NB: This manual documents a 20+ year old version of EPICS, see here for the EPICS 7 Record Reference documentation.

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EPICS Record Reference Manual

Chapter 25: pulseCounter

1. Introduction

The normal use for the pulseCounter record type is to record counts and write them to a device. Its fields fall into the following categories:

scan parameters

setup parameters

write parameters

operator display parameters

run-time parameters

2. Scan Parameters

The pulse counter record has the standard fields for specifying under what circumstances it will be processed. These fields are listed in Scan Fields, Chapter 2, 2. In addition, Scanning Specification, Chapter 1, 1, explains how these fields are used. Note that I/O event scanning is only supported for those card types that interrupt.

3. Setup Parameters

These parameters control the characteristics of the counter pulse. Normally, the user only needs to configure the gate type (GTYP) field. This field has two choices, Hardware or Software. If hardware is chosen, then the HGV field controls gating. The device support routine should set the HGV field.

If GTYP is configured as software, then gating control is determined by the soft gate location (SGL) and soft gate value (SGV) fields. SGL must be a database link; SGV is read from that link. SGV can have two possible values, Active or Inactive. Active causes the command routine (see below section on run-time parameters) to start counting, while Inactive causes it to stop counting. See Address Specification, Chapter 1, 2, for information on how to specify database links.

The device support routines should also set the counter size (CSIZ), counter edge (CNTE), and count source (CNTS) fields. Nevertheless, these fields can be configured using a configuration tool. CSIZ can be 16 bit or 32 bit. With 32 bit, two counters are used. The CNTE field determines whether counting occurs on the rising or falling edge of the source signal. It's choices are Rising Edge or Falling Edge. The CNTS determines the count source during setup.

Once again, most of these fields are set by the device support routines.
FieldSummaryTypeDCTInitialAccessModifyRec Proc MonitorPP
SGL Soft Gate Location (Input Link) INLINKYes0NoNoN/ANo
SGVSoft Gate Value RECCHOICEYes0YesYesNoNo
HGVHardware Gate ValueSHORTYes0YesYesNoNo
CSIZCounter SizeRECCHOICE Yes1YesYesNoNo
CNTS Count SourceSHORTYes0YesYesNoNo

4. Write Parameters

The output link (OUT) specifies where the pulse counter write its output, i.e., the current, recorded value of the counter (VAL). If the record writes its a value to a device, the OUT output link must specify the address of the I/O card, and the DTYP field must contain the name of the appropriate device support module. Be aware that the address format differs according to the I/O bus used. See Address Specification, Chapter 1, 2, for information on the format of hardware addresses. You can see a list of the device support modules currently supported at the user's local site by using the dbst utility in R3.13.

If the record uses soft device support, then it can be a database or channel access link, or a constant. If it's a constant, no output can be written.
FieldSummaryTypeDCTInitialAccessModifyRec Proc MonitorPP

5. Operator Display Parameters

These parameters are used to present meaningful data to the operator. The display the value and other parameters of the pulse counter either textually or graphically. The operating range fields (HOPR and LOPR) for the pulse counter record apply only to the VAL field. They are retrieved when the get_graphic_double and get_control_double record support routines are called. See Chapter 2, Fields Common to All Record Types, for more on the record name (NAME) and description (DESC) fields.
FieldSummaryTypeDCTInitialAccessModifyRec Proc MonitorPP
HOPR High Operating RangeFLOATYes4.3e+9YesYesNoNo
LOPR Low Operating Range FLOATYes0YesYesNoNo
NAMERecord NameSTRING [29]Yes0YesNoNoNo
DESCDescriptionSTRING [29]YesNullYesYesNoNo

6. Alarm Parameters

The pulse counter record has the alarm parameters common to all record types. Alarm Fields, Chapter 2, 3, lists other fields related to a alarms that are common to all record types.

7. Run-time parameters

These parameters are used by the record itself and the device support routines. They are not configurable prior to run-time, and only the CMD and VAL fields are modifiable by a user at run-time.

The CMD field controls the command routines that control the counter. It has five commands:

Read the current value of the counter

Stop and clear the counter, i.e., reset it to zero. Since the Stop command is also invoked, the Start command must be issued to start the counter after this command is invoked.

