Clever sensors stand surrogate: Page 2 of 2

April 05, 2016 //By Bill Schweber
Bill Schweber
Bill Schweber ponders the creativity of engineers in using the RLC basics of electronics to stand in for a parameter of interest.
Still, it's a very nice and interesting idea that's worth instrumentation and analysis.

Capacitance is not the only basic RLC parameter that sensor ICs are addressing. Inductance, which a mysterious factor to many engineers, is actually a very useful indicator once you can "tame" it.

The recently introduced DRV421 magnetic-sensing IC from Texas Instruments combines a fluxgate sensor, signal conditioning, and compensation-coil driver. It provides the functions needed for magnetic-based current sensing that is well suited to motor control, renewable energy, battery charging, and power-monitoring applications.

Of course, not all sensing situations can rely on basic RLC parameters, or even basic, easily grasped physics principles such as ultrasound or X-rays. A sharp contrast is the development of now-routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which derives from a deep dive into quantum physics, and subtle properties of atomic particles when stressed by magnetic field, see " MRI: Led by Physics, Followed by Lawsuits ."

Have you ever relied on basics such as capacitance or inductive sensing to implement a sophisticated measurement?

Bill Schweber, is an electronics engineer and author who has written for EE Times, was analog editor at EDN and prior to that worked in marketing communications for Analog Design and was also editor of its technical journal.

This article first appeared on EE Times' Planet Analog website.

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