Eaton MTL

MTL Instruments Group



IS certified Profibus PA monitor simplifies commissioning

2009 06 15
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MTL has launched the FBT-6-PA, the first Intrinsically Safe (IS) certified Profibus PA Diagnostics Monitor. The handheld device monitors a live Profibus PA network in both safe and hazardous areas without interfering with its operation. An impressive variety of features including noise measurements in 3 bands, monitoring of signal level for all devices, monitoring of signal-to-shield faults, network retransmissions and the ability to download data to a PC via a USB port are provided. Targeted at maintenance personnel and control system suppliers, the FBT-6-PA is intended for easier and faster troubleshooting and commissioning of Profibus PA segments by eliminating the need to manually record the values when connecting a tester on each segment or device.

The FBT-6-PA is ATEX certified for use in Zone1 hazardous areas with connection to intrinsically safe Ex ia circuits and in Zone2 hazardous areas for intrinsically safe Ex ic or energy limited Ex nL circuits. Additionally it is certified by FM to both American and Canadian standards for Class1 Div1 intrinsically safe and Class1 Div2 non-incendive hazardous area applications.

The device builds on the FBT-6 fieldbus tester - established as the standard for fieldbus H1 test equipment - and has been developed in collaboration with key end users, Profibus training centres and systems companies. Feedback from these groups highlighted the requirement to be able to monitor both intrinsically safe and general purpose Profibus PA systems since intrinsically safe segment couplers or fieldbus barriers are now being used in many systems. The new FBT-6-PA performs measurement and collection of all the key parameters, providing the user with a comprehensive baseline of the Profibus physical layer.

The FBT-6-PA diagnostic monitor measures noise levels in the Profibus frequency band, as well as low and high frequencies (3 bands) to help identify the source of noise on a segment which may lead to communication errors. The device records peak and average noise levels based on this information. Monitoring of signal levels for all devices, as well as monitoring of signal to shield faults often caused by poor installation practice are important new measurement functions offered by the FBT-6-PA. These measurements clearly identify wiring errors which can be corrected during the commissioning procedure for the Profibus system.

Network retransmissions are checked by the FBT-6-PA for each device on the segment. If a device fails to respond to a request frame or a token frame, this is recorded as a retransmission. Detecting retransmissions via the FBT-6-PA provides a key performance indicator of the health of the network, allowing corrective action to be taken before loss of device communications causes problems for the process operator.

Data collected by the FBT-6-PA can be quickly downloaded to a PC via a USB port (FBT-6-PA Assistant software provided supports Windows XP and Windows 2000). The transferred files are saved in Microsoft® Excel format, thus displaying the parameters and actual values of collected data in an easy-to-read format.

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