Understanding Relay Logics


The schematic diagrams for relay logic circuits are often called line diagrams, because the inputs and outputs are essentially drawn in a series of lines. A relay logic circuit is an electrical network consisting of lines, or rungs, in which each line or rung must have continuity to enable the output device. A typical circuit consists of a number of rungs, with each rung controlling an output. This output is controlled by a combination of input or output conditions, such as input switches and control relays. The conditions that represent the inputs are connected in series, parallel, or series-parallel to obtain the logic required to drive the output. The relay logic circuit forms an electrical schematic diagram for the control of input and output devices. Relay logic diagrams represent the physical interconnection of devices.

The basic format for relay logic diagrams is as follows:

1.       The two vertical lines that connect all devices on the relay logic diagram are labeled L1 and L2. The space between L1 and L2 represents the voltage of the control circuit.

2.       Output devices are always connected to L2. Any electrical overloads that are to be included must be shown between the output device and L2; otherwise, the output device must be the last component before L2.

3.       Control devices are always shown between L1 and the output device. Control devices may be connected either in series or in parallel with each other.

4.       Devices which perform a STOP function are usually connected in series, while devices that perform a START function are connected in parallel.

5.       Electrical devices are shown in their normal conditions. An NC contact would be shown as normally closed, and an NO contact would appear as a normally open device. All contacts associated with a device will change state when the device is energized.

Figure 1 shows a typical relay logic diagram. In this circuit, a STOP/START station is used to control two pilot lights. When the START button is pressed, the control relay energizes and its associated contacts change state. The green pilot light is now ON and the red lamp is OFF. When the STOP button is pressed, the contacts return to their resting state, the red pilot light is ON, and the green switches OFF.

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