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Frequently Asked Questions

Banner Engineering is committed to providing detailed technical content and educational material about our industrial wireless I/O network devices. These pages answer basic questions about wireless technology in general and Banner Engineering's specific MultiHop technology.

For a quick guide outlining how to form a wireless network, bind Nodes to the Gateway, or apply power to the radio devices, refer to the DX80 Quick Start Guide or the MultiHop Quick Start Guide.

For more detailed information about how the DX80 Wireless Products or MultiHop Radios work, configuration instructions, or installation tips and tricks, download and read the product line instruction manuals. DX80 Wireless I/O Network Instruction Manual or MultiHop Radio Instruction Manual.

The following FAQs/Knowledgebase technical content includes instructions about integrating Sure Cross® products with other products and example network configurations using the User Configuration Tool (UCT).

Finding InformationBasic Radio FunctionsNetwork and Data SecurityProduct Specific QuestionsDevice ParametersWiringConfiguration ExamplesMultiHop Radios

Finding Information about Banner's Wireless Product Line

The Sure Cross Wireless Glossary of Terms defines many basic radio and Banner Sure Cross terminology used in product documentation.

Product datasheets are available for download from Banner Engineering’s website and are located on the same page as the product model numbers and I/O specifications. Although a printed datasheet ships with each product, the most recent version will always be available online.

Title Description Keywords
Certified Countries Banner Engineering maintains a list of all countries certified to use the Sure Cross radio products. For the most updated list, refer to the Literature Library on the Wireless section of www.bannerengineering.com. FCC, radio certifications, certified countries
3D Models Models are available on this website, under 3D Models on the Wireless Sensor Networks menu. 3D model, AutoCAD, DXF, IGES, PDF

CSA or ATEX Certificates

 

The CSA and ATEX certificates of compliance are available on the Classified Areas product pages. If you have any questions about a certificate, please contact your Banner regional business center and ask to speak to an application engineer.

To clarify the certifications, we created a document that lists all CSA and ATEX certifications by model, defines the environments, and explains the codes used on ATEX certificates.

CSA, ATEX, certificate, CID1, CID2, hazardous areas

CSA Logo ATEX Logo

Control Drawings All control drawings are posted online in the Classified Areas section of the Wireless products website.  

 

Basic Radio Functions

Title Description  
900 MHz vs 2.4 GHz

Though both frequency ranges are in the unlicensed Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) bands, there are performance differences between the two ranges.

Radios using 900 MHz have a longer range and a better ability to penetrate obstacles, making 900 MHz a better solution for industrial environments.

Radios using 2.4 GHz transmit data packets faster and require less power than a radio using 900 MHz would use to transmit the same size data packet.

North America typically uses 900 MHz while 2.4 GHz is used globally.

 

Radio network topologies

 

Basic network topologies include point-to-point, bus, star, and mesh. To maximize data throughput and network response time, Banner uses the star topology for its wireless network. DX80 Star Topology
TDMA vs contention

Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) provides a specific communication time slot for each device on the network, ensuring devices do not conflict with each other.

A contention-based architecture allows all devices on a network access to the communications channel at once, leading to transmission/data collisions.

Read this brief definition of TDMA and Contention radio network architecture for more informaion.

 
FHSS vs DSSS

Frequency Hop Spread Spectrum and Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum are the most commonly used radio communication technologies.

Read this brief definition to understand the differences and why FHSS is the best option for high-interference industrial environments.

 
Master/slave vs peer-to-peer Master/slave and peer-to-peer communication models differ primarily in how and when devices are allowed to communicate. To prevent data loss, the Sure Cross wireless network radios use a master/slave communication model.  
Omni vs Yagi antennas

Two types of commonly used antennas are omni-directional antennas (omnis) and direction antennas (typically called Yagi antennas).

To comply with FCC regulations, choose an antenna from the list of Banner’s accessories (print and online).

Download the Antenna Gain Calculator spreadsheet to help you select the antenna, necessary cables, and the surge suppressor necessary for your network configuration.

Antennas
Protecting radios from lightning

Remote antenna configurations installed without surge suppressors invalidate the Banner Engineering Corp. warranty. Surge suppressors mount between the antenna and the radio system to protect the electrical equipment from damage during a lightning strike or other electrical surge. However, no surge suppressor can absorb all lightning strikes.

