Learn how to use Muting on the Datalogic Light Curtains from AutomationDirect.
In this video we’ll connect a computer to the light curtain and then quickly walk through the configuration software. You can download the Datalogic Light Curtain software for free from the Datalogic light curtain page on the AutomationDirect webstore. Why would you want to use a dongle and the software when you can configure the light curtains just fine using the buttons on the front panel? Because it’s so much easier, you can monitor all the beams in real time and you can save configurations to disk so it’s easy to replicate that configuration on other systems which save you a lot of time and effort. And there are some settings that can ONLY be done using the software – you can’t do them from the front panel buttons! So, given that, here we go. The light curtains come pre-setup for DHCP, so if you plug them into a network the router will be able to assign the light curtains an IP Address and a PC on that network running the light curtain configuration software will be able to find the light curtain on the network. Of course, you will need this interface dongle and the appropriate Ethernet cable to do that. But often times, we just want to connect a PC or a laptop directly to the light curtain. There is no router or network, so how do you get the PC to communicate with the light curtain? Well, in the quick start guide for the Dongle it tells you to set you PC’s Ethernet port to 172.27.101.210. I’m using windows 7 so I go to the Control Panel, Network and Internet, Network and Sharing Center, Change Adapter Settings. I have three Ethernet adapters on this PC, my light curtain is connected to this USB to Ethernet Adapter. Double click on that. Double click on this TCP/IPv4. Click on this and set the computers IP Address to this and mask to this. Hit OK and OK again. Great, our computer is now on the same sub-net as the light curtain. Now we just start the software. To configure the light curtains you want to log in as the System Integrator. The default password is “SystemIntegrator” with no space and a Capital “I”. This first screen just explains what all of these little guys do. You can configure the light curtains, Open an existing configuration from disk, read the current configuration from a device, open a log and monitor the system. Over here on the right you see help information which explains all of these things in greater detail. Let’s open the monitor first. The software automatically scans the system and identifies all devices connected. If you later add a light curtain just hit this re-scan to refresh the screen. And we see that dongle is connected to this one SG4-30 light curtain with this serial number. If we had cascaded light curtains we would see those here. Select the device you want to monitor – we only have the one– and hit next and we now see a live view of the light curtain and all of its status indicators. If I run this calibrated 30mm rod through the beams then we see the beams that are interrupted live on the screen along with the status indicators. Since this rod is 30mm it only breaks one beam at a time. If I run my hand through the beams, you can see it breaks more than one beam at a time. If I scroll down I can see of the status of the light curtain. If we had slave connected we would see their status here too. The help tab has details on all of this and you can even see an example of what this would look like if you had some slave devices connected. This monitor function is a great way to verify your light curtains are working as expected after you configure them. For example, if we reduce the resolution or add blanking we would see all of that reflected here. We demonstrate that in the next video. If we go back to the home screen, we see this icon is the configuration. We can either click here or on this little guy here. Same as before. The network is automatically scanned for devices – it only found the one dongle. And again, if you connect more dongles you can hit scan to re-scan the network. Double click on the dongle and we see it has one light curtain connected. Select the light curtain you want to configure – we only have the one – and hit next. Just like before, the system information is on the left, the stuff we are interested in is in the middle and the stuff we want to do is on the right along with the help menu. Notice that there are two sets of parameters on the right. Blanking and Muting. The both have the same basic parameters which we’ll cover in this video. Part II will cover resolution and blanking, and Part III will cover muting. Let’s give this configuration a name. How do we want the outputs to behave? Normally you want PNP because the signal is normally high. That way the loss of a signal will be seen as a failure. If you choose NPN you are warned that you can’t use the EDM function. We’ll leave the outputs at the normal PNP. Notice that the information in the center changes to reflect exactly what the current configuration is both schematically and signal wise. EDM or External Device Monitoring allows the light curtains to monitor the output signals for proper operation. You need a normally closed contact to do that, and we do have that wired up in this test set so I’ll turn that on. Again, the diagram in the middle changes to reflect that selection. You can reduce range to minimize interference with other light curtains that might be near by. You can change it here on the receiver, but you will have to use the front panel buttons on the sender to change the range, since it doesn’t have an Ethernet connection. This note down here tells you what kind of ranges you can expect for the different configurations. The beams sent between the two units are digitally encoded which gives you a super reliable performance. But, if you have another set of light curtains near by, they could interfere with each other if they transmit the same code. Normally you would set those curtains up like this where one transmits from right to left and the other left to right so there is no way they can interfere with each other. You can also reduce the possibility of interference by making sure the sensitivity of the light curtain pairs is reduced to the smallest you need back here in the previous step. BUT, if you have to mount the light curtains like this where they are all transmitting in the same direction and they are in close proximity to each other then you will want to turn on coding. This says use code set number 1 for this light curtain because I know the one next to it is using code set 2. This says use code set 2 for this light curtain because I know the one next to it is using code set 1. And again, since we are only connected to the receiver side of the light curtain you need to make sure you manually change the transmitter side to match codes or they won’t be able to talk to each other. You only need to do this if the light curtains are closer together than the minimum distance allowed and both receivers are on the same side. We don’t have another set of curtains here, so we’ll turn that feature off. After the light curtains have been tripped and the obstruction goes away, do you want the light curtains to reset themselves or do you want the operator to have to manually push a button to reset the outputs? Of course, that depends on how you want your system to work. You may want to have a manual button that the operator has to go press to ensure he is definitely away from the machine before it starts back up for example. For our demo we’ll leave that set to auto restart. Well, that’s the basics. In Part II well cover Resolution and Blanking and in Part III we’ll cover Muting. If you have any questions, please contact AutomationDirect’s free award winning tech support during regular business hours – they will be happy to help. And don’t forget the forums. There are lots of folks there that love to share their years of experience. Just don’t post any questions directed at AutomationDirect’s support staff there. They don’t monitor the forums on a regular basis.