Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

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yosemite
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:23 pm

Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

Post by yosemite » Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:35 pm

Hello,

I have an x-8 actuator that I am trying to connect to, using a university network, but I am having trouble connecting to it from my computer. The actuator has a green blinking light, which I think signifies that the actuator was able to get an IP address and is waiting communication. However, when I run the code, it says no actuators were found.

I am connected to ethernet on the same network as the actuator using Cat6 cables. I am using the python version of the starter code and libraries on a PC. (AMD Ryzen 9 running latest version of windows).

I first thought it was a firewall issue that prevented me from discovering other devices on the network, so I turned off windows firewall and I restarted my computer. This did not work. I further allowed network exceptions for python and spyder, so that they are able to make outcoming and incoming connections on a public network. I restarted my computer but again, this did not work. I included screenshots of what I detailed above and a picture of the IDE when I run the code. I added a print line in the code that prints out the size of the entrylist, besides that, the code is unchanged from when I downloaded it from GitHub.

Thank you

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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dave_rollinson
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Re: Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

Post by dave_rollinson » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:17 pm

Hi,

Often corporate / university networks enforce security restrictions where actuators may get a valid IP address, but still don’t show up when doing a lookup in Scope or the APIs. The best way around this is to run your own local network with a router running DHCP. You can can connect the actuators to the LAN port(s) on the router. You should be able to plug the WAN/Uplink port of the router into the the university network to get internet access, or you can often keep this network separate and internet access on your computer over the university's WiFi if that’s an option for your computer.

If using a router and DCHP is not possible, you can set the actuators to have static IP addresses and connect them directly to your computer or to a switch. However, we generally recommend using a router and DHCP if at all possible, as it makes connecting other computers and devices to the actuators much more seamless. Pretty much any commercially available router will work, including WiFi routers, as long as they also include at least one wired LAN port. One that we have used and can recommend is this one from TP-Link.

Hope this helps,
-Dave
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dave_rollinson
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Re: Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

Post by dave_rollinson » Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:20 pm

Also, a quick follow-on.

If you're just looking to get a single actuator up and running while you get a router, setting a static IP is a pretty good use case.

There are instructions on docs.hebi.us for doing a hardware reset to static IP (10.11.12.13). You will need to set your computer to a static IP of 10.11.12.XX where XX is anything except 13. Make sure your computer has a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0.

Once you have a router you can follow the instructions to get the actuator reset into DHCP mode.

One last piece of advice is to put a sticker or something on your actuator reminding you that its in static IP mode. It can be confusing later on if you forget and start trying to figure out why one actuator’s not showing up while others are.

Hope that helps,
-Dave
yosemite
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2020 12:23 pm

Re: Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

Post by yosemite » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:29 pm

Hello,

Thank you for the help.

For those who don't know too much about setting IP addresses or subnet masks but are fairly comfortable digging around computer settings like me, I'll detail below how to connect the actuator to you PC and the setting you have to change on the PC.

For the actuator side of things here is a link . https://docs.hebi.us/core_concepts.html that details how to do it. After you do that, you should simply connect the actuator to the PC.

On your PC you want to go to Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> Network and Sharing Center >>.

Or you can simply past this " Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center " (without the quotes) in the folder path once you open up control panel. I attached a picture which shows the blue highlighted text you want to replace it with. You have to click on that box in order to edit it, it does not normally display like this.

After you go this far you should be able to see the networks available to you. I included a screenshot of mine below, with the folder path highlighted.
Once here you want to left click on the wired connection that represents the actuator. On my computer this shows up as Ethernet 2, I believe this is what the name of the ethernet port on my computer is called, so yours may vary. Note, you should left click on the blue highlighted text name of your connection. Which again, for my computer is Ethernet 2.

After clicking on the text, a window should pop up called "Ethernet 2 Status", pictured below. Once here click on the Properties button on the bottom left of the window. This should bring up another window called "Ethernet 2 Properties". Once here you want to left click once on "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)". This is highlighted in blue in the screenshot. Once you have it highlighted you want to click the properties button.

This brings up another window called "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)". Once here, the radio button called "Obtain an IP address automatically" is most likely selected. You want to click the radio button called "Use the following IP address" and change the IP address and subnet mask to what dave_rollinson detailed. Ill include the screenshot of mine. Choosing 20 for the last two digits was arbitrary in my case.

One special note I would like to make is that I think this changes the IP and subnet mask for the whole ethernet controller card on the computer. So if you use an ethernet to USB-C adapter, changing the port you connect to will still connect you to the fame ethernet controller card since you most likely only have one. So if you want to connect back to the internet using an ethernet connection, I think you will have to change the setting back to obtaining the IP address automatically. I have not tried it thus far, but this is my suspicion.
I opted for using the wifi card to connect to the internet and leaving the ethernet card set this way since this allows me to connect to the internet and connect to the actuator. Im going to be connecting to the motor often and I dont want to have to change all these setting all the time.
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yosemite
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Re: Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

Post by yosemite » Wed Oct 14, 2020 2:30 pm

Here are the rest of the pictures, apparently you can only include up to 3 pictures in a post.
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hardik_singh
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Re: Connecting Actuators to University/Work Network

Post by hardik_singh » Thu Oct 15, 2020 3:00 pm

Thank you Yosemite for the detailed walkthrough! It's really helpful for users to check out.

We also have a video that shows the process of setting up the Static IP configuration on Linux. The process is very similar to what it's like on Windows and Mac, and the contents of this video are the same as what is available in our documentation.

- Hardik

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