You are on page 1of 150

ISBN-3-934584-50-0 Order Number 1 987 722 131 AA/PDI-02.

AA/PDI-02.02-En The Bosch Yellow Jackets Edition 2002 Technical Instruction Automotive Electrics and Electronics

2002 Automotive Sensors

The Bosch Yellow Jackets

The Program Order Number ISBN

Automotive sensors
Automotive electrics/Automotive electronics
Batteries 1 987 722 153 3-934584-21-7 Automotive Technology
Alternators 1 987 722 156 3-934584-22-5
Starting Systems 1 987 722 170 3-934584-23-3
Lighting Technology 1 987 722 176 3-934584-24-1
Electrical Symbols and Circuit Diagrams 1 987 722 169 3-934584-20-9
Safety, Comfort and Convenience Systems 1 987 722 150 3-934584-25-X
Automotive Sensors 1 987 722 131 3-934584-50-0

Technical Instruction
Automotive Microelectronics 1 987 722 122 3-934584-49-7

Diesel-Engine Management Classification, main technical

Diesel Fuel-Injection: an Overview 1 987 722 104 3-934584-35-7 requirements
Electronic Diesel Control EDC 1 987 722 135 3-934584-47-0
Diesel Accumulator Fuel-Injection System
Measured variables, measuring
Common Rail CR 1 987 722 175 3-934584-40-3 principles, signal processing
Diesel Fuel-Injection Systems More than 50 examples of sensors
Unit Injector System/Unit Pump System 1 987 722 179 3-934584-41-1 and evaluation IC
Radial-Piston Distributor
Fuel-Injection Pumps Type VR 1 987 722 174 3-934584-39-X
Diesel Distributor-Type
Fuel-Injection Pumps VE 1 987 722 164 3-934584-38-1
Diesel In-Line Fuel-Injection Pumps PE 1 987 722 162 3-934584-36-5
Governors for Diesel In-Line
Fuel-Injection Pumps 1 987 722 163 3-934584-37-3

Gasoline-Engine Management
Emission Control (for Gasoline Engines) 1 987 722 102 3-934584-26-8
Gasoline Fuel-Injection System K-Jetronic 1 987 722 159 3-934584-27-6
Gasoline Fuel-Injection System KE-Jetronic 1 987 722 101 3-934584-28-4
Gasoline Fuel-Injection System L-Jetronic 1 987 722 160 3-934584-29-2
Gasoline Fuel-Injection
System Mono-Jetronic 1 987 722 105 3-934584-30-6
Spark Plugs 1 987 722 155 3-934584-32-2
Ignition 1 987 722 154 3-934584-31-4
M-Motronic Engine Management 1 987 722 161 3-934584-33-0
ME-Motronic Engine Management 1 987 722 178 3-934584-34-9
Gasoline-Engine Management:
Basics and Components 1 987 722 136 3-934584-48-9

Driving and Road-Safety Systems

Conventional Braking Systems 1 987 722 157 3-934584-42-X
Brake Systems for Passenger Cars 1 987 722 103 3-934584-43-8
ESP Electronic Stability Program 1 987 722 177 3-934584-44-6
Compressed-Air Systems for
Commercial Vehicles (1):
Systems and Schematic Diagrams 1 987 722 165 3-934584-45-4
Compressed-Air Systems for
Commercial Vehicles (2): Equipment 1 987 722 166 3-934584-46-2
Robert Bosch GmbH


Published by: Unless otherwise stated, the above are all

Robert Bosch GmbH, 2001 employees of Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart.
Postfach 30 02 20,
D-70442 Stuttgart.
Automotive Technology Business Sector Reproduction, duplication, and translation of this
Product-marketing, software products, publication, including excerpts therefrom, is only
technical publications (AA/PDT5). to ensue with our previous written consent and
with particulars of source. Illustrations, descrip-
Editor-in-Chief: tions, schematic diagrams and other data only
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Horst Bauer. serve for explanatory purposes and for presen-
tation of the text. They cannot be used as the
Editors: basis for design, installation, and scope of deliv-
Dipl.-Ing. (BA) Jrgen Crepin, ery. Robert Bosch GmbH undertakes no liability
Dipl.-Ing. Karl-Heinz Dietsche. for conformity of the contents with national or
local regulations.
Authors: All rights reserved.
Dipl.-Ing. Erich Zabler We reserve the right to make changes.
(Overall text on sensors in the vehicle, character-
istics, measured variables, measuring principles, Printed in Germany.
sensor examples), Imprim en Allemagne.
Dipl.-Ing. Joachim Berger
(Various sensors for diesel-engine management), 1st Edition, February 2001.
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Herforth English translation of the German edition dated
(Fuel-level sensor), June 2001
Dr. Michael Harder (1.0)
(Axle sensors),
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Herbert Arnold
(Ultrasonic sensors),
Dr.rer.nat Hermann Winner
(Ranging radar (ACC)),
Dipl.-Ing. Jrgen Tpfer,
(Hall-effect gearbox sensors),
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Rdiger Giesel
(OC sensor mat),
Dr.rer.nat Volkmar Denner
(Data processing in the vehicle).

in cooperation with the responsible departments

of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Peter Girling
Robert Bosch GmbH


Robert Bosch GmbH


Sensors in the vehicle Pressure sensors

Terms, definitions, Measured variables,
applications in the vehicle 4 measuring principles 78
Classification 6 Thick-film pressure sensors 81
Main requirements, trends 7 Micromechanical pressure sensors 82
Box: Miniaturization 11 High-pressure sensors 85

Position sensors (travel/angle) Torque sensors/Force sensors

Measured variables, Measured variables,
measuring principles 12 measuring principles 86
Sensor-plate potentiometer 28 OC and detection of
Throttle-valve sensor 29 childs safety seat 94
HDK sensor
(injected-fuel-quantity actuator) 30 Flow meters
Fuel-level sensor 31 Measured variables,
Accelerator-pedal sensors 32 measuring principles 96
Steering-wheel-angle sensor 34 Sensor-flap air-flow sensor 102
Axle sensors 36 Hot-wire air-mass meter 104
Ultrasonic sensors 37 Hot-film air-mass meter HFM2 105
Box: Ranging radar (ACC) 38 Hot-film air-mass meter HFM5 106

Speed and rpm sensors Gas sensors/Concentration sensors

Measured variables, Measured variables,
measuring principles 40 measuring principles 108
Inductive engine-speed sensors 52 Air-quality sensors 111
Incremental angle-of-rotation Two-step Lambda oxygen sensors 112
sensors and rpm sensors 53 Broad-band Lambda oxygen sensor 116
Hall-effect phase sensors 54
Wheel-speed sensors 56 Temperature sensors
Gearbox rpm sensors 58 Measured variables,
Needle-motion sensor 59 measuring principles 118
Induction-type sensors (TI-I) 60 Temperature sensors 128
Hall sensor (TI-H) 61 Box: Micromechanics 129
Piezoelectric yaw-rate sensors 62
Micromechanical yaw-rate sensors 64 Prospects
Development trends, examples 130
Acceleration sensors and vibration
sensors Sensor-signal processing
Measured variables, Signal conditioning (evaluation IC) 134
measuring principles 66 Examples of application (ASIC) 135
Hall-effect acceleration sensors 72
Bulk acceleration sensors 73 Data processing in the vehicle
Surface micromechanical Microcomputer, ECU 140
acceleration sensors 74 Overall system 143
Piezoelectric acceleration sensors 76
Piezoelectric knock sensors 77 Index of technical terms
Technical terms 144
Abbreviations 148
Robert Bosch GmbH

In the automotive sector, electronic equipment is continuing to gain in importance.

Here, the sensors represent the vehicles sensory organs for registering distance trav-
elled, movement, angle, rpm, speed, acceleration, vibration, pressure, throughflow, gas
concentration, temperature, and a whole range of other influencing variables. The out-
put signals from these sensors have in the meantime become indispensable for imple-
menting a wide variety of engine and chassis management systems, as well as for safety,
comfort and convenience. Thanks to electronic data processing, the above variables can
be evaluated at very high speed, and the sensor signals conditioned to make them suit-
able for use with the particular vehicle function.
This manual deals with the measured variables and the measuring principles behind
the various sensor groups. In each case, examples are presented of sensors that have
gone into production.
Robert Bosch GmbH

4 Automotive sensors Basics

Automotive sensors
Todays state-of-the-art vehicle is equipped Applications in the vehicle
with a large number of sensors. These can As part of the vehicles periphery, the sensors
be regarded as the vehicles "sensory or- and actuators form the vehicles interface to
gans", and from their physical or chemical its complex drive, braking, chassis, and
inputs they generate the electrical output bodywork functions, as well as to the vehicle
signals needed by the vehicles ECUs for guidance and navigation functions and the
implementing the closed and open-loop (usually digital) ECUs which operate as the
control functions used in its engine-man- processing units. As a rule, a matching cir-
agement systems, and in its safety, comfort, cuit (refer to "Signal processing") adapts the
and convenience systems. sensor signals to the standard form required
by the ECUs (measuring chain, measured-
value acquisition, Fig. 3).
These matching circuits are tailor-made for
Terms and definitions specific sensors and are adapted to the par-
The terms sensor, probe and pickup are ticular vehicle. They are available in inte-
synonymous. This manual uses the term grated design and in a wide variety of ver-
"sensor". Taking into account disturbances sions. They are a highly essential and worth-
Yi, the sensor converts a physical or chemical while complementary device for the sensors
(usually non-electrical) input quantity described below, but due to lack of space are
into an electrical output quantity E. This of- not gone into in detail. It would be impossi-
ten takes place with the help of non-electri- ble to use sensors in practice without these
cal intermediate stages. The electrical sensor matching circuits. To be precise, definition
outputs are not only in the form of current of the sensors measuring quality applies to
and voltage alone, but are also available as the sensor and the matching circuit.
current or voltage amplitudes, frequency, The vehicle can be regarded as a highly
phases, pulse durations, and cycles or peri- complex process, or control loop, which can
ods of an electrical oscillation, or as the elec- be influenced by the sensor information
trical parameters "Resistance", "Capaci- from other processing units (ECU), as well
tance", and "Inductance" (Figs. 1 and 2). as from the driver using his/her controls.
Display units keep the driver infomed about
A sensor can be defined using the following the status and the process as a whole. Fig. 4
equation: provides an overview of the abundance of
1. Sensor output signal electronic vehicle systems which are already
E = f (, Y1, Y2, ..) (1) on the market. Undoubtedly, this number
2. Required measured variable will increase immensely in the years to
= g (E, Y1, Y2, ..) (2) come.

