Comtrol at ITS Heartland

Comtrol will be attending ITS Heartland on April 25 to the 27 in Des Moines, Iowa. Attendees will have an opportunity to network and share experiences across a wide variety of ITS disciplines.

Comtrol at ITS Heartland




Comtrol at ITS Heartland

The many different training and networking opportunities available through this event will provide participants with the tools necessary to effectively plan and deploy ITS technologies within their own jurisdictions. Register Today!

Contact Katya Lee at 763-957-6122 to learn more.

Save a Trip to Your Traffic Cabinet with the Ping Reset Feature

Ping Reset to reboot any IP device!

Ping Reset will allow you to reset any IP device in your traffic cabinet.
Ping Reset

Common IP Devices:
  • Loop Detectors
  • Radar systems
  • Traffic controllers
  • Any Ethernet switch
  • Dynamic message signs (DMS)
  • IP, PTZ, Analog cameras
  • Battery Back Ups
  • Malfunction Management Unit (MMU)
  • Any IP addressable device



The RocketLinx ES8510-XT is a managed industrial Ethernet switch, equipped with seven 10/100TX ports and three 10/100/100 RJ45/100-FX/Gigabit SX/LX/LHX/ZX/SFP combo ports.  Two Gigabit ports may be used to form a non-stop Redundant Ring while the third Gigabit port enables connection to an upper switch, couple ring, or public server.  The Gigabit combo port design provides flexibility to choose copper or fiber media supporting 100BASE-FX or 1000BASE-X, Multi-Mode or Single-Mode for a wide variety of distance and installation requirements.

For more information, contact Katya Lee at 763.957.6122

IO-Link 101: 10 Terms to Know

IO-Link 101: 10 Terms to Know

Here are 10 terms to know to help understand IO-Link 101.

1. IO-Link System

An IO-Link system is comprised of sensors and/or actuators that support IO-Link (version 1.0 or 1.1) which are connected via a master, such as Comtrol offers. The master then will communicate to a controller (PLC, HMI, SCADA, etc.) through an industrial Ethernet protocol such as Ethernet/IP, Profinet IO or Modbus TCP.IO-Link 101

Full Explanation

2. MultiLink – Comtrol Specific Benefit

MultiLink provides the capability to simultaneously access multiple IO-Link controllers running different industrial Ethernet protocols.

Full Explanation

3. IODD: IO Device Description

Every IO-Link sensor/actuator has an IODD file which allows you to interact with the device on a web interface such as Comtrol’s. Each IO-Link device manufacturer will have these available via their website. With Comtrol’s IO-Link Master you can load and store a library (up to 15790K) of IODD files for your IO-Link devices onto the Comtrol IO-Link Master so that you can configure the IO-Link sensors or actuators from the IO-Link Master web interface.

Full Explanation

4. Data Types: Process, Service, Event

Three types of data are visible with IO-Link: Process Data, Service Data and Event Data.

Full Explanation

5. Remote Parameterization

The Comtrol IO-Link Master supports remote communication from a PLC and/or HMI to an IO-Link device so that you can change an IO-Link device’s configuration or operational behavior. In addition, you can change an IO-Link device’s configuration using the Comtrol IO-Link Master web interface without a PLC or HMI.

Full Explanation

6. Auto-Device Replacement (ADR)

Allows an IO-Link device to be automatically configured using previously stored values. Quick and easy replacement of failed or damaged sensors or actuators which means reduction in production line downtime and maintenance costs.

Full Explanation

7. IO-Link Master web interface

Comtrol offers a web interface unlike any other in the IO-Link Master marketplace. It provides extensive benefits to make using an IO-Link Master as easy as possible.

  • Configure IO-Link, EtherNet/IP and Modbus TCP settings for your IO-Link device
  • View real-time diagnostics for IO-Link, EtherNet/IP, and Modbus TCP activity on your IO-Link Ports
  • Load IODD files onto the IO-Link Master for your convenience
  • Configure IO-Link devices in minutes using the IO-Link Device – Port table (GUI) or the IO-Link Device ISDU Interface, which provides ISDU handling
  • Data Storage (automatic or manual) for Auto Device Configuration
  • IO-Link Device Validation (compatible and identical) to link specific IO-Link devices to a specific port
  • Data Validation (strict or loose) for data integrity

Full Explanation

8. IO-Link Device Validation

Using IO-Link Device Validation makes your IO-Link master ports intelligent. You can link IO-Link ports to operate only when a compatible or identical IO-Link device is attached.

