DEV KIT WEEKLY: Superior Sensor’s Differential Pressure Sensor Eval System

April 02, 2021

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This week’s review is a bit different from normal. And that’s because the board at the center of this evaluation system, the EB01-SPI, really isn’t the showstopper. This week’s showstopper is the ND Series of five piezoresistive MEMS pressure sensors that connect to it over, you guessed it, the serial peripheral interface (note that there’s an I2C variant of the board, too).

Thanks to this SPI interface you can rapidly swap out targets and log data from these pin-compatible sensors, which each output data at a rate of 444 hertz and support up to seven different pressure ranges from 62.5 Pa to 5 PSI. Yes, that’s seven, selectable pressure ranges in a single package that all support 16-bit resolutions, 0.05 percent accuracy, and a total error band of less than 0.15 percent. All of that means savings – manufacturing, R&D, and commercial system designs that need to measure liquid, dry air, or non-aggressive gas flows can reduce sensor subsystem cost and complexity by a factor of as much as 7x thanks to all of those selectable ranges.

The MEMS sensors, based on a proprietary Superior Sensor Technology implementation called NimbleSense, incorporates advanced, front-end digital filtering capabilities that the company says has resulted in noise reductions of greater than 10x. The programmable bandwidth filter operates between 1 and 200 hertz and, a separate 50 to 60 hertz notch filter is also integrated to help ferret out power, fan, and other noise from the rest of the signal to provide what Superior Sensors says is the industry’s lowest noise floor.

Much of this is possible because the sensors each include a sensing amplification element, asa well as an ADC and DSP. These features also combine with the NimbleSense architecture to enable closed-loop control capabilities that permit the sensors to directly control motors, valves, and actuators for granular management of flow rates. These highly integrated architectures can reduce loop delays in electronic circuitry by as much as 100x and, once again, help designers reduce costs and complexity by circumventing the need to develop separate, higher order control loop systems. Are we noticing a trend here?

Now, if you want to take advantage of the cost and complexity reductions of the Superior Sensors ND Series pressure sensor evaluation system, you’ll have to make a small investment. The EB01-SPI evaluation board will set you back between $53.20 and $65 from Digi-Key and Mouser, respectively, while the piezoelectric ND MEMS sensors will cost between roughly $28 to approximately $62 each.

Or you could try to skip all that math and money enter this week’s raffle during which we’ll be giving away one of these evaluation systems comprised of the data logging board and all five sensors for free. To enter, just fill out the form below.

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Good luck in this week's raffle, and we'll see you next week on Dev Kit Weekly.

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