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 exit. 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 LabPro or LabQuest will be 1.2 N for the –1000/+3500 N range and 0.3 N for the –200/+850 N range.
The Handles – Pushes and Pulls
The Force Plate includes two handles and four screws. You can attach the handles to either the top or bottom of the plate. Do not step on the Force Plate when the handles are attached. Threaded holes for the handles are available on the bottom. For use on the top, you must remove four screws. We recommend attaching the handles on the bottom of the Force Plate. You may find it helpful to loosen all the screws on the bottom before attaching the handles, and then tightening after the handle screws are started.
With handles in place, you can support the unit by hand for pushing on a wall or other large object, or you can attach an optional second pair of handles for pulling experiments (order code FP-HAN). Note: the maximum force in extension is much less than the maximum force in compression.