Sensors, Transducers, & Transmitters

Objectives

  • Define sensors, transducers, and transmitters.
  • Discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Explain the purpose of using a live zero scale when transmitting sensor information.
  • Walk through a simple transmitter zero and span calibration.
  • Construct a standard instrumentation current loop.

Sensors vs. Transducers vs. Transmitters

The words sensor, transducer and transmitter are often used interchangeably. But, strictly speaking, they are not exactly the same.

All transducers and transmitters contain sensors.

Some sensors, but not all, are transducers or transmitters. For example, a traditional U-tube manometer is certainly a pressure sensor, but it is not a transducer or a transmitter. A piezoelectric pressure sensor, on the other hand, naturally produces an electrical signal, so it is a sensor and transducer.

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