Full Explanation

9. ISDU: Index Service Data Unit

Comtrol offers ISDU Handling which is when the IO-Link Master handles all programming to provide PLC access to IO-Link device ISDU blocks with a flexible and simplified interface – provides multiple or single ISDU command message support and blocking and non-blocking messaging methods. The PLC ISDU message format is designed for flexibility and ease of use. Each message can contain a single command, multiple commands with the same data area size, or with commands with varying data area sizes.

IO-Link 101

Full Explanation

10. Data Validation (Strict or Loose)

Use the Data Validation option to ensure data integrity by defining the PDI and/or PDO length. Also gives the user the ability to see that data is successfully being communicated to the master.

Full Explanation

This blog post offers IO-Link 101 information to help educate about everything IO-Link 101.

Join Comtrol at ISC West

Comtrol at ISC West

Comtrol will be attending ISC West in Las Vegas on April 6-8. At ISC West you will have the chance to meet with technical reps from 1,000 exhibitors and brands in the security industry and network with over 28,000 security professionals.


Find out about new and future products and stay ahead of the competition. Encompassing everything from access control to Facial Recognition software you’re sure to find products and services that will benefit your company and clients. This year don’t miss our new IT Pavilion featuring the latest cyber security solutions.

Register Today!

Questions? Please contact Tom Baker at or 763-957-6158

Visit us at the Profinet One-Day Training Class

Profinet One-Day Training Class

We will be exhibiting at the Profinet One-Day Training Class on March 29, a free event that provides training on how to apply PROFINET in your own projects. Comtrol will be featuring our IO-Link Masters as well as our RocketLinx Switches and DeviceMaster UP Gateways.

This class is designed for:

  • End Users
  • OEMs
  • System Integrators
  • Manufacturers of automation devices

PROFINET is a standard, unmodified Ethernet protocol designed to support the latest automation strategies.

Event Date: March 29, 2016  

Greenville Marriott
One Parkway East
Greenville, SC 29615 USA

Sign-up for the One-Day Training Class

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Brandon Roy at or 763.957.6127

Comtrol’s RocketPort EXPRESS Working in Audio and Video Live Feeds

RocketPort EXPRESS

Comtrol’s RocketPort EXPRESS PCIe multi-port serial cards are the next generation of multi-port serial adapters, upgraded from previous PCI BUS technology.

RocketPort EXPRESS

At sporting and entertainment events instant audio and video updates are necessary. We need to know the score of the basketball game or how many personal fouls our favorite player had. Comtrol’s RocketPort EXPRESS multi-port serial cards help a leading scoreboard control company make that process easier.

They rely on our 4-port and 8-port RocketPort EXPRESS Cards to add additional serial ports to their servers. The RocketPort cards have the ability to be configured via the software drivers. This allows half of the ports on the cards to be set at RS-232 communications and the other half set at RS-422 communications. These settings allow for multiple uses within their product lines.

Sporting arenas are full of RS-232 communication needs that are used for connecting scoring controllers; these controllers that are typically built for static or amber light boards that are connected via a serial RS-232. Our customer receives a protocol from the manufacturers and implements the configuration into their software. Using the protocol they can read the data live from the signal and process it through the CG portion of their software thereby allowing the end-user to put any real-time scoring data on any LED/LCD screen of their choosing.

To view the complete story CLICK HERE

To learn more about RocketPort EXPRESS, please contact

RocketLinx Industrial Ethernet Power Supply Chart

RocketLinx Unmanaged Ethernet Power Supply Chart

We’ve added a new ethernet power supply chart for both unmanaged and managed switches to all the RocketLinx Industrial Ethernet product pages on the Comtrol website. It is a link to a handy chart that makes choosing the right power supply for specific Switches fast and simple. We broke the chart up in two categories; managed and unmanaged switches.

RocketLinx Unmanaged Ethernet Power Supply Chart

RocketLinx Managed Ethernet Power Supply Chart

Many of our switches work with a number of different power supplies, allowing you to choose the right power supply for the specific application the switch is to be used in. From simple external power supplies to DIN rail mounted, the new Industrial Ethernet Switch Power Supply Chart will help simplify your selection.

RocketLinx Managed Ethernet Power Supply Chart

IO-Link 101: 8 Common Questions Answered

You may be hearing a lot of buzz about IO-Link lately, but do you know what it is or how it works? Below are the answers to common questions about IO-Link technology, what it does, who can benefit from it, and more.

1.   What is IO-Link? IO-Link Comtrol_Group final

IO-Link is a standardized, bi-directional communication protocol supported on sensors or actuators, which are connected through a master. This gives the user/integrator more information about their devices and allows them to have remote access, which fits into the hot topic of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or Industry 4.0. IO-Link is a complimentary technology to an existing PLC, HMI or other controls architecture.

