Frequently Asked Questions
How do magnetic sensors work?
Magnetic field sensors either utilize an internal magnet or directly detect a permanent or electromagnetic field. The internal magnet sensors detect ferrous steel and produce either an analog or digital output. Hall Switches, Reed Switches, and other external magnet sensors detect the magnetic field from a magnet or electro coil. They also are available in analog and digital versions. You can find all of these sensor types in our magnetic sensor catalog.
What is the best way to find the magnetic sensor I need?
Sensor Solutions offers 3 different processes for selecting magnetic sensors. You can find all of our sensors categorized in our magnetic sensor catalog. Or, you can utilize our new Sensors By Function Tool or Sensors By Target Toolto narrow down the catalog based on what you are trying to target or the function in your application. As an alternative, you can contact us with the requirements of your application and our Engineers can recommend a sensor based on your specific requirements.
How do I order your magnetic sensors and sensor accessories?
You can place an order by calling 970-879-9900, emailing our Sales department, or start by filling out our request quote form.
What is the farthest a magnetic sensor can see?
Magnetic fields decrease exponentially as the distance from the field decreases. Gear Detection Sensors typically require installation within 0.10" of the target gear. Our most powerful Ferrous Metal Proximity Sensors can detect steel targets several inches from the sensor. For Hall Effect Switches and Analog Hall Effect sensors, the size, material, grade, and shape of the magnet will all affect the measurable gap range. More information is available in our Application Notes.
How do I order your magnetic sensors and sensor accessories?
We take orders by calling 970 879-9900 x300 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX), can receive payment via PayPal or wire transfer. NET 30, NET45, and NET 60 terms require some purchase history and the completion of our Application for Terms.
Is Sensor Solutions ISO or QS Certified?
Sensor Solutions is certified to the ISO 9001:2008 quality standard.
Are your sensors CE certified?
Although CE marking is not standard, a majority of Sensor Solutions sensors can be CE marked for a nominal charge. Contact sales for details.
How do I get parts that will pass my CE testing?
Contact our Engineering Department to discuss CE certification. . We are working on adding 'CE' options to our catalog selection.
Do you have RoHS Compliant magnetic sensors?
We do offer RoHS-compliant products. Unless specifically requested on the Purchase Order or otherwise acknowledged in writing by Sensor Solutions, current products may not be RoHS Compliant. It is up to the customer to determine which if any exemptions apply to the end-line device that uses our products. Sensor Solutions only warrants that product sold as RoHS compliant meet this certification, and assumes no liability for misuse or misrepresentation of non-compliant product.
Why aren't all of your products RoHS compliant?
Lead is the only item of concern. Lead-free soldering is more expensive and not as reliable as conventional soldering. We now offer RoHS sensors on a custom basis. If you require RoHS compliant sensors, contact us via phone or email. Sensor Solutions is in the process of moving to full compliance by the July 2019 deadline for Category 11 exemptions.
Can you provide replacements for obsolete Airpax and Electro Corp sensors and pickups?
We have designed exact replacements and can also provide sensors from our catalog with the same outputs and thread types. Check our Cross-Reference page to see if we list a replacement, if not contact Engineering via phone or email to discuss the options.
Can you cross-reference other manufacturer's part numbers?
Lots of times we can provide a direct replacement. Check our Catalog Cross Reference or call us for info.
How do I get application support?
Either call us or use our Contact Page. Make sure to fill in the proper e-mail address for the reply.
Is your product pricing published online?
For most of our sensors, yes. Follow the steps in our Sensors By Function, Sensors By Target, or Catalog, where you can see & print a photo of your selection, view pricing, and have the option to download the pdf datasheet.
How do I determine the north and south poles of a magnet?
This is a confusing question, with conflicting answers listed across the Internet. The following methods will indicate the poles as defined within the magnetic sensing industry.
1.) Use a compass: The south pole of a magnet will attract the end of the compass needle pointing north.
2.) Float the magnet in still water, the north pole of the magnet will align with the magnetic north.
3.) Opposites attract, use a magnet with known poles, the marked north will attract the south pole of the unknown magnet.
4.) Purchase your magnets from Sensor Solutions, the south pole is labeled on the magnet or defined on the specifications sheet for potted magnets.
How do I buy products from outside the US?
We ship FOB Colorado, the USA around the world using UPS. We can take a credit card, or wire transfer directly into our account. We can also ship collect against FedEx accounts.
I'm not sure what target to detect.
Every sensor needs something to 'detect'. Hall Switches and Analog Hall Sensors detect magnets. Ferrous Metal Proximity Sensors detect ferrous steel. Gear tooth sensors detect gear teeth, holes, or other ferrous targets. If you start by selecting Sensors By Function you can first determine what the goal of the sensor is and then you will be provided a list of target options to choose from.
What is the effect of Chopper Stabilization?
Chopper stabilization corrects the magnetic offset and allows our sensors to be made more sensitive. From the customer's perspective, a chopper-stabilized sensor will trigger slightly after the magnetic field. This uncertainty will be from 0 to 1 / Chopper Frequency. Typically this is less than 16uS. To learn more we offer the following Application Note.
What is the best way to measure speed from a magnetic gear tooth sensor?
There are 2 ways to measure speed from the continuous pulses produced from gear teeth:
1.) Count the number of sensor pulses in a fixed period of time. If you count the number of pulses, make sure you are counting at least 20 pulses at your maximum speed.
2.) Count the time between each sensor pulse. If you are measuring the time between pulses, make sure to use the same edge (rising or falling), and note that the chopper-stabilized sensors will have a tooth to tooth uncertainty of up to 1 / the chopper frequency. Typically this is 16uS.
Never try to measure the time from rising edge to falling edge for speed.
Sensor Solutions offers fully programmed tachometers to pair with our sensors in our Accessories catalog.
What does a quadrature gear tooth sensor do for me?
A quadrature sensor can give you direct information and can increase the measuring system's resolution to 4 times the number of targets. It produces 2 square wave outputs, Ch A and Ch B. So, you get 4 'edges' from each tooth or target: Ch A rising and falling, Ch B rising and falling. In one direction of movement, A leads B. In the other direction, B leads A. If a system has a tooth-to-tooth spacing of .100", each 'edge' is approximately .025" apart. To learn more we offer the following Application Note.
What is the best way to measure speed from a quadrature gear tooth sensor?
A quadrature gear tooth sensor has 4 edges, Ch A rising, Ch B rising, Ch A falling and Ch B falling. Gear tooth sensors never have exactly 50.0% duty cycle signals, and the phase angle is never exactly 90.0 degrees. Therefore, the time between these 4 edges is not exactly the same. To measure speed, look time between the same edges; for example, Ch A falling to the next Ch A falling. Note the non-chopper stabilized sensors have less tooth-to-tooth 'chatter' caused by the chopper frequency.
Do you make sensors other than what is listed on your website?
Yes. We have multiple 'application specific' sensors that are not listed. We can also provide different cable lengths and connection options on request. Contact Engineering to see if we can make a sensor for your application.
Where are your products manufactured?
We use components manufactured across the globe. All final assembly and testing is done in Steamboat Springs, CO, USA.
Can your sensors survive a radioactive environment?
Yes, we have built custom magnetic sensors that have traveled down the core of a Nuclear Reactor.
Is there a list of application notes?
We have quite a few application notes but have not had a chance to add them all to our website. Published Application Notes are available here. Contact Engineering or call 970 879-9900 x 302 if you cannot find the information you require.
Do you offer complete systems, including the meter, cable, and sensor?
Yes. By starting with our Catalog you can find all of our target magnet options, mating connection options, meters and controllers, and other sensor accessories.
I don't have a gear that I can detect; how can Iwhat get speed information?
You can detect a steel bolt head or a hole in a steel target with a gear tooth sensor or a ferrous metal detection sensor. Otherwise, you can attach a magnet to the rotating target and detect it with a Hall Switch. We provide raw magnets, magnets potted into threaded bolts, and magnets mounted on shaft collars. Our Sensors By Target guide breaks down all of our product lines by target.
What is the difference between 0 SPEED, TRUE 0 SPEED, and VERY LOW-SPEED sensors?
True 0 Speed means if you start today and one target passes the sensor in the next year, the sensor produces an appropriate pulse. Very Low Speed means the targets can pass by at less than 1 target per second, and the sensor works. Some competitors claim 0 speed on their Very Low-Speed Sensors even though they don't work to true 0 speed.
What is the difference between the Single Channel Gear Tooth Sensor and the Single Channel Target Tracker Gear Tooth Sensor?
There are several differences. The Single Channel DS is true 0 speed, chopper-stabilized, requires the direction of rotation orientation, and looks for target left vs. target right. The Target Tracker DSO works at very slow speeds, does not have chopper noise, and does not require orientation. It is sensitive to metal close and metal far.
Which gear tooth sensor should I use, The Gear Tooth Sensor or the Target Tracker?
It depends on your requirements. In general, use the DS Gear Tooth Sensor if you have a standard gear, and a Target Tracker DSO if you can't orient the sensor to the gear or want to produce pulses that track the teeth pattern. The DS sensor behaves more consistently from part to part, but if you gap them close enough the DSO sensors work great.
For a Quadrature or Speed Direction Sensor, when should I use the DSO 'Target Tracker' instead of the DS gear tooth sensor?
If the gear you are sensing has teeth that are longer than .250" at the outside diameter, or the teeth are farther apart than .650" at the outside diameter, use the Target Tracker DSO.
How can I detect the speed and/or the direction of a rotating shaft?
One option is to mount magnets directly to your shaft. Another option is a shaft collar containing magnets that can be attached to the shaft. These targets can then be paired with a Hall Effect sensor to give you the outputs you need. We provide a variety of target options and can also create custom solutions as required by customers.
Can Sensor Solutions program Melexis sensors?
Sensor Solutions is setup for programming Melexis MLX90215, MLX90251, and MLX90316 sensors. Whether you require a few for prototyping/testing or you need small to large volumes for production, contact us to discuss your specific needs. Sensor Solutions is also capable of programming other sensors not listed above. Contact our Sales or Engineering to discuss any programming needs.
Can Sensor Solutions program Micronas sensors?
Sensor Solutions is setup for programming Micronas HAL805 and HAL1000 sensors. Whether you require a few for prototyping/testing or you need small to large volumes for production, contact us to discuss your specific needs. Sensor Solutions is also capable of programming other sensors not listed above. Contact our Sales or Engineering to discuss any programming needs.
Can Sensor Solutions provide custom sensors?
Sensor Solutions OEM manufactures magnetic field sensors specific to the requirements of applications for many of our customers. Whether you require standard functionality but need the sensors branded with your part number, or you require a fully custom sensing solution, Contact Engineering to discuss how we can be best meet your custom needs.
Does Sensor Solutions offer a warranty?
Sensor Solutions products are sold with a 1-year warranty against manufacturer defects. Refer to our Terms and Conditions for specific details.
What does Sensor Solutions do?
Sensor Solutions is your one-stop-shop for catalog or custom magnetic sensors. Our on-call Engineers are available to consult on solutions for your needs, we can prototype custom sensor packages, ready for customer testing or production release in 1-6 weeks, and your solution is built-to-order in our facility in Colorado. Refer to our company brochure for more details.