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Learn how to use the OPC browser to add OPC items as Ignition Tags.
Video recorded using: Ignition 8.0
Transcript(open in window)
[00:00] In this lesson we'll talk about browsing for OPC tags. So when you've installed Ignition, you've created some device connections on the gateway. The thing you want to start interacting with the data points inside of those devices. The easiest way to create tags is from the tag browser in the designer. When we're looking at the tag browser, we can see that there's a bunch of icons at the top. The fourth icon from the left is the OPC browser, which I'll press, and it should give you a little window like this. Here you'll see all of the available OPC server connections that exist on your gateway. If you're using Ignition's drivers to connect to your devices, then they'll be listed under Ignition's OPC UA server. So, we can drill down, we can go down to our device's folder, and then we will see our device connections here. Now, of course, if you're using a third-party OPC UA server, and Ignition's connected to that server, you'll also see the server listed in the OPC browser. In this case, I'll take one of our device connections. This will be my generic simulator-- which uses one of our simulator drivers-- and you'll see that I can browse down, I can start drilling down to the sub-folders and find the actual tags. Now, you don't see values here because we're not currently subscribing, or at least not from this interface anyways, we don't actually subscribe our show values here. However, I can take this entire device folder here, this generic simulator, and I'll drag it into the tags folder, or my tag provider here, and I'll create a new node inside of the tag provider. And we start drilling down, you can see that I have all of my tags in all my folders, from my device. So now that I've showed you that, that whole process, what I've just showed you, of dragging an entire device folder from the OPC browser into the tag browser, that's actually a bad idea. You generally don't want to do that. I did that here to sort of demonstrate the whole drag and drop, but normally that's a really bad idea. The generic simulator is actually a fairly small device. There's only about 80 or so tags inside of that simulator. And you'll notice, as soon as I drag them over into my tag provider here, we started subscribing to these tags. So, now I'm actively pulling from these values from my device connection. And the default pull rate is a one second rate. Or one thousand milliseconds. So if you're dragging your whole device folder over and there's thirty-thousand, forty-thousand, fifty-thousand tags inside of there, we're now subscribing to all of them. So you'll see a huge spike in some network activity, not to mention that the gateway is doing a whole bunch of extra work. Now your network and hardware may be configured to handle that kind of load, but when it comes to building your screens, and fleshing out your projects here, a real large tag provider with a bunch of tags-- basically every tag that sits in your device-- is incredibly cumbersome to work with. Especially if you start adding new members to the team that are working on your projects, They may not realize what tags are currently being used, and which ones aren't. So generally, it's a good idea to have some sort of organization inside of your tag provider. Maybe, add your own folders inside of the tag provider here. Maybe I can add a little "Towers" folder here. Which will then sit inside of my tag provider. And then maybe I can go over to my dairy simulator here, using our dairy simulator driver. I can go down to refrigeration, and maybe just grab my two tower folders in here, and drag those over, right? So only take the items I need. Maybe I don't actually need everything inside of these folders. Maybe I only need the pumps. So I could've just dragged the pumps over. So again, best practices, really only start dragging these tags over if you actually need those values. Now the whole dragging process you saw here, this only works if the device connection supports browsing. Some devices don't. Some drivers don't. In those cases, you'll have to manually create the tags yourselves, which we'll talk about in later videos.