Transducers and transmitters are two devices that are used in the engineering field. They are two distinctive terms, but the advancement of technology has been slowly mitigating the differences between them. However, the difference between transducer and transmitter still exists, and we’ll discuss the basic points where the two terms differ from each other.
What is Transducer?
Transducers are a kind of voltage output devices used in the field of industrial automation and controls. You’ll usually see their use with basic signal conditioning. However, the biggest problem of transducers is their high sensitivity to electromagnetic interference, which leads to significant errors in the case of long cables.
Transducers require three to four connecting wires to provide an output signal and supply power.
What is Transmitter?
Transmitters are a kind of current output devices that require two to three wires for delivering signal output and supply power. If they use two wires, both of them simultaneously receive power and transmit signals. They are also less susceptible to electromagnetic interference. As a result, they are more suitable and cost-efficient where long cables are required.
The Basic Points of Difference between Transducer and Transmitter
The terms transducers and transmitters are currently inter-exchangeable in many applications. However, some of the fundamental differences that still exist are:
- Transducers pick up too much electromagnetic interference. Therefore, they are suitable for use with short cables because the number errors will be enormous if long cables are used. Transmitters are more efficient in that case as they pick up less electromagnetic interference.
- You can easily add additional displays in a loop of transmitters without deteriorating the output signals. Their signal strength also does not slump with distance. However, you can’t expect such convenience with transducers.
- Transducers work as primary element sensors that transform mechanical energy into electrical signals, typically into millivolts. On the other hand, transmitters do the job of processing those millivolt signals and transforming them into current to transmit it to a long distance. The transducers lose millivolt signals because of resistance and other interferences when traveling over long distances. The transmitters have been developed to overcome that problem.
During the early days of industrial automation, the transducer and transmitter difference was very clear. They were two different types of devices with distinctive functions. However, they have rather been integrated with each other in the modern automation industry.
Manufacturers these days produce a single system where a transmitter is embedded with a transducer. Smaller in size, such integrated devices can connect to controllers directly.
With the blur of difference between transducer and transmitter, manufacturers now use the words interchangeably. So, before installing a system that requires the use of these devices, read the user manual carefully to determine the correct output.