US 3142820 A
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United States Patent Oce 3,142,820 Patented July 28, 1964 3,142,820 VARIABLE MONITORING AND RECGRDING SYSTEM Gilbert S. Daniels, Evanston, Ill., assignor to The Scam Instrument Corporation, a corporation ot` Illinois Filed Jan. 20, 1960, Ser. No. 3,535 33 Claims. (Cl. S40-172.5)
The present invention relates to apparatus for continuously monitoring the conditions of variables and for recording the values thereof. The invention concerns itself primarily with a system for continuously monitoring a large number of variables for abnormal conditions and for placing before an operator large masses of information concerning most of the variables in printed numerical form so that such information can be quickly digested by an operator of the system. Such a system, for example, is disclosed and claimed in US. Patent No. 2,922,990 to be granted January 26, 1960, from application Serial No, 630,721, tiled December 20, 1956. The present invention is an improvement over the variable monitoring and recording system disclosed and claimed therein.
Variable monitoring and recording systems commonly include scanning means for sequentially scanning a large number of variables in a predetermined order and an alarm detecting means for detecting alarm conditions by comparing signals from transducers associated with the variables with pre-set signals representing upper and lower alarm limits of the variables. The upper and lower alarm limits are generally manually set by individual manually adjustable potentiometers, or plugooards which vary the tap-off points of tapped resistance elements. In a similar way, gain correction and scale offset factors are sometimes set for the various variables. The values of the variables scanned are sometimes read or logged out immediately upon an output printing device, such as a typewriter, and, more recently, have been stored in storage means such as magnetic drum or core storage means for later read-out automatically or on demand upon an output printing device. In a few instances, by making adjustments of physical terminal connections, the sequence in which the variables are scanned or data thereon printed out can be varied somewhat. However, the various techniques heretofore used for inserting gain, offset and high. and low alarm limit data constants and for varying the order of scanning or print-out of data on the variables has been cumbersome.
It is, accordingly, an object of the present invention to provide continuous monitoring and recording apparatus with greatly improved flexibility, particularly with regard to the manner in which the apparatus may be modied to monitor and record new variables having different data constants or to change the order in which variables are scanned or in which data thereon is printed out, or to temporarily eliminate certain selected variables from the scanning program or to eliminate temporarily the print-out of data on selected variables.
Another object of the present invention is to provide monitoring and recording apparatus as just described wherein such data constants as high and low alarm limits, gain and zero offset factors, etc., may be changed for the variables individually or en masse and without interrupting the scanning or recording operations being performed thereby, which is of great importance in a monitoring system where even temporary shutdown of the system for modifications might endanger the equipment and personnel handling the same.
In accordance with the most preferred form of the present invention, the variable monitoring and recording system includes a unique and highly advantageous remote operato-rs control panel which is most advantageously located remotely from a master operators station at which the master controls of the variable monitoring system are located. The master controls, for example, may include major programs varying controls and start-stop switches which can be handled by only highly skilled and qualied personnel. Any incorrect adjustments here could severely disrupt and even cause complete breakdown of the variable monitoring system. The remote operators control panel is used to modify data constants, scan sequence orders, etc. for one variable at a time and other functions to be described, none of which can shut down the variable monitoring system or change the basic program set therein. Different operators may work independently at the master control station and the remote operators control panel. The remote operators control panel has a series of value and point (ie, variable) identifying digit switches and a pair of operation switches, one of which sets up a basic or general operation to be performed by the operator from the panel (such as a store, print, summarize, display stored values of variables and constants stored, eliminate variables from scan or print-out, and change scan and print-out sequence operations). The other operation switch, which will be referred to sometimes as an information type operation switch, characterizes more fully the specific operations to be carried out from the panel. The different positions of the information type operation switch may be respectively variable value, scan sequence, high alarm limit, low alarm limit, function, gain, offset and log sequence affecting operations.
