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Hall Effect Sensors – The Basics

It’s quite interesting to learn about particular scientific issues. From voltage to how things are powered in general, science is a fascinating subject. Whenever someone begins to learn about the wonder of the Hall Effect, one question comes up – how is the effect actually measured? When something is there, e.g. electricity, or basically air, you know it’s there, but it’s very difficult to get a solid reading on something that can’t be seen! Thankfully, a Hall Effect sensor, or probe, does all the hard work in this instance.

In order to measure the voltage and magnetic field in response to a piece of equipment or a situation, a Hall Effect sensor must be used. This might sound like a large and bulky piece of equipment, but it’s actually very small and compact! First things first however, what is a Hall Effect sensor used for? And, what is it made of?

Well, a Hall Effect sensor is basically used for a variety of measuring processes, both in mainstream industries and in the scientific world overall. These processes include detecting speeds, current sensing, positioning, and something called proximity switching. These processes are used in a variety of equipment which is very common place, such as compasses and within the automotive industry, perhaps in detecting speed too. On top of this, a sensor can be used in office equipment too, e.g. in a printer when detecting missing paper or an open cover, for example. The range of areas in which the Hall Effect is present, it very large-ranging.

Hall Effect Probes

A Hall Effect probe is a small piece of equipment which can be made from several different materials. The most common is indium antimonide, which is then sat upon a sheet of aluminium and the inserted inside the head of the probe. This is all a very small-sized piece of equipment, but leads are then connected to the crystals in the head of the probe and connected to the circuit box which is being measured.

The probe is held towards the item which is being measured, so that the lines of the magnetic field pass at right handles across and then through the sensor. From there, the sensor is able to read the magnetic field properly and give a measurement which can be relied upon.

Of course, there are many advantages of using a Hall Effect probe to measure magnetic fields, and the main one is that this is a hardy piece of equipment. Because the sensitive reading material is inside the head of the sensor, it is protected and can therefore be used in difficult situations, e.g. in water or mud. This also works to give a more reliable reading, because outside factors don’t interfere. This type of probe is also a less costly way to measure, because it is electronic, rather than mechanical. Perhaps the most common reason of why the Hall Effect and its probes are used in the mainstream nowadays however is that it can easily measure a range of magnetic fields. The probe can pick up readings from north or south pole magnetic fields, and you don’t have to be concerned about misinterpreted readings.

The fact that the Hall Effect is used in so many mainstream pieces of equipment nowadays gives serious clout to the method itself. When using a Hall Effect sensor, the most reliable measurements can be taken, with magnetic fields being measured to the very nearest amount. In terms of compasses and cars, to give two uses, this is of the utmost importance, and for that very reason, the Hall Effect remains one of the most important areas in modern electronics.