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zero suppressor and elevation
What is Zero suppressor and Zero elevation in level transmitter?
By Shailesh C Patel on 6 March, 2006 - 10:11 pm

What is Zero suppressor and Zero elevation in level transmitter?

Shailesh C Patel

If you are mounting the transmitter below the datum line of the tank, the transmitter signal will go above 4 mA when the High side impulse line fills up and this will give a zero error compared to the tank actual zero level. So you have to suppress that head pressure. This is done by adjusting the signal to 4 ma. This is zero supression. Similarly if you mount the transmitter above the datum line you have to raise the signal from 4 ma to avoid the error when the hi-side impuse line fills up. This is zero elevation. But if you are using a transmitter with HART protocal you can do this just by changing the cal range using the HART communicator.

By Anonymous on 8 March, 2006 - 10:27 pm

Pretty basic stuff... cut and paste this link... it will clarify your questions.


By Michael Griffin on 8 March, 2006 - 11:08 pm

In signal conditioners in general, zero suppression and zero elevation refers to lowering (suppressing) or raising (elevating) the nominal "zero" output such that it is not at zero volts (or milli-amps).

A typical application for this is where it is desired to use an instrument which produces a +/- 10 volt signal, and take this signal into a 0 - 10 volt input. To use the full measurement range, you would need to "elevate" the zero point to +5 volts, and rescale the range to fit within 0 to 10.

Vinod has this backwards I believe. A suppressed zero would be say 20 to 100 "W.C. Elevated would be -20 to 100 " W.C.

Cut and paste this link and you will find some clarification:

Hope this helps.


By Jonas Berge on 15 March, 2006 - 11:24 pm

It relates to the value corresponding to 4 mA in your transmitter range.

If your 4 mA point is above zero, e.g. range of 48.75 to 50 then you are doing suppression.

If your 4 mA point is below zero, e.g. range of -50 to -48.75 then you are doing elevation.

Elevation and suppression are chiefly used in differential pressure measurement since this make it possible to measure liquid levels with wet legs and remote seals etc. and was a "big deal" in analog days. These days it is all done in software and nobody ever asks for it anymore. You will find that the capability of a transmitter to do elevation and suppression was stated in % and relates to rangeability (turndown). A popular old pressure transmitter had a 6:1 rangeability and therefore used to sport 600% elevation and 500% suppression. These days most pressure transmitters have capabilities in order of several thousand percent so it is never even discussed.

Jonas Berge
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By simon lucchini on 14 March, 2007 - 12:19 am

As a little historical footnote to the previous responses that cover the question very well it should be noted that elevation & suppression option kits were mounted to pneumatic dp cells/transmitters in order to adjust for the location of the transmitter relative to the (lower) tapping point when the required adjustment was beyond the narrow adjustment capacity. Since the zero is now adjusted electronically as part of normal adjustments without the use of a separate device on a measuring cell the whole concept of elevation/suppression is no longer relevant.

As far as the terms suppression/elevation there was always confusion since there were two schools of definition (i.e. Honeywell & Foxboro) and they were opposite (I can not remember which was which). It depends on how you look at what happens to the zero as to whether you call it suppression or elevation. With a transmitter mounted below the lower impulse tap the transmitter output was higher than was needed. Hence one school of definition would say that the zero signal would need to be suppressed. However, the other school of definition would refer to the kit as an elevation kit since it would raise the "virtual" position of the transmitter. So both terms were used for the same installation. What happened from physical calibration sense was identical... just that the definitions came from opposite veiwpoints (cf with the two definitions of reset/integral action in the PID algorithm from Honeywell and Foxboro... in the end it provides the same algorithm).

I am in a training program for Instrumentation Technician, as a Steamfitter. I became frustrated seeing contradictory answers to which is Zero Suppression or Elevation on our practice tests and the instructional material from After some research here and following the leads given in the previous posts, I gathered varied theories and methods are followed.

What I would like to wrap my head around is how my school is working their method. From what I understood of the explanation: If the question is asking about a Level Transmitter located below the 0% level of the tank and it is asking for a solution, outside of the instrument, then it's "Zero Elevation" -- because it's a virtual displacement. Yet, if the question is asking for a solution involving a mechanical or electronic adjustment "inside" the instrument, then it's a "Zero Suppression" -- because the zero is being "pushed down".
The simplified explanation of this was, "If the difference is on the High side, it's "Zero Elevation"; if it's on the low side, it's "Zero Suppression".

