Accelerometers are transducers designed to measure acceleration forces. 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 acceleration is measured in g's. The "g" unit refers to the gravitational constant, which is approximately 32.2 ft/s2 (9.81 m/s2). Proper acceleration is a type of relative acceleration measurement which uses a...
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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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