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4 Things to Know About Current Sensors

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It's no secret that selecting a current sensor can be a perplexing task, especially when faced with an overwhelming array of options. The abundance of choices only adds to the confusion. But fear not! By understanding four essential aspects of your application, you can significantly narrow down the pool of potential current sensors. Instead of being bombarded with hundreds of options, you'll have a concise selection of suitable candidates.

Current Sensing Type & Range

Understanding the behavior and potential of the current being sensed is crucial when selecting a current sensor for any application. Various current sensors come with specific limitations regarding the type of current they can sense or function with. While some are designed solely for AC at 60Hz, others can handle a broader range of frequencies. On the other hand, specific sensors are exclusively meant for DC currents. It is vital to ensure that the chosen current sensor can sense the particular type of current you require.

Additionally, each current sensor has a defined operating range in terms of amps. Considering the minimum and maximum currents expected to flow through the wire being sensed is essential, ensuring that they fall within the sensor's operational range. Any currents outside this range may go undetected or even cause damage to the sensor.

Sensor Output Type & Ratings

After a current sensor successfully detects the current, it requires a means to convey that information to the rest of the application. This communication can take various forms, such as connecting to a controller, logic board, relay, switch, or even another device altogether. Two common methods employed for this purpose are contacts and transducers.

Contacts typically come with specific ratings that should be taken into account to ensure compatibility with your application. It is crucial to verify that your application aligns with these ratings to prevent any damage to the current sensor. In scenarios where a current sensor is used to trigger a substantial load, it might be worth considering a dry contact input relay or a combination of relay and current sensor.

Transducers, on the other hand, are available in three different variants: 4-20mA, 0-5V, or 0-10V. It is essential to consider the requirements of your controllers, as they often only support one specific type. Therefore, it is necessary to match the output of your current sensor with the input compatibility of your controller to ensure seamless integration and accurate communication.

Threshold Size

When opting for the contact option as the output for your current sensor, you will also need to consider the sensing threshold. This threshold determines the point at which the sensor triggers and either opens or closes its contacts. There are two types of thresholds to choose from: fixed and adjustable.

A fixed threshold is set by the manufacturer and cannot be changed by the user. On the other hand, an adjustable threshold allows you to customize and set the threshold yourself. Understanding your desired threshold level and whether or not it may need to be adjusted in the future will aid in deciding between the two options.

Physical Size

Lastly, it is important to consider the physical size of the current sensor. There have been instances where individuals meticulously reviewed the aforementioned specifications and believed they had found the ideal current sensor, only to discover that it did not fit their requirements. This can occur if the aperture is too small for their wire, the terminals are too petite, or the current sensor itself does not physically fit within their application. Prior to finalizing a specific current sensor, it is essential to thoroughly check and double-check the wire diameter (including insulation) and the available space for installation.

That covers everything! Once you have those four aspects sorted out, selecting a current sensor that suits your application becomes straightforward. Other choices you make will mostly be based on convenience or personal preference, such as opting for split or solid core sensors, rather than strict compatibility with your application. Utilize website filters to aid your selection process, and if you still find it challenging to decide on a current sensor, don't hesitate to reach out to our Tech Support team for assistance at!


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