How to Select Accelerometers          Image credit: Meggitt Sensing Systems | Sherborne Sensors | Digi-Key Corporation   Accelerometers are transducers designed to measure acceleration forces.   Basic Information   Proper Acceleration Accelerometers measure proper — also known as g-force — acceleration, which can be simply defined as "acceleration felt as weight." As its alternative terminology implies, proper...
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Q & A on Accelerometers

We asked our users for their input on Accelerometers. Here are the results of 135 users familiar with Accelerometers.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing accelerometer design?
22 answers
Answers:
The question is more of what technologies are enabled by the decreasing cost per axis, and increasing functionality of today's accelerometers.
~Engineer, Raleigh, NC
Common products, like smartphones, where size and electricity consumption matter.
~Barcelona, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Important for me: miniaturization, low cost, software, wi-fi connectivity
~Enrique R, Engineer, São Paulo, Brasil
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative accelerometers?
20 answers
Answers:
PCB Piezotronics Wilcoxon Hansford Sensors
~General Corporate Mgmt, Mumbai, India
Silicon Designs Model 2210-200 Accelerometer
~Research & Development, Brisbane, Australia
IMI, Wilcoxon, Hansford Sensors, CTC
~Engineering, Consulting, Leicester, United Kingdom
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used accelerometers for?
33 answers
Answers:
Condition monitoring (rotating equipment), modal analysis (SIMO, MIMO & NIMA (OMA)), high frequency analysis, AE, building/structure background vibration, low frequency analysis, frequency & time domain deflection shapes, isolated instrument residual compensation E-11 g.
~Allan T, Technical Manager, Aberdeen, UK
Our customers use accelerometers for a wide range of consumer, industrial, and automotive applications, e.g. passive and active safety systems, gaming, infotainment, mobile handsets, equipment vibration monitoring, etc.
~Engineer, Raleigh, NC
Navigation (Accelerometers and gyros integrated with GNSS) Personal navigation devices (mobile phones, car navigation) Pedestrian dead reckoning Mining applications (measurement while drilling )
~Paul D, Engineer, Tampere, Finland
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that accelerometers have been used for.
18 answers
Answers:
Ballistocardiography, Seismocardiography, health monitoring. Ballistocardiography is the recording of human body acceleration consecutive to the cardiac activity and circulation of blood into the main arteries.
~Pierre-François M, Faculty/Staff, Brussels, Belgium
Measurement of actuator acceleration for a recloser. We then convert the information into speed and displacement for production line testing of our new products.
~Research & Development, Brisbane, Australia
Accurate relative displacement, very slow moving equipment, transient events requiring 30kHz frequency range, tilt measurements on moving structures.
~Allan T, Technical Manager, Aberdeen, UK
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of accelerometers?
5 answers
Answers:
Too many to list. But a less obvious is people using a high sensitivity accelerometer with a low LP filter suitable for low frequencies on slow moving equipment but using a high frequency band for demodulation.
~Allan T, Technical Manager, Aberdeen, UK
Make sure you know where your grounds and your power is otherwise you could end up with some garbage.
~Norbert T, Research & Development, St. John's, Canada
I don't know any mistakes but it will have been in automotive applications surely.
~Research & Development, Karachi, Pakistan

FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
20 answers
Answers:
Analog signal output (i2c or other digital-based, communication protocol is slow), in order to receive a signal continuously. A different package, breadboard-friendly can be necessary. I teach electronics and the accelerometers usually are a little painful to use because of this.
~Barcelona, Saint Kitts and Nevis
It's impossible to achieve with current technology: High sensitivity, large dynamic range, low noise, low frequency and high frequency capability together, low mass, high temperature resistance, rugged design, high shock resistance.
~Allan T, Technical Manager, Aberdeen, UK
I wish a triaxial 10g accelerometer that can be embedded in precast concrete piles capable of transmitting the measured data via wi fi.
~Enrique R, Engineer, São Paulo, Brasil
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of accelerometers?
9 answers
Answers:
Avoid selecting accelerometers with insufficient ranges. Beware of overall response being dominated by high-frequency content when low-frequency acceleration is the quantity of interest. Examine and dispose of any cable that is suspect; most "accelerometer errors" are actually due to interconnection problems. Invoke correct ground isolation.
~Mark P, Engineer, Des Moines, WA
The requirement / application must be exactly known to the user. And select either low g, medium g or high g accelerometers as per your exact application / requirement. Do special care in setup of sampling rate as it may be a major source of error in your design.
~Research & Development, Karachi, Pakistan
Ensure that the accelerometer is positioned in the system to avoid high q system resonances that could cause very high g shocks to be imparted to the device during processing or handling.
~Engineer, Raleigh, NC
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using accelerometers?
8 answers
Answers:
Read the specifications and understand them. Understand the entire measurement system, not just the sensor. Know what good data look like and how you can validate your data.
~Mark P, Engineer, Des Moines, WA
First determine your requirement based on what you wish to measure; frequency range, dynamic range, sensitivity, mass, etc..
~Allan T, Technical Manager, Aberdeen, UK
Always use digital output accelerometers and take great care in their installation orientation for good results.
~Research & Development, Karachi, Pakistan
See tech specs and match them with your requirements.
~VIVEK M, Research & Development, NEW DELHI, INDIA
Performance has to match the requirements.
~Paul D, Engineer, Tampere, Finland
Do your homework first.
~Drew W, Student, Clemson, SC
Look at all specs.
~Mitchell W, Engineer, Huntington Beach, CA
No, I don't.
~Enrique R, Engineer, São Paulo, Brasil


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