How to Convert a Load Cell Reading Into Total Weight

Written by pauline gill
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How to Convert a Load Cell Reading Into Total Weight
An electronic scale has a load cell sensor. (weigh in image by Kimberly Reinick from Fotolia.com)

Strain gauge load cells are by far the most common type of load cell-based weighing system in 2010. Strain gauge load cell weighing systems convert weights into analogue output signals that can be further conditioned to indicate weight in digital meters and control systems. They are used in every area of human endeavour, including commerce, transportation, science and technology, and industry to provide highly accurate real-time weight information. The conversion of load cell readings into useful total weight information requires several calculations based on the load cell's calibration specifications.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Electronic load cell converter
  • Digital multimeter
  • Strain gauge load cell

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Instructions

    Pound-Unit Conversion

  1. 1

    Obtain the individual load cell's characteristics. These will usually be shown as basic resistance in ohms, recommended excitation voltage, and sensitivity expressed as mv/V per unit weight in pounds, or millivolts-per-volt, and maximum weight capacity in pounds.

  2. 2

    Multiply the load cell's reading in millivolts by the full scale weight of the load cell. If the load cell's reading is 27 millivolts, (0.027-volts) and the load cell's maximum sensing weight is 45.4 Kilogram, this multiplication will yield 2.7 volt-pounds.

  3. 3

    Divide the product from Step 2, 2.7 volt-pounds, by sensitivity in millivolts/volt times the excitation voltage. If the load cell's sensitivity is 3 mv/V and the excitation voltage provided by the converter is 10 volts, then the divider will be 30 millivolts or 0.03 volts. The division operation will be 2.7 volt-pounds divided by 0.03 volts, yielding a weight of 40.8 Kilogram on the scale using the load cell. A digital weigh-scale meter would perform this calculation automatically and read out 40.8 Kilogram on its indicator face.

    Kilograms--Unit Conversion

  1. 1

    Obtain the individual load cell's characteristics. These will usually be shown as basic resistance in ohms, recommended excitation voltage and sensitivity expressed as mv/V excitation, per unit weight in kilograms, or millivolts-per-volt, and maximum weight capacity in kilograms.

  2. 2

    Multiply the load cell's reading in millivolts by the full scale weight of the load cell. If the load cell's reading is 14 millivolts, (0.014-volts) and the load cell's maximum sensing weight is 500 kilograms, this multiplication will yield 7 volt-kilograms.

  3. 3

    Divide the product from Step 2, 7 volt-kilograms, by sensitivity in millivolts/volt times the excitation voltage. If the load cell's sensitivity is 2 mv/V and the excitation voltage provided by the converter is 10 volts, then the divider will be 20 millivolts or 0.02 volts. The division operation will be 7 volt-kilograms divided by 0.02 volts, yielding a weight of 350 kilograms on the scale using the load cell. A digital weigh-scale meter would perform this calculation automatically and read out 350.0 kilograms on its indicator face.

Tips and warnings

  • Set up a spread sheet calculation if this operation is required often.
  • Overloading load cells can permanently damage them.

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