Always keep the ground wire as short as possible and make all ground connections to a single-point ground system to ensure no ground loops are created.

For more information about antenna installation, download and read Antenna Basics.

Surge Suppressor
Using multiple wireless networks without interference

To prevent networks from interfering with each other, the Gateway and all its Nodes exchange a binding code that prevents radios outside the network from communicating with the Gateway.

Nodes and Gateways can also be configured to use multiple channel hop patterns to eliminate data collisions.

 
Distance between radios When the radio network’s master radio is too close to another radio, communications between all devices is interrupted. For this reason, do not install a Gateway within two meters of another Gateway or Node.  

 

Network and Data Security

Title Description  
Communication protocols

Using a proprietary protocol provides a high level of security. Data security is far more of a concern when using open protocols. With an open protocol and no security encryption, anyone using that protocol can intercept and monitor your data. Widely used open protocols such as Wi-Fi have serious security issues. Even a high degree of encryption may not protect your data. It is common for new encryption schemes to be hacked within months of implementation.

Proprietary systems are more difficult to hack than an open standard. Banner Engineering Corp. developed a communication method that gives Sure Cross the ability to carry only I/O data signals between Nodes and Gateways.

 
Data security

Banner achieves data security by using a proprietary protocol, pseudo-random frequency hopping, and generic data transfer.

The Sure Cross protocol only carries I/O data, making it impossible for a malicious executable file to be transmitted. This protocol does not operate like an open protocol such as Wi-Fi and is not subject to the risks of an open protocol. Sure Cross also uses pseudo-random frequency hopping and generic data transfer without context to ensure signal integrity.

Secure Wireless Network

 

Product Specific Questions and Answers

Title Description  
Existing 802.11 (Wi-Fi) networks

The Banner wireless system can be installed within any existing 802.11b environment. The low data rates and narrow frequency band of the Banner wireless system make it almost silent to the existing 802.11b infrastructure.

For more information, please refer to the Using Banner's Sure Cross Wireless Products in a 802.11 (Wi-Fi) Environment technical note.

 
Radio range

Banner’s wireless network is designed for long distance applications and the range is specified up to three miles line of sight.

To verify range, Banner integrates a Site Survey tool into all Gateways that displays real-time signal quality results without disrupting the flow of I/O data.

The Product Manual includes a list of installation tips and tricks to help you improve your radios’ performance.

 
Operating indoors or outdoors All radios can operate either indoors or outdoors. Refer to the specific product's datasheet for the temperature specification and IP rating for each product.  
Secondary enclosures

All Sure Cross radios can be installed in enclosures, but the antenna should be mounted outside the enclosure.

When using a secondary enclosure, refer to the Antenna Basics document for installation recommendations.

Using an enclosure
Deterministic systems

Determinism is the ability to predict and control network behavior by establishing default states for specific conditions.

For example, users can configure an output to close or shut down if the radio signal is lost. As soon as radio communications resume, the network resumes normal operation.

 
Battery life

The single-cell DX81 Battery Module life varies based on the application. The Power Solutions and Battery Life document (Banner p/n 140386) lists some sensors that have been evaluated for use with the FlexPower Nodes.

The sample and report rates used in your network configuration will affect the battery life. The slower the sample and report rates, the longer the battery lasts. Depending on the sensor and configuration of your devices, your battery or battery pack can last anywhere from several months to more than 10 years.

For sensors not included in the Power Solutions document, Banner Engineering sells a cable to help you measure the current draw of your sensor when the sensor is powered on and off. Remember, most manufacturers assume a constant power to their sensor. The power consumption values you measure after your sensor is cycled on and off may differ from any power consumption values published in the manufacturer’s literature.

Contact an application engineer for more information about your application.

DX81 Battery Module
Explosion Proof vs Intrinsically Safe

The Sure Cross DX99 product line is classified as Intrinsically Safe (IS), not explosion proof, and is certified for a variety of hazardous locations.

Each product datasheet lists the specific certifications for the products. For a list of products, refer to the Classified Areas section of Banner’s Wireless Products website.