If functions f or g are known, these equa-

tions represent a "sensor model" with which 1 Basic sensor function
the required measured variable can also be
derived mathematically and practically with-
Physical/ Electrical
out error using the output signal E and the Sensor
disturbance Yi (refer to "Intelligent sen- chemical output
quantity signal E
sors"). (non-electrical)
There are no specific rulings on whether

Disturbances Yi (temperature,
the sensor can contain part of the signal- power-supply fluctuations ...)
processing or not.
Ra ty
ng an
in d

ent groups:
ra sa Dr
Ti da fe iv
lt r( g

se AC ua Pr etr

three categories:
ns C, rd (tr esu ain
or pr in an re
ec g sm s
gh ad ras Bo iss ens
-p la h)
re m Di os ion- or
ss p es t-p sh
el re ift

senger information.
ai C s c
ur m
e in Ai on su on
se g) t
Kn r-m rol re s rol,
or a (E e M
At ock ss DC ns ot
rq (ES m s m o ro

Assignment and application

os en et ), M r (e nic
se P) p s er o le )
ns Hi he or (M tro ctr

deterrent) assignments, and

ni on
or di gh- ric- (Mo otr c
re pr pr t on ) ic
ow ct e r
-in ss ess oni ic)

Automotive systems and their sensors

ee er La jec ure ure c)
rin st m tio s s

g- ee bd n, en en
w rin a C s s
he g) ox om or or (
el Ro yg mo (ga Mo
-a ta e n
n so tro
Automotive sensors can be divided into

and closed-loop control assignments,

ng (tr tio
le an n
se Ra line nic)
se ns il)

Diagnostics (OBD)), fuel-consumption

Ta smi l-s
n n ss pe or
(E so (O k-p ion ed  Functional sensors mainly used for open

and wear parameters) and for driver/pas-

Here, sensors can be allocated to two differ-

SP r

 Sensors for safety and safeguarding (theft-

) n- re -sh se

 Sensors for vehicle monitoring (On-Board

Bo ss if n
Se c Ac ar ur co so t
at ele Co cel d D e se ntr r
-o ra nt era iag ns ol,
cc ti ro to
up on l (E r nos or Mo
at s tro
i e


TC -pe tics

An ni
Ac Ya on ns (M gle ), dal
ele s (OB c)
ce w- sen or ot -o ctr n e D)

le rat so (air ro f-
ni ro oh o )

Ti rat e s r ( ba

lt io e ai g) c) ta yd (E

se n ns rb ra le
n s o a n uli ct

an so en r ( g) Co an c b ro
d r ( so ES m d ra nic
an sa r ( P po ke T
si (E hro
ti- feg AB ) Ya fo tio
th u S w rt n
HB ttle
Ya eft ard ) -ra a
n se ))
w sy in te d n

W se so
he (ro -ra ste g Ai c r
Sensor symbol

el ll-o te ms r-q ns o
-s ve se ) Hu u or nv
pe n m ali
id ty
(n en

ed r se so av
Robert Bosch GmbH

ns r ity s ig ien
se in /T en at
ns g) e s io ce
Sensors in the vehicle

Pr m or n)
or p er (ai
(A (c ess at r-c
en u


) tra re re on

Ra l lo sen se ditio
c ns n

(w in kin sor or ing

in se g (H )
ds ns sy
hi o ste VA
Ra eld r m C)
(b ng -wi )
ac in pe
k- g s r c
up e o
m nso ntro
on r l)
Automotive sensors



UAE0816E UAE0288-1Y UAE0815Y



Fig. 3


SA Switch
AZ Display
AK Actuator

SE Sensor(s)

Y1...i Disturbances
Matching circuit

Physical quantity
Electrical quantity
Measuring sensor
Robert Bosch GmbH

6 Automotive sensors Basics

Curve types deflection level). When, for instance, the

In order to perform their various monitor- permissible deviation relative to the mea-
ing and closed and open-loop control as- sured value is demanded throughout the
signments, sensors must feature a variety of complete measuring range (air-mass meter),
different characteristic curves (Fig. 5): curves which feature both pronounced non-
linearity and a special shape (e.g. logarith-
Continuous, linear curves mic) are at an advantage.
Such curves are used mainly for control as-
signments covering a wide measuring range. Discontinuous, two-step curves
Linear curves are also distinguished by Such two-step curves (possibly even featur-
uncomplicated testing and calibration. ing hysteresis) are used for limit-value mon-
itoring in such cases where remedial mea-
Continuous, non-linear curves sures are easy to apply when the limits are
Such curves are often used for the closed- reached. If remedial measures are more
loop control of a measured variable across a difficult, then multiple-step curves can be
very restricted measuring range (e.g. ex- used for an earlier warning.
haust-gas control to = 1, vehicle spring-
Type of output signal
5 Characteristic curves Sensors also differ with respect to their
output signals (Fig. 6):

a b Output signals analog to:

 Current/voltage or a corresponding
Fig. 5  Frequency/period and,
S Output signal  Pulse duration/pulse duty factor.
X Measured variable X X
a Continuous linear c d
Discrete output signal:
b Continuous non- S S  Two-step (binary coded),

c Discontinuous
 Multi-step, with irregular steps (analog
multi-step coded), or
d Discontinuous X X  Multi-step, with equidistant steps, that is
two-step with uniform spacing (analog or digital
6 Signal shapes (Examples)
Furthermore, the sensors differ in their
output signal being continuously available
or only at discrete instants in time (continu-
ous and discontinuous respectively). For in-
f stance, the signal is bound to be discontinu-
ous if it is digital and outputted in bit-serial
Main requirements, trends
b Tp
U In contrast to the everyday universal-appli-

Fig. 6
a Output signal U
cation sensors available on the market, auto-
Frequency f Tp motive sensors are tailor-made to comply
b Output signal U t with the requirements of the vehicles special
Pulse duration Tp electronic systems. The research and devel-
Robert Bosch GmbH

Automotive sensors Basics 7

opment departments are responsible for integration takes place as far as possible.
ensuring that they satisfy the five major de- This is also the aim of "radio-scanned sen-
mands as listed in Fig. 7. These requirements sors" based on the antenna-coupled SAW1)
are also reflected in the most important elements which do without wiring com-
trends in sensor engineering. pletely. Safety considerations can dictate that
redundant sensor systems are used. That is,
High reliability sensor systems connected in parallel which
In accordance with their assignments, auto- perform identical measuring functions.
motive sensors are sub-divided into the fol-
lowing reliability classes, given in descending Low manufacturing costs
order of severity: On board a modern-day, state-of-the-art
 Steering, brakes, passenger protection, vehicle, there can easily be as many as 60 to
 Engine/drivetrain, chassis/tires, 70 sensors. Compared to other sectors of
 Comfort and convenience, OBD, informa- sensor application, this is a very large num-
tion, and theft-deterrence. ber and is only possible as long as low man-
ufacturing costs are achieved. Typically,
In automotive engineering, the specifica- target costs are in the range between 2 and
tions for the highest reliability class corre- 50 DM (1 to 25 ), and are often 100 times
spond to those for aviation and astronautics, lower than those of conventional sensors
and in some cases necessitate similar mea- with the same performance, whereby when
sures being taken. an innovative technology is introduced costs
start at a high level, and then usually drop in
Development trends: the course of time.
Appropriate design measures guarantee
built-in reliability. For instance, this necessi- Development trends
tates the use of reliable, top-quality compo- For the most part, sensor manufacture uses
nents and materials, coupled with rugged highly efficient automated production
and well-proven techniques and engineer- methods. For example, semiconductor sen-
ing. Plug-in connections are a potential
source of trouble, and to avoid them system 1) SAW Surface Acoustic Wave

7 Main requirements for automotive sensors and development measures

Automotive sensors

Requirements Development measures

High reliability Rugged, well-proven technology

Low manufacturing costs Efficient mass production

Severe operating conditions Highly resistant packaging

Low volume Miniaturisation techniques


High accuracy Local fault compensation

Robert Bosch GmbH

8 Automotive sensors Basics

sors are manufactured using "batch process- particular installation point. Total compe-
ing" in which there are typically 100 to tence in the selection and implementation
1000 sensors on a single Si wafer. of suitable protective measures is the deci-
On the other hand, such manufacturing sive factor for sensor quality. Such mea-
equipment is only an economic proposition sures often account for a far greater share
when correspondingly large numbers of sen- of the overall sensor costs than the actual
sors are produced. These quantities some- measuring element itself.
times exceed an automotive-industry sup-
pliers own in-house requirements, and can Fiber-optic sensors
commonly be between 1 and 10 million per In such sensors, the light flowing in the opti-
year. Here, the high numbers of sensors cal fiber (glass, plastic) can be modified as a
needed by the automobile industry played function of the measured variable. Up to the
an unprecedented and revolutionary role, point where the optical signal is converted
and set completely new standards. back to an electrical signal, these sensors are
regarded as being particularly immune to
Severe operating conditions electromagnetic disturbances. Insofar as
Sensors are installed at particularly exposed they are applied at all in the future, this will
positions on the vehicle. Accordingly, they necessitate extensive development work on
are subjected to particularly severe loading low-priced measuring elements and the
and must be able to withstand a wide variety accompanying technologies.
of different stresses:
 Mechanical (vibration, shock), Low-volume design
 Climatic (temperature, dampness), On the one side the number of electronic
 Chemical (e.g. splashwater, saline fog, systems in the vehicle continues to climb
fuel, lube-oil, battery acid), steadily. On the other, todays vehicles are be-
 Electromagnetic (irradiation, wire-con- coming more and more compact. These facts,
ducted spurious pulses, excess voltages, together with the need to retain the high level
polarity reversal). of passenger-compartment comfort forces
development to concentrate on an extremely
Due to the inherent advantages involved, low-volume design. Furthermore, the in-
sensors are preferably installed directly at the creasing demand for further improvements
measuring point. This tendency though has
led to a considerable increase in the severity of 2) EMC Electromagnetic Compatibility
the requirements made on the sensor.
8 Microsystems

