Software Toolbox Technical Blog

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

7 min read

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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Did You Know? How to Setup Chained Messages in OmniServer

4 min read

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

5 min read

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

7 min read

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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Video Tutorial: Using Registers in an OmniServer Protocol

1 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Aug 10, 2017 2:00:00 PM


A Register Number is a time-saving special OmniServer element that allows you to configure one item that is requesting the same type of memory or offset in a device instead of one item for each memory or offset location.

In this video blog, I show you how to get started using registers to more efficiently build an OmniServer protocol without having to manually create an item for every piece of data whenever possible.

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

6 min read

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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Did You Know? You Can Initialize Your Device with OmniServer

4 min read

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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Did You Know? Monitoring OmniServer Polling Statistics

4 min read

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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