Model No. SLICE-QT
Document Revision: 1
Document Last Updated on 2019/01/21 17:42
The SLICE-QT is a high-precision temperature controller (see figure 1). It will control up to four thermal plants with sub-millikelvin precision.
Note: All modules designed to be operated in a laboratory environment.
The SLICE-QT will accept input line voltages within the ranges shown in table 2.
|Any input/output connections to the SLICE instrument must be derived from a Safety Extra Low Voltage (SELV) source.|
|If this instrument is used in a manner not specified by the manufacturer in this manual or other relevant literature, protection provided by the instrument may be impaired.|
|Warning. Pay special attention to procedures and notes. If procedure is not followed carefully, damage to the SLICE-QT or devices connected to it may occur.|
|Potential for electrical shock hazard.|
An image of the front panel is shown in figure 2. The functions and connections are as follows:
An image of the rear panel is shown in figure 3. The functions and connections are as follows:
Connections to the thermal plants are made from the rear panel. Four cables for this purpose are provided with the SLICE-QT. Each has one end terminated with a CUI Inc. PDP-40 connector for connecting to the CUI Inc. CP-7240-ND connector on the SLICE-QT. The other end is unterminated and is for connecting to your specific plant. The pin out for connecting the cable (Beldon 1502R 010500) to your specific plant is given in table 4.
|Do not have servo loop engaged when connecting Servo Output to your plant.|
|It is suggested to not ground the cable shield at the transducer end of the interface cable as ground loops may be formed, degrading performance.|
You may purchase more cables separately from Vescent Photonics. We do not recommend making cables, but if you do so, make sure the metal sleeve is well grounded to provide proper shielding to the signal cables.
The touch screen interface and the Host GUI operate in a substantially similar way, except touch is substituted for a click in the touch screen interface.
When presented with a given view, it is possible to select the functionality or edit the values in a field bordered in blue. When a particular field is actively being edited, its border will change to yellow. The Home Screen of the SLICE-QT is shown in figure 4. From the Home screen, summary control over the four channels is possible, including setting Tset, initiating lock, or entering an individual channel's Detail screen.
In general, the status displayed in an editable field is the current status (not the result of touching the button). Touch the field to select a new value/status. For instance, in figure 4 all of the channels are in stand by. Touching the OFF button to initiate servo control over a plant will change this button to read ON (figure 15).
On the left edge of the screen is the Control Bar. At any given time, these buttons will have the following effect.
Returns to previous screen. Changes will be lost if not accepted before using the Back button.
Locks out further modification of parameters. Touch to lock or unlock parameter entry. It is still possible to engage the temperature control loops when system is locked, but it is not possible to change the set point temperature or loop parameters, etc.
system control settings (brightness, volume, etc.).Enters screen for
In order to afford maximum resolution, the least significant digit will not necessarily change to precisely your target value and will be coerced to the nearest acceptable value, which is limited by the digitization scheme for the set point. For instance, you may select a set point temperature of 17.000°C, but the closest allowed digitized value may be 16.999°C.
In most instances, there are two methods for entering parameter values: the physical rotary knobs on the front panel and the pop-up keypad on the touch screen. When using the knobs to change the value of a parameter, changes take effect immediately. When using the keypad, changes do not take effect until the enter key is depressed.
If you touch an editable field for a brief moment, a cursor will appear under one of the digits of the parameter value. By turning the right knob, it is possible to increase (cw) or decrease (ccw) the value of the underlined digit. Turning the left knob will change which digit is editable (cw to move to the left and ccw to move to the right).
If you touch and hold an editable field such as the set point temperature, a numeric keypad will appear as seen in figure 10. You can enter in the full value of the desired parameter with this keypad.
The action initiated by each button is described below.
Exits keypad without accepting changes.
Clears value in field being edited.
Deletes last character entered.
Accepts edits and exits keypad.
The Home screen summarizes the status of all four channels (figure 4). The data for each channel is arranged vertically. At a glance, for each channel, Tset, Tact, and ∆T can be read, as well as whether servo control is engaged. If the loop is engaged and ∆T is smaller than a user-defined range, the Error value field will be green, indicating a locked state. If ∆T is outside this user-defined range, this field will turn yellow.
