Red Lion Controls – Web Server using Crimson 3
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Red Lion Controls – Web Server using Crimson 3


Hey everybody, thank you for joining me.
In this video I will take you on a quick tour using Red Lion’s Crimson 3.0 software to configure the web server that resides on
board each of Red Lion’s G3 operator interfaces, and the SX and GT models of the Modular Controller master and the Data Station Plus. Please remember while you’re on tour that the web server on the models mentioned
is inherent to the design of the product and requires no extra purchase of hardware
modules, and remote access to it requires no third party software plug-ins running on
your system. If your target device happens to be a Red Lion G3 HMI, a standard web browser like Internet Explorer
allows you to see the same screens as the operator. as for the Modular Controller master and the
Data Station Plus, these red boxes don’t have a local operator display, but instead offer a
virtual HMI display that’s accessable through that same Internet Explorer connection. You can set all of these devices up to monitor only, or enable full control from a remote PC, a web enabled phone, a PDA, or other web enabled device. If you don’t need to see the visual screens
but still want to view the data, you can easily program the G3 HMI, Modular
Controller master, or the Data Station Plus to provide a view void of graphics showing only the required data. If you’re logging data to the compact flash card, access to that information through the web
server is a simple matter of enabling that feature. For added flexibility the G3 HMIs, the Modular
Controller master, and the Data Station Plus can also be configured to serve custom HTML pages that you create using any HTML editor
and store to an installed compact flash card. We will not delve into the technical aspects
of this feature in this video, but I will show you where to find a Tech Note on this
subject on our web site. So let’s take a look at the Crimson 3
software set up that’s required to make the web server work for us. And let me just say right up front that if
you’re looking for this to be a frustrating, tedious, time-consuming chore, you will have to use someone else’s software
because in Red Lion’s Crimson 3 it’s an easy deal. The first reference we need to make is to
the Communications section. Be aware there’s more than one way of accessing
our product to make use of the web server function. For example, if the IT department doesn’t want
to punch a hole in the firewall to use an Ethernet connection, you can use a serial modem. Red Lion recommends using MultiTech modems. Another way to get the job done is to make
use of Red Lion’s cell modem option card for remote access over a cellular network where a wired broadband Ethernet
connection may not be available. In this example I’m using the Ethernet port with its mode
set to manual configuration. So now we go back to the web server section
of the software to start what should be the tedious time consuming chore of setting up the web server itself, right? But watch this, it can’t get much easier than this, you barely
have to be paying attention to get this right. You check the Enable Server box, give your server a title if you want, and then enable the features you want access
to when you log in. In this case I want a remote view, I want to have control from a remote PC or some
other device with web access, and since I’m logging data to a flash card,
I want to be able to view those log files while I’m there. If I download this set up to my target device,
which in this case is a Data Station Plus, and its Ethernet port is connected to an
Ethernet network with web access, then from a remote PC other device with
web access and Internet Explorer I can enter the IP address that I gave this Data Station and access its web server. And as you can see, without any further software
massaging, programming code to write, or other dirty task to perform, the Data Station serves up the
information I asked it for, a remote view of my process, and with remote
control enabled, any areas that were designated touch sensitive I have control over
from a web browser. And that could include navigation buttons as well as data entry fields. Now think about that for a second. That means that I not only have control over
navigating and controlling a G3 HMI, a Modular Controller master, or in this case
a Data Station Plus, but I also have control over the external
devices that are connected to and communicating with the Red Lion product, whether it be a PLC, a drive or a PID control. Which is to say, we’ve just web enabled
your entire machine or process. If I go back to the list of options, here’s my link
to access the data logs which conveniently show up as CSV files and open into Excel. Now there may be times when we want to strip
the graphics from the web view. Maybe we’re doing this over a limited bandwidth
connection, or say a serial modem or other slow connection were downloading
all those graphics would slow it down even more. Or a certain supervisor just doesn’t
need to see the pretty pictures and just wants to see the available data. What we can do to solve this little problem
is create a page onto the web server, or a list of pages if you like, and then come over here to the resource pane
to the list of available data and drag on that page what you want
made available to the server. Then we download that to the Data Station. And now you can see there is an extra link
available called View Data. And if I click that link, my page or list of pages shows up here and then I can view the data that I added to
this page without viewing all of the graphics that are included with the remote view. Now there are two quick things that I
need to do to finish this up. First I’ll show you how to find a Tech Note on
our web site that details dishing out custom web pages over our web server. From our home page, click on Support, then Virtual Help Desk, Tech Notes, and scroll down to the HMI section, and there it is. This paper will show you how to
create a custom web site and what tools are available to help you do that. And just a heads up, there is a note in this
document that states that although the HTML code will be explained or commented
on throughout this document, a basic understanding is required to create a proper web site. So
you’ll want to keep that in mind. And lastly, one thing we didn’t talk about
throughout this video was the issue of securing access to your application from every other human being on the planet
with a PC and an internet connection. Although there are several layers of security
that can be invoked within Crimson 3, I will read an important note from
Crimson 3’s help file concerning this matter. While Crimson provides a variety of protection
mechanisms to limit access to the web server, you should use good engineering
practices when designing your system. This means that you should avoid performing
any safety-related operations via the web server, and you should ideally use an external firewall
to prevent unauthorized access in case Crimson’s own security protections are breached. Security is ultimately your own responsibility, and Red Lion Controls does not recommend that
you rely solely on Crimson’s own security measures. Thank you for coming along on this tour of
the web server capabilities of Red Lion’s G3 HMIs, the Modular Controller master, the Data Station Plus, and of course Crimson 3.0

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