Our latest OptoGreen Grant goes to help train students in the Alternative Energy Technology Program at Hagerstown Community College (HCC) in Maryland.
The grant includes an OptoEMU Sensor and current transformers to connect the Sensor to electrical panels or equipment. Students will learn how to collect energy data and present it for analysis.
The college, founded in 1946 in Hagerstown, Maryland, U.S.A., offers both theoretical and practical training to prepare students of all ages for jobs such as installing, monitoring, and servicing alternative energy components in photovoltaic systems, solar thermal systems, or small wind turbines.
The Opto 22 equipment will be used in the classroom and featured in a new Energy House planned for construction on the campus. The Energy House will be a teaching tool/location for students in the school's Alternative Energy Technology Program; Digital Instrumentation and Process Control Program; HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing Training Program; and future programs in energy, residential systems, and building design.
HCC's Alternative Energy Technology Program is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
About OptoGreen Grants. Could you use Opto 22 equipment for your projects, machinery, products, or research related to renewable energy, energy consumption optimization, sustainability, or environmental remediation? If so, check out the OptoGreen Grant program.
Remember our November story about Opto 22 customer Bryan Brown, who took 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?
Automation World found Bryan's experiment interesting, too. Their recent article gives more detail on his work and predicts "it is only a matter of time" before gesture-based interfaces reach the factory floor.
"I have already received a fair amount of ribbing for applying hundreds of dollars worth of technology to turn a flashlight on and off," Bryan says. But as he hopes, we get the point. He used the SNAP PAC .NET OptoMMP Messaging Toolkit with Microsoft's SDK for programming.
Read the Automation World article.
What do ALSFs, RRCSs, ICMSs, and PAPIs have in common?
They're all important systems in getting airplanes—and you—safely in the air and back on the ground.
New Bedford Panoramex (NBP) of Claremont, California, develops and manufactures key navigation and landing aids, plus lighting and control systems, for many of the largest airports in the U.S. If you've flown in or out of Chicago's O'Hare, New York City's JFK, or Washington, D.C.'s Dulles airports, you've likely been guided by NBP systems.
Our new case study introduces NBP and their various control systems, all of which rely on Opto 22 programmable automation controllers and intelligent I/O.
Read the New Bedford Panoramex case study.
Here's a dilemma: Your PAC Control chart works perfectly in Autostep, but when Autostepping is off, it fails, sometimes after a few cycles. What's going on?
This problem came up recently in the OptoForums, and today's tech tip shows you a way to troubleshoot it.
In the forum, the problem involved a chart that starts another chart and then suspends itself. (Call Chart wasn't used in this case because sometimes the calling chart needed to remain suspended.) The called chart then attempts to continue the calling chart when its commands are finished.
In Autostep mode the chart worked perfectly, but not with Autostepping off.
A similar problem can occur when working with communications, either serial or Ethernet. As Opto 22 Engineer Ben Orchard explains, the problem is that the controller is "too fast for itself."
In Autostep mode, the controller slows down the chart so you can see each step, so everything works the way you expect. But out of Autostep, the controller is switching the charts so fast that it does not have time to do the commands that the chart is trying to do.
Chart commands take a certain amount of time to complete. So after calling or continuing your charts, you may need to add a short delay.
Ben suggests making the delay a variable, so you can tune it to the shortest delay needed to ensure it works reliably every time. Often the needed delay is around 50-100 ms.
For more suggestions from other posters, including multiple ways to troubleshoot or avoid the problem (use a digital output, use the AddMessageToQueue command, use fewer charts, and more), take a look at the OptoForums.