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groov Q&A

groov / groov Q&A

groov Q&A

Basics
Getting Started
Working with groov
groov Box
Troubleshooting
For Opto 22 Systems

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Basics

A: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. groov is compatible with all of these and more. You can use your groov interface on virtually any device with a web browser, from an iPod touch all the way up to a browser-enabled high-definition TV.

That’s because the interface runs in the browser, and most web browsers adhere to open standards like HTML5, CSS3, and SVG. Using those standards without plugins, groov makes it possible to run your interface on almost anything you want to use. See more on compatibility.

Minimum operating systems for mobile: Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), iOS 9.0, Surface Windows 8.

A: Yes. groov supports all screen sizes, shapes, and proportions. The elements in your interface flow to fit the shape of the screen.
A: groov uses the same security as your bank: the latest 256-bit encryption, plus user authentication. For communications over the Internet, we recommend a virtual private network (VPN). See more on security.
A: Absolutely! You can build an interface to monitor and control almost any automation system or equipment: Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley, Siemens, Wonderware, Schneider, Honeywell, Yokogawa, GE, and many more. groov is compatible with a wide variety of automation equipment.

For Modbus/TCP devices, you don’t need any intermediary server or protocol converter.

For other automation systems and equipment, you’ll need an OPC UA server. If you don’t have one already, we recommend Kepware Technologies’ KEPServerEX as your communication platform. Huge numbers of drivers are available. Check the full list at KEPServerEX Drivers.

The cool thing is that you can build one groov operator interface to monitor and control all the equipment you need to, even putting devices and data from different sources in the same interface. You have the flexibility to design the interface you need.

A: It’s simple: groov is built on industry and Internet standards rather than proprietary standards.

groov talks Modbus to Modbus/TCP devices.

The groov Data Store API provides access for software APIs (application program interfaces) like databases, online services, and custom software. This software can read data from or write data to groov.

With OPC UA systems and equipment, groov operates as an OPC UA client. If you have a communication platform like KEPServerEX, which includes an OPC UA server, groov can talk to any driver you’ve purchased for the platform. That opens up a huge number of industrial automation systems, building automation systems, energy systems, and more.

If you have a GROOV-AR1 groov Box with groov Admin 44 or higher, you also have Node-RED built in. Node-RED is an open-source, cross-platform development environment for building IoT (Internet of Things) projects. You drag and drop pre-built nodes provided by software and hardware companies—for devices, cloud services, and APIs—and then wire them together for the result you want. Just a few examples of nodes you can use for free: MySQL databases, online weather services, and Opto 22 SNAP PAC controller I/O and variables. More information is in the groov Box User’s Guide for GROOV-AR1 and on developer.opto22.com.

Bottom line: your operators and other authorized users will be able to see pretty much whatever they need to in order to do their jobs better, save time, and keep equipment and processes in top condition.

A: Yes! The GROOV-AR1 groov Box  includes Node-RED, an open-source, cross-platform development environment that lets you wire together hardware devices, APIs, and cloud services. To get Node-RED, make sure your Box is running groov Admin R1.570.44 or higher.

For more information, take a look at this blog post on Node-RED, and see the groov Box User’s Guide for GROOV-AR1 .

NOTE: Node-RED is not available on the older GROOV-AT1 box, nor on groov Server for Windows. It’s available only for the GROOV-AR1 box.

A: You can download groov Server for Windows for free and try it for yourself, using the built-in sample tags or your own system tags, and your mobile devices. You’ll need a free My.Opto22 account; once you’ve created the account (or logged in, if you already have one), we’ll send you an email with the link and instructions to download groov.

Get the free trial.

A: Nope. It’s the real groov software with all the features of groov Server for Windows.
A: Once you’ve downloaded and installed the free trial (you’ll need Administrator privileges to install), you can take your time building your mobile operator interface in groov Build. When you switch to groov View and start using the interface you’ve built, the timer starts running: you’ll have two hours to play with it before the free trial expires.

If you need more time, you can stop groov Server for Windows and then restart it to reset the timer.

When you’re ready to buy, come back here and get groov. Your project will be ready to use for real.

A: Not at all. You don’t have to reinstall software, and your project remains intact. Once you’ve purchased groov, just follow the instructions to download your license file and apply it. As soon as you do, the scanner starts working again and your interface is up and running.
A: You can get a free trial of groov Server for Windows (see questions above for details) or buy groov now.

When you buy groov, you’ll find the groov software built into the groov Box or into groov Server.

