Learn about the mysteries of sinking and sourcing DC loads in our new video.
Senior Technical Advisor Tom Edwards explains when to use a sinking DC output module and when to use a sourcing module, and why the distinction applies only in certain cases.
In a second short video, Tom talks about flowchart programming and why many automation engineers prefer it to ladder logic.
Watch Sinking and Sourcing I/O Modules
Watch Flowcharts and Ladder Logic
Opto 22 customer Konrad Miller sent us this technical tip about an easy way to enter variables when programming in PAC Control. Of course you can choose the variable from the list or start typing its name and see what fills in. But when you have a long list or a number of similar variable names, this tip can save you time.
Konrad finds it helpful to see the contents of one block in the flowchart while programming another block. In PAC Control only one block can be open at a time, but you can copy a block's contents to Excel or another program so you can refer to them.
And then it's easy to copy and paste existing variable names from that file into the new block.
Here's how you do it:
1. In PAC Control, highlight the first instruction in the block you want to copy.
2. Hold down the Shift key and select the last instruction in the block.
3. Release the Shift key, right-click, and choose Copy from the popup menu.
4. Open Excel to an empty sheet.
5. Select a cell, right-click, and choose Paste. The image at right shows a sample of what you get.
Now you can just copy a variable name from the Excel sheet and paste it into the block you're programming. This tip is particularly useful if you have long variable names or several names that begin with similar characters, as in the sample.
If you don't have Excel, you can paste the block's contents into Word or another program. Excel is handy because it puts the contents into columns, but Word also separates the block's elements.
Many thanks to Konrad Miller for this tip. If you have a tip for us, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your tip is published, we'll send you an Opto 22 polo shirt or a 2GB USB key!
Have you seen this ad? It's based on an email one of our employees actually received from another automation manufacturer. (We won't say who, but you would recognize the name.)
You'll never get an email like this from Opto 22. Our product support is always free, as are training and pre-sales engineering help.
And it's not just free support; it's also great support, provided by the experienced engineers at our California headquarters.
Here's what customers say about Opto 22 Product Support.
Got a question? Give us a call. The call is free, and we like to help.
How would you like to just wave your hand and see your control system respond?
Opto 22 customer Bryan Brown has taken the first steps toward programming a Gesture Machine Interface (GMI) using an Opto 22 SNAP-PAC-R2 controller and a Kinect controller for the Microsoft XBox 360.
As Bryan recently reported on LinkedIn, he used the free Opto 22 SNAP PAC .NET OptoMMP Messaging Toolkit and the Microsoft Research Kinect for Windows SDK to build basic on/off functionality controlled by gesture alone.
This is fun stuff. Take a look at his report and video:
On LinkedIn (must be a member to view)