What is my sensor sensing?

  • Thread starter kolleamm
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  • #1
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I have a controller with 3 pins for a sensor input. Positive, Negative, and Signal. I placed a wire on just the Signal.
The controller reads out the varying voltage across the signal wire/pin.
To the wire I attached a piece of Aluminum.

Every time I touched the aluminum with my finger the voltage would go from 0v to some other value such as 0.3-0.6v
Same thing when I touched it with a metal object.

Nothing happen however when I touched it with paper or plastic.
Is this an induction sensor? I just need to be sure.

Thanks in advance.
 

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  • #2
davenn
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hi there

since you haven't actually connected a sensor to the input
your controller is just recording random tiny fluctuations of voltage
you can do the same with a multimeter in low voltage or current ranges


Dave
 
  • #3
Hesch
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Is this an induction sensor? I just need to be sure.
I suggest it is a capacitive sensor, which senses ac-conducting materials.

You are right: It cannot sense paper ( and wood ), but it can sense glass ( and various types of plastic ). It can be made extremely sensitive.
 
  • #4
davenn
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I suggest it is a capacitive sensor, which senses ac-conducting materials.

Note: he wasn't actually using a sensor he was just connecting a random bit of wire to the signal in pin where the sensor would plug in

@kolleamm .... it mite help if you gave us more info ... eg what is the controller ... photo, www link etc, what sensor would normally plug into it ?


Dave
 
  • #5
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Thanks for the help guys!
The controller is called a Maestro Servo Controller. It is designed to pulse width modulate servos and detect input voltage around 0-5v from analog voltage sensors.

Whatever sensor it is you can use it as long as it gives you a voltage used for measuring input.
Would this likely be measuring capacitance?
 
  • #7
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The fluctuations in the voltage were fairly distinct when the objects were touching and not touching.

While touching it was around 0.3v-0.6v.
While not touching it was around 0.0v - 0.1v.

Regardless of how long it was touching or not.
 
  • #8
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I word of caution:
This sensor input signal may be ESD sensitive. You may damage it by touching it with fingers, plastic etc.
 
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  • #9
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I word of caution:
This sensor input signal may be ESD sensitive. You may damage it by touching it with fingers, plastic etc.
Good point, ultimately I'm just going to make 2 metallic plates that touch each other, the top being covered to prevent ESD. It's supposed to be a touch sensor for a robotic arm to prevent bumping into objects.
 
  • #10
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Just out of curiosity what could I add to the wire to prevent a high current from passing through it such as a high ESD? Connecting it to ground would probably make the sensor useless.
 
  • #11
dlgoff
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Is this an induction sensor? I just need to be sure.
As davenn said,
... random tiny fluctuations of voltage ...
Your body is capacitively coupled to the environment.

https://www.audereaudio.com/images/human-noise-injection.png [Broken]
Image compliments of https://www.audereaudio.com/faq_punoise.htm [Broken]
 
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  • #12
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Looks like the analog inputs are same structure as digital inputs and include ESD protection diodes, so you may be ok unless you are in an ESD harsh environment.
 

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  • #13
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Interesting, would there be any scenario where the wire would not read any noise from other materials perhaps if there are no high current power supplies nearby? I'm trying to determine if this would be a reliable proximity sensor.
 

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