PLC Timers and counters

Timers and counters are indispensable in PLC programming. Industry has to number its products, determine a needed action in time, etc.

Timing functions is very important, and cycle periods are critical in many processes. There are two types of timers delay-off and delay-on. First is late with turn off and the other runs late in turning on in relation to a signal that activated timers.

Example of a delay-off timer would be staircase lighting. Following its activation, it simply turns off after few minutes. Each timer has a time basis, or more precisely has several timer basis. Typical values are: 1 second, 0.1 second, and 0,01 second. If programmer has entered .1 as time basis and 50 as a number for delay increase, timer will have a delay of 5 seconds (50 x 0.1 second = 5 seconds).

Timers also have to have value SV set in advance. Value set in advance or ahead of time is a number of increments that timer has to calculate before it changes the output status. Values set in advance can be constants or variables. If a variable is used, timer will use a real time value of the variable to determine a delay. This enables delays to vary depending on the conditions during function.

Example is a system that has produced two different products, each requiring different timing during process itself. Product A requires a period of 10 seconds, so number 10 would be assigned to the variable. When product B appears, a variable can change value to what is required by product B.

Typically, timers have two inputs. First is timer enable, or conditional input (when this input is activated, timer will start counting).

Second input is a reset input. This input has to be in OFF status in order for a timer to be active, or the whole function would be repeated over again. Some PLC models require this input to be low for a timer to be active, other makers require high status (all of them function in the same way basically).

However, if reset line changes status, timer erases accumulated value. With a PLC controller by Omron there are two types of timers: TIM and TIMH. TIM timer measures in increments of 0.1 seconds. It can measure from 0 to 999.9 seconds with precision of 0.1 seconds more or less. Quick timer (TIMH) measures in increments of 0.01 seconds. Both timers are “delay-on” timers of a lessening-style.

They require assignment of a timer number and a set value (SV). When SV runs out, timer output turns on. Numbers of a timing counter refer to specific address in memory and must not be duplicated (same number can not be used for a timer and a counter).

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