I've done a lot of reading and research on this and found the conventional method to be; when the sensing element is below 0% of the tank it's "Zero Suppression". However, to get the right answer on the test, I need to understand how they are working their theory. My best guess as to why they took the route they did is to develop a homogeneous method which works for methods and when I show up at a plant and they will have their own method. To get there, I'll need to learn the training given and ace the test.

I need a light bulb here.

By W.L. Mostia on 6 January, 2010 - 9:27 am

This may be of assistance:

William (Bill) L. Mostia, Jr. PE
Sr. Consultant
SIS-Tech Solutions

Hi Michael,

Yes, this is a confusing area. The confusion is because there are two different "zero"s being referenced. One is where the value of the measured parameter is 0 in engineering units - 0 degC, 0 kPa, 0 mm. The other is 0 % of the measured range - better referred to as per ISA definitions as the LRV or lower range value.

Zero suppression is when the zero value of the measured parameter (or input to a system element) is below the LRV of the output range - for example, the standard 4-20 mA current range has a suppressed zero since 0 mA is effectively -20 %. Zero elevation is where the zero value of the parameter is above the LRV - for example, a temperature range of -50 to +150 degC.

With a level transmitter located below the 0 % level of the tank, there will be a differential pressure present at 0 % level. If we look at the relationship between the level range being measured and the differential pressure, zero differential pressure (the "output) occurs at a level lower than 0 % on the level range (the input). Looking at the conversion of level to differential pressure we have an elevated zero. The differential pressure transmitter will be set up so that the 0 % or LRV output is developed at a positive differential pressure, so this stage of the conversion will be suppressed zero. The desired indication is for 0 % level to give 0 % signal out, so one part of the system will have a suppressed zero and the other will have an elevated zero. If you sketch a graph showing the value of each of the effects considered (differential pressure, transmitter output) in terms of the original level range you should see this quite clearly.

Hope this helps,


By Jonas Berge on 3 February, 2010 - 10:25 am

For elevation and suppression, please refer to the technical white paper on this page:

As per ISA51.1:
Suppression: The lower range value (4 mA point) is above zero, for instance a range of 20 to 100

Elevation: The lower range value (4 mA point) is below zero, for instance range of -25 to +100, or -100 to 0, or -100 to -20


I agree with vinod. Our instructor told us this: consider the situation with an empty tank. If the transmitter is located lower than the zero level, there will be some pressure on the high side of the transmitter due to the fluid in the leg. The transmitter will be putting out a signal higher than the 4 mA which is expected with zero level. You therefore need to suppress this "high zero". This is also verified by the Rosemount article for which one poster provided a link.

Further to my last post: I just read an article which speaks about suppressed and elevated RANGES. It even uses the terms "elevated zero range". It states that the problem is very simple, but I found their version more confusing. I'm not even sure if their conclusions are the same.... So just as with bench set, it seems most of the confusion arises from the way we talk about something, rather than what it actually is. For me, I stick with the "imagine you have zero level" technique that my instructor told me. It makes it clear every time.

Forget about this, we don't use it anymore. It use to be important for the reason that we were working with transmitters that can only measure in the positive but these days with SMART transmitters you can measure in the positive as well as the negative which makes the concept of suppression and elevation obsolete.

In theory we are still doing it but nobody calls it by name anymore since there is no need.

Keep things simple, install your transmitter anywhere and whatever the value is that it reads, use that as your zero and just add your calibration values to it. Don't try and always get your transmitter to zero by doing zero trims since you are causing more harm than good since zeroing your transmitter when it is installed below the vessel will mean you are moving the true zero position of the transmitter all the way to the one side so that you can see a actual zero indication.

No need to do that and I would also not recommend you don't do it since you might start getting linearity problems due to this massive zero trim in order to get a zero indication on the transmitter. I normally would do a complete reset on the transmitter so that everything is back to the factory defaults, including the zero trim and then do the installation and use whatever the transmitter then reads when it is filled to the lowest tapping point on the high side as my zero value. I call this my Atmospheric zero value. Getting a process zero value is a little more involved but not much and is normally only required when you start working on pressures 10Bar and up due to a zero shift that starts to take place from this point upwards and it gets worse as the process pressures increases. On a normal tubing transmitter it is still easy to do but once you have to do a process zero on a closed pressurized vessel with chemical seals and capillaries it becomes interesting.

Anyway a bit off the original topic but bottom line is forget about zero suppression and zero elevation it is something we use to use with old pneumatic and electronic transmitters due to their limitations. Pretty much the same concept as swopping the transmitter around when you do a measurement on a boiler stem drum. No need to do that either.