Customer Support FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
For Industrial Control & I/O Products - OptiLogic and OptiMate Series
Here are some of the questions most frequently asked for Optimation's products. Please review this FAQ list prior to contacting us, as your question may already be answered here. However, we are definitely here to help.
Q: My 1000 Series OptiMate® panel will not accept a download. What am I doing wrong?
A: The panel's dip switch address must be set to 31. The sixth dip switch must be set in the "OFF" position in order for downloading to occur. Older modules did not have this requirement relating to the 6th dip switch, but currently produced modules require #6 dip switch to be 'OFF'.
Q: I've loaded a new configuration into my OM-620/640/1500/1510 and still get some of the old messages. How do I get rid of the old messages?
A: The OM editor does not clear the unused messages in the OM panel when you load a new configuration. If you had more messages in the old configuration than the new configuration, the extra messages do not get overwritten. You can clear the message list from CONFIGURE>CLEAR LIST>THE CONNECTED PANEL. Reload the new configuration and the old messages will now be gone.
Q: What do the lights on the top and bottom of the OM-9001 mean?
A: There are three lights (actually bi-colored LED's). The LED that is found between the J6 and J7 port indicates whether or not communications is occurring between the 9001 and the PLC. If the color of the LED is amber, transmitting and receiving is occurring. When configuring the 9001 this LED will not be lit, except during the actual download.
The other two LED's next to port J2 and J3 indicate the status of communication between the 9001 and the panel(s). Again, amber indicates transmitting and receiving, whereas green indicates the 9001 is seeking a panel or panels for which it has been configured.
Q: What do the lights on the back of the housing on my OptiMate® panels indicate?
A: The green light indicates the module is transmitting data and the red light indicates the module is receiving a response from the PLC. When the module is in the configuration mode (setting of dip switch is 31) neither light will be illuminated except during the actual download. If the dip switch is set to any setting other than 31 and the green light does not light after a power cycle, the module was configured for a multi-panel situation. Otherwise the transmit light will flash (this is assuming the module is not connected to a PLC at this time).
Q: Can I configure the OptiMate® panels through the OM-9001?
A: No, the panels must be individually downloaded directly from the PC. It is best to download the 9001 after all the panels have been downloaded.
Q: Why does my module work in a stand-alone situation, but not when connected to my 9001?
A: There are several possibilities for this to occur. The most obvious reason for the situation is because the module was not configured for a multi-panel situation or perhaps the 9001 was not configured for the module. You must also make sure the module (1000 Series only) has the correct dip switch address. Next, the OM-9001 communicates with the module via RS-422 cable so verify the correct pin-outs. Lastly, the RS-422 driver in the module or 9001 may have failed due to cabling or power supply problems. Please reference the OM-9001 Supplemental Sheet for wiring directions.
Q: In a multi-panel system, how should I wire the panels if more than one power supply is being used?
A: It is highly recommended that all the power supply grounds are wired together. Failure to do so may result in failed modules. Also, ensure that power supply and wire size is large enough to handle the current, especially at long distances. It is also highly recommended that all shields be tied to earth ground. When requiring distances greater than 50' or in noisy environments, a two-twisted pair shielded wire such as Belden 9729 (or its equivalent) should be used. There is an OM-9001 Supplemental Sheet with diagrams, included in all 9001's, depicting the three most typical wiring arrangements.
Q: Why is it necessary to cycle power before/after downloading?
A: On some OptiMate® modules this is required to reset the processor and place it in the run configuration.
Q: What address should I set my module to when connected directly to my PLC?
A: If you are referring to the dip switch setting that is found on the backside of the module, any number except 31 will work. It is only important to have a specific module address when connected to the PLC via the OM-9001.
Q: When should I switch my termination switch to the 'on' position?
A: Only when the module is at the (physical) end of a cable in a multiple-module system using RS-422 communications. In all other cases, including downloading, the termination dip switch should be in the 'off' position.
Q: Why does my panel lose communication after being in service for a length of time?
A: Once a panel gains communication with a PLC there are only a few reasons why it does not continue: a) RFI from nearby motors, welders, starters, etc. causing anything from memory corruption to driver chips burning up; and b) an inadequate power supply.
Q: When I have my OptiMate® module connected to a DL205, my LCD and/or light bars work, but my pushbuttons don't...why?
A: The OptiMate® module cannot WRITE to the PLC's memory when the 205 is in Run configuration, therefore only the LCD and/or light bars visually function. The DL 205 should be reset to the 'term' position in order for the OptiMate® module to write to it.
Q: My module will occasionally fail when I power up my system. Why does this happen?
A: Normally this is caused by an inadequate power supply corrupting the memory. When determining the size of a power supply be sure to include ALL sources of energy consumption and also account for the surge these devices require. For example an OM-613 requires 1.5 Amps (for 2 milliseconds) at start-up, but after start-up needs only 90 mA at 24VDC to function.
Q: My OptiMate® panel lights flash when connected to the bottom port of a D2-240. What's wrong?
A: The lower port on the D2-240 defaults to ASCII mode and needs to be set to HEX mode in order to communicate with an OptiMate® panel. Access the port settings from DirectSOFT by PLC->Setup->Setup Secondary Com Port.
