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He is having some problems with some existing equipment concerning noise on his analog transducers; he has pretty much exhausted his options as far as shielding and physical filters, and since I was doing training on PLC programming he asked about options in software.
I decided to include it as two posts, this one on signal analysis and the next on filtering in software. Before being able to address the filtering, it is convenient to know something about the signal itself.
If you have an oscilloscope, that would be ideal since you can get a great picture of the signal levels; but the PLC can also capture data and it can be analyzed. Unfortunately the methods can vary a lot depending on the platform.
I am going to try and discuss this in a generic way, but the programming images come from my AB ControlLogix software. First, capturing the signal levels: These assume a signed integer signal from an analog card, unknown resolution.
Unsigned analog signal values collected over an unspecified time This shows a random sampling of values collected from a typical analog card. Close up of analog values gathered at a higher rate If values can be sampled at a higher rate than a typical PID control scheme might require, it might show some data like this.
The spikes in these images illustrate what you can do if you do some simple limiting of values based on averaging. After all, it takes time to process the signals and improve them.
But more on that next week, this is more on the data collection side.
This is one method of creating sampling pulses that will work on pretty much any PLC platform, a free-running timer. One problem with it is that it is not going to be particularly precise since it operates within the scan.
If it is necessary to improve precision, a cyclic routine or interrupt can be used. This is a method of capturing ten values into an array. If you want to capture more values, simply increase the size of your array, this is a handy instruction since it does everything at once.
You still have to have array and file movement capabilities. The first instruction moves 9 elements, leaving room for the current signal value to be copied into the first, most recent element.
His processor is an Automation Direct DL ……. These are 16 bit accumulators. The analog cards are also probably only 12 bit resolution, if that; so there is also not going to be a lot of precision. Here is an instruction that averages all of the elements in an array. Again, this is available on higher-end PLCs.
And the end of the rung: Sum up all of your values and divide by the number of values. Takes 21 instructions for 10 values on the AD platform. You can keep a running average of your values this way for two or three values at a time.
This could in turn be read back into another array for a running record of averages for smoothing. This rung calculates the rate of change or Delta between consecutive captures. It works on any platform fortunately. Again, this could be read back into an array for analysis.Consultants advocate the use of the ladder to help leaders or management draw better conclusions, make better decisions, or challenge other people's conclusions based on .
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