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Digital scales work with the use of a load cell. While analog scales use springs to indicate the weight of an object, digital scales convert the force of a weight into an electrical signal.

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Essential Parts of Scales

Its key components consist of a voltage meter, a device used to measure the voltage of an object, and a load cell sensor, an electronic device used to convert a force into an electrical signal.

  • A load cell is also known as a force transducer.
  • When an item is placed on the scale, the weight is first distributed evenly.
  • Underneath the flat pan of a digital scale you can find, for example, four slightly raised pins in the corners that serve to distribute the force of the weight evenly.
  • The mechanical design of the digital scale applies the weight force to one end of a load cell. As the weight is applied, the end of the load cell bends downward.
  • The force of a weight then deforms the strain gauge. The strain gauge can consist of metal tracks, or sheet, attached to a printed circuit board or other backing.
  • When the sheet metal is tensioned, the backing is flexed or stretched.
  • Conversion to electrical signal
  • Two weights measure 120 grams on this digital scale.
  • The strain gauge converts the strain into an electrical signal. Because the load cell has an electrical charge, as it moves down, the electrical resistance changes.
  • The resulting small change in resistance is converted into an electrical signal. The signal runs through an analog-to-digital converter, and then passes through a microchip that “translates” the data.
  • As a result of this final calculation, the numbers indicating the weight of the object appear on the LCD display of the digital scale.

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