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Current Source mA for calibration


This is easy to rig millivolt source for field calibration or troubleshooting of 4-20 mA current loops. Here a Darlington pair is used for current amplification which reduces the Ib error as gain is very high.

A rotary switch selects, 4-12-20 mA Preset points. A Bourns multi-turn wirewound Pot can also be used with a digital dial. Enclose in a dust proof handheld box. Read more on process calibration.

Current Source mA for calibration



A mA source terminated with a 10 Ohm or 100 Ohm can turn it into a mV Source. The Resistor should be above 1W and has good temperature stability. Use MFR 1 % many in parallel to get a Instrument shunt if you do not get any.

Voltage to Current Source 4-20 mA

The 0-1V to 4-20 mA Converter published earlier is a current sink, Here is a circuit that is a voltage to current converter but with a current source.

Voltage to Current
                        Source 4-20 mA

You can use a LM358 or LM324. The first opamp is a Voltage to Current with a sink output. That current creates a varying voltage w.r.t the 12V DC supply, this varying voltage is mirrored by the second opamp across the source output resistor. This way a constant current is obtained with a sourcing output. The control elements are small signal high gain transistors. Any suitable equivalent can be used.

Even the opamp can be chosen by the precision and application you want. In this form of feedback. way to understand .... "Op-Amp drives the output to maintain both inputs at the same level" and also the "Output takes the polarity of the dominant input" and lastly "dominant means, more positive". +5 is more Dominant than +3 or 0 or -2. Then -3 is more dominant than -12. See which is more positive.

Long distance of current loop may need higher voltage and lower source resistor value. Then the output transistor needs to change, if you use 24V DC then that voltage should not reach opamp. Design needs to foresee all possibilities of I/O troubles, as these are wired by a customer, mistakes happen. Hence, Industrial Designs have to be rugged.

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