Help with your I/O and terminal blocks

Aug. 19, 2015
A collection of sites to answer some of your serious I/O and terminal block questions


When your question is what is a terminal block anyway, the answer is here at This brief tutorial cover the various kinds of terminal blocks; the differences between single-feed, dual-level and bridged terminal blocks; ground circuit terminals, disconnect or switch blocks, thermocouple, I/O and sensor-specific blocks, and electronic circuit terminal blocks. It also briefly covers specifications, conductor sizes, termination and mounting types and more.


This tutorial from National Instruments includes detailed discussions of factors to consider in choosing the correct I/O module, complimentary devices, basic concepts of digital I/O modules and counter/timers, example applications and more. The link also has connections to related white papers, interactive tutorials and webcasts. The direct link is
National Instruments


This 2.45-min. YouTube video from Tepergy, a supplier of PLC training courses describes fused terminal blocks and how to use them to protect your I/O. Go to for a direct link to the video.


This site is a gathering place for all kinds of informationat about terminal block: What they are; what they do; various types and their specific uses, vendors, spec sheets, features, supplier data sheets and more. Learn more here.
IHS Engineering 360


This free tutorial, sponsored by the Iowa Energy Center, provides an overview of direct digital control systems, including a three-part section on I/O. It covers I/O basics, input devices and sensors, and output devices. The direct link is at
DDC Online


This free 36-page e-book from Control is a compilation of our best technology trends, back-to-basics tutorials and application stories on all things I/O. It gives you the latest information from connectors and cordsets to intrinsic safety and power supplies, getting you up to speed fast on the latest developments in I/O systems. Our editors review obstacles industry professionals face when solving I/O problems, take on power supplies and discuss how wires, cables and connectors are crucial components in I/O systems; answers why industrial couplers are not a commodity; review the latest technology in industrial enclosures and talk about how smarter I/O addresses many host issues. The direct link is at


This free, 8-page white paper in PDF format explores the impacts connectivity and cabling have had on streamlining equipment and machinery, and the tradeoffs between enclosure-based systems and enclosure-less based I/O systems. It offers guidelines and application examples for use in determining when it makes sense to employ the streamlining capabilities of enclosure-less I/O. The direct link is at
Lumberg Automation


This free white paper, "Improved Diagnostics from Decentralized Solenoid Valves and I/O Systems” explores the importance of getting accurate equipment performance information in time to detect incipient failures before damage is done, given that  
many devices, such as analog control valves, pneumatic valve terminals and field sensors, often do not offer diagnostic feedback, or it is not being used. It outlines how to address the issue and includes an example of pneumatic valve terminals that can monitor, among other things, open load or coil currents at the specific valve, pressure inside the valve terminal, and when a manual override has not been reset. The direct link is at


Manufacturing processes and natural phenomena, however, are still by their very nature analog. That is, natural processes tend to vary smoothly over time, not discontinuously changing states from black to white, from on to off. To be meaningfully recorded or manipulated by a computer then, analog measurements such as pressure, temperature, flow rate, and position must be translated into digital representations. This tutorial explains how to convert I/O analog and digital information about real-world processes and events into the language of computers. Part of Omega’s Transactions Series, Vol 2, this information is available directly at


System changes are risky in any manufacturing operation, and because of regulatory considerations, even more so in the pharmaceutical industry. This brief article outlines the advantages and the value proposition of simulating changes to I/O systems prior to installing actual hardware and software. It outlines a testing strategy and includes recommendations for best practices to get the most from a simulation exercise.
ISPE Boston Area Chapter

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