Instrument Cable Sizing

Instrumentation, PLC, DCS, Control systems, Electric motors, VFDs, Cabling, etc.

Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby ali.abbas » 08 Apr 2011, 05:16

Can anyone here share standard practices for sizing of instrument signal cables for various type of instrumention. I'd like to know what standard practices exist for use of various type (single/multi pair cables, single/multi core cables, triads etc.) and various size (0.75, 1.5, 2.5 sq mm etc) cables.

Also, is it standard practice to use shield and twisted cable for all kinds of instruments, analog as well as digital? Or is it OK to use unshielded and untwisted cables for on/off devices like switches.
Regards,
Ali Abbas
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby cerine » 12 Apr 2011, 14:39

Instrument power cable sizing is a calculation of voltage drop across some distance from instrument marshalling cabinet to field devices. It is needed to make sure that the supply voltage at the field devices is sufficient (within device operating voltage or within specified requirement). For example, we have a solenoid valve put at 250 meter from marshalling cabinet. This solenoid valve requires a supply voltage 24 VDC. Due to a long distance separated, the voltage received at solenoid valve will not be 24 VDC. It may be 23.5 VDC, 22 VDC, or even 15 VDC. It depends on the size of cables that used. So, the purpose of the instrument power cable sizing is to select the appropriate cable size so that the voltage drop received at field devices is within an acceptable range or within specified requirements.

First of all, let’s take a look at below circuit.
Image

This schematic is an illustration of equipment that has 1 K OHM resistance and separated far away from the power supply by 100 meter. Let’s assume that the cable has an inherent resistance 1 OHM/meter so that in this case, the resistance from power supply to equipment will be 100 OHM. We can replace the above schematic with below simplified schematic to calculate the voltage drop received at equipment.
Image

Where,
V = 24 Volt
R1 = 100 OHM
R2 = 1K OHM
R3 = 100 OHM
Now we could look for the equivalent replacement resistor for this 3 resistor.
RTOT = R1 + R2 + R3
RTOT = (100 + 1000 + 100) OHM
RTOT = 1200 OHM
After we calculate the equivalent replacement resistor (RTOT) now we could get the current that flow through this circuit.
I = V / RTOT
I = 24 / 1200
I = 0.02 A
Then we shall go back to above circuit to find the voltage received by the R2 (which is our equipment).
VR2 = I * R2
VR2 = 0.02 * 1000
VR2 = 20 Volt
From above calculation we could determine that the voltage drop is 4 volt. Each drop is contributed by R1 and R2 as follows:
VR1 = VR3 = I * 100 = 0.02 * 100 = 2 Volt.
Each resistor (R1 & R3) contribute 2 volt voltage drop.

At actual application we rarely know the resistance of our equipment. What usually specified by manufacturer is only a power consumption at nominal power supply (can be 24 VDC or 48 VDC). So, how to get the equation to calculate the voltage drop across some distance with using the power consumption data?
From above illustration we could express the voltage drop (Delta V) as below:
Delta V = V – VR2
Delta V = V – I*R2
Because I=V/RTOT then,
Delta V = V – ( (V/RTOT) * R2)
We take out the same V so that we could get the following equation,
Delta V = V* (1 – (R2/RTOT) )
Since the RTOT = R1+R2+R3 then,
Delta V = V* (1 – (R2 / (R1+R2+R3) ) )
Since R1 = R2 = Length of cable (L) * Resistance of cable (Rcable) then,
Delta V = V* (1 – (R2 / ((L*Rcable) + R2 + (L*Rcable)) )
Delta V = V* (1 – (R2 / ((2*L*Rcable) + R2)

Unfortunately we don’t know the R2 of the equipment (but we only know the power consumption), then we should replace this in term of power consumption (P).
R2 = P/I2
While I = P/V, then
R2 = P / (P/V)2
R2 = V2 / P

Now we substitute this R2 value to voltage drop equation above.
Delta V = V* (1 – ( (V2 / P) / ((2*L*Rcable) + (V2 / P) )
Delta V = V* ( ((2*L*Rcable) + (V2/P) – (V2/P)) / (2*L*Rcable) + (V2/P) )
Delta V = V* ((2*L*Rcable) / (2*L*Rcable) + (V2/P))
While (2*L*Rcable) + (V2/P) = (2*L*Rcable) + R2 = RTOT

