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GSM/GPRS Remote communication controllers
 
SPEC
Our GSM/GPRS Remote communication controllers can replace protocol converters, PC/PLC and modem, doing themselves all required functions to remote transmission of desired data. This entails not only a saving on required devices but also a faster and easier installation, which means also an additional saving within the remote monitoring systems life cycle. The following Interactive selection tool will help you to define the needed controller for your industrial monitoring systems.

Installation


Welcome to the User Manual of the Configuration Tool for AdvanticSYS MPC controllers. This guide aims to cover step by step and in the simplest and shortest way, all issues concerning configuration, such as installation, usage and potential problems that may arise during the execution of the software tool.

  • Requirements

In the table below, minimum and recommended hardware and software requirements are listed.

Requisitos eng.png
Minimum and recommended requirements
  • Dependencies

To run the configurator user needs install the Microsoft Framework .NET v3.5 package or higher. During the installation process, it will automatically check if your computer has this software package installed. If not, it will proceed with the installation, so that you can start installing the MPC Config Tool even if you are not sure whether .NET is installed on your system.

  • Execution and installation

To start the installion process, double-click the installation file. An installation wizard will start. Once you accept the license agreement, the wizard will let you select the folder where the files will be copied and if you want to create a shortcut on the desktop and in the start menu. Before completing the installation, it will check if. NET is installed on your computer, proceeding to install it if not detected.

  • Supported Devices

This configuration software is compatible with any of the listed devices below:

Controladores eng.png
Supported devices and basic features

Connection


When the application starts, the connection dialog will show up. It is divided into two tabs: TCP/IP and RTU. We will use the TCP/IP tab to establish connections over GPRS, Ethernet or any mean that supports TCP/IP and provides connectivity between the device and the application environment.

NOTE: Note that not all controllers support all connection types. It is possible that the first connection to the controller has to be RTU type, as a TCP/IP connection requires a previous configuration, whether it is Ethernet or GPRS (this configuration has to be performed only once). The following sections describe in more detail each connection type and its associated parameters.

  • Modbus TCP/IP

  • Host: The IP address through which communication with the controller is established. Normally it will be a previously assigned IP address to the controller (see section 3.7 and/or 3.6). In case you connect the controller to a router via RJ45 (Ethernet) connector, it will be the IP address assigned by you within that local network, but it could also be the external IP address your router is using. In this case, you must configure the router network address translation (Forwarding). For a GPRS connection, the address is assigned by your service provider (either static or dynamic). It can also be an DynDNS alias.
  • Port: The port on which the controller listens for incoming TCP connections. By default, port 502 is used for Modbus, although it can be changed in the controller configuration. If the connection is successfully established, the icon and text in the status bar at the bottom left corner, should reflect this.
Conexiontcpip eng.png
TCP/IP connection (GPRS or Ethernet)
  • Modbus RTU

In the case of an RTU connection, there are several possibilities, depending on the controller to be configured. The connection is established through a serial communication being USB, RS232 or RS485. In any case, user must specify the following parameters.

  • COM Port: This is the identifier assigned by Windows to physical connection established between the computer and the controller. Some models of MPC controller require the installation of a driver to establish a serial communication. Drivers are in the Drivers folder within the MPC Config Tool installation folder, via USB, RS232 or RS485 cable.
  • ID: The MPC controller Modbus ID. The Modbus communication will fail if the controller is using a ID not matching the specified one in this field. The default value for MPC controllers is usually 254. When in doubt use this value.
  • Baud rate, Stop, Parity and Data Bits: Configuration parameters of the serial connection. The default setting is 19200 baud, 1 stop bit, no parity and 8 data bits.

NOTE: If you are unclear about what value should be selected for these connection settings, do the following:

1.Open the Windows Control Panel and go to the Device Manager section.

2.Within the Ports tab, locate the port assigned to the controller. Then, click the right mouse button on the associated element in the context menu and select Properties.

3.In the new window, select the Settings tab. Make sure the settings match the port you have selected in the Connection Configurator.

If the connection is successfully established, the icon and text of the status bar at the bottom left corner, should reflect this.

Conexionrtu eng.png
RTU Connection
  • Connection schemes

In the figure below you can see four schemes commonly used for typical connections. MPC Config Tool or any other remote software that will communicate with the controllers using Modbus protocol must run on the PC.

Esquemasconexion.png
Commonly used connection schemes

Configuration


This chapter provides a description of each of the configuration screens that can be found in the application. Not all devices have all the configuration screens, since not all devices have the same features and functionality. The configuration application is to be adaptive, that is, once a successful connection is established, the controller model is detected, displaying in the user interface only those options that are available to the detected pattern. The most advanced controller, MPC-374, has all the configurable features in this version of the configurator. Therefore, it will be used in this chapter to illustrate the explanations of the configuration screens.

