Tag Archives: pressure sensor

Pressure Sensors and External Carrier Demodulators

The most popular Validyne pressure transducers are the P55/P61/P365 series.  These all include a pressure sensor, carrier demodulator electronics package, a high level output signal, temperature and linearity correction as well as a compact form factor.  There are applications, however, where a better solution might be to separate the pressure sensor from the electronics, with the two connected by a cable.  This article describes when this approach makes the most sense.

Validyne offers the sensors and electronics package from the P55/P61 available as stand-alone components.  The DP15 series of pressure sensors is identical to that used in the P55 and P61, while the DP360 and DP363 are high pressure variants the same as used in the P365 and P368.  The CD16 standard analog output electronics or the CD17 USB-based electronics can be used with any of these sensors, and standard cables are available in a variety of different lengths to connect the two.

Pressure Sensors

When should a sensor be separated from the electronics?  The biggest reason to do this is to allow convenient re-ranging of the pressure sensor.  The full scale pressure range of Validyne sensors can be changed by replacing the sensing diaphragm.  There are 23 different full scale ranges available for the DP15, for example, and these run from a few inches of water to 3200 psi. Changing the diaphragm is straightforward; the connector and four body bolts must be removed to gain access to the sensing diaphragm, and the DP15 sensor makes this easy, requiring just a torque wrench and a vise.  With a little practice, the diaphragm in a DP15 can be replaced and re-calibrated with the CD16 or CD17 electronics in about 20 minutes.  The DP360 and DP363 high pressure sensors are similar in construction and also lend themselves to straightforward diaphragm replacement. Frequent re-ranging of the full scale of a Validyne transducer is common in laboratory situations where pressure measurements vary widely from day to day.  Test labs and university labs are typical places where a separate sensor and electronics package are used to best advantage.

Another reason for separating the pressure sensor from the electronics is to conserve space or limit the weight at the measurement point.  In tight locations, such as aircraft compartments or in submersible vehicles, the pressure connection may be in a relatively inaccessible space and the smaller footprint of the DP15 sensor, might fit better than the full P55.  If mass or weight is important, the sensor will be lighter than the full transducer and this will relieve any stress on the piping connections in areas where shock and vibration are a consideration.

It is important to realize that separating the sensor from the electronics will compromise the temperature correction as the temperature sensor is located on the electronics package and not at the pressure sensor.  A pressure sensor such as a DP15 used with a remote electronics such as the CD16 will be most effective in applications having a stable temperature environment.


pressure sensor

Pressure Sensor Accuracy

When using a pressure sensor to measure pressure, one of the first questions that comes up is accuracy: How closely does the value reported by the pressure sensor come to the actual pressure?  We use the term accuracy, but what we really want to know is the error of the pressure measurement.  This article will describe standard specifications and methods for calculating sensor accuracy.

The definition of sensor accuracy actually defines error, and the two terms are used more or less interchangeably:  The accuracy of the sensor is the simply the difference between the pressure reported by the sensor and the actual pressure, expressed as a percent of the sensor full scale.  For example, if a pressure sensor with a full scale range of 100 psi reports a pressure of 76 psi – and the actual pressure is 75 psi, then the error is 1 psi, and when we divide this by the full scale and express it as a percentage, we say that accuracy (or error) of the sensor is 1%.  Most industrial sensors are better than that, with specified accuracies of +/-0.25% or +/-0.1% of full scale (FS).  So the error of a 100 psi FS sensor with an accuracy of +/-0.1% FS will not exceed +0.1 psi or -0.1 psi – at any point in the measurement range of the sensor.

Sensor accuracy is comprised of two error modes: Non-linearity and Hysteresis.  Ideally, pressure sensors are perfectly linear – the output signal or reading is directly proportional to the applied pressure.  Because sensors are mechanical devices, however, they are not perfectly linear, and this error is called non-linearity.  Non-linearity is determined by the five-point calibration method.  A pressure standard (a device know to be at least five times more accurate that the pressure sensor) is used to apply pressures at 0%, 50%, 100%, 50% and 0% of the sensor full scale.  A best-fit straight line is fitted to these points, and the maximum deviation of any of the five points from the value predicted by the best-fit line, is defined as the non-linearity error.

Hysteresis is simply the difference in the value of the readings at the same pressure along these five calibration points, up-scale and down-scale.  Hysteresis can be measured from the readings at the 50% points and at 0% FS pressure.  The greatest difference in any of these is defined as the hysteresis.

The accuracy of the sensor is defined to be the sum of the non-linearity error and the hysteresis error.

Note that the sensor accuracy calculation is pretty much the worst case error that can be determined from the calibration data, and it may not occur at every point along the pressure sensor FS range.  But this is considered to be a conservative method for calculating the error present at any pressure over the range of the sensor.

