Used to display an input signal in either an analog or digital form, panel meters come in a variety of models and measurement types to suit your desired implementation needs. Often manufactured with an alarm to alert an engineer of measurements exceeding a predetermined threshold, it is mandatory for meters to remain in working order to prevent part failure or a potentially hazardous accident. As such, specialized equipment that allows panel meter data to be transferred to a computer for future reference and analysis can also be applied. Necessary for determining what measurements are currently being relayed throughout a system, they are built to read, input, and display signals. Without the use of such tools, various power systems, voltage transformers, actuators, and other devices can be negatively impacted. As they share a similar range in variable measurement capabilities, we will discuss the differences between digital and panel meters, their components, and why they are important for electrical applications.
Digital panel meters are a universal tool for various signal monitoring systems that are intended to be integrated into a control panel. Displaying any given reading on an accompanying LCD or LED display, digital panel meters offer the greatest resolution and are capable of reconfiguration for the use of volt, amp, resistance, temperature, and various other unit measurements. Calculating received information through the use of a sensor, depending on a digital meter's prime function, such sensors can be used as a type of controller, signaling to activate an actuator, relay, safety gate, and other related components. Unlike analog panel meters, digital panel meters are often a preferred choice for their easy-to-read displays, especially in low light situations.
Constructed individually for respective variable applications, analog panel meters, although not as versatile in capability as compared to digital meters, can be used for measuring pressure, flow, temperature, speed, current, and voltage. Gauging a reading based on the current load passing through a system, the variable being measured by an analog panel meter will display a reading in the form of a moving dial which determines various values. A less common option after the development of multiple channel devices like the digital meter, analog meters can still often be found as backup devices for a range of meters and power systems in case of a false reading.
Though analog and digital panel meters can be used for the same function, they each have their own limitations. While digital meters are capable of providing increased resolution to panel visualization and their readability, they are not suitable for networks experiencing ongoing fluctuations in signal. Despite being great for keeping track of stagnant or slowly fluctuating readings, as digital panels do not provide a visual indicator on range, a constant change in projected numbers can make the device's readings difficult to determine. In cases where systems are prone to constant signal fluctuations, analog panel meters are highly preferred. Unlike digital panels, analog panels are constructed with a specific interface only capable of interpreting a single unit of measurement per device.
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