ThomasNet News Logo
Sign Up | Log In | ThomasNet Home | Promote Your Business

Should You Use Current or Voltage in Analog Transducer Readings?

Print | 
Email |  Comment   Share  

Should You Use Current or Voltage in Analog Transducer Readings?
Should You Use Current or Voltage in Analog Transducer Readings?
Click Here to Enlarge Picture

(Archive News Story - Products mentioned in this Archive News Story may or may not be available from the manufacturer.)

CAS DataLoggers
12628 Chillicothe Rd., Unit J
Chesterland, OH, 44026

Press release date: August 23, 2012

Transducers for Equipment Monitoring and More

CHESTERLAND OH - When choosing an analog measurement transducer for a variety of instrumentation monitoring applications including machine monitoring, quality assurance, and more, you will be given a choice of signal types. The most common signals for these transducers are either voltage (0-5 volts DC, or 0-10 volts DC) or current (generally 4-20 milliamps). Both types are low-cost and easy to find, and both have advantages and disadvantages depending on the environment in which they are being used. As a result, the Applications Specialists at CAS DataLoggers have put together this brief article to explore both the pros and cons of these two analog signals.

DC Voltage (0-5V, 0-10V)
DC voltage is a very basic analog signal which gives you excellent resolution, is easy to connect and troubleshoot, and is well suited to lab environments. The sensors which use a voltage output tend to be quick and easy to connect. They require an input excitation voltage and have an easy to identify output wire carrying the measured signal.

However, a voltage signal is not a good fit if you are planning on using it in an industrial environment. Even when using shielded wire, the signal is highly susceptible to interference from high voltage AC, motors, pumps, relays, etc. The signal is also susceptible to voltage drops on log runs of signal wire.

DC Current (4-20mA)
In contrast, a DC current loop offers several advantages in industrial settings. This signal is not as susceptible to electrical interference from high voltage AC, motors, pumps, or relays, nor is it susceptible to signal loss due to the length of the wiring run (voltage drop). A 4-20mA loop can also power multiple devices using one excitation source and requires much fewer wires. Additionally, a 4-20 mA signal offers fairly easy fault detection because its '0' point is at 4mA, so if a negative reading is shown in the scaled readings, there's likely a problem with the signal.

However, a 4-20mA signal will not give you the same resolution as a voltage signal so it is not necessarily recommended for use in a lab environment. Another drawback of a 4-20mA signal is that you will generally require shunt resistors to take a reading on most data logging equipment.

While there are many other considerations to take into account when choosing a transducer, environment and signal distance should be your main factors. This outline will hopefully have given you a good basis for the best signal choice between voltage and current.

For more information on our wide range of AC and DC current/voltage dataloggers, or to find the ideal solution for your application-specific needs, contact a CAS Data Logger Applications Specialist at (800) 956-4437 or visit the website at

Contact Information:
CAS DataLoggers, Inc.
12628 Chillicothe Road
Chesterland, Ohio 44026
(440) 729-2570
(800) 956-4437
Print | 
Email |  Comment   Share  
Contacts: View detailed contact information.


Post a comment about this story

(your e-mail address will not be posted)
Comment title:
To submit comment, enter the security code shown below and press 'Post Comment'.

 See related product stories
More .....
 See more product news in:
Sensors, Monitors and Transducers
 More New Product News from this company:
Wireless Temperature Dataloggers monitor HVAC performance.
Portable UHF RFID Readers track product temperature.
Output Module for Automotive Applications.
UHF RFID Temp Tags help maintain cold chain.
Telemetry Receiver System fosters wireless data logging.
More ....
| Featured Manufacturing Jobs
 Other News from this company:
AIDS Research Lab Receives Lifetime Accsense Temperature Monitoring
Haitian Hospital Monitors Vaccine Temperatures Over WiFi
CAS DataLoggers to Attend USGS Water Data Conference
CAS DataLoggers Visits Jager and Delphin HQ in Germany
MadgeTech Releases New Data Logger Software Version 4.2
More ....
 Tools for you
Watch Company 
View Company Profile
Company web site
More news from this company
E-mail this story to a friend
Save Story
Search for suppliers of
Voltage Sensors
Current Sensors
Analog Sensors
Join the forum discussion at:
Tools of the Trade

Home  |  My ThomasNet News®  |  Industry Market Trends®  |  Submit Release  |  Advertise  |  Contact News  |  About Us
Brought to you by        Browse ThomasNet Directory

Copyright © 2014 Thomas Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Use - Privacy Policy

Error close

Please enter a valid email address