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Designs Considerations and Applications of PCB Sensors

Industrial equipment, mobile devices, environmental sensor networks, IoT devices. This list for different sensor types seems endless. Furthermore, the sensor market keeps growing just to satisfy the ever increasing demand. As of today, where virtually everything in our everyday life has to do with our mobile devices, we expect something. That new products have some connectivity level. We expect it to have an interaction with the environment as well as the user by using sensors.

Asides consumer PCB, there are a whole lot of applications demanding the usefulness of sensors. New manufacturing developments, as well as other industries have started causing daily tasks to be heavily dependent on data. This is why sensor networks are becoming very important.

In this article, we will be discussing what a PCB sensor is.

How You Can Select a PCB Sensor

Choosing sensors to be used in new products is more than thinking of the phenomena that you want to measure. Furthermore, you’ll have to think of the environment that the product is being deployed in. Also, consider the manner of use of the product when determining the different sensor types as well as that unique sensor you’ll need to have in the device.

Also, your device’s functionality and design requirements are one of the first places to begin when you consider the type of sensor that your device has to operate. Furthermore, different sensors feature different breadth of capabilities, accuracy levels, form factor, limit of detection, power requirements, and measurement range. Also, you’ll have to balance the necessary capabilities with the enclosure and mechanical footprint of your device when choosing a specific sensor that needs to be included in a specific design.

For example, let’s say you are creating an environmental monitor for use in a specific factory, there’s a need for you to balance the necessary accuracy level as well as the range of measurement with the requirement that helps in keeping the device very small and wearable.

In addition, if there’s a need for the monitor to detect a specific noxious gas, then there’s no need to check it down to the ppb levels once an unsafe exposure gets to a high ppm level. Generally, sensors having a lower detection limit will carry a higher cost as well. This becomes significant if the production of your device will come with a high volume.

What are the Design Considerations for the Different PCB Sensors?

Note that the designing of PCB sensors to interface well with today’s analog world. Therefore, the collected signals serve as analog data. Moreover, if the information has to undergo some processing and then stored into a specific memory module or moved to a base station, then the analog output present in sensors has to be changed into a digital signal.

What this means is that there’ll be a need to make use of routing techniques and standard signal design. This is to make sure that there is signal integrity all through your device. Also, power integrity is another important consideration anytime you are working with a mobile device. This includes pcb sensors. This is because the devices can run off the batteries. Also, problems relating to power integrity such as power bus ringing and ground bounce can alter the digital ICV’s operating point which is present in your board as well as convert corrupt data. Also, these issues can affect your PCB sensor readings’ accuracy.

Applications of PCB Sensors

Below are some of the applications of PCB Sensors

Thermal Imaging and Monitoring

A photodiode is known as the simplest sensor that helps to detect infrared light. Also, you can easily include this PCB sensor in any printed circuit board. Furthermore, it permits fast infrared light detection from a specific point source.

Also, for optical signals that are weak, you can make use of avalanche photodiodes to offer some gain, offering more detection of visible or infrared light.

As regards thermal imaging, you will need to make use of a CCD in your Printed circuit board. This is because the combination of photosensitive pixels offers the necessary resolution to create an image. What this offers is thermal monitoring that covers a large view.

Vibration Monitoring

For the manufacturing industry as well as other types of industry, the vibrations present in different equipment plays a huge role in affecting the quality of any product manufactured in a factor. Also, they serve as indicators of mechanical issues which need quick maintenance.

In addition, you cannot always detect these vibrations through touch. Also, you cannot differentiate them easily with the help of the ear. To monitor vibration over a frequency range plays a significant role in the monitoring of different heavy equipment.

Furthermore, the piezoelectric transducers and sensors are great for the monitoring of the vibrations over a frequency range. When you deploy this in any manufacturing environment, you must design the sensor modules to help in meeting additional strict mechanical demands in contrast to the majority of consumer-grade devices.

Furthermore, the piezoelectric sensors play a huge role in the monitoring of biological or chemical agents whenever it is driven close to any of their frequencies. Also, a little application of a mechanical load to a specific piezoelectric element helps in shifting the driving amplitude and resonance frequencies that can be detected with ease making use of analog circuits for signal processing.

Wireless Sensor Networks

You can monitor infrastructure, environmental, as well as safety in the factories making use of wireless sensor networks. Also, these little embedded device networks include a small number of wireless connectivity and sensors over Bluetooth, Zigbee, WiFi, as well as other wireless protocols.

 You can then pass the gathering and processing of data using a small microcontroller to a base station over any wireless protocol. This allows you to have real-time monitoring of any important information on the environment over a wide and broad area.

Conclusion

We hope we have been able to explain to you what PCB sensors are and what its applications. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.