The data communication platform most suitable for a specific application must be determined through careful consideration of data transfer rate, data security, redundancy, location, environmental conditions, and installation and maintenance costs. Industrial applications that employ signal conditioners to measure parameters including temperature, pressure, rpm, voltage, and current run the gamut from wind turbines, to garbage truck transmissions, to detection of human heartbeats or hazardous materials in shipping containers.

Sensors in wind turbine controllers, for example, measure many parameters, including generator voltage and current, frequency, shaft rotational speed, wind direction, vibration, hydraulic pressure, and component temperatures. This harsh environment with its electrical noise, wide temperature variation, and high vibration requires rugged signal conditioners for sensor interface.

In the automotive, truck, and helicopter industries, to give another example, research and development efforts to improve transmissions require high performance, isolated signal conditioners to preserve the integrity of signals from frequency, pressure, and temperature sensors (see Figure 4).

This article was written by John Lehman, Engineering Manager at Dataforth Corporation, Tuscon, AZ. For more information, Click Here .