You should not have to perform a new calibration when using the Dual-Range Force Sensor in the classroom. The sensor is sensitive enough to measure the weight of the sensor hook. To minimize this effect, simply place the sensor in the orientation in which it will be used (horizontal or vertical) and choose zero in the software. Much like pressing “Tare” on a scale, zeroing will define the current situation as 0 N of force.
Mounted for vertical data collection
If you want to improve the calibration, it is easy to recalibrate. Follow the same two point calibration procedure used in calibrating most Vernier sensors. One of the points is usually with no force applied.
- Remove all force from the sensor and place it in the vertical orientation.
- Select the calibration option in the program you are using.
- Enter 0 as the first known force.
- Apply a known force to the sensor. The easiest way to do this is to hang a labeled mass from the hook on the end of the sensor. Enter the weight of the mass (Note: 1 kg applies a force of 9.8 N).
For calibration in the ±10 N range, we recommend using 300 g of mass (2.94 N) for the second calibration point. For calibration in the ±50 N range, we recommend using a 1 kg mass (9.8 N) for the second calibration point. Be careful not to exceed the selected range setting during calibration. If you plan to use the Dual-Range Force Sensor in a different orientation (horizontal vs. vertical) than calibrated, simply zero the sensor after calibrating to account for the change.
The default calibration for the Dual-Range Force Sensor is linear (Force) = (slope)(output voltage) + (intercept), with the following values for the slope and intercept:
±10 N range – slope = –4.9 N/V, intercept = 12.25 N
±50 N range – slope = –24.5 N/V, intercept = 61.25 N