  • Device Information

Once the connection has been established with the controller, user will see a screen like the one shown in below, which provides basic information on the controller connected (model, firmware version, serial number ...) . In this screen you can synchronize the device time and restart it.

Dispositivo eng.png
Device Tab
  • Status Indicators

Several indicators are shown in the status bar, located at the bottom of the application.

  • Connection Status: If the connection has been established, a connection icon appears with text indicating the IP-Port pair or the serial port in case the connection is RTU.
  • Req: Number of Modbus requests.
  • Res: Number of Modbus responses.
  • Tout: Number of Modbus requests not answered.
  • Err: Number of Modbus errors.

When Err is exclusively Modbus Exception type, the following expression is true: Req=Res+Tout+Err

  • Analog Inputs

The configuration table shows each analog input in a row, while the columns are the settings or information for that input. In the case of the figure below, all entries are of Current (mA) type, but other controllers can provide different analog inputs (thermal resistance, NTC or voltage).

  • Enabled: Enables or disables the analog input. It is recommended to only enable the analog inputs to be used.
  • Range: Select the operating current range. It is usually included in the specifications provided by the sensor manufacturer.
  • Min. Value: Minimum value of the operating range of the sensor (for example, -5 degrees Celsius in the case of a temperature sensor). It is usually included in the specifications provided by the sensor manufacturer.
  • Max. Value: Maximum value of the operating range of the sensor (eg 50 degrees Celsius in the case of a temperature sensor). It is usually included in the specifications provided by the sensor manufacturer.
  • Measured: Present value measured by the sensor. It is the sensor output without any conversion. This value is updated every few seconds.
  • Physical: The previous output value, converted to physical magnitude. This value is updated every few seconds.
Analogicas eng.png
Configuration of analog inputs
  • Digital Inputs

The configuration table displays each digital input in a row, while the columns are settings or information for that entry.

  • Enable: Enables or disables the digital input. It is recommended to only activate the digital inputs to be used.
  • Mode: The mode of operation of the digital input, which can be "Discrete Input" for normal operation or "pulse counter" if the controller performs pulse counting.
  • Status: Status of the input. If the input pulse is "ON", a red icon is shown.
  • Count: Current number of counted pulses.
  • Count reset: It resets the number of counted pulses to zero.
Digitales eng.png
Configuration of digital inputs
  • Discrete Outputs

Pressing the ON/OFF button enables/disables the corresponding output. By checking/unchecking the box Use, output is enabled/disabled. User can check the operation of the ON/OFF button by looking at the LED indicators in the controller.

Discretas eng.png
Enable/Disable Discrete Outputs
  • GPRS Configuration

In the GPRS settings screen, user can set three parameters.

  • APN: The access point name provided by your service provider.
  • Username: The username provided by your ISP.
  • Password: The password provided by your ISP.

The Enabled check box is used to enable or disable the GPRS interface on the device. NOTE: It is recommended to disable the box if you are not going to use GPRS, since this component consumes considerable software and hardware resources. The Status box displays the current connection status, the IP assigned to GPRS access point and the signal level. A signal indicator is also shown.

Gprs eng.png
GPRS Configuration
  • Ethernet Configuration

The Ethernet Configuration interface is similar to the basic configuration that would be done on any other computer to connect to an Ethernet network.

  • IP: The IP address assigned to the device on the network.
  • Subnet Mask: The network mask. Depending on the network configuration. If you are unsure, you can consult the network settings of the operating system from another computer directly connected to the same local network. For domestic local area networks usually 255.255.255.0
  • Puerta de enlace: The IP address of the local router.
Ethernet eng.png
Ethernet Configuration
  • Routing

The controller has several options for routing Modbus requests and/or responses. This section briefly describes each of them.

  • Ethernet-GPRS

This functionality can be used to let the controller work as a routing device (router) between the GPRS interface and Ethernet interface, in either direction. All TCP packets received through the input interface, will be routed through the output interface with the destination IP address specified in the specified output port. The address of the data is specified in the Type column. In the figure below, there are 5 inputs available. It is the number of inputs provided by the MPC-374 controller. Other models provide more routing entries.

Ethernetgprs eng.png
Configuration of Ethernet-GPRS routing
  • Modbus TCP/IP

User can configure a Modbus TCP/IP server on the router acting controller, routing Modbus TCP packets received to one of the RTU ports within the same controller. This allows user to deploy more complex Modbus devices networks. To do so, you must specify the TCP port of entry port and the Modbus address of packets to be redirected. Use the Destination parameter to toggle between both settings in the drop-down menu. The Modbus TCP / IP server is always on, so editing the Active check box is unavailable. The socket lifetime field specifies the time, in seconds, after which the listening socket will be closed after a routing operation.

