(19)
(11)EP 3 671 137 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
24.06.2020 Bulletin 2020/26

(21)Application number: 20150880.1

(22)Date of filing:  25.10.2013
(51)Int. Cl.: 
G01D 18/00  (2006.01)
G01D 3/024  (2006.01)
G01D 3/02  (2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 09.11.2012 US 201213673685

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
13190334.6 / 2730896

(71)Applicant: Honeywell International Inc.
Morris Plains, NJ 07950 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • MILLEY, Andrew J
    Morristown, NJ 07962-2245 (US)
  • SORENSON, Richard C
    Morristown, NJ 07962-2245 (US)

(74)Representative: Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP 
Lincoln House, 5th Floor 300 High Holborn
London WC1V 7JH
London WC1V 7JH (GB)

 
Remarks:
This application was filed on 09-01-2020 as a divisional application to the application mentioned under INID code 62.
 


(54)VARIABLE SCALE SENSOR


(57) A sensor assembly includes a sense element for sensing a sensed parameter. The sense element may provide a sense element output signal that is related to the sensed parameter. A control block may include a first input port for receiving the sense element output signal, a second input port for receiving a scale input adjustable by a user, and an output port for providing a sensor assembly output signal. The control block may be configured to take in the sense element output signal via the first input port and produce the sensor assembly output signal at the output port, wherein the sensor assembly output signal at the output port is related to the sense element output signal and corresponds to a user selected range of the sensed parameter. The user selected range may be determined, at least in part, by the scale input received via the second input port.




Description

Field



[0001] The present disclosure relates generally to sensors, and more particularly, to methods and devices for adjusting the scale of such sensors.

Background



[0002] Sensors are commonly used to sense various parameters in a wide variety of applications including, for example, medical applications, flight control applications, industrial process applications, combustion control applications, weather monitoring applications, as well as many other applications. In some applications, it may be desirable to adjust the scale of a sensor in order to match the sensor output to an expected range in a sensed parameter.

Summary



[0003] This disclosure relates generally to sensors, and more particularly, to methods and devices for adjusting the scale of such sensors. Although sensor assemblies are known to exist, there is need for improvement to such sensor assemblies.

[0004] In one illustrative embodiment, a sensor assembly may include a sense element for sensing a sensed parameter. The sense element may provide a sense element output signal that is related to the sensed parameter. A control block may include a first input port for receiving the sense element output signal, a second input port for receiving a scale input adjustable by a user, and an output port for providing a sensor assembly output signal. The control block may be configured to take in the sense element output signal via the first input port and produce the sensor assembly output signal at the output port, wherein the sensor assembly output signal at the output port is related to the sense element output signal and corresponds to a user selected range of the sensed parameter. The user selected range may be determined, at least in part, by the scale input received via the second input port.

[0005] In another illustrative embodiment, a flow sensor assembly may include a housing, a flow sense element supported in the housing for sensing a flow rate, and a control block supported in the housing. The control block may provide a flow sensor assembly output signal that is related to the flow rate sensed by the flow sense element, and the control block may adjust a scale of the flow sensor assembly output signal to correspond to a user selected range of the sensed flow rate. The user selected range may be determined, at least in part, by a range input value that is user-adjustable.

[0006] In some instances, a method may be used to sense a parameter with a sense element, and output a signal that may be related to the sensed parameter. An input may be received that corresponds to a user selected monitoring range of the sensed parameter. A sensor output signal may be output, where the sensor output signal may be related to the sensed parameter and may correspond to the user selected monitoring range of the sensed parameter.

[0007] The preceding summary is provided to facilitate an understanding of some of the features of the present disclosure and is not intended to be a full description. A full appreciation of the disclosure can be gained by taking the entire specification, claims, drawings, and abstract as a whole.

