SATURN Test Sequencer / Timer
The SATURN Sequence Timer serves test labs as a high-precision digital control unit, often simply called "Timer" or "Sequencer". It provides flexible and safe control of the test facility and/or unit under test by precisely timed operation of switches, contactors, relays, IGBTs, MOSFETs and other devices - either electrically or optically via fiber-optic.
The SATURN Sequence Timer is available in different versions offering up to 192 digital inputs/outputs. These inputs and outputs can be provided in groups of 8 either as BNC or fiber optic connectors. The fiber-optic solution provides perfect optical isolation against high voltage potentials. This makes it the ideal HV Sequence Timer in high voltage test labs for controlling the test facility as well as the units under test (UUTs). In addition the optical transmission also allows bridging of long distances, be it in a test lab or in the field.
Instead of using the SATURN Sequence Timer as a stand-alone device it can also be combined in one chassis together with a SATURN Transient Recorder. This creates a highly flexible and powerful measuring system with integrated control unit. The control signals can be recorded synchronously with the measurement signals which allows a parallel in-depth analysis of input and output signals. Thanks to its compact design, this Sequencer also serves perfectly as a portable testing device for mobile use.
Functionality and Operation
The digital outputs of the Sequencer are being used to control a test facility and/or the device under test. The Sequencer monitors the digital inputs and adapts the generated output patterns based on the current state of the input signals. This also includes observations of the environment (doors, windows etc.) in order to realize a start qualifier or stop qualifier. If needed the Sequencer can be expanded with analog inputs which allow the use of analog triggers (e.g. thresholds, impulses and gradients in measurement signals).
The Sequencer includes an industrial PC with Microsoft WindowsTM operating system and is operated by means of the SATURN Sequencer - Cycle Timer software . The software provides a comfortable graphical user interface which makes it easy to set-up the Sequencer and to define the desired output pattern sequence. In addition to a straight sequential processing also loops and case statements (branches) are supported. After downloading to the on-board FPGA processor of the sequencer the programmed sequence is being executed independently from the operating system in real time.
The individual steps of a sequence are being processed using a high-precision hardware clock with a minimum step width of 10 ns and 20 ppm accuracy. For AC applications a resolution of 1/100 degree and better can be achieved. In addition the internal clock can also be synchronized with an externally applied generator frequency (16 2/3Hz, 50/60 Hz, 400Hz etc.).
The SATURN Sequence Timer also provides a secure error handling. The Emergency Stop allows the operator to instantaneously stop the current sequence at any time and initiate a pre-defined sequence with fail-safe output patterns. In addition the emergency stop can also be initiated automatically based on events detected within the input signals. In the unlikely case of a major malfunction in the operating system the independent Sequencer processor unit continues with pattern output and completes the configured actions. These preventive measures help avoiding possible costly damages to the test facility or device under test in case of failures.
Key Facts of the SATURN Test Sequence Timer
- Available stand-alone or integrated with Saturn Transient Recorder
- Different housings with up to 192 inputs/outputs
- Choose between perfect galvanic isolation via fiber optic cable or
standard BNC connectors (selectable in groups of 8 inputs/outputs)
- Precise independent clock source for 10ns step width and 20ppm accuracy
- Resolution 1/100 degree and better
- Supports synchronization with externally supplied input signal
(e.g. generator frequency 16 2/3Hz .. 50Hz .. 60Hz .. 400Hz ..)
- Free configurable output pattern sequences with loops and branches
- Easy-to-use graphical configuration software (Windows™ based)
- Comfortable import/export capabilities
- Operating System independent clock and sequence processor
- LED input/output control and emergency stop
- Recording of input and output signals in data files