Development trends:
Protective measures must be introduced to
cope with the above loading. This necessi- Micro-
tates a very high know-how level in the field mechanics:
Sensor micro-
of sensor "Packaging". Among other things, technology
this includes: Actuator mi-
Microsys- electronics
 Passivation and connecting techniques, nology tem tech-
 Sealing and joining techniques, nology
 EMC measures 2),
 Low-vibration installation,
 Service-life, test, and simulation methods,

 Use of highly resistant materials together
with detailed knowledge of the loading to
which the sensor will be subjected at the
Robert Bosch GmbH

Automotive sensors Basics 9

in fuel economy mean that minimization of Often, the indispensable mechanical part
the vehicles weight is of prime importance. belonging to the function with which the
sensor is associated is used to accomodate
Development trends the sensor, and acts as its "housing". This
Widespread use is made of the familiar tech- combination of electronics and mechanics is
nologies applied in circuit engineering for known as mechatronics and is coming more
the miniaturisation of electronic compo- and more to the forefront in the search for
nents (Fig. 8): cost and space savings. In the foreseeable
 Film and hybrid technologies (deforma- future, practically all systems will operate on
tion-dependent resistors, thermistors, and this basis.
 Semiconductor techniques (Hall-effect High accuracy
and temperature sensors), In comparison to the probes and sensors
 Surface and bulk micromechanical tech- used for instance in the processing industry,
niques (silicon pressure and acceleration with only a few exceptions (e.g. the air-mass
sensors, Fig. 9), meter) the demands on automotive-sensor
 Microsystem technologies (combinations of accuracy are relatively modest. Generally, the
two and more microtechnologies such as permissible deviations are 1 % of the mea-
microelectronics and micromechanics). suring-range final value. This applies in par-
ticular when considering the unavoidable ef-
9 Micromechanical measuring element (structure) fects of ageing. The permissible deviations
are normally achieved by the application of
complex techniques to compensate for man-

ufacturing tolerances, and to balance the ef-

fective compensation measures used against
interference. Particularly since the above-
mentioned requirements have for the most
part been satisfied, continually more de-
manding and sophisticated systems are im-
posing higher and higher demands in this

10 Sensor integration level

Sensors Transmission path ECU

Susceptible to
Conventional SE interference SA A SG
(analog) D

Resistant to
Multiple interference A
1st integration level SE SA SG Fig. 10
tap-off (analog) D
SE Sensors
Immune to SA Signal conditioning
2nd integration level SE SA A interference SG (analog)
D compatible (digital)

A/D Analog-digital
Immune to
Bus- SG Electronic control
3rd integration level SE SA A MC interference SG
D compatible (digital) unit (digital)
MC Microcomputer
Robert Bosch GmbH

10 Automotive sensors Basics

Development trends Definitions" (with Equations 1 and 2). Here,

Initially, a tightening up of the tolerances in the item-specific model parameters (indi-
manufacture, and refinement of the calibra- vidual sensor samples are used in calculating
tion and compensation techniques help to a model auxiliary quantity) are defined in a
guarantee a high level of accuracy. An impor- preceding process which is equivalent to the
tant step forward here is the hybrid or mono- calibration as previously performed, and
lithic integration of the sensor and signal stored in a PROM integrated with the sensor
electronics directly at the measuring point, up (Fig. 11, correction module).
to complex digital circuits such as analog/dig- In this manner, it is possible to consider-
ital converters and microcomputers (Fig. 10). ably improve the sensors static and dynamic
Such microsystems are also known as characteristics (evaluation of the differential
"intelligent sensors". They take full advan- equation which defines the dynamic perfor-
tage of the sensors inherent accuracy, and mance).
offer the following features: Local electronic circuitry (in other words
 Reduce the ECUs working load directly at the measuring point), necessitates
 Uniform, flexible, and BUS-compatible the use of multi-sensor structures which use a
interface number of identical sensors, or a number of
 Sensors can be used for a number of dif- different sensors, to register a variety of
ferent functions highly complex facts and reduce these to their
 Due to local amplification and demodula- basic information content. This latter process
tion, it is possible to utilise low-output can also take place locally. This applies in par-
and high-frequency measuring effects ticular to image sensors which in future will
 The correction of sensor deviations at the play an every increasing role in registering the
measuring point, and the mutual calibra- situation inside and outside the vehicle.
tion and compensation of both sensor With a number of integrated pressure sensors,
and electronics, is simplified and im- it is possible to not only increase the reliability
proved by storing the individual correc- of the measurement, but also to reduce the age-
tion information in a PROM. ing drift (deviation due to ageing) by applying
mean-value generation. If the individual sensor
While simultaneously detecting and digitis- elements are designed for differing measuring
ing disturbances, "intelligent sensors" can ranges and at the same time feature high
almost perfectly calculate the required mea- overload capabilities (e.g. capacitive) such a
sured variable by applying the mathematical sensor can be used to considerably extend the
sensor model given in the Paragraph "Terms, high-acccuracy measuring range.

11 Correction module of an intelligent sensor

Measurement signal
(non-corrected) xa* C Faultless mea-
A digital xa* Paral- xea surement signal
correction lel
D Serial Digital
Influencing- y computer
variable signal

D xea
Model parameter PROM
A Analog
Robert Bosch GmbH

Automotive sensors Miniaturization 11


Thanks to micromechanics it has become possi- Bosch was the first to introduce a product
ble to locate sensor functions in the smallest with a micromechanical measuring element for
possible space. Typically, the mechanical dimen- automotive applications. This was an intake-
sions are in the micrometer range. Silicon, with pressure sensor for measuring load, and went
its characteristics has proved to be a highly suit- into series production in 1994. Micromechani-
able material for the production of the very small, cal acceleration and yaw-rate sensors are
and often very intricate mechanical structures. more recent developments in the field of
With its elasticity and electrical properties, sili- miniaturisation, and are used in driving-safety
con is practically ideal for the production of sen- systems for occupant protection and vehicle
sors. Using processes derived from the field of dynamics control (Electronic Stability Program
semiconductor engineering, mechanical and ESP). The illustrations below show quite clear-
electronic functions can be integrated with each ly just how small such components really are.
other on a single chip or using other methods.

 Micromechanical acceleration sensor

Comb-like structure compared to an
Electric circuit insects head
Bonding wire Sensor chip Suspension spring Seismic mass with
movable electrodes


200 m Fixed electrodes

 Micromechanical yaw-rate sensor

DRS-MM1 vehicle-dynamics control (ESP) DRS-MM2 roll-over sensing, navigation

100 m
Robert Bosch GmbH

12 Position sensors (travel/angle) Characteristics/Overview of measured variables

Position sensors (travel/angle)

Characteristics 1 Travel/angular position as the direct measured variable

Measured variable Measuring range

Position sensors register the most varied
Throttle-valve setting on the 90
forms of travel and angular position, and are spark-ignition engine
certainly the most common sensor in the ve- Accelerator-pedal/
hicle. In this sector of applications, activities brake-pedal position 30
have long since been directed at changing Seat, headlamp, rear-view
mirror position
over to proximity or non-contacting sensor Control-rack travel and position 21 mm
principles. Such sensors are wear-free and for diesel in-line fuel-injection
thus have a longer service life as well as pumps
Angular setting of the injected- 60
being more reliable. The costs involved
fuel-quantity actuator on the
though, often force vehicle manufacturers to diesel distributor pump
retain the "wiper-type" sensor principle, and Fuel level in the fuel tank 20 ... 50 cm
such sensors still perform efficiently enough Clutch-actuator travel 50 mm
at a number of points in the vehicle. Distance from vehicle to vehicle 150 m
or between vehicle and obstacle
Steering-wheel angle 2 360
Position sensors are often referred to as so- ( 2 revolutions)
Table 1 called "extensive sensors". Here, sensor size Angle of inclination (tilt) 15
and measured quantity are always inter- Angle of vehicle travel 360
related, although with regard to wave-prop- In other cases, the measured position or
agation sensors, this only applies to a limited angle represents a different measured vari-
degree. In the classification method used able (Table 2).
here, sensor and measuring principles which 2 Travel/angular position as the indirect measured variable
only measure extremely minute shifts/move-
Measured variable Measuring range
ments (a few m, for instance in the case of
Spring-deflection travel (headlamp 25 cm
expansion) are allocated to other measured range, vehicle inclination or tilt)
variables such as force, torque, and accelera- Torsion angle (torque) 1 ... 4
tion. Only those position sensors will be Deflection of a sensor plate 30 ... 90
dealt with which are used for measuring (throughflow)
Deflection of a spring-mass 0.5 ... 1 mm
larger distances (1 mm) and angles (1). system (acceleration)
Table 2

In practice, "incremental sensor systems" are

Measured variables: also often referred to as angular-position
Overview (or angle-of-rotation) sensors, even when
they are used for measuring rotational
In this sector there are a large number of speed. Since the increments (steps with
applications in which position represents the which a given quantity increases) which have
actual measured variable. This is shown by to be measured with these sensors in order
the Table on the right. to measure the deflection angle must be
counted with the correct preceding sign
(in other words, added), these sensors are in
reality not angular-position (or angle-of-
rotation) sensors. Due to the danger of the
counter being falsified due to spurious
pulses, such angular-position measuring sys-
tems are only in limited use. Fixed, directly
locatable reference marks only provide very
little help in this dilemma. Another disad-
vantage of such angular-position measuring
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 13

