Sensors are devices that have the capability of detecting changes, even subtle changes, which it will then be able to change into a signal and measure. Transducers have the capability to move power across systems and keep it in the same form, although in some instances, the power actually can change form. Sometimes, people use the terms interchangeably. They are in a host of different devices and platforms today, as you will see.
History of Sensors and Transducers
Sensors and transducers have been around and have been popular for a variety of different devices over the years. They’ve been in use for decades, and were actually quite simple in the beginning. Today, it is possible to find digital sensors, light sensors, and much more.
What are Bar Code Readers?
You are probably quite familiar with these devices. They are electronic readers, sometimes in the form of a pen or a wand, which will be able to scan, sense, and read information in a bar code. Each bar code is going to be unique, like a fingerprint. This allows the reader to catch and translate that information, which one can then record.
What are Capacitive Proximity Sensors?
These sensors are able to detect when an object is near, and they do not have to have any actual contact with the object. The sensors are will have some type of field or beam – electromagnetic or infrared light for example – that will change when an object nears. This change in the signal will detect the object. Different devices are going to have different ranges.
What are Current Transducers?
These transducers are going to change the AC or DC current they is running into another form or power. In some cases, this could be a psi pneumatic signal, but it will depend upon the current and the device in need of a signal.
What are Differential Transformers?
These iron core transformers contain a core that is moveable, and one can move the core to change the output in terms of electrical voltage. The most common use of the devices is to measure any displacements, and to measure motion. In some instances, once can use them to measure acceleration, pressure, and force.
What are Encoder Measuring Wheels?
The measuring wheels are a vital part of measurement in a variety of different industries, and they are used in conjunction with encoders. Some of the industries where you will find these wheels in use include metal, plastic, and textiles. It is important for companies to choose the right type, size, and material of wheels.
What are Fiber Optic Sensors?
These sensors utilize optical fiber for the sensing elements in most cases. However, they can also send signals from the sensor to any electronics that have the capability of processing and using the signals. One does not have to worry about electromagnetic interference while using fiber optic sensors, which is another reason that they are popular. Fiber optic sensors can deal with very high temperatures too.
What are Hall Effect Sensors?
Here is a great example of a transducer. This sensor is able to change the output voltage in response to magnetic fields. One will often use these sensors in order to measure for speed and current. However, they are also used for positioning and proximity detection.
What are Inductive Proximity Sensors?
These sensors have the capability of detecting metal objects. Because they are proximity sensors, they do not actually have to touch the objects to sense that they are there. These can be quite helpful in a number of different fields. These are often in metal detectors, car washes, and even in traffic lights.
What are Infrared Sensors?
These electronic devices are going to be able to emit or detect infrared radiation. These types of sensors can measure movement as well as an object’s heat. Many of the devices out there are only going to measure the IR light, and they do not actually emit it. The devices that measure the IR radiation are passive infrared sensors.
What are IR (Infrared) Temperature Sensors?
As mentioned, some types of IR sensors are capable of measuring the heat of an object. The IR temperature sensors are useful in alarm systems, since they will be able to detect when someone is breaking in thanks to the body heat. However, you can also find specialized cameras and recorders that use IR temperature sensors. They record the heat around them. They can be useful when finding leaks, places where the wind is getting into a home and more. In fact, they are also a part of the equipment seen on reality ghost hunting shows.
These types of sensors are capable of picking up subtle changes in the colors and contrasts of objects. These devices can alert a manufacturer to the fact that some of the objects they are making may not conform to their standards.
What are Linear Transducers?
These types of devices are transducers that receive their information from a straight direction, which is quite different from the displacement transducers, which are receiving their information based on different types of motion. They can make use of many different types of signals, from heat to pressure and more as an output signal.
What are Load Cells?
A load cell is a transducer. It will convert some type of force into electrical signals. You can find three different types of load cells – they hydraulic load cell, the strain gauge load cell, and the pneumatic load cell.
What are Magnetic Pickups?
These are magnets often found with musical instruments, such as the electric guitar. The literally pick up the vibrations, which produce an alternating current that will then go through the cable that connects the guitar and then into the amplifier. Alternately, it could go into a preamp first, or even into a recording device.
What are Photoelectric Sensor Accessories?
