Two new digital strain gauge signal conditioning modules

Ixthus Instrumentation has extended its range of force and load cell instrumentation accessories with two high-performance digital strain gauge signal conditioning modules from its USA distribution partner Strainsert Inc. Targeted at measurement tasks where accuracy, resolution, and stability are vital, the new products comprise a single channel option with USB connectivity and a model for single or multichannel strain gauge signal conditioning with optional RS-232, RS-485 or CAN outputs and a choice of ASCII, Modbus or CAN protocols. The new products are supported with extensive software tools enabling straightforward interfacing, configuration and calibration, including a Windows DLL for creating custom applications.

The module, supplied as a single channel PCB format package or provided in customised enclosures for multiple sensor measurement tasks, offers up to 500 readings per second. With a user-programmable signal filter, the module is suitable for four-wire bridge measurement with a nominal 5V excitation voltage and bridge resistance from 320 to 5000Ohms (350Ohms typical) with a typical sensitivity of 2.5mV/V. Standard single and multichannel modules are offered for RS232 and RS485 output with ASCII or Modbus protocols or CAN output using the CAN 2.0B protocol. Single modules require an external 12V DC power source at 450mW, typical for a 350Ohm bridge.

The USB interfaced version (DSCUSB) is powered from its USB port, and a simple ‘plug and measure’ option enables direct connection to a PC, appearing as a virtual COM port. Where multiple USB ports are provided, multi-channel use is possible. At 200 samples per second at 18 bits noise-free resolution, the module outputs an ASCII protocol. Together with the software toolkit, the module can provide for the correction of non-linear sensors. The compact ABS plastic enclosure (71mm x 51mm x 20mm) has an IP50 rating and is also offered with a DIN-rail mounting kit.

Both DSC and DSCUSB digital strain gauge modules share common specifications for linearity, temperature stability and resolution. Detailed specification sheets are available from the company, which can help UK and Ireland customers with application engineering and customised system integration for multi-channel measurement tasks.