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How to Wire and Configure Current Sensors

By Morgana Siggins

December 2, 2020

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Current sensors are devices that allow you to measure the current passing through a wire by using the magnetic field to detect and generate a proportional output. With these sensors, you can measure current passively, without interrupting the circuit in any way. Also, they can be used for both AC and DC current.

There are a variety of applications for current sensors. They can be used, for example, for power metering, control system diagnosis, current supply measurement, and monitoring of rechargeable batteries.

If you have one of our NetGuardian RTUs, you can configure sensors to have the capability to monitor current. In this article, we'll dive into how you can properly wire and configure current sensors using your NetGuardian.

Current sensor reference chart

Wiring and Configuring Current Sensors

For the purposes of this article, we'll explain how to set up and configure four different sensors provided by DPS. So, first of all, you need to determine what kind of sensor you are using. Here are some options:

  • 4-20mA CT Sensor (ex.: D-PK-SENSR-12015)
    D-PK-SENSR-12015 is the part number for the Current Sensor 0 to 200Amp DC. This is a current sensor with a signal conditioner that measures DC current. It provides electrical isolation between the output of the sensor and the current-carrying conductor.
    The output is 4-20mA proportionate to the current passing through the conductor placed through the aperture of the sensor. This sensor is ideal for UPS systems, battery charges, power supplies, replacement for shunts, etc.
  • Current sensor
  • Self Powered Sensor (ex.: D-PK-SENSR-12092), only applicable to AC sensors
    D-PK-SENSR-12092 is the part number for the Current Sensor AC. This is a low-cost alternative for measuring AC power and monitoring the operation of fans, pumps, or other equipment.
    This sensor has a split core for use on existing installations without disconnecting cables and it has an output of 0-5V.
  • Current sensor
  • Voltage Powered Sensor (ex.: D-PK-SENSR-12140)
    D-PK-SENSR-12140 is the part number for the DC Current Sensor 0-100A. It provides electrical isolation between the output of the sensor and the current-carrying conductor. The output range is 0-100A proportionate to the current passing through the conductor placed through the aperture of the sensor.
    The output signal is 0-5VDC. This sensor is ideal for photovoltaic panel output measurement, DC motors, and electrical heaters.
  • Current sensor
  • AC Current Sensor (ex.: D-PK-SENSR-12196)
    D-PK-SENSR-12196 is the part number for the AC Current Sensor. This is an average RMS split-core current transducer that's designed to provide a calibrated 0-5VDC output proportional to the AC current 0 to 100mA input. Designed for multi-point current sensing, this device provides excellent features in a high-value package.
    Average RMS is recommended when sensing current waveforms that have a fixed frequency, and are usually for loads operated from standard utility power.
  • Current sensor

Place the analog channel in correct mode of operation

For the D-PK-SENSR-12015: apply hardware shunt to configure channel for 4-20mA (current mode) operation. Typically, there is a hatch panel on the unit to access the shunt.

For the other sensors: remove hardware shunt to configure channel for voltage mode. The unit ships in voltage mode by default.

Wire your sensor

D-PK-SENSR-12015 wiring

Sensor wiring

D-PK-SENSR-12092 wiring

Sensor wiring

D-PK-SENSR-12140 wiring

Sensor wiring

D-PK-SENSR-12196 wiring

Sensor wiring

Configure your sensor in the RTU web browser

Once the sensor is connected, setting it up on the RTU will be the same process.

  • Log into your RTU's web browser.
  • RTU login
  • Click on Analogs under the Provisioning menu. Note: Provisioning menu may be labeled as "Edit" for some products.
  • RTU menu
  • Give the sensor a description.
  • Click on Details>> to expand the menu.
  • RTU menu
  • Configure the scaling settings.
    • Note: Due to Ohm's law, 4-20mA sensor values should be entered as 1-5VDC in the Actual column. For the Display value, enter 0 Amps (Low ref) and 100 Amps (High ref).
  • Set your threshold values. These are the unit values used to trigger alarms.
  • Choose an analog gauge type (that's optional).
  • RTU menu
  • Click on Save.
  • Reboot your RTU unit.
  • Click on Analogs under the Monitor menu to view your analog reading and to verify your setup is correct.

Efficient Current Monitoring Solution: D-Wire Sensors and The NetGuardian 832A G5

If you didn't deploy your current monitoring solution yet, then it's important that you explore all your alternatives before investing in anything. One example of an efficient monitoring system is pairing the NetGuardian 832A G5 RTU with the D-Wire sensors.

The NetGuardian 832A G5 is a powerful RTU that has the capacity for 32 discrete alarm points, 8 analog inputs, and 8 control relays. All these features are maximized by the 832A's advanced hardware, high-speed processor, and enhanced security options.

To monitor current, all you need to do is plug a D-Wire sensor into one of the 832A's ports and your RTU will gain this capability. There are many different types of D-Wire sensors, each of them designed to give your RTU monitoring functions that otherwise it wouldn't have.

All you need is a common RJ-12 cable to link your sensor to your RTU. This same cable will provide both data and power from the NetGuardian to the D-Wire sensor. Also, to lessen the number of cables and conserve ports on your RTU, you can daisy-chain up to 16 D-Wire sensors through one port.

In a nutshell, the NetGuardian 832A G5 is a powerful RTU that will be able to handle all your network needs. When paired with D-Wire sensors, you'll be achieving a cost-effective way to increase your unit's capacity and monitor whatever applications you have - saving you both time and money.

RTU and sensors
In this image you can see an example of a daisy chain of D-Wire sensors spaning 6 floors of an office building. This example shows you the flexibility and range of D-wire, even though most installations are within a single equipment room.

The Bottom Line

Wiring and configuring your current sensor to your existing NetGuardian RTU is simple and easy. But, you encounter any issues, feel free to contact our tech support. Our experts can help you with any problems you might be experiencing.

Learn more about battery monitoring - download the Battery Voltage Monitoring White Paper.

Also, if you need a monitoring system, but still is in the process of evaluating your options, reach out to us. With in-house engineering and manufacturing, we offer custom products to match your exact specs - giving you a perfect-fit monitoring solution. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help you monitor your specific application.

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Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins

Morgana Siggins is a marketing writer, content creator, and documentation specialist at DPS Telecom. She has created over 200 blog articles and videos sharing her years of experience in the remote monitoring industry.

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