Multi-Sensor Wired Connections: Networks and Synchronization

Senix ultrasonic sensors can be connected in multi-sensor data networks to retrieve measurements and/or adjust sensors using SenixVIEW software. An entire collection of data-networked sensors can be managed, stored and retrieved using a SenixVIEW feature called Group Control that permits the entire collection to be backed-up, restored or duplicated quickly. Multiple sensor can also be connected for synchronization (SYNC) to prevent cross-talk or assure simultaneous measurements. The data networking and SYNC functions are mutually exclusive, but generally serve different purposes.

Sensor Data Networks

  • Data networks are created by wiring two or more ToughSonic sensors in a multi-drop configuration
  • Sensors can be any RS-485 model type but all must have independent addresses and use the same baud rate
  • Sensors in continuous mode will update analog and switch outputs independent of the network requests
  • Sensors in polled mode will only measure and update outputs upon receiving a network request
  • A 4-wire data cable can supply both data and power to the sensors, or sensors can instead be locally powered

Group Control

Group Control is a SenixVIEW feature that permits a data network to be managed, backed-up, restored or duplicated quickly. Functions include:

  • Scanning the network and identifying all attached sensors
  • Selecting some or all sensors to receive selected parameter changes
  • Saving all sensor configurations in a single backup file, or restoring an entire network from that file
  • Group control can also be used in a SYNC group (see below)

Multi-Sensor Wired Connections

Synchronization Wiring

Sensor Synchronization Connection Multi-Sensor Wired Connections

Sensor Synchronization (SYNC)

Multiple sensor can be connected for synchronization to prevent cross-talk or assure simultaneous measurements. A typical application is to prevent two sensors in close proximity from interfering with one another, common on converting machinery and profiling applications. SYNC networks are created by wiring the yellow and gray communications wires of all sensors together (see diagram). Operating SYNC groups cannot simultaneously act as a data network.

  • SYNC consumes the serial data port and assumes the sensor’s analog and/or switch outputs are used
  • One sensor is selected as the group Master and the remaining sensors as Slaves (up to 31)
  • Selection is made using wither the Teach pushbutton or SenixVIEW software
  • The Master can have between 1 and 5 “phases”, and its Measurement Interval determines the phase timing
  • Sensors measure simultaneously, sequentially, or in groups depending on their phase configuration
  • Slave sensors that lose their SYNC input have configurable analog and switch “Loss of SYNC” responses
  • Sensors can be RS-232 or RS-485 models but RS-485 easily allows Group Control to easily manage the sensors

Group Control with a SYNC Group

SenixVIEW’s Group Control feature can be used if the Master sensor is deactivated by turning it into a Slave.

  • The Master can be turned into a Slave using the teach pushbutton, or
  • If SenixVIEW is connected and the Master is active, Group Control will offer to turn off the Master
  • With the Master off all sensors will respond to Modbus commands just like a data network
  • RS-232 sensors set to Master or Slave automatically switch their serial data to RS-485 for SYNC