Photoelectric sensors, as you will see, can be quite handy. However, for different types of jobs, one is going to need to have different types of accessories that they will be able to use. Some of the common examples include power supplies, reflectors, and mounting accessories.
What are Photoelectric Sensors?
A photoelectric sensor, sometimes called a photo eye, is able to measure the distance of an object – as well as the presence or absence of an object – utilizing light. They usually use IR light along with a receiver.
What are Platinum Resistance Temperature Sensors?
These high quality sensors will be able to measure temperature. They do by comparing the resistance of the device to the temperature. These are high quality, but they tend to be relatively fragile. This is why they often have a protective sheath around them.
What are Pressure Sensors?
These sensors are for measuring the pressure in a system. They will usually measure pressure for gasses and liquids. Different types of sensors may be able to measure different types of pressure including gauge pressure, vacuum pressure, differential pressure and sealed pressure.
What are Pressure Switches?
A pressure switch is going to close an electrical contact upon reaching a set and predetermined pressure. These can help the pressure to rise or to fall. Others can detect mechanical force, such as the pressure switches you use every time you walk into the grocery store.
This is a wireless system that can send info and data from a tag that is a part of an object to an RFID reader. They utilize this system for tracking things over longer distances as well as reading information over shorter distances.
What are Rotary Encoders?
Sometimes called a shaft encoder, the rotary encoders will convert the position or the motion of the axle or shaft into a code. These are available for digital as well as analog code. The absolute encoder determines the position, while the incremental encoder will determine motion.
What are Sensor & Switch Cables & Connectors?
The cables and connectors are some of the accessories that you are going to need when you are making use of sensors and switches. They will connect the sensor to the device measuring the output.
What are Sensor & Switch Covers & Cases?
The cases and the covers are going to help to keep the sensors and switches safe and in good working order. They are one of the accessories that any manufacturer utilizing these devices is going to need to consider.
What are Sensor & Switch Magnets?
Many of the switches and sensors on the market are going to utilize magnets today. Many may come with magnets, but it may be necessary to replace them.
What are Sensor & Switch Sockets?
These accessories are able to fit many different types of switches and sensor units. It is important to make sure that one always buys the right type of sockets for the job.
You need to make sure that the sensors and switches that you have are working correctly, and that they are doing the things that you need them to do. With the right programming accessories, that is going to be possible.
What are Sensor Antennas?
The antennas are a way to pick up the electrical signals from your devices more easily and from greater distances in most cases.
What are Sensor Mounting & Fixing Accessories?
You need to make sure that you are able to affix your sensors to the devices properly so that you can be sure you are getting accurate readings and output all of the time. In order to do this, you should make use of mounting and fixing accessories.
What are Sensor Reflectors?
These accessories come in different shapes and sizes and are perfect for use with different types of sensors. They will return the beam to the device.
What are Sensor Testers?
The testers are a device that you are going to want to have with you. You can find a number of different types of testers, including portable testers that are easy to take with you into the field. This can ensure a quick and easy inspection of your sensors to make sure that they are all in proper working order.
What are Strain Gauge Accessories?
The most common of the accessories for strain gauges is the amplifier, which is a small circuit board that amplifies the gauges, as the name suggests.
What are Strain Gauges?
These types of gauges are going to measure just how much strain is on an object. This type of device has been around since the late 1930s, and is still in use today. Many different types and styles are on the market for different applications.
What are Temperature Sensitive Labels?
One is able to place temperature sensitive labels on a device or in an area to determine the temperature. The devices affix easily and they will be able to measure temperatures of different ranges.
What are Temperature Sensor Accessories?
One is able to find quite a few different types of temperature sensor accessories. Some of the most popular and needed options include switches, flanges, and thermocouple indicators.
What are Thermocouples?
A thermocouple is able to measure the temperature. They have two conductors made of different metals, and they will produce a voltage with the application of heat. One can use them for measuring kilns, diesel engines, and more.
What are Ultrasonic Proximity Sensors?
These sensors are going to produce high frequency sound waves whenever an object is close to them or breaks their barrier. Some will sound when a beam is broken, and others could sound on a reflection.
What are Vibration Sensors?
These types of sensors are able to detect vibrations and movements on the ground, a table, or in other locations where you might find the need to use them.
What are Vision Sensors?
These types of sensors are able to determine the dimensions of an object, as well as the location and the shape through the use of some type of visual device. Often, this is some type of monitor.