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The electrical output of piezoresistive pressure transducers
2015-04-28

Piezoresistive pressure transducers are generally available with three types of electrical output; millivolt(mV), amplified voltage(0-10V, 0-5V, 0.5-4.5V) and 4-20mA. Below is a summary of the outputs and when they are best used.


mV Piezoresistive pressure transducers
Transducers with millivolt output are normally the most economical pressure transducers. The output of the millivolt transducer is nominally around 100mV. The actual output is directly proportional to the pressure transducer input power or excitation. If the excitation fluctuates, the output will change also. Because of this dependence on the excitation level, regulated power supplies are suggested for use with millivolt transducers. Because the output signal is so low, the transducer should not be located in an electrically noisy environment. The distances between the transducer and the readout instrument should also be kept relatively short.


0-10V Piezoresistive pressure transducers
Voltage output transducers include integral signal conditioning which provide a much higher output than a millivolt transducer. The output is normally 0.5-4.5Vdc or 0-10Vdc. Although model specific, the output of the transducer is not normally a direct function of excitation. This means unregulated power supplies are often sufficient as long as they fall within a specified power range. Because they have a higher level output these transducers are not as susceptible to electrical noise as millivolt transducers and can therefore be used in much more industrial environments.


4-20mA Piezoresistive pressure transducers
These types of transducers are also known as pressure transmitters. Since a 4-20mA signal is least affected by electrical noise and resistance in the signal wires, these transducers are best used when the signal must be transmitted long distances. It is not uncommon to use these transducers in applications where the lead wire must be 1000 feet or more.