White Paper. Technical Capabilities of the DF1 Half-Duplex Protocol

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1 White Paper Technical Capabilities of the DF1 Half-Duplex Protocol

2 Introduction DF1 Protocol To meet the challenges of today s global marketplace communication and network, systems must offer customers reliability and flexibility. Allen-Bradley s DF1 with half-duplex is just one of many protocol solutions for networking two or more intelligent devices together. The protocol is based on the RS-232C compatible serial interface, which defines the connector pinouts, cabling, and signal levels. This interface is the electrical and physical connection. This document only describes the protocol. No information concerning the RS-232 hardware will be discussed. A primary application for both protocols is SCADA (Supervisory Control and Acquisition). SCADA networks allow users to control and monitor various remote functions and processes. In each of the following network drawings, the master polls each slave in a predefined order. Through this process, the master can oversee the slaves control, maintain the process, and react to changes at the remote sites. These networks can support many media links such as radio/ microwave modems, dialup modems, and power line modems. Historically, SCADA users have utilized proprietary costly equipment to provide control and intelligence. With the introduction of micro PLCs that support these protocols, a low-cost intelligent off-the-shelf solution now exists. DF1 is an open and freely available protocol developed by Allen-Bradley. In use for over 15 years, DF1 is used for two-way data transmission, point-to-point, and multi-drop networks in local and long-distance applications. The DF1 protocol can be configured for full or half-duplex operation. DF1 full duplex is used over a point-to-point link (one device connected to another). This allows for simultaneous bi-directional communications and produces higher throughput for high performance applications. Half-duplex is for master/slave multi-drop communications. This allows bi-directional communications in one direction at a time.

3 DF1 and Half-duplex DF1 half-duplex is used for multi-drop applications such as SCADA. The multidrop link utilizes one master and one or more slaves as shown above. The multidrop link is a network with all nodes/stations interfaced through compatible devices (modems, line drivers, etc.). There can be up to 255 devices connected on each network. When using half-duplex networks, one node-station is always designated as the master station. The master controls all communications activity on the network; other nodes/stations are slaves and must wait for permission from the master before communicating. On a half-duplex network, each slave has a unique node/station address from 0 to 254. The master communicates with each station by addressing each message to the appropriate station address. This allows the master to selectively communicate with a specific node/station. If the master needs to send data to more than one station at the same time, a broadcast capability is built into DF1. If the master sends a message with a node address of 255, all connected devices detect and accept the message. Slave-to-slave Messaging One of the unique features of DF1 is its ability to let slave devices send messages directly to other slaves devices. This capability is called slave-to-slave messaging and allows a programming terminal to reside on the network as the slave. The programming terminal can both download/upload and monitor another slave. The DF1 master allows this type of messaging because it is built into the

4 DF1 protocol, allowing a slave to initiate a message. When the master station polls the slave station, it detects a pending message. When the master reads the message, it forwards the message on to the appropriate station. This is done without any programming in the DF1 master. DF1 Types Master Command : This message is used when the master needs to address only one slave on the network, If the master at address 1 needs to send a message to a slave at address 2, the master places a value of 2 in the slave address and sends the message. In the master message block the command field in the data field tells the slave at address 2 what kind of action to perform. The slave responds back to the master acknowledging it received the message. When the master needs to broadcast a single message to all slaves on the network, a 255 is placed in the slave address field. This is an example of a DF1 message structure. Master command message Slave Response Start of Slave Address: 02 Separator End of CRC Error Check Destination 02 Source 01 Command or Reply Status Trans # Slave command message Master Response Start of End of Error Check Destination 01 Source 02 Command or Reply Status Trans #

5 The master polls a slave based on how the master is configured. If the slave has a message pending (initiated by the event or change-of-state), the slave sends it when the master polls the slave. This is an example of master poll sequence. Master polling packet (4 bytes) Slave Response Start Poll Command Station Number Error Check Slave without data (2 bytes) No message Master Response OR Slave with data (variable length) Master Response Start of End of Error Check Destination Source Command or Reply Status Trans # Summary DF1 is an open and freely available network protocol. It can be configured for full or half-duplex operation. DF1 full-duplex is used in point-to-point links with one device connected to another. Half-duplex is for master/slave multi-drop networks in local and long-distance applications. These multi-drop networks are referred to SCADA networks. When configured for DF1 half-duplex, there can be up to 255 devices connected on one multi-drop network. The devices on a multi-drop network are interfaced through compatible communication hardware (modems, line drivers, etc.). A unique feature of DF1 half-duplex is that is offers slave-to-slave messaging. This makes it easier to send data from a slave to another slave. DF1 half-duplex also allows a programming station to be connected as a slave device and allows the user to download, upload, and monitor programs in another slave on the network from the programming station. These features do not require any special programming in the master. These features are inherent with Rockwell Automation products that support DF1 half-duplex master/slave protocol. This includes products like the MicroLogix 1000, SLC 5/03, SLC 5/04, SLC 5/05, and the PLC-5 series of PLCs. The selection of a SCADA network protocol is a significant decision and is not

6 something that can be changed easily or without great expense. Therefore, the decision on protocol should be based on flexibility with hardware and software products available and the features/benefits such as remote programming and slaveto-slave messaging. Definitions ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange. DF1 - DF1 protocol is based on ANSIx3.28 specification. It is an open protocol used for two-way data transmission. Multi-drop - Multiple connections of more than two (2) stations. Point-to-Point - A single connection between two (2) stations. Protocol - Defines the format or structure of data exchanged over a communications link between two (2) devices/stations. Report by Exception: A method of initiating communications, typically when an event or action is detected. RTU: Remote Terminal Unit. SCADA - Supervisory Control and Acquisition. Topology: The way the network is physically structured. Example: a ring, bus or star configuration. Publication 1761-WP003A-EN-E - March Rockwell International. All Rights Reserved. Printed in

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