Voltage converters and voltage inverters accept voltage input and provide a scaled voltage output. Conversion types include scaling up a low-level signal, voltage doubling, and inversion (converting a positive voltage to negative and vice versa). Device specifications, amplifier specifications, voltage inputs, sensors inputs, and form factor are important specifications to consider when searching for voltage converters and voltage inverters.  Additional specifications that are important to consider include user interface, filter specifications, and environmental parameters.

Device Specifications

Important device specifications to consider when searching for voltage converters and voltage inverters include differential analog input channels, accuracy, signal isolator, and multiplexer.  Differential channels use the difference between two signals as an input; common mode is filtered out. In some systems, differential inputs are combinations of two single-ended inputs; in this case, twice the number of differential channels would be available as single-ended inputs. Accuracy depends on the signal conditioning linearity, hysteresis, temperature considerations, etc. It is represented here as percent full scale of measurement range. Signal isolation is the separation of any direct electrical contact of a signal. This can be done in various ways including optical isolation, capacitors, and magnetic induction. A multiplexer handles several inputs and serially combines them into one output for transmission. Some multiplexers perform the reverse function.

Amplifier Specifications

Common amplifier specifications include integral amplifiers, programmable gain, gain range, maximum output, and bandwidth.  Amplifiers multiply a signal to the matching scale of the input device. Amplifier gains, or multiplication factors, may be greater than one or fractional for signal reduction. Amplifier gain may be adjusted according to the application needs. Adjustment may be from a local interface (such as a front panel) or from a computer interface. Gain is the factor by which the input signal is multiplied. Gains are frequently greater than unity, but may be fractional when a reduction (attenuation) of signal amplitude is desired. The maximum output is the limit of output voltage. Bandwidth is the difference between the high and low limits of the frequency response, typically defined by a variation from a nominal value by a stated value such as 3 dB.

Inputs

Inputs for voltage converters and voltage inverters can be voltage inputs or signal inputs.  Voltage inputs are either DC voltage or AC voltage.  Sensor inputs can be accelerometers, thermocouples, thermistors, RTD, strain gauges or bridges, and LVDT or RVDT.  The form factor choices for voltage converters and voltage inverters include IC or board mount, circuit board mount, panel or chassis mount, modular bay or slot system, rack mount, DIN rail, and stand-alone.


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