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Getting the most out of PLCnext Engineer Simulation: Connecting to Node-RED via REST

sreyes 19 July 2022 min. read
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Hello Community!

When we meet with PLCnext Technology, as developers we can’t wait to try its functionalities 😊 So, with the great milestone of New PLCnext Engineer Simulation and inspired by this article Node-RED communication with an AXC using the PLCnext Connector now we can interact from our simulation environment with Node-RED, and in this way, test IoT functionalities before we have the hardware on the table.

Installing Node-RED on Windows 10

Node-RED can run on multiple platforms, it's a very lightweight visual programming tool that we can install in our PLCnext controllers (on a Docker container for example) and also in a PC. For this demo, follow the installation steps for Windows 10 in this guide. After that, you can run the application using the cmd tool or PowerShell with the command node-red.

Once it's running, just type in your favorite web browser the the URL http://localhost:1880.

Downloading Node-RED connector for PLCnext

The following article show us how to download and use a node to connect our PLC variables in PLCnext Engineer with Node-RED via REST, you can found more information in the npm repo. So, in this step you only have to search the node in the Manage Palette and install it:

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Configuring PLCnext Engineer Project

You need to install the Firmware image for AXC F 1152 from the Phoenix Contact website and the software PLCnext Engineer >= 2022 version to use the Simulation environment.

  1. Create a project for that controller, go to the Cockpit area and then change the connection to “Simulation”.
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  1. Choose the program variables that you want to share with Node-RED checking the “HMI” box.
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  1. Go to the Plant area and double click on HMI Web Server. Enable REST interface checkbox.
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That’s all! Connect and download the project to your simulation environment. Remember that the credentials are “admin” as user and “plcnext” as password.

Check connection in Node-RED

You can try a “plc-browse-items” node to add the PLCnext connection. You have to use the same credentials and enter in Host IP the URL “localhost:5050”.

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Deploy your code and voilà! Your connection is ready to read and write your PLCnext program variables in your favorite 61131-3 language 😉

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If you want to know more about REST data interface, you can visit the Info Center.

Happy code!

Note:

The Makers Blog shows applications and user stories of community members that are not tested or reviewed by Phoenix Contact. Use them at your own risk.

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