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New Bus System Controllers From OEM Controls.

Microprocessor--based electronic controllers are a major driving force behind the increased sophistication of hydraulic systems for on and off-highway equipment. No longer reserved simply for high-end machinery, serial communications systems are seen as decreasing the overall complexity of a mobile hydraulic system. The ability to reduce equipment wiring, the ease of troubleshooting and programming and the ruggedness of such systems has increased acceptance across a more broad range of applications.

OEM Controls, Shelton, Conn., has developed its SuperFLEX Bus System (SBS) to address its customers' needs for simple programmability, extensive inputs and outputs and enhanced diagnostics capabilities. The system's two-wire communication helps to reduce wiring harnesses and simplifies troubleshooting, according to the company. The SBS is designed so that all digital and analog Inputs/outputs are centrally linked by software, thus further eliminating wiring and relay and diode logic.

Typical applications for the SuperFlex system include aerial work platforms, fire trucks, utility trucks, skid-steer loaders, payers, forestry machines and snow or waste removal equipment, according to Keith Simons, product support manager for OEM Controls.

"Basically any mobile equipment application utilizing electrohydraulics for the operation of the machine and its functions is a candidate for SuperFLEX," Simons said. "We also have applications that don't utilize electrohydraulics, but have basic on-off functions that need manipulation or computing of that on-off data to enhance the overall machine operation."

The SBS consists of a family of controllers including the SB20, SB30 and SB40, as well as the SBIO transmitter that is typically used in an aerial control to multiplex digital signals and transmit them to a controller. The controllers differ with the actual amount of input/output capabilities each package has, with the types of I/O including proportional inputs, tachometer, pulsed digital and RS232/RS485 communications with each other and external devices.

The SB20 is most commonly used as a four-channel controller (four Digisensor joysticks controlling four pairs of PWM outputs) with simple options. The SB30 board has up to 34 inputs and 32 outputs and is typically used for sophisticated logic functions (in systems smaller than the SB40). The SB30 can operate up to two proportional control channels. The SB40 has 34 inputs and 44 outputs and is used for sophisticated logic functions and up to two proportional control channels.

"The SuperFLEX Bus System is geared for the mobile equipment and off-highway industries because of its environ mental, EMI and RH protection. Also, its pricing is competitive for this cost-sensitive industry," Simons noted. "These markets don't necessarily need or want the expense or complexity of a PLC or other complete CAN bus system, but rather have an easy to hook up, set up and troubleshoot electronic system that is reliable and rugged enough to handle the use in the field."

SuperFLEX's operating temperature range is from -40 to 158[degrees]F All digital outputs and PWM outputs offer short circuit protection up to 3 amps at 12 V.

The SuperFLEX system is designed for ease of installation and use. All logic is contained in the software, so that the need for point-to-point wiring is eliminated, Simons said. Each board comes standard with LEDs next to every input and output connection and with an individual function callout label.

OEM Controls has also developed its own Optimizer adjustment tool. As every function and direction has its own set of individual adjustments, the Optimizer displays each function and its corresponding adjustment. This tool can also be used to perform troubleshooting by displaying whether or not a particular function is operating through the SuperFLEX.

When users have the need for an interface with a laptop computer, OEM Controls has developed a program for use with the popular Palm handheld personal digital assistant. With the program, called the Electronic Service Peripheral, all of the Optimizer screens and adjustment capabilities are available on the Palm. This program also displays a basic schematic with real-time graphics for very function controlled by SuperFLEX. As a joystick is moved, for example, the display shows the output from the joystick to the controller and the controller to the valve by means of a percentage readout and a bar graph.

"This software package, in conjunction with our Optimizer software both made for the Palm PDA handheld device, is unique. It provides a complete adjustment and troubleshooting tool in one device for the entire electronic operating system of the machine. It utilizes easy to read and understand graphics that depict exactly what is going in, out and within the electronic system," Simons said.

"OEM Controls also has a software library of previously developed packages, which makes delivery and new product to market faster than with other systems. Even if the package does not conform exactly to the new specifications, changes can be made quickly due to the type of language we utilize, FORTH," Simons said. "Also, because it is a real-time language, changing the software can be done while the machine is running and thus eliminating time sending hardware back and forth and avoiding confusion."

To ensure that the controller boards are protected against environmental elements and events such as spray washing, the company uses a Dow conformal coating that exceeds most specifications for coating thickness. The thick coating is designed not only to provide excellent weather protection, but improve resistance to vibration and mishandling as well.
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Comment:New Bus System Controllers From OEM Controls.
Author:McNeely, Mark
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:100NA
Date:Apr 1, 2001
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