 
Inputs and outputs Banner’s wireless products are available in a several combinations of discrete, analog, temperature, counter, and serial inputs and discrete and analog outputs. For a complete list of all Sure Cross products, refer to the Wireless I/O Products section of Banner’s website. If a particular combination of I/O isn’t listed, contact your Banner regional business center for a quote on a custom product that fits your needs. Discrete and Analog I/O
Network scabilitity Sure Cross Wireless offers a comprehensive family of industrial wireless I/O solutions. The DX70 radios are designed for simple point-to-point wire replacement applications. The DX80 Wireless network offers a Gateway that supports multiple host communication protocols and up to 47 Nodes. Data radios can be used to expand the range of a network.  
Control applications Sure Cross wireless is used for control applications and is deterministic based on its communication method within a pre-defined bandwidth. Determinism is the ability to predict and control network behavior by establishing default states for specific conditions. Using TDMA provides a specific time slot for each device on the network. Typical throughput times are in the 125 to 250 millisecond range for discrete signals.  
Banner's Gateways and Nodes Gateways and Nodes make up a wireless network. The Gateway is the master device and the Nodes are the slave devices that collect data and transmit it back to the Gateway. Performance Gateway Performance Node
FlexPower FlexPower devices can be powered from either 10 to 30 V dc, battery modules, or solar panels. Read this technical note for a more detailed explanation of FlexPower and the advantages it offers your wireless network. FlexPower Node with Solar Panel
Banner's Temperature and Relative Humidity Sensor The temperature and humidity sensor works with the FlexPower Nodes with Serial Interface. This sensor is optimized for efficient power use. Temperature/Humidity Sensor
Calculating temperature values from the register contents

Interpret register values using this technical note as a guide. The units conversion table defines the type and range of values for each type of I/O. The wireless devices have many different units of measure for inputs including: milliamp (mA), voltage (V), temperature (°C or °F), humidity (RH), or a raw 16-bit or 32-bit value.

Outputs can be either current (4 to 20 mA, 0 to 20 mA) or voltage (0 to 10 V dc). All values stored in Modbus registers are unsigned numbers, except for temperature readings. Temperature readings are stored as signed numbers (two's complement).

 
4-20 mA and 0-20 mA analog inputs

When using a 4 to 20 mA sensor with a 0 to 20 mA input, the sensor uses the 4 to 20 mA section of the total range. Using a 4 to 20 mA with a 0 to 20 mA input allows you to determine when you have an error condition with the sensor. A normal input reading between 4 and 20 mA indicates a functioning sensor whereas a value below 4 mA indicates an error condition, such as a broken wire or loose connection.

Some DX80 Sure Cross devices allow you to configure the analog inputs and outputs to use either 0 to 20 mA or 4 to 20 mA. For a one-page technical note on this topic, download the Using 4 to 20 mA Sensors with 0 to 20 mA Analog I/O document.

 
Converting analog I/O

Convert a 0 to 20 mA analog outputs to 0 to 10 V by installing a 500 ohm, 1/4 Watt prevision resistor across the analog out and ground. For more details and a wiring diagram, refer to the linked technical note.

You may also convert a sensor's inputs to use the supplied 0 to 20 mA analog input.

 
Heartbeat vs polling

Polling is a message that originates from the Gateway to Nodes. When a Node receives a polling message, it is expected to immediately respond to the Gateway, indicating the link is operational. There are no retries on a polling message, just a single attempt of communication between the Gateway and Node.

Heartbeat mode is driven by the Node. The Node sends a heartbeat message to the Gateway based on a specific time interval. The Node resends the message when the message is not acknowledged by the Gateway. The Gateway is programmed to expect a message from each Node within a certain interval (Node Heartbeat Interval + Time for Message Retries). If the Gateway determines that a Node has not checked in within a specified interval, the radio link is considered to be bad. The maximum time an error is detected will be between one and two heartbeat intervals.

For more information, refer to the Monitoring DX80 System Health technical note.

 
Mixing Performance and DX80 wireless products in the same network

To comply with federal regulations, the 150 mW radios and 1 Watt radios communicate differently. For this reason, to use Performance radios and DX80 radios in the same network, the Performance radios must operate in 250 mW mode, not 1 Watt mode. All Performance models offer the ability to select between 250 mW and 1 Watt operation using the DIP switches.

