How to Get the Most for Your Money with Signal Conditioning – 8400864

A variety of plant, process, and instrumentation engineers, along with systems integrators, regularly face the difficult task of shopping for signal conditioners.

This whitepaper reviews signal conditioning product features, such as; accuracy, adjustability, isolation, surge withstand capability, RFI/EMI protection, packaging, and reparability. Where possible, it also examines the relative importance of various features.

How to Get the Most for Your Money with Signal Conditioning

Accuracy, Linearity & Repeatability

Accuracy, linearity, and repeatability specifications are described in many different ways. Specifications for accuracy should include; the combined effects of repeatability, hysteresis, terminal point linearity, and adjustment resolution.

Adjustability (zero/span)

Conditioners with adjustability can compensate for signal differences; and the ability to do so is usually worth the extra cost (typically $100). Adjustability can be accomplished in either hardware or software. Some applications have no software, so it must be available in hardware.


Isolation in a signal conditioner means not having a direct electrical connection (or low impedance path) between two or more points (or circuits). Two primary components used in signal conditioners to provide isolation are; transformers and optical couplers.

Surge Withstand Capability (SWC)

Surge withstand capability is the ability of a signal conditioner to reject high voltage and frequency electrical interference. SWC should be considered wherever signal conditioners are going to be located.

Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)

There’s an increasing need for reliable communications in factories and plants. As a result, more and more industrial electronic equipment may require built-in RFI immunity. This equipment’s susceptibility to the EMI effects of inductive load switching relays, as well as noise induced by heavy operating equipment, must also be considered.


Signal conditioners come in a variety of packages, for example; DIN rail, hockey-puck enclosures, general purpose NEMA 1 type enclosures and NEMA 4/12, as well as 19-inch rack-mountable card cage systems.


Knowing how devices are manufactured will consequently help you determine their reparability.


Learn more about all of Acromag’s signal conditioning products here.


Download the entire How to Get the Most for Your Money with Signal Conditioning whitepaper below.