Analog & Signal Conditioners

Of course we offer signal conditioner design services! More broadly, we offer measurement instrument and other analog design services.

As founder and former owner of JH Technology, Inc., Harry Trietley designed most of their signal conditioners (process transmitters and alarms). Previous experience in measurement instrument and analog design includes Wilkerson Instruments, YSI (Yellow Springs Instruments) and the former Taylor Instruments.

So – what are signal conditioners? Simply put – devices that convert one type of electronic signal into something different.

Now, that’s a bit broad. You might consider televisions or compact disc players to be signal conditioners. After all, they convert their input signals into entirely different video or audio signals. The term “signal conditioner”, though, generally refers to industrial signal conversion instruments also known as process transmitters and alarms.

“Transmitter”? Until recently process transmitters haven’t “transmitted” over the air at all. (Some newer products now do.) Rather, they “transmit” or send their converted signals – analog or digital – over wires. In fact, the original process transmitters were not even electronic. Precision pneumatic designs using bellows, nozzles and baffles, bourdon tubes and the like produced an analog pressure output, typically 3 to 15 PSI (pounds per square inch) proportional to the measured pressure, temperature or other variable. Signal “transmission” was through tubing. They’re still in use today: they aren’t affected by electrical noise and can’t possibly touch off an explosion! No – we can’t design those.

An industrial signal conditioner or process transmitter takes a measurement input, translates it to an acceptable control signal and sends it on to one or more “receivers”. The receivers usually are control instruments, systems or displays. You might liken it to the preamplifier in an audio system which takes the signal from a tuner, audio tape, compact disc or phonograph pickup (remember them?), amplifies it and sends it on to the power amplifier which drives the speaker.

Temperature control, for example, might start with a very low millivolt signal from a thermocouple. The signal conditioner amplifies the signal, performs other conditioning functions and sends it on to a control device. The control device receives the amplified signal, compares it to the desired setting and tells the heating or cooling source to do more or less, or maybe just turn on or off. The system may also display or record the temperature.

Usually signal conditioners process slowly-changing signals, but some applications require fast or high frequency response. To learn more visit our High Speed Signal Conditioners page.

We’ve neglected alarms. An industrial alarm takes the same type of signal but simply compares it to a trip point or set point and gives a good/bad, hi/lo or on/off output. The output usually is an on/off contact closure or a hi/lo voltage.

We’ve designed process transmitters for thermistors, conductivity, dew point (lithium chloride sensors), dissolved oxygen and liquid level as well as the more-common measurements such as thermocouple, RTD (resistance thermometer) and strain gauge. We’ve also designed signal conditioners for power voltage, current and frequency inputs. These don’t amplify; rather, they reduce and electrically isolate the input for safety, convert it to the desired output and then send it on to the receiver.

We recently completed a dual-input digital signal conditioner whose output is computed from two sensor inputs. Details are on our Digital Designs page.

While at JH Technology Harry designed a broad range of standard signal conditioner and measurement instrument designs. His, and our, claim to fame, though, are our specials capabilities and quick turn-around. It often is possible to create “simple” modifications to standard products at low cost and short turn-around time. We’ve done:

  • Process transmitters – fast response, slow response, custom filtering.
  • Remotely located adjustments and other non-standard connections & set-ups.
  • Alarms with delays.
  • Non-standard input types & ranges.
  • Unique math functions such as:
    • (A + B) or (A x B) where A is a potentiometer and B is a voltage or current.
    • Math functions with unequal input ranges.
    • Absolute value function.
  • Peak-picker (fast rise, slow decay)

So – if you need analog or measurement instrument design services including but not limited to signal conditioners, just let us know.