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Title: The Constant Current Loop: A New Paradigm For Resistance Signal Conditioning
Author: Karl F. Anderson
Source: 1994 Measurement Science Conference
Year Published: 1994
Abstract: A practical single constant current loop circuit for the signal conditioning of variable-resistance transducers has been synthesized, analyzed, and demonstrated. The strain gage and the resistance temperature device are examples of variable-resistance sensors. Lead wires connect variable-resistance sensors to remotely located signal-conditioning hardware. The presence of lead wires in the conventional Wheatstone bridge signal-conditioning circuit introduces undesired effects that reduce the quality of the data from the remote sensors. A practical approach is presented for suppressing essentially all lead wire resistance effects while indicating only the change in resistance value. Theoretical predictions supported by laboratory testing confirm the following features of the approach: (1) the dc response (2) the electrical output is unaffected by extremely large variations in the resistance of any or all lead wires (3) the electrical output remains zero for no change in gage resistance (4) the electrical output is inherently linear with respect to gage resistance change (5) the sensitivity is double that of a Wheatstone bridge circuit and (6) the same excitation and sense wires can serve multiple independent gages. An adaptation of the current loop circuit is presented that simultaneously provides an output signal voltage directly proportional to transducer resistance change and provides temperature information that is unaffected by transducer and lead wire resistance variations. These innovations are the subject of NASA patent applications.

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