systems is the fact that the absolute position  High precision (better than 1% of full
is lost when the power supply is switched off. range)
Here, it is no use storing the final position in  Wide measuring range (almost 360 is
a non-volatile memory, since most angular possible)
positions can change mechanically. This also  No difficulty with redundant design
applies when power has been removed.  Calibration possible (Laser etc.)
 Flexible characteristic curve (variable
conductor-track width)
Measuring principles  Flexible assembly (on curved as well as on
flat surfaces)
Potentiometer-type sensors  Wide range of manufacturers
For measuring purposes, the wiper-type po-  Samples can be supplied quickly.
tentiometer (Fig. 1) uses the correspondence
between the length of a wire or film resistor Disadvantages of potentiometer-type sensors
(Cermet or conductive plastic) and its resis-  Mechanical wear, abrasion
tance. At present, this is the lowest-priced  Measuring errors due to abraded particles
travel/angle sensor. Voltage is usually applied  Problematic regarding operation in fluids
to the measurement track through low-resis-  Variation in contact resistance between
tance series resistors RV (these can also used wiper and measurement track
for calibration of zero point and curve-  Strong acceleration or vibration can result
slope). The shape of the curve is influenced in wiper lift-off
by shaping the measuring track (or only  Testing is costly
sections of it). Wiper connection is usually  Limited possibilities of miniaturization
through a second contact conductor track  Noise.
with an identical surface applied over a low-
resistance conductor track. Examples of potentiometer-type sensors
 Sensor-plate potentiometer
Wear and falsification of measured values can (KE- and L-Jetronic)
be kept to a minimum by keeping the electri-  Throttle-valve angular-position sensor
cal loading of the pick-off as low as possible (M-Motronic)
(IA <1 mA) and by dust-proof encapsulation.  Accelerator-pedal sensor, accelerator-
One of the prerequisites for low wear is the pedal module
optimal friction pairing between the wiper  Fuel-level sensor.
and the conductor track. To this end, wipers
can be of "spoon" or "scraper-shape" design, 1 Wiper-type potentiometer
and one or more can be mounted. Brush-
shaped wipers are also in use. U0 UA
Fig. 1
A whole range of clear advantages are faced 2
max IA 1 Wiper
by a considerable number of serious disad- 2 Resistance track
vantages: 3 3 Contact conductor
1 track
Advantages of the potentiometer-type sensors R0 IA Wiper current
 Simple design U0 Supply voltage
 Very extensive measuring effect (measure- UA Measurement

ment range  supply voltage) R R Resistance
 No electronic circuitry required max Maximum angle of
 High level of interference immunity R V2
 Broad temperature range (up to 250C) Measured angle
Robert Bosch GmbH

14 Position sensors Measuring principles

Magnetically inductive sensors Although this principle functions satisfacto-

Of all the sensors using proximity and non- rily in the kHz range, for detection of rapid
contacting principles for position measure- movements it is recommended that a higher
ment, the magnetic sensors have proved to operating frequency in the MHz range is
be the most rugged and most insensitive to applied. This also uses less current. On the
interference. This applies in particular to other hand, this generally means that the
those principles relying on alternating cur- electronics must be in or on the sensor. In
rent, in other words magnetically inductive order to convert the measuring effect into an
principles. Compared with a micromechani- electrical output signal, either the damping-
cal sensor though, the coil configuration effect (equivalent resistance) or field-dis-
needed here requires far more space. This placement (inductance) principles can be
means therefore that there is no favorable applied. In the first (damping effect) case, a
possibility of redundant (parallel measure- variable-amplitude oscillator can be used,
ment) design. Furthermore, coil contacting and in the second a variable-frequency oscil-
is less favorable from the costs and reliability lator or a constantly supplied inductive volt-
viewpoint. Although there are a multitude of age divider (differential configuration).
different principles in use for this form of There are many ways to adapt the eddy-
sensor, only two have come to the forefront current principle to the measuring assign-
for automotive applications. Regarding their ment. It is just as suitable for the measure-
operating concepts, these are very similar to ment of large travels and angles as it is for
each other. smaller quantities. Sensors applying this
principle have low temperature sensitivity.
Eddy-current sensors
When an electrically conductive flat or Short-circuiting-ring sensors
curved (damping) disc (for instance Al or In contrast to eddy-current sensors, the coil
Cu) approaches a coil (usually ironless) to of a short-circuiting-ring sensor has a
which high-frequency AC has been applied, straight or curved U or E-shaped soft-mag-
it has an effect upon the coils equivalent re- netic, (usually) laminated iron core (Fig. 3).
sistance and its inductance. This is the result The coil, or short-circuiting-ring ("spoiler"),
of the eddy currents generated in the disc is of highly conductive material (Cu or Al),
Fig. 2 (otherwise known as a spoiler) due to the in- and is located around one (or all) of the core
1 Spoiler creasing magnetic coupling. The discs posi- limbs. Thanks to the iron core, such sensors
2 Eddy currents
tion represents the measured travel (Fig. 2). have a far larger inductance than eddy-cur-
3 Air-core inductor
4 Variable-damping
oscillator 2 HF damping or eddy-current principle 3 Short-circuiting-ring sensor
5 Demodulator
s Measured travel
A(s) Oscillator voltage s
UA(s) Output voltage
1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 3
1 Short-circuiting 1
ring A(s)

2 Soft-magnetic IW
3 Coil

I Current

s 2
IW Eddy current
L(s) Inductance and 3 (s)
(s) Magnetic flux for
measured travel s
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 15

rent sensors. This means that they operate in a very wide variety of different versions
well at low frequencies, and do not necessar- (Figs. 4 and 5).
ily require their signal electronics locally, The "half-differential sensor" is very pre-
that is directly on the sensor itself. cise. It has two short-circuiting rings, the
movable ring being for measurement and
The alternating field generated in and the fixed ring serving for reference purposes.
around the Fe core by the coil current I is It is applied as follows:
unable to pass through the short-circuiting  As an inductive voltage divider (evalua-
ring, since the eddy currents in the ring re- tion of the inductances L1/L2 or [L1 L2]/
duce it practically to zero. In other words, [L1 + L2]), or as
therefore, the eddy currents in the short-  The frequency-determining component of
circuiting ring limit the extension of the an oscillatory circuit for generaton of a
magnetic flux to the space between the coil frequency-analog signal (highly resistant
and the ring. The rings position thus has a to interference, easy to digitize).
practically linear effect upon the inductance
throughout a wide range. Practically the
whole length of the sensor can be utilised for 4 Short-circuiting-ring angular-position sensors
The mass of the moving short-circuiting a
ring is very low. Shaping the gap between 1
coil and limb has an effect upon the shape of 0
the curve: Reducing the gap towards the end
of the measuring range further improves the
already good linearity. Depending upon ma- L ()
terial and design, operation is mostly in the
5...50 kHz range. This sensor can also be Fig. 4
used in very severe conditions, for instance b a Short-circuiting-ring
on diesel injection pumps. sensor
b Short-circuiting-
This (short-circuiting ring) measuring prin- disc sensor
1 Short-circuiting ring

ciple is also highly adaptable to the particu- 0 2 Short-circuiting

lar measurement assignment and is available L () disc
L() Inductance
Measured angle

5 Short-circuiting-ring travel sensor

a b c
L1 L2 1 1 Fig. 5
1 1 a Single type
b Half-differential
L2 type
4 L1 c Full-differential type
3 1 Short-circuiting ring
2 2 Core

2 2 3 Measuring system
4 Reference system
L Inductance
Robert Bosch GmbH

16 Position sensors Measuring principles

The short-circuiting-ring sensors feature a 7 Solenoid-plunger travel sensor

relatively pronounced measuring effect
Fig. 7
which is typically Lmax/Lmin = 4. There are a L(s)
1 Multiple-cavity coil number of simulation programs on the
2 Ferrite core market for calculating the electromagnetic 1
3 Plastic extrusion behaviour of a short-circuiting-ring sensor.
coating with sliding Results are very realistic and three-dimen- 2 s
sional (Fig. 6).

4 Rotating shaft with 3
guide pin
L(s) Inductance at Short-circuiting ring sensors: Examples
measured travel s  Rack-travel sensors for in-line injection
Measured angle pumps (attached-type load sensor, EDC
 Angular-position sensor for distributor Dividing the winding into uneven cavities
injection pumps. (Fig. 7) avoids these disadvantages.
The addition of a second plunger coil
Solenoid-plunger sensors extends the measuring concept to provide a
Solenoid-plunger sensors (Fig. 7) utilise the "differential throttling sensor" which, con-
fact that a coils inductance can be varied by nected as an AC voltage divider, features bet-
means of a movable core. This core can be ter linearity and zero-point stability. If both
manufactured from solid iron (wire), rolled coils, whose values change in opposite direc-
Fe sheet, or ferrite, and must be precisely tions, are then not supplied directly but
guided (sliding contact). The inherent non- rather from a magnetically coupled, sym-
linearity of these sensors can be reduced by metrical-configuration primary coil, it is
using special signal-conditioning circuitry. It possible to avoid the negative effects of the
is often the case that sensor length consider- copper losses in the coils. This measuring
ably exceeds the measured travel. concept is not suitable for angular measure-
ment since the angle of rotation must first of
6 Magnetic lines of force in a half-differential short-
all be mechanically converted to travel, and
circuiting-ring travel sensor used in an electronically this is a source of further errors.
controlled diesel in-line pump

Solenoid-plunger sensors: Examples

1  Accelerator-pedal sensor (electric vehicles
 Position proportioning valves
4 Magnetostatic sensors
Magnetostatic sensors measure a DC mag-
netic field. In contrast to the magnetically
Fig. 6
1 Short-circuiting ref- 3 inductive (coil) sensors they are far more
erence ring, fixed suitable for miniaturisation and can be
2 Reference coil manufactured at reasonable cost using
3 Short-circuiting mea- s 5 microsystem techniques. Above all, galvano-
suring ring, movable
6 magnetic effects (Hall and Gaussian effects,
4 Coupling flux Fig. 8) are used, as well as anisotropic mag-
5 Measuring coil A netoresistive (AMR) metallic thin-film

D elements.
s Control-rack travel
SA Signal conditioning
A/DA/D converter
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 17

Galvanomagnetic sensors tal signal. If the magnetic induction B ap-

Above all, thin semiconductor wafers are plied at the sensor is below a given mini-
used in such sensors for the evaluation of mum threshold level, the Schmitt triggers
the Hall effect. If current flows through such output value corresponds to a logical "0"
a wafer which is permeated vertically by a (release status); if it exceeds a given upper
magnetic induction B, a voltage UH, which is threshold the output value corresponds to a
proportional to the field strength, can be logical "1" (operate status). Since this behav-
picked-off at right angles to the direction of iour is guaranteed across the complete oper-
current (Hall effect). At the same time the ating-temperature range and for all sensors
wafer resistance increases along a roughly of a given type, the two threshold values are
parabolic curve (Gaussian effect, magne- relatively far apart (approx. 50 mT). In other
toresistor). When silicon is used as the basic words, it takes a considerable induction
material, a signal-conditioning circuit can be jump (B) to trigger the Hall-effect switch.
integrated on the wafer. Sensors using these
principles are very cheap to produce, Sensors using the
whereby silicon is by far not the most favor- "spinning-current" princciple
able semiconductor material for Hall-effect Up to now, the sensors sensitivity to the un-
sensors. For instance, such "III-V semicon- avoidable mechanical strain resulting from
ductors" as gallium arsenide (GaAs) or the packaging was a disadvantage, and led to
indium antimonide have far better charac- unfavorable temperature sensitivity of the
teristics. offset. It became possible to overcome this
by the application of the "spinning-current"
Hall-effect switch principle (Fig. 9). For the first time, Hall ICs
In the most simple case, the Hall voltage is were now suitable for analog sensor applica-
applied to an electronic threshold circuit tions. By means of high-speed, electronically
(Schmitt trigger) which then outputs a digi- controlled rotation (spinning) of the elec-
Fig. 8
a Circuit
8 Galvanomagnetic effect 9 Hall-effect sensor using the "spinning-current" principle
b Curve of Hall
a voltage UH
a c Increase of wafer
resistance R
I I (Gaussian effect)
B Magnetic induction
I I Wafer current
IH IH Hall current

