At Gems Sensors, we offer our industry leading 3100 series pressure sensors in two versions: the standard 3100 and the heavy duty 3200. We are often asked what the difference is between the 3100 and the 3200. In this blog, we’ll answer that question and when you should specify which pressure sensor for your application.
When would I specify the 3100 for my application and when would I use the 3200?
The 3100 Series is considered the standard pressure sensor version for most applications. You reach for that one first. That is our bread and butter, if you will.
The 3200 heavy duty series is considered when you are using the sensors in hydraulic applications where the sensor will see lots of spikes in (over) pressure. A spike is when pressure accelerates very quickly in the system and momentarily goes beyond the working pressure.
Some examples are any hydraulic system where there is a potential for impacts. Think of an earth mover that you are using to break apart dirt, moving a large boulder or perhaps you have a hydraulic power-pack on a skid that you are using to complete a process of stamping or compressing. These large impact situations create spikes in the hydraulic system.
Based on testing, it also has been discovered that a customer might have a 0 to 1,500 psi (0 to 100 bar) system that they measured with a dial gauge but when spikes occur, they can reach 5,000 psi (350 bar) or more. The mechanical needle is not fast enough to see and display these spikes. If the customer specified a 1,500 psi (100 bar) sensor, the 5,000 psi (350 bar) spike can damage the sensor and cause incorrect outputs.
What about performance? Are there any differences between the 3100 and 3200?
Looking at the side-by-side specs of a 3100 vs. a 3200, you will see two major differences:
Proof pressure is the maximum pressure that can be applied to a pressure sensor without causing mechanical degradation or shift in output (i.e. a 1-5V output sensor becomes a 2-6V output sensor after being exposed to a large pressure spike).
The 3100 typically has a 1.4 to 3x FS (Full Scale) proof pressure spec while the 3200 is typically 2.5 to 3x FS proof pressure spec, depending on the pressure range. The range depends on the operating pressure.
Accuracy is the value of error of how closely a pressure sensor can send an output with respect to the actual pressure in the system being measured.
The 3100 typically has a 0.25% FS (Full Scale) accuracy error pressure while the 3200 is typically 0.25 FS to 0.5% FS, depending on the pressure range.
The trade off of specifying and applying 3100 Series Pressure Sensors versus the 3200 series pressure sensor is accuracy versus proof pressure. We have found that in high pressure/ spike hydraulic applications, accuracy is not as important proof pressure so the 3200 series is selected to ensure the sensor will have a long life and provide accurate readings.