The store operation set up by the general operation switch is one where the value, scan sequence, high or low alarm limit, function, gain, offset or log sequence information set up on the aforesaid value digit switches will be stored in a data storage section of the variable monitoring and recording system determined by the positions set on the point identifying switches. The print operation set up by another position of the general operation switch is one where the variable value, high alarm limit, low alarm limit, gain or offset data constant values stored in a data storage location for the variable identilied by the numberset up on the point identifying switches will be printed out on one of the output printing devices used in the system. The summarize operation set up by the general operation is one where the values of the data constant type set up on the information type operation switch will be printed out on one of the output printing devices for all pre-determined variables on which summarizing is desired.
The operators control panel is also provided with a eries of display Windows which indicate in numerical digital form the values and point numbers set up on the value and point identifying switches, and, in the language of the operator, the operation set up on the operation switches.
The display operation set up on the general operation switch is one where the type of information set up on the information type operation switch, such as data value, gain, offset, high or low alarm limit is displayed on a series of value display windows on the operators panel for the variable set up on the point identifying switches thereof by an operation which feeds control signals from the storage section of the monitoring system to a series of control relays or the like controlling the lights of a projection system which project the proper numbers upon the display windows.
The point eliminate operation set up on the general operation switch is one where the variable set up on the point identifying switches is eliminated from both scanning and printing operations. The point eliminate restore" operation set up on the general operation switch is one which cancels the effect of a previous point eliminate operation for the particular variable set up on the point identifying switches.
The point skip through operation set up on the general operation switch eliminates only print-out of the variable value for the variable identied by the number set up on the point identifying switches. The point skip through restore operation set up on the general operation switch cancels the previous point skip through operation set up for the variable identified by the number set up on the point identifying switches.
The store scan sequence or store log sequence operations set up on the operation switches is one where the order of scanning or print-out of data on the variable identified by the number set up one group of digit switches on the operators control panel (preferably the value switches) is the number set up on another group of digit switches thereon (preferably the point identifying switches).
A data storage section is provided for storing the information set up on the operators control panel, and this preferably comprises a magnetic storage means such as a magnetic drum or core storage means on which data for the variables are most advantageously arranged in groups called data blocks. Other storage locations are provided in which general instructions are preferably stored to provide a series of program sub-routines arranged in order of certain pre-determined priorities and which adapt the system for a wide variety of operations depending, among other things, on the setting of the switches on the operators control panel. The data storage section is preferably operated in conjunction with conventional computer components that perform alone or through program instructions various arithmetic calculations for introducing said gain and offset factors and performing alarm detection operations.
Location address numbers are assigned to the data blocks which numbers may correspond to the numbers identifying the variable to which the data constants in the blocks involved pertain and which are positioned for access in the order corresponding to the address number. Each of the data blocks in addition to containing high and low alarm limit, gain, offset, function information, etc., additionally includes storage locations for scan and log sequence affecting numbers completely unconnected with the variable involved, such numbers being the numbers set therein by the aforesaid scan and log sequence changing operations and comprising the numbers identifying the variables which are respectively to be scanned and logged in accordance with the position or address number of the data block involved. When a scanning operation is called for by the program, the scan sequence affecting number is read out from the data block having the next higher address than 'the data block previously used for obtaining this number, and a switching matrix is set up according to the scan sequence identifying number to select the proper variable input. It can be seen that the order in which a variable is scanned may be changed by simply changing the stored variable identifying number (i.e., the scan sequence affecting number) in the data block having the address number corresponding to the order in which the variable involved is to be scanned. The order in which a variable is printed out is determined in a similar manner.
The operators control panel is further provided with an action switch which is depressed after the other switches thereon have been set up. Until the action switch is operated, nothing results from the adjustment of the switches on the panel. Then, only when the program calls for the particular information set up on the control panel switches will a particular operation be carried out, and without requiring any shutdown of the monitoring system or affecting any alarm detection or other operation being carried out when the action button is depressed.
Once the action switch is depressed, the operation set up on the control switches cannot again be carried out until the action button is again depressed.