IV Supply current
IV UR Longitudinal voltage
Deviation of the
UR 1 2 3 UH
electrons due to the
UH b I magnetic field

b c R
Fig. 9
a Rotary phase 1
+UH b Rotary phase
2 = 1 + 45
1 Semiconductor
-B +B -B +B


I wafer
2 Active electrode
3 Passive electrode
+UH I Supply current
UH Hall voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

18 Position sensors Measuring principles

10 Differential Hall-effect sensor (Double Hall-effect sensor) trodes, or their cyclic reversal, and output-
a signal averaging, it was possible to suppress

the mechanical interference effects (piezore-
1 sistive effects). These measures though did
not result in a reduction of the considerable
effects of temperature on the sensors mea-
3 surement sensitivity.
S Such Hall ICs are suitable above all for the
4 N measurement of small travel distances (refer
to "Acceleration sensors"), in which they
register the fluctuating field strength of a
permanent magnet as it approaches.

Differential Hall-effect sensors

Fig. 10 For a number of years now, there have been
a Design and
fully integrated duplicate Hall-effect sensors
b Field-strength distri-
("Differential Hall sensor configurations",
bution (1.5 times c Fig. 10) on the market. Here, two complete
increment spacing) Hall systems are located on a single chip at a
L = 2 mm
c Signal curve for defined distance from each other. The ap-
Signal curve

air-gap widths L propriate electronic circuitry evaluates the

1 Rotor 3 mm
difference between the two Hall voltages.
2 Differential Hall-

The advantage of such sensors lies in the fact

effect IC
3 Homogenizing wafer
that their output signal is for the most part
Angle of rotation independent of the absolute value of the
(soft iron)
4 Permanent magnet magnetic-field strength, and as differential
Analogue Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor
sensors they only register the magnetic in-
("movable magnet") with linear characteristic curve ductions change in space, in other words the
for angles up to 180
field gradient (thus the common desig-
nation "Gradient sensor").

Since the polarity of their output signal is

a b
independent of the air gap between rotor
and sensor, these sensors are mostly used for
rotational-speed measurement. Usually, in
order to achieve as high an output signal as
possible, the two sensors are each located on
the edge of the (elongated) chip, the distance
between them corresponding to about half
the rotor tooth interval.
1 2 3 4 5
Fig. 11
a Position a c The signal maximum is very wide and cov-
b Position b ers a broad range of variation of the incre-
c Output signal
Pos. a Pos. b
ment spacing. More pronounced variations
1 Magnetic yoke in the spacing necessitate a highly complex


2 Stator (1,2 soft iron)

90 0 + 90 180 redesign of the sensor.
3 Rotor
4 Air gap
5 Hall-effect sensor A gradient sensor must be precisely aligned
Angle of rotation to the rotors direction of rotation.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 19

Angle-of-rotation sensors in the range up to greater or lesser degree. Using this principle,
180: it is possible to achieve a practically linear
Using a rotatable magnetic ring ("movable characteristic.
magnet"), together with a number of fixed The Type ARS2 is a simplified version
soft-magnetic conductive elements, a linear which does without conductive elements
output signal can be generated for a larger (Fig. 13). In this version, the magnet moves
angular range without conversion being nec- around the Hall-effect sensor in a circular
essary (Fig. 11). Here, the movable magnets arc. Only a relatively small section of the
bipolar field is directed through a Hall-effect resulting sinusoidal characteristic curve fea-
sensor located between semicircular con- tures good linearity. If the Hall-effect sensor
ductive elements. The effective magnetic is located slightly outside the center of the
flux flowing through the Hall-effect sensor is circular arc, the characteristic curve increas-
a function of the angle of rotation . ingly deviates from the sinusoidal, and now
features a short measuring range of almost
The Type ARS1 Hall-effect angle-of-rotation 90, and a longer measuring range of more
sensor with a measuring range of approx 90 than 180 with good linearity.
(Fig. 12) is derived from the basic "movable A great disadvantage though is the low
magnet" principle. The magnetic flux from a level of shielding against external fields, as
practically semicircular permanent-magnet well as the remaining dependence on the
disc is returned to the magnet through a geometric tolerances of the magnetic circuit,
pole-shoe, two additional conductive ele- and the fluctuations in magnetic flux density
ments each of which contains a Hall-effect of the permanent magnet as a function of
sensor in its magnetic path, and the shaft temperature and age. On the other hand,
which is also ferromagnetic. Depending mechanically it is an easy matter to integrate
upon the angular setting, the flux is led these sensors in an accelerator-pedal mod-
through the two conductive elements to a ule.
Fig. 12
12 Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor ASR1 ("movable 13 Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor ASR2 a Design and
magnet") with linear characteristic for angles up to 90 ("movable magnet") for angles >180
a b Characteristic curve
4 with working range
a b A
1 1 Rotor disc
90 mT (permanent magnet)
60 2 Pole shoe
Flux density B

2 3 30 1 3 Conductive element
180 1 0
x 0 4 Air gap
90 180 270
4 6 NS -30 5 Hall-effect sensor
3 -60 6 Shaft
270 Angle of rotation (soft magnetic)
mT 90 mT Fig. 13
A y
150 60 a Principle of
Flux density B

30 2
Flux density B

100 180 2
0 b Characteristic curve
x 90 180 270
NS -30 1 Hall-IC positioned in
3 -60 the mid-point of the
270 Angle of rotation

circular path

45 90 135 180 225 270 315 2 Hall-IC located out-
-50 side the mid-point
Angle of rotation (linearization)
3 Magnet
Robert Bosch GmbH

20 Position sensors Measuring principles

14 Digital Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor for angles Angle-of-rotation sensors in the range above
up to 360 using a circular, arrangement of simple Hall- 180
effect switches located equidistantly from each other
Type LWS3 steering-angle sensors are simple
Hall ICs ("Hall-effect switches"), similar to
those also used for rotational-speed
measurement. In conjunction with small
working-point magnets, they can be used as
digital angle-of-rotation sensors for angles
up to 360. Here, in order to obtain an n-bit
resolution, n Hall-effect switches are
arranged in a circle at equal distances from
each other (Fig. 14). Depending upon its po-
sition, a rotatable soft-magnetic code disc
blocks the magnetic field of the individual
permanent magnets located above each
Fig. 14 3
Hall-effect switch, or opens it when it rotates

1 Case cover with

permanent magnets
further so that one after another the Hall-ef-
2 Code disc fect switches generate n different code
3 pcb with Hall-effect words. To prevent errors in intermediate set-
switches tings of the code disc, it is expedient to apply
the Gray code (cyclic binary code).
15 Analog Hall-effect sensor for angles up to 360 For the practical implementation of a
a steering-angle sensor, the code disc is con-
I nected to the steering shaft for instance, and
the sensors non-moving parts to the vehicle
In order to measure a number of com-

plete rotations, an additional 3-bit configur-
ation can be used in which the code disc is
rotated by a step-down gearing. Such con-
figurations though usually have a resolution
of not better than 2.5.
Fig. 15 shows an analog Hall-effect angle-of
rotation sensor with a measuring range of
up to 360. As shown, a permanent magnet
rotates in front of 2 Hall-effect sensors
Fig. 15 arranged at right angles to each other and in
a Constructed from
parallel to the permanent magnets rotary
discrete Hall ICs
b Constructed from
axis. When the field-strength vector B ro-
planar integrated
tates past the sensors, therefore, they register
Hall ICs its x and y components:
1 Signal electronics UH1 = Ux = B sin
2 Camshaft UH2 = Uy = B cos
3 Control magnet

B Induction
Using the trigonometrical relationship =
I Current
U Voltage
arctan (UH1 / UH2), it is then an easy matter
UA Output voltage UA 1 3 2 to use these signals for calculating the angle
Angle of rotation in a commercially available evaluation
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 21

chip belonging to the sensor. Principally 16 Magnetic triggering of a differential magnetoresistive

speaking, the planar integration of this Hall- sensor used for gearwheel sensing (incremental angle-
of-rotation measurement, rotational-speed sensing)
effect sensor configuration with "VHD"
(Vertical Hall Devices) as shown in Fig. 15 is
possible, so that the sensor-chip is vertical to
the rotary axis. Monolithic integration also
guarantees the high level of precision as re-
quired for the 90 arrangement of the two
Hall systems.
Differential magnetoresistive sensors 2
The resistive or Gaussian effect with semi- 3 Fig. 16
conductor wafers mentioned at the begin- 1 Magnetoresistors
ning is put to use in magnetoresistors which R1, R2
are manufactured from a "III-V-semicon- 2 Soft-magnetic
ductor" (crystalline indium antimonide 1

R2 R1 3 Permanent magnet
(InSb)). In contrast to the Hall-effect sen- U0 4 Gearwheel
sors, the optimum wafer shape for a mag- U0 Supply voltage
UA( )
netoresistor tends to be shorter and squatter, UA Output voltage for
and represents a very low resistance. In order angle of rotation
to arrive at technically applicable resistance
values in the k range it is therefore neces- 17 Differential magnetoresistive sensor

sary to connect a large number of these a

wafers in series. This problem is solved ele-
gantly by adding microscopically fine, highly
conductive nickel-antimonide needles to the
semiconductor crystal. These are located
obliquely to the direction of current flow.
A further measure is to apply meander tech-
niques to the semiconductor resistor
(Figs. 16 and 17a).
Magnetoresistors are usually applied to a
ferrite substrate so that the effective air gap
can be kept to an absolute minimum when
they are installed in a magnetic circuit. Since
their temperature sensitivity has a pro-
nounced effect upon their resistance (ap-
prox. 50% reduction for 100K), they are
Fig. 17

usually delivered only in the dual-configura- a Microscopic section

tion form in voltage-divider circuits (differ- b On ferrite substrate
ential magnetoresistors). For the particular in Super-8 film
application, each of the two resistor sections carrier
must then be magnetically triggered (as far
as possible with oppposite polarities). Magnetoresistors are usually delivered at
Notwithstanding the high temperature coef- the production line in "Super-8 film packag-
ficient of the individual resistors, the volt- ing" (Fig. 17b). In this mode, a specially
age-divider circuit guarantees good stability structured copper grid provides an effective
of the working-point (that point at which connection from the internal semiconductor
both resistor sections have the same value). connection to the external assembly contact.
Robert Bosch GmbH

