Did You Know? How to Recover from Device Errors with OmniServer Error Messages

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Nov 7, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With any communication server for collecting process data, there has to be a reliable mechanism built-in for dealing with error responses from the underlying devices.  This is true even for OmniServer as a user-configurable communication server.

Continuing our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, this blog post focuses on how to use error messages and notification items in an OmniServer protocol to properly handle error responses or conditions received from your non-standard process devices.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know, error handling

Did You Know? How to Setup Chained Messages in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Oct 4, 2018 2:00:00 PM

In a nutshell, OmniServer's purpose is to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

Sometimes with some protocols, simply sending one message to a device, or doing nothing but simply transferring data to a client isn't enough. There are some more complex protocols where you will need to send a series of messages to the instrument, or respond to an event coming in from the device or to handle a sequence of handshaking messages. This is where "chained messages" come into play in an OmniServer protocol.

In this second post of a follow-up to our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to chain multiple OmniServer command/request messages together in a protocol to flexibly handle such complex protocols.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? How to Setup a Heartbeat Message in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Sep 20, 2018 2:00:00 PM

As you probably know, OmniServer is used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

In some situations, device protocols need to be designed to where the client application (HMI, SCADA or other), and not OmniServer, is in complete control of the polling. But before you send out the next message, how do you know if the device is still connected?

In this first post of a follow-up to our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, we will cover how to create what is known as a heartbeat message to confirm your device is "listening" before sending the next message.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? Four Key OmniServer Tips For Easier Protocol Creation

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Feb 8, 2018 2:00:00 PM

As someone who has worked with non-standard device connectivity using OmniServer for over 10 years, I sometimes take for granted the knowledge that I have gained over that time.  If you're anything like me, once you figure out the data you need from your device's protocol document, you just want to get your protocol knocked out as quickly as possible so you can start communicating.

In this post, I'm going to cover 4 key tips that I've learned over the years when working in OmniServer to build a protocol that you may not have realized and that could add convenience and save you a lot of time, which is time you can be spending on other important tasks.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, OmniServer, Protocols, OPC Server, connectivity, drivers, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? OmniServer Topic Variables Can Turn One Protocol into 100

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jul 27, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Do you have a multitude of non-standard devices with unique identifiers such as a Device IDs or Node IDs that must be sent as part of all protocol messages to communicate with each device?  If so, you could certainly accomplish this by hard coding your Device/Node IDs as part of each message in your OmniServer protocol and simply have a separate protocol for each device.

But OmniServer has a better way:  Topic Variables.  In this sixth post in our “OmniServer Did You Know?” blog series, you'll learn how to use Topic Variables to create one flexible protocol that you can use across any number of devices using the same communication protocol.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? You Can Initialize Your Device with OmniServer

Posted by Marc Holbach on Jul 13, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Does your non-standard instrument connected to your COM1 serial port refuse to communicate without being told how? Do you need to tell the instrument what bank of memory to use before you can extract any data? Does the instrument require setup parameters before it will work? Do you not want to script this in your client application, and don’t want to expect a user to manually initialize a device before doing anything else?

With OmniServer, there is an auto-activated message flag that's exactly the feature you have been looking for when communicating with your non-standard devices and instrumentation.  This fifth post in our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series focuses on how to use OmniServer's setting for auto-activating a command protocol message to initialize communications with your device automatically on startup.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? Monitoring OmniServer Polling Statistics

Posted by Marc Holbach on Jun 22, 2017 2:00:00 PM

A common question I run into when talking to OmniServer users is "How can I gain more visibility into what is going on with my OmniServer."  After all, a primary concept for an OPC Server is to be invisible – to be a transparent converter between the protocol used by a device, and that used by your SCADA or HMI (i.e. OPC, Wonderware SuiteLink, etc.).

While there are a number of answers to how you can be more aware of what is going on with your system, this fourth post in our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series focuses on the importance of system tags, and specifically how they can be used in the OmniServer to query the health of the server as a whole, as well as individual device connections.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, Troubleshooting, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? How to Set Initial Values in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on Jun 1, 2017 2:00:00 PM

As you likely already know, OmniServer is primarily used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

But were you aware that OmniServer, as part of that function, is capable of specifying a default initial value for data items on startup?  In this third post in our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, keep reading to find out how to use initial values for your data items in OmniServer and under what situations that will be important.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? How to Use Character Translations in OmniServer

Posted by Kevin Rutherford on May 18, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Those of you who are aware of OmniServer will already know that it is primarily used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate such as weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

But were you aware that OmniServer is also capable of handling advanced protocols where the devices send special characters/bytes that need to be handled in a specific way?  In this second post in our "OmniServer Did You Know?" blog series, keep reading to find out how to use a feature called "translations" in OmniServer with certain protocols that require special handling.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

Did You Know? OmniServer Can Retrieve Data From Web Services

Posted by Marc Holbach on May 4, 2017 2:00:00 PM

If you are familiar with the OmniServer, you probably already know that it can be used to retrieve information from devices that use ‘non-standard’ protocols to communicate – typically these are your weight scales, barcode readers, and printers.

However, did you know that the OmniServer can also retrieve data that are exposed via web services, or even websites?  Keep reading to find out you can "scrape" web sites or services to integrate useful information into your systems using OmniServer.

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Topics: Wonderware, Device Integration, Protocols, web service, OmniServer, OmniServer Did You Know

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