Connecting Tulip to a Peristaltic Pump

I was wondering if anyone has ever gotten Tulip to connect to any peristaltic pump. This could be using the Edge I/O device or some microcontroller.

Common peri pumps I use are masterflex and watson marlow but I can’t figure out how to connect them to work with Tulip.

I would like to be able to set the revolutions/min and maybe direction as well and be able to turn it on and off.

Thank you!

Hi @hwoodie, welcome to the community! I just wanted to let you know that I’ve flagged this question with our hardware folks, and someone with more in-depth knowledge of the subject should be following-up shortly.

Hey @hwoodie ! Thanks for checking in.

Two different thoughts that I have here:

  1. From a cursory Google search, it looks like both Masterflex and W-M pumps tend to have some kind of serial interface for control. (like this, page 46.) I would recommend finding the manual for your unit and searching for “RS-232”, “DB9”, “Baud Rate”, or “Serial Connection” to get started.
    In general, we’ll likely need a Node-RED flow running on Edge IO to parse whatever the pump is outputting and clean it up before sending out to Tulip. But, with how versatile node-RED is I’d be surprised if this wasn’t able to get done. Serial communications are, after all, just sending text back and forth.
    In my experience, the hurdles with lab equipment like this are rarely figuring out how to talk to a piece of equipment, but more often figuring out what command it’s looking for. Arcane serial protocol from the '70s and '80s are common (and, hopefully, well documented :grin: )

  2. If we assume the pumps are absolutely devoid of any kind of comms protocol, the ADC (Analog/Digital Converter) ports on your Edge IO are purpose-built to be connected to AC sources like a current clamp. If you clamp the wire going from the wall to the pump, we’ll at least be able to monitor when it’s on vs. when it’s off.

Check out the manual and see if you can point to a port that should be communicating something. Curious to see what you find!

Here is a manual for the pump I am trying this out with:

I have connected it to LabVIEW before and I know the commands it uses (they are mentioned in the manual) and parity, baud rate, etc. to set it to.

This is my first time using Node-RED so it is gonna take me a while to figure out how to setup a flow in Node-RED, then connect to Tulip with a connector function

Oh great! In that case, getting to Tulip shouldn’t be that hard.

I’d recommend starting with this guide. Two very important notes:

  1. The pump must be plugged into Edge IO before EIO is powered on, so EIO can identify the occupied port. This is a known hardware limitation for Tulip Edge Devices.
  2. The Serial nodes only work if there is no other process using the Serial connection; in other words, be sure that the “Generic-Serial” Tulip driver is turned off on your Edge IO before beginning.

I wrote this article about a similar process as well, if you’d like to see a rough idea of how the flow might look.

I’d recommend first attempting to communicate solely over Node-RED, and then adding on the Tulip Connector stuff later. It’s easy enough to fake the Tulip Connector stuff with Inject nodes.