  • For the groov Box: You don’t install software on your computer. Your computer and your groov Box are on the same Ethernet network, so you access the software as if you were going to a website on the Internet.
  • For groov Server: You install groov Server, which includes the groov software, on the Microsoft Windows PC you will use as the server. From other computers or mobile devices, you access the software as if you were going to a website on the Internet. (If you already have the free trial, there’s no need to reinstall when you purchase; just apply your license file.)

To use the software, open your web browser on your computer—the current version of Firefox or Chrome, for example, or Internet Explorer 10 or higher—and type in a URL that contains the name of your groov Box or groov Server PC. (For example, if mygroov is the hostname of your groov Box, you’d type https://mygroov.) The software opens up, you log in, and there you are. It’s browser-based software like GoogleDocs or Yahoo mail, so the software runs inside your web browser.

The only groov software that’s not included in the Box or Server is free, optional software:

  • groov View apps for Android and iOS. Recommended. An operator can run groov View in an app rather than in a browser to reduce distractions. On iOS, you can lock the device in kiosk mode (Apple calls it Guided Access) so nothing else but groov can run on it. Get groov View for Android from Google Play. Get groov View for iOS in the App Store. More about groov View apps.
  • groov Find, a utility you can use on a Windows PC to locate your groov Box initially. This utility comes on a CD with your groov Box and can be especially helpful if you’re on a network that does not have a DNS (Domain Name Server) or if you’re unsure of the name or IP address of a groov Box. groov Find does not apply to groov Server. Download groov Find.
A: groov gives you an easy way to build an interface to your machine. And depending on the environment where your machine is used, you can even use off-the-shelf commercial, networkable touchscreens (anything with a web browser) as the operator interface to your machine.

The easiest way to do this is to get the free groov View for iOS app for an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Once your interface is running on the app, use Apple’s Guided Access feature. Guided Access restricts the device to a single app, disables the hardware buttons, and keeps the device from sleeping, effectively providing a low-power, low-cost, wireless, touch-screen operator interface locked down for an intended use only.

A: Your interface in groov View polls the Modbus/TCP device, PAC controller, or OPC UA server once per second, so you’ll see the live data updated every second. Currently you can’t change this rate.

Getting Started

A: It’s simple. Follow along with the steps in this Free Trial video or in the free-trial quick start. If you’ve already requested a free trial, just follow the steps in the email we sent you.

If you’ve purchased a groov Box, follow instructions in the groov Quick Start Guide, included with your groov Box. Or watch this Getting Started video. You’ll need the Activation Key from the certificate that came with your groov Box and the Box’s serial number from the label on the Box.

NOTE: If you’re using an Opto 22 SNAP PAC controller and your groov Box and PAC are not on the same network subnet, getting started will take another step. But it’s still simple. See “What if my PAC controller is on a different network subnet than my computer,” below. Or watch the video, groov Find.

For groov Server, follow instructions in the email or printed certificate you received when you purchased groov Server. Or see the groov Server for Windows User’s Guide.

A: A subnet is a logical grouping of connected network devices. For example, you may have your computers on one network subnet and your control system on another. (In fact, we recommend this segmentation for security reasons.) If you do, see the next question. For more information on networking groov, see the Guide to Networking groov.
A: The hostname is the name your network uses for a groov Box or other devices, like computers, on your network. The default hostname for a groov Box is on the label on the Box. The default hostname for a groov Server PC is the name of the PC on the network.

To get to groov, you type https:// and the hostname in your web browser.

Example: If the hostname on a groov Box label is opto-02-2b-a6, you open a browser and type: https://opto-02-2b-a6
Example: If the hostname of the PC where groov Server is installed is win8-server, you open a browser and type: https://win8-server

Notice that you have to type https, not just http. The “s” indicates it’s a secure connection.

You can change the hostname from the default to whatever you want to use.

A: When you first set up a groov Box, you have to enter two username and password combinations. That’s because they’re for two separate purposes:

  1. One is for administering the groov Box using groov Admin. Here you do things like change network settings or check the status of the Box. You also use this username and password to access Node-RED.
  2. The other is for building and viewing your operator interfaces using groov Build and groov View. Here you’ll also set up usernames and passwords for the other people you authorize to use groov.

For system security, it’s extremely important that you guard these login credentials carefully. Treat them as if they were passwords for your bank account. And don’t lose them. Since they cannot be retrieved, you will lose your work if you lose them.

