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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Introduction ........................................................................................................ 5
1.1 Sensors and Transducers .............................................................................................. 6
1.1.1 Classification of Sensors and Transducers............................................................. 6
1.1.2 Sensor/transducers specifications .......................................................................... 7
Chapter 2 - Displacement, position and proximity sensors ................................................... 11
2.1. Resistive Potentiometers ........................................................................................... 11
2.2 Basic inductive sensor................................................................................................ 12
2.2.1 Variable-Reluctance Sensors............................................................................... 13
2.2.2 Variable inductance displacement sensors ........................................................... 16
2.3. Capacitive Displacement Sensors.............................................................................. 19
2.3.1 Variable distance capacitor displacement sensors ................................................ 19
2.3.2 Variable area displacement sensors ..................................................................... 20
2.3.4 Variable dielectric displacement sensors ............................................................. 21
2.3.5 Differential capacitive displacement sensor......................................................... 21
2.4 Piezoelectric effects ................................................................................................... 22
2.4.1 Piezoelectric displacement sensor ....................................................................... 24
2.5 Michelson Interferometer displacement Sensor .......................................................... 24
2.6 Ultrasonic Displacement Sensors ............................................................................... 26
2.7 Magnetic Displacement Sensor .................................................................................. 27
2.8 Magnetostrictive Sensors ........................................................................................... 27
2.9 Magnetoresistive Sensors ........................................................................................... 28
2.10 Optical Encoder Displacement Sensors .................................................................... 29
2.11 Proximity Sensors .................................................................................................... 30
2.12 Pneumatic Sensors ................................................................................................... 33
Chapter 3 - Pressure sensors ................................................................................................ 34
3.1 Aneroid barometers ................................................................................................... 35
3.2 Piezoelectric pressure sensor ...................................................................................... 37
3.3 Capacitive Pressure Sensors ....................................................................................... 37
3.4 Piezoresistive Pressure Sensors. ................................................................................. 39
3.5 Sea-bird SBE 50 Digital Oceanographic Pressure Sensor ........................................... 40
3.6 Impact Subsea ISD4000 depth and temperature sensor............................................... 42
3.6.1 Depth Sensor System .......................................................................................... 46
Chapter 4 - Accelerometer systems ..................................................................................... 48

4.1 Servo-type accelerometer ........................................................................................... 48
4.2 Inclinometer .............................................................................................................. 49
4.3 Gyroscopes ................................................................................................................ 50
4.3.1 Mechanical gyroscopes: ...................................................................................... 50
4.3.2 Optical gyroscopes.............................................................................................. 52
4.4 Inertial Navigation Systems ....................................................................................... 52
4.5 Velocity Measurement ............................................................................................... 53
Chapter 5 - Photosensors ..................................................................................................... 57
5.1 Photoemitters ............................................................................................................. 57
5.2 Photoresistors and photoconductors ........................................................................... 58
5.3Photodiodes ................................................................................................................ 59
5.4 Light transducers ....................................................................................................... 59
5.5 Light Emitting Diodes (LED)..................................................................................... 60
5.6 Liquid crystal displays (LCD) .................................................................................... 60
Chapter 6 - Temperature Sensors ......................................................................................... 62
6.1 Heat and temperature ................................................................................................. 62
6.2 The bimetallic temperature sensor .............................................................................. 62
6.3 Thermocouples .......................................................................................................... 63
6.4 Resistive Thermometers ............................................................................................. 65
6.5 Thermistors................................................................................................................ 66
Chapter 7 - Velocity transducers ......................................................................................... 69
7.1 Linear velocity transducers ........................................................................................ 69
7.2 Laser interferometer velocity transducer .................................................................... 70
7.3 Angular velocity transducers ...................................................................................... 70
7.4 Electrical (dc and ac) Tachometer Generator.............................................................. 71
7.5 Optical velocity sensors ............................................................................................. 72
Chapter 8 - Force and Stress Sensors ................................................................................... 73
8.1 Hydraulic and Pneumatic load cells ........................................................................... 74
8.2 Strain Gage Load Cells .............................................................................................. 74
8.2.1 Beam-Type Load Cell ......................................................................................... 75
8.2.2 Ring-Type Load Cell .......................................................................................... 76
8.3 Piezoelectric Force Transducer .................................................................................. 76
8.4 Capacitive Force Transducer ...................................................................................... 77
8.5 Stress Measurement Method ...................................................................................... 78

Chapter 9 - Intelligent and Smart sensors ............................................................................ 80
9.1 Micro- and Nanosensors ............................................................................................ 80
9.2 Integrated Circuit Smart Capacitive Position Sensors ................................................. 80
9.3 Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) ............................................................. 82
9.4 Tilt and Motion Smart MEMS sensors ....................................................................... 82
Chapter 10 - Actuators ........................................................................................................ 83
10.1 Classification of Actuators ....................................................................................... 83
10.2 Principle of Operation .............................................................................................. 83
10.2.1 Electrical Actuators........................................................................................... 83
10.2.2 Electromechanical Actuators............................................................................. 85
10.2.3 Electromagnetic Actuators ................................................................................ 86
10.2.4 Hydraulic and Pneumatic Actuators .................................................................. 86
10.2.5 Smart Material Actuators .................................................................................. 87
10.2.6 Micro- and Nanoactuators ................................................................................. 89
10.2.7 Asynchronous motors ....................................................................................... 89
10.3 Selection Criteria ..................................................................................................... 90
10.4 Practical exercises:................................................................................................... 90
Chapter 11 - Signal Conditioning Devices and Operations .................................................. 95
11.1 Amplification/Attenuation ....................................................................................... 96
11.1.1 Operational amplifier (op-amp)......................................................................... 96
11.1.2 Inverting Amplifier ........................................................................................... 98
11.1.3 Non-Inverting Amplifier ................................................................................... 99
11.1.4 Summing amplifier ......................................................................................... 100
11.1.5 Integrator ........................................................................................................ 100
11.1.6 Differentiator circuit ....................................................................................... 100
11.1.7 Instrumentation Amplifier ............................................................................... 101
11.2 Filtering ................................................................................................................. 102
11.2.1 Low Pass Filter ............................................................................................... 102
11.2.2 High Pass Filter .............................................................................................. 103
11.2.3 Band Pass Filter .............................................................................................. 104
11.2.4 Band Reject Filter ........................................................................................... 104
11.3 Basic components used in ADCs and DACs .......................................................... 105
11.3.1 Comparators ................................................................................................... 105
11.3.2 Encoders ......................................................................................................... 105

11.3.3 Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) ................................................................ 105
11.3.4 Digital to Analog Converters .......................................................................... 106
11.4 Signal Classification .............................................................................................. 108
11.5 Single-Ended and Differential Signals.................................................................... 108
11.6 Low- and High-Output-Impedance Signals ............................................................ 110
11.7 Passive R, L, C Filter Design.................................................................................. 111
11.8 Modulation ............................................................................................................ 112
11.9 Protection circuits .................................................................................................. 114
11.10 Wheatstone bridge ............................................................................................... 116
11.11 Data Conversion .................................................................................................. 117
11.12 Power supply ....................................................................................................... 117
Chapter 12 - Control system .............................................................................................. 119
12.1 PID Controller Design ........................................................................................... 122
12.2 PID Overview ........................................................................................................ 124
12.3 The Characteristics of the P, I, and D Terms .......................................................... 126
12.4 PID Tuning ............................................................................................................ 127
12.4.1 Comparison between PID Tuning Methods ..................................................... 127
12.4.2 The Ziegler–Nichols tuning method ................................................................ 127
12.4.3 Sliding mode control ....................................................................................... 130
12.5 Example PID control system .................................................................................. 130
12.6 Exercises ............................................................................................................... 131
12.7 Example Problem................................................................................................... 132
12.8 General Tips for Designing a PID Controller ......................................................... 137
12.9 Automatic PID Tuning ........................................................................................... 138
Chapter 13 - Serial Communications Adapter.................................................................... 142
Demonstration and Discussions ......................................................................................... 144
Appendix .......................................................................................................................... 149
References ........................................................................................................................ 158

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Sensors and actuators are two critical components of every closed loop control system. Such
a system is also called a mechatronics system. A typical mechatronics system consists of a
sensing unit, a controller, and an actuating unit. A sensing unit can be as simple as a single
sensor or can consist of additional components such as filters, amplifiers, modulators, and
other signal conditioners. The controller accepts the information from the sensing unit, makes
decisions based on the control algorithm, and outputs commands to the actuating unit. The
actuating unit consists of an actuator and optionally a power supply and a coupling
The increasing use of electronic circuits into all aspects of life especially in all control
technology, electronic instrumentation and data acquisition systems has brought about
increased importance of sensors which can detect changes in various physical quantities as
electrical signals and the conversion of physical quantities by transducers into electronic
signals and vice versa. The correct use of sensors and transducers often depends critically on
an understanding of the physical principles involved. A transducer is a device that converts a
physical phenomenon into a measurable electrical signal, such as voltage or current, or
frequency. An instrument is a device that transforms a physical variable of interest (the
measurand) into a form that is suitable for recording (the measurement). Measurand is a
physical quantity, property, or condition being measured, and it is often referred to as a
measured value. Figure 1.1 presents a generalized model of a simple instrument.

Figure 1.1 Simple instrument model

The observable physical measurement variable either represents measurand or has a simple
relationship with the measurand. The observable physical variable is represented by an X in
the Figure 1.1. Its value is determined by a physical process. For example, the mass of an
object is often measured by the process of weighing, where the measurand is the mass but the
physical measurement variable is the weight (downward force the mass exerts in the Earth’s
gravitational field).
There are many possible physical measurement variables. A few are shown in Table 1.1.

Table 1.1.
Common physical variables Typical signal variables
Force Voltage
Length Displacement
Temperature Current
Acceleration Force
Velocity Pressure
Pressure Light
Frequency Frequency

The sensor is the key functional element of the instrument model shown in Figure 1.1. It is
the portion of a measurement system that responds directly to the physical variable being
measured. It converts the physical variable input X into a signal variable output S.
Signal variables have the property which enables them to be manipulated in a transmission
system, such as an electrical or mechanical circuit. This allows the signal variable to be
transmitted to an output or recording device that is remote from the sensor. The voltage is a
common signal variable in electrical circuits, while displacement or force are the commonly
used as signal variables in mechanical systems. Other examples of signal variable are shown
in Table 1.1. The signal output from the sensor can be displayed, recorded, or used as an
input signal to another secondary device or system. An example is in a closed loop control
system. If the output signal from the sensor is small, it is usually amplified and then
transmitted to the display device or recorded, depending on the particular measurement
application as shown in Figure 1.2.

Figure 1.2 Instrument model with amplifier, analog to digital converter, and computer output

1.1 Sensors and Transducers

A sensor is a device that detects and measures a physical quantity, while a transducer is a
device that converts energy from one form into another. The types of energy that can be
sensed are those classed as radiant, mechanical, gravitational, electrical, thermal, and
magnetic. In our discussion in this course, we shall be concerned with the types of sensors
whose output is electrical and transducers in which one form of energy is electrical. However,
the differences between sensors and transducers are very slight because a sensor performs a
transducing action, and the transducer must sense some physical quantity. Their differences
lie in, (1) the efficiency of energy conversion. For a sensor efficiency is almost immaterial,
provided the Figure is known while for a transducer the efficiency of energy conversion is
very important. The opposite device to a sensor is an actuator, which converts an electrical
signal to some other form, usually mechanical. Actuators and sensors are therefore forms of
transducers. (2) Linearity of response, defined by plotting the output against the input, is
important for a sensor, but of much less significance for a transducer. However, the basic
principles that apply to one, must apply to the other, so the descriptions that appear in this
course applies equally to sensors, actuators and transducers.

1.1.1 Classification of Sensors and Transducers

Sensors and Transducers convert physical variables to signal variables. They can be
categorized into two broad classes that depend on the way they interact with the environment
they are measuring. They can be classed as active or passive.
Passive sensors do not add energy as part of the measurement process but may remove
energy in their operation. They may need an external source of energy to operate.
An example of a passive transducer is a pressure gage where the pressure being measured
exerts a force on a mechanical system (diaphragm, aneroid or Borden pressure gage) that
converts the pressure force into a displacement, which can be used as a signal variable.

For example, the displacement of the diaphragm can be transmitted through a mechanical
gearing system to the displacement of an indicating needle on the display of the gage.

Active or self-generating sensors add energy to the measurement environment as part of the
measurement process. They can generate a signal without the need for any external power
supply. Examples include photovoltaic cells, thermocouples, piezoelectric devices and a radar
or sonar system, where the distance to some object is measured by actively sending out a
radio (radar) or acoustic (sonar) wave to reflect off of some object and measure its range from
the sensor.

1.1.2 Sensor/transducers specifications

Transducers or measurement systems are not perfect systems. Sensor specifications inform
the user about deviations from the ideal behavior of the sensors. Following are the various
specifications of a sensor/transducer system.

1. Range

The range of a sensor indicates the limits between which the input can vary. For example, a
thermocouple for the measurement of temperature might have a range of -25 to +225 °C.

2. Span

The span is difference between the maximum and minimum values of the input. Thus, the
above-mentioned thermocouple will have a span of 200 °C.

3. Error

Error is the difference between the result of the measurement and the true value of the
quantity being measured. A sensor might give a displacement reading of 29.8 mm, when the
actual displacement had been 30 mm, then the error is –0.2 mm.

4. Accuracy
The accuracy defines the closeness of the agreement between the actual measurement result
and a true value of the measurand. It is often expressed as a percentage of the full range
output or full–scale deflection. A piezoelectric transducer used to evaluate dynamic pressure
phenomena associated with explosions, pulsations, or dynamic pressure conditions in motors,
rocket engines, compressors, and other pressurized devices is capable to detect pressures
between 0.1 and 10,000 psig (0.7 KPa to 70 MPa). If it is specified with the accuracy of about
±1% full scale, then the reading given can be expected to be within ± 0.7 MPa.

5. Sensitivity

Sensitivity of a sensor is defined as the ratio of change in output value of a sensor to the per
unit change in input value that causes the output change. For example, a general purpose
thermocouple may have a sensitivity of 41 μV/°C.

6. Nonlinearity

Figure 1.3 Non-linearity error

The nonlinearity indicates the maximum deviation of the actual measured curve of a sensor
from the ideal curve. Figure 1.3 shows a somewhat exaggerated relationship between the
ideal, or least squares fit, line and the actual measured or calibration line. Linearity is often
specified in terms of percentage of nonlinearity, which is defined as:
Nonlinearity (%) = Maximum deviation in input Maximum full scale input
The static nonlinearity is dependent upon environmental factors, including temperature,
vibration, acoustic noise level, and humidity. Therefore it is important to know under what
conditions the specification is valid.

Figure 1.4 Hysteresis error curve

7. Resolution
Resolution is the smallest detectable incremental change of input parameter that can be
detected in the output signal. Resolution can be expressed either as a proportion of the full-
scale reading or in absolute terms. For example, if a LVDT sensor measures a displacement
up to 20 mm and it provides an output as a number between 1 and 100 then the resolution of
the sensor device is 0.2 mm.

8. Stability

Stability is the ability of a sensor device to give same output when used to measure a constant
input over a period of time. The term ‘drift’ is used to indicate the change in output that
occurs over a period of time. It is expressed as the percentage of full range output.

9. Dead band/time

The dead band or dead space of a transducer is the range of input values for which there is no
output. The dead time of a sensor device is the time duration from the application of an input
until the output begins to respond or change.

10. Repeatability

It specifies the ability of a sensor to give same output for repeated applications of same input
value. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the full range output:
11. Repeatability = (maximum – minimum values given) X 100 full range.

12. Response time

Response time describes the speed of change in the output on a step-wise change of the
measurand. It is always specified with an indication of input step and the output range for
which the response time is defined.

13. Precision - Ability to reproduce repeatedly with a given accuracy

14. Zero offset - A nonzero value output for no input

15. Bandwidth - Frequency at which the output magnitude drops by 3 dB

16.Resonance - The frequency at which the output magnitude peak occurs

17. Operating temperature - The range in which the sensor performs as specified

18. Signal-to-noise ratio - Ratio between the magnitudes of the signal and the noise at the

Finally, two measurable quantities can be quoted in connection with any sensor or transducer.
These are responsivity and detectivity. The responsivity is:

output signal
input signal

which will be a measure of transducing efficiency if the two signals are in comparable units.
The detectivity is defined as:

S/N of output signal

size of output signal

where S/N has its usual electrical meaning of signal to noise ratio.

We shall concentrate on sensors and/or transducers that operate on electrical signals. A
schematic representation of a transducer is illustrated in Figure 1.8.

Figure1.5. A schematic representation of a transducer

Sensors and transducers produce output signals, qo(t), in response to input signals, qi(t), that
characterize the state of the measured system (the measurand). An ideal sensor responds only
to the parameter it is intended for, while real sensors and transducers are unintentionally
sensitive to a number of other parameters. This is shown by the interaction between the
environment and the measuring system is indicated in Figure 1.5.
For an ideal transducer, the relation between the system input and output can be expressed
qo (t) = f (qi (t)) (1.1)

In practice, the output depends on a number of different parameters affecting the system and
the corresponding equations are much more complex. Only a limited number of sensors and
transducers will be treated in this course.

Chapter 2 - Displacement, position and proximity sensors
These sensors are one of the most important classes of sensors. They are used for measuring
the distance between points in space and for estimating other quantities (for example, force,
temperature, pressure, and etcetera). There are many different types of motion sensors,
ranging from simple resistive potentiometers to highly sophisticated optical and laser devices.

2.1. Resistive Potentiometers

Resistive potentiometers are basically resistance elements that have a movable arm that
transform mechanical displacements into voltage forms. A simple type of this sensor is
illustrated in Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1. (a) Schematic representation of a potentiometer (b) shows an ideal linear output
function where x represents the wiper position, and xP is its maximum position (c) symbol.

In Figure 2.1, vr is the excitation voltage and vo(t) is the output voltage. The output signal is
proportional to the displacement of the wiper. Electrically, the resistive element is divided at
the point of wiper contact. To measure displacement, a pot is typically wired in a voltage
divider configuration, as shown in Figure 2.1. The circuit’s output is an analog voltage that is
a function of the wiper’s position. By calibration the output voltage is mapped to units of
displacement. The basic transducer structure shown in Figure 2.1 can be realized physically
in different forms for sensing linear or rotational motions.
Resistive displacement sensors are commonly termed potentiometers or “pots.” A pot is an
electromechanical device containing an electrically conductive wiper that slides against a
fixed resistive element according to the position or angle of an external shaft as shown in
Figure 2.2. The moving object is connected to the slider of the potentiometer, so that each
position along the axis will correspond to a different output from the slider contact - either
AC or DC can be used since only amplitude needs to be measured.

FIGURE 2.2 Representative cutaways of linear-motion (a) and rotary (b) potentiometers.

A pot’s resistive element can be classified as either wirewound, or nonwirewound.

Wirewound elements contain tight coils of resistive wire that quantize measurement in step-
like increments. The nonwirewound elements present a continuous sheet of resistive material
capable of essentially unlimited measurement resolution.
Potentiometers can span between 10 mm to 3 m with a typical accuracy of 0.1% of the full
scale (FS). Rotary devices are available in a variety of ranges with the large multiturn devices
having better accuracy.

2.2 Basic inductive sensor

The induction methods are the most commonly methods for sensing distance travelled on the
small scale. Inductive sensors operate based on the coupling inductance or the reluctance of
the circuit. The distinction is in the pickups rather than principles of operations. The
inductance transducers depend on changes in the coupling inductance while the reluctance
transducers depend on air gap.
The basic principles of reluctance sensors can be described by a simple magnetic circuit as
shown in Figure 2.3. It becomes a basic reluctance sensor only if the air gap is allowed to

FIGURE 2.3 A basic inductive sensor consists of a magnetic circuit

The magnetic circuit consists of a core, made from a ferromagnetic material with a coil of n
number of turns wound on it. The coil acts as a source of magnetomotive force (mmf) which
drives the flux Φ through the magnetic circuit. Assuming the air gap is zero, the equation for
the magnetic circuit can be expressed as:

mmf = Flux x Reluctance = Φ xℜ (2.1)

where the reluctance ℜ limits the flux in a magnetic circuit in same way resistance limits the
current I, in an electric circuit. The magnetic flux Φ linking a single turn is given as:

Φ = nI/ℜ weber (2.2)

The total flux Ψ (in weber) linking by the entire n number of the turns of the coil is:

Ψ = nΦ = n I/ℜ weber (2.3)

The self inductance L of the coil is given as:

L = Ψ/I = n /ℜ (2.4)

Reluctance ℜ can be expressed in terms of dimensions as:

ℜ = 𝑙/𝜀 𝜀 𝐴 (2.5)

where l = the total length of the flux path

𝜀 = the relative permeability of the magnetic circuit material
𝜀 = the permeability of free space (= 4𝜋 𝑥 10–7 H/m)
A = the cross-sectional area of the flux path

The basic inductive sensor consists of a ferromagnetic core separated into two parts by the air
gap. The total reluctance of the circuit is the addition of the reluctance of core and the
reluctance of air gap. Owing to great difference between in the relative permeability of air
(unity) and the ferromagnetic material (a few thousand), the air gap causes a large increase in
circuit reluctance and a corresponding decrease in the flux. Hence, a small variation in the air
gap causes a measurable change in inductance. Most of the inductive transducers are based
on these principles.

2.2.1 Variable-Reluctance Sensors

The variable-reluctance transducers are based on change in the reluctance of a magnetic flux
path. These types of transducers find application in displacements, velocities and acceleration
measurements and come in many different forms. Variable-reluctance transducers are made
up of linear and rotary types.

Single-Coil Linear Variable-Reluctance Sensor

A typical single-coil variable-reluctance displacement sensor consists of three elements: a
semicircular ferromagnetic core, a variable air gap, and a ferromagnetic plate as illustrated in
Figure 2.4.

FIGURE 2.4 A typical single-coil, variable-reluctance displacement sensor.

The total reluctance of the magnetic circuit is the sum of the individual reluctances:

ℜ =ℜ +ℜ +ℜ (2.6)

where ℜ , ℜ and ℜ are the reluctances of the core, air gap, and armature, respectively.

Each one of these reluctances can be determined by using the properties of materials
involved, as in Equation 2.5. In FIGURE 2.4, the reluctance ℜ can be approximated as:

ℜ = R/μ μ r + 2d/μ πr + R/μ μ rt (2.7)

The length of flux path in the core is taken as πR, the cross-sectional area is assumed to be
uniform, with a value of πr2 and the total length of the flux path in air as 2d, assuming that
there is no fringing or bending of the flux through the air gap. The length of an average
central flux path in the armature is 2R. The cross section area of the armature is taken to be
approximated equal to 2rt, where t is the thickness of the armature. All of the parameters in
Equation 2.7 are fixed except for the air gap. Hence, it can be simplified as:

ℜ = ℜ + kd (2.8)

where ℜ = R/μ μ r + +R/μ μ rt

k = 2/μ πr

From Equations 2.4 and 2.8, the inductance can be given as:
L = n /(ℜ + kd) = L /(1 + αd) (2.9)

where L0 = the inductance at zero air gap

α = k/ℜ

The values of L0 and α they depend on the core geometry and the parameters of the mediums,
therefore can be determined mathematically. These types of single coil sensors find
applications in force measurements and telemetry. In force measurements, the resultant
change in inductance is made to be a measure of the magnitude of the applied force by
making the coil form one of the components of an LC oscillator. This makes the output
frequency to vary with the applied force. Hence, the coil modulates the frequency of the local

Variable-Reluctance Tachogenerators
Variable reluctance sensors are also referred to as electromagnetic sensors, because of their
dependence on Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction. The induced emf in the sensor
depends on the linear or angular velocity of the motion. One type is the variable-reluctance
tachogenerator shown in Figure 2.5. It consists of a ferromagnetic toothed wheel attached to a
rotating shaft, and a coil wound onto a permanent magnet extended by a soft iron pole piece.
The movement of the wheel in close proximity to the pole piece causes the flux linked by the
coil to change, thereby inducing an emf in the coil. The reluctance of the circuit depends on
the width of the air gap between the rotating wheel and the pole piece. The reluctance is
minimum when the tooth is close to the pole piece and increases as the tooth moves away
from the pole. When the wheel rotates with a velocity ω, the flux Ψ may mathematically be
expressed as:

Ψ(θ) = A + B cos mθ (2.10)

where A = the mean flux

B = the amplitude of the flux variation
m = the number of teeth

The induced emf is given by:

𝑑Ψ(θ) 𝑑Ψ(θ) 𝑑θ
𝐸=− =− x (2.11)
dt dθ dt

𝐸 = 𝐵𝑚𝜔 sin 𝑚𝜔𝑡 (2.12)

The change in flux causes an output of a square waveform in the coil. The frequency of the
waveform depends on the speed of the rotation of the wheel and the number of teeth.