It is apparent that the operator's control panel is so designed that persons having ordinary skill may readily operate the same. However, in some cases, it may be desirable to prevent less skilled personnel from operating the control panel in a manner which would result in the changing of important data constant information into the data storage section of the system. To this end, the control panel is provided with a key-operated lock switch which, when actuated to an interlock position, will prevent any store operations from being performed thereby.
Where data constants for a large number of variables are to be changed, the new data constants are read-in to the associated data blocks by a tape reader controlled by the aforesaid program so that the monitoring system need not be shut down. In such case, the tape reader is operated to feed in limited amounts of information each program cycle so that the main program alarm detection program of the monitoring system is not held up to any significant degree. The program sub-routine involving the feeding in of information from the tape reader is thus interwoven with the main program of the monitoring system.
Other objects, advantages and features of this invention will become apparent upon making reference to the specication to follow, the claims and the drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a simplified box diagram of the various components of an exemplary variable monitoring and recording system utilizing the features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an exemplary installation of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the opcrators control and display console;
FIG. 4a is a chart showing the various functions which are effected by the operation switches 38a and 38h and the visual displays which are shown on the associated display windows of the operator`s control and display console for each position of the switches;
FIG. 4b is a chart showing the interlocks between the switches and the display lights which light up the display windows on the operators control and display panel;
FIG. 5a is a chart illustrating the various input connections to the IBM Type 650 data processing machine;
FIG. 5b is a view of the input and output terminal hub strip on the IBM Type 650 read-punch unit and various connections made thereto when used with the present mvention;
FIGS. 6a and 6b illustrate the layout of various types of information on the drum storage unit of the IBM machine;
FIG. 6c is a chart showing the various data word types forming a data block of information related to a particular variable and the information contained therein;
FIGS. 7a, 7b, 7c and 7d are the circuit diagrams for the input circuits of the present invention which are fed into said IBM machine;
FIG. 7e is a diagram illustrating the manner in which information is projected upon a display window on the operators control and display panel;
FIGS. 8a, 8b, 8c, 8c! and Se are circuit diagrams of the various output circuits of the invention which are connected to said IBM machine;
FIG. 9 is a flow sheet showing an exemplary program format used in connection with the present invention;
FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating the makeup of operation instruction, branching instruction and link instruction words which are used in forming the program used in FIG. 9; and
FIG. l1 is an exemplary alternate program which is used in connection with the present invention where a very high speed data processing machine is used there with.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION Refer now to FIG. 1 which shows the basic elements of an exemplary form of the present invention. The recording system there shown includes a series of analog input devices generally indicated by reference numeral 1t) which provide voltage outputs having amplitudes which are respectively a measure of the values of the variables involved. The analog inputs, for example, could be thermocouples in the case of temperature variables or bellows-operated potcntiornctcrs in the case of pressure variables, etc. The various analog inputs are fed to a switching matrix generally indicated by reference numeral 11 which is a switching system which sequentially connects various analog inputs in a predetermined order (and under control of various components forming one aspect of the present invention) to the input of a conventional analog to digital converter 12 which has at least three groups of outputs which respectively indicate the hundreds, tens and units digits of the apparent value of the variable being scanned by the switching matrix 11. These three groups of digital outputs are fed to input terminals of data storage, calculator and control means generally indicated by reference numeral 14 which most desirably comprises any one of a number of presently available data processing machines or computers, such as the Model 803 computer manufactured by Elliott Bros. Ltd., of London, England. However, although the latter computer is highly preferred for its speed of operation, particularly in its electronic switching of external inputs and its use of high speed of access core storage, the much slower IBM type 650 magnetic drum data processing machine is used in the present description in connection with the present invention because the machine has been in general use and has been well known in this country for many years and the necessity for disclosing the internal make-up of the machine is obviously unnecessary for the purposes of the present disclosure. An exemplary program which is fed electrically into the magnetic drum thereof will, however, be disclosed since it ties together and includes many unique features of the present invention. It should be understood, however, that the particular storage calculation and control means 14 used forms no part of the present invention.
