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4-20mA Basics and

2-Wire vs. 3-Wire Transmitters


Material Created by Scott Hill
Presented by Ian Williams
May 23, 2011
Background
• Prior to the 1950s, control of industrial sites was
achieved with pneumatic systems
• 3 psi – 15 psi was used as the standard signal span
– 3 psi  0%
– 15 psi  100%
– 3 psi used as a “live zero”
– < 3 psi considered a fault condition or “dead zero”
• The 4-20mA current loop was developed to emulate
the old 3-15 psi pneumatic system
Typical 4-20mA Applications
Report a process
RL
variable from a
remote sensor to
3-Wire a control station.
XTR111
– Temperature,

XTR
pressure, flow
XTR – 2-wire transmitter
Transmit control 2-Wire
XTR112
signals from a °T
control station
out to a remote
device.
– Valve, actuator, heater
– 3-wire transmitter
4-20mA Overview
0 to 100% 4 to 20mA
Signal Signal
Receiver
Sensor Transmitter 1V to 5V
250Ω

• 4mA represents 0% input level


– Allows up to 4mA to power external input circuitry
– 4mA zero level allows under-scale settings and fault detection
• 20mA represents 100% input level
– Provides sufficient current to power electromechanical devices
– Over-scale can also be used to detect fault conditions
Why Use Current Transmitters?
• Immunity to noise
– Multiple unknown noise sources can exist between
transmitter and receiver
– Low impedance system prevents noise from impacting
the accurate regulation of loop current
• Long distance transmission
– Signals must often travel distances > 1 mile
– Impedance of long wires would severely attenuate a
voltage signal
– 4-20mA current loops are lossless, even over long
distances
• Kirchoff’s Current Law states that the current in a loop is equal
at any point within the loop
Current Transmitter Function

Signal Conversion/ Current


Conditioner Output
Circuitry

T
Why Is Signal Conditioning Required?
• Linearity errors on most
Bridge
sensors creates an
unacceptable error.

Output
Ideal
Output

1.8 - Full + Full


RTD Scale
Input Scale
1.6
1.4 Thermistor
Linearity (%)

1.2

Linearity (%)
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
0 200 400 -50 50 100
Temperature (°C)
Temperature (°C)
Transmitter Type Diagrams
> 1000 feet

50-60 Hz
Noise +8 V to +40V
+24 V typical

+VS VLOOP
2-Wire Transmitter XTR -
I OUT 4-20mA RL VOUT
250typ 1V-5 V typ

>1000 feet
50 - 60 Hz
+7V to +44V
Noise
+24V Typical

IOUT 4-20mA +
3-Wire Transmitter +VS XTR RL VOUT
250typ 1V-5V typ

-
2-Wire vs. 3-Wire Transmitter
• Application-specific parameters determine which
transmitter type should be used
– Accessibility and location
– System power requirements
– Sensor input or voltage/current input
2-Wire vs. 3-Wire Transmitter
• 2-Wire Transmitter (Loop powered)
– Transmitter and sensor remotely located
– Local power supply not practical
– Input circuitry floats with respect to loop supply ground

• 3-Wire Transmitter (Locally powered)


– Transmitter located close to power supply
– Input is referenced to power supply ground
– Also known as a voltage-to-current converter
Common 2-Wire Transmitter Applications
Implementation Of Current Transmitters

• 2-Wire Transmitter
RL
– Submersible temperature sensor
– Remote location prevents local
3-Wire
XTR111
power supply
– Sends data back to control
XTR

station
XTR
2-Wire
XTR112
• 3-Wire Transmitter
°T – Sends control signal to element
at remote location
– Local power supply is available
2-Wire Transmitters
2-Wire Typical Input Scaling
• 4-20mA span is 16mA XTR117

• XTR117 has current gain of Offset


+5V 8 VREG

Current
100

125kΩ
40uA
– Input span is 160µA
IIN +
IIN
• Offset current needed if 0 to 160μA
2

- A1

input signal reaches zero


IRET
3

R1
2.475 kΩ

IO = 100 * IIN
2-Wire Typical Input Interface
VREG XTR117
8

IIN
IOUT DAC
2

REF3140
VREG XTR117
8
IRET
3

Input IIN
Circuitry 2
VREG XTR117
8

IRET
3
IIN
VOUT DAC
2

IRET
3
Typical 2-Wire Transmitter
• IRET is not GND
XTR117 +5V

VREG V+
Current Input Regulator
B
• Current Output 1kΩ

• Current gain set by R1 IIN


+
and R2 - A1
8kΩ

E
• Regulator and input RLIM
100Ω
circuitry floats at IRET IRET
potential R1 R2
2.475 kΩ 25Ω
IO
2-Wire Transmitter Common Abuse

