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.
Personally, one of my top favorite examples of this is the firmware update that adds digital AC functionality to our GRV-IDCI-12 modules. When they were first released they were, well, just like it says on the lid—DC input modules.
As a result of some interaction with the folks on the OptoForums, we soon made a ticket in the feature request tracking system to add 10 to 25 VAC digital detection to the module for use in the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) industry.
It was a big lift. In this case, the module firmware had to be updated, as well as groov Manage, our web-based configuration and diagnostic software, and also PAC Control and the CODESYS Library. They all had to be updated with the digital AC option.
Fun fact: when you do a module firmware update, it's the only time you get to see the module LED turn from the usual blue to that cool violet color. Very soon after that release, hundreds of folks got to see that color and thus add new hardware features to their DC digital input modules.
Since the release of groov EPIC and RIO, Opto 22 has continued a steady cadence of module firmware updates across the whole range of digital, analog, serial, and power-monitoring modules in the groov product family.
We see no reason to let our foot off the gas. As it makes sense to add requested features (where the hardware can support them) and refine their features, we will release module firmware updates that you can find on each module's web page on our website. You can easily check each module's current firmware version via the web-based groov Manage interface—just click on I/O, then the module, and select its "Info" or "Update" tab.
Pardon me while I just pause here and gush about this screenshot for a moment. This looks innocent enough, but it also shows how hard all the folks here at Opto work.
This one-click button from your web browser is all you need to update the features of a groov EPIC I/O module. No special cable and no fumbling with weird proprietary connectors. In fact, you don't even have to do a truck roll and open the cabinet at all! You can do these module firmware updates over the network from a web browser session that has authenticated with the groov EPIC controller, with a username and password, even over a VPN connection! Since the module firmware file size is quite small, you can even do this via a mobile device. Pretty amazing, right?
So my parting question to you is this: When was the last time you saw that cool violet color on any of your EPIC I/O modules?
Till next time.