Temperature switches

How does a resistance thermometer work?

The electrical resistance of a resistance thermometer's sensor changes with the temperature. As the resistance of measuring resistors to EN 60751 (2009-05) increases with rising temperature, we refer to it as PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient). Pt100 or Pt1000 measuring resistors are normally used for industrial applications. The thermometers based around EN 60751 are defined in DIN 43735.

What are 2-, 3- and 4-wire circuits?

They describe the number of wires with which the measuring resistor (e.g. a Pt100) is connected. While with the simplest 2-wire connection, the lead resistance can falsify the measuring result, this negative influence can be compensated within the 3- or 4-wire connection, and thus the accuracy of the measurement improved.

What does „negative temperature coefficient thermistor“ mean?

Negative temperature coefficient thermistors conduct electricity better at higher temperatures than at lower temperatures. They are also known as NTC resistances (Negative Temperature Coefficient). Typically, NTC is used in the plastics and food and beverage industries.

What does "positive temperature coefficient thermistor" mean?

Positive temperature coefficient thermistors conduct electricity worse at higher temperatures than at lower temperatures. They are also known as PTC resistances (Positive Temperature Coefficient). Typically PTC are used in high-value temperature measuring points, e.g. in the chemical industry.

What does „Pt100“ mean?

Pt stands for Platinum with a nominal resistance of 100 Ohm at 0 °C (EN 60751).

What effect does poor insulation resistance have?

In accordance with DIN EN 60751 section 6.3.1 the insulation resistance between each measuring circuit and the sheath, at a minimum test voltage of 100 V DC, must not be less than 100 MOhm. Should the insulation resistance be too low, a measuring error occurs that causes the display of too low a temperature. In relation to a resistance thermometer (with sheathed cable) this results, with an insulation resistance of 100 kOhm, in a display error up to 0.25 Ohm and at 25 kOhm up to 1 Ohm. On all WIKA resistance thermometers, an insulation test with 500 V DC and an insulation resistance of > 1,000 MOhm is carried out, i.e. we test to a factor of 50 better than specified by the standard.

What minimum insertion lengths are recommended, as a rough guide, for multipart thermowells (from tubing) in order to minimise the heat dissipation error?

for gaseous media: 15 ... 20 x thermowell tip diameter
for liquid media: 5 ... 10 x thermowell tip diameter
for solid media: 3 ... 5 x thermowell tip diameter
(these standard values are only valid for static mediaThe gap between the thermowell and measuring insert should be < 0.5mm)

Why has there been, for some time, a separation between the accuracy classes for "wire-wound resistance" and "film resistance" Pt100 measuring resistors?

In the past, no distinction had been made between the two basic types of measuring resistor and their temperature limits.  Practice, however, showed that film resistors (thin-film/chipset resistors) have a (not insignificant) deviation form the characteristic. This behaviour has been accommodated in DIN EN 60751:2009-5 through the splitting of the temperature ranges within the individual accuracy classes.

Why should Pt100 measuring circuits with reduced tolerance class A or AA per DIN EN 60751 be used in at least a 3- or 4-wire connection?

The 2-wire connection is not permissible for classes A and AA per DIN EN 60751 since here the internal lead resistance of the wires is added to the measured value. This will usually exceed the specified tolerance for the temperature sensor. A measurement of the cable resistance at room temperature and adjusting this in the transmitter (for example) is possible, but the temperature-dependent resistance of the inner conductor of the cable would still be added to the reading as an error.  Conclusion: A 2-wire circuit is not suitable for accurate temperature measurement.