Archive for category Measurement
Recently, a customer noticed that the Siemens ultrasonic level measurement system he had installed in a storage bin showed a signficant amount of moisture buildup. At extreme temperature changes (like we’ve seen a lot latele here in the Midwest), there’d be moisture buildup on the Echomax ultrasonic transducer, sometimes so severely, they’d have problems from signal loss.
How could they fix it? One quick trip to the local big-box or auto supply store provided a Siemens-supported solution.
If you’re using ST3000 100 series transmitters, you’ll be looking at the ST800 for future units. If you’re using the ST3000 900 series, the ST700 will be your better fit.
RTDs are great temperature sensors – accurate and easy to install. But they are not friendly when it comes to trying to get a single RTD to go to two places, like when an RTD temperature measurement has to go to both a controller and a recorder. People call and ask, “How do I split an RTD signal?” The short answer is, “You can’t.”
An RTD cannot be wired in parallel or in series to a second device. Any RTD input supplies a known, regulated ‘excitation’ current to the RTD. Mixing RTD inputs would mix currents and that’s a Big No-No.
There’s also a lead wire compensation circuit for 3- or 4-wire RTDs that would create problems if a single RTD were connected to two different RTD inputs. There’s just no feasible means of making two RTD analog inputs play nice together.
But all is not lost. There are several ways to achieve your goal.
A customer who had had lots of experience with Milltronics and Siemens ultrasonics was installing his first SITRANS LR560 radar level transmitter. They had worked with it in the shop beforehand, going through most of the settings. They even tested it by setting it up to shoot against a file cabinet and used a tape measure the check the indicated distance value.
Everything checked out OK in the shop.
When they installed the transmitter on the top of the bin, they changed the transmitter’s sensor mode parameter from the distance mode they used in the shop for testing to level mode. After aiming, the level value shown in the local display was dead nuts on, but the 4-20mA signal going back to the control room was way off.
The bin was a third full. The 4-20mA showed it about double that. Not only that, the 4-20 was going in the wrong direction. The bin was emptying and the HMI reported an increasing level value. Someone realized that an inverse-acting output was typical of a distance value, so they reconfigured the sensor mode to distance. That got the 4-20mA much closer to a distance value, but it was still not exactly what it should be, and besides, the goal was to read level, not distance, in the control room. What was going on?