Posts Tagged Configuration

How to Avoid Honeywell Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) Software Communication Errors

Honeywell’s Process Instrument Explorer (PIE) configuration software used for configuring UDC controllers and the UDA analytical controller communicates with the instruments via RS-485, Ethernet, or Infrared (IR).

Since most newer PCs don’t ship with built-in serial ports to connect an IR adapter, you can use a USB-to-RS-232 converter, and then connect using the Actisys serial-to-infrared adapter (ACT-IR220L+). The USB converter will plug directly into your PC’s USB port, but install on a virtual COM port.

Here’s where it gets tricky: That COM port has to match the COM port used in PIE, and PIE doesn’t support ports above COM8.

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Belt Scales 101: Webinar Recap

In case you missed last week’s webinar on belt scales, we’ve put together some of the key points:

Conveyor Considerations: Use strings to align the scale with the idlers on each side of the weigh bridge.Idler.png

  • Each idler should be parallel to the idler next to it.
  • The center of each idler should be in line with the idler next to it.
  • Each idler should not be higher or lower than the idler next to it.
  • Minimum of 2, preferred 3, idlers on each side of the weigh bridge


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Changing the COM port for a USB HART modem in Pactware

Written by: Dan Weise

I couldn’t communicate with a HART device. The configuration software I was using, Pactware, thought the USB HART modem was on COM 3, while Windows’ Device Manager showed it was actually on COM 6.

COM Port Post

COM Port Post 2

To change the COM port in Pactware to COM 6, I right clicked COM 3 and selected Parameter:

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Making a Siemens clamp-on flowmeter setup record easy to read

Everyone agrees that it’s good practice to keep a record of configurations and setups for any field instrument. I’m constantly recommending it to our customers for their transmitters, controllers, recorders, and other complex configurable devices.

Siemens clamp-on ultrasonic flowmeters even have a system in place to make this process easy. By connecting the meter to a PC through the RS-232 serial port, you can use a terminal program and the SITE command to fetch a data file that holds all the instrument’s configuration data.

The terminal program can also be used — with a set of instructions specific to the flowmeter — for viewing real-time operational data, performing device setup, uploading logger data, or uploading configurations known as SITE setups.

Recently, I was called to visit a plant and look at a misbehaving flowmeter. From previous discussions with the operator, I knew he’d saved SITE setup files for every flowmeter installed in the plant.

I asked if the customer would e-mail me the setup file before my visit, so I could check out how the flowmeter was set up. My request was met with a chuckle and “Well, if you really think it’s worth it…”

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Wet rhymes with Set (or how to remember LRV/URV configuration prompts)

Lots of people like the pushbuttons on industrial pressure transmitters because the basic settings that every transmitter needs can be set up without a HART communicator. This includes things like the tag name, engineering units, LRV (Lower Range Value, the zero, or what 4.0mA represents), URV (Upper Range Value, the span, or what 20.0mA represents) and damping (an average or filter factor that dampens noise).

Honeywell ST700 ST800 configuration screenOn the new Honeywell ST700/ST800 series smart transmitters, the tag name and engineering units are easy to configure and self explanatory, but I seem to stumble when setting up the LRV and URV because I’m faced with a non-descript choice. There’s two sets of options (under Transmitter Setup, not Calibration):

Enter LRV
Enter URV

OK, either configures an LRV or a URV value, but which is which?  What’s the difference?

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Why doesn’t my LR560 radar’s analog output match the displayed level value?

Siemens SITRANS LR560 radar level transmitterA 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 distanceThat 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?

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The Impact of Background Echoes on Ultrasonic Level Measurement

Photography is a pretty good way to illustrate the importance of background.

Look at the two photographs here. In one, the background is minimal, and focuses your eye on the subject matter. In the other, the background seriously detracts from the subject. Where should you be focusing? What’s most important?

Non-intrusive background makes focus point clear

Hard to discerne the difference between the action and all the stuff happening in the background


But unlike photography, where a good background helps you focus on the subject, in the world of non-contact ultrasonic level measurement, even a “good” background has a negative influence.  Background never contributes to a level reading, it only detracts. But Siemens has a built-in function to “cure” for the influence of backgrounds in their level devices. Read the rest of this entry »

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