What is a Pressure Sensor or Pressure Transducer?

Posted on Thursday Mar 17, 2022 at 08:30AM  

The definitions for pressure sensor, switch, transducer, and transmitter can easily become confusing when they’re often used interchangeably in the facilities industry. However, understanding the differences between these terms, and the roles of each device in your building systems, can help you to ensure that you’re getting the right product for the job.

What is a Pressure Sensor?

A pressure sensor is any device that detects the force of pressure exerted upon it by a substance or body. The amount of pressure on the device can be quantified by its effect on the sensor. Sensors can be digital or analog, but either way, they serve to send a read-out signal of a specific pressure value to a remote location.

The word “sensor” is also somewhat of a generic and overarching term that includes more specific devices like transducers and transmitters. In other words, while all pressure transducers are sensors, not all pressure sensors are transducers. You might also call the element of the measuring system that is directly affected by pressure the “sensor,” as opposed to the separate element of the system that converts this information into an electronic signal.

How Does a Pressure Sensor Work?

As an electromechanical device, a pressure sensor is able to detect and monitor pressure in a fluid system by translating physical force on the device into an electrical signal. 

Sophisticated pressure sensors are part of a greater system that not only reads the level of pressure being exerted within the system but actually takes responsibility for monitoring and controlling the system in reaction to the pressure level detected. As pressure changes, so does the signal output of the sensor. This may trigger controls that are configured to turn elements of the system on, off, or adjust their levels at certain detected setpoints.

What is a Pressure Transducer?

A pressure transducer is a type of pressure sensor that consists of both a pressure-sensitive element, which creates a signal, and a signal converting element. The transducer converts low-level electrical signals from input mechanical pressure (from a gas or liquid) into a proportional voltage or milli-amp output. To “transduce” means to “convert.” 

What Does a Pressure Transducer Do?

The transducer reads the pressure in the fluid system. Then, the voltage or amperage outputs of the transducer can be delivered to remote locations for monitoring and to inform automated or manual control of the system. Analog output types include: 4 – 20mA, 0 – 5Vdc, 0 – 10Vdc, 1Vac, or 0.333Vac. If you’re using a digital pressure transducer (AKA a pressure transmitter), the more advanced electronics provide functionality to send signals through industry communication protocols such as Modbus or BACnet. 

Dry vs. Wet Pressure Transducers

A dry pressure transducer measures differential pressure within dry media (such as air or gas ductwork), whereas a wet media pressure transducer would allow for pressure sensing in wet systems (like plumbing runs).  

Veris offers transducers of both varieties, such as our innovative PX3 differential pressure and air velocity transducer for dry media, and our PWR series of remote wet media transducers.

PX3 Series

The PX3 transducer gives you the freedom to measure air pressure or velocity with the flip of a switch. Built-in Bluetooth functionality paired with the intuitive and simple Veris Sensors App makes it easy to control the transducer without climbing any ladders to overhead ductwork. Applications include:

  • Duct static pressure (Pressure mode)
  • Building or room pressure (Pressure mode)
  • Filter status (Pressure mode)
  • Airflow measurement (Velocity mode)

Learn more about the capabilities of the PX3 here or take a closer look at the datasheet.

PWR Series

With remote probes and no need to run plumbing lines all the way to the transducer, the PWR series greatly reduces installation time and costs. Users will benefit from pushbutton zero calibration — no trim pots to adjust — and switch-selectable pressure ranges. Applications include:

  • Monitoring and controlling pump differential pressure
  • Chiller/boiler differential pressure drop
  • CW/HW system differential pressure

Browse the datasheet for the PWR series for further information.

Veris offers a variety of pressure sensors and transducers to fit the needs of your analog or digital system. To learn more about our pressure sensing products, visit our website or call to speak with our sales team at 1-800-354-8556 or +1 503.598.4564.

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