Start counting

Stop counting. This does not reset the counter.

Do not begin counting until Start command is issued.

The VAL field holds the current number of recorded pulses. It is normally set by the read command.

The record support routines and device support routines sometimes use the SCMD field to temporarily store the currently active CMD, after which they change the current, active command in the CMD field. When they are done, they will set the command back to the saved command.

The OSGV field is used to implement monitors for the SGV field.
FieldSummaryTypeDCTInitialAccessModifyRec Proc MonitorPP
CMD Command RECCHOICENo0YesYesYesYes
SCMDSave CommandUSHORTNo0YesNoNoNo
CPTR Callback ULONGNo0YesNoNoNo
VALCounter Value ULONGNo0YesYesYesNo
OSGV Old Soft Gate Value SHORTNo0YesNoNoNo

8. Record Support Routines


This routine next checks to see that device support is available. If it does not exist, an error message is issued and processing is terminated.

If SGL is a constant and GTYP is software, then SGV is initialized with its value. If SGL type is PV_LINK a channel access link is created.

Device support is then checked to see if cmd_pc is defined.

If device support includes init_record, it is called.


See next section.


Fills in the values of struct valueDes so that they refer to VAL.


Sets the upper display and lower display limits for a field. If the field is VAL the limits are set to HOPR and LOPR, else if the field has upper and lower limits defined they will be used, else the upper and lower maximum values for the field type will be used.


Sets the upper control and the lower control limits for a field. If the field is VAL the limits are set to HOPR and LOPR, else if the field has upper and lower limits defined they will be used, else the upper and lower maximum values for the field type will be used.

9. Record Processing

The routine process implements the following algorithm:

1. Check to see that the appropriate device support module exists. If it doesn't, an error message is issued and processing is terminated with the PACT field still set to TRUE. This ensures that processes will no longer be called for this record. Thus error storms will not occur.

2. If SGL is DB_LINK and GTYP is Software, get SGV from SGL. If SGV has changed, save the CMD value, call the command routine with START if SGV =0 or with STOP if SGV is 1, reset the command to the saved value, and set alarms if return status not zero. If the device is not done (PACT TRUE), then issue a callback request for this record to process and return

3. If CMD is not READ, call command routine and set CMD to READ. If the device is not done (PACT TRUE), then issue a callback request for this record to process again and return.

4. Call command routine. If device support set PACT to TRUE, then return.

5. Check to see if monitors should be invoked.

6. Scan forward link if necessary, set PACT FALSE, and return.

10. Device Support

10.1. Fields Of Interest To Device Support

Each record must have an associated set of device support routines. The primary responsibility of the device support routines is to issue commands to the output device. The device support routines are primarily interested in the following fields:

Name Summary Description
CSIZ Counter sizeThis will determine to a 16 bit or 32 bit count is to be used. With 32 bit, two counters are used.
CMD Command The device support routine is responsible for processing the commands READ, CLEAR, START, STOP, and SETUP.
GTYP,IGVGate Type If GTYP is internal, device support is responsible for using IGV to determine gating control.
CNTE Count Edge This field is used by the device support routines to force counting on leading or falling edge of signal.
CNTS Count Source Device support must use CNTS to set count source during setup.

10.2. Device Support Routines

Device support consists of the following routines:


This routine is optional. If provided, it prints a report of all device modules.


This routine is called once during IOC initialization.


This routine is optional. If provided, it is called by the record support init_record routine.


get_ioint_info(int cmd,struct dbCommon *precord,IOSCANPVT *ppvt)
This routine is called by the ioEventScan system each time the record is added or deleted from an I/O event scan list. cmd has the value (0,1) if the record is being (added to, deleted from) an I/O event list. It must be provided for any device type that can use the ioEvent scanner.


This routine issues commands to the output device. It returns the following values:

0: Success.

Other: Error.

1. - Introduction
2. - Scan Parameters
3. - Setup Parameters
4. - Write Parameters
5. - Operator Display Parameters
6. - Alarm Parameters
7. - Run-time parameters
8. - Record Support Routines
9. - Record Processing
10. - Device Support
10.1. - Fields Of Interest To Device Support
10.2. - Device Support Routines

EPICS Record Reference Manual - 19 MAY 1998
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