A: Absolutely, and it’s important that you do so. See the groov User’s Guide (Chapter 3) for backup and restoration steps. Btw, groov project backups are interchangeable between the groov Box and groov Server. So you could restore to groov Server a project you backed up from a groov Box, or vice versa.
A: For a Modbus/TCP device, you open groov Build in your browser, add the device, and configure tags for the data you want to see or change.

For an Opto 22 system, you open groov Build in your browser and point it to two things: the hostname or IP address of your SNAP PAC or OptoEMU Sensor, and the strategy.idb.txt file.

For OPC UA-compatible automation systems, you open groov Build in your browser and point it to your OPC UA server (we recommend the KEPServerEX communications platform).

With just this information, groov knows how to connect to your system, either to get data or to send data.

A: Your network may be set up differently. Check the Troubleshooting Q&A for help.
A: No, the groov Box itself is not a VPN server. A VPN server is required to use VPN to communicate with groov. Find out if your company network has a VPN server.  Many do, usually to let employees safely access the network from home or a remote site. Most smartphones have a VPN client built into them.

For more information on networking groov, see the Guide to Networking groov.

Working with groov

A: It’s easy:

  1. On your computer, open a web browser (Firefox, Chrome, IE10, Safari) and log into groov Build. On the left under Pages, click Add Page.
  2. If you haven’t added your device, choose Configure > Devices and Tags and add it now. (If you don’t have a device, you can try groov by using the included Data Simulator.)
  3. In the lower-right corner of the screen, open your Tags tree. Choose a tag, pick a gadget from the list, and drag it onto the page. In the upper-right corner of the screen, assign gadget properties (labels, colors, etc.) as you wish. Or you can choose the gadget first and then assign a tag.
  4. Click the Handheld tab to see how the layout will look on a smartphone. Move gadgets, resize them, change their properties, or stash them out of sight as needed.
  5. Save and switch to groov View to see and test your interface. Live values from your system default to dark blue text.

For more details, see the groov User’s Guide, online or in groov Build on the Help menu.

A: Mostly no. Currently you’ll use a computer—or a Windows Surface with Internet Explorer 10 and a mouse plugged into the USB port. Phones are mostly too small for the job, but a later version of groov will likely support more tablets for groov Build.
A: No problem. You can change the size, position, and some properties of gadgets in the Handheld tab (for the phone) or in the Desktop & Tablet tab, so they show to best advantage for the size and shape of the screen.

In addition, you can “stash” a gadget if you don’t want it to appear at all. For example, suppose you’ve added a trend that you want to show on a PC but don’t want to show on a phone. Go to the Handheld tab and drag the trend off to the white area on the right side (we call this area the Stash). It’s still there but won’t be visible when your phone users view the page.

You might also want a gadget to appear on a phone but not on a PC or tablet. In that case, go to the Desktop & Tablet tab and drag the gadget off to the Stash on the right. Same thing happens: it won’t appear to PC and tablet viewers but will still show up on phones.

Note that you’ll need groov 2.2 or higher to use this feature. If you have an older version and your maintenance is up to date, you can update now.

A: Sorry, not for control. Currently groov supports only one tag per gadget. And if you stack gadgets, the one on top wins: it’s the only one that will be functional.

From a monitoring standpoint, though, if indicators on the gadget at the back are still visible with another gadget in front, stacking gadgets can work. For more information, here’s a blog post on stacking groov gadgets. Also see Chapter 4 in the groov Build & View User’s Guide for details on each gadget, including transparency (opacity) options and using images or colors to indicate values within a range.

A: Operator permissions are based on a page, so everything on one page must be OK for everyone in a user group to see and change. If some operators should be able to see a gauge and some should not, for example, just create two pages—one that includes the gauge and one that doesn’t. Then assign user rights to the pages appropriately.

A page can be different for operators using it on a desktop or tablet versus those using it on a handheld device, however. You can stash individual gadgets so they don’t appear in one view while still visible in the other.

A: You can use photos, drawings, and logos with file types of BMP, GIF, PNG, JPG, and SVG. You can even use an animated GIF (but be cautious; animations are very distracting for operators). For best performance, use images no larger than 2000 x 2000 pixels at 72 dpi with 8-bit color information, or a total of less than 300 KB in size per image.

You can upload images you make or obtain yourself. You can use any of the drawings in our SVG Library. If you have Microsoft Visio, you can also make a compatible image using any of our free Visio libraries. Note that images from PAC Display’s Symbol Factory are not compatible with current web browsers, so they won’t work in groov.

