Process-Control (Page 3)

When i had put the near Obsolete digital circuits online in the late nineties. One person who works in a public institution in the usa, wanted a modification of one of my existing circuits. He had those parts the CD40 Series Logic Chips. He wanted to use only those that he had in his Stock.

I made some modifications and sent it to him, that helped him with his task. These things can be done very easily using the Arduino. One could make a programmable Arduino Timer/Counter with a matching Configuring Software without coding, for such people. Easy and Affordable.

Digital Circuits 2 from delabs

Circuit 1 – Digital Timer Clock With Preset using Thumbwheel switch.

A Thumbwheel Switch has to be used in place of DIP switch shown, just know that 1-2-4-8 nibble (4 bit) should be generated by Thumbwheel switch at preset or jam inputs of 4029.

Use CD4511 if 4513 is not available, but circuit has to be changed a bit around 4511

Circuit 2 – 1 Hz or 1 pps crystal clock using CD4060 and 32768 Hz Crystal.

They have not been tested much… The 4513 control pins 8-4-5-3 connections verify, as i did not get the datasheet.

The circuits will work as the concepts are right, but some tweaks in R C values may be required.
the R C values can only be corrected if you have problem in making it work.

The main problem in the R C values may be related to “the reset at 6 for the tens of seconds and the tens of minutes”.

The Measured Value and The Setpoint are two inputs to a Control System. The Measured Value is the Amplified input of a Transducer or Sensor for some Parameter that needs to be controlled. It could be Pressure or Temperature…etc.

The Setpoint is the User Defined Input using a Potentiometer, Thumbwheel, EPROM or Flash Value. This is the value at which the process has to be maintained for that parameter.

The difference of these two is the Error, this is the input for this PID Analog Computation Stage. The three Opamps are configured as Proportional, Integrator and Differentiator Amps.  The Addition or Summation of these Values is the PID Control Output.(These days it is Math in the Firmware on a MCU, DSP or Software Application in SCADA)

This Analog PID Control Output can now be translated to a 4-20 mA Control Signal, that means 0-100% of power to the Actuator, which could be a Heater, Pump, Fan, Motor using AC/DC Drives. It could be a Steam Valve, Pneumatic or Hydraulic Motorized/Solenoids. The Actuator Size/Array must be right for the Process, a tiny fan cannot cool a Large Furnace, a small solenoid valve cannot fill a Big Tank. An effective Proportional or PID  control depends on choosing or designing the Sensor, Actuator and System Environment prudently.  

The Auto Reset is needed to ensure the Integrator does not dampen the Process so much that it fails to even raise to the Process value fast enough (Diffrentiator). So in the Proportional Band the Integrator is Active.

If the Setpoint is 1000 deg C, the proportional band is 10%. The Raise of temperature till 950 deg is Undampended. After that Integrator is called in by the Window Comparator made of two opamps, the integrator prevents OverShoot, Undershoot, Ringing and Oscillations.

The PID control output can also be a Time Proportional Output like PWM. With a large cycle time of 20 or More seconds. Like 2 Seconds on and 18 Seconds off for 10% Control.Fast Cycle times may be needed for small systems with less inertia.

Industrial Process Control Circuits

This is easy to rig millivolt source for field calibration or troubleshooting of 4-20 mA current loops. Here a Darlington pair is used for current amplification which reduces the Ib error as gain is very high.

Millivolt Source - Field Callibration Current Loop

A rotary switch selects, 4-12-20 mA Preset points. A Bourns multi-turn wirewound Pot can also be used with a digital dial. Enclose in a dust proof handheld box. Read more on process calibration.

In this circuit we tackle the error indicated in the earlier Current Source. The LM336-2.5V eliminates the tiny error of the regulated supply and resistors. Thereby increasing Precision to a higher degree.

Precision Op-Amp Current Source

The opamp mirrors the stable 2.5V across P3 + R13. With P3 Bourns 10 Turn Trimpot you can trim the current for calibration. Q1 BC557B having a Beta – hfe of 200 is used. But a higher gain or a FET here may reduce error further, that may be needed if you are going for 16 Bit or more resolution. Then even opamp needs to change.

Suppose you build it with the best Opamp, FET etc., but place it close to a Warm transformer, Regulator chip or even a Cooling Fan, you will see the lower digits of a 5-1/2 DMM spinning fast.