For differential pressure sensors – those having a plus and minus full scale range, the same techniques are used to calculate accuracy with the addition of -50%, -100%, -50% and 0% calibration points required (9 all together).

Spreadsheets that automatically calculate non-linearity, hysteresis and accuracy are available from Validyne for gage, absolute and differential pressure sensors.  Factory calibration sheets showing these errors are shipped with most sensor models.

Differential Pressure Transducer

What to Look for in Durable Differential Pressure Transducers?

At Validyne Engineering, we have almost half a century in the industry, providing a range of different low cost, highly accurate pressure sensors for many different industries and applications. Over time, we have provided these sensors to various industries and companies. We have also listened to the needs of our customers to develop the sensors, transducers and transducers to get the job done.

One of the most important aspects of our devices is quality. We produce a durable, rugged line of differential pressure transducers. We believe we have a top selection of these transducers for all industries and applications.

The Validyne Difference

All of our differential pressure transducers are designed to meet performance specifications in highly demanding environments. Most of the transducers we sell can be used for both liquids and gases. They have been extensively used in the field with test vehicles and aircraft as well as in all types of environmental conditions.

Our in-house team of designers and engineers, all with extensive experience in sensor component development and design, has the ability to incorporate the needs of our customers into specialized solutions for their applications. We are also able to take this knowledge and design transducers for general use that are superior to other designs on the market today.

Up to the Test

One of the biggest complaints we hear from people looking for transducers is their inability to survive difficult working conditions. Each of our components has been thoroughly tested to provide our end-users with the quality part to stand up to real-world use. We also provide support and assistance in helping you to choose the right component for any application.

Our transducers are able to handle changes in the environmental and ambient temperatures with minimal impact on the accuracy of the pressure readings. They are designed to provide precise readings with fast response, giving test engineers the data they require. Fully compatible with data management systems, they are easy to integrate into field or laboratory testing situations or where and as they are needed.

Easy to mount with pre-drilled holes, they have a small, compact size and low weight make these differential pressure transducers the right component for the job. They are able to stand up to spray and moisture and also capable of wet-wet operations. Our transducers are available in differential or absolute pressure, as well as the option for a CE approved model if so required.

Car Door Seal Testing

Car Door SealWhen automobile doors are closed it is expected that the sealing surfaces around the edges of the door will contact the frame properly so that the passenger cabin is weatherproof and the inside protected from rain and water. With all the different styles of doors, frames and gasket materials each new model must be tested to verify that the sealing system is effective.

One way to test the seal is to measure the pressure rise inside the passenger cabin when the door is slammed shut. If the seal is effective there will be a brief rise in pressure. We have probably all experienced this – Volkswagen Beetles were notorious for the ear discomfort on door closings as they were deigned to be waterproof. So a balance between sealing effectiveness and comfort is desired and testing the pressure rise is one way to verify that the right combination of sealing materials is being used.

The measurement of a pressure rise in the passenger cabin requires a pressure transducer with sensitivity to low pressures and fast dynamic response. One automobile manufacturer uses the Validyne DP45 to measure pressure spikes on the order of 400 Pa having a duration of 10 mSec. The DP45 is available in full scale ranges as low as 220 Pa and has a flat dynamic response on the order of 60 Hz and can thus capture a transient whose rise time is 4 mSec.

The system is comprised of the following Validyne Parts:

The system cal is convenient because of the low pressures involved – we calibrate the system here prior to shipment. The customer attaches DC power (9 to 55 Vdc) to the connector and also the 0 to +5 Vdc signal wires to a high speed data acquisition system. The transducer has 1/8” female NPT ports and these are fitted with adapters by the customer to plastic tubing that is run to the inside of the automobile passenger cabin. The door is slammed several times at various velocities and the resultant pressure rises recorded. On this basis the gasket seal and firmness can be evaluated.

Measuring Pressure Drop Across Protective Mask

measuring pressure dropFace masks are often the first line of defense against the spread of infection or damaging particles. A properly designed face mask will stop dangerous materials, but allow normal air flow for breathing. The mask material must be woven tightly enough to trap unwanted particles, but the pressure drop through the mask should be low enough so that breathing effort is normal. Testing protective masks requires measuring pressure drops which equal to just a few millimeters of water.

measuring pressure dropThe Validyne DP103 differential pressure transducer is available in full scale pressure ranges as low as 3.5 mm H2O. This pressure transducer was recently used to measure the pressure drop through prototype face masks that were on the order of 5 to 10 mm H2O. The pressure drop was to be recorded at different flow rates and this required a pc based data acquisition system  for the output of the DP103.