Friday, March 28, 2014

Free Anybus Communicator training presented to Eaton at The IDX Academy

As the renovations are coming to a close at the IDX Academy, the trainers have become eager to get training up and running again at IDX. The first course in the new facilities was a fully-booked Certified PROFIBUS Engineers Course. This week, IDX presented their free Anybus Communicator Training to Eaton covering the following:

- Some essential aspects of the MODBUS protocol
- What is the Anybus Communicator and what are it's applications
- A free lunch!
- Real-life practical examples on the newly built training rigs 

There is no charge for the training and the attendees found it very worthwhile, especially since they were able to bring their own device and use the training rigs to test how they can use the Anybus Communicator for their specific needs. 

The device in question is the S811+ Soft Starter from Eaton and it was shown that this could be interfaced with PROFIBUS, DeviceNet, ControlNet, Ethernet/IP, PROFINET or any of the other major industrial protocols. 

The training is not limited to the Anybus Communicator, but also includes an Anybus X component and a Netbiter Remote Monitoring Component. Onsite training can be arranged at a fee as the training rigs are designed to be mobile.  

Please feel free to contact IDX with regards to any industrial data communications requirements that you might have or training that you might be interested in.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Anybus IPconfig tool can't find my AnybusX Gateway's IP Address

Hopefully this post will help you if you are having trouble finding the IP address of your Anybus X gateway. The MODBUS TCP Client Range of these gateways enable you to control a MODBUS TCP server and port that information to a whole host of different protocols such as PROFINET, PROFIBUS, DeviceNet, etc. 

When you get one of these units out of the box, you shouldn't have any problems searching for and configuring the gateway on your Ethernet network, but sometimes you are given a configuration that has been used in the plant already and now you need to make some changes. 

So what is your first step? Install and run the Anybus IPconfig tool (available on the Anybus website or on the the CD that comes with your unit). Assuming your physical Ethernet connection is intact, you should be able to scan the network for any HMS devices that are connected to the network. 

Tip: I would connect and Ethernet cable directly to the Gateway from the PC and disable the wireless card to avoid confusion later.

If you detect the device, you will be able to change the IP address from this tool, but I have some tips for you if don't detect anything:

Tip 1:
Click on the "Settings" button and make sure that you're not broadcasting from a specific Network interface controller - in fact, disable this tick box just to be safe. Click OK and try run the scan again. If you still don't detect anything, go to the next tip. 

Tip 2:
Click on the "Settings" button and attempt to scan for your device by enabling the internal DHCP server tick box. If you pick up a device now, my suggestion is to disable DHCP either through the IPconfig tool or though the web browser if your network does not require it. 

Note! make sure that your IPV4 LAN settings are in the same range as the gateway before attempting to browse to it.

Tip 3:
Sometimes you'll find that you still cannot see the device. This might be because someone has disabled the Anybus IPconfig (HICP) scan in the web interface and this can be tricky to fix. 

The problem is of course if you don't know the IP address and can't use the scan tool that you can't access the web interface to re-enable this setting. This is what I did to get around this: 

With only my Ethernet cable connected between the gateway and my PC, I ran a tool called Wireshark to monitor the traffic on my Ethernet interface card. Basically, I'm looking for any packets of information that look like that they can be coming for a gateway and in particular traffic that is coming from a device with a MAC address starting with 00:30:11. This is the reserved MAC address range for HMS Industrial Networks. You could use other similar software to achieve the same thing. I was lucky-  this message stood our right away because the gateway was sending out a broadcast ARP message:

Looking at the Sender IP I could work out where the message was coming from. I changed my LAN settings to be in the same range, connected via the web browser and re-enabled the scan via the Anybus IPconfig. 

Tip 4:
If you still don't come right, we can send a backup file that you can load onto an SD card. You insert the SD card into the unit and power up. This will reset your device to our default configuration and you will lose your mapping settings, but at least you will be able to scan for your device again. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

GEM80/StarNET to PROFIBUS Slave Gateway successfully commissioned

The first IDX Gateway was successfully commissioned at Bluescope Steel, Wollongong Australia, at the end of February, marking a new milestone for the adoption of the IDX Gateway as a proven legacy StarNET HDLC interface solution. 

This particular gateway is configured as a StarNET HDLC slave to PROFIBUS Slave and acts as a single StarNET slave which in turns appears as a single PROFIBUS slave to exchange data with the Toshiba PROFIBUS master.

A key customer requirement of a sub-65ms data loop-back turnaround time of 60 16-bit integer values through the gateway was validated through an extensive testing process that had begun in October 2013. Of course, reliable and predictable operation was also a requirement.

The IDX Gateway is now available in a new DIN-rail mountable embedded platform, shown above, to be able to accommodate standard length PCI/PCIe industrial data communication interface cards for a variety of protocols.