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Electrical circuit for pressure sensors: when is really a sensor active, and when passive?

When using pressure sensors, the output signals 0 ? 20 mA, 4 ? 20 mA and DC 0 ? 10 V are frequently chosen in order for the sensor signals to be evaluated and additional processed. For this, the signal output of the pressure sensor is usually linked to a corresponding input card in the PLC.
In this context it could often be confusing, as the day-to-day using the terms ?active?, ?passive?, ?current source?, ?voltage source?, ?current sink? and ?load? are often wildly mixed together. Any electrical signal processing always requires a voltage supply (an ?active part?) and a ?load?, like a pressure sensor, which represents the ? Irs ?. Sometimes the active part of the interconnection is also described as a power source/voltage source and the passive part is referred to as a ?current sink?. In order that a power circuit can function, current must flow in a circuit ? even when an instrument is normally known as a load, the current is not consumed because of it, rather it only flows from the existing or voltage source through the load and back to the existing source.
This works only if an ?energy gap? exists between current source and current sink, therefore the power source operates actively (= sending out current) and the current sink passively (= current flows through it) . Therefore, an interconnection of two current sources or two current sinks will not operate normally. This situation is complicated in day-to-day application:
When does a pressure sensor work passively (current sink) and when does it work actively (current source)?
So how exactly does the input card in my PLC operate?
Generally of thumb, you can take into account that 2-wire sensors usually work passively and thus need a dynamic PLC input card. It is difficult with 4-wire sensors, since, for instance, a 4-wire flow sensor includes 2 wires for a separate voltage supply and 2 wires for a dynamic or passive 0/4 ? 20 mA signal output. It is therefore imperative to check the datasheets for the sensor and PLC input card used.

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