Proportional Temperature Controller

This is a Proportional Controller where the setpoint is derived from a Thumbwheel switch.

Proportional Temperature Controller

The conversion of Thumb-wheel Digital Data to Analog mV is similar to R-2R Weighted Resistor Network. In this case it is a 1-2-4-8 Binary Weighted Resistor Network. It has no Digital Components.

You can see an example circuit below for digit weights you just use like 10K-100K-1M etc. There is a problem of procuring 8M Resistors, so use series parallel combinations, avoid open presets. Trimpots can be used but then it raises the BOM cost.

1-2-4-8 Kilo Ohms may load opamp for high output levels. 1-2-4-8 Mega Ohms may be ok in the lowest digit. Greater than 10M designs are possible only in lab, not in commercial or industrial domains.

Binary Weighted Resistor Network

Make such R networks, solder array on thumbwheel, in some thumbwheels remove diodes or other connections. Club all of them, thumbwheels. One opamp will do. Use -2.5 V for positive mV output. The resistors should be close to 0.3% at least.

This Binary Resistor Network can also work with Digital CMOS Chips like CD4029. Use these chips on a separate supply, which is just a LM336 – 5V device. A digital thumb-wheel also can be used.

In this controller you can see a sensor open indication. When the sensor breaks, the temperature controller may continue to turn on the actuators or heaters, It may even Oscillate. So when a high impedance is detected in the sensor input terminals, the output relay is shut off and a LED is turned on to simplify operator’s diagnosis.

Mount the controller a distance away from heaters, ac-drives and vibrating parts. Avoid direct sunlight on controller, fix controller in a sealed control panel. Earth the point where the thermocouple senses heat. Some heaters leak. The machine has to be earthed.

This is a Low cost controller, Analog Dial Temperature Controller. It is also called Blind Controller. This essentially means Open Loop, just control the fuel or energy input to the system to regulate heat. This is not a Blind Controller that way, it only cannot display the temperature value, that could be another reason it is called blind.

Dial cyclic timers were used to control heat, these were purely mechanical clockwork devices. They could regulate well, when the material flow (liquid) is constant and mains power is regulated. But when the job to be heated, varies in quantity, control temperature is close to ambient or when a precise control is required; closed loop controllers are used. Even a thermostat is like closed loop, as the bimetallic sensor is temperature dependent. But not good enough.

Blind Temperature Controller

This controller is closed loop, precision controller, only the digital display of temperature is absent. Fine one deg variations may not be easy in this.

Blind Temperature Controller

PCB Boards for Blind Controller –

Discussions –

The proximity switch can work for a wide range of power, from 8v to 18v DC, D3 protects reverse power supply connections, and U1 regulates the supply to +5v , -5v is derived from U2 555 oscillator which serves dual purpose.

Circuit Operation

Part of – InfraRed LED Flasher for Optical Switch

The infra red diode D2 detector gets the reflected light from LED and some ambient light, The forward voltage drop of D2 will vary with the amount of light falling on it. Ambient light causes a DC component and the pulsing light from D1 causes an AC component.

Proximity Switch - Driver Supply

The capacitor C6 blocks DC and only transfers AC pulses if any to opamp amplifier U3A whose gain is set by R18, D9 rectifies the pulses to DC and this DC voltage is used by opamp comparator U3B which drives Q1 through Q2 for an open collector output for relays. LED D7 turns on when relay Output is high.

R14 and R13 can be replaced with potentiometer for threshold adjustment if required.

Connect 12v DC supply to +V and GND Ports, Connect a relay coil Between OUT and GND Ports, you can use the relay contacts as you require to turn on a lamp, heater, fan or motor.

If all connections are ok and ICs are working you should see a +5V at U3 pin8 VCC and around -4 to -5 at U3 pin4 VDD.

See also – Mixed and Interface Circuits

Optical Proximity Switch - Detector


The Optic switch can be used for both reflecting detection (retro reflective) or obstacle detection. The mechanical construction will decide this, for obstacle detection the diodes D1 and D2 could be put in two different tubes and can be kept far apart 2mts+ and both should be exactly opposite each other, any obstacle like a passing person will be detected.

To make a retro reflective proximity switch this circuit is ideal, it can be housed in a cylindrical 30mm by 70mm metal unit with m30 threads and nuts for mounting, both D1 and D2 have to be fitted in the front of this tube on a plastic plug optically insulated from each other yet beside each other.