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Integrating MODBUS Devices with Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus FactoryTalk View without Kepware
What's the best way to integrate Modbus devices with A-B PanelViewPlus FactoryTalk View without Kepware?

I have to integrate 10 Modbus RTU Slaves on RS-485 (I can also use a gateway for TCP) with Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus (1000) FactoryTalk View screen. A-B PV+ will act as a Modbus Master.

What is the best way to do this without using Kepware OPC?

Options I thought:

1. Develop a .NET program running on PV+ (somehow!!) that implements Modbus Master and read/write data to a file and develop another VB script that runs within FTView to write/read the same file.

2. Develop a FTView Driver for Modbus Master that directly integrates Modbus Slave (both on RTU and TCP).

3. Develop a small OPC server that runs on PV+ (somehow!!) that provides data to FTView, much like the Kepware, but a much smaller and probably cheaper than Kepware. Time is not an issue, but cost-effectiveness is.

Please think through the request, and my options and kindly provide your view on my options and/or your suggestions.

Many Thanks.

By James Ingraham on 7 December, 2015 - 5:48 pm
1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

> PV+ will act as a Modbus Master.

I am going to assume you mean a Modbus CLIENT, and the devices are Modbus SERVERS.


> What is the best way to do this without using Kepware OPC?

I am terribly confused as to why you want this. Kepware drivers come with the PanelView Plus. Yes, you have to flash the firmware, but considering some of the options you've listed below that's a trivial operation.

> 1. Develop a .NET program running on PV+ (somehow!!)

Nope. The ".NET" that's available on the PV+ is not really .NET, and C++ is the only supported language. Plus, it'll have to be the Enhanced version of the PV+. The big problem, however, is that there's no way to get the data into the HMI application, as there is no VB script support (or anything else) in FTView ME.

> 2. Develop a FTView Driver for Modbus Master that directly integrates
> Modbus Slave (both on RTU and TCP).

I don't understand this sentence. Also, we're back to how is writing a Modbus driver better than using Kepware's that's already included?

> 3. Develop a small OPC server that runs on PV+ (somehow!!)
> that provides data to FTView, much like the Kepware

I suppose this is theoretically possible, since it's what Kepware did, but they at least had A-B's help. Unless you have a team of Windows CE programmers and a direct line to A-B's developers, I don't think you're going to pull this off.

> much smaller and probably cheaper than Kepware.

Again, Kepware is included in the PV+, so you're comparing whatever costs you have against $0.

Option 4:
Add a gateway. I think the only way to do this is a ControlLogix / CompactLogix PLC with an RS-485 card. You can do the Modbus programming yourself or get something like a Prosoft MVI56E-MCMR / MVI69E-MBS. The problem with most EtherNet/IP to Modbus gateways is that the PV+ won't work with the EtherNet/IP side, forcing the use of a full-blown PLC. As expensive as it would be (and we're talking several thousand dollars even for the CompactLogix version) it would still be more feasible than trying to write custom software to run in the PV+.

Option 5:
Only use the PV+ in letter, not spirit. The PV+ enhanced version includes a VLC client, so you could set up a PC running some other HMI software that supports Modbus directly, and use the PV+ as a remote terminal rather than as a FTView ME instance.

Good luck,
James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

It has been a long time since I last worked on PV+ FTView ME application.

So if I understood you correctly, you're saying that PV+ has "BUILT-IN" Kepware Server with "DRIVERS", just like the Kepware on "DESKTOP/Windows Xp/7" OS?

If yes, and if the Kepware, is built-in without any additional cost, why, according to my limited experience, most people (all?) use RSLinx in between the A-B PLCs and PV+?

But, again, your suggestions are quite appealing to me and I would definitely incline towards using the Built-In Kepware within PV+ to communicate the PV+ with Modbus Slaves (Servers).

Thanks.

Hi VMakwana,

why, according to my limited experience, most people (all?) use RSLinx in between the A-B PLCs and PV+?

AB PanelView Plus will be using RSLinx (Enterprise, not classic or gateway) if the protocols to be used are AB Protocol (EthernetIP, Controlnet, DH+, etc). Even some of those protocols also available built in KEPWARE, it is suggested to use RSLinx Enterprise instead of KEPWARE, since reliability, easy to configure and other features.


Other than those protocols, for example Modbus TCP or RTU, one should be using KEPWARE. KEPWARE has been prepared by Rockwell if there is need to connect using 3rd party protocols that doesn't exist in the driver list of RSLinx Gateway.

