a configuration that is not listed in the PanelPilot software. Can you make one for me?

Certainly! Using our PanelPilot Custom Design service, we can make bespoke configurations that are tailored to your requirements. Please contact our sales team to find out more.

My graphics aren’t appearing in exactly the same place on the display as they are on the emulator. Why is this happening?

Unfortunately the rendering engines used on the emulator and on the embedded display are not exactly the same.  This can lead to very minor differences in the positions of graphics. Normally this is not noticeable but it can sometimes mean that the rotation of a needle, for example, is slightly off.

I see that there is an add-on board for RS485 on SGD 43-A but not the SGD 70-A, why is there no board for the 70?

This is because the 70-A already has the hardware built in and so no add-on board is required.

What protocols are supported over RS485?

Currently ascii based raw data and MODBUS, however we are working to add new protocols such as CANBUS, if you have any protocols you would like to see then please email

What do the jumpers do on the RS485 add-on board?

PL1 is used to specify which additional pin will be used in order to use RS485, you can either use PWM3 or DIG8 which are marked as PWM and DIO respectively.
PL2 is used to connect or disconnect the terminating resistor from the circuit.

How do I configure RS485 within the design studio?

SGD 43-A

Go to your project settings (select your project and look at the properties editor). Towards the bottom of these settings you should see “Enable RS485”, by enabling this property you will see that PWM1 and PWM2 are disabled for the RS485 and that there is a drop down to select the third pin that will be disabled. Select either Digital Channel 8 or PWM Output 3 and ensure the corresponding jumper position is selected on the board. Now you are ready to use RS485 in the same way as you use RS232 (but with an RS485 COM PORT instead).

SGD 70-A

The SGD 70-A has dedicated pins for RS485 and therefore no project configuration (or add-on board) are required. Simply use it in the same way as you used RS232 (but with an RS485 COM PORT instead).

How do I install the BETA version of the PanelPilotACE Design Studio?

Download the PanelPilotACE Design Studio BETA Software Installation Guide here: