Ben Orchard

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Add delays to speed up

Posted by Ben Orchard on Apr 17, 2024 9:00:00 AM

Some tech tip advice to help keep your industrial systems running smoothly.

Whenever I say this blog title out loud to the Premium Factory Training class attendees, I get some funny looks. I'm not sure if it's the Aussie accent, or the idea of adding delays to speed up that causes the double-take chuckles.

Compute power has come a long way in the last 10 years or so, but regardless, we programmers of all things industrial still need to be mindful of optimizing our code and systems to run as smoothly as they possibly can.

Arguably, one of the biggest tips for programming in PAC Control I can share with you all is to add delays through your flow charts and OptoScript blocks.

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Topics: PAC Control, groov EPIC, Factory Training, technical tips

Firmware updates for I/O modules

Posted by Ben Orchard on Jan 10, 2024 10:46:00 AM

New features and improved performance are available on groov I/O modules with the click of a button.

A well-known electric car company is somewhat famous for its ability to add features and fix bugs with over-the-air updates to millions of cars. Of course, they are not the only ones with this feature. Many companies have been updating their hardware with firmware updates for decades, but it really captures the imagination when the hardware is something you drive.

Closer to our hearts and minds, Opto 22 has been adding features and squishing bugs on our controllers for more years than most of us can recall (it's our 50th year in 2024!). There are a few SNAP I/O modules that can have their firmware updated via our PAC Manager program—the serial data ones for example—but now with groov EPIC and RIO, ALL our modules can have new features and refined performance added at the click of a button.

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Topics: Firmware, I/O modules, groov EPIC, I/O, groov RIO

OptoForums Top 5 of 2023

Posted by Ben Orchard on Dec 13, 2023 7:00:00 AM

A year in review of the most popular topics and discussions on the OptoForums.

Let's talk for a moment about our fantastic Opto 22 forum fans. The OptoForums host an amazing community.

It seems that only a very small number of industrial automation manufacturers run their own public forums. Some community-supported efforts have sprung up to backfill the need for a place where like-minded folks can gather, but there is something special about having a place that is, well, for lack of a better term, "factory supported."

Why is that a big deal?

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Topics: Modbus, REST API, CODESYS, OPC UA, OptoForum, OptoMMP

RS-232 and Level Converters

Posted by Ben Orchard on Oct 18, 2023 1:25:33 PM

This technical tip post covers the history and challenges of connecting RS-232 serial devices together.

The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. Like every profession, industrial automation has a veritable cornucopia of standards we need to be aware of. RS-232 is no different or special in that regard.

Let's take a look at the history of this hardware communication standard and use that as a springboard. We'll take a look at how modern microprocessor technology can be adapted to this very commonly used data communication standard in the industrial automation world.

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Topics: groov EPIC, serial module, RS232

groov Manage: Maintenance

Posted by Ben Orchard on Sep 13, 2023 7:18:53 AM

The maintenance button on the groov Manage screen helps keep your groov device in tip-top shape.

You update your cell phone for new features and security patches, so why not your automation system as well? This blog post and video closes out our 12-part groov Manage series on the top-level groov Manage home screen options.

See what's behind the groov Manage: Maintenance button.

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Topics: Videos, groov EPIC, groov Manage, groov Manage series

groov Manage: Info & Help

Posted by Ben Orchard on Sep 5, 2023 12:04:59 PM

What's under the Info & Help button? Part 11 of the 12-part groov Manage series delves into the details.

When it comes to menu options, are you allowed to have favorites?

There is just so much cool stuff behind the "Info & Help" button for all things automation—I'm just going to start at the top and bullet point my way down the nine buttons. I could easily blog about each of the nine because of the power of each.

But you'll get a condensed summary in groov Manage: Info & Help.

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Topics: Videos, groov EPIC, groov Manage, groov RIO, groov Manage series

groov Manage: Node-RED

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 29, 2023 1:07:09 PM

Find out what's behind the Node-RED button on the groov Manage home screen.

In this week's edition of our 12-part groov Manage journey, we take a look at Node-RED. This low-code/no-code programming tool is a popular feature of groov EPIC and groov RIO.

Our engineers love all aspects of technology, so it's no surprise to learn that many of them were tinkering with Node-RED at home before bringing their excitement to work.  After some roundtable discussions on just how much Javascript coding was required (hint: as little or as much as you want), we decided to embed Node-RED into our product range and future hardware devices.

Watch groov Manage: Node-RED to see why Node-RED is so popular with groov EPIC and RIO customers.

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Topics: Node-RED, groov EPIC, groov Manage, groov RIO, groov Manage series

groov RIO firmware 3.5 adds control to remote I/O

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 23, 2023 9:00:00 AM

The latest groov RIO 3.5 firmware update offers a CODESYS programming option along with enhancements for performance and security.

groov RIO firmware 3.5 is here! And the big news is the CODESYS runtime engine has been added. That means now you can run a control program on groov RIO—one you build in CODESYS using any of the IEC 61131-3 compliant languages.

The engineers have kept their fingers on the keyboard here at Opto HQ and are beyond excited about the release of version 3.5 firmware for the groov RIO family. We can't wait to see what applications our awesome customers come up with, now that the CODESYS runtime engine has been added to the complete groov RIO Trio.

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Topics: Updates, Firmware, CODESYS, Sparkplug, groov RIO

groov Manage: Ignition

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 23, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Take a look at using built-in Ignition software with groov EPIC in week 9 of the groov Manage series.

Here's a quick look at how you can run Ignition or Ignition Edge on the groov platform, using the groov Manage menu option.

Opto 22 has partnered with Inductive Automation for over 6 years now, and groov EPIC was the first hardware platform to onboard the Ignition Edge program. This natural partnership has been a real success story for both sets of customers the world over.

See what's behind the Ignition button on the groov Manage menu.

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Topics: Ignition Edge, groov EPIC, groov Manage, Ignition, groov RIO, groov Manage series

groov Manage: groov View

Posted by Ben Orchard on Aug 16, 2023 9:10:16 AM

An easy-to-use tool for building a flexible HMI, included with your groov EPIC.

I don’t think I am going too far out on a limb by saying that the web browser is one of the most commonly installed and used software applications on any device. You might read this intro in your email app, but you will soon switch to a browser to read this blog. (I hope!)

So why stop at just viewing your SCADA HMI screens in a browser—why not build them there as well?

Enter the groov View menu option, the focus of this part 8 of our 12-part blog series on the groov Manage menu.

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Topics: groov View, groov EPIC, groov Manage, groov Manage series

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