FIGURE 2.5 A variable-reluctance tachogenerator

Equation 2.12 shows that both amplitude and frequency of the generated voltage at the coil
are proportional to the angular velocity of the wheel. The frequency of the signal is used to
obtain the angular velocity ω because the amplitude can be influenced by loading effects and
electrical interference.

2.2.2 Variable inductance displacement sensors

Simple variable inductance displacement sensor

The principle of simple variable inductance displacement sensor is illustrated in Figure 2.6
having two fixed coils enclose a moving ferromagnetic core. If one coil is supplied with an
AC signal, then the amplitude and phase of a signal from the second coil depends on the
position of the ferromagnetic core relative to the coils. The disadvantages of this simple
arrangement are that the amplitude other than the maximum can correspond to more than one
distance and the output is never linearly proportional to the distance.

Figure 2.6 The basic inductive displacement sensor.

Linear Variable Differential Transformers (LVDT)

A linear-variable-differential-transformer LVDT is a passive inductive transducer consisting
of a single primary winding positioned between two identical secondary windings wound on
a tubular ferromagnetic former.
It is classed as the variable-reactance devices in motion measurements. They are more
complex than potentiometers, but offer smaller mechanical loads and have much longer lives.
They are known as “frictionless motion detectors.”
When the core inside the former moves, the magnetic paths between primary and secondary
change, producing secondary outputs that are proportional to the movement. The two
secondaries are made as identical as possible by having equal sizes, shapes, and number of
turns. The two secondary coils are generally connected in series opposition as shown in
Figure 2.7(a). The output voltages of individual secondary coils v1 and v2 at null position are
equal. In an opposing connection, any displacement in the core position x from the null point
causes amplitude of the voltage output vo and the phase difference α to change. The output
waveform vo in relation to core position is shown in Figure 2.7(b). When the core is
positioned in the middle, there is an equal coupling between the primary and secondary
windings, thus giving a null point or reference point of the sensor and the output voltage is
zero. When the core moves towards one secondary, more magnetic flux links with that coil
than the other. The voltage induced in that coil is therefore larger. The magnitude of the
output voltage is then larger than at the null position and is equal to the difference between
the two secondary voltages. The net output voltage is in phase with the voltage of that coil.

Figure 2.7(a),

Figure 2.7(b)

Assuming that there is no cross-coupling between the secondary coils, for mathematical
analysis of the operation of LVDTs in Figure 2.7(a), the induced voltages may be written as:

v1 = M1sip and v2 = M2sip (2.13)

where M1 and M2 are the mutual inductances between primary and secondary coils for a fixed
core position; s is the Laplace operator; and ip is the primary current.
At no load output voltage vo without any secondary current may be written as:

v = v − v = (M − M )si (2.14)

Writing vs = ip(R + sLp) and substituting ip in Equation 2.13 gives the transfer function of the
transducer as:

v s
v = (M – M ) R + sL (2.15)

If there is a current due to output signal processing, then describing equations may be
modified as:
v =R i (2.16)
is = (M1 – M2) sip/(Rs + Rm + sLs) (2.17)
𝑣 = 𝑖 𝑅 + 𝑠𝐿 − (𝑀 − 𝑀 )𝑠𝑖 (2.18)

Eliminating ip and is from Equations 2.16 and 2.18 results in a transfer function as:

v R ( M – M )s
v = (2.19)
(M – M ) + L L s + L (R + R ) + RL s + (R + R ) + R

The expression indicates a form of an amplitude-modulated signal. A demodulating system is

required in order to obtain a voltage-output signal that represents the core displacement. The
position of the core can be determined from the amplitude of the dc output, and the direction
of the movement of the core can be determined from the polarity of the dc. Both linear
motion and rotational motion LVDTs are available.
A phase-sensitive demodulator is commonly used to obtain signals proportional to
displacement as shown in Figure 2.8(a). They convert the ac outputs from the sensors into dc
values and indicate the direction of movement of the core from the null position.


Figure 2.8 (a) A phase-sensitive demodulator. (b) A typical output of the phase-sensitive
demodulator showing the relationship between output voltage vo and phase angle 𝛼 against
core position x.

2.3. Capacitive Displacement Sensors

The capacitive displacement sensors are variable-reactance devices. They transform the input
motion into the corresponding reactance by the changes in the capacitance values. The
capacitance is a function of the distance d (m) between the electrodes of a structure, the
surface area A (m2) of the electrodes and the permittivity ε of the dielectric between the
electrodes and it is given as:

C = f (d, A, ε) (2.20)

In capacitive-displacement sensors, there are three basic methods of producing changes in the
capacitance values by varying d, A, or ε thus there are variable distance displacement sensors,
variable area displacement sensors and variable dielectric displacement sensors.
Considering a parallel-plate capacitor, the capacitance can be expressed as:

C=ε ε (2.21

where εo is the dielectric constant for vacuum (8.85 pF/m), εr is the relative dielectric constant
and ε = ε ε .

2.3.1 Variable distance capacitor displacement sensors

A variable distance capacitor displacement sensor is made from two flat coplanar plates with
a variable distance x apart as illustrated in Figure 2.9.

Figure 2.9 A variable distance capacitive displacement sensor.

One of the plates of the capacitor moves to vary the distance x between the plates in response
to changes in a physical variable. The outputs of these transducers are nonlinear with respect
to distance x having a hyperbolic transfer function characteristic. Appropriate signal
processing must be employed for linearization.
Ignoring fringe effects, the capacitance of this arrangement can be expressed by:

C(x) = ε = ε ε (2.22)
x x

where ε = the dielectric constant or permittivity

εr = the relative dielectric constant (in air and vacuum (εr ≈ 1)
ε0 = 8.854188 x 10–12 F/m, the dielectric constant of vacuum
x = the distance of the plates in m
A = the effective area of the plates in m2
The capacitance of this transducer is nonlinear with respect to distance x, having a hyperbolic
transfer function characteristic. The sensitivity of capacitance to changes in plate separation
dC A
=−ε ε 2.23
dx x

From Equations 2.22 and 2.23, it follows that the percent change in C is proportional to the
percent change in x.
dC dx
=− (2.24)
C x

2.3.2 Variable area displacement sensors

The variable area displacement sensor may be sensed by varying the surface area of the
electrodes of a flat plate capacitor, as illustrated in Figure 2.10.

Figure 2.10 A variable area capacitive displacement sensor.

In this case, the capacitance would be:

𝜀 𝜀 (𝐴 − 𝑤𝑥)
𝐶= (2.25)

where w = the width

wx = the reduction in the area due to movement of the plate

2.3.4 Variable dielectric displacement sensors

In variable dielectric displacement sensors, the displacement may be sensed by the relative
movement of the dielectric material between the plates, as shown in Figure 2.11. The
corresponding equations would be:

𝐶 = 𝜀 𝑤[𝜀 𝑙 − (𝜀 − 𝜀 )𝑥] (2.26)

where ε2 = the relative permittivity of the dielectric material

ε1 = the permittivity of the displacing material

Figure 2.11 A variable dielectric capacitive displacement sensor.

2.3.5 Differential capacitive displacement sensor

Many different methods have been developed to reduce the inherent nonlinearity of moving-
plate configuration. One of such is the differential capacitive sensor.

Figure 2.12 A differential capacitive sensor.

These are essentially three terminal capacitors with one fixed center plate and two outer
plates. In some versions, the central plate moves in response to physical variable with respect
to two outer plates, and in others, the central plate is fixed and outer plates move.
The output from the center plate is zero at the central position and increases as it moves left
or right. The range is equal to twice the separation d. For a displacement d, one obtains
δC/C = δd /d (2.27)

2.4 Piezoelectric effects

A material is called piezoelectric, if it produces electricity, when subjected to a stress or
deformation. The material also shows the converse effect such that it deforms (strains)
proportionally to an applied electric field. The converse effect describes the actuating
function of a piezoelectric, where a controlled electric field accurately changes the shape of a
piezoelectric material. The direct effect described the sensing function of a piezoelectric,
where a controlled stress on a piezoelectric material yields a charge proportional to the stress.
The different piezoelectric effects are shown schematically in Figure 2.13.
Neglecting electrostriction and assuming that the material is under no stress the elastic strain
is given by:

xij = dmij Em (2.28)

where xij are components of elastic strain, dmij are the piezoelectric tensor components, and
Em is component of the electric field.
Equation 2.28 defines the converse piezoelectric effect, where induced strain is directly
proportional to the first power of the field. The direct piezoelectric effect is given by:

Pm = dmij X ij (2.29)

where Pm is the component of electrical polarization.

Equation 2.29 may be rewritten as:

Ei = gij Xj (2.30)

where Ei is the component of electric field arising due to the stress Xj and gij are piezoelectric
voltage coefficients.

The main parameters of a piezoelectric sensor are:

Curie temperature (oC), dielectric constant c(F/m), Young or elastic modulus E (N/m2),
piezoelectric charge coefficient, dij (C/N), and piezoelectric voltage coefficient, gij (Vm/N).
The first subscript (i) indicates the direction perpendicular to the electrodes, and the second
subscript (j) indicates the direction of the applied stress
dij = Charge density produced in direction i(V/m)/mechanical stress applied in direction
j(N/m2 )
gij = Charge density produced in direction i(C/m2)/mechanical stress applied in direction

Figure 2.13 Schematic representations of the (a) converse and (b) direct piezoelectric effects.
The different ways used to characterize the piezoelectric properties of materials are:
(1) The resonance technique which involves the measurement of the characteristic
frequencies when the suitably shaped specimen (usually ceramic) is driven by a sinusoidally
varying electric field. In this situation the behavior of a piezoelectric sample can be
represented by an equivalent circuit as shown in Figure 2.14(a). The schematic behavior of
the reactance of the sample as a function of frequency is represented in Figure 2.14(b). By
measuring the characteristic frequencies of the sample, the material constants including
piezoelectric coefficients can be calculated.

Figure 2.14 (a) Equivalent circuit of the piezoelectric sample near its fundamental
electromechanical resonance (b) electrical reactance of the sample as a function of frequency.

The simplest example of piezoelectric measurements by resonance technique relates to a

piezoelectric ceramic rod poled along its length. Its coupling coefficient k33 is expressed as a
function of its series and parallel resonance frequencies, fs and fp, respectively:

πf πf − f
k = tan (2.31)
2f 2 f

(2) The nonresonant techniques used at frequencies much lower than the fundamental
resonance frequency of the sample. These include both the measurement of piezoelectric
charge under the action of external mechanical force (direct effect) and the measurement of
electric field-induced displacements (converse effect).

The piezoelectric effects in materials have led to their use in electromechanical transducers
which convert electrical energy to mechanical energy, and vice versa. Transducers using the
direct piezoelectric effect are said to operate in the passive (sensor) mode. The transducers
using the converse piezoelectric effect are in active (actuator) mode. Passive mode usage
includes hydrophones, or underwater listening devices, microphones, gas igniters, dynamic
strain gages, and vibration sensors. Active mode applications include fish/depth finders, ink
jet printers, micropumps, and medical ultrasonic imaging.

2.4.1 Piezoelectric displacement sensor

The ceramic piezoelectric transducer relates the deformation of the piezoelectric sensor to the
output voltage via direct piezoelectric effect. A common configuration of the piezoelectric
displacement sensor is shown in Figure 2.15.

Figure 2.15 Schematic designs of the displacement sensor based on piezoelectric ceramic.
Arrows indicate the directions of ferroelectric polarization in the piezoelectric material.

Displacement of the cantilever end makes the beam to bend, leading to the mechanical stress
in the piezoelectric material and electric charge on the electrodes. The beams are poled in
opposite directions and cemented together with one common electrode in the middle and two
electrodes on the outer surfaces.
Bending of this bimorph causes the upper beam to stretch and the lower beam to compress,
resulting in a piezoelectric charge of the same polarity for two beams connected in series. To
the first approximation, the charge Q appearing on the electrodes is proportional to the
displacement ∆l of the end of the bimorph via Equation 2.32 where H, w, and L are the
thickness, the width, and the length of the bimorph, respectively, and e31 is the transverse
piezoelectric coefficient relating electric polarization and strain in a deformed piezoelectric
Q= e ∆l (2.32)

2.5 Michelson Interferometer displacement Sensor

Coherent light can exhibit interference effects however ordinary light generators, such as a
filament bulb or a fluorescent tube, are not coherent. They do not emit waves continuously
but in pulses from the individual atoms. The laser however gives coherent beams, in which
all the atoms that contribute light are oscillating in synchronization. Most interferometric
sensing devices use the classical Michelson laser interferometer which is shown in Figure
2.18a. The operations of laser interferometer sensor depend on interference of wave which is
difficult to achieve with ordinary light. The coherent monochromatic light of a wavelength
stabilized He–Ne laser is incident onto a beam splitter which splits the light into two equally
intense beams (1) and (2). They are reflected off of both the stationary and the translatable
mirror whose displacement x is to be measured. They are recombined at the splitter and

redirected toward a concave lens. The recombination creates an interference pattern between
the light beams. When the beams are in phase, there is a wave of greater amplitude. This is
called constructive interference. If the waves are in opposite phase the sum of the two waves
is zero, or of very small amplitude, and this is destructive interference. Since this is a light
beam, it implies that the illumination on the screen will change between bright and dark as
shown in Figure 2.18b.The coherence of the laser light makes the wavefronts of the beams
have a well-defined phase relation with respect to each other. The phase difference depends
on the difference between the optical path lengths of the two beams in arms 1 and 2. A
change of distance equal to half a wavelength between the mirrors will cause a change of the
interference from constructive to destructive or vice versa. The pinhole is used to define an
exact location of observation. For electronic measurement a photocell can be used to measure
this change by connecting the photocell through an amplifier to a digital counter. The number
of bright and dark cycles is fed into a counter, which then counts changes in optical path
length in integer multiples of λA/2. One peculiar advantage of the laser interferometer is its
capability of providing a genuinely digital output because it is based on the counting of wave
peaks. As can be seen in Figure 2.18a, the light reflected off both mirrors essentially retraces
its own path and is at least partially incident onto the active volume of the laser source (3),
thereby forming an external laser resonator which is able to detune the laser, effectively
modulating its output power as well as its wavelength. To avoid this effect, corner-cube
reflectors used instead of plane mirrors as well as optical isolators.



Figure 2.16 (a) Schematics of the basic Michelson interferometer. (b) Interference pattern

2.6 Ultrasonic Displacement Sensors
Ultrasound is an acoustic wave with a frequency higher than the audible range of the human
ear, which is 20 kHz. The basic principle for the use of ultrasound as a measurement tool is
the time-of-flight technique. The pulse-echo method is one example. In the pulse-echo
method, a pulse of ultrasound is transmitted in a medium. When the pulse reaches another
medium, it is totally or partially reflected, and the elapsed time from emission to detection of
the reflected pulse is measured. This time depends on the distance and the velocity of the
sound. When sound travels with a known velocity c, the time t elapsed between the outgoing
signal and its incoming echo is a measure of the distance d to the object causing the echo. It is
given as:

d = ct/2 (2.33)

Figure 2.17 shows a simple pulse-echo system. The transmitter and the receiver could be the
same device, but they are separated here for clarity.
The oscillator generates an electric signal with a typical frequency of 40 kHz. This electric
signal is transformed into mechanical vibrations of the same frequency in the transmitter.
These vibrations generate sound waves that are reflected by the object. The reflected sound
echo causes an electric signal in the receiver. The speed of sound in air at 1 atm pressure and
room temperature is 343 m s–1. The speed of sound is influenced by air pressure, air
temperature, and the chemical composition of air (water, CO2, etc.). For example, the speed
of sound is proportional to the square root of absolute temperature. However ultrasound
waves are robust against other disturbances such as light, smoke, and electromagnetic

Figure 2.17 Principle of a pulse-echo ultrasound system for distance measurements (Tr =
transmitter, Re = receiver).

Most ultrasound transducers convert electric energy to mechanical energy and vice versa. The
most common types of in-air transducers are:
1. Mechanical such as whistles and sirens,
2. Electromagnetic such as loudspeakers and microphones
3. Piezoelectric change dimensions when they are exposed to an electric field. They can be
act both as transmitter and receiver: when a piezoelectric material is forced to vibrate by a
sound pulse, it generates a voltage.
4. Electrostatic such as plate capacitor

5. Magnetostrictive transducer based on the phenomenon of magnetostriction, which means
that the dimensions of a ferromagnetic rod change due to the changes of an externally applied
magnetic field.

2.7 Magnetic Displacement Sensor

Magnetic sensors presented here use a permanent magnet, or an ac or dc powered
electromagnet. They are arranged to obtain a response indicating angular or linear
displacement. The sensors are caused to operate by a magnetic field, or the properties of the
sensor are derived from the use of a magnetic field. Types of magnetic sensors include
magnetostrictive, magnetoresistive, Hall Effect, and magnetic encoders. We will only discuss
the first two. Displacement refers to a change in position, rather than an absolute position.
Absolute reading displacement sensors are also commonly called position sensors.

2.8 Magnetostrictive Sensors

Application of a magnetic field to these magnetostrictive materials causes a strain, resulting
in a change in the size and shape of the material. Material exhibiting positive
magnetostriction will expand while those exhibiting negative magnetostriction contracts
when magnetized. Also exerting stress causes the magnetic properties (permeability,
susceptibility) to change. A magnetostrictive displacement sensor uses a ferromagnetic
element, such as iron and nickel that display the property called magnetostriction, to detect
the location of a position magnet that is displaced along its length. The position magnet is
attached to a member whose position is to be sensed, and the sensor body remains stationary,
see Figure 2.20. The position magnet moves along the measuring area without contacting the
sensing element.

Figure 2.18 Magnetostrictive sensor with position magnet.

The element is considered to have a collection of tiny permanent magnets, called domains.
Interaction of an external magnetic field with the domains causes the magnetostrictive effect
as shown in Figure 2.19. The magnetic domains when aligned with magnetic field, H, causes
dimensional changes of the element.

Figure 2.19 Magnetic domains showing orientation in absence and presence of magnetic
field, H.

In a magnetostrictive displacement sensor, a ferromagnetic wire or tube called the waveguide
is used as the sensing element. A mechanical torsion occurs at a point along a
magnetostrictive wire at the location of the axial magnetic field when an electric current, I, is
passed through the wire. The axial magnetic field is provided by a small permanent magnet
called the position magnet as shown in Figure 2.20.

Figure 2.20 Operation of magnetostrictive position sensor.

The torsional mechanical wave launched at this location travel both toward and away from
the pickup. The wave traveling along the wire toward the pickup is detected when it arrives at
the pickup. The time measured between when the current pulse is applied to when it is
detected by the pickup represents the location of the position magnet.

2.9 Magnetoresistive Sensors

Magnetoresistance (MR) is a phenomenon exhibited by certain magnetic materials. The
electrical resistance of such materials decreases when a magnetic field is applied
perpendicular to the current flow (see Figure 2.23).

Figure 2.21 Magnetoresistance.

The resistance decreases as the magnetic flux density increases, until the material reaches
magnetic saturation. The rate of resistance decrease is less as the material nears saturation.
In the presence of a magnetic field that is parallel to the current, the resistance increases with
increasing magnetic field strength. Sensitivity is greatest when the magnetic field is
perpendicular to the current flow. The MR effect is due to two factors: a reduction in forward
carrier velocity as a result of the carriers being forced to move sideways as well as forward,
and a reduction in the effective cross-sectional area of the conductor as a result of the carriers
being crowded to one side. A position magnet brought close to a single MR sensing element

causes the resistance change to be maximum as the magnet passes over center of the element
and then reduces until the magnet is past the element. The resistance changes according to:

Resistivity = Voltage / (carrier density x carrier velocity) (2.34)

2.10 Optical Encoder Displacement Sensors

Optical encoders are devices which use light as the means to transform movement into
electrical signals. The devices have two basic building blocks: a main grating and a detection
system. It is the position of one with respect to the other that is detected. In Figure 2.22a four
tracks are required and the moving head has four apertures as shown in position 7 along the
scale. The output represents the proportion of light area passing the aperture. Figure 2.22b
and c show the output of the aperture corresponding to the least significant track.
The linear binary digital encoder gives digital output which is a binary number that can be
proportional to the distance of the encoder relative to a fixed point. The encoder can be fixed
with an object moving relative to it. The principle of the simplest form of the optical encoder
is illustrated in Figure 2.23. A glass strip is printed with a pattern of the form shown having
alternately opaque and transparent lines. At one edge, the pattern is comparatively fine, and
the size of each unit determines the resolution of the device. The smallest change of distance
that can be sensed is the width of one block or bar. The next strip contains blocks or bars of
double the width of the first, again alternately opaque and transparent. The next strip in turn
has bars that are twice the width of its predecessor and so on. The number of strips
determines the number of binary digits in the output and the number of increments of position
that can be detected. For example, if the pattern consists of four strips, then the maximum
number of increments of position is 24 = 16 which is not likely to be of practical use except
for specialized purposes. For eight strips, however, the number of resolvable positions is 28 =
256, and for 16 strips, the number is 65536.
A photocell is used for each track of the strip so that light from a source on the other side of
the encoder strip will pass through the transparent sections to the appropriate photocell.

Figure 2.22 (a) Absolute encoders using a natural binary code of four digits. (b) The output of
the aperture of the least significant track. (c) The binary digit obtained after squaring the raw
output signal.

Figure 2.23 The arrangement of a optical encoder.

Digital Angular-Position Encoder

Figure 2.24 The arrangement of digital angular-position encoder

2.11 Proximity Sensors

They are used to sense the proximity of an object relative to another object. They usually
provide a on or off signal indicating the presence or absence of an object.
Inductance, capacitance, photoelectric, and hall effect types are widely used as proximity
sensors. Inductance proximity sensors consist of a coil wound around a soft iron core. The
inductance of the sensor changes when a ferrous object is in its proximity. This change is
converted to a voltage-triggered switch. Capacitance types are similar to inductance except
the proximity of an object changes the gap and affects the capacitance. Photoelectric sensors
are normally aligned with an infrared light source. The proximity of a moving object
interrupts the light beam causing the voltage level to change. Hall effect voltage is produced
when a current-carrying conductor is exposed to a transverse magnetic field. The voltage is
proportional to transverse distance between the hall effect sensor and an object in its
proximity. Proximity sensors should be able to measure the position and orientation (pose) of
an object’s surface.
The term “proximity,” quantified by “pose” in this chapter, refers to three geometrical
parameters x, u, and v as shown in Figure 2.25, where: x = the translation from the origin of
the sensor’s reference coordinate frame, Fp, to a target point on the surface of the object
measured along Xp. This target point defines the origin of the surface frame, Fru= the vertical
orientation of the object’s surface, defined as a rotation around Yp (of the translated frame),
thereby specifying the new Zr = the horizontal orientation of the object’s surface, defined as a
rotation around Zr, thereby specifying Yr


FIGURE 2.25 Proximity parameters.

1. Eddy current proximity sensors

Figure 2.26 Schematic of Eddy current Proximity Sensor

Eddy current proximity sensors are used to detect non-magnetic but conductive materials.
They comprise of a coil, an oscillator, a detector and a triggering circuit. Figure 2.26 shows
the construction of eddy current proximity switch. When an alternating current is passed thru
this coil, an alternative magnetic field is generated. If a metal object comes in the close
proximity of the coil, then eddy currents are induced in the object due to the magnetic field.
These eddy currents create their own magnetic field which distorts the magnetic field
responsible for their generation. As a result, impedance of the coil changes and so changes
the amplitude of alternating current. This can be used to trigger a switch at some pre-
determined level of change in current.
Eddy current sensors are relatively inexpensive, available in small in size, highly reliable and
have high sensitivity for small displacements.