A: At present anyone designated as an Editor can edit all pages on one groov. A second groov Box or Server would give you the option to assign different Editors to different pages.
A: Since the data is not logged, it’s realtime. When you create a trend, you can choose Classic or Interactive. Classic trends show up to 7 days’ worth of data. Interactive trends can show much more data over a period of up to 5 years, with the ability to zoom in on a smaller set of data to see details. Both types of trends can include up to 4 pens on 2 axes.

All users except Kiosk users can download trend data for logging. Wen you download the data, it’s for one pen over the total period of the trend. See more details in the groov User’s Guide.

Make sure you have the latest groov version so you have the most recent trending features. (Update now.)

A: We can’t comment on future features right now, but we’re interested in hearing about features you need. Note that you can get historic graphs now with most HMIs, including Opto 22’s PAC Display. So you can have a full HMI that shows historical trends, plus a groov interface that shows current trends (up to a week long) for specific items.
A: The Maintenance Plan provides updates for the feature set at the time you bought your groov. Although major new features (which not all customers may want) may be sold separately, updates typically include new features and enhancements. For more information about how maintenance works, see the groov Maintenance Technical Note.
A: First, make sure you activate groov and install your license file. Go to activate.groov.com and follow the steps. If you have more than one groov, be sure you activate each one.

Once you’ve activated and installed your license file, you can get updates at manage.groov.com. We’ll also notify you by email when an update is available.

For groov Server for Windows, all updates are in one file. For a groov Box, you have three possible updates: groov Build & View (called groov App), groov Admin, and Node-RED. To get Node-RED, you must have groov Admin 1.570.44 or higher. These updates are separate files because we want you to have updates for each, as soon as possible.

If it’s been more than a year since you activated your groov, make sure you renew groov Maintenance. Otherwise you won’t be able to install the update. For more information see the groov Maintenance Technical Note.

A: Once you’ve downloaded your update from manage.groov.com, follow these steps:

For groov Server:

  1. Back up your groov project; in groov Build, choose File > Backup Project to Computer.
  2. Double-click the update file to start the installation.

For a groov Box:

  1. Back up your groov project; in groov Build, choose File > Backup Project to Computer.
  2. Choose Configure > groov Admin. Log in.
  3. Click the update you want, for example Update groov App. Click Browse, locate the file you downloaded, and click Update.
  4. Wait for the success message. (Be patient. It may take awhile.)
A: Yes! There’s a groov OptoForum. This is the place to ask and answer questions about groov. A lot of experienced engineers and integrators contribute to OptoForums, so it’s a great way to get help at anytime.

groov Box

A: The groov Box is a fanless industrial appliance made to operate in tough environments, so it doesn’t have to be pampered. Make sure you check the specs for temperature and humidity, and then place it where you can connect it to both your company computer network and your control network. (You use separate connectors on the groov Box for these two networks to keep them physically separated—better for security. For more on networking, see the Guide to Networking groov.)

If you’re connecting to a wireless LAN through a WiFi adapter in the top USB port, choose a location where the signal is constant and strong. Wireless networks can be unreliable unless carefully designed and periodically checked.

The Box can be DIN-rail mounted or mounted on a wall or equipment. Mounting hardware is included.

If you’re a machine builder or OEM and including a groov Box in your machine, the same basic ideas apply: check specs, check security, and then install. Make sure you have network access to the Box for updates.

A: Plug the groov Box into your Ethernet computer network using the ETH0 connector. You must use ETH0 because that’s the network interface the groov Box uses to send a DHCP request—which is how it gets an IP address so your network knows where it is.

Next, plug the groov Box into your Ethernet-based control network using the ETH1 connector. (For more help on networking, see the Guide to Networking groov.)

Now plug the power supply into the groov Box and into a standard 120 or 240 VAC wall outlet. The power supply handles 100–240 VAC, so if you’re outside North America, just use an adapter plug. We do recommend protecting the groov Box with a surge protector and a UPS for backup power.

Once it’s plugged in, briefly push the On/Off button to turn it on.

See the groov Box User’s Guide for GROOV-AR1 (form 2104) for more details. It’s on the CD that came with the groov Box.

