Remote I/O Connects Legacy Devices for IoT

Feb. 11, 2020
Opto 22 releases groov RIO, a software configurable, distributed I/O device capable of more than 52,000 field I/O combinations for transmitting data from installed devices to Ethernet networks, apps, or the cloud.

Two years after its introduction of groov EPIC (Edge Programmable Industrial Controller) to bring edge computing and Internet of Things levels of connection and access to industrial controllers, Opto 22 is doing the same for remote I/O. With the release of groov RIO intelligent, distributed input/output (I/O) for IIoT and automation applications, Opto 22 is enabling users to connect traditional wired switches and sensors directly to Ethernet networks, software applications, and cloud platforms without the need for intermediate hardware such as PLCs, PACs, PCs, or gateways to propagate I/O signals to other systems.

Benson Hougland, vice president of product strategy at Opto 22, said, “Although groovRIO can be used as remote I/O with our groovEPIC system or another control system, we also wanted it to operate autonomously, facilitating direct connection between I/O signals and databases, business software, or cloud IoT platforms.”

A driving reason behind Opto 22’s development of groov RIO was to help users be able to get data from the real world—such as a pump on/off status or thermocouple readings—into a database, application, or other system. “This, of course, could already be done, but there are way too many considerations for end users to do this easily,” said Hougland.

Like groov EPIC, groov RIO is software-configurable through a browser-based interface and features the low-code Node-Red engine for moving data to cloud, APIs (application programming interfaces) or directly to SQL databases. Both groov EPIC and RIO have an Arm architecture at their core, like most smartphones, enabling the devices to continually be updated through firmware updates.

Speaking to groov RIO’s ease of connectivity, Hougland noted that he has even connected groov RIO to an Alexa unit enabling it to be turned on or off via voice command. “We also included a USB port on groov RIO for data logging or for use as a Wi-Fi adapter to communicate to serial devices or create a VPN (virtual private network).

Hougland said the first shipping version of groov RIO, the GRV-R7-MM1001-10 (available March 2, 2020), is a standalone, 10-channel, multi-signal, multifunction I/O unit for signal handling from thermocouples, integrated circuit temperature devices, voltage inputs, current inputs, millivolt inputs, discrete DC inputs, self-wetting discrete inputs (i.e., groov RIO can provide voltage excitation for devices with dry contact outputs), discrete DC sinking outputs, and Form C mechanical relays. Two of the I/O channels provide additional features such as pulse counting, on- and off-time totalization, software latching (so that no events are missed during PLC cycling of I/O), and frequency measurement. 

The device features multiple power options, including standard 802.3af Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) and 4-20mA; an extended operating temperature range (-20 to 70 degree C); and UL Hazardous Locations and ATEX approvals. 

GRV-R7-MM1001-10’s support for 12 different types of field I/O circuits makes it capable of 52,440 I/O combinations, according to Opto 22. “This I/O system is almost infinitely configurable,” added Hougland, noting the company has created a site at https:/ where you can see the Python script that shows how the 52,440unique field I/O combinations are possible. 

For more information about groov RIO, see the full release

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