2. Inductive proximity switch

Electromagnetic (Inductive) proximity sensors respond to ferrous and nonferrous metal

objects. Figure 2.27 shows the construction of inductive proximity sensor. They will also
detect metal through a layer of non-metal. An Electromagnetic (inductive) sensor consists of
an oscillator circuit (the sensing part) and an output circuit including a switching device
(transistor or thyristor), all housed in a resin encapsulated body. An essential part of the
oscillator circuit is the inductance coil creating a magnetic field in front of the sensing face.
When the magnetic field is disturbed, the output circuit responds by either closing the output
switch (normally open version type NO) or by opening the output switch (normally closed
version type NC).
Electromagnetic (Inductive) proximity sensors generate an electromagnetic field and detect
the eddy current losses induced when the metal target enters the field. The field is generated
by the coil, which is used by a transistorized circuit to produce oscillations. The target, while
entering the electromagnetic field produced by the coil, will decrease the oscillations due to
eddy currents developed in the target. If the target approaches the sensor within the so-called
“sensing range”, the oscillations cannot be produced anymore: the detector circuit then
generates an output signal controlling a relay or a switch.

Figure 2.27 Inductive Proximity Sensor

2.12 Pneumatic Sensors

Figure 2.28 Working of Pneumatic Sensors

Pneumatic sensors are used to measure the displacement as well as to sense the proximity of
an object close to it. The displacement and proximity are transformed into change in air
pressure. Figure 2.28 shows a schematic of construction and working of such a sensor. It
comprises of three ports. Low pressure air is allowed to escape through port A. In the absence
of any obstacle / object, this low pressure air escapes and in doing so, reduces the pressure in
the port B. However when an object obstructs the low pressure air (Port A), there is rise in
pressure in output port B. This rise in pressure is calibrated to measure the displacement or to
trigger a switch. These sensors are used in robotics, pneumatics and for tooling in CNC
machine tools.

Chapter 3 - Pressure sensors

Pressure is defined as the normal force per unit area exerted by a fluid (liquid or gas) on any
surface. The actual pressure p referred to is one that will be developed at the base of the
liquid column due to its weight, which is given by Equation 3.1.

p = ρgh (3.1)

where ρ is the density of the liquid, g is the acceleration due to gravity, and h is the height of
the liquid column.

Pressure sensors are made of the sensing elements that undergo deformation thereby
producing displacements and strains when force act on it and a means to convert the
displacements and strains of the sensing element into a pressure readout. The basic
requirements for a pressure-sensing element are ability isolate two fluidic pressures (one to
be measured and the other one as the reference) and an elastic portion to convert the pressure
difference into a deformation of the sensing element. Pressure-sensing elements are grouped
as diaphragms, capsules, bellows, and tubes, as illustrated in Figure 3.1. Pressure sensors for
atmospheric pressure or higher can make use of both indirect and direct effects. The indirect
effects rely on the action of the pressure to cause displacement of a diaphragm, a piston or
other devices, so that an electronic measurement or sensing of the displacement will bear
some relationship to the pressure. The best-known principle is that of the aneroid barometer
in which the diaphragm is acted on by the pressure that is to be measured on one side, and a
constant (usually lower) pressure on the other side.

Figure 3.1Pressure-sensing elements: (a) flat diaphragm; (b) corrugated diaphragm; (c)
capsule; (d) bellows; (e) straight tube; (f) C-shaped Bourdon tube; (g) twisted Bourdon tube;
(h) helical Bourdon tube; (i) spiral Bourdon tube.

3.1 Aneroid barometers

The pressure sensors for atmospheric pressure or higher can make use of both indirect and
direct effects. The indirect effects rely on the action of the pressure to cause displacement of
a diaphragm, a piston or other device. The best-known principle is that of the aneroid
barometer. The diaphragm is acted on by the pressure that is to be measured on one side, and
a constant (usually lower) pressure on the other side. For electronic measurement, the
diaphragm acts on a displacement transducer. We shall discuss two types using the capacitive
and the variable reluctance displacement transducers.
(1) The type using the capacitive transducer is illustrated in Figure 3.2. The diaphragm is
insulated from the fixed backplate, and the capacitance between the diaphragm and the
backplate forms part of the resonant circuit of an oscillator. The pressure to be measured is
applied inside the capsule and atmospheric air or some constant pressure applied outside. The
movement of the diaphragm alters the capacitance between the diaphragm and a fixed plate,
and this change of capacitance can be sensed electronically. Variations in the capacitance

result in the variations of the resonant frequency of the oscillator. The formula relating
capacitance C, to spacing d, is given in Equation 3.2

ε A
C= (3.2)
where A = area (m2)
εo = permittivity (F/m)
d = spacing (m) capacitance

Figure 3.2 Aneroid capsule arranged for pressure measurement.

(2) Aneroid barometers using variable reluctance for sensing effect consist of a ferromagnetic
diaphragm. Its principle is illustrated in Figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3 An aneroid capsule using variable reluctance sensing system.

The movement of the diaphragm causes considerable changes in the reluctance of the
magnetic path, resulting in the variation of the inductance of the coil. The variable-reluctance
type of pressure gauge is normally used for highly large pressure differences, and obviously
cannot be used where diaphragms of more inert material are required. The method can also be
used for gases, and for a range of pressures either higher or lower than atmospheric pressure.
In linear-variable differential-transformer (LVDT) pressure sensors, the displacement of a
Bourdon tube or capsule is used to move a magnetic core inside a coil assembly to vary its

3.2 Piezoelectric pressure sensor
In one type piezoelectric pressure sensor using piezoelectric crystal, the strains associated
with the displacement of a diaphragm sensing element are converted into an electrical charge
output by a piezoelectric crystal.

Figure 3.4 Piezoelectric crystal detector coupled to a diaphragm for sensing pressure changes.

Another example of piezoelectric pressure sensor uses the polymer bimorph as a pressure
sensor is shown in Figure 3.5. A circular diaphragm composed of two oppositely poled
polymer films is clamped along its edges to a rigid surround, forming a microphone. The
voltage appearing on the electrodes is proportional to the applied pressure p by Equation 3.3.

3 d D
V= (1 − v)p (3.3)
16 ε h

where D and h are the diameter and thickness of the diaphragm, respectively, d 31 is transverse
piezoelectric coefficient, ε is low frequency dielectric constant and v is the Poisson. The
high d ⁄ε value for polymer sensors is advantageous to obtain higher voltage response.

Figure 3.5 Schematic designs of the pressure sensor based on piezoelectric polymer film.
Arrows indicate the directions of ferroelectric polarization in the piezoelectric material.

3.3 Capacitive Pressure Sensors

A commonly used two-plate capacitive pressure sensor is made up of a stationary electrode
formed by a deposit of a metal layer on a ceramic or glass substrate or fixed metal plate and a
flexible diaphragm that serves as the pressure-sensing element and as one electrode of a
capacitor, as shown in Figure 3.6. The flat circular diaphragm is clamped around its
circumference. The flexible plate bends into a curve by an applied pressure P. The bending is
proportional to the applied pressure P. The deformation of the diaphragm changes the gap

spacing that results in changes in capacitance. The vertical displacement y of this system at
any radius r is given by:

y = 3(1 − ν )(a − r )P/16Et (3.4)

where a = the radius of diaphragm

t = the thickness of diaphragm
E = Young’s modulus
v = Poisson’s ratio

Deformation of the diaphragm results in reduction of the average separation of the plates
thereby resulting in increase in the capacitance ∆C given by:

∆C/C = (1 − ν )a P/16Et (3.5)

where d is the initial separation of the plates and C is the capacitance at zero pressure.

Figure 3.6 A capacitive pressure sensor.

Differential pressure capacitor

Figure 3.7 Operating principles of capacitive pressure sensors. (a) Single capacitor design;
and (b) differential capacitor design.
In the differential capacitor design, the sensing diaphragm is located in between two
stationary electrodes. An applied pressure will cause one capacitance to increase and the
other one to decrease, thus resulting in twice the signal while canceling many undesirable
common mode effects. The principle of capacitive pressure sensors is illustrated in Figure

3.4 Piezoresistive Pressure Sensors.

Piezoresistive sensors (also known as strain-gauge sensors) are the most common type of
pressure sensor. Piezoresistive effect refers to a change in the electric resistance of a material
when stresses are applied. Piezoresistive materials when incorporated into diaphragms are
well suited for sensing the induced strains as the diaphragm is deflected by an applied
pressure. They are used to realize strain gauges. The sensitivity of a strain gauge is expressed
by its gauge factor, which is defined as the fractional change in resistance, ∆R/R, per unit

Gage factor = /ε (3.6)
where strain ε is defined as ∆L/L, or the extension per unit length. Two different situations
exist: (1) the strain is parallel to the direction of the current flow (along which the resistance
change is to be monitored); and (2) the strain is perpendicular to the direction of the current
The majority of piezoresistive pressure sensors existing today are realized by integrating the
strain gauges into the silicon diaphragm using integrated circuit fabrication technology. An
example of this class of silicon pressure sensors is shown in Figure 3.8.

Figure 3.8 A cut-away view of a typical silicon piezoresistive pressure sensor.

FIGURE 3.9 A signal-conditioning circuit for silicon piezoresistive pressure sensor.

3.5 Sea-bird SBE 50 Digital Oceanographic Pressure Sensor

The Sea-bird SBE 50 is a pressure sensor designed for use in commercial remotely operated
and autonomous underwater vehicles. It has the following specifications:
• fully submersible to 7000m, with a waterproof bulkhead connector;
• Titanium construction for corrosion-resistance and strength;
• accurate to 0.002%;
• analogue (0-5V) and 16Hz sampled RS-232C serial output;
• temperature compensation for varying water temperatures; and,
• internal amplification and calibration via its microcontroller.

It has a much higher accuracy and depth rating, and it features an inbuilt microcontroller for
calibration and direct RS-232C serial data communication. It can also be configured via
management software to average its output over multiple samples and to act passively rather
than actively. In passive mode it only returns the depth when queried, rather than
continuously (actively) at 16 samples per second. It is completely integrated package and a
simple plug-and-play depth pressure sensor for AUV and ROV designers to incorporate into
their vehicles.

Sea-bird SBE 50

Pressure Transducer – SenSym SX15GD2

Specifications and Features

SenSym SX15GD2, based on pictures from SenSym SX-series datasheet

The SX15GD2 low cost, gauge-type, air pressure transducer is designed to operate under
pressures from 0 to 15psig (101.325kPa to 206.842kPa i.e. 0m to 10m). As it is a gauge-type
pressure transducer it has an internal reference sealed at atmospheric pressure (101.325kPa)
resulting in a zero-point output when at sea level. The SX15GD2 transducer features low
power consumption for battery operation, a typical un-amplified accuracy1 of 0.2% and a
linear temperature response.

Compensation and Amplification Circuit

The circuit allows for both temperature-compensation and to amplify the 110mV span of the
SX15GD2 pressure transducer to a 0 to 4.9V linear. This circuit is adapted from the SenSym
SX-series datasheet and SenSym Application Note SSAN-16.

SX-series temperature compensation and amplifier circuit, colour-coded

The pink region is responsible for providing constant current excitation and temperature
compensation for the pressure transducer. The blue region is responsible for providing offset
compensation for the zero-point voltage, Voffset. The yellow and green regions provide
common mode-rejection and the final stage of amplification in order to scale the signal to the
desired output span of 0 - 4.9V.

3.6 Impact Subsea ISD4000 depth and temperature sensor

Impact Subsea ISD4000 sensor provides depth and temperature measurement with
exceptional accuracy and resolution. Optionally, the ISD4000 can also measure Heading,
Pitch & Roll. It is suitable for a large range of underwater applications; the ISD4000 can be
used with ROVs, AUVs, Hydro-graphic Survey, Construction, Positioning, and any other
task where accurate depth and temperature is required underwater.
The ISD4000 utilises the latest in temperature compensated piezo-resistive depth sensing
technology, to provide exceptional 0.01% full scale depth measurement accuracy. A highly
accurate RTD sensor is used to provide temperature to 0.01°C accuracy.

The Heading, Pitch and Roll readings are provided from integrated MEMs based
Magnetometers, Accelerometers and Gyroscopes. The MEMs based devices are fused
together to provide highly accurate and stable Heading, Pitch and Roll measurements.
Housed in a compact and lightweight titanium housing ensures that the ISD4000 is not only
at the forefront of sensor technology; but is built to withstand the most extreme underwater

ISD4000 Depth & Temperature Sensor


Serial Interface
The RS232 and RS485 interface is isolated from the supply and has in-line fused protection
on the serial lines. A prolonged transient voltage on these line will blow the surface mount

RS232 Wiring

RS485 Wiring

The RS485 termination resistor is software selectable. The digital 0V must be connected on
an RS485 interface, otherwise the voltage potential between one of the A+ or B- lines to
ground could reach a damaging level

3.6.1 Depth Sensor System

Due to hydrostatic pressure in water, the depth can be determined by measuring the outside
water pressure. An example depth sensor system is based on a Sensym SX15AD2 pressure
sensor. These sensors are specifically designed to be used with non-corrosive and non-ionic
media, such as air and dry gases. The absolute device has an internal vacuum reference and
an output voltage proportional to absolute pressure. Main advantages of this sensor are:
- Low power
- Low noise
- Low pressure
- High Resolution

Depth sensing works by the following steps:

1. Water goes in the downward facing tube and compresses the air in it. Due to the air
between water and sensor the sensor itself has no contact to the water.
2. The sensors signal is amplified and filtered by an electronic circuit. This circuit is shielded
and has an electronic filter in the power supply line to protect it from electro-magnetica
3. VO of the amplifier circuit is converted by the AD converter to a 10 Bit reading.
4. With the help of an onboard calibration table this reading could be translated to the actual
The circuit in Figure 3.10 enables both temperature compensation and to amplify the 110mV
span of the SX15GD2 pressure transducer to a 0-4.9V linear output capable of being directly
interfaced with the controller.

Figure 3.10 Circuit Diagram of the Depth Sensor Amplifier Board [Sensortechnics, 2004].

The Navman Depth 2100

The Navman Depth 2100 is a boat "echo sounder" system that provides forward and
downward sonar. Typically echo sounders are used to measure and/or map the ocean floor
and water depth below boats in open water environments. The Navman Depth 2100 system
has the following specifications:
• 0.4m to 180m depth measurement;
• 12V, 100mA power requirements;
• 0.05mV RMS at 60m electrical sensitivity;
• 36W RMS transmitter power;
• 200kHz, 1900pF, 600W transducer;
• 1Hz sampling speed; and,
• NMEA 0183 serial data input/output.

Navman Depth 2100

One Navman Depth 2100 system consists of two separate components; the Navman Depth
2100 controller; and, a through-hull transducer connected by Phono RCA connectors.

Chapter 4 - Accelerometer systems

Accelerometers are for sensing the quantities of acceleration, velocity and distance travelled.
The action of acceleration on a mass to produce force is the basis of all accelerometers. An
object under acceleration experiences a force according the equation F =ma where F is force
measured in Newton, m is mass in kilograms and a is acceleration in units of N/s 2. The use of
a mass, often termed an inertial mass, in this way is complicated by the effect of the
acceleration of gravity which causes any mass to exert a force its weight) that is directed
towards the centre of the Earth. The mass that is used as part of an acceleration sensor must
therefore be supported in the vertical plane, and the type of support that is used will depend
on whether accelerations in this plane are to be measured.
• Accelerometers are widely used in vibration and shock measurements, particularly in
studies of the effectiveness of packaging. This applies also to car crash testing and to
metering systems used to assess the performance of racing cars.

Figure 4.1 Measuring acceleration in one direction.

The acceleration of the mass causes a force equal to mass x acceleration which in turn
stretches or compresses the spring, and the amount of displacement is measured by any of the
usual methods. The sensing of force is done by measuring the displacement of the mass
against the restoring force of a spring. Figure 4.1 shows the sketch of a horizontal
accelerometer system in which acceleration in one direction only is to be measured. The
weight of the mass is supported on ball bearings, and the mass is held in the horizontal plane
by a spring. Acceleration in the chosen direction will cause the mass to be displaced against
the springs, extending or compressing the spring. The amount of linear movement will be
proportional to the force, so that any linear displacement sensor can be used to give an output
that is proportional to acceleration. Suitable transducers include potentiometers, capacitive
distance gauges, inductive gauges and LVDTs for the larger ranges of movement that are
possible. Sensors for acceleration that use this spring and displacement principle are
generally intended for the measurement of very small accelerations.
If the mass can be supported in a system of springs and three displacement sensors
connected, one for each axis of motion (two horizontal and one vertical), then the outputs can
be used to compute the magnitude and direction of an acceleration that can be in any

4.1 Servo-type accelerometer

The principle of a servo-type accelerometer is explained below (see Figure 4.2). As soon as
the shift of the beam caused by the acceleration α is detected by the deflection pickup, the
current i is generated by the servo-amplifier, which produces a torque to keep the beam at the
principle axis of the sensor. Since the torque and the current that generates the torque are
proportional to α, the acceleration can be measured using the current. The measurement

process forms a closed-loop system, so that the sensor is not only robust to disturbances, but
also achieves high measurement accuracy.

Figure 4.2 Servo-type accelerometer.

4.2 Inclinometer
Inclinometer is another inertial sensor that measures tilt angle to provide attitude information
(see Figure 4.3).

(a) (b)

Figure 4.3 (a) Dielectric-type inclinometer (front view) (b) digital inclinometer

The principle of servo-type inclinometers is the same as that of the servo-type accelerometer,
except that the beam in the accelerometer is replaced by a pendulum suspended from the β
supporting point in the sensor. When the sensor is placed on the inclined static surface of tilt
angle β, the pendulum takes the angle β against the principle axis of the sensor, assuming the
sensor has no force other than gravity acting on it. The sensor can, however, generate a
torque Tc = mgl sinβ > mglβ to keep the pendulum at the principle axis, then the tilt angle β
can be accurately measured using the torque (and consequently the current producing the
torque), where m and l are the pendulum mass and length of the pendulum to its mass center,
respectively. One must note, however, that such a sensor is essentially designed to measure
the tilt angles of static inclined surfaces. Thus, when applied to dynamic inclined surfaces,
the accelerations will affect the torque, making the sensor unreliable. An intelligent attitude
sensing system that overcomes such difficulty will be introduced later. Although application
is limited to static inclined surfaces with minute tilt angles, a dielectric-type inclinometer
employing electrodes and a bubble kept in an electrolyte can achieve high accuracies on the
order of 10–4°.

Figure 4.4 Dual-Axis Inclinometer

4.3 Gyroscopes
There are two broad categories: (1) mechanical gyroscopes and (2) optical gyroscopes.

4.3.1 Mechanical gyroscopes:

They operate on the basis of conservation of angular momentum by sensing the change in
direction of an angular momentum. There are many different types, which are:
1. Single degree of freedom gyroscopes: include the rate, rate integrating, spinning rotor
flywheel, electron, and particle gyros.
2. Two degree of freedom gyroscopes: incorporate the external gimbal types, two-axis
floated, spherical free-rotor, electrically suspended, gas-bearing free-rotor gyros.
3. Vibrating gyroscopes: include the tuning fork, vibrating string, vibrating shell,
hemispherical resonating, and vibrating cylinder gyros.
4. Continuous linear momentum gyroscopes: incorporate a steady stream of fluid, plasma, or
electrons, which tends to maintain its established velocity vector as the platform turns. One
typical example is based on a differential pair of hot-wire anemometers to detect the apparent
lateral displacement of the flowing air column.

The operating principle of all mechanical gyroscopes is based on the conservation of angular
momentum of a carefully constructed rotating body, as shown in Figure 4.5.

Figure 4.5 The gyroscope and its operation principle based on the angular momentum.

The angular momentum stabilizes the system. The angular momentum of a body will remain
unchanged unless it is acted upon by a torque. If the torque is orthogonal to the spin axis, it
cannot change the velocity, but it can change the direction in the same direction as the torque.
The spin axis always tries to align with the external torque. The angular momentum is
important since it provides an axis of reference. From Newton’s second law, the angular
momentum of a body will remain unchanged unless it is acted upon by a torque. The rate of
change of angular momentum is equal to the magnitude of the torque, in vector form as:

𝑇= (4.1)

where H = angular momentum (= inertia x angular velocity, I𝜔).

If a torque acts about the axis of rotation, it changes the angular velocity by:

𝑇= = 𝐼𝛼 (4.2)

where I = inertia about the spin axis

𝛼 = angular acceleration

If the torque is orthogonal to the spinning axis, it cannot change the magnitude of the angular
velocity vector, but it can change direction in the same direction as torque T; then:

𝑑𝐻 = 𝐻𝑑𝜃 (4.3)
where 𝜃 = angle of rotation.

Therefore, from Equations 4.1 and 4.3:

𝑑𝐻 𝐻𝑑𝜃
𝑇= = = 𝐻Ω (4.4)
𝑑𝑡 𝑑𝑡

where Ω is the precession rate or the angular velocity of the spinning wheel about the axis
normal to the plane of the spin and the input torque. Generally, the spin axis tries to align
with the external input torque.

These equations can be elaborated to describe the operating principles of mechanical gyros
by taking into account the angular momentum in x, y, and z directions, nutation, coriolis
accelerations, directions of other influencing torques and linear forces, etc. Here, the
operation of the well-known flywheel gyroscope will be described as the basis for further
discussions on inertial navigation systems.

4.3.2 Optical gyroscopes

They are based on the inertial properties of light instead of Newton’s law of motion. They
operate on the Sagnac effect, which produces interferometer fringe shift against the rotation
rate. In this case, two light waves circulate in opposite directions around a path of radius R,
beginning at source S.

4.4 Inertial Navigation Systems

Sketch of three-axis platform Inertial Navigation Systems is shown in Figure 4.6.

Figure 4.6 Sketch of a three-axis platform Inertial Navigation Systems, INS using gimbals.

Another type of INS is the strapdown system. The use of a strapdown system eliminates the
need for gimbals. The gyros and accelerometers are mounted rigidly on the structure of the
vehicle, and the measurements are referenced to the local axes of roll, pitch, and yaw. The
gyros measure the movement of angles in the three axes in short time intervals (e.g., 100
samples per second) to be processed by the computer. The computer uses this information,
together with the accelerometer outputs, for predicting navigation axes. A schematic block
diagram of the strapdown system is shown in Figure 4.7. The controlling action is based on
the sensing components of acceleration of the vehicle in known spatial directions, by
instruments which mechanize Newtonian laws of motion. The first and second integration of
the sensed acceleration determine velocity and position, respectively.

Figure 4.7 schematic block diagram of the strapdown system

A typical INS includes a set of gyros, a set of accelerometers, and appropriate signal
processing units.

4.5 Velocity Measurement

An accelerometer is an electromechanical device that measures acceleration.
The accelerometer measures the linear acceleration of the robot along (two) three mutually
orthogonal axes on the robot frame. The measured value naturally incorporates the gravity
vector needing to be compensated. The SerAccel v5 is a 3-axis accelerometer with a simple
serial interface. Figure 4.8 shows how to get speed and distance by integrating over time.

Figure 4.8 From Acceleration to Distance

The ISA500 provides exceptionally accurate and long range underwater distance
measurement capability. Optionally the ISA500 can also provide Heading, Pitch, Roll and
Temperature readings. Designed to measure distance to the seabed (as an underwater
Altimeter) the ISA500 can also be used in a number of underwater applications where a
distance requires being measured or monitored.

1. Overview

ISA500 (Forward Looking Titanium Housing) ISA500 (Right Angle Delrin® Housing)

2. Dimensions

All dimensions are in mm.

Serial Interface
The RS232 and RS485 interface is isolated from the supply and has in-line fused protection
on the serial lines. A prolonged transient voltage on these lines will blow the surface mount

RS232 Wiring

Note: RS232 will not function if the digital 0V pin is not use as the RS232 ground.

RS485 Wiring
The RS485 termination resistor is software selectable.

The digital 0V must be connected on an RS485 interfaces, otherwise the voltage potential
between one of the A+ or B- lines to ground could reach a damaging level

Chapter 5 - Photosensors

Photosensors are classiffied according to the physical quantity that the light affects. The main
classes are photoresistors, photovoltaic materials, and photoemitters.