Q: My OM -1500 cannot communicate with a GE 90-30. The Module is correctly downloaded but it fails to communicate.
A: The cable that connects the module to the GE PLC is DIRECTIONAL, so the end of the cable that is labeled "Optimation" must be connected to the OptiMate® panel. Both ends of the cable appear to look the same (15 pin), but the correct orientation is necessary for communication to occur.
Q: What does "Host Com Fail" mean?
A: When communication between a module and its PLC is absent for longer than 12 seconds, the module will indicate this by a variety of visual means. Flashing lights and/or the words "Host Com Fail" is the module warning the user that communication has failed. Voltage spikes from thunder storms and other RF noise-generating machines can corrupt the E^2 prom in the module. Most often a simple power cycle will correct this condition. Although the module may be indicating a lack of communication, the problem may lie 'upstream'. Careful analysis of the entire sytem may be needed to pinpoint the actual cause.
For example, four modules that are connected to a OM-9001 may all be indicating "Host Com Fail", but this situation is caused by a power failure to the PLC. Loose connections or improperly installed cables are just a few possible reasons for Optimate modules to indicate a failure to communicate.
Q. What is Ethernet?
A. Ethernet is the most common communication standard for use by local area networks in existence today. It is a communication standard which defines cable type and signaling methods to use in a local-area-network (LAN). An Ethernet network transmits packets of information between connected devices at speeds of 10 to 100 million bits per second (Mbps). Twisted pair 10BaseT ethernet is the most widely used ethernet technology due to its low cost, high reliability and 10 Mbps speed. Products manufactured by multiple vendors can communicate using common software protocols.
Q. What does the OptiLogic RTU do?
A. The OptiLogic RTU is designed to allow automatic communication of I/O and operator panel data with properly configured PC-based control software. Special application interface routines (available from Optimation) are used by the PC-based master to request I/O data using Ethernet. This manual will provide details for properly installing the OptiLogic RTU in preparation for communications to a master control system.
Q. What is a protocol?
A. A protocol is a definition of message formats that allows computers to connect with one another, transmitting messages which are understandable to both the sender and the receiver. There are "layers" of protocols. A high level layer, such as IPX or TCP/IP, transports packets of information from one point to another. A lower level protocol, such as Optimation's OptiLogic protocol contains the specific information and commands that allow the system to work.
Q. Which high level protocols are supported by the OptiLogic RTU?
A. OptiLogic RTUs support both of the most common high level protocols - IPX and UDP/IP. IPX is a protocol developed by the long time LAN market leader Novel. UDP/IP is a communications link to TCP/IP; the protocol used on the internet.
Q. What are the particular strengths and limitations of IPX?
A. IPX is easier to set up than UDP/IP. Since it is also a somewhat simpler protocol, it normally requires less CPU time in the host CPU - yielding slightly better message turn around. If the system uses a private local network, IPX is recommended. The limitation of IPX is that it cannot be transmitted through a network switch. If your network is a large switched network, use UDP/IP.
Q. What are the particular strengths and limitations of UDP/IP?
A. UDP/IP is compatible with TCP/IP. It is routable anywhere. It is therefore recommended for any large network which contains network switches. It is a little more complicated to set up. It provides no real advantages for a smaller, local network - therefore IPX is recommended for smaller, local networks.
Q. What software must be present on my PC to allow it to communicate with OptiLogic RTUs?
A. Optimation provides link software (a DLL or dynamically linked library) that handles the communications between your application software and the RTUs. This DLL is incorporated in the graphical programming packages designed to interface OptiLogic. This makes it totally transparent to you, the user. Alternatively, you can create custom software using our Software Development Kit (SDK) for PC-based systems.
Q. Which Ethernet packets are recognized by the OptiLogic RTU slave?
A. OptiLogic RTUs support IEEE 802.2, IEEE 802.3, Ethernet 2, and SNAP Ethernet packets. The module will respond to IPX or UDP/IP messages which are initiated using proprietary application interface software (OptiMate® DLL). Use of the OptiMate® DLL eliminates the need to know any of the ethernet details.
Q. What are standards and should I be concerned about them?
A. Standards are developed to provide guidelines for physical and logical network topologies. Below is a short list of most commonly used Ethernet cabling standards and their key characteristics.
10Base-2 - Thin coaxial cable , which supports a maximum of 30 stations per unrepeated network and is limited to 185 meters (607 ft.) per cable segment.
10Base-5 - Thick coaxial cable, which supports a maximum of 100 stations and is limited to 500 meters (1,640 ft.) per unrepeated segment.
10Base-F - Plastic or Glass Fiber Optic maximum of 1024 stations and distances depend on signaling technology and medium used but can commonly support up to 2 Kilometers.
10Base-T - Unshielded Twisted Pair, which supports a maximum of 1024 stations with a segment of 100 meters, but distance is truly based on signal loss in decibels (less than 11.5dB loss source to destination).
More Ethernet standards information may be found by searching at standards.ieee.org.
Q. Which Ethernet specifications are required to install an OptiLogic RTU system?
A. None. Detailed Ethernet specifications are not necessary for implementing the OptiLogic RTU system.
If you cannot find the answer to your question using our online resources please contact us.