Laurel Electronics
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Panel Meters - Counters - Timers - Transmitters, 4-20 mA & Modbus - Ethernet - USB - RS485 - RS232
Ethernet Interface Frequently Asked Technical Questions
An Ethernet interface board allows meters to be read over an existing local area network (LAN), or to be read remotely over a wide area network (Internet or WAN). Wiring costs are minimized if existing Ethernet wiring can be used. With an Ethernet interface, meters and transmitters can also be set up by a computer running Laurel’s Instrument Setup (IS) software when the computer and meter are connected to the same LAN, or the computer and meter are connected directly via a standard Ethernet cable.
Yes. Laureate panel meters are modular with slots for a choice of plug-in power supply boards, relay boards, communication boards, analog output boards, and signal conditioner boards. Please see our Laureates Overview web page. The middle slot is available for a communications board, which can be for Ethernet, USB, RS485 or USB. These boards can be ordered installed with a new meter or be purchased separately later and be simply plugged in. The presence of a new board and the type of board are automatically sensed by the meter’s firmware or by  Instrument Setup (IS) software. If you change boards, also change the model number on the meter label.
YThe Modbus TCP protocol is supported by Laurel’s Ethernet interface boards for meters and by Laureate Ethernet transmitters. The Modbus TCP protocol allows for familiar Modbus RTU programming with the simplicity and reliability of TCP transportation. Please see our Modbus Communications Manual, Analog Input, and Modbus Communications Manual, Pulse Input. Ethernet communications are not compatible with Laurel’s Custom ACII Protocol.
Laureate Ethernet Nodes their associated Devices are automatically discovered by Laurel’s free Instrument Setup (IS) software or free Node Manager Software, both of which run on a PC. A Laureate Ethernet Node is associated with an Ethernet chip. A Device can be the host instrument (meter or transmitter) for the Node plus any of up 31 instruments (meters or transmitters) daisy chained on an RS485 bus when the host instrument has a Laureate Ethernet-to-RS485 gateway board.
Both applications will discover Laurate Nodes and their associated Devices (or instruments). Only IS software can be used to set up instruments (or Devices), such as scaling meters and setting setpoints, and then saving the setup information to disk on a PC for later transfer to other instruments. Only Node Manager software can be used to assign static IP addresses and program Nodes so that they send emails or text messages periodically or in the event of an alarm.
Built-in DHCP server capability allows Laurel Nodes to constitute themselves into a network and be connected directly to a host computer when no router or dedicated DHCP server is present, as illustrated above. When a Node fails to find a DHCP server that responds to its request for a private IP address, it assigns one. When several Nodes fail to receive a Private IP address, they mutually agree to make one of the Nodes a temporary DHCP server that assigns a Private IP address to each device on the network.
An IP address can be assigned to a Laureate Node by our free Node Manager software, but not by our free Instrument Setup (IS) software.
Laurel provides powerful XLog2 datalogging software to log meter or transmitter readings to disk of a PC and remotely view readings in the form of simulated meters on a PC screen. See our XLOG2 Datalogging Manual. For many applications, that available software avoids the need to write custom software. It is at no charge can be downloaded from our website.
Data streaming at rates up to 60 readings per second is supported by the Custom ASCII protocol. That protocol is selectable with Laureate meters with an RS232, RS485 or USB interface, and by Laureate LT series transmitters, which come standard with a serial interface that can be set to RS232 or RS485. Data streaming is not supported by the Modbus TCP Ethernet protocol, which is supported by Laureate Ethernet Nodes. The Modbus standard only specifies query-response (or master-slave) operation. Laureate meters and transmitters can output data at about 2 readings per second.
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