Updated FOUNDATION Fieldbus device coupler test specification

14 August 2012

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced the latest updates to the FOUNDATION fieldbus physical layer technology. Current enhancements to the H1 (31.25 kbit/sec) device coupler test specification are designed to improve the reliability and availability of fieldbus control system installations, as well as optimise device interoperability and integration.

As part of a FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, device couplers or isolated device couplers (where applicable) are installed where the fieldbus trunk is connected to the various device spurs. Isolated device couplers are designed to allow automation end users to connect more devices per coupler while permitting live segment work in hazardous plant areas. These couplers provide isolated, conditioned power to multiple fieldbus devices and protect against short circuits caused by excess current in a spur. By enabling more devices per segment, they also help reduce controller I/O points and associated installation costs.

The FOUNDATION fieldbus device coupler test specification includes criteria from the international IEC 61158 standard and additional functional tests such as input impedance, short-circuit reaction time, and bus voltage consumption. The specification is designed for coupler manufacturers to perform a standard set of tests against their implementation. A team of volunteers comprised of current members of the foundation who supply coupler products, as well as end users employing registered couplers, developed the test cases.
Commenting on the announcements, Stephen Mitschke, Fieldbus Foundation's director-Fieldbus Products, said: "The Fieldbus Foundation is committed to rigorous test procedures for all FOUNDATION devices, hosts and components. Our device coupler test specification is intended to provide a high level of robustness in fieldbus systems. The resulting registered products are tested to perform optimally with registered power supplies and conditioners, as well as registered H1 cable."

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