What IO-Link is Not: IO-Link is not another fieldbus. Rather, it was developed to reduce dependability on fieldbus support by manufacturers and users alike. It is designed to be as simple and universal as possible, requiring only standard M12/M8/M5 cables (no special cabling or connectors). It is also not a proprietary communication protocol, but rather a recognized international standard (IEC 61131-9).

2.   How is an IO-Link Sensor Different From a Standard IO Sensor?

Compared to a standard IO sensor, a sensor with IO-Link allows the user to see much more data about the sensor and even allows the ability to change the sensor’s settings without having to stop a manufacturing or production line to access the individual sensor. With an IO-Link sensor, you are also able to store parameters or settings inside of a master block, such as Comtrol offers, which can then be loaded to a brand new, factory-default device if necessary.

3.   What Kind of Data Can You See with IO-Link?

With IO-Link, you can see the manufacturer information and part number, among other data, of your sensors that are connected to the master block. So, if a sensor needs replacement but the lettering of the manufacturer or part number has rubbed off or become illegible, you can quickly see the exact model that needs to be replaced with this information already built in with IO-Link. This is also called Service Date, information that is not relative to a device’s function but rather about the device itself.

You can also view sensor performance and diagnostic information remotely through an IO-Link sensor. This is called Process Data (information that the sensor is reading, like temperature or distance) or Event Data (notifications or flags indicating, for example, a dirty lens, an error, communication loss to a sensor, etc.)

4.   What Kinds of Settings Can Be Changed with IO-Link?

A user can change the settings of an individual sensor without stopping the line to manually change the sensor settings one-by-one. With a web interface for instance, the user is provided access to these settings remotely. One of the most common uses of this capability is to change the read ranges of the sensors for product changeover.For example, if a manufacturer is producing “Product A” and “Product B” on the same line and needs to change sensor settings in-between the processes, this can be achieved by storing parameter sets in the PLC and then sending them out through the master block to sensors when a change is needed. The result? With IO-Link there is a potential for drastic reduction in downtime.

5.   What is an IO-Link System Comprised Of?

An IO-Link system consists of IO-Link sensors or actuators and an IO-Link master block. The information from an IO-Link device is communicated through an industrial Ethernet protocol, most commonly EtherNet/IP, PROFINET/IO, or Modbus TCP. The user can then access the sensor-level information and change sensor data remotely via the embedded web interface, PLC, HMI or other controller.

6.   Do I need a PLC to use IO-Link?

It depends on your industry and application. For example, Comtrol worked with one systems integrator in the mining industry that did not have a PLC present for a project. Instead, they used a connected PC to access sensor-level data from their presence detection IO-Link sensors. This allowed them to remotely view the results of the sensors checking for the presence of minerals.

7.   What are the Key Benefits of IO-Link?

IO-Link has three primary benefits: remote accessibility, auto-device replacement, and diagnostic capability. All of these key features of IO-Link contribute to reducing costly downtime, generally at manufacturing or production plants, and also gives the user much more information about their sensors or actuators.

Remote Accessibility: Refers to the capability to access sensor-level information and make changes from anywhere, as long as the user is able to connect to the a master and/or a network.

Auto-Device Replacement: Refers to IO-Link’s data storage feature that allows the user to download an old sensor’s data into a new sensor for seamless device replacement. This means that the new sensor can be quickly installed with all the settings of its predecessor, which ensures the line can be up and running in a timely manner.

Diagnostic Capability: Refers to the ability to see errors and other important information without having to stop the entire line to investigate the problem. For example, in material handling applications, a problem with a sensor would traditionally mean shutting down the system so that a person can access it and manually troubleshoot and makes changes to the device. With the ability to see error codes or other events through the web interface, the user can quickly identify which sensor is malfunctioning and what the problem is. No line shutdown required.

8.   What Industries Are Adopting IO-Link Technology?

Key industries that Comtrol is seeing use IO-Link include automotive, material handling, manufacturing, food & beverage, and many other industries, especially those that experience frequent changeover or typically long downtime.


Originally seen on SICK USA’s Blog:


RocketLinx PoE Power Supply Chart

PoE Power Supply Chart

We’ve added a new PoE Power Supply Chart on all of the RocketLinx PoE Switch product pages on the Comtrol website. It is a link to a handy chart that makes choosing the right power supply for specific PoE Switches fast and simple.

PoE Power Supply Chart

Many of our PoE switches work with a number of different power supplies, allowing you to choose the right power supply for the specific application the switch is to be used in. From simple external power supplies to DIN rail mounted, the new Industrial Power over Ethernet Switch Power Supply Chart will help simplify your selection.


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