To set the temperature set point from the home screen, touch the Setpoint window for the desired channel (circled in red for CH 1 in figure 15). A long touch will cause a keypad to appear. Enter desired value and touch the accept button.
A short touch will highlight the Setpoint window in yellow (figure 16). Use rotary knobs to select digit to edit (right knob) and value for digit (left knob).
Touch the OFF button at the bottom of the column for the desired channel. The button will turn white and read ON to indicate the SLICE-QT is actively controlling the temperature for that channel. In figure 15 and figure 16 CH 1 is active and CHs 2-4 are inactive.
When the system is locked (as defined by the user in the CH X > Settings > Limits screen) the Error window will display ∆T with a green background. As the system approaches lock, it will display ∆T on a yellow background.
You can set how individual channels behave in the Channel Detail screen. To enter a Channel Detail screen from the Home screen, touch the CH button for the appropriate channel (figure 4). figure 17 shows the CH 1 Detail screen. From this screen, you can change Tset, and initiate temperature control as from the Home screen. You can also visually monitor the performance of the loop. The graph in the lower right of the screen displays ∆T (Tact - Tset) on a rolling basis. The yellow dashed lines indicate the user-defined “lock range.” In figure 17, the lock range is set to ±3 mK. If ∆T is outside of this range, the Error field will change from green to yellow.
You can also set the various parameters for how the loop will behave.
Touch the Settings button in the top right of the window. The sub-menu shown in figure 18 will appear.
To adjust the vertical range (∆T) of the graph from the Details screen, touch Settings > Y Scale. Select the appropriate setting (figure 19).
To adjust the time base of the graph from the Details screen, touch Settings > X Scale. Select the appropriate setting.
To set the PID loop filter parameters from the Home screen, select CH X > Settings > PID Params and the screen in figure 20 will appear. The parameters for the PID loop filter are set in this popup screen. These parameters control the closed-loop behavior of the feedback. Each of these parameters will need to be tuned specifically for your plant. There is an option to enable or disable each parameter in the loop filter. There are a number of methods to tune a loop. We recommend the Ziegler-Nichols method.13)
For applications where the rate of change of the temperature of the plant needs to be controlled, it is possible to set an upper limit on the slew rate. This can also be done through the PID Params screen.
|If appropriate, make sure to turn the Slew Rate Limit off when changing use case!|
The User can limit the control power available to individual channels. To adjust control capacity from the Home screen, select CH X > Settings > Load Limits and the screen shown in figure 21 will appear.
To set the properties of the transducer (TEC or heater) and thermistor for an individual channel from the Home screen, touch CH X > Settings > Plant. The menu in figure 22 will appear. Select TEC/Bipolar (as seen) or by touching TEC/Bipolar, select Heater/Unipolar.
From this screen, it is also possible to set the polarity of the TEC. Touch Polarity Positive/Polarity Negative to toggle between the two states. The polarity is already set correctly to POSITIVE for use with NTC thermistors.
The thermistor data has been configured at the factory for a typical NTC thermistor that is 10 kΩ at 25°C. Only NTC (Negative Thermal Coefficient) thermistors can be used. You can enter a new Beta value, reference temperature, and resistance value and the Steinhart-Hart constants will be calculated automatically or vice versa.
NOTE: The SLICE-QT can achieve sub-millikelvin stabilities over a very wide set point temperature range. For most applications working near room temperature, an NTC thermistor with a nominal value of 10 kΩ at 25°C will work fine. For temperatures far from room temperature, best results will occur by choosing a thermistor that has a resistance of 10 kΩ at your desired set point temperature. The input bridge circuitry is configured to have maximum sensitivity at a 10-kΩ resistance.
|WHEN USING A RESISTIVE HEATER, be sure to set the transducer type (CH X > Settings > Plant) to Heater/Monopolar. If set to TEC/Bipolar, attempts by the SLICE-QT to actively cool your plant will result in a thermal runaway condition.|
The maximum and minimum allowable temperatures (Tmax and Tmin) can be set as well as the range of ∆T where the system is considered to be locked. From a Channel Detail screen (figure 17), tap Settings > Limits and the screen in figure 23 will appear. It is advised to set Tmin above the dew point temperature for your ambient conditions. If the temperature of the plant exceeds the range set by Tmax and Tmin, the temperature will be displayed in a flashing red field.
