# Shunt Calibration for Dummies; a Reference Guide

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1 Shunt Calibration for Dummies; a Reference Guide by LaVar Clegg Interface, Inc. Advanced Force Measurement Scottsdale, Arizona USA Presented at Western Regional Strain Gage Committee Summer Test and Measurement Conference August 2,

2 ABSTRACT Shunt Calibration is a technique for simulating strain in a piezo-resistive strain gage Wheatstone bridge circuit by shunting one leg of the bridge. The bridge may be internal to a discreet transducer or composed of separately applied strain gages. The resulting bridge output is useful for calibrating or scaling instrumentation. Such instrumentation includes digital indicators, amplifiers, signal conditioners, A/D converters, PLC s, and data acquisition equipment. Care must be taken to understand the circuits and connections, including extension cables, in order to avoid measurement errors. 2

3 1. What is Shunt Cal? Shunt Calibration = Shunt Cal = SCAL = RCAL A means of calibrating or verifying instrumentation by simulating a physical input. The simulation is accomplished by shunting one leg of a Wheatstone bridge circuit. Not a means of calibrating a transducer. A poor man s mv/ V simulator. 3

4 2. A Good Simulator is Superior to Shunt Cal A simulator is not strain sensitive. Resistor ratios are less temperature sensitive. Thermal emf errors are minimized by design. Symmetrical shunting produces less common mode error. Provides specific and convenient mv/ V values. Provides a true zero output. Has no toggle. Shunt resistor doesn t get lost. A calibration history can be maintained. 4

5 3. Shunt Cal has some advantages Low cost. The bridge circuit is already there. Need to make and break cable connections can be avoided. Can be applied conveniently and at any time and during test programs. 5

6 4. About Formulae in this Paper The formulae herein are derived by the author and he is responsible for any errors. Rs = Value of shunt resistor. = Bridge resistance represented by single value. Vs = Simulated output at signal leads in units of mv/ V. Vs is always net (the difference between the shunted and unshunted readings or similarly the difference between the switch-closed and switch-open readings). = means mathematically exact. means close enough for practical purposes. Infinite input impedance of instrumentation is assumed. 6

7 4. About Formulae (continued) In each circuit type, only one leg of the bridge is shown shunted, for simplicity. But the formulae apply as well to the opposite leg if the resistor numbers are placed in the formula according to position. They also apply to the adjacent legs if resistor numbers are placed according to position and polarity of Vs is reversed. 7

8 5. Basic Bridge Circuit + Exc R4 R1 -Sig +Sig R2 Rs R3 -Exc Vs = Rs R1 R R2 R R1 R1 + R2 8

9 Simplified Basic Bridge Circuit, R1=R2= + Exc R4 -Sig +Sig Rs R3 -Exc Vs = 250 Rs

10 Basic bridge circuit examples (ohm) Rs (ohm) Vs (mv/v) , , , , , ,

11 Basic Bridge Formula Inverted to solve for Rs + Exc R4 -Sig +Sig Rs R3 -Exc Rs 250 = 0. 5 Vs 11

12 Basic circuit inverted formula examples (ohm) Vs (mv/v) Rs (ohm) , , , , , ,833 12

13 6. Bridge With Series Trim or Compensation Resistors + Exc R5 -Sig +Sig Rs R6 Vs 250 Rs R6 + R Rs R6 R5 R6 + R5 + -Exc 13

14 V 250 Rs R6 + R Rs R6 R5 R6 + R5 + Nominal term Summation term Difference term This formula for the series resistors case is interesting because it shows that if R5 = R6, Vs is nearly the same as if R5 = R6 = 0. This fact allows a batch of transducers with variations in natural loaded outputs to be trimmed with series resistors to a standard output and all will have a similar Vs. 14

15 Series resistor circuit examples (ohm) Rs (ohm) R5 (ohm) R6 (ohm) Vs (mv/v) , , , , , , ,

16 7. Bridge With Parallel Trim or Compensation Resistor +Exc R7 -Sig +Sig Rs -Exc Vs = Rs R7 + Rs 2R7 16

17 Parallel resistor circuit examples (ohm) R7 (ohm) Rs (ohm) Vs (mv/v) , ,000 10,000 1, ,000 60,000 60,000 60,000 30,

18 8. How Does Tolerance of and of Rs affect Vs? To a close approximation for all of the circuits above with reasonable values, Vs is proportional to the value of and Vs is inversely proportional to the value of Rs. 18

19 9. What Errors are Contributed by Extension Cables? It often happens that initial shunt calibration data is recorded on a particular bridge and then in subsequent tests an extension cable has been added between the bridge and the instrument with Rs located at the instrument. It is useful to know the resulting error. In the following discussion Rc represents the resistance of one conductor of a cable made of multiple similar conductors. 19

20 Error contributed by a 4-conductor extension cable +Exc Rc -Sig Rc Rc +Sig Rs Error is due primarily to current flow in Sig lead. Vs error = 500 Rc / Rs (in units of mv/v). Error is always same polarity as Vs. Rc -Exc 20

21 4-Conductor Error Examples Based on 10 ft cable length Conductor Gauge Rc (ohm) (ohm) Rs (ohm) Nom Vs (mv/v) Vs Error (mv/v) Vs Error (%Vs) , , , , , ,

22 Caution! If Vs is being converted to physical units, remember that the 4-conductor extension cable changes output of the circuit by the factor + 2Rc If Rc is not accounted for in the conversion, the error compounds the Vs error, doubling it as a % of reading! 22

