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How to use the Flowline Ultrasonic Level Sensor
Live demo showing you how to setup and use an ultrasonic level sensor in simplex, lead/lag and duplex modes.
The Flowline Ultrasonic Sensors are ideal for detecting fluid levels in tanks ñ especially corrosive or dirty liquids where you need to avoid contact. These sensors operate in Simplex, Lead/Lag and Duplex modes and use a patented digital signal processing technology to give you super reliable and accurate non-contact measurements. Letís take a look. Step 1: Download the free Configuration Software from the Automation Direct Website and install it. Step 2: Configure the Sensor: Before installing the Ultrasonic sensor in your application, connect it to the USB adapter using the handy color code on the side so we can configure the sensor. You donít want to configure the device after it is wired in your application because the USB adapter provides power to the sensor during configuration and tying the USB power into your system power is just asking for trouble Ö Ok. Now that we have installed our software, and we have connected our USB configuration device to the sensor, letís go ahead and start the software. The software reads the current parameters that are in the sensor right now, and detects the type of device we are connected to. It looks like we are connected to a DL-14 which is a sensor with about a four foot detection range, and it looks like this sensor was previously configured to operate in Duplex mode. Letís go ahead and clear the screen and start from scratch. Notice that since the software recognized which sensor we are connected to, it automatically set the max sensor height and max fill height for us. So, this sensor can be mounted UP TO 49.2 inches above the bottom of the tank or pretty much anywhere in between. And since all of these sensors require a 2 inch dead zone, the maximum fill height will be 47.2 inches. If you need more fill height then checkout the other sensors in this family, AutomationDirect has this 4 foot unit, plus 9, 18, 26 and even a 32 foot unit to fit all of your small, medium and large tanks. Letís start filling in the blanks. So, number of pumps. Weíll start with a single pump application, which the software recognizes as Simplex mode, so it fills in the blank for us here. Weíre going to use our pump to fill the tank, so weíll specify that. The Relay failsafe ñ what do we want the output relays to do if the sensor loses its signal? Maybe there as a sudden drop in the level and it takes the sensor a second or two to find it again. In our case we want the relays to turn the pumps off ñ if we have a large leak we donít want to keep adding to the problem ñ right? The sensor will re-enable the output relays once the signal has been re-acquired. By the way - while I am thinking about it ñ let me show you a trick. If you canít remember what one of these is, just right click on the title of the box to bring up a help dialog specific to that item. Letís try this one: Switch and alarm configuration Ö right click Ö and sure enough a little help box pops up telling me all about that item. So again, just right click on the title and it will bring up the help dialog for you. So for Switch/Alarm configuration ñ since we only have 1 pump ñ that leaves us with three outputs to configure and we can use them however we want. For our example, letís specify two high alarms and one low alarm. The hysteresis selection keeps your alarms from chattering. For example, on the high alarm, the alarm will turn on when the signal goes above it, but wonít go off until the signal falls below it PLUS this hysteresis ñ weíll say 2 inches for our example so it is easy to see in the live demo. Note that this applies to all alarms, so the low alarm will trip when we go below that setting and wonít turn off until we go above that setting PLUS 2 inches. The loop failsafe tells the sensor what to do with the output if it loses track of the fluid level. Remember, the other failsafe was what to do with the motors, this one is what to do with the signal out of the sensor that goes to your controller or your PLC. For our example, weíll tell it to hold the last value so we can see where it was when it lost the signal. Finally, do we want empty to be 4mA or 20mA? We need 4mA for our example. Once we enter that last parameter ñ we get a bunch of new blanks to fill in over here so we can enter the levels that we want all of this stuff to happen. Our sensor is at 48 inches, and weíll specify a max fill height of 46 inches ñ which has to be at least 2 inches below the sensor ñ donít forget that. Weíll put our High 2 alarm at 40 inches and our High 1 alarm at 35. These enable the relay outputs. The motor is controlled here ñ letís have it turn on at 15 inches, and run until 30 inches, 5 inches below our lowest high alarm. Note that you canít write incomplete data to the sensor ñ this button is dimmed until ALL fields are filled in. So, letís set the low alarm at 10 inches above the bottom of the tank. Hit ëreturní and now the write button is active, so we hit it to write this configuration to the sensor. Thatís it. Weíre done. Before we try it though, look at this ñ clicking on this button gives you a wiring diagram showing exactly how to configure the sensor. I love that feature. Ok, letís try it. Here is our Flowline sensor. This disk represents the fluid level. The output of the sensor is wired into this Solo temperature display. We scaled it so displays the height in inches instead of temperature. The four sensor outputs are wired to this Stacklight, the motor and three alarms. Looks like we are currently at 33 inches. Remember ñ we set our alarms and controls at these levels right here. So if we raise the ìfluid levelî to 35 inches ñ sure enough we get the Hi 1 alarm. If we continue to raise it to 40 inches we get the Hi 2 alarm. If we lower the fluid level, the High Alarms donít go away until we get below the alarm level PLUS the hysteresis which we set at 2î so we expect the High 2 alarm to go away at 40 minus 2 inches which is 38 inches ñ and it does. We also expect the H1 alarm to go away at 35 minus 2 inches - which is 33 inches ñ and it does. The motor should turn on when the fluid level reaches 15 inches ñ it does, and the low alarm should turn on when the fluid level reaches 10 inches ñ and it does - and it doesnít go away until 10 inches PLUS the 2 inches of hysteresis which is 12 inches. Perfect. Weíll, that was Simplex mode ñ just one motor or a valve. Join us in the next video where we take a look at the flowline sensor uses Lead Lag and Duplex modes to handle installs where you have two motors or two valves connected to the same tank. Well, that should be enough to get you started. Be sure to check out the other how to videos for more tips on using AutomationDirectís Products. If you have any questions, you can contact our FREE support via phone, email or the best place to start ñ the Automation Direct website under the support tab. Also, be sure to check out the Flowline website for more video tutorials and helpful information. And as always, please send us any comments or suggestions you may have ñ we appreciate the feedback.