5.1 Photoemitters

The photoemissive cell is a transducer that converts modulated light into an AC signal. It was
first used for converting the film soundtrack audio into an electrical signals.
A simple type of photoemissive cell is illustrated in Figure 5.1. The cell is contained in an
evacuated enclosure and it is made up of a nickel rod anode with a nickel sheet cathode
coated with a photoemissive material such as caesium. It is a vacuum device, because the
photoemissive material oxidizes instantly and violently in air, thus preventing any
photoemission. The photoemissive action causes the release of electrons into the surrounding
vacuum when the material is struck by light. The emitting surface is termed the photocathode.
The anode is at a more positive voltage than the photocathode and this makes the cell to be
used as part of a circuit in which current will flow when light strikes the photocathode. The
current that flows is proportional to the amount of energy carried by the light beam.

Figure 5.1 A simple photoemissive cell.

The photoemissive cell is used in a circuit of the type shown in Figure 5.2, with a voltage
supply that is often in the region of 25-100V between anode and cathode. The current through
the cell can be used directly or as shown in the circuit having a load resistor in series with the
cell and a voltage amplifier to amplify the voltage signal. This is particularly useful when the
incoming light is modulated that produce an AC signal as output. The current through a
typical cell is of the order of a microamp, so requires a large load resistors and a considerable
amount of amplification. For a DC output a current amplifier is used rather than a load
resistor and voltage amplifier.

Figure 5.2 A photormissive cell in a circuit with a load resistor and a voltage amplifier

5.2 Photoresistors and photoconductors

These are of semiconductor materials that have only few free electrons or holes in their
normal state. The effect of light separates more electrons from holes and allowing both types
of particles to move through the material and carry current. This increases its conductivity
and reduces resistance. Thus the two names can be synonymous used. The effect is always
that the material has high resistance in the absence of light, and the resistance drops when the
material is illuminated. The most common form of photoconductive cell is the cadmium
sulphide cell, based on the material used for the photoconductor and it is often referred to as
an LDR (light dependent resistor). The cadmium sulphide is deposited in a zigzag thread
pattern on an insulator, and then encapsulated in a transparent resin or encased in glass to
protect the cadmium sulphide from contamination by the atmosphere as shown in Figure 5.3.
It withstands a considerable range of temperature and finds its main application in control
units, in particular for vaporizing oil-fired boilers and in fire detecting equipment.

Figure 5.3 A photoconductive cell or LDR using a cadmium sulphide track.

Figure 5.4 A typical ORPI2 industrial application circuit.

The peak response at the yellow-orange region of the spectrum makes this LDR is
particularly useful for detecting the presence of a flame.


A photodiode is a type of photosensor constructed like any other diodes, using a silicon
semiconductor, but enclosed in a transparent material that permits light to reach the junction.
The incident light falling on the semiconductor junction causes separation of electrons and
holes making the junction to conduct. This alters the amount of reverse current that flows
with the diode reverse biased. As a reverse current diode it has small amplitude and its
sensitivity is quoted in terms of µA of current per mW/cm2 of incident power. For the normal
range of illuminations, this corresponds to currents of 1nA at no perceptible illumination to
1mA, at a reverse bias of -20 V. The current to illumination graph is reasonably linear, and its
response time is around 250 us, making the device suitable for modulated light beams that
carry modulation into the video signal region.

Figure 5.5 Symbol

5.4 Light transducers

The conversion of electrical energy into light has been performed mainly by using the
electrical energy to heat a coil of wire to a high temperature so that it gives out light. The
light spectrum that is obtained usually depends on the temperature of the object. This
produces incandescent light sources with practical limitations that result in the light that is
biased to the red. The gas-discharge lamps were developed producing a variety of light
sources of very different types much more efficient than the incandescent lamp. The original

types of gas-discharge devices used gases such as neon at low pressure requires that high
voltages in the range 1-15 kV to operate. Examples are the familiar neon signs. The
fluorescent tube in Figure 5.6 is another type of discharge tube but incorporates two energy
conversions in series. The conversion from electrical to light energy is made by a discharge
through mercury vapour at a pressure less than atmospheric that results in light that is mostly
in the violet and ultraviolet range. The tube is coated on the inside with a phosphor material
that acts as a frequency-changer. The violet/ultraviolet light from the mercury discharge
causes energy changes in the atoms of the phosphor material. When these changes are
reversed, the energy is given out again as light in the normal range of visible light.

Figure 5.6 Conventional switch starting circuit for a fluorescent tube with inductor and power
factor capacitor.

5.5 Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

These are solid-state current-to-light transducers. They are semiconductor diodes in which he
voltage drop for conduction is comparatively large. When an electron meets a hole in the
diode junction, the two combine and release energy that can be radiated if the junction is
transparent. The germanium and silicon diodes release only a small amount of energy that
corresponds to infrared, and absorbed in the non-transparent material while compound
semiconductors like gallium phosphide or gallium arsenide phosphide, give radiation in the
visible range and are transparent and allow the light to escape. They have a high forward
voltage of about 2.0 V and a very small peak reverse voltage of about 3.0 V. The intensity of
illumination from them depends fairly linearly on the forward current, which can range from
2 to 30 mA, depending on the physical size of the unit and the brightness required.

5.6 Liquid crystal displays (LCD)

Liquid crystals are not necessarily liquids, or crystals, but the name was given to certain types
of organic materials because of their remarkable chemical structure. A crystal is an
arrangement of atoms with a precise order that governs the behaviour of the material; it is
hard, has a high melting point, very strongly bonded neighbours, comparatively simple
chemical structure, and often polarizes light.
These organic materials exhibit some sort of order and contain hundreds of thousands of
atoms, with enough interaction to arrange the units into a structure and polarizes light very
strongly. One of which is cholesterol, the fatty material in the bloodstream.
The types of liquid crystal material which are of interest in electronics are those whose long
chains can be aligned in an electrostatic field obtained by placing a voltage between two
conductors. The liquid crystal materials are nonconductive, so that making the chains align in
a field like this causes no current to flow. A liquid crystal display consists of sets of

electrodes with the liquid crystal material between them, one transparent enclosing wall and a
reflective backplate Figure 5.7

There is a sheet of polarizing material over the transparent wall. External light passes through
both the polarizing sheet and the liquid crystal material and is reflected from the back-plate if
the crystal is not aligned. When a voltage is applied between the two electrodes, the crystal
will become polarizing and the already polarized light will not pass to be reflected. This
makes the affected area look dark. The contrast between the dark area and the brighter parts
that have not been polarized becomes greater as the illumination of the cell becomes stronger.

Figure 5.7 A LCD structure

Chapter 6 - Temperature Sensors
6.1 Heat and temperature
Heat is a physical quantity whose amount is measured in the usual energy units of joules. It is
one of the many forms of energy. The amount of heat in an object cannot be measured, rather
changes of heat content that take place, when there is a change of temperature or a change of
physical state, is measured. Temperature is a measure of the level of heat for a material
whose physical state has remained unchanged
The temperature sensors depend on changes that take place in the materials as their
temperatures change. Electrical to thermal energy transducers make use of the heating effect
of a current through a conductor, but transducers for thermal to electrical energy conversion
are not so direct, and will require a temperature difference to operate.

6.2 The bimetallic temperature sensor

The simplest type of thermal sensor is the bimetallic strip formed when two metal strips of
differing thermal expansion are bonded together by riveting or welding. Thermal sensing is
important for the detection of effects as diverse as fire, overheating, or temperature control of
a freezer. Any change in the temperature of the strip causes one metal to expand more than
the other causing the strip to bend. In the absence of external forces, it will take the shape of
an arc with the metal of higher expansivity on the outer side of the arc. The bimetallic effects
can be used in two ways: either as an actuator or as a temperature measuring system. The
basic principle of a bimetallic strip is shown in Figure 6.1

Figure 6.1 A linear bimetallic strip bent when heated.

As an actuator the mechanical bending produced when the temperature of the actuator
changes can then be used to actuate an electromechanical switch or be part of an electrical
circuit itself. The conventional type of bimetallic strip element is found in some thermostats,
but for greater sensitivity the strip is very often arranged into a spiral form.
As a temperature measuring device, the bimetallic element, is used to determine the ambient
temperature if the degree of bending can be measured. The advantage of this system is that
the amount of bending can be mechanically amplified to produce a large and more easily
measurable displacement.

Assuming the initial curvature 1/R0 to be zero and that the deflection and the thickness of the
bimetallic strip are less than 10% of the length of the strip, the geometrical relationship
between the radius R of the strip and the deflection d at its mid-point is given by:

d = L2/2R (6.1)

The analysis of the stress distribution and the deflection of an ideal bimetallic strip has
derived a theory for bimetallic strips. Applying this theory and assuming that the initial
curvature the strip1/R0 at temperature T0 is zero and the thicknesses of the two component
layers are taken to be equal, the equation for the curvature radius of a bimetallic strip
uniformly heated from T0 to T in the absence of external forces is given by:

1 3 (α − α )(T − T ) (T − T )
= =k (6.2)
R 2 t t

t = t1 + t2 = total thickness of the strip
L = length of the strip
R = radius of the strip
α1 and α2 = Coefficients of expansion of the two elements: (1) low expansive material and (2)
high expansive material
d = deflection
The constant k = (α − α ) is known as flexivity or specific curvature. Flexivity can be
defined as the change of curvature of a bimetal strip per unit of temperature change
multiplied by thickness. Rearranging Equation 6.2 gives
k= R (6.3)

From Equation 6.1 and 6.2 results

d= (T − T ) (6.4)
2 t

6.3 Thermocouples
There are three thermoelectric phenomena. They are the Seebeck, Peltier, and Thomson
effects but only the Seebeck effect converts thermal energy to electric energy and results in
the thermocouple voltage used in thermometry. The Seebeck effect occurs between pairs of
points in any individual electrically conducting material when a temperature difference
occurs between them. This resulting emf is termed the absolute Seebeck emf. The
measurement sensitivity (or volts per unit of temperature) of the Seebeck effect of any
thermoelectrically homogeneous portion of a thin individual conducting material is referred
to as the absolute Seebeck coefficient. The thermocouple is frequently used as the sensing
element in a thermal sensor or switch. It is often represented as a pair of dissimilar thermo-
elements joined by two junctions in a closed circuit. One junction, at temperature Tm, is the
measuring junction; the other, at temperature Tr, is the reference junction. The net Seebeck
emf is proportional to the temperature difference between the two junctions and to a relative
coefficient for the paired material.
The difference between the Seebeck emfs of two thermoelements A and B of a thermocouple
with their measuring junction at temperature, Tm, and their physical reference temperature,
Tr, is their relative Seebeck emf, EAB(T), and their corresponding relative Seebeck coefficient
is given as:

σ ( T , T ) = σ (T , T ) − σ (T , T ) (6.5)

This voltage will be zero if the junctions are at the same temperature, and will increase as the
temperature of one junction relative to the other is changed until a peak is reached. The shape
of the typical characteristic is shown in Figure 6.2, from which you can see that the
thermocouple is useful only over a limited range of temperature due to the non-linear shape

of the characteristic and the reversal that takes place at temperatures higher than the transition

Figure 6.2 (a) Construction of a thermocouple using copper and constantan alloy.

Figure 6.2 (b) Thermocouple characteristic showing the typical curvature and transition point

The Seebeck effect theory which thermocouple uses leads to an equation for EMF:

E = a + bT + cT (6.6)

where a, b and c are constants for the types of metals used in the thermocouple and T is the
temperature difference between them. If the cold junction is held at 0°C, then the EM F
equation becomes:

E = αT + βT (6.7)

where α and β are measured constants for the pair of metals, and T is the temperature
difference. For temperatures below the transition point α is usually small, so that the EMF is
almost directly proportional to temperature difference.

6.4 Resistive Thermometers
One common way to measure temperature is by using Resistive Temperature Detectors
(RTDs). These electrical temperature instruments provide highly accurate temperature

All metallic conductors exhibit a change of resistivity when their temperature changes
resulting to a change of resistance. As temperatures rise, the electric resistance of the metal
increases. As temperatures drop, electric resistance decreases. RTDs use this characteristic as
a basis for measuring temperature. Each metals used for sensing elements (platinum, nickel,
copper) has a different amount of relative change in resistance per unit change in
temperature. A wire with uniform cross-sectional area A, length l and resistivity ρ will have
resistance R given by:

R= (6.8)

When the temperature rises from 0℃ to θ℃ the length, area and resistivity increase. The
linear expansivity of most metals is much greater than their temperature coefficient of
resistivity so that the changes in dimensions affect resistance only to a negligible extent. This
allows the use of the temperature coefficient of resistivity as if it were the temperature
coefficient of resistance. The formula for resistance change is therefore:

R = R (1 + αθ) (6.9)

where R is resistance at temperature θ, R is resistance at 0°C, ρ is resistivity, α is

temperature coefficient of resistivity and θ is temperature difference.
The larger the temperature coefficient, the greater the change in resistance for a given change
in temperature. Of the commonly used RTD metals, nickel has the highest temperature
coefficient, 0.00672, while that of copper is 0.00427. The α value of the sensor is calculated
using the equation:

R −R
α= (6.10)
100°C × R

where R0 = the resistance of the sensor at 0℃

R100 = the resistance of the sensor at 100℃

The temperature coefficient of resistance gives a measure of a resistance thermometer’s

sensitivity. It is defined as the element’s change in resistance per degree C change in
temperature per ohm of sensor resistance over the range of 0°C to 100°C. The units for the
coefficient are ΩΩ-1℃
The actual change in resistance per degree C per ohm is largest at –200°C and decreases
steadily as the use temperatures increase.
There are many constructions of RTDs. Figure 6.3 shows the Standard Platinum Resistance
Thermometers (Secondary SPRTs). In the wire-wound configuration, sensitive portion of an
RTD, called an element, is a coil of small-diameter, high-purity wire, usually constructed of
platinum, copper, or nickel.
In operation, the measuring instrument applies a constant current through the RTD. As the
temperature changes, the resistance changes and the corresponding change in voltage is
measured. Used for low-velocity pipelines, tanks, or air temperature measurement.

Figure 6.3 The Standard Platinum Resistance Thermometer

For measurement purposes, the resistance sensor is connected to a measuring bridge, along
with a set of dummy leads whose temperature also changes (Figure 6.4).

Figure 6.4 The electrical circuit of platinum resistance thermometer using dummy leads to
compensate for the change of resistance of the leads to the measuring element.

6.5 Thermistors

Thermistors are temperature-sensitive resistors which primarily exhibits a change in electric

resistance with a change in body temperature. Depending on the type of material system used,
a thermistor can have either a large positive temperature coefficient of resistance (PTC
device) or a large negative temperature coefficient of resistance (NTC device). The PTC
thermistors are of s two types.

The silicon PTC thermistors most common used in the compensation of silicon
semiconductor devices and circuits and the switching-type PTC thermistors typically applied
for are over-temperature protection, current limiting, and self-regulated heating.
The resistance–temperature characteristics of NTC thermistors are nonlinear and approximate
the characteristics exhibited by intrinsic. The NTC thermistor has an approximately a linear
function between the logarithm of resistance and its inverse absolute temperature. This
nonlinear resistance–temperature characteristic causes the temperature coefficient of
resistance of an NTC thermistor to change with temperature. Despite the nonlinear
resistance–temperature characteristic of an NTC thermistor, good linearity of the
conductance–temperature and resistance–temperature characteristics can be achieved using
thermistor–resistor networks. The use of a resistor in series with a thermistor results in a
linear conductance network, such as a voltage divider. The current obtained in response to a
voltage applied to the network is linear with temperature.
Two major categories of NTC thermistors exist. Bead-type thermistors have platinum alloy
lead wires sintered into the body of the ceramic.

NTC thermistors can be constructed from semiconducting materials with values of
temperature coefficients that are usually much larger than the (positive) temperature
coefficients of resistors.

The energy dissipated as heat in a thermistor connected to an electric circuit causes the
thermistor body temperature to rise above the ambient temperature of its environment. The
applicable heat transfer equation is:

dH dT
= P = E I = δ(T − T ) + cm (6.11)
dt dt

where dH/dt = P = ETIT = Rate of thermal energy or heat supplied to the thermistor
δ = Dissipation constant
Ta = Ambient temperature
δ(T – Ta) = Rate of heat loss to the surrounding environment
c and m = specific heat and mass of the thermistor respectively
cm(dT/dt) = Rate of heat absorbed by the thermistor
ET and IT are the steady-state thermistor voltage and current, respectively.

Solving Equation 6.11 when P is constant gives:

P δ
T=T + 1 − exp − t (6.12)
δ cm
And the steady state solution when t >> cm/δ becomes:

P = E I = δ(T − T ) (6.13)

For negligible self-heating the thermistor power, P → 0, and Equation 6.11 gives:

dT δ
=− (T − T ) (6.14)
dt cm

where Ta = Ambient temperature

τ = cm/δ = Thermal time constant

T = T + (T − T )exp − (6.15)
where Ti = Initial thermistor body temperature

Figure 6.5 shows an NTC thermistor temperature sensing circuit using of an operational
amplifier. The sensitivity can be adjusted by altering the feedback ratio.

Figure 6.5 An NTC thermistor temperature sensing circuit using of an operational amplifier

Chapter 7 - Velocity transducers
The linear velocity of an object is defined as the time rate of change of position of the object.
It is a vector quantity, meaning it has a direction as well as a magnitude, and the direction is
associated with the direction of the change in position.
The rotational velocity (or angular velocity) of an object is defined as the time rate of change
of angular position, and it is a measure of how fast an object is turning.
Applications for velocity measurement include:
1. Controlling the speed at which metal stock is fed into a machine tool. If the metal is fed too
quickly the result could be premature tool wear or it could even lead to machine failure.
Feeding the material too slowly will reduce the yield of the machine tool.
2. Measuring the approach speed of a robotic tool onto its target.
3. Monitoring the speed of a generator in an electric power station.
4. An airport radar system measuring the speed of an approaching aircraft using the Doppler
5. Measuring an automobile’s wheel speed in order to provide feedback to an antilock brake

7.1 Linear velocity transducers

One type of velocity transducer is based on a linear generator. When a coil cuts the magnetic
field lines around a magnet, a voltage is induced in the coil, and this voltage is dependent on
the following relation:

𝑒 ∝ 𝐵𝐿𝑉 (7.1)
where ei = induced voltage
B = magnetic field strength
L = length of wire in the coil
V = speed of the coil relative to the magnet.

This relation is used as the basis for linear velocity transducers, called LVTs, and a schematic
is shown in Figure 7.1. The working displacement ranges are from 0.5 in. to 24 in., and
typical sensitivities are from 40 mV/ips (inches per second) to 600 mV/ips.

Figure 7.1 Velocity transducers (LVT).

7.2 Laser interferometer velocity transducer
This uses the light interference principles. Figure 7.2 shows the setup used by Michelson to
demonstrate light interference. The clear glass slab C is called a compensating plate. It has
the same dimensions and orientation as the 45o mirror in order to make the light paths in glass
equal along the two arms. This condition is necessary when a white-light source is used.
A beam of monochromatic light is split into two beams. One beam is directed onto a
stationary mirror. The other beam is directed onto a moving target. The observer sees the
superposition of the two beams. As the mirror moves in one direction, summation of the
waves of the two beams will alternately reinforce and cancel each other. The amount of
motion for one cycle of light intensity variation is the wavelength of the light being used. The
frequency of these light-to-dark transitions is proportional to the velocity of the moving
target. Lasers are used as the light source and the basic principle gives velocity parallel to the
laser beam.

Figure 7.2 The basic components of a Michelson interferometer.

7.3 Angular velocity transducers

Angular velocity measurement often applied to rotating machinery such as pumps, engines,
and generators. In rotating machinery applications revolutions per minute (rpm) is the most
familiar unit of measurement. It involves the generation of a pulse train or sine wave whose
frequency is proportional to angular velocity. Some methods used to measure angular
velocity include ac and dc generator tachometers, optical sensors, variable reluctance sensors,
rotating magnet sensors. The measurements are relative because one is measuring the motion
between two bodies. Angle in rotational motion corresponds to distance in linear motion, thus
rotational speed is defined as the angle through which a shaft turns per second. The
relationship between linear distance(s) and velocity(v) and the angle turned(θ) and the
angular velocity(ω) for a rotating wheel on a surface is given as: s = r x θ and v = r x ω where
r is the radius of the wheel. The angular acceleration is defined as the rate of change of
angular velocity. The sensors for angular motion are also very closely related to those that are
used for linear motion.

7.4 Electrical (dc and ac) Tachometer Generator
The simplest form of sensor, which can also act as a transducer, for angular velocity
measurement is the AC or DC generator. For sensing and measurement purposes only a
minimum of power must be used, so that a miniature generator called the tacho-generator is
normally used. The tacho-generacor, usually abbreviated to tacho, is a more precision-built
version of an AC or DC generator.
A basic dc generator is made up of a moving conductor in a magnetic field to generate
electromotive force is shown in Figure 7.3.

Figure 7.3 Basic dc generator

A dc tachometer generator produces a voltage signal proportional to the rotational velocity of

the input shaft generator as in Figure 7.4.

Figure 7.4 Permanent magnet dc tacho-generator

The AC generator usually has rotating magnets with output from stator coils so as to avoid
the need for slip-rings. The frequency of the output signal is proportional to the revolutions
per second of the shaft that is coupled to the tacho as shown in Figure 7.5 so that a frequency-
sensitive detector can be used to give a DC output proportional to angular frequency. The
tacho can be used over a wide range of angular velocity values, and if the frequency detector
is reasonably linear then the readings can be of high precision. In a simple two-phase motor,
the ac voltage eex is applied to one phase of the motor and the measurement is taken off the
other. Typical operating frequencies are 60 Hz and 400 Hz. This carrier frequency should be

5 to 10 times the required frequency response of the ac generator tachometer. The direction of
travel is determined by the phase of the signal with opposite directions being 180oout of
phase. In some applications there need to make a mechanical coupling between the tacho and
the revolving shaft. This is a drawback.

Figure 7.5 Ac tacho-generator

7.5 Optical velocity sensors

Optical methods of angular velocity detection employ an electric voltage to light transducer
such as light-emitting diode (LED) and a light to electric voltage transducer such as a light-
sensitive diode. The light-emitting diode (LED) emits light which is detected by the light-
sensitive diode.
A slotted disk on a rotating shaft is placed in the axis of paired transducers in as shown in
Figure 7.6. Each slot or slit will allow the light to pass through the disk to the detector which
generates a pulse train whose rate is proportional to the angular velocity.

Figure 7.6 A slotted disk provides one pulse output for each rotation.

Chapter 8 - Force and Stress Sensors
The measurement of forces must be considered in a situation where they do not produce any
acceleration or form a system of forces in static equilibrium. The forces experienced by a
body can be classified into two categories: internal, where the individual particles of a body
act on each other and external. Forces cause deformations and/or displacements at the points
of support. Forces cause a body to be in a state of tension, compression, or shear. The basis
for force measurement results from the physical behavior of a body under external forces.
When a metal is loaded in uniaxial tension, uniaxial compression, or simple shear it will
behave elastically until a critical value of normal stress (S) or shear stress (τ) is reached, and
then it will deform plastically. Stress (S or τ) and strain (e or γ) in the elastic region are
defined as indicated in Figure 8.1.

v=− (8.1)

Poisson’s ratio (v) is the ratio of transverse (ε2) to direct (ε1) strain in tension or compression.
The relation between stress and strain in the elastic region is given by Hooke’s law:

S = Eε (tension or compression) (8.2)

τ = Gγ (simple shear) (8.3)

where E and G are the Young’s and shear modulus of elasticity, respectively.

Figure 8.1 stress and strain for: (a) uniaxial tension; (b) uniaxial compression; (c) simple
shear [1].

Force may be measured by the following means:

1. Balancing the unknown force against a standard mass through a system of levers.
2. Measuring the acceleration of a known mass.
3. Equalizing it to a magnetic force generated by the interaction of a current-carrying coil and
a magnet.
4. Distributing the force on a specific area to generate pressure, and measuring the pressure.
5. Converting the applied force into the deformation of an elastic element.

