Holiday Greetings to all of you from Opto 22!
We will be open for business most days between now and 2013, but as usual, shipping stops for a few days while we take inventory.
The Opto 22 website is always open, though. Product documents, downloads (many of them free), the OptoKnowledgeBase, OptoForums, videos, our self-training guide, and more are always available.
Here's the holiday schedule for our Headquarters and Manufacturing office:
Mon. Dec 24 - Closed
Tue. Dec 25 - Closed
Wed. Dec 26 - Open; last shipping day of the year
Thu. Dec 27 - Open; no shipping
Fri. Dec 28 - Open; no shipping
Mon. Dec 31 - Closed
Tue. Jan 1 - Closed
Wed. Jan 2- Open; shipping resumes
Thank You for your business!
At year's end we always like to take stock of the year behind and look forward to the year to come. All of us at Opto 22 sincerely thank you for your business in 2012—and for your interest in our products and new developments for 2013.
Our best wishes to you for a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.
We've all heard about the Smart Grid, the redesign of the U.S. electrical grid so it becomes more efficient and more responsive to changes in supply and demand.
When people talk about the Smart Grid they're usually looking at the supply side of energy. But most of us are on the demand side—we use electricity rather than producing it—and we're concerned about the cost of our energy today.
What can you do today to track energy more closely and reduce costs?
A recent article in Control Engineering offers some answers. In it, Opto 22's Arun Sinha suggests that control engineers start using Smart Grid principles now. Automation engineers already have the skills needed to get a handle on energy usage and costs today, plus position their facilities to work with the Smart Grid as it develops.
"Demand side management is essentially a data acquisition and control application," says Arun. "So it seems like a good fit for the skill set that automation professionals have."
Read more in "A look at the Smart Grid's Demand Side" at Control Engineering.
Read more about Automation and the Smart Grid in our white paper.
Speaking of Control Engineering, remember to vote for the products you find the most useful and promising in their Engineers' Choice Awards. Voting is open now for a limited time, so don't delay.
Voting criteria focus on technological advancement, service to the industry, and market impact.
This year Opto 22's SoftPAC is an Engineers' Choice Finalist in the category Machine and Embedded Control - PACs.
As you've heard, SoftPAC is a software-based controller for PC-based control. If your application requires complex math, rapid reading and writing of files, or storage of large amounts of data, SoftPAC could be just what you need.
Since you use the same software to program all Opto 22 SNAP PAC controllers, you can even write your control strategy and then decide which controller to run it on.
SoftPAC gives you a new choice: run your PAC Control strategy on a standalone SNAP PAC S-series hardware controller, a rack-mounted SNAP PAC R-series hardware controller, or on SoftPAC on an embedded or standalone PC.
Take a look at SoftPAC—and don't forget to vote!
We've mentioned the quick Error Lookup tool in PAC Control in a previous tip. That's the tool that takes the cryptic error code number you sometimes see and turns it into information you can use.
For example, open PAC Control and from the Help menu, choose Error Lookup. Just enter the error code number exactly as you see it and click Get Error, and it shows you what the error means. (See example below.)
That's great as far as it goes, but what if you want to use the error text in your control strategy or display it in your HMI?
We have the answer. Thanks to Mary St. John, our Director of Training (also known as OptoMary), you now have a subroutine that converts numeric error messages into useful text.
The subroutine is a free download available in the OptoForum. You can import the subroutine file into your strategy, or if you prefer, just copy the code from the Forum post and paste it into your own OptoScript block.
Ask your question or share your code in the OptoForum. There's good stuff in there!