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Recommend a good terminal emulation program

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  • Recommend a good terminal emulation program

    I am using a linear actuator with a stepper motor and a 80100 Step Motor Drive connected to my PC via a USB/RS232 adapter. I can use the supplied SureMotion software to configure and test the system but I need a simple terminal emulation program to send the string of commands to accelerate, move and decelerate the actuator. There are dozens of terminal emulators available. Any recommendations on a simple one that I can use to build the strings, store them in a file and then easily and repeatedly send them to the drive?

  • #2
    a plc perhaps?


    • #3
      I would also suggest just a cheap PLC. You will want one anyway to control the motor and run the program in the field. Just get one to start with and do your string commands through it. That way it will be connected in the same way on the test bench as in the field and you wont have to rework things or figure stuff out again. I believe a Click PLC does string commands and can control the stepper over network comms. Or a "no IO" BRX unit, which is designed pretty much just for network control of drives like these.

      edit: though, something with IO would probably be better. That way you can connect up sensors to your slide to prevent overtravel.
      Last edited by MikeN; 10-23-2018, 11:38 AM.


      • #4
        It doesn’t say anywhere that the drive supports modbus protocol. If it did, you would have to connect everything using modbus. With that, controlling the drive would be easy. The only concern is that rs232 is sensitive so the network lines need to be short.
        if that is not the case, then controlling the drive using at commands or a certain protocol the drive understands still can be done from a terminal.
        this is what I would try:
        1. Connect my laptop to plc using the other communication port present on plc. If that supports modbus, I would set the laptop as master. Then I would send a message to plc over modbus and program it to relay it further to the drive via rs232.
        2. If the plc doesn’t have a second comm port, then is not worth doing it.


        • #5
          Originally posted by MikeN View Post
          Or a "no IO" BRX unit, which is designed pretty much just for network control of drives like these.
          Minor clarification, but the no I/O BRX unit is actually a modular CPU for up to 8 I/O slots. Some users are not a fan of the brick terminals or the inability to replace the I/O independent of the CPU.

          But they can definitely be used as standalone comms processors too, and many do.


          • #6
            Folks, thanks for your suggestions. After looking at it, I agree that a PLC is the way to go. This system is used in a lab to run an experiment so we are only building one of these and I had hoped not to have to learn yet another programming methodology. But given the sequencing and various timings that are necessary it looks like it would be hard to do in a terminal emulator. I'm going to purchase a low end Click PLC with Ethernet and a serial port and use that to issue the commands to the 80100 over the serial port. Thanks again for your help. BTW, the tech support at Automation Direct recommended the same thing. Best Regards, Jim