For more information, read the Mixing Performance Radios and DX80 Radios in the Same Network technical note.

 
Materials List.

Lists the materials used in the Sure Cross product line.

 

 

Sure Cross Device Parameters

Title Description  
Using hysteresis and threshold parameters

Hysteresis and threshold work together to define the on and off points of an analog input.

 
Sample, report, and polling rates

Sample, report, and polling rates establish how often sensors, Nodes, and Gateways communicate with each other. These settings directly affect how long a battery-powered system can operate.

 
Thermocouple vs RTD sensors Thermocouples and RTDs measure temperature differently and are appropriate for different applications.  
Server timeout parameter On a DX80 wireless network, there are two basic timeouts to monitor: radio link timeouts between the Gateway and its Nodes, and host timeouts between the host system and the DX83 or GatewayPro. This technical note describes how to monitor host timeouts using the Server Timeout parameter in the DX83/GatewayPro.  
Extending the sensor warm-up time Follow these instructions to extend the warm-up time for switch powered sensors.  
Home communication timeout The DX80 system can be configured to force device outputs to a specific state when certain error conditions occur. One of the failure conditions is a host link failure. When the host link failure mode is enabled, a time parameter is set that defines the maximum time within which the host system must interact with the DX80 Gateway. If the host system and Gateway do not interact within that time, it is considered a host communication timeout error and all outputs will be set to a user defined default state. For more information about host communication timeouts and how to configure them, please refer to the DX80 Host Communication Timeout technical note.  

 

Wiring Issues

The Sensor Connections Reference Guide (Banner p/n 136214) illustrates several typical wiring connections and lists the type of sensors likely to use such connections.

Title Description  
Available cables

For more details about some of the cables typically used with the Sure Cross wireless products, download the Wireless Cables technical note.

Cables
Two power sources

You can use two power sources to power FlexPower devices. Common examples of this configuration include powering a FlexPower Gateway or Data Radio using the Sure Cross Solar Supply and using a DX81 or DX81P6 as a backup battery supply (in addition to the rechargeable battery pack that is already part of the solar power assembly). Another common example involves using a PS24DX 10 to 30 V dc power supply and a DX81 Battery Module as a battery backup. For more information and some example configurations, refer to the Using Dual Power Supplies technical note.

 
NAMUR sensors Refer to this technical note to learn how to connect NAMUR sensors to Banner's Sure Cross radios and how to configure the radios.  
Red Lion G3 HMI Download these instructions to learn how to create a DX80-to-RS485 cable to connect a DX80 device to a Red Lion G3 HMI.  
EZ-AC power supply Download these instructions to learn how to use a EZ-AC Power Supply to power a DX80.  
Wiring a DX85 Modbus RTU Remote I/O device to a DX80...C Gateway Download these instructions to learn how to wire a DX80...C Gateway to a DX85...C Modbus RTU Remote I/O device.  
Wiring a DX80....C Gateway to the UCT cable Download these instructions to learn how to wire a DX80...C Gateway to use the UCT cable.  
Connecting a DX81 Battery Supply Module to a DX80...C FlexPower Node Download these instructions to learn how to wire a DX80...C FlexPower Node to the DX81 FlexPower Battery Supply Module.  
Connecting a MultiHop radio to a PLC (RS-232 and DB9) This technical note shows which splitter cable to use to connect a MultiHop radio to a PLC.  
Connecting a MultiHop radio to a host system, Gateway, or other serial device This technical note includes detailed information about connecting MultiHop radios to a variety of other devices.  
Powering a sensor using the FlexPower Solar Supply Using a Solar Power System to Power any 4 to 20 mA Loop or Modbus Transmitter. This technical note details how to use the solar assembly to power a MultiHop radio and sensor.  

 

Configuration Examples

Title Description  
Changing your computer's IP Address

Refer to this iKnow Wireless Training Note: Changing the IP Address in Windows for instructions on how to change your computer's IP address. Instructions for several versions of Microsoft Windows are included.

