I read today that when Alexander Graham Bell said, “Watson, come here, I need you,” Watson replied he’d be right there after he finished installing his newest Modbus Meter.
OK, Modbus and Metering haven’t been around for that long, but it’s got to be pretty close. Modbus is so old that it has blue hair and drags oxygen along when it goes to the casino.
But is it in danger of death? The answer is an emphatic “NO!”
Modbus is with us forever. In 2260, when the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) is cruising the Milky Way Galaxy with that day’s version of William Shatner on the bridge, I am sure that there will be Modbus devices on board providing data from some simple device someplace on that ship.
Why? There’s a number of reasons for it:
1. It’s simple – nothing is simpler than Modbus RTU. It’s just RS485 with a few simple commands and a simple data representation.
2. Anyone can build a Modbus device interface. If you’re the most inept programmer around and know nothing about networking, you can get a Modbus interface working in a few days (a few weeks if you’re truly incompetent).
3. It’s cheap. RS485 interface hardware costs next to nothing. The electrical drivers are small – they don’t waste a lot of board space, and they’re only pennies on your BOM.
4. It’s easy on your processor. Any processor can afford the few K of code space needed to implement it. RAM space can be even smaller if you restrict the size of the Modbus messages. And the cycles to process Modbus messages, even at 19.2K baud, are nothing to concern a systems designer.
5. It’s easy to understand – there’s only two data types; registers and coils. Everything in a device is either a series of 16-bit register or coil.
It’s such a staple of life on this planet today (and into the future) that I had our engineers build a new Modbus Router to make life easier for those of you using both Modbus TCP and Modbus RTU and for the few using Modbus ASCII.
In the past year, we’ve done some customer projects and needed a Modbus Router. They were either impossible to configure or buggy or cheaply made or sometimes all three. So I gave our engineers the mission to build something different. I wanted the Best Friggin Router (BFR) on the planet (to be truthful, I didn’t use “Friggin”).
Here’s what I wanted:
A. A really easy-to-use, sleek and customer friendly user interface. If you’ve been paying attention to my blogs and my newsletter, I am obsessed about this. There’s no excuse for hard-to-use user interfaces in personal devices and applications or industrial ones.
B. A straightforward way to move data been Modbus TCP Clients and Modbus RTU Masters. That’s what most people want to do. I have something over here in this Client or Master and I want it over there in that Client or Master. A simple idea that a lot of devices make so very difficult it makes me boil over with rage.
C. An easy way to move Modbus Server device data to Modbus RTU Masters. How hard should that be? The Modbus Servers just have to look like they are Modbus RTU Slave devices.
D. The opposite of C, an easy way to move Modbus RTU Slave device data to Modbus TCP Clients. Make the Modbus RTU Slaves look like Modbus TCP Servers.
And now it’s here. You can find out all the details by clicking on any of the links in this blog.
If you try it, drop me a note and let me know what you think. You can contact John Rinaldi by clicking on that link.