Hi all,

and thank you Niclas for your very detailed post.

Indeed I think you made me realize something I didn't realize till now: You can 
connect multiple devices to a serial Interface.
For me, from the first zero-modem-cable I welded to play command and conquer 
against a friend, serial interfaces were only one-to-one connections.
I guess that's why I built things the way I built them. If I had known what you 
now made me know, I agree at least the handling of the serial port I would have 
done differently.

Also I have to admit, that the serial communication option was not handled as a 
first-class citizen by me and probably others here as I at least only have one 
serial-capable PLC but I don't even have a serial to usb-c adapter (Should 
really get one ...) So it was always a rather theoretical construct. Also I 
don't recall people reporting to have used it before.  

So I agree we should address your findings asap.

But can we assume that only one protocol is handled over one serial interface? 
So not multiple Modbus devices sharing with multiple S5 devices ... 
Because in this case I guess we could refactor things a bit. 

Perhaps to have an optional device-address on the connection level which will 
act as a default and to extend or provide a second set of addresses, that have 
the device-address within. So you could either use the device-address together 
with the smaller field addresses (Mainly for TCP connections) and these would 
inherit the default device-address or you could use the bigger ones where you 
provide the device-address for every field.

I wouldn’t want to change the naming however ... you could consider in an 
extended serial modbus scenario (If we changed the serial part the way you 
proposed), that the connection is from the software to the port ...Which would 
be true. And most of the other drivers in PLC4X actually do more have a 
Connection-oriented communication form. I guess this is due to the fact that we 
concentrated on the SCADA-Level protocols first and now are gradually stepping 
deeper into the fieldbus area. 
I think only the EIP protocol is also somewhat connection-less, but S7, OPC UA, 
AMS/ADS, ... definitely are.

I know that in a case like PLC4X where we want to map all sorts of 
communication variants under one API, we will never get it that it's a perfect 
match for all protocols, especially if it's the projects goal to have one 
shared API. 

But again ... thank you for your detailed input ... this is some very important 
information and it even made a lot of things clearer to me which customers in 
the past said and I simply didn't understand ;-)


Am 30.06.20, 06:12 schrieb "Cesar Garcia" <cesar.gar...@ceos.com.ve>:

    Hi Niclas,

    You are right on all points. I have not tested the Modbus serial driver,
    but I am very interested that it works on Multidrop connections.

    Version 0.7.0 is based on Mspec, so a proposal could be:

    1. Modify the PLCField to include the UID of the device within the frame
    from the address of the Item.

    2. The default UID must be the one inserted in the Connection String.

    3. Evaluate the queue of requests, I think the standard allows a single
    frame depending on the connection (Half / Full Duplex).

    It should not be very laborious, I can keep an eye on it.

    Here Chris can guide us if it is the way.

    Best regards,

    El lun., 29 jun. 2020 a las 22:59, Niclas Hedhman (<nic...@hedhman.org>)