22 Position sensors Measuring principles

Taking into account their use in automotive Magnetoresistive NiFe thin-film sensors
applications, these sensors have operating- These sensors are otherwise known as AMR
temperature limits of 160 C sustained tem- sensors (AMR = Anisotropic Magnetoresis-
perature and 200 C short-time peak tem- tive) and are formed from 30...50 nm thick
perature. The dependence of the resistance NiFe films (also termed permalloy). They
on the magnetic flux density B follows a permit the design of highly compact, non-
square-law function up to inductances of contacting angle-of-rotation sensors. In the
approx. 0.3 T, and above this point it is in- AMR, the resistance of the printed conduc-
creasingly linear. There is no upper limit to tor track is anisotropic, that is, in the direc-
the control range, and dynamic response can tion of the magnetization vector it is several
be regarded as practically free from lag. percent higher than at right angles to it.
In order to achieve good measurement Without an external control field being
sensitivity, it is best to operate the mag- necessary, spontaneous magnetisation is
netoresistors at a magnetic working point generated in the longitudinal direction of
between 0.1...0.3 T. Generally, the required the conductor (form anisotropy). In order to
magnetic bias is supplied by a small electro- give this magnetisation a clearly defined
magnet the effects of which can be increased direction theoretically, it could be in the
by using a small magnetic return plate. other direction AMR sensors are often
Without such a bias magnet, the sensors provided with weak bias magnets. If external
measuring sensitivity would be practically influences are applied to turn the magnetiz-
zero. For measurement of displacement or ing vector through the angle , the resis-
angle, a small conductive element usually tance drops gradually until reaching its
moves past the sensor configuration. At its minimum at = 90. Here, the resistance
symmetrical mid-point, this element trig- depends only on the angle which is en-
gers both sensor resistances equally, whereas closed by the magnetisation and the current.
when it is off-center it unbalances the volt- It has an approximate cosine shape as a
age divider so that the output voltages fea- function of . If the external field is much
ture good linearity and lead to high sensitiv- stronger than the spontaneous generated
ity. The magnetoresistor nevertheless still magnetisation, and this is usually the case
features pronounced temperature sensitivity when control magnets are used, the effective
so that it is used almost exclusively in incre- angle is almost completely a function of the
mental angle-of-rotation and displacement direction of the external field. The field
sensors, or in binary limit-value sensors strength is now irrelevant, and in other
(with switching characteristic). words the sensor is now operating in the
"saturated state"
The magnetoresistors main advantage is its Highly-conductive short-circuiting strips
high signal level which is usually in the volts (for instance of gold) on the AMR film force
range. This means that amplification is un- the current to flow at an angle of below 45
necessary, as well as the local electronic cir- to the spontaneous magnetisation (longitu-
cuitry and the associated protective mea- dinal direction) without the application of
sures which would otherwise be needed. an external field. As a result of this "trick",
Furthermore, in their role as passive, resis- the sensor curve shifts by 45 compared to
tive components they are highly insensitive that of the simple resistor. This results in the
to electromagnetic interference and, as a so-called "Barber Pole" sensor. This means,
result of their high bias voltage practically therefore, that even with the external field
immune against external magnetic fields strength at zero, the curve is at the point of
(for examples of application, refer to the maximum sensitivity. The "striping of two
Chapter "Speed and rpm sensors"). resistors in opposite directions" (Fig. 18)
means that they change their resistances in
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 23

opposite directions under the effects of the Magnetoresistive angle-of-rotation sen-

same field. In other words, one of the resis- sors of the "Pseudohall" type utilise the
tances increases while the other drops. In practically 100% sinusoidal signal that is
principle, the oxidized silicon wafers which picked-off at the output terminals of the
serve as the substrate material can also in- four-pole, sensor structure, whereby two
corporate the electronic circuitry for signal complete periods of the electrical output
conditioning. At present, cost considerations signal correspond to a mechanical rotation
dictate that sensor chip and electronics chip of the magnets through 360. Using a second
are for the most part manufactured sepa- element, which has been turned through
rately, and then mounted for instance on a 45, a cosine signal is also generated
common "Leadframe" and packaged. The (Fig. 19). By appling the arc-tangent func-
magnetic control field B is usually generated tion for instance, the relationship between
by magnets which rotate above the sensor. the two signal voltages can be applied to de-
"Barber Pole" AMR angle-of-rotation termine the measured angle using a micro-
sensors with extremely limited accuracy and controller or an ASIC. This applies through-
somewhat limited measuring range (max. out a range of 180, and is for the most part
15) rely on the unbalance of a magnetore- independent of temperature changes and
sistive voltage divider comprising an elon- magnetic-field fluctuations (aging, spacing).
gated (possibly meander-shaped) permalloy
resistor with highly conductive cross stripes The measurement sensitivity of this so-
of gold (Fig. 18). Although the zero point of called Pseudohall Element can be consider- Fig. 18
such sensors is practically independent of ably increased (without excessively falsifying a Measuring concept
the distance from magnet to sensor, this the sinusoidal shape) by "hollowing out" the 1 Permalloy resistors
does not apply to the gradient of their element from the inside so that only the 2 Rotatable perma-
characteristic curve. "frame" remains. This modification converts nent magnet with
control induction B
b Characteristic
18 Magnetoresistive angle-of-rotation sensor ("barber- 19 Magnetoresistive angle-of-rotation sensor ("Pseudo-
pole" version) for measuring ranges of up to 15 hall" version) for measuring ranges up to 180
3 Lower operating
a a 1 2
B 4 Higher operating
U0 a Linear measuring
b Effective measuring
UA UA Output voltage
2 IV 45 U0 Supply voltage
(DC 5V)

Angle of rotation
UH1 = U0 . sin 2 ; UH2 = U0 . cos 2 Fig. 19
a Measuring concept
b 100 b UH1 b Output signals
2 1 Thin NiFe film
UH2 45
(AMR sensor)
UA U0 / 2

2 0 UH2 2 Rotatable perma-
UH1 90
0 180 nent magnet with

a control induction B
45 135 IV Supply current
100 UH1, Measurement
Angle of rotation Angle of rotation UH2 voltages
Angle of rotation
Robert Bosch GmbH

24 Position sensors Measuring principles

the pseudohall sensor to a full bridge con- negligible effect of the signals sinusoidal
sisting of four AMR resistors (Fig. 20). Even shape.
when the bridge resistors are meander- A further prerequisite for the high accu-
shaped, provided a given minimum conduc- racy of this sensor principle is that the field
tor width is not dropped below, this still has at both bridges is at least in the same direc-
tion (above a given magnitude, field strength
is irrelevant). This can only be guaranteed
20 Technically implemented full-bridge form of the when both bridges are directly above one
"Pseudohall" sensor
another. A design was drawn up in which
a the two bridges, which are at 45 to each
other, were interweaved so that they can be
regarded as being at the same point and
quasi "on top of one another" (Fig. 21). The
major advantage of these Pseudohall-version
UH1 sensors is the fact that in contrast to the cor-
responding "genuine" Hall-sensor versions,
they are almost completely independent of
the magnitude of the control field.
As soon as this has exceeded a given mag-
IV nitude, the output signal is dependent solely
upon the control-field angle.
The reason is that these sensors operate in
b UA = const arctan (UH1/UH2) the "saturation region" in which the angle of
the spontaneous internal magnetism has
UA switched almost completely to the direction
Fig. 20 imposed from outside. In other words, it is
Signal curve

a Bridge circuit not necessary to have a constant control-

b Output signal UA of
field magnitude. At the measuring point, all
the evaluation circuit
B Control induction
that is required is a certain homogeneity of

IV Supply current 0 180 360 direction. With this sensor principle, neither
UH1 Measurement
Angle of rotation
the aging of the magnets and of the mag-
UH2 voltages netic conductor elements, nor of the air-gap
Angle of rotation tolerances and fluctuations, plays an impor-
tant role.
21 "Nested" design of two AMR bridges offset from
each other by 45 A dual-configuration "pseudohall angle-
of-rotation" sensor can be used to measure a
number of rotations of a rotating compo-
nent (for instance, a steering shaft). The
shafts rotating member rotates the two per-
manent magnets through a step-up unit
with a high transmission ratio. Since the two
driven, smaller gearwheels differ from each
other by one tooth, their respective phase
position is a clear measure for the absolute
angular position. Furthermore, each sensors

resolution of the angle of rotation is some-

what course. Using such a configuration, it is
possible for instance to register the complete
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 25

steering-wheel range of four full rotations field sensors", Fig. 24) are used which use
with a resolution of better than 1. the geomagnetic field (compass) to deter-
mine the direction taken by the vehicle.
GMR sensors
Just lately magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors
have appeared on the market which use 23 GMR single sensor (structure)
"nanotechnology" (GMR = Giant Magneto
Resistive). These are composed of a number B
of thin layers applied one on top of the
other. These layers have a thickness of only 1 Fe
one or two atomic layers (Fig. 23). They are Cu
very similar to the AMR sensors, but have a 2
far more pronounced measuring effect Cu
(Fig. 22). In contrast to the AMR sensors, Cu Fig. 23
the GMR sensor resistance (in the case of a Fe 1 Fe layers

Pseudohall configuration) depends solely 2 Thin anti-ferromag-
netic CuCo layers
upon the angle of rotation and not on the
B Control induction
sinus of double the mechanical angle of Angle of rotation
rotation. This means that a full 360 angle of
rotation can be measured. 24 Sensor core of the geomagnetic field sensor

Compass sensors (earths-field sensors)

