What Is Modbus Data Type?


Heather Bennett

Modbus is a widely used communication protocol in the industrial automation field. It allows devices such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and computers to exchange data over serial communication lines. One important aspect of Modbus communication is the understanding of Modbus data types.

What are Modbus Data Types?

Modbus data types define how data is stored and interpreted in Modbus devices. There are several different data types supported by Modbus, each with its own characteristics and usage scenarios.

Coil (Boolean)

The coil data type is used to represent boolean values in Modbus. It can have two states: ON or OFF, which correspond to true or false, respectively. Coils are typically used for controlling the state of a device, such as turning on or off a motor.

Discrete Input (Boolean)

Similar to coils, discrete inputs also represent boolean values. However, discrete inputs are read-only and reflect the state of an external device or sensor. They provide information about the status of a particular input.

Holding Register (16-bit Integer)

Holding registers store 16-bit integer values in Modbus devices. They can hold a range of numerical values from -32768 to 32767. Holding registers are commonly used for storing settings, configuration parameters, or process variables.

Input Register (16-bit Integer)

Input registers are read-only 16-bit integer values that provide information about the internal state of a device or system. They can be used to monitor variables or retrieve data from sensors.

Data Type Addressing

In Modbus, each data type is addressed using specific addresses known as register addresses. The addressing scheme varies depending on the data type and the Modbus variant being used.

For example, in Modbus RTU, the coil and discrete input addresses start from 00001, while holding register and input register addresses start from 40001. In Modbus TCP/IP, the addressing scheme is slightly different.


Understanding Modbus data types is essential for effective communication between devices in an industrial automation system. Whether it’s controlling devices using coils, monitoring inputs with discrete inputs, or storing data in holding or input registers, knowing how to work with different data types is crucial.

By familiarizing yourself with Modbus data types and their addressing schemes, you’ll be better equipped to develop robust and efficient Modbus communication solutions.

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