Programmable Signal Conditioning

Tech Note

Essentially two schools of thought on signal conditioners:

  1. Designed for a specific input and output requirement
  2. Programmable device designed to condition various I/O's

As you might assume, #1 provides the best performance since there are no compromises and the device can be optimized.

Likewise, #2 requires some compromise in performance in order to provide a product that can interface to almost any I/O range!

So, what is the compromise in performance? Dataforth designs and builds "Instrument Class" fixed function conditioners that provide 0.03% accuracy. We also make programmable signal conditioners that provide a typical 0.1% accuracy from any voltage, current, thermocouple, or RTD input type and input range.

We believe that our fixed function products are the best in the industry and that our programmable products compete with the best of the breed. So, from the accuracies given above, one can state that fixed function products can provide up to three (3) times better accuracy than programmable units!

To justify this performance compromise many people will use programmable units on applications that will change from time to time. Repeatability (not absolute accuracy) is important and so is the ability to reconfigure the unit for the next job. Similarly, many people use fixed-function signal conditioners on jobs that never change for years... they are not designed to change and they want the most stable operation! They are fixed!

So how do you configure a programmable signal conditioner?

To get a feel for programmability, Dataforth will allow you to download its configuration software for the DSCP81 signal conditioner, DSCX-557. You can use this software to play with the input types and set the input ranges to almost any span. You can configure up to 50 points of linearization, set alarm trip points and hysteresis as well as the output voltage or current!

Summary of the DSCP81 programmable signal conditioner:

Interfaces to Voltages up to ±1000VDC and Currents up to ±100mA Configurable Input Type and Range Configurable Filter for various response times Configurable linearization up to 50 point interpolation Alarm Relay Output for high or low configurable settings 3700Vrms Transformer Isolation Supply Voltage of 24 to 60VDC/AC or 85 to 230VDC/AC Mounts on Standard DIN Rail -25C to +55C Operating Temperature.

See our catalog web page for DSCP81 Signal Conditioning Modules

DSCP81 Spec sheets (4 page 347Kb pdf file)

DSCX-557 Software to download, unzip, and setup

Remember, our Application Engineers can assist you with signal conditioner selection over the phone or via fax and email. Call us at our manufacturing facility in Tucson at 520-741-1404 (fax 520-741-0762) or Email us at

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