Remote monitoring

  • I would like to be able to monitor XRC controllers (programs and I/O) remotely via a pc. Is there any software or any way at all that makes this possible.
    Motoman North America have a software package called MotoAdmin which pretty much seems to do exactly what I want. Motoman UK however have been very unhelpful and say that they don't supply this. :wallbash: Doesn't it work on European robots?
    Motoman North America just refer me to the UK?
    Obviously I'd prefer to pay nothing at all, but I would like something.
    Any help much appreciated as always.

  • AD
  • Slinky,

    Motoadmin was written by someone at Motoman Germany for the NX controller. I was able to get it to work on an XRC, but you need a ethernet to RS232 converter, and you have to set up the RS232 port on the front of the XCP01 card to work with data ( I would have to go back through my notes to find out what I did). It does not matter if it's North American or not, could be Motoman UK does not want to get into this product.

    The Motoadmin software is protected by an external key (plugs into USB port) I haven't found anyone who can crack this kind of software to make it run all the time.

    The other thing to know about Motoadmin is it's flaky. You have to have the robot in "remote" mode all the time or you loose communications. If you have a power outage in the plant you will have to reestablish communications manually (so if the robot has a major alarm like servo tracking you HAVE to reboot, you will loose communications).

    I can get you a price Canadian if you like.



  • I am using the MotoAdmin for quite a time now (on NX100) and am not delighted at all.
    The downsides deiscovered are:
    - The software is raw, even some buttons not translated from German.
    - After every comand to the robot the software pops up an error message, although the command passed successfully.
    - The job editor feature of the MotoAdmin does not perform syntax check.
    On attempt to save erroneous edit, the old (correct) job is deleted in the controller and the new one is not accepted.
    - After edit of the master job (even without errors), the master job becomes undefined in the robot and must be set again.
    - On robot error, the MotoAdmin tends to close by own error on attempt to switch the robot operation mode from MotoAdmin, if the robot error is not reset from the robot pendant.
    - MotoAdmin falls into fatal error in attempt to communicate with the robot not in remote mode.

    Also, everything stated by Robodoc applies.

    Be aware, that MotoAdmin does not emulate the robot pendant and does not allow to perform all the actions that may be done from the pendant.
    Neither does it allow to do anything that cannot be done from the pendant.

    For remote manual monitoring it will do the job.

  • Thanks guys, both very helpful indeed.
    Robodoc, yes please, I would like a ball park figure in any currency please.
    All robots (11 controllers) would be XRC, so I would probably need some guidance on setting up communications. More advanced computing and networking is a little out of my comfort zone.
    I am assuming I would only require one license per remote computer, not per robot controller.

    Thanks again, very very helpful input.

  • Slinky
    Motoadmin software is flakey. Robodoc knows what he is talking about. Alot of the concerns do not come from the software but how the controller and the software communicate with each other. Motoman robots are the most reliable robots out there but when they communicate with the outside world (ie software via RS232 or ethernet, not much diiference if you ask me) it does not stand up. If you communicate Via ethernet IP or devicenet it is good. It just does not stand up to when it has to communicate serially or ethernet.

  • I undersatnd where you're coming from guys but I need a quick solution to remotely monitor the robot status from anywhere in the world. This seems like the only option at present.

  • The OEM (slightly discounted) cost in Canada is about $1800 Canadian.

    Anywhere in the world... :hmmm:
    Not sure how it behaves through all firewalls and routers.
    And you will need serious cooperation on the robot location side.
    Still, looks you have no other choice.

  • This is just a thought, but maybe you could use MotoOPCServer for the communication protocol and configure the DCOM to work over the internet? Although you may have problems, DCOM is suppose to work with firewall over the internet.

  • I just remembered that The XRC can have a flash card put into with webpage information. I can not remember the name of it at this moment. You might want to give Motoman a Call. Basically the web page would monitor the robots status.

  • the webpage monitor is also kind of flaky... it uses the same data transmission protocols as motoadmin. Like robodoc said, you run into scenarios where you have to reboot the robot to get communication running again.

    truthfully i am a believer that the best method is using some sort of PLC network. The remote network cards are tried & tested. If there is ever a communication problem it is very simple to go online and see exactly what is or isn't working.

  • Canadian list price of Motoadmin is about $2000.00. You can talk to up to four robots. The license can be adjusted to more robots, cost I don't know. Each XRC will need a RS232 to Ethernet card and cable. The RS232 card needs 110v AC to run so if your robot doesn't have the 110 volt outlet on the side there is a charge for that. The last price I did for a RS232 to ethernet is $1000.00 per robot.


  • I am investigating the DCI communications option for the XRC and Motoman wants 1000.00 for the function option. I have a hardware key for the Motoman SDK that plugs into the host computer. Is the DCI option just a bit or a parameter setting that I can set or is it something that must be purchased from Motoman?


  • You may also want to consider buying the MotoCom SDK and writing your own application to do exactly what you want it to. I use it with NX100. I don't know if it works with XRC.

    Don't forget, that MotoAdmin requires a hardware key. You want to check the status from "anywhere in the world." You'd better have that hardware key with you then.

    If you write your own, you can have your application put the information into a database or web page and check it from anywhere in the world WITHOUT having a hardware key with you.

    You could buy a multi-port RS-232 card to get a connection to each controller. I am pretty sure that these come as an external USB form factor these days. Then you would not need to purchase a network card for each XRC.

    You could use the money saved from the network cards to spend on a software contractor (Visual C++ or VB) if you don't have that skill set in-house.

    Just insure that you get the source code and archive it well. This way if you want changes, you have the source and you can have it modified.

  • This is a terribly old topic, has anything changed? Are there any connectivity solutions not listed here? are these still all flaky? (I just tore into 4 xrc's today, and am a plc guy but starting to think pc based might have too many advantages now, especially for (IGM we had we could direct connect on the network and push or pull files robot,,to server,,to workstation and back and forth,, kept my offline on workstation, my backups on server,, and could load them without opening doors, covers, or stopping production.. (could message operators from pc also,,,) (and we thought that was primitive,) Motoman's I have seen linked with (device net?) to small touch screen pc's in control pods which could do some things, but still very archaic,, (I do like the backing up on pcmcia cards on motomans, but I see most of our people are so scared to work with these that they may damage them that its easier to weld by hand then program, and try to run through,, (a real shame, I am trying to change). (any tips on that? how to better network the machines, and get the people more involved?)

  • Funny I just registered into this site and actually have something to contribute. I just found a package that will backup and compare the files, if that helps. Link2Logic by Radix Inc., I am in the process of specing this out right now.

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