In the view shown, the lock range has been defined to be ±3 mK. If -3 mK ≤ ∆T ≤ +3 mK, ∆T will be displayed on a green field. If outside this range, ∆T will be displayed on a yellow field. The graph in the bottom right of the Channel Detail screen plots ∆T vs. time. The dashed yellow lines on this plot represent the lock range limits as set in this screen.
|If your plant is exposed to the atmosphere, use an abundance of caution in setting Tmin below the dew point for your ambient conditions! Water will condense on surfaces that are below the dew point temperature.|
|Any input/output connections to the SLICE instrument must be derived from a Safety Extra Low Voltage (SELV) source.|
The voltage range of the analog I/O on the SLICE-QT is ±10 V.
The front panel of the SLICE-QT has two inputs (channels A & B) and two outputs (channels 1 & 2, not to be confused with the temperature control channels) available for use. To program their functionality, from any screen touch I/O. You will be presented with the screen shown in figure 24. Touch the Settings icon to the right of the channel you wish to program. If you select channel A input, you will be presented with the screen shown in figure 25. You can select the input to be any of the signals shown in table 7 for any of the four temperature-control channels.
Similarly, you can program output values. If you select Channel 1 Output from figure 24 you will be presented with figure 26. You can choose any value from table 8 to be delivered to the Channel 1 Output output on the front panel.
External control of the SLICE-QT is accomplished via a TTL trigger.14) 0 to 0.8 V TTL is low and 2 to VCC is TTL high.
The Trigger Out on the back panel of the SLICE-QT can be forced to go high to alert an external device to a status change. To program the trigger, from any screen touch I/O > Trigger Out. You will be presented with the screen shown in figure 27. Select those events on the desired channels for which you want the trigger to go high. A logical OR is performed on the set of selected events to determine the state of the output trigger. In the example, the trigger will go high if the minimum temperature set for CH 1 is exceeded, the maximum temperature set for CH 2 is exceeded, the maximum slew rate set for CH 3 is exceeded, or when CH 4 reaches its set point temperature.
Currently, there are no input triggers allowed.
From this screen, adjustments to the brightness of the screen and the volume of the audio feedback can be made.
Change the input impedance of the two front-panel input ports. Select either 50 Ω or 1 MΩ.
Current firmware versions are reported here.
If accessed through a PC Host GUI, the Settings screen (figure 29) also has the ability to assign the COM port for the device. If viewed through the GUI, there are no brightness or volume controls as these should be set on the PC directly.
Under most circumstances, the system will control the current to the transducer in order to minimize temperature fluctuations of your thermal plant. From time to time, it may also be desirable for the user to directly control the current to the transducer. This is done in Manual mode (open-loop control). To toggle between Servo and Manual modes, touch Servo on the Channel Detail screen (figure 17). In Servo mode (closed-loop control), it is possible to adjust the set point temperature, but not the current. In Manual mode, it is possible to adjust the current, but not the set point temperature. Caution should be exercised when using Manual mode as it is possible to create a thermal runaway condition where the transducer heats or cools without being limited.
|In Manual mode, it may be possible for a thermal runaway condition to exist. Use caution when using Manual mode.|
It is possible to control the SLICE-QT from a Windows®-based PC using a GUI. In order to use the GUI, you must first download the latest version, connect the PC to the SLICE-QT, and assign a COM port to the SLICE-QT. The following describes the steps involved.
The GUI should now actively control the SLICE-QT. You should only have to do the above steps once from a given PC. After assigning the COM port, the system will recognize the device in the future (unless you reassign the COM port to another device).
From time to time, Vescent will upgrade the firmware for controlling the SLICE-QT. The procedure to upgrade the firmware is given here.
It is possible to control the SLICE-QT through serial commands. More information coming soon. Please contact sales [at] vescent [dot] com for information.
There are no user-serviceable parts inside this instrument. Refer all repairs to the manufacturer. Work performed by persons not authorized by Vescent Photonics may void the warranty.