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Capacitive sensing tech eases load measurement

Posted: 26 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Loadstar? capacitive sensing? load sensor? CS-Series? DS-2100?

CS-series capacitive load sensors

Loadstar Sensors Inc. has launched a new line of products based on its patent-protected capacitive sensing technology. The new products include the CS-Series of integrated load sensors, the DS-2100 four-channel display and LoadVUE software for easy operation on a PC.

According to the company, these new sensors offer a large 0-5V measurable output, without the need for external signal conditioning equipment, in a compact, rugged, stainless steel package. The small size and threaded mounting holes provided on the top and bottom of the sensors make it possible to mount and fit them in tight spaces. In addition, their low power consumption (only 0.01mW) makes them suitable for use with batteries.

The CS-Series is currently available in three standard modelsthe CS-05100 rated for loads up to 50lbs, the CS-10100 rated for loads up to 100lbs, and the CS-25100 rated for loads up to 250lbs. Other load capacities are available for OEM applications upon request.

Loadstar said its patented capacitive load sensing technology provides several benefits over conventional resistive load cell technology. Load cellstypically based on resistive strain-gauge technologytend to be larger in size, provide only millivolt outputs, and require specialized signal conditioning equipment to provide signals measurable using common digital multimeters (DMMs) and DAQs. Not only does this make measurement awkward as it requires a separate external item, it also increases the cost associated with using a load cell. The cost, the size and the complexity of conventional strain based resistive load cell solutions made it difficult, if not impossible, to incorporate load measurement functionality into various industrial and consumer products.

"Our products, in contrast, can be used even with a 9V battery and a DMM and our 0-5V DC signal can be plugged directly into most common DAQ and control systems, bringing the total cost down to about a third of what you would expect with conventional load cells. We can also make really thin but rugged load sensors in any shape, making it possible to incorporate our sensors easily into end products," said Div Harish, co-founder and CEO of Loadstar.

Other related products launched include the DS-2100 display and the LoadVUE PC application. The DS-2100 four-channel LED display can be used with up to four CS-Series sensors simultaneously. The display acts as a summing device and can display individual loads or the sum of the loads on the connected sensors. It can also transmit load data to a PC via a RS-232 serial port. The LoadVUE software application is based on Microsoft Windows XP and connects with the DS-2100 display enabling a user to perform a nine-point calibration on up to four attached sensors simultaneously and measure and log loads on screen and to a file, Loadstar explained.

The CS-Series sensors are listed at $295 per load sensor with a launch discount of $100. The DS-2100 display is priced at $245 and the LoadVUE software is priced at $195 in single quantities.

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