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We are creating a robot for facade treatment (cleaning, painting, drilling). I have few beginner level questions.

An industrial robot with it's controller and our computer is placed at the top of a Manitou rotating telehandler. It is controlled from the floor on another computer. For power, transmitting data, security and process, we have 4 cables going from the floor to the robot. A 32A/400V cable, an 50m ethernet shielded cable, a wire for emergency stop and an high pressure pipe. We have no choice but to run the ethernet cable right next to the 32A cable. I think the telehandler might also create interference because when we start it, connection gets worse.

We connect to our computer inside the robot with TeamViewer (not ideal I know but it kind of work). The computer on the floor is connected via Wi-Fi to a router connected to the ethernet cable on the floor. Inside the robot, there is an ethernet Switch to connect everything on the top.

We have inconsistencies in the connection and sometimes are waiting for many seconds before we can continue working.

My questions :

  • How can I evaluate the stability of a connexion between two computers on the same network ?
  • What are your advices to improve stability ? Other mean of connection ? Better ethernet cable ? More powerful router ?

If you need more information on a specific subject, I can add more details.

Thank you by advance for your advice.

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  • Running the low-voltage cable next to the high-voltage cable is a violation of the National Electric Code, and doing that can get your building red-tagged and shut down from occupancy until the situation is corrected. You also need to worry that power spikes can be induced on the low-violate line that will blow out your ethernet equipment, and possibly start a fire, If anyone is injured or killed, you can also be held criminally responsible.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 22 at 12:20
  • @ronmaupin Not a building, but a construction vehicle -- like a telescoping forklift.
    – Ron Trunk
    Oct 22 at 14:44
  • A fire, especially if someone is hurt or killed could still get you in a lot of trouble.
    – Ron Maupin
    Oct 22 at 14:59
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If feasible, optical fiber is immune to interference. You can use small industrial-grade switches with SFP port (to connect the fiber) in the machine.

However fiber is much more fragile then copper and you must pay attention to the bending radius.

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  • For something that short, MM using "plastic" fiber might work. (not that I've seen any 62.5/50 plastic optical cable.)
    – Ricky
    Oct 22 at 22:01
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How can I evaluate the stability of a connexion between two computers on the same network ?

You could run test traffic (with at least 50% of the connection's bandwidth) and analyze loss, e.g. using iperf3.

What are your advices to improve stability ? Other mean of connection ? Better ethernet cable ? More powerful router ?

Generally, shielded cable (S/FTP) - with proper grounding at both ends - does help, up to a point. There are specialized copper cables for high interference environments - can't really say anything about those - but the absolute solution is to use fiber which is practically immune, yet considerably more delicate.

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  • Fiber could be a great solution for interference, but as we work on harsh condition, on worksite, it is not possible for our application. We would have to replace the fiber every few hours. I'll try iperf3. Thank you for your help Oct 22 at 10:53
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    @ThomasLEFORT Fiber is very delicate by itself - as I understand, there are quite a few very robust offerings on the markets, but I can't provide any recommendation (which are off-topic here anyway).
    – Zac67
    Oct 22 at 10:58
  • I agree with Zac, there's probably some hardened fiber cables that could suit your application.
    – JFL
    Oct 22 at 11:23
  • @ThomasLEFORT Also, I would explore using protective tubing (large enough to pass LC connectors) for standard pre-terminated fiber, which could potentially simplify design, procurement and repairs quite a bit.
    – Zac67
    Oct 22 at 11:49

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