Digital Input Module

Digital Input Module for PLC/PAC/DCS – System Block Diagram

Block Diagram

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Reference Designs

Description Part Number Company Tool Type
AM1810 Profibus Evaluation Module TMDXEVM1810 Texas Instruments Reference Designs


PLC/DCS I/O Module: Digital Input

I/O modules are building blocks of industrial control systems used in end equipment such as PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers), PAC (Programmable Automation Controller) and DCS (Distributed Control Systems). Digital input modules capture and measure digital input signals from a wide variety of sensors like proximity switches, limit switches and push button switches. Inputs typically are 0-24V with tolerances up to 30V.

Signal Chain

The signals from DC sensors used in PLC digital input (DI) modules are typically of a higher voltage and are usually isolated through opto-couplers before going into a shift register to be serialized. Instead, digital input serializers can be used to serialize a large number of digital inputs allowing higher channel densities in PLC I/O modules. The isolation is then limited to the SPI interface as a number of serializers can be daisy chained. They also provide the benefit of sensing higher voltages, adjustable current limits and programmable de-bounce times. Other functions that are integrated into these products are temperature sensing and voltage regulation.


Development platforms and software tools in addition to support which quickens time to market are highly desired. Connectivity options ranging from Ethernet ports to UARTs to simple SPI ports are desired. Ethernet enables integration of field devices to the corporate enterprise network. Most industrial control applications need simple low cost PLC's with lots of digital I/O and integrated functions. These include fault diagnostics, watchdog timers, low power, multiple SPI ports, UART's, integrated analog peripherals like ADCs and PWM outputs which perform similar functions to DACs. MCU's (Micro Controller Units) are a good choice for these applications. For applications which push capabilities and need higher loop rates along with advanced control algorithms to handle multiple functional domains like logic, PID control and motion, higher performance MPU's (Micro processing Units) are needed.

Industrial applications need to support a multitude of communication options. Many of TI's processors include a Real time Processing Unit (PRU) to support a truly programmable approach for these communication standards. In addition, the ARM architecture offers the performance and low power needed for mission critical functions.


There are a number of field bus options - both serial (RS-485, DeviceNet, Profibus, CAN etc.) and Ethernet based. Extended cable reach and diagnostics to debug wire breaks provides system designers significant value. Integrated digital isolation on the interface transceivers is highly desirable to reduce board space. In addition the interface between the inputs or input serializer and the controller can be digitally isolated either by using opto-couplers or TI isolators built with capacitive technology.


The Hercules™ Safety MCUs offer an ARM Cortex-R4F based solution and are certified suitable for use in systems that need to achieve IEC61508 SIL-3 safety levels. These MCUs also offer integrated floating point, 12 bit ADCs, motor-control-specific PWMs and encoder inputs via its flexible HET Timer co-processor. Hercules Safety MCUs can also be used to implement scalar and vector-control techniques and support a range of performance requirements.


To protect against transients and ground loops, the field side which interfaces to sensors is electrically isolated from the control side. The design can be customized for performance and cost by using a DC-DC converter and discrete components or pre-built isolated DC-DC converter modules can be used. Other considerations include high efficiency and integration along with smaller packages. Picking a DC-DC converter with a large input range will protect again supply transients.

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Application Notes (9)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
HTM 9 KB 28 Feb 2013 4641
HTM 8 KB 26 Oct 2012 1610
HTM 8 KB 26 Oct 2012 922
HTM 8 KB 26 May 2010 812
HTM 8 KB 28 Oct 2009 2038
PDF 219 KB 06 Aug 2008 329
PDF 190 KB 12 Oct 2007 3196
PDF 177 KB 10 Oct 2005 612
HTM 8 KB 14 Feb 2005 910

Selection and Solution Guides

Solution Guides (5)

Title Abstract Type Size (KB) Date Views
PDF 1.29 MB 31 Oct 2014 4808
PDF 2.36 MB 31 Oct 2014 4394
PDF 2.52 MB 28 Oct 2014 3839
PDF 2.31 MB 28 Oct 2014 2535
PDF 3.14 MB 28 Oct 2014 1492

Tools and Software

Name Part # Company Software/Tool Type
ADS1248 Performance Demonstration Kit ADS1248EVM-PDK Texas Instruments Evaluation Modules & Boards
Code Composer Studio (CCS) Integrated Development Environment (IDE) CCSTUDIO Texas Instruments SW Development Tools, IDEs, Compilers
PROFIBUS on AM1810 ARM® MPUs and OMAP-L138 DSP+ARM Processors PROFIBUS Texas Instruments SW Development Tools, IDEs, Compilers

Product Bulletin & White Papers

Product Bulletin (1)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 311 KB 20 Nov 2013 614

White Papers (3)

Title Abstract Type Size (MB) Date Views
PDF 532 KB 14 Jan 2014 1142
PDF 522 KB 06 Feb 2013 261
PDF 2.62 MB 17 Nov 2011 1406

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