Modbustcpip eng.png
Routing configuration Modbus-TCP/IP
  • TCP-Serial

User can forward all requests received on specified TCP Port to the physical COM port associated with the specified COM Client. The socket lifetime field specifies the time, in seconds, after which the listening socket will be closed after a routing operation. Check the Enabled box to enable TCP/IP Server.

Tcpserie eng.png
Configuring TCP/IP-Serial Routing
  • Virtual Interfaces

The controller can work as gateway, client, server and Modbus Datalogger(all at once). To set any of these modes, user must use the Virtual Interfaces tab. In order to configure the controller to act as a Modbus device with own address to be able to be requested (Modbus RTU Server), check the Enabled box, select the number of UART port and assign the desired listening address (Modbus ID). After the next reboot, this option will be available. In order to enable the controller to actively request values from other devices in the network (Modbus Client), user must check that box on the appropriate table and select the desired UART port, through which requests will be sent. This setting should also be set to configure Modbus Client (see next section).

Virtuales eng.png
Configuration of virtual interfaces
  • Modbus Client

The configuration of values to be registered from other Modbus devices connected to the controller is performed on the Modbus tab. Within this tab there are in turn two tabs: Current values and Configuration. The first one displays real-time readings the controller, as Modbus client, is getting from the Modbus server (or slave). The second tab is used to perform the client configuration. In order to do it, user must enable the box realted to one of the maps available (maximum 2 independent maps), select the Modbus client that has been declared previously (in the configuration screen of Virtual Interfaces) and set the frequency of readings (Read period) in seconds. Finally, configuration of requests (Requests) that is performing the controller connected to the Modbus device must be done. The number of requests is specified for each client (Map) in the last column of the first table. Changing this number will also change the number of entries in the table below. There is a table for each map. To switch between one or another table on screen, you should select the row for the map you are configuring. Each row in the table below is a Modbus request. Every time this period expires all requests configured are sent, one after another. Keep this in mind if you want to configure a large number of requests, since the controller should have enough time to send all the specified requests and receive all the answers during the read period. Otherwise the behavior is unpredictable. For each request user will have to set the following fields:

  • Address: Modbus ID of the device acting as a Modbus server (or slave). It is the Modbus ID of the device connected to the desired serial port, which provides the requested values.
  • Function: The number of Modbus function. The value for this field is usually 3 (Reading multiple records).
  • Register: Starting address of the register block we want to get (or on which we want to perform another operation if the function is not 3) in the slave device. This address is relative to the slave device.
  • Size: It specifies the size of the register block we want to obtain from the slave device. The size is specified in units of 2 bytes. As an example, a value of 2 is equivalent to getting two Modbus registers, or what is the same, 4 bytes.
  • MPC Index: The controller that acts as a client, after receiving responses to the configured requests, need to store them somewhere. Each MPC controller with this feature provides a memory space reserved for that purpose. The index refers to the offset from the start position of this memory block. For example, a value of 10 would indicate that the data obtained in this position is stored in the index register address plus 10. For the MPC-374 the index to this memory block log starts at position 52000 (ending at position 52999). Therefore specifying a value 10 would store the value obtained from the slave device in the register 52010 in the master device. You can set this field automatically using the Auto Index option from the context menu. Automatic index based on the size of the data obtained for each request applies. Before using this option, you must select the rows which you want to apply the automatic index. If you do not want to use this option, note the positions and sizes of the requests determining the MPC index for the following requests, in order to avoid overlaps.

The MPC index zero is stored in memory position 52000, and subsequent indices are consecutive until the maximum position in the storage memory (52999). For example, if we register two parameters from a device (ID 5), size 1 (32 bits) and save consecutively in memory, user can establish a map similar to the following record:

Ejemploconf eng.png
Sample setting of Modbus client requests

NOTE: Contrary to what happens in other configuration screens, the changes in the cells of the tables will not be confirmed in the controller until a explicit request is not sent. For this you use the context menu by right clicking on the tables.

Contextual eng.png
Context menu for Modbus configuration
Clientemodbus eng.png
Configuration of Modbus client and its requests
  • FTP Client

A typical data monitoring application sends periodic Modbus requests to read registers values. This method of constant query may not be the most appropriate in certain scenarios. The MPC-333 controller implements an FTP client, which sends readings to a remote FTP server. Setting this client on the controller, you no longer need a remote program that sends requests continuously, since it is the controller itself which uploads the data in the desired server.

NOTE: When you set the period, note that the periodic sending of values to a remote FTP server consumes CPU resources. If too many signals are requested to be sent in a short time, an impact on the performance might happen, involving other controller functions.

Within the FTP tab (see Figure), there are up to 4 tables to configure FTP clients. The first table set, for each customer, the following parameters.

