OptoBlog

Ben Orchard

Recent Posts

groov EPIC Security Series, Part 6: Linux Operating System and Repository

Posted by Ben Orchard on Jun 6, 2019 1:12:33 PM

The OS, or operating system, of groov EPIC is very different from traditional controllers. Instead of a proprietary OS, EPIC uses an open-source Linux® operating system.

From a security standpoint, an “open source” OS sounds scary. But in many ways it is more secure than a closed-source one, especially a well-known and often-attacked OS such as Microsoft® Windows®.

Read More

Topics: EPIC, groov EPIC, EPIC Security, Linux, secure shell, ssh

groov EPIC Security Series, Part 5: Encryption and Certificates

Posted by Ben Orchard on May 22, 2019 11:05:13 AM

Go on, admit it. At some point in your life you've written down a password on a piece of paper in clear text. Anybody walking by can simply glance at your note, and they'll know what your password is.

No, you have never done that? Excellent. 

But if you've ever used your web browser to log into a website over the web, and entered sensitive information like your password without encryption, you've effectively transmitted that information through the internet for all to see, almost like writing it on paper and showing it around.

Whoa.

Read More

Topics: Security, IIoT, groov EPIC, cybersecurity, EPIC Security, encryption

groov EPIC Security Series, Part 4: User Accounts

Posted by Ben Orchard on May 10, 2019 3:12:44 PM

In this blog post, let’s take a closer look at user accounts on the groov EPIC system, and how you can improve your system security by giving users and services fine-grained access to applications running on EPIC. In other words, make sure each person or service has only the access they really need and nothing more.

But before we get deep into user accounts, let’s first discuss user account credentials. Take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you use the same password for multiple accounts?
  • Do you use a mix of punctuation and capital letters in your passwords?
  • Do you use long phrases as your passwords?
Read More

Topics: Security, groov View, groov EPIC, groov Manage, cybersecurity, EPIC Security, User Accounts

groov EPIC Security Series Part 3: Device originating communications, or how and why MQTT rocks

Posted by Ben Orchard on Apr 29, 2019 9:15:28 AM

The story goes that a valve manufacturer wanted to have their networked smart valves certified for use in a nuclear reactor plant. The smart valve could report all sorts of critical data points to a database system and also be controlled by that SCADA system in the plant. But to get it certified for use, the smart valve had to undergo a rigorous security audit by the information technology (IT) department at the plant.

Read More

Topics: Security, MQTT, groov EPIC, cybersecurity, firewall, EPIC Security

groov EPIC Security Series, Part 2: What's a Firewall?

Posted by Ben Orchard on Apr 17, 2019 2:41:07 PM

Ever notice how emergency exits in a building open outward? Then, to keep the building secure, they are usually locked from the outside. You can get out easily enough, but you can’t get in that way.

However, on a building’s main front entrance, the door often swings in so you can enter. Typically, there is a security guard or perhaps a receptionist there to check your ID and keep an eye on the comings and goings.

Read More

Topics: Security, groov View, groov EPIC, groov Manage, cybersecurity, firewall, EPIC Security

groov EPIC Security Series, Part 1: Dual Network Interfaces

Posted by Ben Orchard on Apr 9, 2019 8:45:46 AM

Trusted and untrusted: when it comes to people, it can be hard to know someone at first pass. You need some time to build a picture of the person.

When it comes to networking, it’s a little more cut and dried. You either know who’s on a network or you don’t.

Can it really be that simple? Is there really a way on a groov EPIC to keep those you don’t trust away from those you do?

Read More

Topics: Security, EPIC, groov View, groov EPIC, cybersecurity, EPIC Security

Sinking or Sourcing

Posted by Ben Orchard on Nov 4, 2015 4:53:15 PM

Sinking or Sourcing?

Let’s take a quick look at the topic of sinking and sourcing outputs.

Where did the difference come from, and where does it matter in automation?

Quick answer: you often have to choose the correct module because the device you are wiring requires either a sink or source. For example, if you have a prebuilt electrical cabinet, it may be wired using a common positive or a common negative method. Thus you HAVE to choose the correct digital output module for the way the panel is wired.

Read More

Topics: PLCs, Electronics, Tips, IoT, Machine builder, OEM, I/O

I/O Processor

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 31, 2015 9:07:00 AM

The Case for Intelligent I/O Systems.

The automation PC is located in the control room, and the dump valve is on the other side of the tank farm wired to a remote I/O cabinet, all connected over an Ethernet network.

The IT guys are working on the network, and they say it may take a few days to track down the intermittent cable. But hey, in the meantime, they say that it mostly works…

That answer might be sufficient for watching YouTube, but it is just not going to cut it for controlling that valve.

What do you do?

Read More

Topics: Discrete control, PLCs, Remote monitoring, Tips, IoT, PACs, OEM, I/O

Seconds since midnight

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 18, 2015 10:08:57 AM

Do what when:

In last week’s blog we covered how to set the real time clock (RTC) in a PAC Controller with an accurate time server over the Internet using SNTP.

Now that our controller knows exactly what time it is, how do we turn on that pump at 6:00 a.m. on the dot?

Like most aspects of programming, there are a few different ways to achieve the same result, so join me in this week’s blog while we look at one way to manage real-time scheduling.

Read More

Topics: Energy management, Process control, groov, Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, PACs, PAC Project

How to set the clock on a PAC Controller

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 11, 2015 10:23:00 AM

What time is it?

Do you know what time it is? Does your SNAP PAC controller know what time it is? Are they the same time? Who’s right?

In this week's blog we are going to talk about this big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff.… No, not time travel, but actual time…. Specifically how to set your PAC Controller to the current time.

No reading ahead; remember, time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana.

Read More

Topics: Internet of Things, PLCs, IoT, PACs, OEM, Networking, PAC Project

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all