A completely novel type of angle-of-rotation
sensor is required by vehicle navigation sys- B
tems. At least at road junctions and cross-
ings, these must be able to measure the angle Fig. 24
steered by the vehicle ("Heading"). This 1 Sensor coil (x-axis)
must also be possible even when there is no 2 Sensor coil (y-axis)
2 3 Excitation winding
steering-wheel-angle sensor installed in the

4 Toriodal core
vehicle. Until suitable inert sensors (time-in- B Measuring field
tegrated yaw-rate sensors) became available, (horizontal compo-
magnetic-field sensors ("saturation core 3 nent of the geomag-
1 netic field)

22 Comparison betwen AMR sensors (a) and GMR sensors (b)

a = 180 b = 360

Signal curve

Signal curve


180 0 180 180 0 180

Angle of rotation Angle of rotation
Robert Bosch GmbH

26 Position sensors Measuring principles

Wave-propagation sensors arrive after having been reflected back from

For vehicle-spacing measurement, ultrasonic an obstacle. The distance a to the next ob-
running-time methods (near range stacle is calculated from the propagation
0.5...5 m) are suitable, as are running-time time of the first reflected echo pulse te to ar-
or triangulation methods using light in the rive and the speed of sound in air (Fig. 26):
near-infrared range (Lidar, medium range a = 0.5 te c
up to 50 m), and electromagnetic radar
(distance zone up to 150 m). Electromagnetic sensors (radar)
Using a far-ranging radar sensor, ACC sys-
Acoustic sensors (ultrasonic) tems automatically detect preceding vehicles
Similar to the echo-sounding process, the in the same lane which could eventually
sensors here transmit ultrasonic pulses with necessitate application of the brakes. Here,
a frequency of around 40 kHz (Fig. 25), and ACC stands for Adaptive Cruise Control.
register the time taken for the echo pulse to The working frequency is 76 GHz (wave-
length approx. 3.8 mm) and permits the
25 Antenna radiation diagram of an ultrasonic sensor relatively low-profile construction as needed
for automotive applications. A Gunn-effect
0 dB oscillator (Gunn diode in a cavity res-
-30 30 onator), feeds three Patch antennas arranged
adjacent to each other, which also serve to
-10 receive the reflected signals again (Fig. 27).
1 2
Referred to the vehicle axis, a plastic lens
-60 - 20 60 (Fresnel lens) concentrates the transmit

beam horizontally at an angle of 5, and
Fig. 25 vertically at an angle of 1.5. The antenna
1 Vertical 90 receive characteristics are aligned in different
2 Horizontal directions due to the antennas being off-set
26 Calculating the distance to a single obstacle using ultrasonics (example)


(d 2 + c2 b2)2

c a b
Fig. 26
a Distance between
the bumper and the
b Distance sensor 1 to
2 1
c Distance sensor 2 to

d Distance sensor 1 to
sensor 2
1 Transceiver sensor d
2 Receiver sensor
3 Obstacle
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Measuring principles 27

from the center (6 dB width, 4). This means edge by the lower frequency, and in the neg-
that in addition to the calculation of the dis- ative-going edge by the higher frequency).
tance to preceding vehicles and their relative Lower and higher frequencies deviate from
speeds, it is also possible to determine the di- the basic frequency by the same amount.
rection in which they are travelling when de- The frequency difference f is a direct
tected. Directional couplers are used to sepa- measure of the distance (e.g. 2kHz/m). If, on
rate the transmitted and received reflection the other hand, there is also a given relative
signals. By mixing the receive frequency and speed between the two vehicles, the Doppler
the transmit frequency, three downstream principle causes the receive frequency fe to in-
mixers transpose the receive frequency down crease in the positive-going and negative-go-
to practically zero (0...300 kHz). In order to ing edges by a certain proportional amount
evaluate them, the low-frequency signals are fd (e.g. 512 Hz per m/s). In other words, this
now digitized and put through a high-speed results in two different differential frequen-
Fourier (harmonic) analysis to determine cies f1 and f2. Adding these two frequen-
the frequencies. cies provides the distance, subtracting them
The Gunn-effect oscillator frequency is provides the relative speed between the two
continually compared with that of a stable vehicles (Fig. 27). This method is used to de-
DRO reference oscillator (Dielectric Reso- tect and follow a number of vehicles (as many
nance Oscillator), and maintained at a stipu- as 32).
Fig. 28
lated setpoint frequency. To do so, the
fS Transmit frequency
Gunn-effect oscillators supply voltage is ad- fe/fe Receive frequency
28 Distance and speed measurement using
justed until the frequency is correct again. FMCW radar without/with rela-
Via a closed control loop, and following a tive speed
saw-tooth waveform, the Gunn-effect oscil- GHz
fd Frequency increase
lator frequency is briefly raised and lowered f1 f2 due to Doppler
Frequency f

effect (relative
by 300 MHz every 100 ms (FMCW Fre- f f f'e

quency-Modulated Continuous Wave). The fd
fS/ Frequency differ-
signal reflected from a preceding vehicle is 76.0 fs fe
delayed in accordance with the propagation Time t f1,2 Without/with
time (in other words, in the positive-going relative speed

27 ACC sensor ECU (block diagram)

+ 8V supply
Switch on signal for
Voltage- Gunn-effect oscillator
controlled FLL-ASIC frequency
control circuit Input for saw-tooth
oscillator control voltage
mixer DRO Frequency monitoring

+ 5V supply
2 Radar signal, left
pre-amplifier ASIC 2 Radar signal, centre

2 Radar signal, right


Directional coupler
Lens Antenna Mixer Ground
(Fresnel) feed point
Robert Bosch GmbH

28 Position sensors Sensor-plate potentiometer

Sensor-plate potentiometer Depending upon the engines operating

state and the corresponding current signal
Application generated by the ECU, the pressure actuator
The sensor-plate potentiometer is used in changes the pressure in the vacuum cham-
the air-flow sensor of the KE-Jetronic fuel- bers of the differential-pressure valves in the
injection system to register the position fuel distributor, and with it the amount of
(angle of rotation) of the sensor flap. The fuel metered to the injectors.
rate at which the driver presses the accelera-
tor pedal is derived from the sensor plates Design and operating concept
movement, which is only slightly delayed The potentiometer in the air-flow sensor is
with respect to the throttle-valve movement. produced on a ceramic substrate using film
This signal corresponds to the change in techniques. It is a potentiometer-type angle-
intake air quantity as a function of time, in of-rotation sensor, which for measurement
other words approximately engine power. purposes applies the relationship which
The potentiometer inputs it to the ECU exists between the length of a film resistor
which applies it when triggering the electro- (printed conductor) and its resistance. The
hydraulic pressure actuator (Fig. 2). printed-conductor width is varied in order
to make the potentiometer characteristic
1 Sensor-plate potentiometer (highly simplified) non-linear so that the highest acceleration
signal is generated when sensor-plate move-
ment originates from the idle setting. The
1 2 3 signal decreases along with increasing en-
gine power output.
Fig. 1 The brush wiper slides over the poten-
1 Pick-off wiper tiometer tracks (pick-off track and wiper
track) and is comprised of a number of very
2 Main wiper brush
3 Wiper lever
fine wires welded to a lever which is me-
4 Air-flow sensor chanically connected to the sensor-plate
shaft (from which it is electrically insulated).

5 Potentiometer The individual wires only apply very light
board pressure to the potentiometer tracks so that
6 Pick-off track 4 5 6 7
wear remains at a very low level. The large
7 Measurement track
number of wires leads to good electrical
contact in case the track surface is very
2 Sensor-plate potentiometer in the KE-Jetronic
air-flow sensor (schematic) rough and also when the brush is moved
very quickly over the track. The wiper volt-
1 2 age is picked-off by a second brush wiper
which is connected electrically to the main
wiper (Fig. 1).
Damage due to air blowback in the intake
manifold is ruled out since the wiper is free
Fig. 2 to travel far enough beyond the measure-
1 Fuel distributor ment range at both ends of the track. Pro-
2 Electrohydraulic tection against electrical short circuit is
pressure actuator QL
provided by a fixed film resistor connected

3 To the ECU
4 Air-flow sensor
in series with the wiper.
5 Sensor plate
3 4 5 6
6 Potentiometer
QL Air quantity
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Throttle-valve sensor 29

Throttle-valve sensor 1 Throttle-valve sensor

The throttle-valve sensor registers the angle of 1 2 3 4
rotation of the gasoline-engine throttle valve.
On M-Motronic engines, this is used to gen-

2 cm
erate a secondary-load signal which, amongst
other things, is used as auxiliary information
for dynamic functions, as well as for recogni-
tion of operating range (idle, part load,
Fig. 1
WOL), and as a limp-home or emergency 1 Throttle-valve shaft
signal in case of failure of the primary-load 2 Resistance track 1
sensor (air-mass meter). If the throttle-valve 3 Resistance track 2

sensor is used as the primary-load sensor, the 4 Wiper arm with
required accuracy is achieved by applying two 5 wipers
5 Electric connection
potentiometers for two angular ranges.
The ME-Motronic adjusts the required
engine torque via the throttle valve. In order
2 Throttle-valve sensor with two curves
to check that the throttle valve moves to the
required position, the throttle-valve sensor is
used to evaluate the valves position (closed-
loop position control). As a safety measure, 1.00
this sensor is provided with two parallel- 0.80 Fig. 2
operation (redundant) potentiometers with A Internal stop

1 2
separate reference voltages. 0.60 1 Curve for high res-
Voltage ratio

olution in angular
Design and operating concept 0.40 range 0...23
The throttle-valve sensor is a potentiometer- 2 Curve for angular
type angle-of-rotation sensor with one (or 0.20 range 15...88
U0 Supply voltage
two) linear characteristic curve(s). 0.05 UA Measurement

The wiper arm is connected mechanically 0

0 15 30 60 90 voltage
with the throttle-valve shaft, and with its w
A A UV Operating voltage
brushes slides across the respective poten- Angle of rotation W Effective measured
tiometer tracks. In the process, it converts the angle
rotation of the throttle valve shaft into a volt-
age ratio UA/UV which is proportional to the 3 Throttle-valve sensor (circuit)
valves angle of rotation (Fig. 2). The operat-
ing voltage is 5 V. The electrical wiper con-
nection is usually through a second poten- R1 R3
Fig. 3
tiometer track. This has the same surface, but 1 R5 1 Throttle valve
the track itself is formed of a low-resistance 2 Throttle-valve
printed-conductor material (Figs. 1 and 3). R2 R4
As a protection against overload, the volt- UA Measurement
age is applied to the measurement (poten- voltage
tiometer) tracks through small series resis- 2 UV Operating voltage
tors (also used for zero-point and slope cali- R1, R2 Resistance tracks

