The B-Box RCP possesses 16 analog inputs. All input channels are strictly identical. The equivalent schematic of the complete data acquisition chain is depicted below. Each channel consists of two parts:

  • A hardware part, which contains a configurable input impedance, a programmable gain amplifier (PGA), a low-pass filter (LPF), and the analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

  • A software part, which is notably responsible for transferring all data to the CPU memory in the shorted possible time as well as transforming the converted value into a meaningful quantity (i.e. considering the sensitivity of the whole chain, from the sensor to the converted value).


The B-Box RCP offers a fully-configurable front-end, which is not available on the B-Board PRO. Nevertheless, all characteristics are designed (or even compensated) such that both analog input chains are 100% compatible. More information is available in the datasheet of the B-Board PRO.

Front-end configuration (hardware)

The LCD screen and rotary-push button allow to read and write all configuration parameters of the analog front-end. To access the related menu:

  1. Push once, select ANALOG INPUTS and confirm (push again).

  2. Select the desired input channel and confirm.

 Once inside the configuration menu of each channel, the following options are available:

Menu

Available values

Comment

Input impedance

Low, High

Low = 100Ω / High = 3kΩ

Gain

1x, 2x, 4x, 8x

This is equivalent to setting the input scale to ±10V, ±5.0V, ±2.5V and ±1.25V.

Filter

0.5kHz, 1kHz, 1.6kHz, 2.5kHz, 4kHz, 6.4kHz, 8kHz, 10kHz, 16kHz, 20kHz, 32kHz, 40kHz

More information on the corresponding group delay can be found in the B-Box RCP datasheet.

Limit high

-10V to +10V

Increments of 0.1V. Precision is approx ±0.2V.

Limit low

-10V to +10V

Increments of 0.1V. Precision is approx ±0.2V.

Disable safety

Yes / No

Can be used to disregard the protection thresholds. In this case, the green LED indicator switches off on the corresponding input channel.

The low-impedance input configuration is often useful when interfacing the B-Box RCP with LEM sensors (or similar), which present a current that is proportional to the sensed quantity (instead of a voltage). This approach generally offers superior immunity to inductive-type EMI noise.

Storing and restoring a configuration

The configuration of the front panel can be saved on a USB key, using the BACKUP CONFIG menu of the front panel. The configuration is automatically (and always!) stored in a file named “frontpanel0.bbox” on the USB key. In this way, the configuration can be saved for different applications.

The configuration can be restored by using the RESTORE CONFIG menu. The B-Box will search for files named “frontpanel#.bbox” on the root of the USB key, # being a number. The configuration file with the highest number is restored.

Reading and writing configuration files

The configuration file can be generated using BB Control. To do so:

  1. On a computer, edit the desired configuration using BB Control.

  2. Click “save as” and reach the root of the USB key.

  3. Create a folder named “imperix”.

  4. Store the configuration file as frontpanel#.bbox within the “imperix” folder. The # number can be incremented at wish.

  5. Move the USB key from the computer to the B-Box and restore the saved configuration file using the RESTORE CONFIG option. Only the last file (largest # number) can be loaded.

The front-end is physically independent from the main processing circuit by design. This guarantees superior reliability of the safety settings, which cannot be altered by software. For this reason, the configuration cannot be automatically loaded from BB Control; using a USB key is necessary.

Software configuration

In addition to (and independently from) the hardware configuration of the analog front-end, the B-Box RCP must have its software configured such that the corresponding parameters are appropriately accounted for.

For the same reason as above, the front-end configuration cannot be automatically reported into the user-level software (C++, Simulink or PLECS). All parameters must, therefore, be manually adjusted.

Simulink blockset

The dedicated Simulink block is described in ADC - Analog data acquisition.

The ADC blocks allow reporting the selected analog input gain (second tab, Acquisition parameters), as well as to indicate the sensors parameters (first tab). When imperix sensors are used, the associated parameters can be automatically loaded from a drop-down list.

PLECS blockset

The dedicated PLECS block is described in ADC - Analog data acquisition.

The same configuration parameters are accessible from the PLECS blockset, as shown below.

C/C++ configuration

The dedicated C/C++ routines are described in ADC - Analog data acquisition.

Each ADC channel must be configured during the initialization phase using Adc_ConfigureInput():

void Adc_ConfigureInput(uint channel, float gain, float offset, uint bboxid=0);
  • channel is the analog input channel number.
  • gain and offset must be configured considering that the returned value during operation is computed as \begin{array}{l}y = a\cdot x+b\end{array}, where \begin{array}{l}a\end{array} is the gain and \begin{array}{l}b\end{array} the offset.
  • bboxid is the ID of the addressed B-Box (optional parameter, useful in multi-Bbox configuration only).

Numeric example:

This example considers the current sensor of a PEB8024 module. Its sensitivity is \begin{array}{l}S=50.0\,[\text{mV/A}]\end{array}. As recommended in the datasheet, the chosen front-end gain is selected as \begin{array}{l}G= 2\end{array}. Considering that the ADC offers 16 bits over the ±10V input range, this results in a total sensitivity \begin{array}{l}\alpha = S\cdot G\cdot 32768/10=327.68\,[\text{bit/A}]\end{array}.

In this example, gain must therefore be equal to \begin{array}{l}a=1/\alpha=3.052\,[\text{mA/bit}]\end{array}. The offset value can be adjusted empirically to cancel the measured value when no current is flowing through the sensor (static offset).

Subsequently, within each interrupt, the latest value can be retrieved using Adc_GetValue():

float Adc_GetValue(uint channel, uint bboxid=0);
  • channel is the analog input channel number.
  • bboxid is the ID of the addressed B-Box (optional parameter, useful in multi-Bbox configuration only).
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