RIn
IIN
V+
VLoop
VIn XTR117
IOUT
IRET RL
Grounded Loop Supply with
Floating Input Source

XTR117
5V Regulator
R3 125k

40uA V1 25

5
3
+ + 1

R7 250
IIN 160u - 2
4

A I LOOP 20mA
R1 2.475k

R4 100
R2 25

+
Internal Current Paths

XTR117
5V Regulator
IOFFSET

R3 125k
40uA V1 25
5
+ 1
3 +

R7 250
2.475k
IIN 160u - 2
R1 4

IIN Total = IIN + IOffset


R4 100
R2 25
IR1 = IIN Total
IR2 = IR1 * 99 IR1 200uA IR2 19.8mA
I LOOP 20mA
ILOOP = IR1 + IR2
XTR117 Created
Equal Path Voltages
5V Regulator

R3 125k
40uA
Virtual Short
5
+
+ 3 + 1
R1
I IN 160u - 2
- 4

Equal
+ R 4 100
R2
VR1 = VR2
-
IR1 200uA IR2 19.8mA
I LOOP 20m
Calculating IRET Level
XTR117 XTR117
5V Regulator 5V Regulator

R3 125k
R3 125k

40uA V1 25 40uA V1 25

5 5
+ +

RL 250
3 + 1 3 + 1

RL 250
2.475k 2.475k
I IN 160u - 2 - 2
R1 4 I IN 0 R1 4

IRET IRET
R2 25

R2 25
R4 100 R4 100

V IRET 5.495V V IRET 1.099V


IR1 200uA IR2 19.8mA V Float 5V IR1 40uA IR2 3.96mA V Float 1V
ILOOP 20mA ILOOP 4mA

VFLOAT = ILOOP * RL VFLOAT = ILOOP * RL

VR2 = R2 * IR2 VR2 = R2 * IR2

V IRET = VFLOAT + VR2 V IRET = VFLOAT + VR2


V IRET = 5.495V V IRET = 1.099V
Effects of Grounding IRET

40uA XTR117 40uA XTR117


5V Regulator 5V Regulator
AM5 40uA AM5 36.082uA

R3 125k
R3 125k

VLoop VLOOP
25V 25V
5 5
+ + 1
3 + 1 3 +

R7 250
R7 250
2.475k 2.475k
I IN - 2 I IN - 2
160u R1 4 160u R1 4

AM2 160uA AM3 19.96mA AM2 40.82mA AM3 40.64mA


R4 100 R4 100

R2 25
R2 25

V IRET 0V
V IRET 5.495V
V Float 5V V Float 4.45mV
IR1 200uA IR2 19.8mA IR1 196.08uA IR2
ILOOP 20mA -178.25uA ILOOP 17.82uA

IRET Floating IRET Grounded


3-Wire Transmitters
Typical 3-Wire Transmitter
• Input and Output are XTR111 VSP
OD
REG
referenced to GND F

+
EF
REG
S

• Voltage Input -
Current
Mirror IS
+
• Current Output 3V ISET
-
• Current gain set by VIN VIN
+
VG
and RSET -
A1

• Regulator referenced GND


to GND
RSET
XTR111 Typical Input Interface
+24V

VSP
+5V
XTR111 OD
REG F EF

470nF

2kΩ
Short-Circuit
Current Protection
+
REG S Mirror IS
REF3140
3kΩ +
- 15Ω
3V ISET
- Q1

μC VG
+
VOUT DAC
VIN Q2
A1
-

10nF
GND 15Ω

RSET 2kΩ
LOAD
4-20mA Product Family
XTR101 I_IN to I_OUT Converter, Current Excitation
XTR115 I_IN to I_OUT Converter, 5V Regulator, 2.5V Reference
2-Wire General Purpose
XTR116 I_IN to I_OUT Converter, 5V Regulator, 4.096V Reference

XTR117 I_IN to I_OUT Converter, 5V Regulator

XTR105 RTD Conditioner, 800uA Current Sources


XTR108 RTD Conditioner, Digital Calibration, Input Mux
2-Wire RTD Conditioner
XTR112 RTD Conditioner, 250uA Current Sources
XTR114 RTD Conditioner, 100uA Current Sources

2-Wire Bridge Conditioner XTR106 Bridge Conditioner, Linearization Correction

XTR110 Selectable Input/Output Ranges, Voltage to Current Converter

3-Wire General Purpose XTR111 Configurable Input/Output Ranges, Voltage to Current Converter

XTR300 Configurable Input/Output Ranges, Current/Voltage Output Mode

4-20mA Receiver RCV420 4-20mA input, 0-5V Output


Thank You!