Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pressure Transducers

On my last post I discussed common refrigeration pressure switches. As the name implies, these are switches which are opened and closed by pressure changes. They can make or break circuits, but they cannot indicate pressure. Pressure transducers are often used for electronic controls because they can actually indicate system pressures.

The word “transduce” means to change from one form to another. A pressure transducer turns pressure changes into analog electrical signal changes. This is most often a change in a DC voltage, typically 0 – 5 volts DC. This changing voltage can then be interpreted as a pressure by the electronic control to which it is connected.

The most common pressure transducers used in HVAC use a small stainless-steel diaphragm with strain gauges bonded to it. A change in pressure causes the diaphragm to bend, which causes the strain gauges to change resistance. These transducers have three leads: two are wired to DC+ and DC- and the third carries the signal. Pressure transducers ohm out like a potentiometer. On diagrams this looks like a potentiometer with a pressure bellows connected to the wiper arm. The resistance between the two leads that connect to DC voltage should stay the same regardless of the pressure. The third lead changes resistance relative to the two other leads as the pressure changes.

When the two other leads are connected to 5 volts DC, the signal connection will vary between 0 and 5 volts DC depending on the pressure. The control then interprets this voltage and controls the system based on the board’s program. If you want to check the transducer signal, read the voltage between the signal lead and DC- and then compare this voltage to a chart published by the manufacturer. Here are a couple of links to more information on presure transducers

Omega Transducers

Emerson Climate Technologies


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