Exclusive: Opto 22’s new brain boards enable serial-to-Ethernet migration

Temecula, CA—Opto 22 has introduced new I/O and communication processors, E1 and E2 brain boards, which are Ethernet versions of its Optomux brain boards.

By Control Engineering Staff June 14, 2005

Temecula, CA— Opto 22 has introduced new I/O and communication processors, E1 and E2 brain boards, which are Ethernet versions of its Optomux brain boards. E1 and E2 migrate existing Optomux installations to faster networks, higher performance, and more communication options. E1 upgrades the B1 brain board for digital I/O systems, while the E2 is designed for analog I/O systems as an upgrade for the B2 brain board. E1 and E2 are scheduled to be available in late June, 2005.

Introduced in 1983, Optomux is a rugged, modular remote I/O system used with personal computers for applications in industrial control, remote monitoring, and data acquisition. Since then, more than 22 million I/O points have been connected to Optomux systems. Brain boards are the communication and logic processors at the heart of Optomux and most of Opto 22’s other I/O systems. Opto 22 develops and manufactures hardware and software for industrial automation, remote monitoring, enterprise data acquisition, and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications.

E1 and E2 brain boards offer 10/100 Mbps Ethernet and RS-422/485 serial networking, and support multiple protocols simultaneously, offering users more communications options. Besides supporting well-established, documented, and license-free Optomux protocol over serial, E1 and E2 also support OptoMMP (memory-map protocol) used with newer Opto 22 Snap Ethernet systems; Optomux protocol over Ethernet; OPC through OptoOPCServer; and Modbus/TCP.

For existing and new users of Opto 22’s hardware, E1 and E2 reportedly form the foundation of a low-cost control or data acquisition system, which offers the flexibility of single point I/O, a migration path from existing Optomux installations to Opto 22’s latest software offerings, and a reliability record earned over decades of trusted service in the field.

“With the introduction of the E1 and E2 brain boards, we have Ethernet-enabled Optomux,” says Mark Engman, Opto 22’s engineering VP. “With a simple brain board swap-out, a 20-year-old I/O system can quickly, easily, and affordably be upgraded and made to communicate over an Ethernet network, while preserving the customer’s investment in I/O modules, racks, sensors and actuators, wiring, and labor. The E1 and E2 demonstrate Opto 22’s stated commitment for 2005 to offer customers a migration path to our latest-generation products.”

In addition, Optomux users upgrading to Ethernet via either E1 or E2 not only preserve their existing hardware, but they can also continue to use their Optomux-based software by using the brain boards’ RS-422/485 serial port to make a serial connection to one Ethernet brain board, which can then serve as a bridge to other Ethernet brain boards on an Ethernet network. Also, E1 and E2 users can choose to implement newer, more powerful ioProject software, which includes a more sophisticated control and data acquisition environment capable of PID control, subroutines, HMI, and OPC connectivity. ioProject includes ioControl, ioDisplay, OptoOPCServer, and ioManager.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor