Zeroing the Sensor
In some situations you may want to zero the Force Plate, because changing the physical orientation of the sensor will change the reading when no force is applied. After you have set up your experiment, use your data-collection software to zero the sensor. Also, in the case of experiments involving large impact forces, you may need to zero the reading after one impact has taken place.
The Two Switch Settings – Resolution and Range
The Force Plate has a range switch located on the side of the plate, next to the cable port. As with any instrument, there is a trade-off between resolution (the smallest force that can be measured) and the range of forces that can be measured. In general, you should use the 850 N range if you can. If the forces exceed 850 N, you will need to use the 3500 N range. In normal use, the resolution with the different switch settings when used with a LabQuest will be 1.0 N for the –350/+3500 N range and 0.3 N for the –85/+850 N range.
The Force Plate includes two handles and four screws. You can attach the handles to the back side of the plate using the threaded holes. Do not step on the Force Plate when the handles are attached.
With handles in place, you can support the unit by hand for pushing on a wall or other large object.
The force plate can also be hung on the wall using the cutout on the back and a sturdy wall attachment. This can be a useful configuration for measuring horizontal reaction forces of a student standing on a ladder, for example.