Force sensors can be used to monitor the forces generated by a machining process in order to
detect a tool failure or to diagnose the causes of failure in controlling the process parameters,

in evaluating the quality of the surface produced and to monitor impact forces in the
automotive industry. Some force sensors are based on measuring a deflection caused by the
force. For example the elastic properties of helical springs can be applied successfully as
force sensors that transform the load to be measured into a deflection. The relation between
force and deflection in the elastic region is demonstrated by Hooke’s law. A special class
force measuring techniques is defined as load cells. Load cells are used in electronic
weighing systems. A load cell is a force transducer that converts force or weight into an
electrical signal. Basically, the load cell uses a set of strain gauges, usually four connected as
a Wheatstone bridge circuit. The output of the bridge circuit is a voltage that is proportional
to the force on the load cell. This output can be processed directly, or digitized for
processing. Load cells are various constructions. A set is made up of a rigid outer structure, a
fluid medium for measuring the applied force, and the measuring gauge. These include the
hydraulic load cell, pneumatic load cells. Some other sensing techniques art are strain gauge
load cells and the piezoelectric transducers.

8.1 Hydraulic and Pneumatic load cells

These load cells use very stiff outer structures with an internal cavity filled with a fluid
(liquid or air). Application of a load increases the fluid pressure, which can be read off an
accurate gauge calibrated in unit of force.

Figure 8.2 Different types of load cells [2].

8.2 Strain Gage Load Cells

The strain gage load cell consists of a structure that elastically deforms when subjected to a
force and a strain gage network that produces an electrical signal proportional to this
deformation. Examples of this are beam and ring types of load cells. Strain gauges use a
length of gauge wire to produce the desired resistance in the form of a flat coil. It is fixed
properly to a member to be strained. The resistance between the member under test and the
gauge itself must be at least 50 MΩ. When force is applied the member is stressed, and the
resulting strain deforms the strain gauge and the cross-sectional area diminishes. This causes
an increase in resistivity of the gauge that is easily determined. In order to measure very
small strains, it is necessary to measure small changes of the resistance per unit resistance
(∆R/R). A strain gauge exhibits a resistance change ∆R/R that is related to the strain in the
direction of the grid lines by the expression in Equation 8.4 (where Sg is the gauge factor or
calibration constant for the gauge).

=S ε 8.4

Figure 8.3 Configuration of a single element metal-foil resistance strain gauge

8.2.1 Beam-Type Load Cell

Beam-type load cells are commonly employed for measuring low-level loads A simple
cantilever beam (see Figure 8.4(a)) with four strain gauges, two on the top surface and two on
the bottom surface (all oriented along the axis of the beam) is used as the elastic member
(sensor) for the load cell. The gauges are wired into a Wheatstone bridge as shown in Figure

Figure 8.4 Beam-type load cells: (a) a selection of beam-type load cells (elastic element with
strain gauges); and (b) gauge positions in the Wheatstone bridge

The load P produces a moment M = Px at the gauge location (x) that result in the following

6M 6Px
ε = −ε = ε = ε = = (8.5)
Ebh Ebh

where b is the width of the cross-section of the beam and h is the height of the cross-section
of the beam. Thus, the response of the strain gages is obtained from Equation 8.6.

∆R ∆R ∆R ∆R 6S Px
=− = =− = (8.6)
R R R R Ebh

The output voltage Eo from the Wheatstone bridge, resulting from application of the load P, is
obtained from Equation 8.7 if the four strain gages on the beam are assumed to be identical

E = 6S PxE ⁄Ebh (8.7

The range and sensitivity of a beam-type load cell depends on the shape of the cross-section
of the beam, the location of the point of application of the load, and the fatigue strength of the
material from which the beam is fabricated.

8.2.2 Ring-Type Load Cell

Ring-type load cells have a proving ring as the elastic element as shown in Figure 8.5. The
ring element can be designed to cover a very wide range of loads by varying the diameter D,
the thickness t, or the depth w of the ring. Either strain gauges or a linear variable-differential
transformer (LVDT) can be used as the sensor.
The load P is linearly proportional to the output voltage Eo. The sensitivity of the ring-type
load cell with an LVDT sensor depends on the geometry of the ring (R, t, and w), the material
from which the ring is fabricated, and the characteristics of the LVDT. The range of a ring-
type load cell is controlled by the strength of the material used in fabricating the ring.

Figure 8.5 Ring-type load cells: (a) elastic element with strain-gauge sensors; (b) gauge
positions in the Wheatstone bridge; and (c) elastic element with an LVDT sensor.

8.3 Piezoelectric Force Transducer

A piezoelectric material exhibits a phenomenon known as the piezoelectric effect. When a
force is applied on this material they deform, and an electrical potential will be developed
within the distorted crystal lattice. The magnitude and polarity of the induced surface charges
are proportional to the magnitude and direction of the applied force and it is given as:

Q = dF (8.8)

where d is the charge sensitivity of the crystal. The force F causes a thickness variation of ∆t
in the expression:

F= ∆t (8.9)

where A is area of crystal, t is thickness of crystal, and Y is Young’s modulus.

stress Ft
Y= = (8.10)
strain A∆t

The charge at the electrodes gives rise to a voltage E0 = Q/C, where C is capacitance in farads
between the electrodes and C = εA/t where ε is the absolute permittivity.

dF dtF
E = = (8.11)
C Aε

The voltage sensitivity = g = d/ε in volt m/N can be obtained as:

E = g F = gtP (8.12)
where P = pressure

Figure 8.6 Expansion modes of operation for a simple plate as a piezoelectric device [4].

8.4 Capacitive Force Transducer

Highly sensitive force transducer can be constructed because the capacitive transducer senses
very small deflections accurately. When force is directed onto a membrane its elastic
deflection is detected by a capacitance variation. This capacitance variation is used to
measure force. An electronic circuit converts the capacitance variations into dc-voltage
The capacitance sensor consists of two metal plates separated by an air gap. The capacitance
C between terminals is given by the expression:

C=ε ε (8.13)

where C = Capacitance in farads (F)

ε = Dielectric constant of free space
ε = Relative dielectric constant of the insulator
A = Overlapping area for the two plates
d = Thickness of the gap between the two plates

The advantages of the capacitive transducer are (1) that moving of one of its plate relative to
the other requires an extremely small force to be applied (2) its stability and sensitivity is not
influenced by pressure or temperature of the environment.

8.5 Stress Measurement Method
The principles used for stress measurements can be demonstrated and implemented using a
simple cantilever beam setup as shown in Figure 8.7.

Figure 8.7 Simple schematic diagram of cantilever beam.

For simplicity, the measurement of stress on the beam is limited to a single point and the
deflection angle, θ as depicted in Fig. 8.8, which shows how an applied force, F can be
converted to strain, ε, and corresponding resistance change using dual strain-gauges for

Figure 8.8 Cantilever beam under load

The cantilever beam assumes a semicircular shape because of the applied force, the top
surface of the beam elongates and the bottom compresses. For greater accuracy two identical
strain-gauges are mounted on either side of the beam at a fixed point location such that either
upward or downward application of vertical force causes one strain-gauge to stretch and the
other to compress. The equation for stress is as follows:

𝜎= (8.14)

where σ is the stress, F is the applied force, L is the distance from the gauge to the applied
force, W is the width of the cantilever, and t is the thickness of the cantilever (see Fig. 8.8).
Stress (σ) is expressed in Newtons per square meter. The applied force is measured in
Newtons. The related equation for strain is

𝜀= (8.15)
This shows that the Stress (σ) at a given point is directly proportional to the applied force
magnitude, F and the force distance, L (or the bending moment FL); and indirectly
proportional to the beam width, W and the square of the beam thickness, t. With all distance
measurements in meters and the force in newtons, the Stress (σ) will be found in units of
newtons per square meter. Since modulus of elasticity, E in newtons per square meter is
known for the beam material, this allows the Strain (ε) in meters per meter to be calculated.
Once this is accomplished, the resulting increase or decrease in the resistance of the strain-
gauges can be determined.

Chapter 9 - Intelligent and Smart sensors
The development of microprocessors has brought about a new breed of sensors termed
intelligent and smart sensors.

A smart sensor is a combination of a sensing element, an analog interface circuit, an analog to

digital converter (ADC) and a bus interface in one place.
There are many new smart materials that are gaining more applications as sensors, especially
in distributed sensing circumstances. Of these, optic fibers, piezoelectric, and
magnetostrictive materials have found applications. Within these, optic fibers are most used.
Optic fibers can be used to sense strain, liquid level, force, and temperature with very high
resolution. They have found numerous applications in smart structure applications such as
damage sensors, vibration sensors, and cure-monitoring sensors. These sensors use the
inherent material (glass and silica) property of optical fiber to sense the environment. Figure
9.1 illustrates the basic principle of operation of an embedded optic fiber used to sense
displacement, force, or temperature. The relative change in the transmitted intensity or
spectrum is proportional to the change in the sensed parameter.

Figure 9.1Principle of operation of optic fiber sensing.

9.1 Micro- and Nanosensors

Microsensors (sometimes also called MEMS) are the miniaturized version of the
conventional macrosensors with improved performance and reduced cost. Silicon
micromachining technology has helped the development of many microsensors and continues
to be one of the most active research and development topics in this area.

An intelligent sensor is the sensor that has one or several intelligent functions such as self-
testing, self-identification, self-validation, self-adaptation, etc.

These sensors are miniature sensors that are monolithically integrated on a single chip with a
processor. The advantages of such integration methods include:
• Improved signal-to-noise ratio
• improved linearity and frequency response
• improved reliability.

9.2 Integrated Circuit Smart Capacitive Position Sensors

A typical microstructure capacitive displacement sensor is created on a substrate and consists
of two electrodes with capacitance, Cx. To make Cx independent of lateral and rotational
movements of the system parallel to the electrode surface the smaller electrode is surrounded
by a guard electrode. The smaller electrode moves infinitesimally, δ relative to the other
electrodes as show in Figure 9.2.

The width of the guard is x and d is the distance between the electrodes.

For signal processing, the capacitor Cx is connected to an inverting operational amplifier and
oscillator. Taking into account the parasitic capacitors and offsetting effects, for linear
external movements the following equation can be written:

𝑀 = 𝑚𝐶 + 𝑀 (9.1)

where m is the unknown gain and Moff is the unknown offset. By determining the reference
Cref, the offset, Moff, the final measurement for the position, Pos, can be defined as:

𝑀 −𝑀
𝑃 = (9.2)
𝑀 −𝑀

And the sensor capacitance Cx can be simplified to:

𝐶 = (9.3)
𝑑 + ∆𝑑

where Ax is the area of the electrode, d0 is the initial distance between them, 𝜀 is the dielectric
constant, and ∆𝑑 is the displacement to be measured. For the reference electrodes, the
reference capacitance may be found by:

𝐶 = (9.4)

with Aref the area and dref the distance. Substitution of Equations 9.3 and 9.5 into Equations
9.1 and 9.2 yields:
𝑃 =𝑎 +𝑎 (9.5)

Pos is the value representing the position if the stable constants a1 and a0 are known. The
constant a1 = Aref /Ax becomes a stable constant so long as there is good mechanical matching
between the electrode areas. The constant a0 = (Aref d0)/(Ax dref) is also a stable constant for
fixed d0 and dref. These constants are usually determined by repeated calibration over a
certain time span.

Figure 9.2 A typical smart capacitive position sensor.

9.3 Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)
MEMS Microphone is a solid state IC that senses voice in the same way like electret
condenser microphone. It is basically an acoustic transducer that has a reliable monolithic
structure and high tolerance to mechanical vibrations. The principle of transduction depends
on coupled capacitor charge between a fixed plate (back-plate) and a movable plate
(membrane). The charge is caused by the sound wave that passes through the acoustic holes
to vibrate the membrane thereby modulating the air gap comprised between the two
conductive plates. The back chamber is the acoustic resonator. The ventilation hole allows
the air compressed in the back chamber to flow out and consequently causing the membrane
to move back.

9.4 Tilt and Motion Smart MEMS sensors

These are commonly known as accelerometers, (e.g. MEMSIC 2125). MEMSIC 2125 is a
dual-axis accelerometer. Its basic principle of operation is based on differential thermal
sensing of a heated gas bubble in a hermetically sealed IC. The MEMSIC sensor is
constructed in a standard CMOS process and has no moving parts thus it eliminates the
traditional problems of stiction (static friction) and particle issues associated with the
capacitive-based MEMS IC accelerometers. It is a smart MEMS sensor by incorporating
signal processing and conditioning using built-in analog/digital ASIC designs to deliver
stable digital outputs in the form of Pulse-Width Modulated (PWM) clock stream where the
duty-cycles are directly proportional to induced accelerations. MEMSIC transducers can
reliably detected static (gravity and tilt) and dynamic (vibration and motion) accelerations.

Figure 9.2 Thermal-based dual-axis accelerometer

The MX2125 has a chamber of gas with a heating element in the center and four temperature
sensors around its edge as shown in Figure xx. When the accelerometer is level, the hot gas
pocket rises to the top-center of the chamber, and all the sensors will measure the same
By tilting the accelerometer, the hot gas will collect closer to some of temperature sensors.
By comparing the sensor temperatures, both static acceleration (gravity and tilt) and dynamic
acceleration can be detected. The MX2125 converts the temperature measurements into
signals (pulse durations) that are easy for microcontrollers to measure and decipher.

Dual-axis tilt and acceleration sensing for autonomous robot navigation
Tilt-sensing Human Interface Device
Motion/lack-of-motion sensor for alarm system
Single-axis rotational angle and position sensing

Chapter 10 - Actuators
Actuation devices are the components of the robot that make it move. Best known actuators
are electric motors, servos and stepper motors and Shape Memory Alloys (SMA). Shape
Memory Alloys are metal alloys that shrink or enlarge depending on how warm they are.
Actuators are basically the muscle behind a mechatronics system that accepts a control
command (mostly in the form of an electrical signal) and produces a change in the physical
system by generating force, motion, heat, flow, etc. Normally, the actuators are used in
conjunction with the power supply and a coupling mechanism as shown in Figure 10.4. The
power unit provides either AC or DC power at the rated voltage and current. The coupling
mechanism acts as the interface between the actuator and the physical system. Typical
mechanisms include rack and pinion, gear drive, belt drive, lead screw and nut, piston, and

10.1 Classification of Actuators

Actuators can be classified based on the type of energy. They are essentially of electrical,
electromechanical, electromagnetic, hydraulic, or pneumatic type. The new generations of
actuators include smart material actuators, microactuators, and nanoactuators. Actuators can
also be classified as binary and continuous based on the number of stable-state outputs.
A relay with two stable states is a good example of a binary actuator. Similarly, a stepper
motor is a good example of continuous actuator. When used for a position control, the stepper
motor can provide stable outputs with very small incremental motion.

10.2 Principle of Operation

10.2.1 Electrical Actuators
Electric actuators perform the transition of converting electricity to motion through an electric
motor. Electrical switches are the choice of actuators for most of the on-off type control
action. Switching devices such as diodes, transistors, triacs, MOSFET, and relays accept a
low energy level command signal from the controller and switch on or off electrical devices
such as motors, valves, and heating elements. For example, a MOSFET switch is shown in
Figure 10.1. The gate terminal receives the low energy control signal from the controller that
makes or breaks the connection between the power supply and the actuator load. When
switches are used, the designer must make sure that switch bounce problem is eliminated
either by hardware or software.

Figure 10.1 n-channel power MOSFET.

There are DC-motors and AC-motors. The use of AC-motors is limited to high power
stationary industrial robots. Example AC-motor is shown below:

Figure 10.2 AC-motor

DC-motors are very easy to use, and can be made more effective if they have an efficient gear
ratio. Most motors used in robots need torque over top speed so a motor with a high gear ratio
could be more useful. The control of a DC motor can be split into two parts: speed and
Changing the direction a DC-motor turns can be simply done by reversing the polarity.
Both pairs of switches (S1A, S1B) and (S2A, S2B) will always switch together. This circuit
is called an H-bridge. In a real design the switches can be such components as relays, bipolar
transistors, FETs or the whole circuit could be an IC (without the motor). A very good way to
change the speed of a motor is to use a PWM (Pulse-width modulation) device.

Figure 10.3 H-bridge

10.2.2 Electromechanical Actuators
The most common electromechanical actuator is a motor that converts electrical energy to
mechanical motion. Motors are the principal means of converting electrical energy into
mechanical energy in industry. Broadly they can be classified as DC motors, AC motors, and
stepper motors. DC motors operate on DC voltage and varying the voltage can easily control
their speed.

Figure 10.4 A typical actuating unit.

They are widely used in applications ranging from thousands of horsepower motors used in
rolling mills to fractional horsepower motors used in automobiles (starter motors, fan motors,
windshield wiper motors, etc.). Although they are costlier, they need DC power supply. The
governing equation of motion of a DC motor can be written as:

T = J dω/dt + TL + Tloss

where T is torque, J is the total inertia, ω is the angular mechanical speed of the rotor, TL is
the torque applied to the motor shaft, and Tloss is the internal mechanical losses such as
AC motors are the most popular since they use standard AC power, do not require brushes
and commutator, and are therefore less expensive. AC motors can be further classified as the
induction motors, synchronous motors and universal motors according to their physical
construction. The induction motor is simple, rugged, and maintenance free. They are
available in many sizes and shapes based on number of phases used. For example, a three-
phase induction motor is used in large-horsepower applications, such as pump drives, steel
mill drives, hoist drives, and vehicle drives. The two-phase servomotor is used extensively in
position control systems. Single-phase induction motors are widely used in many household
The synchronous motor is one of the most efficient electrical motors in industry, so it is used
in industry to reduce the cost of electrical power. In addition, synchronous motors rotate at
synchronous speed, so they are also used in applications that require synchronous operations.
The universal motors operate with either AC or DC power supply. They are normally used in
fractional horsepower application. The DC universal motor has the highest horsepower-per-
pound ratio, but has a relatively short operating life.
The stepper motor is a discrete (incremental) positioning device that moves one step at a time
for each pulse command input. Since they accept direct digital commands and produce a
mechanical motion, the stepper motors are used widely in industrial control applications.
They are mostly used in fractional horsepower applications. With the rapid progress in low
cost and high frequency solid-state drives, they are finding increased applications.

Figure 10.5 Unipolar stepper motor.

Figure 10.5 shows a simplified unipolar stepper motor. The winding-1 is between the top and
bottom stator pole, and the winding-2 is between the left and right rotor poles. The rotor is a
permanent magnet with six poles resulting in a single step angle of 30o. With appropriate
excitation of winding-1, the top stator pole becomes a north pole and the bottom stator pole
becomes a south pole..
Now if the winding-1 is de-energized and winding-2 is energized, the rotor will turn 30 o.
With appropriate choice of current flow through winding-2, the rotor can be rotated either
clockwise or counterclockwise. By exciting the two windings in sequence, the motor can be
made to rotate at a desired speed continuously.

10.2.3 Electromagnetic Actuators

The solenoid is the most common electromagnetic actuator. A DC solenoid actuator consists
of a soft iron core enclosed within a current carrying coil. When the coil is energized, a
magnetic field is established that provides the force to push or pull the iron core. AC solenoid
devices are also encountered, such as AC excitation relay.
A solenoid operated directional control valve is shown in Figure 10.6. Normally, due to the
spring force, the soft iron core is pushed to the extreme left position as shown. When the
solenoid is excited, the soft iron core will move to the right extreme position thus providing
the electromagnetic actuation.
Another important type is the electromagnet. The electromagnets are used extensively in
applications that require large forces.

10.2.4 Hydraulic and Pneumatic Actuators

Hydraulic and pneumatic actuators are normally either rotary motors or linear piston/cylinder
or control valves. They are ideally suited for generating very large forces coupled with large
motion. Pneumatic actuators use air under pressure that is most suitable for low to medium
force, short stroke, and high-speed applications. Hydraulic actuators use pressurized oil that
is incompressible. They can produce very large forces coupled with large motion in a cost-
effective manner. The disadvantage with the hydraulic actuators is that they are more
complex and need more maintenance. The rotary motors are usually used in applications
where low speed and high torque are required. The cylinder/piston actuators are suited for
application of linear motion such as aircraft flap control. Control valves in the form of
directional control valves are used in conjunction with rotary motors and cylinders to control
the fluid flow direction as shown in Figure 10.6. In this solenoid operated directional control
valve, the valve position dictates the direction motion of the cylinder/piston arrangement.

Figure 10.6 Solenoid operated directional control

10.2.5 Smart Material Actuators

Unlike the conventional actuators, the smart material actuators typically become part of the
load bearing structures. This is achieved by embedding the actuators in a distributed manner
and integrating into the load bearing structure that could be used to suppress vibration, cancel
the noise, and change shape. Of the many smart material actuators, shape memory alloys,
piezoelectric (PZT), magnetostrictive, Electrorheological fluids, and ion exchange polymers
are most common. Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) are alloys of nickel and titanium that
undergo phase transformation when subjected to a thermal field. The SMAs are also known
as NITINOL for Nickel Titanium Naval Ordnance Laboratory. When cooled below a critical
temperature, their crystal structure enters martensitic phase as shown in Figure 10.7. In this
state the alloy is plastic and can easily be manipulated. When the alloy is heated above the
critical temperature, the phase changes to austenitic phase. Here the alloy resumes the shape
that it formally had at the higher temperature. For example, a straight wire at room
temperature can be made to regain its programmed semicircle shape when heated. That has
found applications in orthodontics and other tensioning devices. The wires are typically
heated by passing a current at very low voltage (2–10 V typical). The PZT actuators are
essentially piezocrystals with top and bottom conducting films as shown in Figure 10.8.
When an electric voltage is applied across the two conducting films, the crystal expands in
the transverse direction as shown by the dotted lines. When the voltage polarity is reversed,
the crystal contracts thereby providing bidirectional actuation. The interaction between the
mechanical and electrical behavior of the piezoelectric materials can be expressed as:

T = cES - eE
where T is the stress, cE is the elastic coefficients at constant electric field, S is the strain, e is
the dielectric permitivity, and E is the electric field.

Figure 10.7 Phase changes of Shape Memory Alloy.

Figure 10.8 Piezoelectric actuator.

One application of these actuators is as shown in Figure 10.9. The two piezoelectric patches
are excited with opposite polarity to create transverse vibration in the cantilever beam. These
actuators provide high bandwidth (0–10 kHz typical) with small displacement. Since there
are no moving parts to the actuator, it is compact and ideally suited for micro and nano
actuation. Unlike the bidirectional actuation of piezoelectric actuators, the electrostriction
effect is a second-order effect, i.e., it responds to an electric field with unidirectional
expansion regardless of polarity. Magnetostrictive material is an alloy of terbium,
dysprosium, and iron that generates mechanical strains up to 2000 microstrain in response to
applied magnetic fields. They are available in the form of rods, plates, washers, and powder.
Figure 10.10 shows a typical magnetostrictive rod actuator that is surrounded by a magnetic
coil. When the coil is excited, the rod elongates in proportion to the intensity of the magnetic
field established. The magnetomechanical relationship is given as:

Ε = SHσ + dH

where, ε is the strain, SH the compliance at constant magnetic field, σ the stress, d the
magnetostriction constant, and H the magnetic field intensity.

Figure 10.9 Vibration of beam using piezoelectric actuators.

Figure 10.10 Magnetostrictive rod actuator

10.2.6 Micro- and Nanoactuators
Microactuators, also called micromachines, microelectromechanical system (MEMS), and
Microsystems are the tiny mobile devices being developed utilizing the standard
microelectronics processes with the integration of semiconductors and machined
micromechanical elements. Another definition states that any device produced by assembling
extremely small functional parts of around 1–15 mm is called a micromachine.
In electrostatic motors, electrostatic force is dominant, unlike the conventional motors that
are based on magnetic forces. For smaller micromechanical systems the electrostatic forces
are well suited as an actuating force. Figure 10.11 shows one type of electrostatic motor. The
rotor is an annular disk with uniform permitivity and conductivity. In operation, a voltage is
applied to the two conducting parallel plates separated by an insulation layer. The rotor
rotates with a constant velocity between the two coplanar concentric arrays of stator

Figure 10.11 Electrostatic motor: 1-rotor, 2-stator electrodes.

10.2.7 Asynchronous motors

Asynchronous (or induction) motors are used for direct driven or variable speed drives for
most of the motor applications on a vessel. It has a rugged and cost efficient design, and low
maintenance costs. Physically it is constructed by a stator similar to the synchronous
machine. The rotor is constructed cylindrically, with short-circuited windings, normally not
connected to stationary equipment. Hence, the currents in the rotor windings are induced by
the magnetic flux in the air gap set up by the stator currents.
The equivalent diagram for the asynchronous motor is similar to a transformer with short
circuited secondary.

Figure 10.12 Equivalent diagrams for asynchronous motors.

