It’s always frustrating when something doesn’t work right. Especially if you’re in the middle of working on an important project. In a lot of applications, a pressure sensor is often one of the most overlooked devices when it comes to what is important. Only when something’s broken, doesn’t fit, or doesn’t work, only then do we think about the pressure sensor.
What Is A Pressure Sensor?
A pressure sensor is a device that consists of a pressure sensitive element. This element is the one that is responsible for determining the actual pressure applied to the sensor (by various operating principles) and other components that turn this data into an output signal.
Pressure is the force that is exerted on a surface by a liquid or gas. Pressure is generally expressed in units of force per unit of surface area. Pascal (Pa), Bar (bar), N/mm2 or psi are common units (pounds per square inch). The sensor, on the other hand, is the device that detects and converts physical quantities into signals. Temperature, length, force, and, of course, pressure are all examples of quantities. In most situations, the signal is electrical, but it can also be visual.
When choosing a pressure sensor for a specific application, there are numerous factors to consider. In fact, there are so many factors that it is easy to ignore important details until it’s too late. If you want to improve the performance of your pressure sensors, then there are definitely several key points that should be taken into account when you’re shopping around for sensors.
Here are some of these factors:
- Consider the Pressure Type – There are a lot of different kinds of pressure that you need to consider when you’re buying a pressure sensor. However, they all fall into one of two categories. The first category is vented and the second category is sealed. The reference point (otherwise known as the zero point) for vented pressure types is atmospheric pressure. Everything is measured against a sealed reference point in sealed sensors.
- Consider the Output That You Will Get– Like the different pressure types, there are also a lot of output options to think about (yes, there is a lot of thought that goes into buying the right kind of pressure sensor). There are two things that will help you decide, and those two things are whether the sensor is utilised in combination with a controller or is a stand-alone unit. This will help you determine your choice. If you’re going to use a controller, then you will need to be sure that it can handle the sensor’s output.
- Consider the Resolution Of Your Sensor – The resolution of the sensor is not an area that gets a lot of attention. Since it is not usually relevant, this is a frequently overlooked aspect. But the resolution of your sensor is important, and that is because while down ranging a sensor, the resolution suffers. It’s possible that you’ll request this, but it’s also possible that you’ll require a specific pressure range that isn’t part of the manufacturer’s regular offering.
- Consider the Range of The Pressure – When you are choosing or shopping around for a pressure transducer, then the pressure range is very likely one of the most important factors to take into account. The pressure range that is required for the application is typically the maximum pressure a sensor is anticipated to experience. In most cases, that would be the sensor’s full-scale pressure range.
- Consider the Accuracy Of Your Sensor – The accuracy range that you get from your pressure sensor is another key point that is likely to be among the most important elements in determining the cost of a pressure transmitter. The higher the level of precision that is required, then the higher your price point is going to be. This needs some very careful thought before you make your purchase. Why? Well, because what you are doing is essentially reducing the cost of your project by carefully analysing what precision is necessary for the application.
- Consider Your Sensory’s Life Cycle Too – Do you need your pressure sensor to serve you for a long time? If the sensor will be utilized for a short amount of time, there are more possibilities than if the sensor must work within specification for a long period of time. If your sensor does need to serve you for a longer period of time, it is worth investing in a good quality one that can go the distance a little longer.
- Consider Where You Intend to Use Your Pressure Sensor – Have you thought about where your pressure sensor is going to be used? Is the sensor intended to be utilised indoors, outdoors, or in a washdown environment? Are you going to have your sensor installed near electrically loud equipment, like pumps or motors? If the answer is yes, then you need to ensure that the sensor enclosure and the cables that come with it are resistant to these elements.
- Consider the Company You’re Buying From – Always make it a point to purchase your pressure sensors from a reputable company. Reputable companies are how you determine your product is a product of quality. Do a little bit of research into the company you’re buying from, not just the product alone. The history and reputation of a corporation, for example, might reveal a lot about its product and the kind of service they provide. A good company is a company that will offer excellent technical support and assistance too, just in case you happen to need it.
At the end of the day, with any electrical device that you buy, quality should always triumph over price point. It is better to spend a little bit more and have your sensor last you much longer than it is to buy a cheaper model and then risk having it break down quickly. You’ll only end up spending more in the long run having to replace the cheaper models.