Then we could simplify the above equation to be:
Delta V = V/RTOT * (2*L*Rcable)
Delta V = I * (2*L*Rcable)
Where,
Delta V = Voltage drop across some distance (Volt)
I = electric current (Ampere) = P/V
L = Length of cable (km or m)
Rcable = OHM/km or OHM/m

Usually Rcable represents in OHM/km rather than in OHM/m. And length of cable represents in m. In this case the voltage drop equation will be:
Delta V = (I * 2*L*Rcable) / 1000

Let’s take some example.
We have a solenoid valve put at distance 250 meter from the system cabinet (power supply putted). This solenoid valve has a power consumption 5 watt@24 VDC. We need to check what cable size that can be used with the requirement of voltage drop must not exceed 5% at solenoid valve terminal. The following example cable data will be used:
Cable Cross Sectional Area Rcable
1.0 mmsq 20 OHM/km
1.5 mmsq 15 OHM/km
2.5 mmsq 10 OHM/km
The calculation:
Calculate the electric current:
I = P/V = 5 watt / 24 V = 0.2083 A
Calculate the voltage drop by using formula:
Delta V = (I * 2*L*Rcable) / 1000 with the preliminary Rcable using the 1.0 mmsq properties.
Delta V = (0.2083*2*250*20)/1000
Delta V = 2.083 Volt
Delta V = 2.083 Volt / 24 Volt *100%
Delta V = 8.67%
It exceeds our requirement which is 5%. So using 1.0 mmsq cable isn’t sufficient for our application. Let’s try with 1.5 mmsq cable.
Delta V = (0.2083*2*250*15)/1000
Delta V = 1.56 Volt
Delta V = 1.56Volt / 24 Volt *100%
Delta V = 6.5%
By using 1.5 mmsq cables it still exceed the requirement. Let’s try again with 2.5 mmsq cable, looks like this cable will suit for this application.
Delta V = (0.2083*2*250*10)/1000
Delta V = 1.04 Volt
Delta V = 1.04Volt / 24 Volt *100%
Delta V = 4.34% which is less than 5% requirement.
Yes, this 2.5 mmsq cable is suitable for our applications. Thus this cable size will be selected for this application.
cerine
 
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby ali.abbas » 12 Apr 2011, 17:01

Thanks Cerene. Thats quite a logical approach to see if power/voltage does not drop so low as to result in inadequate signal transmission. My question however was if there was any international standard or generally recommended practice regarding what should be minimum cable size for various instruments?
Regards,
Ali Abbas
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby cerine » 13 Apr 2011, 04:06

Abbas,
I haven't heard about any international standard on this.
We follow the same practice as already mentioned.
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby Waqqarulhassan » 14 Feb 2012, 17:25

Salam Gentlemen
In National_Electrical_Code_(NEC)_2005_Handbook Chapter 9 — Tables
Example 1 & 2 clearly shows the above method for voltage drop calculations.

For reference , you can download this book from here
Link removed due to copyright issues

The same formulas are also given in IEEE standard 241-1990, Article3.6.1

Hope it helps,
regards
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby ashfaqanwer » 15 Feb 2012, 23:50

Please do not share copyrighted material at thePetroStreet forums.
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby ashfaqanwer » 15 Feb 2012, 23:52

Please do not share copyrighted material at thePetroStreet forums.

Waqqarulhassan wrote:Salam Gentlemen
In National_Electrical_Code_(NEC)_2005_Handbook Chapter 9 — Tables
Example 1 & 2 clearly shows the above method for voltage drop calculations.

For reference , you can download this book from here
Link removed due to copyright issues

The same formulas are also given in IEEE standard 241-1990, Article3.6.1

Hope it helps,
regards
ashfaqanwer
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 875
Joined: 16 Mar 2010, 03:36

Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby AbsarShah » 16 Nov 2012, 11:10

There's no international standard for sizing of instrumentation cables. But when you're working for different clients, their own standards will have certain guidelines. For example, for any end-user following the Shell DEP, all single pair analog cables should be 1.13mm2 solid conductors, and multipair cables should be 0.8mm2 solid conductors. (As per Shell DEP 32.37.20.10).

Similarly, other clients have their own standards, and we tend to follow them. Only in specific cases where the cable runs longer distances do we really get down to voltage drop calculations to determine whether signal repeaters or some other solution might be needed (using a SOV with lower power requirements, for example).
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Re: Instrument Cable Sizing

Postby ariful801 » 08 Sep 2014, 21:31

Hi there,
I tried to open the images for the example circuits, but unfortunately could not. I tried Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.
Any advice, please ?
Thanks,
Ari
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