These days, sensors are an integral part of life and are used in many applications. This post will look at the different types of power sensors, including the differences in how they operate and the pros and cons of both. Interested? Keep reading for all that you need to know about voltage and current sensors.
What is a Power Sensor?
First, looking at what a power sensor is and how it works is important. A power sensor is a device that measures current or voltage and then generates data about the measurement and sends it to a control system for decision-making.
How power sensors work depends on whether they are detecting current or voltage. Current sensors use electromagnetic induction – a magnetic field is generated around a conductor when an electrical current passes through, and current sensors place a coil or magnetic core around the conductor to measure the magnetic field. When current flows through, it induces a current in the core that the sensor measures.
For voltage sensors, they are connected in parallel to the circuit that they are monitoring. The sensor creates a high-impedance path, which allows a fraction of the voltage to enter the sensor. The sensor then measures the voltage and provides an output of the same proportion.
Voltage sensors usually consume less power, which can be advantageous when power efficiency is important. Additionally, testing these sensors is easy as you can simply use a voltmeter. Signals are also easier to isolate, as ground reference does not affect them.
Regarding drawbacks, voltage sensors are more susceptible to noise and external interference – this can lead to inaccurate readings when used in loud environments. Voltage signals also degrade over long distances, which could lead to a loss of signal quality if there is a long distance between the sensor and the measuring instrument.
Meanwhile, current sensors are less susceptible to noise and interference and have better long-distance transmission. These sensors do not depend on ground reference, making installation easier.
However, current sensors have higher power consumption compared to voltage sensors. Testing can also be complex, and there is a limited voltage range, so they may not work in certain applications. There are also limited options when it comes to sensors.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both voltage and current sensors, but there are also numerous factors to consider when choosing a sensor. You will need to think about sensor capability, meter type, available power, distance, wiring, and testing. Hopefully, this information will help you to choose the right power sensor for your specific application and know what to expect.