For most of the calculations, one is not interested in detailed behavior of the rotor windings,
so the quantities in the rotor winding are referred to equivalent quantities at the stator side,
and hence one can take the ideal transformer equivalent out of the diagram, as shown in
Figure 10.12.

10.3 Selection Criteria
The selection of the proper actuator is more complicated than selection of the sensors,
primarily due to their effect on the dynamic behavior of the overall system. Furthermore, the
selection of the actuator dominates the power needs and the coupling mechanisms of the
entire system. The coupling mechanism can sometimes be completely avoided if the actuator
provides the output that can be directly interfaced to the physical system. For example,
choosing a linear motor in place of a rotary motor can eliminate the need of a coupling
mechanism to convert rotary motion to linear motion. In general, the following performance
parameters must be addressed before choosing an actuator for a specific need:
Continuous power output—The maximum force/torque attainable continuously without
exceeding the temperature limits
Range of motion—The range of linear/rotary motion
Resolution—The minimum increment of force/torque attainable
Accuracy—Linearity of the relationship between the input and output
Peak force/torque—The force/torque at which the actuator stalls
Heat dissipation—Maximum wattage of heat dissipation in continuous operation
Speed characteristics—Force/torque versus speed relationship
No load speed—Typical operating speed/velocity with no external load
Frequency response—The range of frequency over which the output follows the input
faithfully, applicable to linear actuators
Power requirement—Type of power (AC or DC), number of phases, voltage level, and
current capacity

10.4 Practical exercises:

1. Starting and speed control of series wound d.c. motor

Torque is produced in a d.c motor by the interaction of two circuits, armature and field. The
laminated steel core contain current-carrying copper wires of conductors is called the
armature winding. The magnetic poles and exciting winding surrounding a laminated steel
core of rectangular cross-section are called the field. Then a conductor carrying current is
placed in a magnetic field, there is a force acting in that conductor. The amount of torque
needed to turn the mechanical load on the motor shaft is developed from the two sources of
flux, the current in the field winding, and the current in the armature conductors:

Series Wound Motor


There are three general types of d.c. motor, and these are classified on the basis of the kind of
excitation used. They are Shunt motor, Series motor, compound motor.
The arrangement where an extremely low-resistance field winding of very few turns of heavy
wire is connected in series with the armature referred to as series-motor.
During starting period, an external resistance must be added to limit the current in the
armature circuit. This inserted armature resistance is in the form of a rheostat so that it man
by our generally as the motor comes up to speed.

Connect the motor as shown in the diagram. Care is to be taken that the motor load cannot be
a. Starting with the starting controller. Apply full excitation ot the eddy-current brake, close
switch A1 and bring the motor up to speed by means of the starting controller.
b. Speed behavior under load. Reduce the excitation of eddy-current brake in steps until a
speed of about 2000 rev/min. is attained.
Measure-armature current IA Speed n, Armature voltage Vm = constant

Enter the values measured in a table and draw the characteristic curves IA = f(n).

Armature g1 indicate armature current, Voltmeter g2 indicates the armature voltage

2. Determination of the characteristics of a synchronous machine


a) No-load characteristic F = f(I ), when I = 0, N = constant

a) Characteristics of short circuit I = f(I ), when E = 0, N = constant.
b) Load characteristic 𝐶 = f(I ), when I = const, N = const, Cos = const.
c) External characteristic 𝐸 = f(I), when I = const, N = const.
d) Regulator characteristics I = f(I), when 𝐸 = const, N = constant

a) No-load Characteristics

E = f(I ), when I = 0, N = Constant

See that the switch 2 is in the open position. Close the line contactor C and start the three
phase squirrel-cage rotor. Close the switch a2 and increase the current If in steps to 0.5A. after
that, reduce the current with Rf in steps from 0.5A to zero. Measure the no-load voltage Ec at
each step and each current If. Tabulate your results as below:

𝐼 (𝐴) 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0

Know that E = 4.44. z. f. k. ∅ (V).

Characteristic of short-circuit Isc = (I), when Eo = 0, N = constant.

Connect the terminals I, V, W in short circuit after ammeters in points 1, 2 and 3. Put the
field rheostat Rf to zero. (If = 0). Close the switches a1 and a2. Now adjust the field rheostat
Rf in steps slowly such that the line current I is approximately 3A. Quickly measure If and I.

𝐼 (𝐴)
𝐼 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.2 2.5

b) Load characteristics Etf (If) I = Constant

With resistors R1 and R2 apply the rated line current I = 2.2A, after that I=1,5A. Keep this
current I constant, take two characteristics. For every one characteristics, adjust the rheostat
Rf in steps and measure the field current If and terminal voltage Et, when I = constant.

𝐼 (𝐴)
𝐸 (𝑉)
I = 1.5A = constant
𝐼 (𝐴)
𝐸 (𝑉)

c) External Characteristics

Et = f(I) when If = constant, N = constant. Close switch a2 and open a1. Apply this excitation
until the volt Et is 220V. Keep the field current If constant. (Don’t adjust the field rheostat Rf).
Close a1 and increase the line current I with R1 and R2. Measure I and Et without changing Rf.

I(A) 1 1.5 1.75 2.2 2.4

d) Regulation Characteristics

The switch a1 is open. Without load apply excitation until Et is 22V. W1 = R1 and R2 change
the current 1 from 2.4A to zero. For every one step to R1 and R2 adjust the field rheostat at Rf
such that the terminal voltage Et = 220V will be constant. Measure 1 and If.

𝐼 (𝐴)

Record and calculation

1. Plot the no-load characteristics

2. Plot the short circuit characteristics on the same axes as the no-load characteristics.
3. Plot the load characteristics
4. Plot the external characteristics and calculate voltage variation
𝐸 −𝐸
𝐸= × (100%)

Chapter 11 - Signal Conditioning Devices and Operations

Transducers sense physical phenomenon such as rise in temperature and convert the
measurand into an electrical signal viz. voltage or current. Signals from transducers and
sensors do not usually have suitable characteristics for immediate use or further processing.
They may lack the amplitude, power, level, or bandwidth required, or may carry
superimposed interference that masks the desired information. Figure 11.1 shows various
signal conditioning operations which need being carried out. Signal conditioners, including
amplifiers, adapt sensor signals to the requirements of the receiver (circuit or equipment) to
which they are to be connected. The functions to be performed by the signal conditioner
derive from the nature of both the signal and the receiver. Commonly, the receiver requires a
single-ended, low-frequency (dc) voltage with low output impedance and amplitude range
close to its power-supply voltage(s). A typical receiver here is an analog-to-digital converter
(ADC). The signals given by a transducer may be nonlinear in nature or may contain noise.
Thus before sending these signals it is essential to remove the noise, nonlinearity associated
with the raw output from a sensor or a transducer. It is also needed to modify the amplitude
(low/high) and form (analogue/digital) of the output signals into respective acceptable limits
and form which will be suitable to the control system.

Figure 11.1 Signal conditioning operations

Signals from sensors can be analog or digital. Digital signals come from position encoders,
switches, or oscillator-based sensors connected to frequency counters. The amplitude for
digital signals must be compatible with logic levels for the digital receiver, and their edges
must be fast enough to prevent any false triggering. Large voltages can be attenuated by a
voltage divider and slow edges can be accelerated by a Schmitt trigger.
Analog sensors are either self-generating or modulating.
Self-generating sensors yield a voltage (thermocouples, photovoltaic, and electrochemical
sensors) or current (piezo- and pyroelectric sensors) whose bandwidth equals that of the
measurand. Modulating sensors yield a variation in resistance, capacitance, self-inductance or
mutual inductance, or other electrical quantities.
Modulating sensors need to be excited or biased (semiconductor junction-based sensors) in
order to provide an output voltage or current.
Impedance variation-based sensors are normally placed in voltage dividers, or in Wheatstone
bridges (resistive sensors) or ac bridges (resistive and reactance-variation sensors). The
bandwidth for signals from modulating sensors equals that of the measured in dc-excited or
biased sensors, and is twice that of the measurand in ac-excited sensors (sidebands about the
carrier frequency). Capacitive and inductive sensors require an ac excitation, whose
frequency must be at least ten times higher than the maximal frequency variation of the
measurand. Current signals can be converted into voltage signals by inserting a series resistor

into the circuit. Henceforth, we will refer to voltage signals to analyze transformations to be
performed by signal conditioners.

Signal conditioning system enhances the quality of signal coming from a sensor in terms of:

1. Protection
To protect the damage to the next element of system such as microprocessors, from the high
current or voltage signals.

2. Right type of signal

To convert the output signal from a transducer into the desired form i.e. voltage / current.

3. Amplification
To amplify or attenuate the signals to a right /acceptable level for the next element.

4. Noise
To eliminate noise from a signal.

5. Manipulation
To manipulate the signal from its nonlinear form to the linear form.

The dynamic range for a measurand is the quotient between the measurement range and the
desired resolution. For example, to measure a temperature from 0 to 100C with 0.1C
resolution, we need a dynamic range of at least (100 – 0)/0.1 = 1000 (60 dB).
Let us assume we have a 10-bit ADC whose input range is 0 to 10V; its resolution will be 10
V/1024 = 9.8 mV. If the sensor sensitivity is 10 mV/C and we connect it to the ADC, the 9.8
mV resolution for the ADC will result in a 9.8 mV/(10 mV/C) = 0.98C resolution! In spite
of having the suitable dynamic range, we do not achieve the desired resolution in temperature
because the output range of our sensor (0 to 1 V) does not match the input range for the ADC
(0 to 10 V). The basic function of voltage amplifiers is to amplify the input signal so that its
output extends across the input range of the subsequent stage.
In the above example, an amplifier with a gain of 10 would match the sensor output range to
the ADC input range. In addition, the output of the amplifier should depend only on the input
signal, and the signal source should not be disturbed when connecting the amplifier. These
requirements can be fulfilled by choosing the appropriate amplifier depending on the
characteristics of the input signal.

11.1 Amplification/Attenuation
Various applications require voltage amplitudes in range of 0 to 10 Volts. However many
sensors produce signals of the order of millivolts. This low level input signals from sensors
must be amplified to use them for further control action. Operational amplifiers (op-amp) are
widely used for amplification of input signals. The details are as follows:

11.1.1 Operational amplifier (op-amp)

Operational Amplifier is a basic and an important part of a signal conditioning system. It is
often abbreviated as op-amp. Op-amp is a high gain voltage amplifier with a differential
input. The gain is of the order of 100000 or more. Differential input is a method of
transmitting information with two different electronic signals which are generally
complementary to each other. Figure 11.2 shows the block diagram of an op-amp. It has five

terminals. Two voltages are applied at two input terminals. The output terminal provides the
amplified value of difference between two input voltages. Op-amp works by using the
external power supplied at Vs+ and Vs- terminals.

Figure11.2 A typical op amp (a) pin configuration (b) circuit symbol (c) equivalent circuit of
nonideal opamp connected in differential mode.

If one input terminal is connected to one output terminal as in Figure11.2d, the amplifier is
single ended; if this common terminal is grounded, the amplifier is single ended and
grounded; if the common terminal is isolated from ground, the amplifier is single ended and

floating. In any case, the output power comes from the power supply, and the input signal
only controls the shape of the output signal, whose amplitude is determined by the amplifier
gain, defined as

𝐺= (11.1)

The ideal amplifier would have any required gain for all signal frequencies. A practical
amplifier has a gain that rolls off at high frequency because of parasitic capacitances.
In general op-amp amplifies the difference between input voltages (V+ and V-). The output
of an operational amplifier can be written as

Vout = G * (V+ - V-) (11.1)a

where G is Op-amp Gain.

Amplification of input signal by using Op-amp

An operational amplifier is a very high gain amplifier having very high input impedance
(typically a few megohms) and low output impedance (less than 100 ohms). The basic circuit
is made using a difference amplifier having two inputs (plus and minus) and at least one
output. Figure 11.2 shows a basic op-amp unit.

11.1.2 Inverting Amplifier

The most widely used constant-gain amplifier circuit is the inverting amplifier, as shown in
Figure11.3. The output is obtained by multiplying the input by a fixed or constant gain, set by
the input resistor (Rin) and feedback resistor (Rf).

Figure 11.3 Inverting op-amp constant-gain multiplier.

The input signal is applied at the inverting terminal of the op-amp through the input
resistance Rin. The non-inverting terminal is grounded. The output voltage (Vout) is connected
back to the inverting input terminal through resistive network of Rin and feedback resistor Rf.
Now at node a, we can write,

𝐼 = 𝑉 /𝑅 (11.2)

The current flowing through Rf is also I1, because the op-amp is not drawing any current.
Therefore the output voltage is given by,

𝑉 = – 𝐼 𝑅 = – 𝑉 𝑅 /𝑅 (11.3)

Thus the closed loop gain of op-amp can be given as,

𝐺= 𝑉 /𝑉 = – 𝑅 /𝑅 (11.4)

The negative sign indicates a phase shift between Vin and Vout.

11.1.3 Non-Inverting Amplifier

Figure 11.4 Non-inverting constant-gain amplification using an Op-amp

Figure11.4 shows a configuration to amplify an input voltage signal. It has two registers
connected at node a. If we consider that the voltage at positive terminal is equal to voltage at
negative terminal then the circuit can be treated as two resistances in series. In series
connection of resistances, the current flowing through circuit is same. Therefore we can

(𝑉 − 𝑉 )/𝑅 = (𝑉 − 0) /𝑅 (11.5)

(𝑉 − 𝑉 )/𝑅 = 𝑉 /𝑅 (11.6)

𝑉 𝑅 +𝑅 𝑅
= = 1+ (11.6a)

Thus by selecting suitable values of resistances, we can obtain the desired amplified or
attenuated) output voltage for known input voltage. There are other configurations such:

11.1.4 Summing amplifier

Figure 11.5 (a) Summing amplifier; (b) virtual-ground equivalent circuit.

Mathematical expression is obtained as:

𝑉 =− 𝑉 + 𝑉 + 𝑉 (11.7)

11.1.5 Integrator

Figure 11.6 Integrator.

Mathematical expression is obtained as:

𝑣 (𝑡 ) = − 𝑣 (𝑡)𝑑𝑡 (11.8)

11.1.6 Differentiator circuit

Figure 11.7 Differentiator circuit.

Mathematical expression is obtained as:

𝑑𝑣 (𝑡)
𝑣 (𝑡) = −𝑅𝐶 (11.9)
11.1.7 Instrumentation Amplifier

Figure 11.8 Instrumentation Amplifier (IA)

Instrumentation Amplifier (IA) is a differential amplifier with very high input impedance. It
is used to amplify low-level signals prior to signal conditioning (e.g., filtering).

𝑣 𝑅 2𝑅
𝐴 = = 1+ (11.10)
𝑣 −𝑣 𝑅 𝑅

Figure 11.9 Input (a) and output (b) Stages of Instrumentation Amplifier

11.2 Filtering
Output signals from sensors contain noise due to various external factors like improper
hardware connections, environment etc. Noise gives an error in the final output of system.
Therefore it must be removed. In practice, change in desired frequency level of output signal
is a commonly noted noise. This can be rectified by suing filters. Following types of filters
are used in practice:
1. Low Pass Filter
2. High Pass Filter
3. Band Pass Filter
4. Band Reject Filter

11.2.1 Low Pass Filter

Low pass filter is used to allow low frequency content and to reject high frequency content of
an input signal. Its configuration is shown in Figure 11.10

Figure 11.10 Circuitry of Low Pass Filter (1) Simple (2) With Op-Amp

Figure 11.11 Pass band for low pass filter

In the circuit shown in Figure 11.10, resistance and capacitance are in series with voltage at
resistance terminal is input voltage and voltage at capacitance terminal is output voltage.
Then by applying the Ohm’s Law, we can write,

𝑉 = 𝑉 (11.11)

𝑉 = 𝑉 (11.12)
1 + 𝑗𝜔𝐶𝑅

From equation 11.11 we can say that if frequency of Input signal is low then 𝑗𝜔𝐶𝑅 would be
low. Thus 1/1+𝑗𝜔𝐶𝑅 would be nearly equal to 1. However at higher frequency 𝑗𝜔𝐶𝑅 would
be higher, then 1/1+𝑗𝜔𝐶𝑅 would be nearly equal to 0. Thus above circuit will act as Low
Pass Filter. It selects frequencies below a breakpoint frequency ω = 1/RC as shown in Figure
11.11. By selecting suitable values of R and C we can obtain desired values of frequency to
pass in.

11.2.2 High Pass Filter

These types of filters allow high frequencies to pass through it and block the lower
frequencies. The figure 11.12 shows circuitry for high pass filter.

Figure 11.12 Circuitry of High Pass Filter (1) Simple (2) With Op-Amp

Figure 11.13 Pass band for high pass filter

𝑉 = 𝑉 (11.13)

𝑉 = 𝑉 (11.14)
1 + 𝑗𝜔𝐶𝑅

From equation 11.13, we can say that if frequency of input signal is low then 1/𝑗𝜔𝐶 would be
high and thus would be nearly equal to 0. For high frequency signal, 1𝑗𝜔𝐶 would be

low and would be nearly equal to 1. Thus above circuit will act as High Pass Filter. It

selects frequencies above a breakpoint frequency ω = 1/RC as shown in Figure 11.13. By

selecting suitable values of R and C we can allow desired (high) frequency level to pass

11.2.3 Band Pass Filter

In some applications, we need to filter a particular band of frequencies from a wider range of
mixed signals. For this purpose, the properties of low-pass and high-pass filters circuits can
be combined to design a filter which is called as band pass filter. Band pass filter can be
developed by connecting a low-pass and a high-pass filter in series as shown in Figure 11.14.

Figure 11.14 Circuitry of Op-Amp Band Pass Filter

Figure 11.15 Band pass filter

11.2.4 Band Reject Filter

These filters pass all frequencies above and below a particular range set by the
operator/manufacturer. They are also known as band stop filters or notch filters. They are
constructed by connecting a low-pass and a high-pass filter in parallel as shown in Figure

Figure 11.16 Band reject filter

11.3 Basic components used in ADCs and DACs

11.3.1 Comparators
In general ADCs and DACs comprise of comparators. Comparator is a combination of diodes
and Operational Amplifiers. A comparator is a device which compares the voltage input or
current input at its two terminals and gives output in form of digital signal i.e. in form of 0s
and 1s indicating which voltage is higher. If V+ and V- be input voltages at two terminals of
comparator then output of comparator will be as:

V+ > V- for Output high (1)

V+ < V- for Output low (0)

11.3.2 Encoders
Though the output obtained from comparators are in the form of 0s and 1s, but can’t be called
as binary output. A sequence of 0s and 1s will be converted into binary form by using a
circuit called Encoder. A simple encoder converts 2n input lines into ‘n’ output lines. These
‘n’ output lines follow binary algebra.

11.3.3 Analog to Digital Converter (ADC)

ADCs are used to convert analog signals into digital Signals.

Direct Conversion ADC or Flash ADC

Figure 11.17 Circuit of Flash ADC

Figure 11.17 shows the circuit of direct conversion or Flash ADC. To convert a digital signal
of N-bits, Flash ADC requires 2N-1 comparators and 2N resistors. The circuit provides the
reference voltage to all the comparators. Each comparator gives an output of 1 when its
analog voltage is higher than reference voltage or otherwise the output is 0. In the above
circuit, reference voltages to comparators are provided by means of resistor ladder logic.
The circuit described in Figure 11.17 acts as 3 Bit ADC device. Let us assume this ADC
works between the ranges of 0-10 Volts. The circuit requires 7 comparators and 8 resistors.
Now the voltages across each resistor are divided in such a way that a ladder of 1 volt is built
with the help of 1K-Ohm resistances. Therefore the reference voltages across all the
comparators are 1-7 volts.
Now let us assume that an input voltage signal of 2.5 V is to be converted into its related
digital form. As 2.5V is greater than 1V and 2V, first two comparators will give output as 1,
1. But 2.5V is less than 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 V values therefore all other comparators will give 0s.
Thus we will have output from comparators as 0000011 (from top). This will be fed to the
encoder logic circuit. This circuit will first change the output in single high line format and
then converts it into 3 output lines format by using binary algebra. Then this digital output
from ADC may be used for manipulation or actuation by the microcontrollers or computers.

11.3.4 Digital to Analog Converters

DACs are used to convert digital signals into Analog Signals.

1. Binary Weighted DAC

Figure 11.18 Circuit of binary weighted DAC

As name indicates, in binary weighted DAC, output voltage can be calculated by expression
which works on binary weights. Its circuit can be realized in Figure 11.18. From the figure it
can be noted that most significant bit of digital input is connected to minimum resistance and
vice versa. Digital bits can be connected to resistance through a switch which connects
resistance-end to the ground. DAC output voltage can be calculated from property of

operational amplifiers. If V1 be input voltage at MSB (most significant bit), V2 be input
voltage at next bit and so on then for four bit DAC we can write,

𝑉1/𝑅+𝑉2/2𝑅+𝑉3/4𝑅+𝑉4/8𝑅 = 𝑉𝑜𝑢𝑡/𝑅 (11.15)

Note: Here V1, V2, V3, V4 will be Vref if digital input is 1 or otherwise it will be zero.
Hence output voltage can be found as:

𝑉𝑂𝑈𝑇 𝛼 (23∗𝑉1+22∗𝑉2+21∗𝑉3+20∗𝑉4) (11.16)

However binary weighted DAC doesn’t work for multiple or higher bit systems as the value
of resistance doubles in each case.
Thus simple and low bit digital signals from a transducer can be converted into a related
continuous value of voltages (analogue) by using binary weighted DAC. These will further be
used for manipulation or actuation.

2. R-2R Ladder based DAC

Figure 11.19 R-2R Ladder based DAC

In R-2R ladder logic, shortcoming of Binary Logic has been removed by making the value of
maximum resistance double however the rest of the circuit remains same. Figure 11.19 show
the circuit of R-2R Ladder based DAC. If we apply voltage division rule in above case, then
we can calculate that output voltage as,

𝑉 ∗𝑅
𝑉 = ∗ 𝑉𝐴𝐿 (11.17)
Where VAL can be calculated from the digital signal input as,

𝑉𝐴𝐿 = + + + (11.18)
2 2 2 2
In this way output voltage is obtained by converting the digital signals received from
microprocessor/ microcontroller. These voltages will further be used to actuate the desired
actuator viz. DC/AC motors.

11.4 Signal Classification

Signals can be classified according to their amplitude level, the relationship between their
source terminals and ground, their bandwidth, and the value of their output impedance.
Signals lower than around 100 mV are considered to be low level and need amplification.
Larger signals may also need amplification depending on the input range of the receiver.

11.5 Single-Ended and Differential Signals

A single-ended signal source has one of its two output terminals at a constant voltage. For
example, Figure 11.20a shows a voltage divider whose terminal L remains at the power-
supply reference voltage regardless of the sensor resistance, as shown in Figure 11.20b.

If terminal L is at ground potential (grounded power supply in Figure 11.20a), then the signal
is single ended and grounded.
If terminal L is isolated from ground (for example, if the power supply is a battery), then the
signal is single ended and floating.
If terminal L is at a constant voltage with respect to ground, then the signal is single ended
and driven off ground.
The voltage at terminal H will be the sum of the signal plus the off-ground voltage.
Therefore, the off-ground voltage is common to H and L; hence, it is called the common-
mode voltage.
For example, a thermocouple bonded to a power transistor provides a signal whose amplitude
depends on the temperature of the transistor case, riding on a common-mode voltage equal to
the case voltage.
A differential signal source has two output terminals whose voltages change simultaneously
by the same magnitude but in opposite directions. The Wheatstone bridge in Figure 11.20c
provides a differential signal. Its equivalent circuit (Figure 11.20d) shows that there is a
differential voltage (vd = vH – vL) proportional to x and a common-mode voltage (Vc = V/2)
that does not carry any information about x

Further, the two output impedances are balanced. We thus have a balanced differential signal
with a superimposed common-mode voltage. Were the output impedances different, the
signal would be unbalanced. If the bridge power supply is grounded, then the differential
signal will be grounded; otherwise, it will be floating. When the differential signal is very
small as compared with the common-mode voltage, in order to simplify circuit analysis it is
common to use the equivalent circuit in Figure 11.20e. Some differential signals (grounded or
floating) do not bear any common-mode voltage.

Figure 11.20 A single-ended signal source

A narrowband signal has a very small frequency range relative to its central frequency
Broadband signals, such as those from sound and vibration sensors, have a large frequency
range relative to their central frequency.

