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Sensors
MCS361 Mechatronics Instrumentation
Ittichote Chuckpaiwong, Ph.D.
Department of Mechanical, Mahidol University
Sensor and Transducer
Sensor = element which produces a signal
relating to the quantity being measured
Transducer = element that converts signal
in one form to another form
Therefore, Sensor = Transducer that used
for measurement
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Performance Terms
Ranges and Span
Range =the limits between which input can
vary (e.g. 0 to 50 kN)
Span =max. min. value of input (e.g. 50 kN)
Error = measured value true value
For example, temp. reading =25C
If actual temp. =24C error =+1C.
If actual temp. =26C error =-1C.
Performance Terms
Accuracy = range of possible errors
For example, if accuracy of 2C the
measurement =true value 2C
% Accuracy = percentage of full range
output
For example, if accuracy 5% of full range
output and range =0 to 200C measurement
=true value 10C
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Performance Terms
Sensitivity = ratio of output/input
For example, sensitivity of a resistance
thermometer =0.5 /C Input temp.
increases 1 C, resistance increases 0.5
Offset = value of the output when the input
is zero
Performance Terms
Hysteresis error = difference of values
measured as the value is increasing or
decreasing
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Performance Terms
Non-linearity error = maximum difference
from the straight line (a line represents the
graph of input-output)
Usually gives in percentage of full range
End-range value Best fit for all value value Best fit through origin
Performance Terms
Repeatability/reproducibility = ability to
give the same output for the same input
value.
Repeatability =(max. min. values) / full range
x100%
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Performance Terms
Stability = ability to give the same output
when measure a constant input for a
period of time
Drift =change in output over time
Dead band/time = range of input values
for which there is no output
For example, friction causes flow meter to give
no output until the input has reach a threshold
Performance Terms
Resolution = a smallest step change in
output
For example, wire-wound potentiometer gives
output changes in step (e.g. 0.5)
Output impedance can affect the behavior
of the connected system
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Example: Magnetic Sensor
Static and Dynamic Characteristics
Static characteristic = values given for
steady state measurement
Dynamic characteristic = values of the
response to inputs in particular form
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Dynamic Characteristic
Response time = time
that output reaches 95%
Time constant () =
time that output reaches
63.2%
( ) ( )
/
1
t
i f i
b t b b b e

= +

Dynamic Characteristic
Rise time = time
that output rises
from 10% to 90%
Settling time =
time that output
settle to within
2% of the final
value
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Mechanical Sensors
Displacement, location or position sensors
Potentiometric sensors
Variable-reluctance sensors
Level sensors
Digital Optical Encoder
Strain sensors - Strain gauges
Motion sensors - Accelerometers
Pressure sensors
Flow sensors
Video Demo
9.1 Magnetic pickup tachometer in speed
controller test-stand
9.2 Automated rat exercise machine with
infrared sensor and stepper motor
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Displacement, Position, Proximity
Displacement sensors = measure the
amount by which an object has been
moved
Position sensors = give position of an
object
Proximity sensors = determine when an
object come close to the sensor (on/off)
Switches
SPST = Single-Pole Single-Throw
SPDT = Single-Pole Double-Throw
Video Demo 9.3 : Switch
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Discussion
Household three-way switch
Use SPDT switches
How can we setup the wiring?
?
Potentiometer
Resistance changes as the wiper slides
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Using Potentiometer
Measure motion 0-10 cm. Potentiometer
gives resistance changes linearly over this
range from 0 to 1 k. Develop a signal
conditioning to provide 0 to 10-V output
( )
1
1000
10 5.1
R
=
1
510 R =
2
1
out in
R
V V
R
=
Capacitive Sensors
0
A
C K
d
=
Plate moves and changes d Plate moves and changes A
C =capacitance
K =dielectiric constant

0
=permittivity
d =plate separation
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Capacitive Proximity Sensor
Variable-Reluctance Sensors
Concept: Inductance changes in a coil in
response to core motion
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LVDT
= Linear Variable Differential Transformer
Range 2-400 mm
Animation of LVDT function
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LVDT Demodulation
LVDT Output Filter
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LVDT Examples
RVDT = Rotary Variable Differential
Transformer
Eddy Current Proximity Sensor
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Eddy Current Proximity Sensor
Detect non-magnetic, but conductive
material
Not linear only to trigger switch
Inexpensive, small, high sensitivity
Voice Coil & Magnetostrictive
Video Demo 9.4 : Voice Coil
Video Demo 9.5 : Magnetostrictive position
sensor
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Level Sensors
Level Sensors:
Mechanical Float
Using LVDT to
measure
displacement of the
float
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Level Sensors:
Hydrostatic Devices
Displacers
Using Archimedes'
principle
Bubblers
Level Sensors:
Hydrostatic Devices
Differential-pressure transmitters
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Level Sensors:
Capacitance Transmitters
Capacitance changes with the fluid level
Level Sensors:
Ultrasonic/Laser/Radar
Measure time of flight
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Level Sensors:
Magnetostrictive level transmitters
Use the traveling time of torsional wave in
a wire to produce a level measurement.
Optical Encoders
Incremental encoder : Quadrature
encoder
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Incremental Encoder
Resolution Enhancement
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1X Quadrature Decoder Circuit
4-Bit Binary Absolute Encoder
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Discussion
What is the maximum count uncertainty for
a binary absolute encoder?
4-Bit Gray Code Absolute Encoder
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Binary vs. Gray Code
Benefit of Gray code : one bit can change
at a time
Gray-code-to-binary-code Conversion
3 3
2 3 2
1 2 1
0 1 0
B G
B B G
B B G
B B G
=
=
=
=
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Video Demo
9.6 Encoder components
9.7 Computer mouse
9.8 Adept robot