Monday, March 22, 2010

More about Load Cells

I will write today and tomorrow about the Load Cells and indicators, and will switch to something else.

All load cell manufacturers and sellers give the buyer a copy of the load cell data sheet, It might be attached inside the package of the load cell. In brief, Load Cells do not have many data that should be written in the data sheet, so my load cell data sheet is only two pages, in the first page information about the applications that the load cell used in. The second page are the technical information, dimensions and wiring.
Have a look to the technical information:

Inside the red line is "Output Sensitivity" which means the highest output (in Volts or mV) of the load cell when it carries the maximum load. Actually this depends on the input value in the photo above the output is 2 mV/V, my input volts are 10 V, so the highest output will be 20 mV when there is a 5 tons under the load cell (because my load cell maximum capacity is  tons), can I increase the input voltage? Yes until 15 V as stated in the technical above in "Excitation Voltage", what will happen if we increase the input more than the 15 V, nothing will happen under 20 V as in the data sheet "Maximum Excitation" except that the indicator will show an error message, if we increase the input voltage more than 20 V, it is not stated what will happen but maybe there will be some problems, small components inside the load cell will be damaged maybe.
I tried to increase input to 16 V and got an error message, of course I did not tried to increase more than the 20 V.

Arduino can not communicate directly with load cells, because Arduino have an analog input that read values between 0 and 5V, between 0 and 5V Arduino can read 1023 values, so can read each 0.0049 V and convert it to 1, for example 2.5V will be read as 512 in Arduino analog input and 5V will be 1023. So the small output numbers of the Load Cell (0 to 20m/V) will not be easy for Arduino to read, so we should use amplifier between the load cell and Arduino.



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