Updating B1 brain board to Ethernet


My customer has a B1 brain board with digital I/O to a PLC and RS422 to an AS/400. We are replacing the AS/400 with a Windows-based system and I am exploring communication options. Our software typically uses OPC for communications to equipment like this and I would like to use OPC in this application. Our application may run on a virtual machine (not decided yet).

Option 1 - My first inclination is to replace the B1 board with an E1 board and talk to it over Ethernet. In this case I envision using the Opto 22 OPC server to talk to the E1 board over the LAN.

Option 2 - I may not be able to convince the client to replace the B1 board. If that is the case then I will need to continue to use RS422. My inclination would be to use a serial-to-Ethernet converter (such as those made by Perle) so that the Windows PC won’t need to support a serial interface directly. I will have to do something like this if we end up running our application on a virtual machine.

Question 1 - If I go with Option 2 can the Opto 22 OPC server be configured to talk to a serial-to-Ethernet converter (by specifying the converter’s IP address and TCP port number)?

Question 2 - Does Option 2 seem viable? Any issues that I might encounter?

Question 3 - Does the Opto 22 OPC server run as a Windows service?

Question 4 - Any other options I should consider or other recommendations?



Hi 3rady,

The E1 would be your best & most flexible bet, especially since the Opto 22 OPC server does not support Optomux (the B1’s protocol). Also, the E1 does BOTH ethernet and serial, so that might help with the migration process–you can have it continue to function as the old B1 while you’re bringing up your new Ethernet solution!

The OPC server does NOT run as a service.

The E1 can also be used w/a PAC as part of your flow chart strategy in PAC Control (and the PAC Project suite), so that’s another option to consider! I’d argue that the price of the E1, especially given the flexibility, is well worth the trade-off of any other hardware/hoops you might consider. But I’m a little biased. :slight_smile:




Mary is absolutely right. I have tried various means of gettng around harware costs, and essectially every time I analyze these costs, it almost always pays to do it right. Your time amounts to way more cost than the E1 hardware, end of story. About 2 hours of my time would pay for the E1.