Clienteftp eng.png
FTP Client configuration

In the Common Parameters tab, you can configure variables (reading, signals or registers) to be sent to the remote FTP. You must specify the following fields for each entry.

  • Register/Coil: Starting address of the register block that stores the variable or the reading.
  • Amount of registers: Register block length. Each register size is 2 bytes.
  • Format: Data type of the variable.
  • Header: Description of the variable
  • Dimension: Physical unit of the variable or reading.
Servidorftp eng.png
Setting of values sent to the FTP server periodically
  • UART Configuration

In this screen user can configure each of the communication ports available on the connected controller. The ports are labeled in the protective housing of the controller as UARTx, where x is a number between 1 and 9. In the table, the following parameters are shown: Baud rate, parity, data bits and stop, operating mode and control line (DTR). The most commonly used settings for the Modbus protocol is 9600, 8N1 (9600 baud, 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit). Being the two-wire connection, the operating mode must be selected Half Duplex, and to avoid overlapping the DTR must be TX OFF (off when data is transmitted).

Puertoserie eng.png
Serial ports configuration
  • Save/Load configuration file

User can save the current controller settings to a file. To do this, connect to the controller. Once the connection has been established successfully, select File and then Save Settings. A dialog that allows you to select the destination folder for the file will show up. Once selected, the process of creating the file will start, for which all configuration data is obtained fro mthe controller. To restore a previously saved file you should select the Open Settings option. All configuration registers will be retrieved from the configuration file and restored on the controller. This feature can be useful for "cloning" settings for controllers of the same type or have a backup file with your configuration.

Known issues and Fixes


Like any other software tool, MPC Config Tool can fail. We conducted a large enough set of tests to ensure the proper functioning of all the configuration options available in the application for each controller. Anyway, to have multiple devices (with their corresponding firmware version) with a high number of variables / configuration registers, it is possible that at some time a problem appears. This section describes some known issues. If your problem is not specified in this section or if the solution shown is not enough to solve it, please submit a bug report so that we can continue to improve the software. In the last section of this section you can see how to report an error.

  • Issues

  • The program does not start correctly

We recommend checking the Microsoft Framework. NET 3.5, or later, is installed on the computer.

  • Modbus TCP (Ethernet) connection is not established

If you just configure the Ethernet settings on the controller (through a serial connection or GPRS), you may need to restart the controller before the changes take effect. To do this, please disconnect and reconnect the power or use the reset button within the Device tab. After rebooting the controller, you can open a command prompt (Start-> Run-> "cmd.exe") and run the following command:

ping 192.168.0.200

Replace the above IP configured for your device. You can also check with a port scanner that the driver is listening for incoming connections on the port you have configured. Finally, it is possible that the Modbus ID is not the same as the one used by the configuration tool. You can change this by editing the file identifier app.cfg settings found in the application folder.

  • Modbus TCP (GPRS) connection is not established

Follow the same steps as in the previous case. Additionally, verify that the parameters entered in the GPRS settings tab are correct.

  • Modbus RTU is not established

Try the following:

1. Open the Windows Control Panel and go to the Device Manager section.

2. In the Ports tab, locate the port assigned to the controller.

3. Click the mouse right button on the associated element in the context menu and select Properties. In the new window select the Settings tab of the port. Make sure the settings match the port you selected in the application.

4. Make sure the Modbus ID is appropriate. If all parameters are correct but the connection is not yet established, try restarting the device and reconnect the RTU cable to the device.

  • DataError Indicator

It is activated in the lower left corner when the program detects a wrong box in the configuration tables. It can be caused by a different firmware version of the controller used in the development of configuration software, or because some register of the controller has an unexpected value in the application. The latter should not occur unless there have been changes in the configuration registers from other software, or that the default drive is incorrect for any reason outside the configuration software. Unless you know the reason for the error, it is recommended to contact or send a bug report so that we can continue to improve the configurator.

  • ParseError Indicator

It is activated in the lower left corner when the program cannot understand configuration data read from the controller registers, or an error of any type occurs in the interpretation of such data. In general it is rare that this error is identified but can occur for various reasons. Unless you know the reason for the error, it is recommended to contact or send a bug report so that we can continue to improve the configurator.

  • The application quits unexpectedly

This situation implies an uncontrolled failure in the software. Please send a bug report if you need be.

  • Bug Reporting

A bug report can help us solve problems identified in the configuration tool. If you have a problem with the MPC Config Tool, you can send a bug report. To do this:

1. Open the Configurator. Select the File menu and then View logs.

2. Send us the log file via e-mail or other digital means of contact. Kindly include more information such as the serial number of the controller, screenshots or information on how to reproduce the problem.

Resources


References


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