A: The port on top of the Box can be used to connect your groov Box to a wireless LAN via an approved WiFi adapter (see the next question). The two on the front of the Box are for backing up and restoring your groov project. See instructions in the groov Box User’s Guide for GROOV-AR1.
A: To use a GROOV-AR1 on a wireless network, you’ll just need to purchase a USB WiFi adapter that Opto 22 has tested and approved. The adapter goes in the USB port on top of the Box. Check Appendix D in the groov Box User’s Guide for GROOV-AR1 for a list of approved adapters and complete instructions.
A: Ah, that’s the beautiful thing. It’s an appliance, just like your DVR at home, or your network router or your car computer. And as always here at Opto 22, we’re using high-quality, standard, off-the-shelf technologies, and building it here in the U.S.A.

Have fun!

For Opto 22 Systems

A: If you’re using groov with just one Opto 22 SNAP PAC controller or OptoEMU Sensor energy monitoring unit, then choose groov Solo in either the Box or Server:

If you’re using more than one SNAP PAC and/or EMU, also add groov Plus (GROOV-LIC-PLUS) to your Box or Server. groov Plus lets you connect to any number of SNAP PACs and also Modbus/TCP devices and Data Stores, if you want.

A: No worries. If you only have groov Solo and want to add the ability to build groov interfaces for Modbus/TCP devices or exchange data using a groov Data Store, just buy groov Plus. If you already have groov Plus, you’re already set.

If you want to build interfaces for OPC UA systems or equipment, buy groov Enterprise.

If you want to try it before you buy, you can do that now. In groov Build, add other devices; use their tags with your gadgets. Once you switch to groov View, you’ll have two hours to try the additional features for free.

When you purchase groov Plus or groov Enterprise, you don’t need to install new software. All you have to do is download and install the license file. There’s no disruption to your existing projects.

Need help? See the groov User’s Guide.
Don’t have an OPC-UA server? We recommend KEPServerEX, which also conveniently offers a two-hour free trial.

A: For an Opto 22 system, your SNAP PAC controller is running the control program (strategy) you built in PAC Control. When you saved that strategy, the .idb.txt file was automatically created on your PC. It’s a simple text file that includes all the tags in your tag database: I/O points, variables, and more. groov stores this file and reads the tag information in it.

You’ll find the .idb.txt file on your PC in the same directory as your other strategy files. If you’re using groov with an OptoEMU Sensor, you can get the OptoEMU Sensor.idb.txt file on opto22.com.

Btw, some computers have common file type extensions hidden. Since .txt is a common file type, your computer might be hiding the extension from you, in which case you will see two files with the same name, the name of your strategy. Just select the file that does not have the PAC Control icon next to it.

A: The SNAP PAC controller your groov connects to must be running R9.2 or newer firmware. If you’re using groov with an OptoEMU Sensor, you need update file R3.0a or newer.
A: Take a look at the Guide to Networking groovThis guide gives you details on how to connect groov with SNAP PACs inside your facility on the same network or on separate networks, and also how to connect over the Internet.
A: Yes. If the tag is in the controller, it can be displayed in groov.
A: Yes, through a SNAP PAC controller. groov does not access the brain directly; it works through a SNAP PAC controller running a PAC Control strategy. The controller must have R9.2 or newer firmware.
A: Yes, but not directly. groov works with all SNAP PACs running 9.2 firmware or higher (SNAP PAC S-series controllers, SNAP PAC R-series controllers, SoftPAC software-based controller), and with OptoEMU Sensor energy monitoring units running update file R3.0a or newer.

groov does not work with Opto 22 FactoryFloor, SNAP Ultimate I/O, SNAP-LCSX, or other legacy controllers, or pre-9.2 SNAP PACs.

However, it’s still possible to use groov with these legacy systems by installing KEPServerEX with the OPC Connectivity Suite. Connect to your FactoryFloor OPC Server (which is an OPC DA server). Then groov (which is an OPC UA client) connects to KEPServerEX, and you can see your tags.

Normally groov references the names of I/O points in a SNAP PAC controller running a PAC Control strategy; groov does not directly access Opto 22 brains. If you have the Kepware Opto 22 Ethernet OPC Server, however, you can add tags to connect directly to I/O.

A: You can select individual elements (indices) of a table. groov supports all of these data types: integer, float, and string variables and tables, and analog and digital I/O.
A: groov supports integer, float, and string variables and tables, analog and digital I/O, and up and down timers (you’ll need groov 2.2 or higher to use timers). To use PID loop elements, Scratch Pad elements, or other data you need in a groov HMI, just periodically move the data you want into a variable. Voilá! groov can see and use it.
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