About Palace Designer

Palace Designer is the graphical user interface for the Nitrogen Logic Automation Controller. It allows system installers and users to create and simulate logic designs using a functional block layout system, and upload them directly to a Nitrogen Logic Automation Controller. Future versions of the automation system will add support for scripts written in the Lua language.

Creating a Logic Design

Creating a new logic design is as easy as clicking File, then New.

Logic Objects

Logic designs are formed by adding logic objects to the design and connecting them with virtual wires. Each logic object performs a specific function, such as a boolean operation, basic arithmetic, or string manipulation. Logic objects are categorized according to their function. New objects are created by right-clicking on an empty part of the design area, then clicking New, the desired category, and the desired object.

Logic objects have input ports on the left, output ports on the right. Input ports are used to feed data (such as boolean logic levels, numeric values, or strings) into an object. Logic objects' output ports are used to send values calculated by the object, or received from an input device or network connection, to other objects in the design.

Object Parameters

Most logic objects may be customized via parameters displayed to the left of the design area when a single logic object is selected.

Some parameters may be "exported" for control over the network using the Exported Parameters dialog.

Wires

Wires are created by double-clicking an output port, clicking on the canvas to route the wire around objects as desired, then clicking on an input port. Wires are color coded according to the type of data they carry (boolean, integer, floating point, string, or data).

Simulation

Designs may be simulated in Palace Designer before they are loaded on a physical controller. The simulation is started by clicking Run Simulation. The simulation is fully interactive — logic objects may be added, connected, altered, and removed while the simulation is running. The design can be observed a single logic cycle at a time by clicking Step Simulation.

The simulation speed is displayed below the simulation control buttons. Simulations are limited to a 20Hz update rate, and may run slower depending on the power of the host PC. The automation controller uses a configurable update rate between 1Hz and 2kHz, and can run very large logic designs without difficulty.

Uploading a Design

When a logic design is complete, it can be uploaded to an Automation Controller. Each controller runs a single design, but many controllers may be present on a network. Palace Designer automatically detects any controllers present on the local network and presents them in the upload dialog. After a successful upload, the controller begins running the new design.

Video Demonstration

Palace Designer is used in the following video to create the logic for a simple lighting control system: