Archive for category Temperature Transmitters

How do I get an RTD signal to two different devices?

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.

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Hurry up and wait: My OneWireless incremental firmware update story

We keep a Honeywell XYR6000 field transmitter network setup at the Lesman offices for training, customer demonstrations, and site surveys. And part of my job is to keep the system in working order.

Honeywell releases incremental firmware updates when they need to fix a bug or add functionality to the systems.  I’d downloaded both the 201.1 and 202.1 update files from the Honeywell website, but had procrastinated in doing the installation. (Never happens to you, right?)

When I got around to doing the updates today, I pulled out the wireless device manager (WDM) manual [1.8MB PDF]. and turned to section 6.2, page 131. It has about 10 pages of step-by-step instructions on the update/upgrade process. 

But then, I found myself wishing for another of those “missing pages from the manual”. While it has all the steps, here’s what’s missing: A map that tells me how long the steps take.

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Two different approaches to industrial networking

This morning, I came across two articles I thought were worth sharing. They’re both about industrial networks, but from two entirely different angles.

The first article is written by a network engineer at a manufacturing plant. The gist of it is something we at Lesman talk about often with our customers: Buy what you need. In this case, he’s talking about Ethernet switches for light manufacturing and assembly operations, where a field-hardened industrial ethernet switch may be overkill (and out of your budget).

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How do you keep production going when a control thermocouple burns out?

There’s no such thing as a fail-proof thermocouple. Over time, thermocouples fail. To compensate for that, a temperature controller will normally go into upscale burnout mode, and drive the furnace burner to low fire or turn down the SCRs.  But then, you have to deal with the downtime, rework, or even the potential of losing product.

Not long ago, a plant operator called to see if there we had a way to work around this burnout mode, so he wasn’t wasting time and materials.

His heat treat load had almost finished its final soak when the control thermocouple broke open. The controller, as expected, drove the furnace burner to low fire. The operator then popped the controller into manual mode, so he could nurse the load through the remainder of its soak cycle. He used the temperature reading on a recorder, fed from a second, unbroken thermocouple in the protection tube as temperature indication for the load.

If the situation had happened in the middle of the night, it may not have been handled with the same attention the day-shift operator had provided.

So, he asked if there was any way to have the controller automatically “fail over” to a second thermocouple. 

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