11.6 Low- and High-Output-Impedance Signals

The output impedance of signals determines the requirements of the input impedance of the
signal conditioner. Figure 11.21a shows a voltage signal connected to a device whose input
impedance is Zd. The voltage detected will be

𝑣 =𝑣 (11.19)
𝑍 +𝑍

Therefore, the voltage detected will equal the signal voltage only when Zd >> Zs; otherwise vd
≠ vs and there will be a loading effect. Furthermore, it may happen that a low Zd disturbs the
sensor, changing the value of vs and rendering the measurement useless or, worse still,
damaging the sensor. Signals with very high output impedance are better modeled as current
sources, Figure 11.21b. The current through the detector will be:

𝑖 = 𝑣𝑖 (11.20)
𝑍 +𝑍

In order for id = is, it is required that Zd<<Zs which is easier to achieve than Zd>>Zs. If Zd is
not low enough, then there is a shunting effect.


Figure 11.21 (a) A voltage signal connected to a device with input impedance Zd (b) modeled
as current sources

A voltage amplifier produces an output voltage which is a proportional reproduction of the

voltage difference at its input terminals, regardless of any common-mode voltage and without
loading the voltage source.

11.7 Passive R, L, C Filter Design

The simplest and most commonly used passive filter is the simple, first-order (N = 1) R–C
filter shown in Figure 11.22. Its transfer function is that of a first-order Butterworth low-pass
filter. The transfer function and –3 dB Ωc are

𝐻 (𝑠 ) = (11.21)
𝑅𝐶𝑠 + 1

where Ωc = 1/RC

Figure 11.22 A passive first-order RC filter

While this is the simplest possible filter implementation, both source and load impedance
change the dc gain and/or corner frequency and its rolloff rate is only first order, or –6
To realize higher-order transfer functions, passive filters use R, L, C elements usually
configured in a ladder network. The design process is generally carried out in terms of a
doubly terminated two-port network with source and load resistors R1 and R2 as shown in
Figure 11.23. The source and load resistors are normalized in regard to a reference resistance
RB = R1, i.e.,

𝑟 = 𝑟 = = (11.22)

The values of L and C are also normalized in respect to a reference frequency to simplify
Their values can be easily scaled to any desired set of actual elements.

𝑙 = 𝑐 =Ω C 𝑅 (11.23)

Figure 11.23 A passive filter can serve as an antialiasing filter or to minimize high-frequency

11.8 Modulation
An information-bearing signal may not be in an optimal form for direct use. In such cases, the
information-bearing signal may be used to alter some characteristic of a second signal more
suited to the application. This process of altering one signal by means of another is known as
modulation; the original information is called the baseband signal, and the signal modulated
by the baseband signal is termed the carrier (because it “carries” the information). Recovery
of the original information requires a suitable demodulation process to reverse the modulation
process. There are continuous wave modulation and pulse modulation.

Analog Modulation: This is process of encoding the source information onto a bandpass
signal with a carrier frequency fc. Types of analog modulation are:
Amplitude modulation (AM): Continuous wave modulation, where the amplitude of the
carrier varies linearly with the amplitude of the modulating signal.
Angle modulation: Continuous wave modulation, where the angle of the carrier varies
linearly with the amplitude of the modulating signal.
Frequency modulation (FM): Continuous wave modulation, where the frequency of the
carrier varies linearly with the amplitude of the modulating signal.

Equation 11.24 gives a general expression for a modulated sinusoidal carrier signal of radian
frequency ωc:

𝑓 (𝑡) = 𝐴 (𝑡)𝑐𝑜𝑠[𝜔 𝑡 + 𝜙(𝑡)] (11.24)

Figure 11.24 shows an example in which a balanced sensor is excited by a sinusoidal carrier.
The output voltage of the differential amplifier will be zero when the sensor is balanced; a
nonzero output voltage appears when the sensor is unbalanced. The magnitude of the voltage
indicates the degree of imbalance in the sensor, and the phase of the output voltage relative to
the carrier determines the direction of imbalance. Typical sensors which might be found in
this role are resistive Wheatstone bridges, differential-capacitance pressure sensors or
accelerometers, or linear-variable differential transformers (LVDTs). Variation in the sensor
measurand produces a DSB suppressed-carrier signal at the amplifier output.

Figure 11.24 A balanced sensor with ac excitation and a differential-amplifier output stage.

Pulse modulation

Figure 11.25 Different pulse modulation schemes.

In pulse modulation the continuous signal is converted into a train of pulses as shown in
Figure 11.25. The most common methods for pulse modulation are pulse amplitude
modulation (PAM), pulse duration modulation (PDM), and pulse position modulation (PPM).
The variations in amplitude of the signal x(t) are transmitted as amplitude variations of pulses
(PAM), duration changes of pulses (PDM), or changes in the relative position of the pulses

(PPM). In all the cases, the level 0 is transmitted by a pulse whose amplitude (A0), duration
(τ0), or relative position (t0) is different from 0.

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) or PDM is widely used in control systems as a mean of
controlling the average value of the DC voltage. If the width of pulses is changed then the
average value of the voltage can be changed as shown in Figure 11.26. A term Duty Cycle is
used to define the fraction of each cycle for which the voltage is high. Duty cycle of 50%
means that for half of the each cycle, the output is high.

Figure 11.26 Pulse width modulation

Pulse code modulation

All the previous systems are based on an analog signal that modulates either an analog carrier
or a train of pulses. Pulse code modulation (PCM) is different: it is a digital modulation in
which the measured signal is represented by a group of codified digital pulses. Two
variations of PCM that are also often used are delta modulation (DM) and differential pulse
code modulation (DPCM).
The two main functions of an ADC are sampling and quantization. These two processes
convert analog signals from the time and voltage continuums (respectively) into digital
numbers having discrete amplitudes, at discrete times.
Sampling is the process of picking one value of a signal to represent the signal for some
interval of time. An ADC quantizes a sampled signal by picking one integer value from a
predetermined, finite list of integer values to represent each analog sample. Each integer
value in the list represents a fraction of the total analog input range. Decimal-digit ADCs use
a coding scheme call binary-coded decimal (BCD) to convert the quantized decimal numbers
into binary numbers. BCD data consists of a string of four-bit groups of binary digits. Each
four-bit group represents a decimal digit, where 0000 is 0, 0001 is 1, and so on, up to 1001
for 9. This process produces a pulse code modulation signal.

11.9 Protection circuits

Sensors or transducers often provide very high output signals such as high current or high
voltage which may damage the next element of the control system such as microprocessor.

1. High current protection

High current flow into a sensitive control system can be limited by using a series of resistors
or using fuse to break the circuit if current value exceeds a preset or safe value

2. High voltage protection
Zener diode circuits are widely used to protect control systems from high values of voltages
and wrong polarity. Figure 11.27 shows a typical Zener diode circuit.

Figure 11.27 Zener diode circuit diagram

Zener diode acts as ordinary or regular diodes up to certain breakdown voltage level when
they are conducting. When the voltage rises to the breakdown voltage level, the diode breaks
down and stops the voltage to pass to the next circuit. Zener diode as being a diode has low
resistance for current to flow in one direction through it and high resistance for the opposite
direction. When connected in correct polarity, a high resistance produces high voltage drop.
If the polarity reverses, the diode will have less resistance and therefore results in less voltage
drop. In some cases, it is required to isolate the control circuit completely from the input high
voltages to avoid the possible damage. This can be achieved by optoisolators. Figure 11.28
shows the typical circuit of an optoisolator.

Figure 11.28 Schematic of an Optoisolator

It comprises of a Light emitting diode (LED) and a photo transistor. LED irradiates infra red
due to the voltage supplied to it from a microprocessor circuit. The transistor detects
irradiation and produces a current in proportion to the voltage applied. In case of high
voltages, output current from optoisolator is utilized for disconnecting the power supply to
the circuit and thus the circuit gets protected.

11.10 Wheatstone bridge

Figure 11.29 Configuration of a Wheatstone bridge

Wheatstone bridge is used to convert a resistance change detected by a transducer to a

voltage change. Figure 11.29 shows the basic configuration of a Wheatstone bridge. When
the output voltage Vo is zero then the potential at B must be equal to D and we can say that,

𝑉𝑎𝑏 = 𝑉𝑎𝑑, (11.25)

𝐼1 𝑅1 = 𝐼2 𝑅4 (11.26)
𝑉𝑏𝑐 = 𝑉𝑑𝑐, (11.27)
𝐼1 𝑅2 = 𝐼2 𝑅3 (11.28)
Dividing equation 11.26 by 11.28,
𝑅1/𝑅2 = 𝑅4/𝑅3 (11.29)

The bridge is thus balanced.

The potential drop across 𝑅1 due to supply voltage Vs,

𝑉𝑎𝑏 = 𝑉𝑠 𝑅1/(𝑅1+𝑅2) (11.30)

𝑉𝑎𝑑 = 𝑉𝑠𝑅4/(𝑅3+𝑅4) (11.31)

Thus the output voltage Vo is given by,

𝑉𝑜 = 𝑉𝑎𝑏 – 𝑉𝑎𝑑 (11.32)

𝑉𝑜 = 𝑉𝑠 {(𝑅1/[𝑅1+𝑅2]) – (𝑅4/[𝑅3+𝑅4])} (11.33)

When 𝑉𝑜 = 0, above equation gives balanced condition.

Assume that a transducer produces a resistance change from 𝑅1 to 𝑅1+𝛿𝑅1 which gives a
change in output from 𝑉𝑜+𝛿𝑉𝑜,
From equation 11.33we can write,

𝑅 + 𝛿𝑅 𝑅
𝑉 + 𝛿𝑉 = 𝑉 ( − (11.34)
𝑅 + 𝛿𝑅 + 𝑅 𝑅 +𝑅


𝑅 + 𝛿𝑅 𝑅
𝑉 + 𝛿𝑉 − 𝑉 = 𝑉 − (11.35)
𝑅 + 𝛿𝑅 + 𝑅 𝑅 +𝑅

If 𝛿𝑅1 is much smaller than 𝑅1 the equation 11.34 can be written as

𝛿𝑉 ≈ 𝑉 (11.36)
𝑅 +𝑅

We can say that change in resistance 𝑅1 produces a change in output voltage. Thus we can
convert a change in resistance signal into voltage signal.

11.11 Data Conversion

Machine Control Units(MCU) are controlled by various computers or microcontrollers which
accept signals only in digital form i.e. in the form of 0s and 1s, while the signals received
from most signal conditioning modules or sensors are generally in analogue form
(continuous). Therefore a system is essentially required to convert analog signals into digital
form and vis-à-vis. Figure 11.30 shows a typical control system with data conversion devices.
Data conversion devices such as Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) are used to convert
analog signals into digital form.

Based on the signals received from sensors, MCU generates actuating signals in the digital
form. Most of the actuators e.g. DC servo motors only accept analogue signals. Therefore the
digital signals must be converted into Analog form so that the required actuator can be
operated accordingly. For this purpose Digital to Analog Converters are used, which are
abbreviated as DACs.

Figure 11.30 A control system with ADC and DAC devices

11.12 Power supply

The power supply provides the energy to drive the electronic devices such as transducers,
sensors, amplifiers and other digital integrated circuits. The two common power supplies are:
+12 – 0 -12V 500mA
+5 – 0 - -5V 250mA

Figure 11.31 is a block diagram of a power supply.

Figure 11.31 Block diagram of a power supply

Figure 11.32 Simple power supply circuit

Chapter 12 - Control system
A control system is an interconnection of components forming a system configuration that
will provide a desired system response. The basis for analysis of a system is the foundation
provided by linear system theory, which assumes a cause–effect relationship for the
components of a system. Therefore a component or process to be controlled can be
represented by a block, as shown in Figure 12.1. The input–output relationship represents the
cause-and-effect relationship of the process, which in turn represents a processing of the input
signal to provide an output signal variable, often with power amplification. An open-loop
control system utilizes a controller or control actuator to obtain the desired response, as
shown in Figure 12.2. An open-loop system is a system without feedback. It utilizes an
actuating device to control the process directly without using feedback.

Figure 12.1 Process to be controlled

Figure 12.2 Open-loop control system (without feedback)

A closed-loop control system utilizes an additional measure of the actual output to compare
the actual output with the desired output response. The measure of the output is called the
feedback signal. A simple closed-loop feedback control system is shown in Figure 12.3.

Figure 12.3 A simple closed-loop feedback control system

A feedback control system is a control system that tends to maintain a prescribed relationship
of one system variable to another by comparing functions of these variables and using the
difference as a means of control. A feedback control system often uses a function of a
prescribed relationship between the output and reference input to control the process. Often
the difference between the output of the process under control and the reference input is
amplified and used to control the process so that the difference is continually reduced. The
feedback concept has been the foundation for control system analysis and design.
A closed-loop control system uses a measurement of the output and feedback of this signal to
compare it with the desired output (reference or command).

In a feedback control system, the output is sensed. There are two main types of feedback
control systems: 1) positive feedback 2) negative feedback. The positive feedback is used to
increase the size of the input but in a negative feedback, the feedback is used to decrease the

size of the input. A block diagram depicting a multivariable control system is shown in
Figure 12.4.

Figure 12.4 Multivariable control system

Many cars have power steering and brakes, which utilize hydraulic amplifiers for
amplification of the force to the brakes or the steering wheel. A simple block diagram of an
automobile steering control system is shown in Figure 12.5.The desired direction is compared
with a measurement of the actual direction in order to generate a measure of the error. In this
case the measurement is obtained by visual and tactile (body movement) feedback. There is
an additional feedback from the feel of the steering wheel by the hand (sensor).This feedback
system is similar to the version of the steering control system in an ocean liner or the flight
controls in a large airplane.

Figure 12.5(a). Block diagram of an automobile steering control system.

Control systems operate in a closed-loop sequence, as shown in Figure 12.6.With an accurate

sensor, the measured output is equal to the actual output of the system. The difference
between the desired output and the actual output is equal to the error, which is then adjusted
by the control device (such as an amplifier).The output of the control device causes the
actuator to modulate the process in order to reduce the error. The sequence is such, for
instance, that if a ship is heading incorrectly to the right, the rudder is actuated to direct the
ship to the left. The system shown in Figure 12.6 is a negative feedback control system,
because the output is subtracted from the input and the difference is used as the input signal
to the power amplifier. The control device is often called a controller.

Figure 12.6 Negative feedback control system

In a computer control system the computer is the control device. The diagram of a computer
control system is shown in Figure 12.7.

Figure 12.7 A computer control system

A robot is a computer-controlled machine and involves technology closely associated with


For designers, first we proceed to configure a system that will result in the desired control
performance. This system configuration will normally consist of a sensor, the process under
control, an actuator, and a controller, as shown in Figure 12.6.The next step consists of
identifying a candidate for the actuator. For example, if we wish to control the speed of a
rotating flywheel, we will select a motor as the actuator. The sensor, in this case, will need to
be capable of accurately measuring the speed. We then obtain a model for each of these
The next step is the selection of a controller, which often consists of a summing amplifier that
will compare the desired response and the actual response and then forward this error-
measurement signal to an amplifier. The final step in the design process is the adjustment of
the parameters of the system in order to achieve the desired performance. The control system
design process is summarized in Figure 12.8.

Figure 12.8 The control system design process.

The performance specifications will describe how the closed-loop system should perform and
will include (1) good regulation against disturbances, (2) desirable responses to commands,
(3) realistic actuator signals, (4) low sensitivities, and (5) robustness.

12.1 PID Controller Design

The Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controller is a simple, yet versatile, feedback

compensator structure. The PID controller is widely employed because it is very
understandable and because it is quite effective. One attraction of the PID controller is that all
engineers understand conceptually differentiation and integration, so they can implement the
control system even without a deep understanding of control theory. Further, even though the
compensator is simple, it is quite sophisticated in that it captures the history of the system
(through integration) and anticipates the future behavior of the system (through
differentiation). We will discuss the effect of each of the PID parameters on the dynamics of
a closed-loop system and will demonstrate how to use a PID controller to improve a system's

A proportional–integral–derivative controller (PID controller) is a method of the control loop

feedback. This method is composing of three controllers:
1. Proportional controller (PC)
2. Integral controller (IC)
3. Derivative controller (DC)

Role of a Proportional Controller (PC)
The role of a proportional depends on the present error, I on the accumulation of past error
and D on prediction of future error. The weighted sum of these three actions is used to adjust
Proportional control is a simple and widely used method of control for many kinds of
systems. In a proportional controller, steady state error tends to depend inversely upon the
proportional gain (ie: if the gain is made larger the error goes down). The proportional
response can be adjusted by multiplying the error by a constant Kp, called the proportional
gain. The proportional term is given by:

𝑃 = 𝐾 . 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟 (𝑡) (12.1)

A high proportional gain results in a large change in the output for a given change in the
error. If the proportional gain is very high, the system can become unstable. In contrast, a
small gain results in a small output response to a large input error. If the proportional gain is
very low, the control action may be too small when responding to system disturbances.
Consequently, a proportional controller (Kp) will have the effect of reducing the rise time and
will reduce, but never eliminate, the steady-state error.
In practice the proportional band (PB) is expressed as a percentage so:

PB% = 100/KP (12.2)

Thus a PB of 10% implies KP=10

Role of an Integral Controller (IC)

An Integral controller (IC) is proportional to both the magnitude of the error and the duration
of the error. The integral in a PID controller is the sum of the instantaneous error over time
and gives the accumulated offset that should have been corrected previously.
Consequently, an integral control (Ki) will have the effect of eliminating the steady-state
error, but it may make the transient response worse.
The integral term is given by:

𝐼 = 𝐾 ∫ 𝑒𝑟𝑟𝑜𝑟(𝑡)𝑑𝑡 (12.3)

Role of a Derivative Controller (DC)

The derivative of the process error is calculated by determining the slope of the error over
time and multiplying this rate of change by the derivative gain Kd. The derivative term slows
the rate of change of the controller output. A derivative control (Kd) will have the effect of
increasing the stability of the system, reducing the overshoot, and improving the transient
response. The derivative term is given by:

𝐷=𝐾 . (12.4)

12.2 PID Overview

We will consider the following unity-feedback system:

Figure 12.9 Unity-feedback system

The output of a PID controller, which is equal to the control input to the plant, is calculated in
the time domain from the feedback error as follows:

The time response of the PID controller output is given:

𝑑𝑒 (𝑡)
𝑢 (𝑡 ) = 𝐾 𝑒(𝑡) + 𝐾 𝑒(𝑡)𝑑𝑡 + 𝐾 (12.5)

First, let's take a look at how the PID controller works in a closed-loop system using the
schematic shown above. The variable ( ) represents the tracking error, the difference between
the desired output ( ) and the actual output ( ). This error signal ( ) is fed to the PID
controller, and the controller computes both the derivative and the integral of this error signal
with respect to time. The control signal ( ) to the plant is equal to the proportional gain ( )
times the magnitude of the error plus the integral gain ( ) times the integral of the error plus
the derivative gain ( ) times the derivative of the error.

This control signal ( ) is fed to the plant and the new output ( ) is obtained. The new output
( ) is then fed back and compared to the reference to find the new error signal ( ). The
controller takes this new error signal and computes an update of the control input. This
process continues while the controller is in effect.

The transfer function of a PID controller is found by taking the Laplace transform of
Equation (12.5).

𝑈 (𝑠 ) = 𝐾 + + 𝐾 . 𝑠 𝐸 (𝑠 ) (12.6)

𝐾 .𝑠 + 𝐾 𝑠 + 𝐾
𝑈(𝑠)/𝐸(𝑠) = (12.7)

where KP = proportional gain, Ki = integral gain, and Kd = derivative gain.


𝑈(𝑠)/𝐸 (𝑠) = 𝐾 1+ + 𝑇 .𝑆 (12.8)

where KP is the proportional gain, TI is the integral time constant, TD is the derivative time
constant, Ki =KP /TI is the integral gain and Kd =KPTD is the derivative gain. The three-term
functionalities are highlighted below. The terms KP , TI and TD definitions are:
· The proportional term: providing an overall control action proportional to the error signal
through the all pass gain factor.
· The integral term: reducing steady state errors through low frequency compensation by an
· The derivative term: improving transient response through high frequency compensation by
a differentiator.

These three variables KP , TI and TD are usually tuned within given ranges. Therefore, they
are often called the tuning parameters of the controller. By proper choice of these tuning
parameters a controller can be adapted for a specific plant to obtain a good behaviour of the
controlled system.

When Equation 12.8 is used it is easy to determine the closed loop transfer function as:

𝐻 (𝑠 ) = (12.9)
𝑆 + 2𝜇𝜔 𝑆 + 𝜔

= 2𝜇𝜔 𝑎𝑛𝑑 =𝜔 (12.10)


𝐺(𝑠)𝐻(𝑠) = (12.11)

This can be very useful to remove unstable poles.

We can define a PID controller in MATLAB using a transfer function model directly, for

Kp = 1;
Ki = 1;
Kd = 1;

s = tf('s');
C = Kp + Ki/s + Kd*s
C = s^2 + s + 1
Continuous-time transfer function.

Alternatively, we may use MATLAB's pid object to generate an equivalent continuous-time
controller as follows:

C = pid(Kp,Ki,Kd)
C =

Kp + Ki * --- + Kd * s

with Kp = 1, Ki = 1, Kd = 1

Continuous-time PID controller in parallel form.

Let's convert the pid object to a transfer function to verify that it yields the same result as

ans = s^2 + s + 1

Continuous-time transfer function.

12.3 The Characteristics of the P, I, and D Terms

Increasing the proportional gain ( ) has the effect of proportionally increasing the control
signal for the same level of error. The fact that the controller will "push" harder for a given
level of error tends to cause the closed-loop system to react more quickly, but also to
overshoot more. Another effect of increasing is that it tends to reduce, but not eliminate,
the steady-state error.

The addition of a derivative term to the controller ( ) adds the ability of the controller to
"anticipate" error. With simple proportional control, if is fixed, the only way that the
control will increase is if the error increases. With derivative control, the control signal can
become large if the error begins sloping upward, even while the magnitude of the error is still
relatively small. This anticipation tends to add damping to the system, thereby decreasing
overshoot. The addition of a derivative term, however, has no effect on the steady-state error.

The addition of an integral term to the controller ( ) tends to help reduce steady-state error.
If there is a persistent, steady error, the integrator builds and builds, thereby increasing the
control signal and driving the error down. A drawback of the integral term, however, is that it
can make the system more sluggish (and oscillatory) since when the error signal changes
sign, it may take a while for the integrator to "unwind."

The general effects of each controller parameter ( , , ) on a closed-loop system are

summarized in the table below. Note, these guidelines hold in many cases, but not all. If you
truly want to know the effect of tuning the individual gains, you will have to do more
analysis, or will have to perform testing on the actual system.

Kp Decrease Increase Small Change Decrease
Ki Decrease Increase Increase Decrease
Kd Small Change Decrease Decrease No Change

12.4 PID Tuning

There are several prescriptive rules used in PID tuning. The most effective methods generally
involve the development of some form of process model, and then choosing P, I, and D based
on the dynamic model parameters.

12.4.1 Comparison between PID Tuning Methods

Method Advantages Disadvantages
Manual tuning No math required; online. Requires experienced
Ziegler–Nichols Proven method; online. Process upset, some trial-
and-error, very aggressive
Tyreus Luyben Proven method; online. Process upset, some trial-
and-error, very aggressive
Software tools Consistent tuning; online or of f line - Some cost or training
can employ computer-automated control involved.
system design (CAutoD) techniques; may
include valve and sensor analysis; allow s
simulation before downloading; can
support non-steady-state (NSS) tuning.
Cohen–Coon Good process models. Some math; of f line; only
good for first-order
Åström -Hägglund Can be used for auto tuning; amplitude is The process itself is
minimum so this method has lowest inherently
process upset.

12.4.2 The Ziegler–Nichols tuning method

The Ziegler–Nichols tuning method is a heuristic method of tuning a PID controller. It is
performed by setting I (integral) and D (derivative) gains to zero. The P (proportional) gain,
Kp is then increased (from zero) until it reaches the ultimate gain Ku, at which the output of
the control loop oscillates with a constant amplitude. Ku and the oscillation period Tu are used
to set the P, I, and D gains depending on the type of controller used.

