Using an Apple iPad or iPhone to monitor and control your Allen-Bradley PanelView Plus

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Apple iPad Box ShotLast week I had the opportunity to show a client how to use his Apple iPad and iPhone to remotely control his PanelView Plus 6. Afterwards, I thought it would make an excellent blog post.

The first step is to setup your PanelView Plus as a VNC server, and we covered how to do this in this blog post earlier in the week. So today we’ll walk you through connecting to your PanelView Plus running as a VNC server using your Apple iPad or iPhone as a VNC client.

Setting up your Apple iPad or iPhone to remotely monitor and control your PanelView Plus:

On your Apple device you’re going to need a “VNC Client.” Fortunately for us, Rockwell tested and recommends a free app we can download from the Apple app store. Below are the steps to download and setup this app:

1) On your Apple iPad (or iPhone,) open the Apple App Store and search for “Mocha VNC Lite:”

1 Apple iPad App Store - Mocha VNC Lite

2) Download and install this app:

2 Mocha VNC Lite program icon

3) Open the “Mocha VNC Lite” app and select “New” to edit a new configuration.

3 Mocha VNC Lite config new connection

4) Enter the IP address of a PanelView Plus that is running VNC server software (as described in  this blog post.) Also add your VNC password and a name for your configuration, as shown below:

4 Mocha VNC Lite config new connection settings

Note: It’s best if your Apple device is on the same subnet as your PVPlus. If not, you’ll need to be sure your router is correctly routing between the two subnets.

5) Press the “Back” button on the top left of the app to return to the menu, and then select connect.

5 Mocha VNC Lite Connect to PVPlus

6) Select your new setup and connect. After a few moments you should see your PVPlus screen appear on your Apple device. Pictured below is my Apple iPad 2 using the Mocha VNC Lite app to connect to a PanelView Plus 6 running VNC server software:

1 Apple iPad 2 connected via Mocha VNC Lite to PanelView Plus 6

7) I ran through the above steps a second time on my iPhone 5s, and the result can be seen below:

2 Apple iPhone 5s connected via Mocha VNC Lite to PanelView Plus 6

8) Here I’m showing both my iPad 2 and iPhone 5s connected simultaneously (along with my PC) to a single PanelView Plus 6 running VNC server software:

3 Apple iPad 2, iPhone 5s and Windows 7 PC simultaneously connected to a single PanelView Plus 6 using VNC

I hope the above procedure on how to connect your Apple iPad or iPhone to your PanelView Plus using VNC was helpful. If you have any questions or comments please use the “Leave a Reply” form at the bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Shawn Tierney
Automation Consultant
Insights In Automation

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Legacy Comments

  1. what is the max range from the panel view to the ipad

    • Morning Jim,

      I had the PanelView Plus wired into an off the shelf wireless router which my iPad was also connected to via WiFi. The range really depended on how many walls and objects were in-between the two, and I never got more than 50 feet away from the router.

      Hope this helps,

      Shawn Tierney

      Did you find my comment helpful? Why not become a Premium Member with a small donation, and in return I'll give you a coupon for $10 of automation downloads! Find out more here

  2. Has any consideration been made relative to machine safety when using a remote device to control the HMI?

    • Kris,

      These are just my thoughts:

      Remote control of HMI and SCADA systems has been with us for many years. Since Microsoft Terminal Services and PC Anyware became available, it’s been relatively easy to control an HMI or SCADA PC from halfway across the world.

      However, just as we would not leave live wires un-terminated in the open, it would also not be safe to allow remote control of a system that can not be operated safely remotely. If a process requires line of sight to operate safely, then remote access options may be limited to “view only” mode.

      Hope this helps,

      Shawn Tierney

      Did you find my comment helpful? Why not become a Premium Member with a small donation, and in return I'll give you a coupon for $10 of automation downloads! Find out more here

  3. Hi Shawn,
    I can connect my Panelview plus 7 (4″) to my android mobile in vnc viewer if both are connected in same network. But if i turn on mobile data when i go out from office i couldn’t able to connect to the HMI. can u suggest me to fix this issue.

    • Good morning Sumith,

      This is for the same reason you can’t connect to your PC from the Internet without special software or a VPN.

      Your internal private network is (fortunately) not mapped to the Internet, so your internal network’s addresses are not accessible from the Internet.

      This makes sense because most homes re-use the same 192.168. subnet, and most businesses re-use the 10. subnet internally, as opposed to expensive and unique Internet addresses.

      So the easiest way to connect to your private internet network from the Internet would be to use a VPN client and server to put your internet device securely on your internal network remotely across the Internet, at which point you should be able to access internal networked devices from your remote device,

      Hope this helps,

      Shawn Tierney

      Did you find my comment helpful? Why not become a Premium Member with a small donation, and in return I'll give you a coupon for $10 of automation downloads! Find out more here

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