How to Find the Best Sensor Size for Your Project

Jewell Instruments
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Identify the right sized sensor for any project

To design and build a large machine such as a rail car, mobile radar or construction vehicle, every component needs to fit into place perfectly like a puzzle. In your search for the right parts, you’ll come across multiple sensors ranging in sizes as small as a coin or as large as a dinner plate. Finding the right sized sensor is like finding the right shoe, it needs to fit and it needs to perform. Here are some tips on how to find a sensor that fits your design like a comfy, new shoe.

What large sensors are used for

The typical precision sensor footprint is 42.6 by 92.5 mm (based on LSOX inclinometer), but geophysical and civil engineering sensors are usually 80 by 120 mm or more. Due to the very subtle movement of large structures and geophysical phenomenon, these sensors need to detect tilt as small as a few nanoradians and their larger size is conducive to making these measurements.

When to look for a compact sensor

Force balanced and MEMS sensor footprints can range from 26.7 by 38.1 mm to 73 by 95.25 mm. These are typically embedded into the designs of machinery such as construction, military and industrial automation. Engineers need their machines to be lightweight and compact in order increase overall performance. With many other components already in the design, the smaller size of a force-balanced or MEMS sensor is necessary.

Some 900 series electrolytic and miniature tilt sensors are among the smallest tilt solutions in their industry. The 755/756 series in particular has higher precision than force-balanced and MEMS for OEM applications that demand extra sensitivity.

Compact Sensor Options

Some sensors are specifically designed for engineers who need to save space on their project. Due to its multiple mounting options, the RMI series gives engineers additional flexibility on how to approach their design. The 875 series is a miniaturized version of a traditional geotechnical sensor with the enclosure to survive outdoor elements. For applications that don’t require enclosures, but need to save on costs, MEMS PCA boards can be ordered on their own.

How to Find the Best Sensor Size for Your Project

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