    > Ok, let's dissect this...
    > 1. There are many devices connected to a serial ModBus port.
    > 2. ModBus (and every other serial protocol I have dealt with) are not
    > "connection" oriented, but packets, most of the time very small. The
    > "connection" metaphor in PLC4X for non-TCP comms is actually quite 
    > 3. All serial protocols (that I worked with) have at least the destination
    > present in the protocol packet itself. When some of these serial protocols
    > were "wrapped" for modern TCP/IP communications, an ambiguity surfaced. 
    > in case of ModBus, the device address was simply defaulted to 1 (although 
    > think some gateways can handle many, and perhaps some TCP devices will map
    > out more than one ModbUs device, but I have no experience in that)
    > So, as things are right now, and if I didn't misunderstood something
    > (totally possible), is that one is required to "open->....->close" the
    > PLC4X connection for each device that I want to scan/read, as I think the
    > device address (1 byte in case of ModBus) is part of the connection 
    > The biggest system I have ever been involved with was just under 1000 PLCs
    > (granted, not modbus) with 30,000 data points readable in total. It feels
    > "soooo wrong" to have "open->send->receive->close" operation for all of
    > those, AND that the timing on that particular system was that for optimal
    > performance, exactly 1 byte of delay (related to half-duplex modem
    > direction switching) between receiving the last byte of previous packet
    > before the first byte of the new packet. Without the "Serial Port"
    > abstraction, with a queue of requests to send, such timing is not trivial.
    > What I think has "gone wrong" here is that the "serial port" is an
    > interface, pretty much like "eth0" and should be handled "further down" 
    > since the operating system has no support for it, it should have been in
    > PLC4X's architecture. I also think that the "connection" metaphor is poor,
    > and a "packet" metaphor would have been much better throughout PLC4X
    > regardless whether it is TCP/IP, UDP or serial. The actual TCP connection
    > when needed should be handled under the hood, rather invisibly to the 
    > As I said before, I understand that this is not something that can be
    > changed, just like that... Only expressing how I think it should have been
    > done.
    > I will try to work with what we have, and dig into the details on the
    > serial port side, as that's where I have plenty of experience and I get 
    > impression that it isn't the strength of the community. I am sure you will
    > hear a lot from me going forward, as I have decided to put PLC4X into my
    > commercial product, replacing the existing j2mod.
    > Niclas
    > [1] It is quite funny that the serial port is natively a stream, and we 
    > packets onto it. TCP/IP is natively packets, which is then made into a
    > stream, which we then map packets onto the stream. Ideally, UDP is fit for
    > purpose for PLC protocols, but for some unknown reason few are.
    > On Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 4:00 PM Christofer Dutz <christofer.d...@c-ware.de
    > >
    > wrote:
    > > Hi all,
    > >
    > > sorry for joining in the party late ... but hopefully not too late.
    > >
    > > Regarding making the serial port part of the connection string ... I 
    > > to admit that right now I couldn't imagine how to not have it in there
    > and
    > > not over-complicate things for the users. Yes, if you create a 
    > > this will have exclusive handle to the port, but this is actually an
    > > important thing to have. In contrast to network devices that can handle
    > > multiple connections in parallel ... a serial port is ... well ...
    > serial.
    > > Havin asynchronous access to one serial port from multiple areas in an
    > > application sound like a bad Idea.
    > >
    > > However you could always use the connection pool ... in this case the
    > pool
    > > would have one connection open and could share this (serially) with
    > > multiple parts of an application. Here a part would request the
    > connection,
    > > do its work and then give the connection back to the pool where another
    > > part of the application could use it. This way I think we have the ideal
    > > tradeoff between sharing a connection and not having to be concerned
    > about
    > > breaking the serial operation of the serial-port communication.
    > >
    > > And yes: We could use some documentation on the connection pool ... and
    > > the scraper ;-/
    > >
    > > Perhaps I'll whip up a little documentation on the connection-pool as I
    > > just recently had to find out how to use it myself ;-)
    > >
    > > Chris
    > >
    > >
    > > Am 25.06.20, 11:41 schrieb "Julian Feinauer" <
    > > j.feina...@pragmaticminds.de>:
    > >
    > >     Hey,
    > >
    > >     yes, its in the module scraper or plc-scraper.
    > >     Its easily configurable by yaml, json or programmatically.
    > >
    > >     Julian
    > >
    > >     Am 25.06.20, 10:30 schrieb "Niclas Hedhman" <nic...@hedhman.org>:
    > >
    > >         Thanks....
    > >
    > >         Another question; is there any "loop" system that just
    > > continuously reads
    > >         until I tell it to stop?
    > >
    > >         On Thu, Jun 25, 2020, 15:16 Julian Feinauer <
    > > j.feina...@pragmaticminds.de>
    > >         wrote:
    > >
    > >         > Hi Nic,
    > >         >
    > >         > I have to dig in a bit later to give you good answers but 
    > > the
    > >         > connection can be left open and configuration should be as you
    > > wrote it.
    > >         > I also did some tests with it but that was some months ago...
    > >         >
    > >         > Hope to have some more information later.
    > >         >
    > >         > Julian
    > >         >
    > >         > Am 25.06.20, 05:58 schrieb "Niclas Hedhman" <
    > nic...@hedhman.org
    > > >:
    > >         >
    > >         >     Hi,
    > >         >     IIUIC, the connection string for Serial Modbus would be
    > > something like;
    > >         >
    > >         >          modbus:serial:/dev/ttyS0?unit-identifier=7
    > >         >
    > >         >     assuming I want to communicate with device with address 7.
    > >         >
    > >         >     That would mean that I have one connection per device I
    > talk
    > > to over a
    > >         >     single serial port. Is that correct? (Personally, I would
    > > not made the
    > >         >     device part of the connection abstraction, but realize 
    > > it is a bit
    > >         >     late for that)
    > >         >
    > >         >     Are there any issues here, regarding which connection has
    > > access to the
    > >         >     port, or do I need to open and close the connection on 
    > > set of
    > >         > messages?
    > >         >
    > >         >     Couldn't find info about this in the documentation.
    > >         >
    > >         >
    > >         >     The serial port page is missing information on the
    > > configuration (data,
    > >         >     parity, stop,...). The source code doesn't have the
    > >         > @ConfigurationParameter
    > >         >     annotations, so will they still work or do I need to add
    > that
    > >         >     programmatically somehow?
    > >         >
    > >         >
    > >         >     Cheers
    > >         >     Niclas
    > >         >
    > >         >
    > >
    > >
    > >

    *CEOS Automatización, C.A.*

    *Ing. César García*

    *Cel: +58 414-760.98.95*

    *Hotline Técnica SIEMENS: 0800 1005080*

    *Email: support.aan.automat...@siemens.com

Reply via email to