Brief Description of the Drawings



[0008] The disclosure may be more completely understood in consideration of the following description of various illustrative embodiments of the disclosure in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a schematic block diagram of an illustrative sensing apparatus having a scale input port to adjust the scale of the sensor;

Figure 2 shows the effect of changing the scale of the sensing apparatus of Figure 1;

Figure 3 is a flow diagram showing an illustrative method;

Figure 4 is a schematic block diagram of another illustrative sensing apparatus;

Figure 5 is a schematic block diagram of an illustrative instrumentation amplifier that may be used with the sensing apparatus of Figure 4;

Figure 6 is a chart showing a measured raw sense bridge output in volts over a flow range of -1000 sccm to 1000 sccm for an illustrative flow sensor;

Figure 7 is a chart showing a scale corrected output in volts over a flow range of -1000 sccm to 1000 sccm of the measured raw sense bridge output of Figure 9 for different gains;

Figure 8 is a chart showing a scale-independent digital output in digital counts over a flow range of -1000 sccm to 1000 sccm of the scale corrected output of Figure 7; and

Figure 9 is a schematic cross-sectional view of an illustrative sensing apparatus including a housing and a flow sense element.



[0009] While the disclosure is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the disclosure to the particular illustrative embodiments described herein. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure.

Description



[0010] The following description should be read with reference to the drawings wherein like reference numerals indicate like elements throughout the several views. The description and drawings show several examples that are meant to be illustrative of the claimed disclosure.

[0011] Figure 1 is a schematic block diagram of an illustrative flow sensing apparatus 10. The illustrative flow sensing apparatus includes a sensor 14 that produces an analog sensor output signal 12. In the example shown, the sensor 14 may be any suitable sensor, such as a pressure sensor, a flow sensor, a magnetic proximity sensor, an accelerometer, a gyro or any other suitable sensor. The illustrative sensor 14 of Figure 1 includes four sense resistors R1-R4 connected in a full Wheatstone bridge configuration, which provides a differential analog sensor output signal 12. This, however, is just one example sensor configuration, and it is contemplated that any suitable sensor type and/or sensor configuration may be used, as desired. Also, it is contemplated that the sensor 14 may produce a differential or single ended analog sensor output signal, as desired.

[0012] In the illustrative sensing apparatus 10 of Figure 1, the analog sensor output signal 12 may be provided to a sensor input port 17 of a control block 15. The analog sensor output signal 12 is shown provided to an amplifier 30. The gain of the amplifier 30 may be controlled in any number of ways. For example, the gain of the amplifier 30 may be controlled by a gain control block 42 of a controller 24 of control block 15. It is contemplated that the amplifier 30 may allow the gain control block 42 to vary the gain along a range of gain values, or may only allow discrete gain settings. In some cases, it is contemplated that the gain of the amplifier 30 may be electronically controlled by issuing commands to the controller 24 from a microcontroller (not shown) or the like, or may be controlled manually by user.

[0013] In some instances, the output of the amplifier 30 may be passed to an Analog-to-Digital (A/D) Converter 60, but this is not required. When provided, the A/D converter 60 may convert the amplified analog sensor output signal 12' produced by the amplifier 30 into a digital sensor output signal 21. In some cases, the A/D converter 60 may have an offset control, which can be controlled by offset control block 40 of controller 24, but this is not necessary. The digital sensor output signal 21 produced by the A/D converter may be stored in a memory, such as memory 62, if desired.

[0014] In some cases, a conditioning block 64 may be provided to condition the digital sensor output signal 21 before storing the digital sensor output signal into memory. The conditioning block 64 may, for example, help compensate for non-linearity or other non-desirable properties in the digital sensor output signal 21, and provide a conditioned digital sensor output signal 23. In some cases, the conditioning block 64 may receive one or more conditioning coefficients from a memory, such as memory 62 of controller 24, but this is not required. In some instances, the controller 24 may receive a conditioned digital sensor output signal 23 from the conditioning block 64 and store the result in memory 62. The controller 24 may then produce a sensor assembly output signal 25 on output terminal 70. In some cases, a control block 38 of controller 24 may read program instructions from a memory, such as memory 62, and may execute the program instructions to control the gain control block 42, offset control block 40 and/or conditioning block 64, as desired. The control block 15 may then output a sensor assembly output signal 25 on output terminal 70.

[0015] The control block 15 may also include a sensor scale input port 19, which may be used by a user to adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus 10. In the illustrative embodiment of Figure 1, the sensor scale input port 19 may be connected to the control block 38 of the controller 24 and may deliver a sensor scale input signal 27. The controller 24 may read the sensor scale input signal 27, and may control the gain control block 42, offset control block 40 and/or conditioning block 64 (when provided), to adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus 10. In some cases, the scale may be adjusted so that the range of the sensor assembly output signal 25 corresponds to a desired range of the parameter sensed by the sensor 14, which may help increase the resolution in desired range of the parameter sensed by the sensor 14.

[0016] As discussed, the scale of the sensing apparatus 10 may be adjusted by adjusting the sensor scale input signal 27 received at the sensor scale input port 19. In some cases, the sensor scale input port 19 may be operatively connected to a microcontroller, ASIC, resistors (e.g., manufactured supplied or user supplied resistors), adjustable potentiometers (e.g., manually or digitally adjustable), or any other device, such that a user may manually or digitally adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus. In some instances, the amplifier 30 (e.g., an instrumentation amplifier) may have a programmable (e.g., manufacturer programmable or user programmable) gain setting, a programmable offset setting, etc., where adjusting these programmable features may adjust or modify the scale of the sensing apparatus 10. Adjusting the sensor scale input signal 27 of the control block 15 may adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus 10 via adjustment of the gain and offset of the amplifier 30 (e.g., through the gain control block 42 and the offset control block 40).

[0017] In some cases, the control block 15 may be configured to take in the sense element output signal 12 via the sensor input port 17 and produce a sensor assembly output signal 25 at the output port or terminal 70. In some cases, the sensor assembly output signal 25 at the output port or terminal 70 may be related to the sense element output signal 12, and may correspond to a user selected monitoring range of the sensed parameter by sensor 14. The user selected range may be determined, at least in part, based on the scale input received via the sensor scale input port 19 that may be user-adjustable. In some cases, using such a control block 15 may allow a user to manually adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus 10 post- production (e.g. in the field) to meet the needs of a user's system. Allowing a user to adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus 10, sometimes on the fly, may allow the user to customize the scale and thus enhance the resolution of the sensing apparatus 10 in any number of different applications (e.g., flow ranges, pressure ranges, etc.).

[0018] In some instances, the control block 15 may be configured to produce substantially the same flow sensor assembly output signal(s) 25 even at different scale settings (e.g., ranges of mass flow or flow rates), as manually or digitally adjusted by a user by adjusting the scale, to allow for an accurate and repeatable sensor. In some cases, an analog sensor assembly output signal 12' may be converted to a digital sensor output signal 21 with the analog-to-digital convertor 60 (A/D converter 60), and then the control block 15 may perform digital math on the digital sensor output signal 21 to produce substantially the same flow sensor assembly output signal(s) 23 at different range settings. In some cases, application of digital math and/or A/D conversion to the sensor output signal 12' may help with field replacement of a sensor without requiring user-side calibration.

[0019] In some cases, the control block 15 (e.g., the control block 38 of controller 24 and conditioning block 64) may be configured to calibrate the sensor assembly output signal 25 such that a value of the sensor assembly output signal 25 outputted at the output terminal 70 is within a threshold value of an expected value of the sensor assembly output signal 25 for a particularly sensed parameter, regardless of the user-selected sensed parameter scale for the sensor 14. For example, the sensor assembly output signal 25 may be calibrated (e.g., through automatic calibration or manually triggered calibration) with the control block 38 to be within a threshold value of one percent, two percent, three percent, four percent, five percent, ten percent, etc. of the expected value of the sensor assembly output signal 25 for a particularly sensed parameter, regardless of a selected scale set by the user via the sensor scale input port 19. In some instances, the sensing apparatus 10 may be configured for field replacement without any user-side calibration required due to calibration within the sensing apparatus 10, but this is not required or even desired in some cases.

[0020] In some instances, the control block 15 may include memory 62 in the controller 24. The memory 62 may be configured to store, among other things, one or more calibration parameters (e.g., the digital math, etc.). Illustratively, the digital math may be applied by the control block 15 to the digital sensor output signal 21. When applying the digital math to the digital sensor output signal 21, different sub-sets of calibration parameters, which may be stored by the memory 62, may be used for a first scale setting (e.g., an analog sensor output signal amplified by a gain of one) than are used for a second scale setting (e.g. an analog sensor output signal amplified by a gain of five).

[0021] Figure 2 shows the effect of changing the scale of the sensing apparatus of Figure 1. As shown in Figure 2, the sensing apparatus 10 may be capable of sensing a full range of a parameter sensed by sensor 14. In the example shown, the full range includes a sensor output signal 12 (Vin) ranging from 0 to 5 volts, resulting in an amplified sensor output 12' (Vout) ranging from 0 to 5 volts, reflecting an amplifier gain of one. If, for a given application, the current operating point of the sensing apparatus 10 is at point 82, and the expected range in the sensed parameter corresponds to range 88, then the user may adjust the sensor scale input signal 27 to scale the sensor assembly output signal 25 across only the desired range 88. This may be accomplished by adjusting the gain of the amplifier 30 to, for example, a gain of 5.0. Also the offset of the amplifier 30 may be adjusted so that the current operating point 82 is centered in the Vout range as shown. Because the full range of the amplified output (0-5V) is now focused across a sub-range (e.g. 3.0-4.0V) of the sensor output signal 12, the resolution of the sensing apparatus 10 may be increased across the desired range 88. As shown in the example of Figure 2, this higher resolution may reveal that the current operating point 82 is at about 3.55 Volts, rather than 3.5 Volts as might be indicated before scaling the sensor apparatus. While a gain of five (5) is used as an example, it is contemplated that any suitable gain value may be used (e.g. 2-200) to achieve the desired scale. A high gain value will generally result in a narrower sub-range 88. In some cases, the A/D converter 60 may convert the higher resolution amplified analog sensor output signal 12' to a higher resolution digital sensor output signal 21, and the controller 24 may store the higher resolution digital sensor output signal 21 to the memory 62.

[0022] In operation, as shown in Figure 3, the sensing apparatus 10 may be used in an illustrative method 90 that includes using the sensing apparatus 10 to sense a parameter (e.g., a pressure, a flow rate, an acceleration, an orientation, etc.) (step 92), receiving a sensor scale input signal 27 that corresponds to a user selected range of the sensed parameter (step 94), and outputting a sensor output signal 21 (step 96). In some cases, the sensor output signal 21 may be related to the sensed parameter and may correspond to the user selected range of the sensed parameter. In some cases, the sensing apparatus 10 may receive a sensor scale input signal 27 that corresponds to a different user selected range of the sensed parameter (step 98), wherein the sensing apparatus 10 may output a sensor output signal 21 that may be related to the sensed parameter and corresponds to the different user selected range of the sensed parameter. In some instances, the sensor scale input signal 27 that corresponds to the user selected range of the sensed parameter may result from manipulation (e.g., manual manipulation or automatic/digital manipulation) of an input device (e.g., microcontroller, ASIC, potentiometer, resisters, or any other device configured to adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus). Additionally or alternatively, the method 90 may be used to provide an analog-only sensor output signal 12' (e.g. without A/D converter 60 and/or Conditioning block 64)), a digital only output signal 21 (e.g., with A/D converter 60)), and/or a conditioned digital sensor output signal 23, as desired.

[0023] Figure 4 is a schematic block diagram of another illustrative sensing apparatus 100. In the example shown, the sensor 114 may be any suitable sensor, such as a pressure sensor, a flow sensor, a magnetic proximity sensor, an accelerometer, a gyro or any other suitable sensor. In Figure 4, the illustrative sensor 114 includes four sense resistors R1-R4 connected in a full Wheatstone bridge configuration, which provides a differential analog sensor output signal 112. Such a sensor 114, however, is just one example, and it is contemplated that any suitable sensor type and/or sensor configuration may be used, as desired. Also, it is contemplated that the sensor 114 may produce a differential or single ended analog sensor output signal, as desired.

[0024] In the illustrative sensing apparatus 100, the analog sensor output signal 112 may be provided to an amplifier 130 that has an adjustable gain and offset. The gain and/or offset of the amplifier 130 may be adjusted in any number of ways. For example, the gain of the amplifier 130 may be adjusted by setting the value of resistor Rgain 135, and the offset of the amplifier 130 may be adjusted by setting the values of resistors Roffsetl 131 and/or Roffset2 133. In some cases, after the user determines a desired range of the sensing apparatus 100 for a particular application, the user may install resistors Rgain 135, Roffsetl 131 and/or Roffset2 133 that have values that set the gain and/or offset of the amplifier 130 to produce a desired sensor scale. In some cases, one or more of the resistors Rgain 135, Roffsetl 131 and/or Roffset2 133 may be adjustable potentiometers (pots) that can be adjusted manually by the user to adjust the scale of the sensing apparatus 100. In some instances, one or more of the resistors Rgain 135, Roffsetl 131 and/or Roffset2 133 may be adjustable digital pots that can be adjusted electronically, such as via a command from a microcontroller or the like. When so provided, a microcontroller 144 may provide a sensor scale input 119 to adjust the digital pots to produce a desired sensor scale. When included, the microcontroller 144 may be configured to provide signals that control the gain and/or offset of the amplifier 130 in response to user adjustments of the scale of sensing apparatus and/or in response to other inputs.

[0025] In some instances, the amplified analog sensor output signal 112 may be provided to an A/D Conversion block 115, but this is not required. The A/D Conversion block 115 may include an A/D converter 160 and optionally a Signal Conditioning block 164. The A/D Conversion block 115 may be configured to convert the amplified analog sensor output signal 112 to a digital signal, and optionally to apply digital math to the digital signal to provide a conditioned (e.g., calibrated, etc.) digital output signal 121, as desired.

[0026] In some cases, the amplifier 130 may be implemented as depicted in Figure 5, and may include operational amplifiers 130a, 130b to buffer each input, and another op-amp 130c to produce a desired output. As illustrated in Figure 5, the op-amp 130c along with resistors labeled R2 and R3 may amount to a differential amplifier circuit, with a gain = R3/R2, and differential input resistance = 2R2. The two op-amps 130a, 130b may act as buffers, where Rgain positioned between op-amps 130a, 130b may increase the differential-mode gain for the buffer pair while leaving the common-mode gain equal to about 1. Illustratively, in the amplifier 130 shown in Figure 5, (Vout/(V2-V1)) = (1 + ((2R1)/Rgain))(R3/R2). Roffsetl 131 and Roffset2 133 define a voltage divider that sets the offset of the amplifier 130.

[0027] Illustratively, the sensing apparatus 100 as depicted in Figure 4, may allow for several possible sensor output variations depending on selected features. For example, the sensing apparatus 100 may provide an analog-only output 112 (e.g., an output signal with no digital signal conditioning), a digital output 162 when the apparatus includes A/D converter 160 (e.g., with or without digital signal conditioning 164), a conditioned digital output 121 when the apparatus includes A/D converter 160 and Signal Conditioning block 164, and/or any other suitable sensor output variations that may or may not depend on the makeup of the hardware of apparatus.

[0028] Figure 6 is a chart showing a measured raw sense bridge output 112 in volts over a flow range of -1000 sccm (standard cubic centimeters per minute) to 1000 sccm for an illustrative sensing apparatus 100. Figure 7 shows the same curve, but amplified by amplifier 130 having a manual or automatic user adjusted gain feature used to modify the resolution of the analog sensor output signal 112, where each curve refers to a different gain value equal to a gain of 1, a gain of 2, a gain of 3, a gain of 4, and a gain of 5. In some cases, when amplification is applied to the amplified analog output signal 112 by amplifier 130, the A/D Conversion block 115 (when provided) may be configured to automatically calibrate, with digital math or any other technique, the amplified output signal 112', but this is not required. Illustratively, the amplified output signal 112' may be modified and/or calibrated prior to being outputted from sensing apparatus 100 to provide the same range of digital output signal values, regardless of the user or manufacturer gain applied to the analog sensor output signal 112. For example, figure 8 depicts an illustrative compensated digital sensor output signal 121 in digital counts over the sensed flow rate range, where the sensor output signal 121 in digital count range may be the same regardless of the gain of the amplifier 30.

[0029] Figure 9 is a schematic cross-sectional view of an illustrative sensing apparatus 210 including a housing 246 and a flow sense element 214. The sensing apparatus 210 may be configured such that it may be retained within a single housing 246 or within multiple housings, as desired. In some instances, the housing 246 may include a body 248 and a cover 247 configured to be attached to the body 248 in any desirable manner. For example, the cover 247 may be affixed to the body 248 with an adhesive connection, snap connection, and/or with any other connection-type, as desired. The housing 246 may be made from any material, such as a metal, a plastic, an alloy, a polymer, any other similar or dissimilar material, and/or any combinations thereof. The housing 246 may be formed of any number of pieces of the same or different material. For example, the housing 246 may be made of a single piece of material, two pieces of material that are configured to engage one another, as shown in Figure 9, or any other number of pieces of material.

[0030] In some instances, the housing 246 may support a sense element 214. The sense element 214 may include a chip or die 245 affixed to the body 248 and/or the cover 247. In some cases, an amplifier, such as amplifier 130, may be provided on sense element 214, or on a separate chip or die 217, as shown in Figure 14. In some cases, an A/D Conversion block 115 may be provided on sense element 214, or on a separate chip or die 217, as desired. In some instances, the separate chip or die 217 may be in a separate cavity within the housing 246 from the sense element 214.

[0031] Having thus described various illustrative embodiments of the present disclosure, those of skill in the art will readily appreciate that yet other embodiments may be made and used within the scope of the claims hereto attached. Changes may be made in details, particularly in matters of shape, size, and arrangement of parts without exceeding the scope of the disclosure. The disclosure's scope is, of course, defined in the language in which the appended claims are expressed.

STATEMENTS



[0032] Embodiments of the invention extend to the following statements:-
  1. 1. A sensor assembly for sensing a sensed parameter, the sensor assembly comprising:

    a sense element for sensing the sensed parameter, the sense element providing a sense element output signal that is related to the sensed parameter;

    a control block, including:

    a first input port for receiving the sense element output signal;

    a second input port for receiving a scale input adjustable by a user;

    an output port for providing a sensor assembly output signal; and

    wherein the control block is configured to take in the sense element output signal via the first input port and produce the sensor assembly output signal at the output port, wherein the sensor assembly output signal at the output port is related to the sense element output signal and corresponds to a user selected range of the sensed parameter, wherein the user selected range is determined, at least in part, by the scale input received via the second input port.

  2. 2. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the sense element is a flow sensor, and the sensed parameter is a flow rate.
  3. 3. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the sense element is a pressure sensor, and the sensed parameter is a pressure.
  4. 4. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the control block includes a memory for storing one or more calibration parameters, and wherein the control block uses a different sub-set of calibration parameters for a first scale input value than for a second scale input value.
  5. 5. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the control block is configured to produce substantially the same sensor assembly output signal across different scale inputs.
  6. 6. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the scale input is coupled to a potentiometer, and the user can adjust the scale input by adjusting the potentiometer.
  7. 7. The sensor assembly of statement 6, wherein the potentiometer can be adjusted manually by a user.
  8. 8. The sensor assembly of statement 6, wherein the potentiometer can be adjusted digitally by a user.
  9. 9. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the scale input is coupled to one or more resistors, and the user can adjust the scale input by adjusting one or more of the resistors.
  10. 10. The sensor assembly of statement 1, wherein the control block includes an amplifier having a programmable gain and offset, and an A/D converter.
  11. 11. A method comprising:

    sensing a sensed parameter;

    receiving an input that corresponds to a user selected range of the sensed parameter; and

    outputting a sensor output signal, wherein the sensor output signal is related to the sensed parameter and corresponds to the user selected range of the sensed parameter.

  12. 12. The method of statement 11, further comprising:

    receiving an input that corresponds to a different user selected range of the sensed parameter; and

    outputting a sensor output signal, wherein the sensor output signal is related to the sensed parameter and corresponds to the different user selected range of the sensed parameter.

  13. 13. The method of statement 12, further comprising:

    using a first sub-set of calibration parameters for the user selected range of the sensed parameter to calibrate the sensor output signal; and

    using a second sub-set of calibration parameters for the different user selected range of the sensed parameter to calibrate the sensor output signal.

  14. 14. The method of statement 11, wherein the input that corresponds to the user selected range of the sensed parameter results from a manual manipulation of an input device.
  15. 15. The method of statement 11, wherein the input that corresponds to the user selected range of the sensed parameter results from a digital manipulation of an input device.



Claims

1. A sensor assembly (10) for sensing a sensed parameter and for outputting a sensor assembly output signal (25), the sensor assembly comprising:

a sense element (14) for sensing the sensed parameter, the sense element (14) providing a sense element output signal (12) that is related to the sensed parameter;

a control block (15), including:

an amplifier (30) having a programmable gain (135) and a programmable offset (131, 133);

a first input port (17) for receiving the sense element output signal (12);

a second input port (19) for receiving a scale input (27) adjustable by a user, the control block (15) configured to adjust the offset (131,133) and the gain (135) of the amplifier (30) based on the received scale input (27) to adjust a resolution of the sensor assembly output signal (25) within the sensor assembly output signal range; and

an output port (70) for providing the sensor assembly output signal (25) with adjusted resolution.


 
2. The sensor assembly (10) of claim 1, wherein the control block (15) is configured to take in the sense element output signal (17) via the first input port (17) and produce the sensor assembly output signal (25) at the output port (70), and
wherein the sensor assembly output signal (25) at the output port (70) identifies a value of the sensed parameter by where the sensor assembly output signal (25) falls along the sensor assembly output signal range, and the resolution of the sensor assembly output signal (25) at the output port (70) is determined, at least in part, by the scale input (27) received via the second input port (19).
 
3. The sensor assembly (10) of claim 1 or 2, wherein the control block (15) produces the sensor assembly output signal (25) at a first resolution for a first scale input and at a second different resolution for a second different scale input.
 
4. The sensor assembly (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the sense element (14) is a flow sensor, and the sensed parameter is a flow rate.
 
5. The sensor assembly (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the sense element (14) is a pressure sensor, and the sensed parameter is a pressure.
 
6. The sensor assembly (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the control block (15) includes a memory (62) for storing one or more calibration parameters, and wherein the control block (15) uses a different sub-set of calibration parameters for a first scale input value than for a second scale input value.
 
7. The sensor assembly (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the scale input (27) is coupled to a potentiometer, and the user can adjust the scale input by adjusting the potentiometer.
 
8. The sensor assembly (10) of claim 7, wherein the potentiometer can be adjusted manually by a user.
 
9. The sensor assembly (10) of claim 7, wherein the potentiometer can be adjusted digitally by a user.
 
10. The sensor assembly (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the scale input (27) is coupled to one or more resistors, and the user can adjust the scale input by adjusting one or more of the resistors.
 
11. The sensor assembly (10) of any of the preceding claims, wherein the control block (15) includes an A/D converter (60).
 
12. A method comprising:

sensing a sensed parameter;

receiving an input that corresponds to a user selected range of the sensed parameter;

adjusting a gain and offset of an amplifier based on the received input in order to adjust a resolution of a sensor output signal corresponding to the user selected range; and

outputting the sensor output signal with adjusted resolution, wherein the sensor output signal is related to the sensed parameter and the resolution of the sensor output signal is determined, at least in part, by the received input.


 
13. The method of claim 12, further comprising:

receiving another input that corresponds to a different user selected range of the sensed parameter;

adjusting the gain and offset of the amplifier based on received other input in order to adjust the resolution of the sensor output signal corresponding to the different user selected range; and

outputting the sensor output signal with the adjusted resolution, wherein the sensor output signal is related to the sensed parameter and corresponds to the different user selected range of the sensed parameter.


 
14. The method of claim 12 or 13, wherein the input that corresponds to the user selected range of the sensed parameter results from a manual manipulation of an input device.
 
15. The method of claim 12, 13 or 14, wherein the input that corresponds to the user selected range of the sensed parameter results from a digital manipulation of an input device.
 




Drawing