The storage, calculator and control means illustrated in FIG. 1 has a storage unit 14a in which is stored in various addressable locations the values of the variables scanned, data constants and operation and branching instructions forming the aforesaid program. A number of related storage positions in the storage unit 14a' for data on a particular variable will be referred to as a data block.
The data storage section 14a may also include a calculator section 14b which has suitable addition and complementing circuits as, for example, disclosed in US. Patent No. 2,901,166, and a control section 14C which, among other things, responds to the various instructions fed from the storage unit 14a by controlling the feeding of various signals to and from the storage unit 14a', calculator section 14h and other parts of the machine in a manner well known in the art.
In addition to storing the values of the variables indicated by the outputs of the analog to digital converter 12, the data storage calculator and control means 14 (under control of `a continuously recycling main program and sub-programs called for at times by various externally controlled conditions to be described) compares the value of the variable scanned at any instant with high and/or low alarm values stored in magnetic storage unit 14a', and effects operation of a horn 18 and a printout of the identity of `any new abnormal variable and its value thereof on a strip printer 14 or other desired output printing device, such as typewriter 16. In the oase where the analog inputs to the machine involve different analog input devices having different scale offset and gain factors,
in order to print out on the strip printer 15 the actual values of the variables, both an offset and a gain correction operation must be carried out in a manner well known in the art.
At regular intervals, such as hourly, it is customary in variable monitoring and recording systems to print out the values of certain preselected variables so that a permanent readily usable record of these variables is made and checked by an operator. This data is preferably printed out on the typewriter 16. A digital time clock 17 having timing contacts is provided which feeds a signal into the input of the control means 14 hourly to effect storage of the hourly values of the variables to be printed out in designated positions in the storage unit 14a'. Then, signals indicating the values of these variables corrected for gain and offset factors are fed to the typewriter 16 together with time information obtained from the digital time clock 17 to indicate the time at which the variable measurements were taken.
In accordance with the present invention, the variable monitoring and recording system is provided with a means for readily enabling modification of data constants, such as high and low alarm limits, gain and offset factors, etc., the order of scanning the variables, the order in which the data of the variables is printed out on the output printers 15 or 16 or whether a given variable is scanned or data thereon printed out at all. This means includes an operators control and display panel 22 most advantageously including a first group of manual controls 24 forming the operating portions of three value switches 24a, 24b and 24e which respectively set up the hundreds, tens and units digits of a number represented by signals appearing on corresponding output lines 26a, 26b and 26C. Each of these value switches has l() positions representing the digits 0 through 9. The value switches are also effective to set up a visual digital display of the number set up thereon upon a series of value windows 28a, 28b and 28C. (In case a thousand digit is desired, an additional value switch and an associated window may, of course, be added to the operators control and display panel 22.) The value switches are, for the most part, used to set up the various aforesaid data constant values for a particular variable which is to be stored in the storage unit 14a'.
The operators control and display panel 22 has a second group of manual controls 30 forming the operating portions of point identifying digit switches 36a, 36b and 30C. Only switches 30h and 30e will be used in the exemplary form of the invention being described. The switches 30h and 30e each has ten positions representing the digits 0 through 9 `and are adapted to set up signals on output lines 32h and 32e respectively representing the tens and units digits of a number which, for the most part, identities the variable to which the number appearing in the value display windows 28a, 28]; and 28C relates. The switches 30a, 30h and 30e are also operative to set up a visual digital display of the number set up thereon upon a pair of display windows 34h and 34C. The various signal output lines 26b and 26C, and 32h and 32C extend to the input of storage unit 14a'.
In addition to reading information in the storage unit 14a', the operators control and display panel 22 is used to display on the value display windows 28a, 28b and 28e data constant and variable value information stored in the storage unit 14a' for the particular variable set up `on the display windows 34h and 34e by the point number switches. A series of conductors 35 accordingly extend from the output of the data storage calculator and control means 14 to various control circuits which may be contained within a console or housing behind the panel 22 to be referred to as the operators console.
To enable the operator to select the path of ow of signals to or from the various controls and display windows just described, and to readily identify the information displayed in the value windows 28a, 28b and 28C