Hope this help

By James Ingraham on 5 January, 2016 - 12:50 pm

> So if I understood you correctly, you're saying that PV+ has
> "BUILT-IN" Kepware Server with "DRIVERS", just like the
> Kepware on "DESKTOP/Windows Xp/7" OS?

Yes, that is correct. There is an additional step of downloading firmware to the PV+ before the Kepware drivers can be used, but they are included with FTView ME and do not require an additional license to be used on the PV+.

> If yes, and if the Kepware, is built-in without any additional
> cost, why, according to my limited experience, most people (all?)
> use RSLinx in between the A-B PLCs and PV+?

There is no reason to use Kepware to talk to an A-B PLC. Using RSLinx Enterprise is easier, and tech support will be more helpful, so why bother with Kepware? If you're using ME Station on a PC (instead of a PV+), you do have to buy a license for Kepware (or other).

Hope that helps.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

Why don't you want to use Kepware ? Have you tried MatrikonOPC?

https://www.matrikonopc.com/opc-drivers/opc-modbus/base-driver-details.aspx

By scadadoctor on 19 January, 2016 - 12:45 pm
1 out of 1 members thought this post was helpful...

You can use a Modbus ActiveX master on the PV+. These activeX , although older technology than .NET may work better on this hardware.
I have one & can e-mail you if you like to try it. This will be better & easier on system resources of PV hardware, than using OPC servers. You will have to write very simple VBA code. The sample I send will have example in it also. This will be a cleaner & leaner solution, I believe. This will talk to as many MB slaves as I have tried it.

let me know if you like to try this. Good luck.

Sonam bang sonam.b@parijat.com
Parijat Controlware, Inc
Houston TX, USA

Hi Sonam Bang,

I'm interesting to try out your ActiveX, would you please to share us the sample, my e-mail is aan.jpg@gmail.com

Thanks a lot

Sure, I will share that with you!

Sure, this ActiveX solution seems a quicker solution. it would be great if you could share it.

thanks!

By Brandon McBride on 7 May, 2016 - 12:01 am

Sonam bang-

If you're still willing to share this information I would greatly appreciate it. My email is brandon.mcbride@industrial-acs.com.

Thanks in advance

By ICP DAS USA on 1 February, 2016 - 1:48 pm

The easy way appears to be using a gateway. I am assuming that your PV+ communicates via Modbus TCP as a Master. If that is the case, you can use our Modbus Gateway products for a very simple conversion.
Please see the following link.
http://www.icpdas-usa.com/tgw_715.html

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

By Bob Peterson on 1 February, 2016 - 11:03 pm

I would think the easiest way is to just use Kepware on the PV+. It is included at no additional charge.

--
Bob
http://ilbob.blogspot.com/

By James Ingraham on 4 February, 2016 - 2:27 pm

> The easy way appears to be using a gateway. I am assuming that your
> PV+ communicates via Modbus TCP as a Master. If that is the case,
> you can use our Modbus Gateway products for a very simple conversion.

No. He's asking HOW to get the PV+ to be a Modbus TCP master. Adding a gateway that is expecting a Modbus TCP master won't help him.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.

Yes, indeed,I was asking about PV+ as a Modbus Master (client if you will).

Summary of what I learned from these posts, which is by the way, the reason I am fond of this forum, is:

1. Kepware driver inside PV+, PV+ shall be flashed with a new firmware: would require a great deal for an HMI technician to accomplish it, for me it's a risky solution because special expertise is required which is hard to find at night 1AM when a machine goes down, reflashing is necessary, who will do that!!

2. Use the ActiveX, which an HMI programmer can handle and the HMI technician can very well be abstracted from it.

3. A gateway in the middle: like I said, time is not an issue, cost effectiveness is. Adding a gateway sure is an option, but it adds more costs than value that comes from a solution that is right built into PV+.

If anyone still has some more suggestions, please, you are most welcome!

Thanks.

By James Ingraham on 3 March, 2016 - 11:42 am

1. On the problem of re-flashing the firmware on a PV+ on night shift, you have that issue no matter what. They've got to be able to flash firmware and download the project. True, they need to know one more step, to check the box for the Kepware driver. Or, flash the firmware before you put the PV+ on the shelf in the spares room.

2. I don't see how the ActiveX option is any easier.

3. I'm not sure that there's a gateway that would work, other than using a Logix PLC with a Modbus TCP card in it, which would be an extremely expensive way to do it.

Use the internal Kepware driver. Either live with the fact that you'll need an engineer to replace the screen or prepare it in advance.

-James Ingraham
Sage Automation, Inc.