Directly Command Motion from a Red Lion Graphite HMI to an Integrated Stepper Motor via Modbus TCP/IP

Motion via Red Lion HMI to Stepper Motor with Modbus

Richard Blanchette | November 1st, 2017

Bill of Material

  • Red Lion 7” Graphite HMI (G07C0000)
  • LMDCEXXXX (for this example I used LMDCE573 and LMDCE571)
  • Phoenix Contact Quint 24 VDC power supply (2866747)
  • Phoenix Contact 5 Tx Ethernet Switch (2891152)
  • Phoenix Contact Power Distribution Module (2903717)
  • Windows 7 laptop with 64-bit environment


The purpose of this instruction is to show how to set up and manage a Red Lion Graphite HMI Modbus master. This can be used for any Modbus slave device but for our purposes today, I will be showing how one would send relative move commands as well as set up a standard jog command within the Red Lion. People looking for a cost-effective and simple solution to a traditional HMI, PLC, and stepper drive/motor solution will find this interesting. Instead of four pieces of hardware, this solution will only be using an HMI and integrated stepper motor.

The traditional methodology for this solution is less cost-effective and requires cabinet space and more hardware. The following solution discussed here may require engineers to step outside of their comfort zone, but I believe it will be worthwhile.


The first part you will need to do is install Crimson 3.0 from Red lion’s website: Crimson® 3.0. After a proper install, and you verify you are able to connect to the Red Lion, you will need to select a driver for one of your protocol slots in your network. It should look like this:

Red Lion Driver Select | Cross Company

Figure 1: Driver Select to Protocol Slot

From there, I usually rename the first device it auto creates from “PLC1” to something less generic. In this case, I used “LMD1” for “Lexium Mdrive 1”. Please make sure that the options on this screen are appropriate for the device that you are connecting. For use with the Lexium Mdrive, I have found the following settings to work the best:

Red Lion Device Connection Settings | Cross Company

Figure 2: Device Connection Settings

At this point, you are looking to start passing tags between your devices. Every device is different in how it structures it’s addressing, so please refer to the respective manufacturer for details. Under the Data Tags section found at the bottom left in Crimson, you will have the option of creating new tags. From here, you will need to select your data source, which is what you named your Modbus slave device. For our application, all of the necessary data tags are holding registers, but you would select whichever data item applies to you:

Red Lion Select Data Tags | Cross Company

Figure 3: Select Data Tags

From there, you will need to look up which register addresses you are looking to pass. In some cases, this can be slightly tricky as not all manufacturers follow the same addressing conventions. In my case, Schneider Electric details their addresses via ASCII. After converting to decimal, you will then need to shift this decimal value to the 40000 region and index by 1 because Schneider Electric started at their numbering at 1 in their counting instead of 0. After this translating, The Red Lion should be pointing to the appropriate address within the Lexium motor.

So for example, if you look up the register in LMD's Modbus Guide, you will find the “axis is moving” bit is mapped to register 0x0045 which, converted to decimal is 74, shifted is 40075. Based on your device, be sure to indicate whether your data type is a word, long, or real data type. In the Modbus manual, we know this data type is a word. From here, you should be able to see the data tag in the resource pane that is available for use in your application. Below is a short video of a small application I developed for a customer using this method.

Video Demonstration


I hope you found this walkthrough helpful for setting up and managing a Red Lion Graphite HMI Modbus master. You’re probably thinking, “What else can I command from a Red Lion Graphite HMI?” The beauty of Modbus is that it is still a widely used and robust communication protocol for most manufacturers. With this methodology, you should be able to control any Modbus device - from temperature controllers to Ethernet BUS couplers to stand alone drive controller packages. Keep in mind that Red Lion also has a number of direct plug-in expansion cards that allow some of these features directly on the Red Lion without the use of Modbus. If you have an application that you need assistance with please get in touch and I will work with you to achieve your application goals.

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Richard Blanchette


Richard studied mechanical engineering at Old Dominion University with a focus on intelligent machine design. He has worked with Cross Company since 2014 and has expertise in electro-mechanical motion that is OEM, R&D, and Integrator focused. His day-to-day tasks include building relationships with customers and developing custom and off the shelf multi-axis solutions to fit application needs.