 
Thermocouple input to discrete outputs

Using the User Configuration Tool (UCT) and extended control messages to set a K-type thermocouple Node input to trigger a discrete output on the Gateway when the thermocouple temperature rises above 120 °F.

 
Converting a counter frequency to an analog output Using the UCT to convert a counter frequency to an analog output on a DX80 Gateway.  
Mapping a Node's link lost message to an output Using the UCT to map a Node's Lost Link message to an output on a Gateway to trigger an alarm or light.  
Null and Span parameters Using the UCT's Null and Span parameters to map temperature inputs to analog outouts.  
Mapping one input to two outputs Using the UCT to map one input to two outputs.  
Mapping DX85 I/O to a Node Using the UCT to map DX85 I/O to a Node.  
Configuring a Gateway and DX85 as a Modbus Master Using the UCT to configure a DX80 Gateway and DX85 Modbus RTU Remote I/O device as a Modbus master.  
Signed vs unsigned workaround Allen-Bradley Signed vs Unsigned Workaround. Converting the GatewayPro’s 16-bit unsigned integer to a 16-bit signed integer using Allen-Bradley’s Control Logix®.  
Sample on demand DX80 Sample on Demand.  
Mapping an input to another input Using the Web Configurator and extended logic to map one input to another input.  
Flash patterns Using the UCT to configure a flash pattern for an EZ-LIGHT.  
Continuous switch power Using the UCT to configure continuous switch power or to configure host controlled switch power.  
Customized alarm state The DX80 system allows users to customize a mapped alarm state using the User Configuration Tool (UCT). By default, some inputs create alarm conditions for special situations.  
12 I/O Nodes and Gateway The Mapping Multiple 12 I/O Nodes to the 12 I/O Gateway technical note explains how to use the 12 I/O devices with the custom configuration options and gives a detailed example of how this works.  
12 I/O Nodes and Gateways (-P7 and -P8 models) The Mapping 12 I/O Inputs to Multiple 12 I/O Outputs techncal note also explains how to use the 12 I/O devices (Performance -P7 and -P8 models) with the User Configuration Tool.  
Manually assigning binding codes Manually assigning an extended address or binding code to a Gateway or Node is useful when replacing a radio in an existing network.  
GatewayPros and the UCT You can use the UCT to configure your network when you are using a GatewayPro, but you have to first remove the serial jumpers. The Programming a GatewayPro Using the UCT technical note shows you how to do this.  
Windows 7 and the User Configuration Tool

Some computer systems running Microsoft Windows 7 may not run the User Configuration Tool if the user is not configured with administrator rights on the computer system.

 
Bit Packing Information into Registers

Bit packing involves using a single register, or range of contiguous registers, to represent multiple I/O values, instead of using a single register for each I/O value. Several of the newer Sure Cross models use bit packing to store discrete data.

 
Using the DX99 Radar Boost Model’s Switch Power

The DX99N...D5 model features two 4 to 20mA inputs, one discrete NPN input, one 3-wire RTD input, and a switch power connection. The switch power control uses a unique algorithm to optimize the functionality and power use of the DX99, allowing the DX99 to efficiently power external sensors.

 
Configuring the DX99...D5 Radar Boost Node

Describes how to configure the DX99N9X1S1N0M3X0D5 or DX99N2X1S1N0M3X0D5 Node to work with an Endress + Hauser FMR 245 (4 to 20 mA) or VEGAPULS 62 (PS62.UXCAE3DANXX) Radar Sensors.

 
Configuring the DX99...D4 Comms Boost Model to work with a Siemens Model 2100 Digital Level Sensor

This technical note describes how to configure the DX99N9-2100-ASSY and DX99N2-2100-ASSY kits to work with a Siemens Model 2100 Digital Level Sensor.

 
Changing the Binding Code (XADR) Using Modbus Registers

To change a binding code from a host system, use the Gateway’s Modbus control registers.

 
Converting a Discrete Input into a Synchronous Counter Any discrete input can be converted to a synchronous counter, as long as the synchronous counter rate is less than 10 Hz and the pulse width is greater than 62.5 milliseconds.  
Binding Mode Refer to Entering Binding Mode from a Modbus Host Controller for instructions on how to start binding mode on either a MultiHop radio or a Gateway from your Modbus Host Controller system.  

 

MultiHop Radios

The following technical notes are specific to the MultiHop product family.

Title Description  
MultiHop radios and PLCs

This technical note shows which splitter cable to use to connect a MultiHop radio to a PLC using RS-232 and a DB9 connection.

 
Connecting MultiHop radios to a host system, Gateway, or other serial device

This technical note includes detailed information about connecting MultiHop radios to a variety of other devices.

This Cable Replacement Configuration technical note is a quick, one-page cheat sheet covering how to replace a cable connecting two Modbus devices with two MultiHop radios.

 
Performing a site survey The site survey function of the MultiHop radio measures the signal quality between two devices. A site survey can be initiated from the LCD menu on any MultiHop radio or from a host system.  
Switch power settings

Switch Power Configuration. Switch power can be linked to a specific input or can be configured to supply continuous power to a device.

Configuring for Continuous Power Output. One switch power output can be configured to supply continuous power to a sensor.

Low Power Applications. Changing some default settings optimizes MultiHop radios for low power applications.

 
Restoring factory default settings Wiring to these four registers will restore factory defaults to a MultiHop radio.  
Using the Bootload screen of the MultiHop Configuration Tool software Use the Bootloader screen to update the firmware and EEPROM files and to view the firmware version numbers. Updating the firmware or EEPROM files typically requires that someone from the factory sends you an updated program file.  
Routing messages in Transparent Mode Users may route messages while operating in transparent mode by using the Destination Address parameter.  
Forcing slave radios to use repeaters To force your slave radios to use repeater radios instead of transmitting straight to the master radio, adjust the minimum acceptable site survey link quality (formational percentage) necessary to join to a parent radio. Increase the formation percentage to force slave radios to create a radio link to repeaters instead of the master radio.  
Slave radios with weak radio signals To allow a MultiHop slave radio with a weak radio signal to join the MultiHop network, adjust the minimum acceptable site survey link quality (formational percentage) to join to a parent radio. For long-range applications with weak radio signals, users can decrease the acceptable link strength.  
Network Formation Tables Describes how the MultiHop radios form their networks.  
Default Output Conditions Three default conditions may be used to set outputs to defined default states.  
Sample on demand. Using Sample on Demand allows a host control system to force selected inputs on a MultiHop radio to immediately sample.  
Using a DX83 Ethernet Bridge as a Modbus master Configure a DX83 Ethernet Bridge as the Modbus Master device to control MultiHop radios.  
Using DX85s with MultiHop radios Use the UCT to map a push button input on a DX85 to an EZ-LIGHT output on a MultiHop Radio.  
Mobile MultiHop radios Follow these instructions to configure a MultiHop radio to act as a mobile asset, able to join different networks as it travels within range of the networks.  
Manually assigning binding codes. Use the buttons and menu system displayed on the LCD to manually assign a binding code to a MultiHop radio. For detailed instructions about how to manually assign a binding code, read this one-page technical note.  
Detecting lost radio links. Follow these instructions to configure your host system to detect when a MultiHop radio has lost its radio link with the rest of the MultiHop network.  
Sleep mode Use these parameters to disable sleep mode or adjust the sleep mode parameters.  
Powering a sensor using the FlexPower Solar Supply Using a Solar Power System to Power any 4 to 20 mA Loop or Modbus Transmitter. This technical note details how to use the solar assembly to power a MultiHop radio and sensor.  
MultiHop Configuration Tool (MHCT) and the MultiHop Ethernet Data Radio Using the MultiHop Configuration Tool with the MultiHop Etherent Data Radio. The MultiHop Configuration Tool can be used with the Ethernet Data Radios to examine the network topology, conduct a site survey, or adjust parameter settings.  
Banner Sensor GUI Refer to Using Data Radios to Connect an M-GAGE or R-GAGE to the Banner GUI to learn how to connect your M-GAGE or R-GAGE sensor to the Banner sensor GUI.  
Binding Mode Refer to Entering Binding Mode from a Modbus Host Controller for instructions on how to start binding mode on either a MultiHop radio or a Gateway from your Modbus Host Controller system.  
Forced Routing Refer to Forced Routing for MultiHop Radios for instructions on how to create user-defined routing tree structures.  

 

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