Signal Conditioning (Sensors)

Signal conditioning is one of the most important components of a data acquisition system because the accuracy of the measurement cannot be relied without optimizing real-world signals for the digitizer in use. The signal conditioning will vary widely depending on the sensor since no instrument having the capability to provide all types of conditioning for all sensors. The key to a successful signal conditioning system is to understand the right circuitry needed to ensure an accurate measurement that the channel provides. Sensor signal are often incompatible with data acquisition hardware. To overcome this incompatibility, the sensor signal must be conditioned. This operation are performed on sensor signal to compensate the imperfection present is the sensor signals and to make them compatible for interface with next stage elements. Common ways of signal conditioning include amplification, linearization, filtering, electrical isolation, multiplexing, and excitation source. For example, Thermocouple signals have very small voltage levels that must be amplified before they can be digitized. Other sensors, such as Resistance Temperature Detectors (RTDs), thermistors, strain gauges and accelerometer require excitation to operate. All these conditioning technologies are the forms of signal conditioning system.