We can realise a PID controller by two methods: as an analog PID controller or a digital PID

1. Circuit diagram in Figure 12.10 shows an analog PID controller. In this figure, the analog
PID controller is represented with three simple op amp amplifier, integrator and differentiator

Figure 12.10 Electronic circuit implementation of an analog PID controller

A digital version of the PID controller is shown in Figure 12.11.

Figure 12.11 Digital PID Controller

In its digital version, the integral becomes a sum and the deferential a difference. The
continuous time signal e(t) is sampled in fixed time intervals equals a determined sample
period, here called Tc (in figure 12.11 Tc = 1). An A/D (analog to digital) converter interfaces
the input and a D/A (digital to analog) converter interfaces the output. This sampled and
digitalized input, called eD[j], exists only in time instants t = kTC for all k > 0 ∈ .Z
A lower bound for the sample period is the computing time of a whole cycle of the digital
PID (which includes the A/D and D/A conversion).


PID control is best suited to linear plants, however due to the wide use and acceptance of PID
control for use in controlling a wide variety of both linear and nonlinear plants, it is very
much employed as the standard that control systems are measured against.

12.4.3 Sliding mode control

Sliding mode control is a scheme that makes use of a discontinuous switching term to
counteract the effect of dynamics that were not taken into account at the design phase of the
controller. Two such variants of SMC are the uncoupled SMC and the coupled SMC.

12.5 Example PID control system

For example, a CD player, a computer disk drive, and a phonograph record player all require
a constant speed of rotation in spite of motor wear and variation and other component
changes. To design a system for turntable speed control that will ensure that the actual speed
of rotation is within a specified percentage of the desired speed we will consider a system
without feedback and a system with feedback.

Figure 12.12 (a) open-loop control of the speed of a turntable (b) Block diagram model.

Figure 12.13 (a) Closed-loop control of the speed of a turntable (b) Block diagram model.

12.6 Exercises
The following systems can be described by a block diagram showing the cause–effect
relationship and the feedback (if present). Identify the function of each block and the desired
input variable, output variable, and measured variable. Figure 12.6 as a model where

E1.2 An automobile driver uses a control system to maintain the speed of the car at a
prescribed level. Sketch a block diagram to illustrate this feedback system.

E1.10 Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being developed to operate in the air
autonomously for long periods of time. By autonomous, we mean that there is no interaction
with human ground controllers. Sketch a block diagram of an autonomous UAV that is tasked
for crop monitoring using aerial photography. The UAV must photograph and transmit the
entire land area by flying a pre-specified trajectory as accurately as possible.

P1.10 The role of air traffic control systems is increasing as airplane traffic increases at busy
airports. Engineers are developing air traffic control systems and collision avoidance systems
using the Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation satellites [34, 61]. GPS allows each
aircraft to know its position in the airspace landing corridor very precisely. Sketch a block
diagram depicting how an air traffic controller might utilize GPS for aircraft collision

P1.13 A common example of a two-input control system is a home shower with separate
valves for hot and cold water. The objective is to obtain (1) a desired temperature of the
shower water and (2) a desired flow of water. Sketch a block diagram of the closed-loop
control system.

12.7 Example Problem

Suppose we have a simple mass-spring-damper system.

Figure 12.14

The governing equation of this system is


Taking the Laplace transform of the governing equation, we get


The transfer function between the input force and the output displacement then



m = 1 kg
b = 10 N s/m
k = 20 N/m
F = 1 N

Substituting these values into the above transfer function


The goal of this problem is to show how each of the terms, , , and , contributes to
obtaining the common goals of:

 Fast rise time

 Minimal overshoot
 Zero steady-state error

Open-Loop Step Response

Let's first view the open-loop step response. Create a new m-file and run the following code:

s = tf('s');
P = 1/(s^2 + 10*s + 20);

The DC gain of the plant transfer function is 1/20, so 0.05 is the final value of the output to a
unit step input. This corresponds to a steady-state error of 0.95, which is quite large.
Furthermore, the rise time is about one second, and the settling time is about 1.5 seconds.
Let's design a controller that will reduce the rise time, reduce the settling time, and eliminate
the steady-state error.

Proportional Control

From the table shown above, we see that the proportional controller ( ) reduces the rise
time, increases the overshoot, and reduces the steady-state error.

The closed-loop transfer function of our unity-feedback system with a proportional controller
is the following, where is our output (equals ) and our reference is the input:


Let the proportional gain ( ) equal 300 and change the m-file to the following:

Kp = 300;
C = pid(Kp)
T = feedback(C*P,1)

t = 0:0.01:2;
C =

Kp = 300

P-only controller.

T =

s^2 + 10 s + 320

Continuous-time transfer function.

The above plot shows that the proportional controller reduced both the rise time and the
steady-state error, increased the overshoot, and decreased the settling time by a small amount.

Proportional-Derivative Control

Now, let's take a look at PD control. From the table shown above, we see that the addition of
derivative control ( ) tends to reduce both the overshoot and the settling time. The closed-
loop transfer function of the given system with a PD controller is:


Let equal 300 as before and let equal 10. Enter the following commands into an m-file
and run it in the MATLAB command window.

Kp = 300;
Kd = 10;
C = pid(Kp,0,Kd)
T = feedback(C*P,1)

t = 0:0.01:2;
C =

Kp + Kd * s

with Kp = 300, Kd = 10

Continuous-time PD controller in parallel form.

T =

10 s + 300
s^2 + 20 s + 320

Continuous-time transfer function.

This plot shows that the addition of the derivative term reduced both the overshoot
and the settling time, and had a negligible effect on the rise time and the steady-state

Proportional-Integral Control

Before proceeding to PID control, let's investigate PI control. From the table, we see that the
addition of integral control ( ) tends to decrease the rise time, increase both the overshoot
and the settling time, and reduces the steady-state error. For the given system, the closed-loop
transfer function with a PI controller is:


Let's reduce to 30, and let equal 70. Create a new m-file and enter the following

Kp = 30;
Ki = 70;
C = pid(Kp,Ki)
T = feedback(C*P,1)

t = 0:0.01:2;
C =

Kp + Ki * ---

with Kp = 30, Ki = 70

Continuous-time PI controller in parallel form.

T =

30 s + 70
s^3 + 10 s^2 + 50 s + 70

Continuous-time transfer function.

Run this m-file in the MATLAB command window and you should generate the above plot.
We have reduced the proportional gain ( ) because the integral controller also reduces the
rise time and increases the overshoot as the proportional controller does (double effect). The
above response shows that the integral controller eliminated the steady-state error in this case.

Proportional-Integral-Derivative Control

Now, let's examine PID control. The closed-loop transfer function of the given system with a
PID controller is:


After several iterations of tuning, the gains = 350, = 300, and = 50 provided the
desired response. To confirm, enter the following commands to an m-file and run it in the
command window. You should obtain the following step response.
Kp = 350;
Ki = 300;
Kd = 50;
C = pid(Kp,Ki,Kd)
T = feedback(C*P,1);

t = 0:0.01:2;
C =

Kp + Ki * --- + Kd * s

with Kp = 350, Ki = 300, Kd = 50

Continuous-time PID controller in parallel form.

Now, we have designed a closed-loop system with no overshoot, fast rise time, and no
steady-state error.

12.8 General Tips for Designing a PID Controller

When you are designing a PID controller for a given system, follow the steps shown below to
obtain a desired response.

1. Obtain an open-loop response and determine what needs to be improved

2. Add a proportional control to improve the rise time
3. Add a derivative control to reduce the overshoot
4. Add an integral control to reduce the steady-state error
5. Adjust each of the gains , , and until you obtain a desired overall response.
Reference should be made to the table shown to find out which controller controls
which characteristics.

Lastly, please keep in mind that you do not need to implement all three controllers
(proportional, derivative, and integral) into a single system, if not necessary. For example, if
a PI controller meets the given requirements (like the above example), then you don't need to
implement a derivative controller on the system. Keep the controller as simple as possible.
12.9 Automatic PID Tuning

MATLAB provides tools for automatically choosing optimal PID gains which makes the trial
and error process described above unnecessary. You can access the tuning algorithm directly
using pidtune or through a nice graphical user interface (GUI) using pidTuner.

The MATLAB automated tuning algorithm chooses PID gains to balance performance
(response time, bandwidth) and robustness (stability margins). By default, the algorithm
designs for a 60-degree phase margin.

Let's explore these automated tools by first generating a proportional controller for the mass-
spring-damper system by entering the command shown below. In the shown syntax, P is the
previously generated plant model, and 'p' specifies that the tuner employ a proportional


The pidTuner GUI window, like that shown below, should appear.

Notice that the step response shown is slower than the proportional controller we designed by
hand. Now click on the Show Parameters button on the top right. As expected, the
proportional gain, , is smaller than the one we employed, = 94.86 < 300.

We can now interactively tune the controller parameters and immediately see the resulting
response in the GUI window. Try dragging the Response Time slider to the right to 0.14 s, as
shown in the figure below. This causes the response to indeed speed up, and we can see is
now closer to the manually chosen value. We can also see other performance and robustness
parameters for the system. Note that before we adjusted the slider, the target phase margin
was 60 degrees. This is the default for the pidTuner and generally provides a good balance
between robustness and performance.

Now let's try designing a PID controller for our system. By specifying the previously
designed or (baseline) controller, C, as the second parameter, pidTuner will design another
PID controller (instead of P or PI) and will compare the response of the system with the
automated controller with that of the baseline.


We see in the output window that the automated controller responds slower and exhibits more
overshoot than the baseline. Now choose the Domain: Frequency option from the toolstrip,
which reveals frequency domain tuning parameters.

Now type in 32 rad/s for Bandwidth and 90 deg for Phase Margin, to generate a
controller similar in performance to the baseline. Keep in mind that a higher closed-loop
bandwidth results in a faster rise time, and a larger phase margin reduces the overshoot and
improves the system stability.

Finally, we note that we can generate the same controller using the command line tool
pidtune instead of the pidTuner GUI employing the following syntax.

opts = pidtuneOptions('CrossoverFrequency',32,'PhaseMargin',90);
[C, info] = pidtune(P, 'pid', opts)
C =

Kp + Ki * --- + Kd * s

with Kp = 320, Ki = 796, Kd = 32.2

Continuous-time PID controller in parallel form.

info =
struct with fields:

Stable: 1
CrossoverFrequency: 32
PhaseMargin: 90

Some important aspects to consider in computer-controlled systems are:

• Signal sampling and reconstruction of time-continuous signals. In computer based control
systems discrete-time approximations of continuous signals have to be done before they can
be processed by the computer. The discrete-time approximation is based on the division of
the time axis into sufficient small time increments. The effect of the discrete-time
approximations on the control system design will be discussed.
• Signal detection and quality checking and handling of multiple signals. Each sensor signal
has to be checked for errors subject to certain criteria before processed by the control system.
If several sensors provide measurements of the same state variable, weighting and voting
mechanism must be introduced.

The basic properties of linear system theory and computer-controlled systems have input and
output terminals as shown in Figure 12.25.

Figure 12.25 Continuous-time and discrete-time systems.

It is assumed that the relation between excitation/cause and response/effect can be formulated
by either single-input single-output (SISO or monovariable) systems or by multi-input multi-
output (MIMO or multivariable) systems. The input and output signals of monovariable
systems are denoted by u(t) and y(t), while multivariable systems will be defined by the input

and output vectors u(t) and y(t), A system is called a continuous-time system, if it accepts
continuous-time signals as its input and generates continuous-time signals as its output.
Similarly, a system is a discrete-time system, if the input and output relation is described by
discrete inputs and outputs. A computer-controlled system is as shown in Figure 12.26.

Figure 12.26 Computer-controlled system

A computer-controlled system consists of:

• The real process denoted as process plant.
• Sampler with analog-to-digital (AD) converter is converting the analog output signal of the
real process into finite digital numbers. The resolution is dependent on how many bits that are
used. The sampling process is quantized by the clock.
• Digital-to-analog (DA) converter with hold circuit. In Figure 12.26 a DA converter with
Zero-Order-Hold (ZOH) circuit is used to convert and translate the digital signal into a
continuous-time signal that is applied to the real process.
• Computer with clock and software (SW) for real-time control applications and interrupt
handling. The control algorithms are implemented in a SW program and work with input data
that are quantized in time and in level.
• Communication network. One should notice that in a distributed automation system there
are several computers with clocks that need to be synchronized with hard constraints
achieving a real-time control system.
• Operator station with graphical user interface to the operator.

Chapter 13 - Serial Communications Adapter
This device provides support for serial communications using the RS-232, RS-422, or RS-
485 standards.

Serial communication between devices may be Full duplex, where either device may transmit
or receive data at any time;
Half duplex, where both devices are capable of transmission or reception but only one may
transmit at any instant;
Simplex, where one device is a transmitter, one is a receiver, and data can only flow in a
single direction.
RS-232 was developed by the Electronics Industries Association (EIA) to allow mainframe
computers to communicate with terminals via modems and telephone lines. This is the origin
of the names of some of the connections (e.g., RI ring indicator, DCD data carrier detect),
which have no relevance in the applications considered here. A related problem is that the
standard expects that the devices being connected are data terminal equipment (DTE), at one
end of the link, and data communication equipment (DCE) at the other. Computers and
terminals are
DTE, while modems are DCE. The most commonly used revision of the standard, RS-232-C
(revisions D and E also exist), was made in 1969 and is still widely used. Serial
communication is made using voltage levels in the region of ±12 V, over distances up to 15
m (50 ft) at speeds up to 20000 baud.
RS-422, also developed by the EIA, is an enhancement of the RS-232 standard. Differential
transmitters and receivers are employed which allow one transmitter to drive up to ten
receivers, using a twisted-pair connection for each circuit, at bit rates up to 10 MBaud at
distances up to 12 m (40 ft) or 100 kBaud at distances up to 1200 m (4000 ft). The RTS and
CTS lines (defined in the standard) are used for flow control, while the RXD and TXD lines
are used to transmit and receive data. Thus, a two-twisted-pair cable is required for duplex
connection without hardware handshaking. A four-twisted-pair cable is required if hardware
handshaking is used.
RS-485 is based on RS-422 and allows up to 32 driver/receiver pairs to be connected to a
common data bus (two twisted pairs). Clearly, only one device can be allowed to transmit at
any one time. The RTS circuit is used to disable the other transmitters connected to the bus if
a device is required to transmit data. Handshaking is performed using software.

Figure 13.1 Two null modems for connecting DTE to DTE

In (a) all handshaking must be in software. The DTR line “fools” the serial interface that it is
connected to the handshake lines of another device. Scheme (b) implements a hardware
handshake. The DTR–DSR connection shows each device that the other is present. The RTS

lines, connected to the DCD of the other device, which it can monitor, are used to control the
flow of data in either direction.

Actuator Sensor Interface, or AS-i, was developed as a low-cost, flexible method for
connecting sensors and actuators at the lowest levels of industrial control systems. The AS-i
system provides a two-wire, nontwisted cable for interconnection of devices. Devices may
draw current from the two wires (nominally at 24 V dc) for powering circuitry, and the data
communications are modulated on top of the nominal dc level at a bit rate of 167 kHz, under
the control of the master. A single parity bit per station is used for error detection. An AS-i
device is typically implemented using a special ASIC which handles the communication.

Demonstration and Discussions

• There are three important components of access control: Identification,

Authentication, and Authorization.

• This system enables a registered user to remotely control the opening and closing of
the car park gate via short message service (SMS) of GSM technology.

The system consists of







Block diagram of remote access control system of a car park using GSM device

2. Microcontroller based vehicle speed control system

A Block Diagram of the Automatic Car Control Motor











A beginner’s guide to accelerometers

What is an accelerometer?
An accelerometer is an electromechanical device that will measure acceleration forces. These
forces may be static, like the constant force of gravity pulling at your feet, or they could be
dynamic - caused by moving or vibrating the accelerometer.

What are accelerometers useful for?

By measuring the amount of static acceleration due to gravity, you can find out the angle the
device is tilted at with respect to the earth. By sensing the amount of dynamic acceleration,
you can analyze the way the device is moving. At first, measuring tilt and acceleration doesn't
seem all that exciting. However, engineers have come up with many ways to make really
useful products with them.

An accelerometer can help your project understand its surroundings better. Is it driving
uphill? Is it going to fall over when it takes another step? Is it flying horizontally or is it dive
bombing your professor? A good programmer can write code to answer all of these questions
using the data provided by an accelerometer. An accelerometer can help analyze problems in
a car engine using vibration testing, or you could even use one to make a musical instrument.

In the computing world, IBM and Apple have recently started using accelerometers in their
laptops to protect hard drives from damage. If you accidentally drop the laptop, the
accelerometer detects the sudden freefall, and switches the hard drive off so the heads don't
crash on the platters. In a similar fashion, high g accelerometers are the industry standard way
of detecting car crashes and deploying airbags at just the right time.

How do accelerometers work?

There are many different ways to make an accelerometer! Some accelerometers use the
piezoelectric effect - they contain microscopic crystal structures that get stressed by
accelerative forces, which causes a voltage to be generated. Another way to do it is by
sensing changes in capacitance. If you have two microstructures next to each other, they have
a certain capacitance between them. If an accelerative force moves one of the structures, then
the capacitance will change. Add some circuitry to convert from capacitance to voltage, and
you will get an accelerometer. There are even more methods, including use of the
piezoresistive effect, hot air bubbles, and light.

What things should I consider when buying an accelerometer?
Analog vs digital - First and foremost, you must choose between an accelerometer with
analog outputs or digital outputs. This will be determined by the hardware that you are
interfacing the accelerometer with. Analog style accelerometers output a continuous voltage
that is proportional to acceleration. E.g. 2.5V for 0g, 2.6V for 0.5g, 2.7V for 1g. Digital
accelerometers usually use pulse width modulation (PWM) for their output. This means there
will be a square wave of a certain frequency, and the amount of time the voltage is high will
be proportional to the amount of acceleration.

If you are using a BASIC Stamp, or any other microcontroller with purely digital inputs, you
will most likely need to go for a digital output accelerometer. The disadvantage here is that it
requires you to use the timing resources of the microcontroller to measure the duty cycle, as
well as performing a computationally intensive division operation.

If you are using a PIC/AVR/OOPIC/Javelin with analog inputs, or a completely analog based
circuit, analog is almost always the best way to go. Depending on the compiler, measuring
analog acceleration can be as simple as acceleration=read_adc(); and can be done in a few

Number of axes - For most projects, two is enough. However, if you want to attempt 3d
positioning, you will need a 3 axis accelerometer, or two 2 axis ones mounted at right angles.

Maximum swing - If you only care about measuring tilt using earth's gravity, a ±1.5g
accelerometer will be more than enough. If you are going to use the accelerometer to measure
the motion of a car, plane or robot, ±2g should give you enough headroom to work with. For
a project that experiences very sudden starts or stops, you will need one that can handle ±5g
or more.

Sensitivity - Generally speaking, the more sensitivity the better. This means that for a given
change in acceleration, there will be a larger change in signal. Since larger signal changes are
easier to measure, you will get more accurate readings.

Bandwidth - This means the amount of times per second you can take a reliable acceleration
reading. For slow moving tilt sensing applications, a bandwidth of 50Hz will probably
suffice. If you intend to do vibration measurement, or control a fast moving machine, you
will want a bandwidth of several hundred Hz.

Impedance/buffering issues - This is by far the single most common source of problems in
projects involving analog accelerometers, because so few people thoroughly read the required
documentation. Both PIC and AVR datasheets specify that for A-D conversion to work
properly, the connected device must have an output impedance under 10kΩ. Unfortunately,
Analog Devices' analog accelerometers have an output impedance of 32kΩ. The solution to
this is to use a low input offset rail to rail op amp as a buffer to lower the output impedance.
As far as we know, the DE-ACCM is the only accelerometer solution that takes care of this
problem for you.

Electronic Components

Now its time to talk about the different components that make your electronic projects come
to life. Below is a quick breakdown of the most common components and functions they


Switches can come in many forms such as pushbutton, rocker, momentary and others. Their
basic function is to interrupt electric current by turning a circuit on or off.


Resistors are used to resist the flow of current or to control the voltage in a circuit. The
amount of resistance that a resistor offers is measured in Ohms. Most resistors have colored
stripes on the outside and this code will tell you it’s value of resistance. You can use a
multimeter or Digikey’s resistor color code calculator to determine the value of a resistor.

Variable Resistor (Potentiometer)

A variable resistor is also known as a potentiometer. These components can be found in
devices such as a light dimmer or volume control for a radio. When you turn the shaft of a
potentiometer the resistance changes in the circuit.

Light-Dependent Resistor (LDR)

A light-dependent resistor is also a variable resistor but is controlled by the light versus
turning a knob. The resistance in the circuit changes with the intensity of the light. These are
often found in exterior lights that automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn.


Capacitors store electricity and then discharge it back into the circuit when there is a drop in
voltage. A capacitor is like a rechargeable battery and can be charged and then discharged.
The value is measured in F (Farad), nano Farad (nF) or pico Farad (pF) range.


A diode allows electricity to flow in one direction and blocks it from flowing the opposite
way. The diode’s primary role is to route electricity from taking an unwanted path within the

Light-Emitting Diode (LED)

A light-emitting diode is like a standard diode in the fact that electrical current only flows in
one direction. The main difference is an LED will emit light when electricity flows through
it. Inside an LED there is an anode and cathode. Current always flows from the anode (+) to
the cathode (-) and never in the opposite direction. The longer leg of the LED is the positive
(anode) side.


Transistor are tiny switches that turn a current on or off when triggered by an electric signal.
In addition to being a switch, it can also be used to amplify electronic signals. A transistor is
similar to a relay except with no moving parts.


A relay is an electrically operated switch that opens or closes when power is applied. Inside a
relay is an electromagnet which controls a mechanical switch.

Integrated Circuit (IC)

An integrated circuit is a circuit that’s been reduced in size to fit inside a tiny chip. This
circuit contains electronic components like resistors and capacitors but on a much smaller
scale. Integrated circuits come in different variations such as 555 timers, voltage regulators,
microcontrollers and many more. Each pin on an IC is unique in terms of its function.

What Is A Circuit?

Before you design an electronic project, you need to know what a circuit is and how to create
one properly.

An electronic circuit is a circular path of conductors by which electric current can flow. A
closed circuit is like a circle because it starts and ends at the same point forming a complete
loop. Furthermore, a closed circuit allows electricity to flow from the (+) power to the (-)
ground uninterrupted.

In contrast, if there is any break in the flow of electricity, this is known as an open circuit. As
shown below, a switch in a circuit can cause it to be open or closed depending on it’s

All circuits need to have three basic elements. These elements are a voltage source,
conductive path and a load.

The voltage source, such as a battery, is needed in order to cause the current to flow through
the circuit. In addition, there needs to be a conductive path that provides a route for the
electricity to flow. Finally, a proper circuit needs a load that consumes the power. The load
in the above circuit is the light bulb.

Schematic Diagram

When working with circuits, you will often find something called a schematic diagram.
These diagrams use symbols to illustrate what electronic components are used and where
they’re placed in the circuit. These symbols are graphic representations of the actual
electronic components.

Below is an example of a schematic that depicts an LED circuit that is controlled by a switch.
It contains symbols for an LED, resistor, battery and a switch. By following a schematic
diagram, you are able to know which components to use and where to put them. These
schematics are extremely helpful for beginners when first learning circuits.

Schematic Diagram For LED Circuit

There are many types of electronic symbols and they vary slightly between countries. Below
are a few of the most commonly used electronic symbols in the US.

How To Determine A Resistor Size

Resistors are commonly used in electronics projects and it’s important to know which size to
use. To find the resistor value, you need to know the voltage and the amps for your LED and

A standard LED generally needs a voltage of around 2V and a current of 20mA or .02A to
operate correctly. Next, you need to find out what voltage your battery is. In this example,
we will be using a 9V battery. In order to determine the resistor size, we need to use a
formula known as Ohm’s law as shown below.

Ohm’s Law – Resistance (R) = Voltage (V) / Current (I)

 Resistance is measured in Ohms (Ω)
 Voltage is measured in volts (V)
 Current is measured in amps (A)

Using Ohm’s law, you need to subtract the LED voltage from the battery voltage. This will
give you a voltage of 7 which needs to be divided by .02 amps from the LED. This formula
shows that you will need a 350 Ω resistor.

Note, standard resistors don’t come in 350 Ω but are available in 330 Ω which will work fine.


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