Selecting and buying automotive sensors requires that you understand what to look for.
Engineers know this all too well and will check different requirements before they settle on a particular sensor.
That’s because the types of sensors used in cars vary from one manufacturer to another, working principle, sensing technology, operating conditions, and more.
The first step when looking for a sensor is to determine the type of sensing required. It can be temperature, pressure, speed or torque, and other measurements.
Next, consider the various requirements depending on usage. To find the sensor that fits your application and operating conditions, narrow down your options by considering the sensor’s:
- Size (different applications and aesthetic requirements dictate the size to go for)
- Temperature and voltage range
- Sensing range and response speed
- Type of electrical connection or wiring
- Output type
- Installation method, and
- Accuracy level
You will also be faced with the task to determine the type of sensor or its working mechanism.
In that line, you will need to choose between digital and analogue sensing technologies.
Also, sensors that require visual displays and those that don’t.
But that’s not all. Apart from these considerations, it’s advisable to also order for samples.
Use the samples to test how the sensor fits in the part you intend to use it in. The conditions, too, and see how it endures without losing accuracy or sensitivity.
That’s because most automotive sensors have to work in harsh conditions.
If the sensors are not designed to withstand these environments, it can mean a shorter lifespan, or even reduced sensing. Ensure the sensor can stand up to:
- Extreme temperatures
- Pressure differences
- Electromagnetic and sonic waves
- Different fluids such as oil, fuel, cleaners, brake fluid, and salty water.
Understanding the specific requirements of different types of sensors used in automobiles can help you make an informed choice, so here we go.
Choosing Automotive Pressure and Vacuum Sensors
The applications of pressure and vacuum detection technologies in vehicle sensors are many.
They range from safety systems such as braking, steering to door closing and airbag deployment.
Some are also used to control fuel delivery systems, from the tank to when the fuel reaches the engine.
When choosing these types of sensors, consider their pressure specifications.
Check to see they’re in line with your application requirements. Size, too- if right for mounting purposes.
Selecting Automotive Position Sensors
These detect and send information about an actuator’s position to the car computer.
Examples of such types of sensors in automobiles include throttle, crankshaft, and camshaft position sensing devices.
Position sensors mostly use magnets. They relay fluctuations of the magnetic field to an ECU, which then effects the required operations.
When choosing a position sensor, avoid compatibility issues by buying both the sensor and actuator from the same company or manufacturer.
Automotive Proximity Sensors Selection
A common type of vehicle digital sensing devices, proximity sensors scan areas around a vehicle for objects.
They are the type of automotive radar sensors that send warnings when a vehicle approaches barriers such as walls, obstacles or even other vehicles.
If buying a proximity sensor that uses an actuator, always purchase both parts from one manufacturer.
Otherwise, you risk having a sensor whose accuracy and sensing strength is lower than expected.
Choose the Right Inductive Automotive Sensors
These are proximity sensors but which use inductive reactance to sense nearby objects.
Because of this, you need to take into account the type of metal you want the sensor to be able to detect.
Ferrous metals produce strong magnetic fields, and an inductive sensor can easily detect them.
Non-ferrous metals do not, which means shorter sensing ranges and reduced accuracy.
Choosing Vision Automotive Sensors
Vision sensors come in a wide variety, and the usage dictates the right type to install.
The sensors in this category include image viewing and image understanding technologies.
Image-viewing vision sensors require a display, while image-understanding do not.
Choose the right type depending on the needs.
What to Look for Optical Automotive Sensors
Optical sensors send out light to detect objects.
In conventional cars, these sensors are used in systems such as auto emergency braking, parking assist, and lane change.
When choosing an optical sensor, essential considerations include, application, the technology used, sensing range, and mounting method.
That’s because there are different types of these sensors and each comes with own advantages and drawbacks.
Automotive Flow Sensors Selection
Flow sensors vary by size, range, and, other factors.
When selecting these types of sensors, it’s recommended to consider the specific application.
Examples of sensors in this category include those used in oil, intake air, and fuel systems.
They detect flow rate and mass, helping onboard computers to control different systems for optimal vehicle performance.
Choose the right size for the specific use, the correct range specifications, and mounting method.
The sensors used in cars are the input devices of the onboard computers.
If they send incorrect information, it can mean car systems not operating as required or even stopping to function.
When choosing a sensor, it’s recommended to ensure only the right type that has the right specifications for the particular application.
That way, you can be certain that every part is operating optimally and safety, efficiency, and performance are not compromised.