What is serial communication?

In order to understand communication protocols we first need to understand digital systems. A digital systems communicates a message in the form of binary information. This is a flow of digital pulses sent from one point to another creating a means of data transmission.
Serial communication is a widely used medium to transfer information between various different equipment and peripherals. Data is in the form of sequential binary pulses. Binary can be represented in two states i.e: a one (1) represents a logic high or "on" status and a zero (0) represents a logic low or "off" status. 
The different modes of transmitting data over serial communication Simplex transmission is a one-way communications method, with only one client present on the network. if a sender engages in transmission then a receiver is only able to accept information. examples: Radio and television transmission.  Half Duplex mode have both an active sender and a receiver, however these can not be act…

ProfiHubs with diagnostic capabilities

Network downtime getting you down?
Introducing PROCENTEC’s range of ProfiHubs, now with new diagnostic capabilities!

The diagnostic ProfiHub is a versatile statistics / diagnostics logger that can be used to keep track of the overall network health and inform either the PLC or DCS of any network failures. These network failures could be in the form of repeated messages, illegal messages, missing ProfiHub terminations, live list changes or power supply problems. Audible or visible feedback can also be achieved by switching the integrated alarm relay of the ProfiHub.

All ProfiHubs are now shipped with this functionality available as standard. Existing ProfiHub owners will soon be able to purchase upgrade packages to enable the diagnostic capabilities via a firmware update. The diagnostic capabilities are available for the B2+R, B5+R, D1, B2FO2, & B4FO2 and these hubs are fully compatible with PROCENTECComBricks providing you with a permanent monitoring solution that lets you troublesho…

Anybus gateway's creating secure paths for IIOT solutions

Anybus has launched a new family of gateways built to boost your Industrial IoT development demands. These devices are designed to gain secure and easy access between equipment on all major industrial networks, transforming the way your industry, manufacturing business, process factory or packaging plant operates by improving visibility. Now you can establish a foundation for better performance by leveraging this data.

The Anybus IoT X-Gateways and Communicators lets you seamlessly interconnect legacy devices and PLC control systems between industrial networks and OPC UA/MQTT. The information is controlled independently and your network remains secure and encrypted.

How does it work?

The Anybus IoT Communicator, still based on the tried and tested communicator development, will now enable users to integrate serial based RS232, RS485, Modbus RTU, DF1 and ASCII into an OPC UA or MQTT IoT data acquisition system. 
Simply connect, configure and your done!
Connect: Mount and power your device wi…

PROFIBUS wiring error / B-line short

PROFIBUS wiring error / B-line short

IDX attended a PROFIBUS call out for a gold mine situated in Welkom. The client reported issues as “loss of communication and network trips”.
Using the PROCENTEC Mercury Pro Kit (A complete diagnostics tool for troubleshooting PROFIBUS and Industrial Ethernet Networks) we were able to identify the underlying issue as a short between the B-core (red wire) and the PROFIBUS cable shield.

The short in the PROFIBUS cable meant that the differential signal was significantly lower in amplitude and therefore more susceptible to earthing faults and EMI injections on the bus.
PROFIBUS makes use of a balanced signal. This means that the signal transmitted on the A and B channels have similar voltage levels, however, they have opposite polarities. The differential signal is calculated as B – ( – A).
When a short occurs on the PROFIBUS cable between either of these cores and the PROFIBUS cable shield, the shorted core will produce a flat line and the resultant differ…

How to achieve high PROFIBUS network availability

The difference between three 9's (9.99%) and four 9's (99.99%) availability on your PROFIBUS communications network could mean millions of Rands in lost production that directly affects your bottom line.
Network rigidity and availability should be the core focus of any automation engineer who is tasked with maintaining a plant's PROFIBUS communication system.
There are four main areas to focus on that will assist in improving your 9's score on any given network:
1) Training Fundamentally important, ensuring that all personnel who work with the network have the necessary training and know-how. Your local PROFIBUS / PROFINET Training Center will have a set of certified courses to ensure that all attendees are competent to handle installations and design scenarios. The following courses should be considered for PROFIBUS networks:

Certified PROFIBUS Installers CourseFoundation PROFIBUS Training Course, imparts knowledge on the PROFIBUS specifications, installation guideline…

Common pitfalls when installing a Modbus RS485 network on site

Last week IDX were called to site at a large commercial residence building in Pretoria, South Africa. Where our client was implementing an IoT solution for remote monitoring and control of various HVAC and power systems in the building. The control system the SI chose in this case was a Modbus enabled Industrial Micro PC called the Revolution PI. The client had Modbus sensors connected to boilers, air conditioning systems, ventilation systems and power meters.
The Modbus communications between the controller and the sensors were intermittently failing due to various installation and implementation faults:

1. Earthing and Shielding
Within any fieldbus communication installation, one of the requirements to ensure uninterrupted operation is to implement adequate grounding and shielding techniques. Effective grounding and Shielding help to prevent electrostatic and electromagnetic pickup, which can lead to failed communications.

Some of the shielding and grounding requirements for a Modbus RS4…

The Arnold Classic 2018: Enter Raspberry PI

The Arnold Classic 2018: A place for those with a passion for sport, fitness, and an overall desire to challenge themselves, compete, and to ultimately be blessed with the eternal spoils of victory after an arduous two and half days of pushing their bodies and minds to their absolute limits.
Enter IDX, what challenge faces the mighty IDX you ask? Will we dead lift four hundred kilograms worth of ice cold steel, and prove ourselves stronger than a ‘mountain’? Will we sprint that one-hundred-meter sprint faster than a ‘bolt’ of lightning? Will we outplay the E-Sport community to be crowned the ultimate gamers in the land?
Well… not quite, but we did create an awesome solution for managing the chess timers in the Big Chess School tournament, using some cutting-edge technology, including but not limited to: Raspberry PI Model B as our hardware platform running Raspbian Stretch      Node as our underlying serverNode-Red to handle the Raspberry PI’s GPIOMQTT to handle message transmission…