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Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

4 Different Ways to Program Your Ultrasonic Sensor

Posted by Kamden Payton on Fri, Sep 16, 2016

When working with ultrasonic sensors, programming the sensor is a crucial part of any application. No matter the application, an ultrasonic sensor must be programmed to fit your specific need. Without doing this, you will not be able to use the sensor to its full potential or even set the distance at which it will work. Customers often inquire about how to set a switching distance, incorporate a blind zone, or even change the limits of their analog signal; when questions like this arise, programming is the answer and the cornerstone of any ultrasonic application.

4 Ways to Program Ultrasonic Sensors

There are different ways to go about programming ultrasonic sensors, from screw driver adjustments up to software configuration. Without understanding the different programming opportunities available, you could be wasting valuable time on a method that may not be beneficial to you.

With so many different methods to choose from, programming the operating modes for ultrasonic sensors can seem overwhelming at first. Our ultrasonic sensors cover the following programming options:

  • Potentiometer
  • On-board push buttons
  • Software
  • SmartBridge

Which of these options is right for you? Let’s take a closer look.

Potentiometers

First off, we will start with the simplest way of programming sensors. The potentiometer is a rotating contact that allows you to control the range limits of your sensor. All you have to do is rotate it to the left for a shorter distance and right for a longer distance. The fact that most people know how to use a screwdriver or a knob makes this a popular method to use. The only downfall is that you can only control ranges. One example of a product that uses potentiometers is the UC2000-30GM70-2E2R2-V15.

On-board push buttons

Next, we will review another straightforward way of programming these sensors, with the on-board push buttons. Many of our sensors, like the UC6000-30GM-2EP-IO-V15, include the push button feature. Although it seems to be a simple way to program, it is actually more complex than you think. That complexity, however, can unlock more application-solving possibilities compared to a potentiometer. You can switch your outputs from normally open to normally closed, adjust cone width, determine the hysteresis, change output modes, and much more! When using push buttons, it’s a good idea to refer to the manual for information on how to teach in commands. Programming procedures vary from model to model. All of our products contain a datasheet and manual on the website under the Documents tab, so you can quickly get the information you need. 

Software

There is a multitude of software options for programming your ultrasonic sensor. Most companies have their own software including Pepperl+Fuchs. Below are a couple of options that are offered.

ULTRA-PROG-IR is a great program for configuring ultrasonic sensors. You must attach the UC-18/30GM-IR USB interface cable to the sensor so you can use ULTRA-PROG-IR. The software is very user friendly and still allows all of the programming features that are found with the push buttons. A nice feature of this software is the graphics generated on the computer, allowing you to see your sensing distance and blind zones or dead band. These graphics become crucial in troubleshooting and making sure that your ultrasonic sensor is reading its intended target.  It is a nicer interface compared to the push buttons and it unlocks a few more features that the push buttons lack. Some of these options include storing parameter sets as a file, filtering and stability algorithms, data logging, a chart recorder, saving your data, and much more. Many sensors can use this software, including the UC2000-30GM70S-2E2R2-V15.

Ultrasonic Sensors ULTRA-PROG-IR Software InterfaceULTRA-PROG-IR Software Interface

Another possibility for programming is with PACTware, an open-source software. With PACTware, you control the different options while connected to an IO-Link device. You can configure the operating modes via these programs, but additional steps are needed to make them work. The software needed to configure each specific sensor is found on the device page on the website under the software tab, and is usually a DTM file. One of the disadvantages is that you also need a serial interface for communication, the UC-PROG1 programming adapter. Once the sensor is correctly connected, you can take advantage of programming the different outputs that are established in the sensor’s user manual. A product such as the UC4000-30GM-2EP-IO-V15 can be programmed through this software.

PACTware Software InterfacePACTware Software Interface

SmartBridge

Using the SmartBridge attachment for IO-Link-compatible devices such as the UC2000-30GM-IUEP-IO-V15 makes sensor programming simple and convenient. SmartBridge allows Bluetooth connectivity to these sensors, making your smartphone the controller. There are different modes that the SmartBridge can be set in but typically you can do simple programming through the Master Offline mode. You can set operation parameters, configure operation modes, and take advantage of all other configuration modes through the app. This app can be downloaded through the Google Play and Apple App Store. Be aware that you will need a separate SmartBridge for each networked sensor.

SmartBrdge Module
SmartBridge Module

SmartBridge Software Interface
SmartBridge Software Interface

Even if there isn’t a clear choice on which programming route is the best one to take, with the available options, you will be able to program all of the operating modes used by the sensors. When it comes to programming methods for ultrasonic sensors, there’s something for everyone!

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Topics: Ultrasonic Sensors, Software

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