In the last OptoNews we reported James Cameron's historic dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in a specially designed submersible, the DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.
And yes, inside the sub's pilot sphere, an off-the-shelf SNAP PAC System controls more than 180 essential systems, including life support, thrusters, robotic arms, and a lot more.
The ideal controller for this job was the SNAP-PAC-S2. With its two independent Ethernet interfaces and four configurable serial ports, it has the communications flexibility and speed to handle the wide assortment of devices and systems on the sub, many of which use a serial network.
Also on board is a SNAP PAC rack with a SNAP-PAC-R1 (for I/O processing—more about this in a later OptoNews article) and an assortment of analog, digital, and serial I/O modules. Programming was done in PAC Control Pro, and PAC Display Pro provides the pilot's display inside the pilot sphere.
We're used to thinking about our SNAP PAC Systems working just about anywhere in the world and for just about any application. Take an off-the-shelf SNAP PAC and a rack (or many) of I/O, add PAC Project software, and you can monitor, control, and get data from just about anything.
Even on the ocean floor, nearly 7 miles deep.
See more about the SNAP PAC System inside DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.
So somebody just left—or you just got hired—and suddenly you've inherited an Opto 22 system you know nothing about.
It happens all the time. This tech tip shows you some good ways to start when dealing with the unknown.
Step 1: What is it?
Start by looking at the hardware for part numbers. If they start with SNAP-PAC, this tip is for you. (If they start with G4, M4, or just SNAP, that's legacy equipment, and we'll cover it in a later tip.)
While you're there, write down the IP address for each SNAP PAC, which should be on the white label on the outside of the PAC.
Step 2: Inspect it with PAC Terminal
Find a PC on the same network subnet as the SNAP PAC. From the Start menu, choose Programs > Opto 22 > PAC Project > Tools > PAC Terminal. If the tool isn't there, download PAC Project Basic (free download) to get it.
When PAC Terminal opens, find the PAC's IP address in the list and double-click it. If it's not in the list, click Add and enter a name for the PAC and its IP address; click OK and then double-click the PAC in the list.
Now you can see information about the PAC and its control strategy, if it has one. If it does, you see the name of the strategy, the date and time it was downloaded to the PAC, and whether or not an archive exists on the PAC itself. This data can help you locate the strategy files so you can open them, understand strategy logic, and change or add to it.
We'll have more suggestions in a later tip, but for now, see the comments in this OptoForum post: Newbie Email Alert for more help in dealing with an inherited strategy.
The eSight Energy Management Road Show is heading to Schaumburg, Illinois, this May to educate facility managers on how to reduce energy costs, consumption, and carbon up to 30%.
Join Opto 22's Arun Sinha and eSight Energy and learn simple ways to track your energy usage and reduce costs.
When: May 30, 2012, 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Where: AVMA Building, Schaumburg, IL
For information or to register: eSight Energy Events
If you're not near Chicago, watch for other road show dates and locations later this year.
Awhile back we reported that Opto 22 customer Bryan Brown is experimenting with gesture-based control. Well, now he's using a SNAP PAC Learning Center to go further with these ideas.
Bryan and his son Alex, who has a degree in Fine Arts and a strong interest in game development, are now working on a 3D game where character movement is controlled through gestures, using a SNAP PAC controller and a Kinect controller for the Microsoft XBox 360. Take a look at his You Tube video showing the game. The best part just may be finding a SNAP PAC Learning Center sitting on the beach. Awesome!
Next step? Says Bryan, "a robotics project that uses a fully functional Segway HT as a robot's mobility device." We'll be watching.
See Bryan's experiment with interactions between a PAC and a Windows-based HMI program using both mouse-based input and gesture input.
Watch the You Tube video of the 3D game.