# Ladder logic 106: One shots

## Different programmable logic controller (PLC) manufacturers use one shots to develop a scan that is exactly one scan in duration and can be generated from the rising or falling edge of the signal.

July 25, 2016

A one shot, or “differential”, is used to develop a signal that is exactly one scan in duration. When a signal is applied to a contact (a pushbutton as shown in Figure 1), no matter how long the signal stays on, a pulse of one scan length is generated after the one shot.

Different programmable logic controller (PLC) manufacturers use different names and symbols for one shots, but they pretty much operate the same in the end. A one shot can be generated from the rising or falling edge of the signal. One shot rising (OSR), positive differential (PD), and differential up (DIFU) are some of the names given to rising edge signals. One shot falling (OSF), negative differential (N), and differential down (DIFD) are the equivalent falling edge signals.

One shots placed in the middle of rungs as input instructions need a bit address, and it is important that every one shot has a different address. There are programs where a user gave all of the one shots the same address, and surprisingly, it worked most of the time. When it didn’t, the results were quite unpredictable.

When people ask what one shots are used for, the classic answer in a lot of textbooks is the diagram shown in Figure 2.

This is fairly easy to understand. If a user holds down the “on” pushbutton, the device will still be turned off. This is important in some motor or actuator safety circuits to ensure that a device is initialized to the de-energized state.

Figure 3 features an accumulator rung. It adds whatever is in “Word 6” (a memory location) to the number one and puts the result back in itself. The problem with this rung is that it doesn’t count what you want it to count, which are activations of the count signal. It’s good to give this exercise to new programmers and ask them to enter it into the PLC and guess what the number will be after one press of a button (assuming Word 6 is at zero). Many of them will say “one,” which is incorrect. It’s interesting to see when users realize that it’s not the signal that’s being counted, but the number of scans that occur while the button is pressed.

Figure 4 is what the rung should look like if you want to count the number of signals (or pushbutton presses). It is another good way to illustrate some of the uses of one shots.

A few things to note about the accumulator: Users can count by numbers other than one, such as 10. Users can subtract as well as add. The accumulator is one of the basic circuits that should be in every programmer’s toolkit.

Frank Lamb is the founder of Automation Consulting Services Inc. This article originally appeared on the Automation Primer blog. Automation Primer is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.