Android tablet for HMI?

Accessibility for mobile devices is one of the expectations HMI/SCADA software developers will have to embrace in the very near future.

One way this is being achieved is by leveraging the power of HTML5. For example, Status Enterprise Edition from B-Scada allows you to create an HMI screen using WPF controls, then access that screen on any modern browser that supports HTML5. This includes iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Kindle and Windows devices.

Basically, any smart phone or tablet can view the same screens you see on a desktop workstation.

Learn more at

Joel Labrucherie

We've developed just this type of HMI. We have an Apple version already polished up, and have just released the Android version. It's called <b>Nanospark</b>.
We focused on the iPod touch and on 7" Android tablets for our HMI for a number of reasons:

- <b>Processing power</b> is plenty for most manufacturing processes and facility management tasks.

- Easy of <b>customization</b> (there are a million programmers out there who can do complex apps for significantly less than custom PC software).

- <b>Built in tablet features</b> can so easily be brought to bear on the programming. With our in-house projects the wifi has always been used. But we've also used the microphone, camera and GPS.

- Apps as machine monitoring and control are <b>super easy to learn</b>.

- Price point (we all knew this was coming).

There are two main hurdles I'm running into with regards to using a tablet for HMI.

1. Getting people to stop thinking of their iPod, smartphone or tablet as a <i>personal</i> device and realize how much and how simply it can enhance their product or their manufacturing facility.

2. The sheer amount that COULD be done seems to overload the brain. So that then even what SHOULD be done gets shoved aside.

You guys seeing these too?

Gary Reynolds


This subject caught my attention because I working on a project where we are using a Nexus 10 tablet as a human-machine interface. The plan is to keep it connected to a charger. Normally, a user would connect his charger to the USB port. In our application, the USB port is connected to a USB-to-Ethernet adapter which is connected to our machine's control PC. An app on the tablet communicates through the adapted interface. We are utilizing the tablet's magnetic "Pogo" adapter jack to keep it charged.

What we have learned is that the power consumption of the USB-to-Ethernet adapter exceeds the ability of the Pogo adapter to keep it charged. So the battery eventually dies, then the tablet turns off and we have no interface. To minimize power drain, all unnecessary functions on the tablet are off/disabled. We have tried a couple of powered USB-to-Ethernet adapters but none so far work. They come with driver disks and so appear to geared for use on PC's and not Androids. I can find no info on making these compatible with Androids.

I welcome any suggestions from anyone who has solved this or similar problem.

You need to connect the power supply lines in the USB connection to a high-current source that can provide in excess of the current draw of the tablet in service. This may require a bit of surgery on the USB connection - but is doable.

A standard USB 2.0 port will provide up to 500 mA - which is OK for charging phones but not necessarily for a tablet. A wall-wart charger is good for 2 A, (according my Nexus 7 charger nameplate) and will charge while the tablet is in use.

If you get hold of a suitable charger, you can modify the connection to the USB-to-Ethernet adapter to allow a feed from an external supply - or possibly get into the innards of the adapter and connect through that.

I found a very good free apps for android and IOs devices (Iphone, Ipad) that is a SCADA where you build the interfaces directly in the Tablet and works with all devices that use Modbus TCP protocol (PLC, Drives, IO deported..) The name is ScadaTouch and is available in GooglePlay or AppleStore. This is the website where I found it

Peter Fredriksson


I hope you all will not see my post as a advertisement.

We are a small family company that design and build panel pc systems. We now have Android Panel PC's from 8" up to 19" displays.

We have seen the no battery problem with a few customers when they use tablet Androids. With our own Android Panel PC that have NO battery but RJ45 port / Wifi / 24VDC and 12VDC input they dont have that problem. Only is that our systems are made for installation on one single spot, not mobile.

If any one have any thoughts about what wee need to add in terms of functions etc please send me a mail: [email protected]

Regards / Peter
Technology Update:
If you're still looking to connect via Modbus to a mobile or tablet, you might consider a wireless connection. IOTize TapNPass provides a product for this with an app for Android and iOS that you can use to select Modbus registers to monitor and modify:

You can also configure the device and create your own apps. Maybe worth taking a look at.
Hello, Quick follow up on this thread.

If you are considering using tablet PCs, mobiles or PDAs to interface with Modbus equipped systems...

IoTize are releasing an automatic app generator that works for Android and iOS. The idea is to eliminate the need to do any coding to create an app. This soution is based on the TapNPass Modbus to wireless adapters. You simply connect the TapNPass to a port, Configure it, and Generate the apps from the configuration environment.

This video shows how TapNPass works in a test implementation on an equipment that support Modbus RTU: