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The 4-20mA Current Loop

The Pressure Sensor
The 4-2OmA current loop has been with us for so long that it's become rather taken for granted in the industrial and process sectors alike. Its popularity comes from its ease of use and its performance. However, just because something is that ubiquitous doesn't mean we're all necessarily getting the best out of our current loops.

A big benefit of the current loop is its simple wiring just the two wires. The supply voltage and measuring current are supplied over the same two wires. Zero offset of the base current (ie. 4mA) makes cable break detection simple: if the current suddenly drops to zero, you have a cable break. In addition, the current signal is immune to any stray electrical interference, and a current signal can be transmitted over long distances.

One source. More options.

For the past 3 months, we’ve been explaining the basics on how to pick your Sensor by covering the important steps in selecting a Load Cell, Torque Sensor, and Pressure Sensor. Below you’ll find another interesting article explaining the process of how Sensors can be matched to Data Acquisition applications.

FUTEK can also help you pair your Sensor package by adding an Instrument and Software with our Sensor System Solutions. In our Sensor System Solution guide, you’ll find an overview of the instrumentation we have available to compliment our full line of Load cells, Force Sensors, Pressure Sensors and Torque Sensor.

System Sensor Solution

How To Choose Strain Gage-based Transducers for PC-based Data Acquisition Applications

The following article is written by Roger Lockhart of DATAQ Instruments.
Data Acquisition
PC-based data acquisition and logger products can be applied to monitor, record and analyze a wide range of signal types. However few are more common than strain gage-based transducers that measure a diverse range of mechanical properties like pressure, load, force, and more. This application note explores some critical items that you should know to ensure that your strain gage-based transducer measurement is successful.

Transducers First
We can't count the number of times that a customer calls with a detailed description of the measurement he wants to make, but without the transducer information that is crucial for the proper selection of a data logger or data acquisition system. Here's an example:

Customer: "Yes, hello. I need to measure the load applied to a railroad car coupling. The load will be measured with an S-beam load cell with 50,000 lbs of capacity, and I need to sample about five samples per second. The measurement will be unattended for a few days, so the data logger will need to operate stand-alone."

DATAQ: "Okay. Have you chosen the load transducer for this application?"

Customer: "No."

So near, yet so far. The problem is that load cell electrical properties are at least as critical as their mechanical characteristics. In this example, the customer completely understood the mechanical requirements for the transducer, but until it's actually chosen and its electrical characteristics known, a data logger cannot be reliably recommended. It's like trying to find a part for your car without knowing its make, model and year.

You should choose the transducer first, based upon mechanical requirements (measurement range and form factors). After that, note the output options offered by the transducer manufacturer and take those to your data acquisition or logger supplier. We think in terms of volts, millivolts, or current at full-scale with the transducer's mechanical properties having little or no bearing. The same amplifier that works for a 50,000-pound load cell today, will work for a 50-gram full-scale load cell tomorrow.

The first thing you'll notice when looking at electrical transducer properties is that there are only a few easy-to-understand choices, and these fall into two broad categories: amplified and unamplified (see Table 1).

Amplified Transducers
The strain gage that makes up the heart of your transducer is a device that outputs only millivolts, even at the transducer's full-scale capacity. This signal is not very useful at such low levels and requires amplification. Some transducer manufacturers give you the option to bundle the amplifier right into the transducer. These accept a wide power range (usually 15 to 28 VDC) and output either an amplified voltage or a current signal. The voltage output signal may be in the range of 0 to 10 volts full scale. Current outputs usually range from 4 to 20mA. Either output represents a linearized, high-level equivalent of the actual measurement range (see Table 1).

 Torque Sensor Application - Assembly  Line / Automation

Torque Sensor Application - Assembly Line / Automation
Sensors / transducers are essential in many automated assembly, packaging and labeling processes. Below, a reaction torque sensor is setup with a servo motor in an automated conveyor belt assembly line to control the tension in the winding tape while providing feedback regarding alignment, out of roll signal and other required alarms...

FUTEK Releases New Handheld Digital Display – IHH200

Handheld Digital Display – IHH200FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc is pleased to announce its new Handheld Digital Display, the IHH200. This product is widely used by system integrators and test engineers in laboratory, medical, automotive and aerospace instrumentations. The portable IHH200 features a 7 digit LCD Display with 8.8 mm high digits, an input range up to ±5 mV/V and is powered by 2 x AA Internal batteries (supplied) which provide battery Life of up to 35 hrs in continuous mode.

New Power Supply Kit for Amplifier

Power Supply Kit for CSG110 Amplifier

FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc is pleased to announce the IAC180 Power Supply Kit for the CSG110 Amplifier. This IAC180 Power Supply Kit is ideal for those who want to power the amplifier from AC Power Outlet making it an ideal solution for lab environments.

Track Your Order

Track Your OrderNeed to track your package? www.futek.com has just been updated to allow shipment tracking without logging into your account. Just type in your e-mail and order number and you can see what the shipment status is.

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