Security Risks in Industrial Assets: Analyze before You Buy

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 19, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Attention industrial engineers: If you're not thinking about how secure that new wiz-bang-flashy PLC or PAC is before you purchase it, you're setting yourself up for a world of pain down the road.

Industrial control systems are used across a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and fabrication, to electricity generation and transmission, to oil refining and water treatment—all industries where a network security compromise could mean huge losses of capital for the business.

Recently we’re seeing many of these traditionally proprietary control systems—distributed control systems, PLCs, and SCADA applications—adding new, more open technologies like Ethernet and TCP/IP. And with organizations' increasing interest in the business advantages of obtaining system data, industrial control systems are now being connected to information technology (IT) networks.

That's scary.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, Networking, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

OptoNews Tip: Essential tools for building & troubleshooting

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 18, 2017 3:16:12 PM

For this tech tip we go to a recent blog post that takes a good look at the basic tools you need if you're a technician, an electrician, or a maker.

From oscilloscope to pliers to power supplies, these are the tools we find essential.

Get suggestions on what quality you need, what features to look for, and where to buy them, new or used.

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Topics: Electronics, Tips, optonews, OptoNews 2017-01-18

Is Ransomware a Threat To Your IIoT Initiatives?

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 12, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The image below still cracks me up. The captions for each of the devices are hilarious.

But in truth, ransomware is a pretty scary subject, especially when you think of it in the context of industrial technology and applications. And there’ve been quite a few unnerving stories about ransomware hacks in industrial applications lately.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

RS-485 - To Terminate, Bias, or Both?

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM

That Is the Question.

RS-485 Woes

Whether you work in industrial automation, process control, machine design, or any other industrial application, at some point in time you’re going to run into an RS-485 network. And troubleshooting these networks can be an absolute nightmare.

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Topics: Tips

Tools every panel shop, electrician, and maker should have

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 10, 2017 10:18:34 AM

What technician, engineer, or maker doesn’t like tools? Having the right tools for the job is essential in getting things done.

Few things are more satisfying than applying just the right tool to a specific problem to easily rectify the situation. Having a shop outfitted with the right tools and a good place to work makes fixing things and resolving problems that much easier.

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Topics: Tips, I/O, Raspberry Pi

OptoNews Tip: Top 4 tech tips from 2016

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 4, 2017 3:39:10 PM

Did you miss any of these technical tips?

Now's a good time to review some automation basics—and look ahead to new technologies in our field.

Accuracy and resolution. Specifications for both of these are included for our analog modules. What's the difference?

Sinking and sourcing. What do these terms mean when you're wiring digital DC outputs, and which is the better way to wire? Lots of questions and answers on this one.

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Topics: Discrete control, Tips, optonews, I/O, SSRs, Node-RED, OptoNews 2017-01-04, Raspberry Pi, Digital I/O for Raspberry Pi

OptoNews Tip: Set up custom troubleshooting in PAC Manager

Posted by Jean Femia on Nov 30, 2016 4:05:40 PM

When you're troubleshooting system problems, PAC Manager can be a big help. That's because PAC Manager communicates directly with your controllers and I/O units.

You're probably already familiar with PAC Manager's Inspect window, where you can see detailed status data on an I/O unit or controller. This tip shows you a way to create your own custom checks on anything in the Inspect window.

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Topics: Tips, optonews, PACs, PAC Manager, OptoNews 2016-11-30

OptoNews Tip: Share SNAP PAC data with Excel or Access

Posted by Jean Femia on Nov 10, 2016 12:28:28 PM

Have you wanted to share I/O point or variable data from your SNAP PAC controller with a Microsoft® Excel® spreadsheet or Access® database? 

  • Maybe you're tracking sales in a spreadsheet and want to adjust production to match projections.
  • Maybe your PAC is monitoring equipment on-time and energy usage, and you want to add that data to an equipment maintenance database.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, optonews, PACs, API, REST API, REST, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things, OptoNews 2016-11-09

OptoNews Tip: Find missing connections in PAC Control flowcharts

Posted by Jean Femia on Oct 26, 2016 3:08:33 PM

A recent hint shared in the OptoForum reminded us of a super-useful tool in PAC Control that you might not know about: find missing connections.

Say you're moving blocks around or copying and pasting them. Of course you're in a hurry to get it done, and you forget to make new connections with existing blocks.

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Topics: Tips, optonews, PAC Control, OptoNews 2016-10-26

OptoNews Tip: The useful Send Communication Handle Command

Posted by Jean Femia on Oct 12, 2016 3:09:19 PM

The PAC Control command "Send Communication Handle Command" is a flexible and useful command to know.  

It sends a command that accomplishes a specific purpose for the type of communication handle you're using. For example, you might use it with a File or FTP comm handle to work with files on a SNAP PAC controller. 

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Topics: Tips, optonews, PAC Control, OptoNews 2016-10-12

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