Vernier LabQuest sensors – those with order codes ending in -BTA and -BTD – are designed to be used with Vernier interfaces and software. When used with a Vernier interface and software, you simply plug the sensor into the interface, connect the interface to your device, and launch our software. The sensor is automatically calibrated, and you are ready to start collecting data.
If you would like to use Vernier LabQuest sensors with other software or computing platforms, there are a few options.
The Arduino microcontroller is a small, inexpensive digital controller, supported by a huge community of engineers, software developers, and DIY’ers worldwide. You write your own code for the Arduino using the Arduino IDE to accomplish whatever task you would like. For instance, you could program an Arduino to collect soil moisture data and turn on a pump when the soil is too dry.
We support Vernier LabQuest sensors in a few ways:
- You can connect our sensors to an Arduino with a Vernier Arduino Interface Shield or with a Protoboard Adapter (analog or digital).
- You can import a Vernier library into the Arduino IDE. The Vernier library includes commands to simplify identifying and collecting data from a LabQuest sensor connected to the Arduino.
For more details about using Vernier LabQuest sensor with Arduino, see Arduino and SparkFun RedBoard Troubleshooting and FAQs.
LabVIEW is a graphical programming language used by engineers in building instrumentation and control systems. We support Vernier LabQuest sensors in LabVIEW:
- We have worked with National Instruments to create the SensorDAQ, an interface designed to work with both Vernier LabQuest sensors and LabVIEW.
- We also carry the myDAQ adapter, an adapter board that allows you to easily connect Vernier sensors to NI’s myDAQ.
- We have LabVIEW packages you can install that provide drivers, express VIs, and example programs to help you incorporate Vernier sensors into your application.
For more details about using Vernier sensors with Arduino, see our LabVIEW webpages.
Other DAQs or ADC Converters
Vernier LabQuest sensors are fairly simple. If you want to use a LabQuest sensor with a non-Vernier DAQ (data aquisition system) or ADC (analog-to-digital converter), you can likely make it work. But there are several things you will need to consider.
- Making the hardware connection: Vernier LabQuest sensors use BTA and BTD connectors. The pinouts for these connectors can be found here. Our product, Analog Protoboard Adapter (BTA-ELV) , may help you make the connections. An advantage to using this device is that it has the 15k resistor built in that is used to complete the voltage divider circuit that is used on the Stainless Steel Temperature Probe (TMP-BTA) and Surface Temperature Sensor (STS-BTA) sensors.
- Sensor Output: Nearly all analog LabQuest sensors output a 0-5 V signal, except for two.
- Voltage Probe (VP-BTA) This sensor not a true “sensor” at all; it is just a connector to the interface’s +/-10 V input line. (Note: In general, the +/-10 Volt line used in Vernier interfaces.)
- 30-Volt Voltage Probe (30V-BTA) This high voltage sensor measures from -30 to +30 V and uses the +/-10 V line.
- Power: All our sensors require +5.0 volt power supply and ground.
- Calibration: Most Vernier LabQuest sensors are linear in calibration (voltage vs. signal), so calibration is fairly easy. You can find the the calibration slope and intercept in the sensor user manual. These slopes and intercepts can only be used if the following are true:
- The input resistance of your interface is high.
- The power supply voltage you provide to the sensor is at 5 V and well-regulated.
- Sensors that do not have a linear calibration include the following:
- Temperature probes (TMP-BTA and STS-BTA): These are thermistors that are put into a voltage divider circuit that read the voltage at the midpoint. The voltage is related to the temperature by the Steinhart-Hart equation.
- Ion-selective electrodes have complex calibration curves.
- Our Wide-Range Temperature Probe (WRT-BTA), Ethanol Sensor (ETH-BTA), and Sound Level Sensor (SLS-BTA) have quadratic calibration curves.
- Our Melt Station (MLT-BTA) has a power equation calibration curve.
- When using Vernier LabQuest sensors with a non-Vernier interface, we generally recommend verifying the published calibration.