Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Connor Mason

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Tech Support Corner: DataHub Item Imports Made Easy

5 min read

By Connor Mason on May 2, 2024 2:00:00 PM

Cogent DataHub enables users to integrate diverse data sources quickly and efficiently within their industrial automation ecosystems. By providing multiple ways to consume, organize, and deliver data, handling multiple inputs is a strong suit of DataHub.

CSV import functionalities are available for a variety of plug-ins including OPC DA & UA Clients, MQTT Client, External & Local Historians, Bridging, and Modbus. In this blog, we'll delve into the format and import options of OPC UA items specifically tailored for DataHub's OPC UA Client configuration, but the concept is the same for all CSV imports in DataHub.

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Logging OPC Data with Custom Time Formats

4 min read

By Connor Mason on Feb 15, 2024 2:00:00 PM

When logging data to a database or text file, the way that data is presented is essential due to the implications it has for who, or what, is reading this data to make decisions. Without the correct configuration of the data’s timestamps, records can easily become misinterpreted or sorted in non-chronological order by further systems. It’s critical that your data logging solution provides flexibility to get your data when you want it, how you want it, and stored the way you want it. Providing full control of the timestamp format for many users is not just a feature of our OPC Data Logger, but a requirement based on other connected systems and standards. Customizable Time Formats is the focus of today’s blog, but it is just one of the OPC Data Logger’s many flexible features that have our fans raving over it.

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Exploring MQTT – Understanding Quality of Service (QoS) with DataHub

7 min read

By Connor Mason on Nov 30, 2023 2:00:00 PM

MQTT continues to grow in popularity and implementation within the industrial automation community. For those who are still new and learning about this protocol, MQTT is a light-weight transfer protocol built around a publish/subscribe architecture. In simple terms, MQTT can be compared to a mail envelope, providing structure and a common appearance with a supported delivery system, while the actual content of that envelope can vary widely.

Because of the ambiguity of message content, implementations of MQTT can be utilized for various needs across segments in our industry, though the varying message content presents its own issues that are outside the scope of this article. There are multiple solutions for providing structure and standards around the message content that we will discuss in future posts.

This blog will primarily focus on the reliability of message delivery based on the concept of Quality of Service (QoS). We will be utilizing the Cogent DataHub to showcase these options, as it can act as both the MQTT Broker & Client. It is important to note that this information can be applied to various MQTT implementations, including other Software Toolbox product offerings with MQTT, such as OPC Router or the TOP Server MQTT client driver.

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Exploring File Spanning with OPC Data Logger

6 min read

By Connor Mason on Sep 14, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Storing process data almost always comes with varying project requirements, making it difficult for users to find solutions that cater to specific configuration needs. Luckily, the wide variety of configurable functionality in OPC Data Logger allows for creating unique projects to fit your needs.

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Product Update: OPC Data Logger - Store & Forward Added

4 min read

By Connor Mason on Aug 10, 2023 2:00:00 PM

If you’re an existing user of OPC Data Logger or in the market for an OPC logging solution, you likely agree that having a reliable and accurate record of your data is a top priority. One of the most valuable parts of investing in a data logging solution is being able to trust that all the data from your sources is captured. But what happens if you lose the connection to your database? What happens to the incoming data during that downtime? Software Toolbox offers several solutions for logging data and today we will focus on OPC Data Logger and its database logging capabilities. 

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Tech Support Corner: Using TOP Server Simulated Device Mode

9 min read

By Connor Mason on Sep 1, 2022 2:00:00 PM

If you're a TOP Server user, you're likely accustomed to connecting to a device configured in TOP Server that is sending real-time data through one of its many available drivers. But did you know you can setup devices in a "Simulated" mode for a variety of client testing purposes when a live device isn't available?

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post covers how the "Simulated" device property works, why you might implement it into your testing and a brief walkthrough on connecting a variety of client applications to a simulated device in TOP Server.

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Tech Support Corner: Troubleshooting AVEVA SuiteLink Connections

10 min read

By Connor Mason on Feb 24, 2022 2:00:00 PM

Software Toolbox has a long-standing history of offering supplemental solutions that fit right in with AVEVA™ (formerly Wonderware®) projects. Many of you will be familiar with our TOP Server for AVEVA™ that offers a variety of device connectivity options, and a variety of client interface options like SuiteLink, OPC DA, and OPC UA.

SuiteLink is a communications protocol that runs over TCP/IP at the application layer, created by Wonderware to replace/succeed FastDDE, in the mid-1990's. Unlike OPC DA, SuiteLink doesn’t rely on COM or DCOM technology, making SuiteLink a common choice for remote connectivity to Software Toolbox solutions.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post shares best practices and procedures to follow when attempting to troubleshoot a SuiteLink connection, specifically when it comes to using SuiteLink clients with TOP Server. While this post specifically uses TOP Server as the SuiteLink server, the same techniques and concepts also apply to OmniServer, which also has a SuiteLink client Interface and is commonly used with AVEVA solutions.

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Tech Support Corner: Optimizing with ControlLogix Protocol Modes

15 min read

By Connor Mason on Dec 2, 2021 2:00:00 PM

If you’re a user of the Allen-Bradley ControlLogix Ethernet driver in TOP Server for AVEVA, you may be familiar with the different protocol modes available during device configuration. The three distinct options of Symbolic, Logical Blocking, and Logical Non-Blocking provide users with advanced control over how data is read and addressed from the controller.

Configuring protocol modes is usually only suggested for advanced users who have a solid understanding of each mode, and how their Logix programs are structured. To that end, continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this blog post will break down each of these protocol modes, while exploring their benefits and drawbacks, to provide you a clear understanding of each protocol. This post will provide the advanced knowledge needed in a usable way to best serve your own project!

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