Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Did You Know? OmniServer Byte Order to Display Item Values Correctly

8 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 30, 2023 2:00:00 PM

As someone who has worked with non-standard device connectivity using OmniServer for almost 18 years, I've encounter most of the subtle nuances of certain protocols that a user might need to implement and how to do so in OmniServer. One such nuance (which is true even with "standard" protocols such as Modbus) is that it's not uncommon for device vendors to implement their communication protocols with variable or parameter values that use a unique byte order compared to ordering by the first byte received to the last byte received (also referred to Most Significant Byte to Least Significant Byte, Big Endian or Motorola Byte Order).

You may not be aware that OmniServer has several flexible ways to manipulate the ordering of bytes parsed into Items to be shared with client applications to ensure that the correct and expected value is always displayed in your HMI, SCADA, historian, MES or other client applications.

Returning and expanding our "Did You Know" OmniServer blog post series, I'll cover what byte ordering settings are available in OmniServer, when you might need to use them and how.

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Tech Support Corner: Three Ways to Mass Create TOP Server Static Tags

8 min read

By Ganesh Kalipershad on Mar 23, 2023 2:00:00 PM

It's common for members of the Software Toolbox Technical Team to encounter instances where users need to configure thousands of static tags for the devices in their TOP Server projects. We have even supported implementations with over a million tags.

In such situations, it would be inefficient to manually add each individual tag to TOP Server. There are several better alternatives for adding large quantities of static tags to a TOP Server project: Automation Tag Generation (ATG), Bulk Tag Creation, and/or CSV Import/Export.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post covers what methods you have available to mass create large quantities of static TOP Server tags and how to use them for greater efficiency.

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Tech Support Corner: Understanding DNP3 Polling Behavior Basics

7 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Mar 16, 2023 2:00:00 PM

The DNP3 protocol is commonly used in water/wastewater and other utilities related industries. It's common for RTUs used in these industries to support both DNP3 and Modbus (and possibly other communications protocols). DNP3 has many features compared to Modbus (and other more traditional protocols) that make it desirable for such remote telemetry applications including buffered event history and unsolicited (or Report-By-Exception).

But if you're new to working with DNP3 (it's common for users in such industries to be quite familiar with Modbus but not so familiar with the quirks of DNP3), it's important to understand how differently it behaves with respect to polling frequency, polling composition and considerations when configuring the DNP3 outstation/device itself.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, this post discusses what drives the polling behavior for DNP3 drivers in TOP Server and how the configuration on the device itself can impact what data is returned when a poll is issued.

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Tech Support Corner: Configuring TOP Server as a Modbus Device/Server

8 min read

By Ganesh Kalipershad on Mar 2, 2023 2:00:00 PM

With Modbus having been around since 1979, I’m sure you have had some interaction with it or at least awareness of it if you work in the automation industry. Our TOP Server is very widely used for its Modbus TCP/IP Ethernet Driver and variety of Modbus serial drivers to enable users to connect to any Modbus devices that they have in the field. For that common use case, the device is the Modbus Server, and the TOP Server is the Modbus Client.

But what if you needed to configure TOP Server to be the Modbus TCP/IP Server (i.e. the “device”)? That is the purpose of this next post in our continuing Tech Support Corner blog series – to discuss and tell you how you can configure TOP Server to act as a Modbus server device, which is a common need for systems where either a device or other software application can only act as a Modbus Client and you have other systems that need connectivity to that Modbus client.

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Tech Support Corner: Client/Server Roles & Read Types with TOP Server

7 min read

By Nicole Knox on Feb 23, 2023 2:00:00 PM

A common misconception about TOP Server as an OPC server is that TOP Server will poll your device/devices automatically with no OPC client connected. So, when you are getting started with TOP Server, it is good to have an accurate understanding of how interactions occur between each node of a basic OPC architecture— client-server and server-device— to ensure that the configuration meets your needs and can be scalable to more demanding projects.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, in this blog post, we will discuss some basics of the interactions between an OPC client and server, including different types of reads and the expected behavior that you'll see as a result of those interactions.

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Tech Support Corner: Using TOP Server with OPC UA Discovery Servers

7 min read

By Zachary Parham on Feb 16, 2023 2:00:00 PM

If you're a TOP Server user with OPC UA client connections to TOP Server, you may have noticed a section in the OPC UA Configuration Manager titled "Discovery Servers". Possibly you're using an OPC UA Local Discovery Server (LDS) but many of our users aren't sure what an LDS is, how to use one with TOP Server or why they should.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, in this blog post, I will step through how to make TOP Server discoverable via a Local Discovery Server or a Global Discovery Server using the OPC UA Configuration Manager, as well as what this does behind the scenes so that you can make other OPC UA servers discoverable even if they don’t have a similar built-in configuration tool.

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TOP Server for AVEVA V6.13 Features to Be Excited About

6 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jan 26, 2023 2:00:00 PM

In keeping with ongoing continuous improvement initiatives, TOP Server for AVEVA V6.13 adds several enhancements and resolves known issues for over 20 drivers and plug-ins.

In this post, we'll cover the key features released in V6.13 in more detail, namely some helpful testing features, functionality and performance enhancements to several drivers, updates to Siemens S7 Plus Ethernet and updated MTConnect version support, including how they benefit you as a TOP Server user.

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Video Tutorial: AVEVA InTouch to DataHub via OPC UA Expands Options

2 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jan 12, 2023 2:00:00 PM

Users of AVEVA software are already familiar with the native connectivity options they have for interfacing with different systems and devices. AVEVA users often turn to Cogent DataHub® for integration of a wide variety of industrial and other data sources such as MQTT clients/brokers, SparkplugB systems, databases, historians and much more.

AVEVA InTouch users have traditionally connected to DataHub via its OPC DA Classic interface (via AVEVA OI Gateway). AVEVA's OI Gateway also provides those users the additional option of connecting to OPC UA data sources, for easier and more secure remote connections to such data sources.

In this video blog post, we will cover the basic steps to connect AVEVA InTouch to DataHub via OPC UA, expanding the variety of connectivity options available to AVEVA users.

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