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Is there workaround to use Dashboard block indicators in External mode (Simulink Real Time)?

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EP
EP on 1 May 2017
Answered: Jonas on 21 Jun 2019
Hello, I'm able to use switches and other control-type Dashboard blocks to change parameters in a model actively running on a target computer, using External mode. I would also like to have simple visual elements in my model (as viewed from the host computer screen) for status indicators, error flags and such. I am currently using a Display block to show the output, but the change from 0 to 1 is easy to miss until too late, especially in a more crowded/complex model, and so a more visible element would be great.
Indicator-type Dashboard blocks (i.e. Lamp, Gauge, etc.) seem like exactly what I need, but the documentation says that none of these blocks are supported in External mode. Is there a workaround or alternative for this? Or, are there any plans from the developers to add External mode support in the future? This seems like essential functionality and a natural extension of switches working.
Using an Instrument Panel in Simulink Real-Time Explorer I was able to get a LED-style indicator working even in External mode. But as I want to avoid having controls/indicators divided between multiple windows (the model vs. SLRT explorer), I would need to port the rest of my control panel to this interface. However, I am hesitant to do so for a couple reasons including:
  • I need to use a lot of push-button switches (which don't stay toggled) but this is not an available instrument for the panel
  • The process of binding instruments is tedious compared to connecting Dashboard blocks in the model due to non-intuitive signal naming and not being able to graphically navigate the model to select signals
  • Not flexible: bindings need to be re-done if I decide to move a portion of my model into a subsystem
  • Parameter changes done in the panel are not reflected in the model view itself, unlike with Dashboard controls
  • Means having yet another window open, and keeping track of an additional .slrtip instrument panel file instead of everything being self-contained in one .slx model file
Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  2 Comments

Sudarshan Kolar
Sudarshan Kolar on 8 May 2017
Hello EP,
I work for MathWorks and our developers are working on this enhancement request. This feature will be a part of future Matlab release.
Sudarshan
Michael Rooney
Michael Rooney on 25 Feb 2019
Hello,
I am also trying use multiple features of the dashboard within simulink in external mode. The model runs on an arduino uno and I am trying to display sensor data on the dashboard scope. However, I cannot seem to get the scope to display any data. I have managed to get the knobs and switches working. Does anyone know if 2019a will have this feature?
Many thanks

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Answers (2)

Jon Lobo
Jon Lobo on 28 Jul 2017
Which version of MATLAB are you using? I believe these dashboard blocks work in external mode from R2016a and later.

  1 Comment

EP
EP on 6 Dec 2017
Hi Jon,
At the time I posted this question, I was using 2015b.
However, I tried using these again after upgrading to 2017b earlier this week. Now, they "work" in that they correctly move/change color etc. in response to the connected signal, but when the model is running the block has a red dotted border and is faded out, with a text overlay saying "logging to file active." No idea what this refers to/why this is happening, I couldn't find anything in the settings or the documentation.
The latest 2017b documentation still says "External mode simulation does not support visualization Dashboard blocks." (link)
Thanks!

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Jonas
Jonas on 21 Jun 2019
I would strongly recommend creating a MATLAB App with App Designer and interface with your model running in External mode with for example set_param and get_param in the function calls.

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