Understanding Sensor Terms | P2S

Kent Peterson

Vice President

PE, ASHRAE Presidential Fellow, LEED AP BD+C, BEAP, MCIBSE

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Many buildings and facilities rely on temperature, humidity, and pressure sensors and transmitters to provide stable environments. They are a key part of any control system and impact the cost, stability and accuracy of the data. Selecting the correct sensors, and making sure what is specified is provided, help ensure a quality control system installation. However, sensors often receive little attention as we design systems and develop specifications. This may be partly because selecting the correct sensor for the application can sometimes be intimidating. This month’s column explores temperature sensor selection for HVAC&R control systems and explains general sensor components and terminology.

Understanding Terminology

As a designer or engineer, you must specify sensors for use in your designs. During the search, you can be confronted with an array of product specifications torely upon to select the sensor with the right cost-performance ratio. Unfortunately, not all sensor specifications are presented in a way that allows direct comparison. A sensor will never reflect the actual conditions exactly, but a high-quality sensor can provide information that falls within a maximum stated error. Understanding sensor terminology1 will assist in selecting and comparing sensors.

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