23 10. What Error is Contributed by a 6-Conductor Extension Cable? -Sig +Sense Rc Rs Rc Rc +Exc Rc +Sig Rc -Sense Rc -Exc Same error in Vs as for 4-conductor extension cable. No error in physical load output due to Rc in Exc leads. Remote sensing of excitation is the benefit of a 6-conductor cable. 23

24 11. What Error is Contributed by a 7-Conductor Extension Cable? +Sense Rc Rc +Exc -Sig Rc Rc Rc Rs +Sig Rc -Sense Rc -Exc Only error is Rc adding to Rs for total shunt =Rs+Rc. Error is negligible for all practical purposes. 24

25 12. Why are 8-Conductor Cables Sometimes Used? To allow shunt connection to either Sig or + Sig and have negligible error. 7-Conductor and 8-Conductor cables solve the extension cable error problem. 25

26 13. What Error in Shunt Cal is Caused by +Exc a Physical Load? +r -r -Sig +Sig Rs -r +r -Exc Analyze by assuming a fully active basic bridge circuit. r = change in gage resistance due to strain. Error in Vs is proportional to r /. 26

27 (ohm) Error due to Physical Loads, Examples (Assuming all legs equally active) Rs (ohm) Vs without Physical Vs with Error r load Load load (ohm) (mv/v) (mv/v) (mv/v) (mv/v) % , , , , , , Generalized Rule: For any and Rs, Error in % = X Physical Load in mv/v 27

28 14. What is the Effect on Shunt Cal of a Permanent Zero Balance Shift? If all legs are equally active and somewhat equally shifted in resistance, as is often the case with a mild physical overload, error in Vs follows the same analysis as in paragraph 13 above. It is wise to assume that any significant permanent zero shift invalidates a prior Shunt Cal. 28

29 15. What is the Effect on Shunt Cal of Transducer Toggle? Toggle is a reversible change in bridge zero resulting from the most recent loading changing from tension to compression or vice versa. The error in Vs follows the same analysis as in paragraph 13 above. Toggle seldom exceeds 0.01 mv/v even for load excursions as high as +/- 4 mv/v. Therefore error in Vs seldom exceeds 0.001% for any or Rs. The error is normally negligible. 29

30 16. Is There Reason to Prefer Any Particular Leg of the Bridge to Shunt? Probably not. In terms of stability and repeatability, all legs are contributing equally to a shunt measurement. R5 and R6 contribute equally to Vs for shunt measurement on any leg regardless of their values. Remember paragraph 6! Vs 250 Rs R6 + R5 1 4Rs 1+ R6 R5 R6 + R5 + 30

31 17. Can a Value for Vs be Calculated for any Rs, Knowing Only Rin and Rout of the Bridge? Only approximately because Rin and Rout only approximate the value of R1, R2, R3, or R4 in the basic circuit. With tolerances typical of strain gages and bonding processes in transducer production, 0.25% is about the uncertainty of a calculation for Vs with the basic circuit. It gets worse if R5, R6, or R7 are present. 31

32 18. Where May the Shunt Resistor Be Located? a. Internal to a transducer or permanently wired to a bridge circuit. Resistor tolerance not important. Resistor should have low temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR). 32

33 b. Internal to an Instrument. Low resistor tolerance is important unless a bridge and specific instrument are always used together. TCR should be low. HRBSC 9840 These high end instruments have 0.01% Low TCR Internal Shunt Cal Resistors in two different values. Instruments may be substituted without significant error. 33

34 These lower cost instruments have 1% tolerance Shunt Cal Resistors. For good Vs measurements, instruments should not be substituted. 34

35 500 DMA DCA These lower cost signal conditioning modules have 1% tolerance Shunt Cal Resistors and a manual switch permanently installed. For good Vs measurements, instruments should not be substituted. 35

36 c. External resistor, portable. Substitutability depends on tolerance. Potential for high accuracy. Potential to get lost or mixed. 36

37 d. External, laboratory instrument. 0.01% tolerance available. Good substitutability. Special 3-bank decade resistor, tests up to 3 bridges simultaneously. 1 ohm to 1111 Kohm, 0.01 % tolerance. 37

38 19. What Shunt Cal Repeatability Can Be Expected From Modern Transducers? Procedure for a repeatability test performed 100 Klbf Load Cell specimen loaded in compression. 12 test cycles of 4 mv/v hydraulically applied physical load and 1 mv/v Shunt Cal on two bridge legs. = 350 ohm, Rs = ohm, 20 ppm/ C, internal to load cell. Measurements over 3 days. Interface Gold Standard HRBSC instrumentation. Results of test Std Dev of physical load measurement: 0.004%. Std Dev of Shunt Cal: 0.001% pos, 0.001% neg. 38

39 Shunt Calibration Repeatability Data " Model: 1232BKN-100K S/N: Bridge A Internal Shunt Resistor: Kohm Standards usedstd-16,brd4,brd1 Sequence Std Dev. Date , , , , , , , , , , , , Time 16:44:11 16:51:29 16:56:25 17:01:10 17:11:22 17:17:24 18:03:14 18:08:02 20:33:34 20:37:16 07:28:39 07:33:36 Temp F Humidity % Load mode COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR COMPR Units Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf Klbf LOAD (Klbf): Span (mv/'v) mv/v SHUNT CAL (mv/v) % Raw zero Raw Neg SCAL Net Neg SCAL mv/v % Dev from avg % Raw zero Raw Pos SCAL Net Pos SCAL mv/v % Dev from avg % 39

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