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IC Sensors

Introduction to Integrated Circuit Temperature Sensors

An IC Temperature Sensor is a two terminal integrated circuit temperature transducer that produces an output current proportional to absolute temperature. The sensor package is small with a low thermal mass and a fast response time. The most common temperature range is 55 to 150°C (-58 to 302°F). The solid state sensor output can be analog or digital.

Learn more about IC Sensors

Typical IC Sensors Applications

  1. Circuit boards: monitor and control temperature
  2. Computers: control CPU temperature<
  3. Telecommunications: cell phones & PDAs™
  4. Industrial immersion applications

Voltage Output IC Sensors

  • Typically 10mV per degree C with nominal output correlated to 0K, 25°C.
  • Some sensors have an offset at 0°C so that they can be used and read below 0°C without having to use a negative power supply.
  • Non-linearity typically less than 1°C across their temperature range.

Current Output IC Sensors

  • Nominal Output: 298 µA at 25°C
  • 1 µA output per °C

Digital Output IC Sensors

  • Have built in A-D Converters
  • The number of digits in the A-D converter provides the resolution
  • 10 Bit plus sign provides temperature resolved in increments of 0.25°C
  • 12 Bit plus sign provides temperature resolved in increments of 0.0625°C

Where are IC Sensors used?

  • On circuit boards to monitor and control temperature.
  • In computers to control CPU temperature.
  • In telecommunications applications (cell phones & PDA™).
  • In some industrial immersion applications.

Strengths and Weaknesses of IC Sensors

  • Analog or Digital outputs available
  • Low cost
  • Direct voltage, current or digital output needing no additional circuitry
  • Linear output, no curve fitting
  • Direct reading of temperature (1.000 = 100C and 298µA = 298K or 25°C) on some analog devices
  • Various communication interfaces
  • Narrow temperature range: -55 to 150°C Max
  • Wider interchangeability than most RTDs and thermistors
  • Wide variation in accuracy between different models
  • Small package sizes can be a barrier to low cost applications in some immersion designs

Choose the right IC Sensor for your application

Immersion IC Sensors Immersion IC Sensors
An IC temperature probe consists of solid state sensor housed inside a metallic tube. The wall of the tube is referred to as the sheath of the probe. A common sheath material is stainless steel. The probe can come with or without a thread. Common applications are automotive/industrial engine oil temperature measurement, air intake temperature, HVAC, system and appliance temperature monitoring.
Solid state temperature sensors Transducer Type IC Sensors
The IC transducer is small with a low thermal mass and a fast response time. Ideally suited for applications such as: circuit boards to monitor and control temperature, computers to control CPU temperature and telecommunications applications (cell phones).

Frequently Asked Questions


Why use IC Sensors in place of other technologies like Thermocouples, RTDs and Thermistors?

The analog IC solid state sensors provide an output as a voltage or current that is proportional with temperature without additional circuitry. The digital IC sensors provide an output that has been processed thru an integral A-D converter and is ready for input into digital control and monitoring systems. The IC sensors do not require linearization or other circuitry. The cost of IC sensors are also very competitive with, in some cases less costly than, RTD and thermistor sensors

comparision of advantages and disadvantages of temperature sensors
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