1 and 2
bration). The shape of the characteristic
UV R3, R4 Calibration resis-
curve can be adapted by varying the width tors
of the potentiometer track (variation can UA
R5, R6 Protective resis-
also apply to sections of the track). tors
Robert Bosch GmbH

30 Position sensors Half-differential short-circuiting-ring sensor

Half-differential short- move (control-rack travel s, or adjustment

angle ).
circuiting-ring sensors When the measuring short-circuiting ring
moves along with the control rack or con-
Application trol-collar shaft, the magnetic flux changes
These sensors are also known as HDK (taken and, since the ECU maintains the current
from the German) sensors, and are applied constant (load-independent current), the
as position sensors for travel or angle, They voltage across the coil also changes.
are wear-free, as well as being very precise,
and very robust, and are used as: The ratio of the output voltage UA to the
reference voltage URef (Fig. 3) is calculated
 Rack-travel sensors (RWG) for measuring by an evaluation circuit. This ratio is pro-
the control-rack setting on in-line diesel portional to the deflection of the measuring
injection pumps, and as short-circuiting ring, and is processed by the
 Angle-of-rotation sensors in the injected- ECU. Bending the reference short-circuiting
fuel-quantity actuators of diesel distribu- ring adjusts the gradient of the characteristic
tor pumps. curve, and the basic position of the measur-
ing short-circuiting ring defines the zero
Design and operating concept position.
These sensors (Figs. 1 and 2) are comprised
of a laminated soft-iron core on each limb of
which are wound a measuring coil and a ref- 1 Design of the half-differential short-circuiting-ring
sensor for diesel distributor pumps
erence coil.
Fig. 1 Alternating magnetic fields are generated 1 2 60 3 4
1 Measuring coil when the alternating current from the ECU x
2 Measuring short- ma
flows through these coils. The copper rings 0
circuiting ring
surrounding the limbs of the soft-iron cores

3 Soft-iron core
4 Control-collar shaft screen the cores, though, against the effects UA
5 Reference coil of the magnetic fields. Whereas the reference
6 Reference short- short-circuiting rings are fixed in position,
circuiting ring the measuring short-circuiting rings are at- URef
max Adjustment-angle tached to the control rack or control-collar

range for the con-

shaft (in-line pumps and distributor pumps
trol-collar shaft
Measured angle
respectively), with which they are free to 5 6

Fig. 2 2 Design of the rack-travel sensor (RWG) for diesel 3 Voltage ratio as a function of control-rack travel
1 Soft-iron core in-line injection pumps
2 Reference coil
3 Reference short- 3 1 Linear measuring range
circuiting ring (approx. 30 mm)
4 Control rack
5 Measuring coil 2
6 Measuring short-
UA / URef

circuiting ring
s Control-rack travel

6 5

Fig. 3 s
UA Output voltage Control-rack travel s
URef Reference voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Fuel-level sensor 31

Fuel-level sensor 1 Fuel-level sensor installed in a fuel tank

It is the job of the fuel-level sensor to regis-
ter the level of the fuel in the tank and send
the appropriate signal to the ECU or to the
display device in the vehicles instrument
panel. Together with the electric fuel pump
and the fuel filter, it is part of the in-tank
unit. These are installed in the fuel tank
(gasoline or diesel fuel) and provide for an
efficient supply of clean fuel to the engine
(Fig. 1).

The fuel-level sensor (Fig. 2) is comprised of

Fig. 1
a potentiometer with wiper arm (wiper 1 Fuel tank
spring), printed conductors (twin-contact), 1 2 3 4 2 Electric fuel pump
resistor board (pcb), and electrical connec- 3 Fuel-level sensor
tions. The complete sensor unit is encapsu- 4 Float
lated and sealed against fuel. The float (fuel-
resistant Nitrophyl) is attached to one end of 2 Fuel-level sensor
the wiper lever, the other end of which is
fixed to the rotatable potentiometer shaft
(and therefore also to the wiper spring).
Depending upon the particular version, the 1
float can be either fixed in position on the
lever, or it can be free to rotate). The layout
of the resistor board (pcb) and the shape of
the float lever and float are matched to the
particular fuel-tank design. 5
Operating concept 6
The potentiometers wiper spring is fixed to
the float lever by a pin. Special wipers (con-
tact rivets) provide the contact between the
wiper spring and the potentiometer resis-
tance tracks, and when the fuel level changes 7
the wipers move along these tracks and gen-
erate a voltage ratio which is proportional to Fig. 2
the floats angle of rotation. End stops limit 1 Electrical
the rotation range of 100 for maximum and

minimum levels as well as preventing noise. 2 Wiper spring
Operating voltage is 5...13 V. 3 Contact rivet
9 8 4 Resistor board
5 Bearing pin
6 Twin contact
7 Float lever
8 Float
9 Fuel-tank floor
Robert Bosch GmbH

32 Position sensors Accelerator-pedal sensors

Accelerator-pedal sensors ECU by an accelerator-pedal sensor which

registers the accelerator-pedal travel, or the
pedals angular setting, and sends this to the
Application engine ECU in the form of an electric signal.
In conventional engine-management sys- This system is also known as "drive-by-wire".
tems, the driver transmits his/her wishes for The accelerator-pedal module (Figs. 2b, 2c) is
acceleration, constant speed, or lower speed, available as an alternative to the individual
to the engine by using the accelerator pedal accelerator-pedal sensor (Fig. 2a). These
to intervene mechanically at the throttle modules are ready-to-install units comprising
plate (gasoline engine) or at the injection accelerator pedal and sensor, and make ad-
pump (diesel engine). Intervention is trans- justments on the vehicle a thing of the past.
mitted from the accelerator pedal to the
throttle plate or injection pump by means of Design and operating concept
a Bowden cable or linkage.
On todays electronic engine-management Potentiometer-type accelerator-pedal sensor
systems, the Bowden cable and/or linkage The heart of this sensor is the potentiometer
have been superseded, and the drivers accel- across which a voltage is developed which is
erator-pedal inputs are transmitted to the a function of the accelerator-pedal setting.
In the ECU, a programmed characteristic
curve is applied in order to calculate the ac-
1 Characteristic curve of an accelerator-pedal sensor celerator-pedal travel, or its angular setting,
with redundant potentiometer
from this voltage.
A second (redundant) sensor is incorpo-
rated for diagnosis purposes and for use in
case of malfunctions. It is a component part
of the monitoring system. One version of
Output voltage

1 the accelerator-pedal sensor operates with a

second potentiometer. The voltage across
Fig. 1
2 this potentiometer is always half of that
1 Potentiometer 1
(master poten-
across the first potentiometer. This provides
two independent signals which are used for

2 Potentiometer 2 trouble-shooting (Fig. 1). Instead of the sec-
(50% of voltage) ond potentiometer, another version uses a
Pedal travel approx. 25 mm
low-idle switch which provides a signal for

2 Accelerator-pedal-sensor versions

Fig. 2 a b c
a Individual accelera-
tor-pedal sensor
1 5 cm 1
b Top-mounted accel- 1
erator-pedal module 3
c Bottom-mounted
accelerator-pedal 3
module FMP1

2 2
1 Sensor
2 Vehicle-specific
10 cm
3 Pedal bracket
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Accelerator-pedal sensors 33

the ECU when the accelerator pedal is in the Mechanically, this sensor is highly suitable
idle position. For automatic transmission for installation in an accelerator-pedal
vehicles, a further switch can be incorpo- module (Fig. 5).
rated for a kick-down signal.

Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensors 3 Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor ARS1

The ARS1 (Angle of Rotation Sensor) is
based on the movable-magnet principle. It
has a measuring range of approx. 90 (Figs. 3
and 4).
A semicircular permanent-magnet disc Fig. 3
rotor (Fig. 4, Pos. 1) generates a magnetic 2
1 Housing cover
flux which is returned back to the rotor via a 3 2 Rotor (permanent
pole shoe (2), magnetically soft conductive magnet)
elements (3) and shaft (6). In the process, 4 3 Evaluation electron-
ics with Hall-effect
the amount of flux which is returned
through the conductive elements is a func- 4 Housing base
tion of the rotors angle of rotation . There

5 Return spring
is a Hall-effect sensor (5) located in the 6 6 Coupling element
magnetic path of each conductive element, (e.g. gear)
so that it is possible to generate a practically
linear characteristic curve throughout the
measuring range. 4 Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor ARS1
(shown with angular settings a...d)

The ARS2 is a simpler design without mag- Fig. 4

netically soft conductive elements. Here, a a b
1 Rotor (permanent
magnet rotates around the Hall-effect sen- magnet)

sor. The path it takes describes a circular arc. 2 Pole shoe
Since only a small section of the resulting 3 Conductive
sinusoidal characteristic curve features good
c 4 d 4 Air gap
linearity, the Hall-effect sensor is located 5 Hall-effect sensor
slightly outside the center of the arc. This 1
6 Shaft (magnetically
causes the curve to deviate from its sinu-

2 3 soft)
soidal form so that the curves linear section 4 6 Angle of rotation
is increased to more than 180.

5 Hall-effect angle-of-rotation sensor ARS 2

a b

1 1

Fig. 5
a Installation in the
2 2 accelerator-pedal

3 b Components
1 Hall-effect sensor
2 Pedal shaft
3 Magnet
Robert Bosch GmbH

34 Position sensors Steering-wheel-angle sensors

Steering-wheel-angle sensors similar in operation to a light barrier. A

Hall-effect element measures the magnetic
Application field of an adjacent magnet. A magnetic
The Electronic Stability Program (ESP) ap- code disc rotates with the steering shaft and
plies the brakes selectively to the individual strongly reduces the magnets field or
wheels in order to keep the vehicle on the screens it off completely. In this manner,
desired track selected by the driver. Here, the with nine Hall ICs it is possible to obtain the
steering-wheel angle and the applied brak- steering wheels angular position in digital
ing pressure are compared with the vehicles form. The remaining five Hall-effect sensors
actual rotary motion (around its vertical register the particular steering-wheel revolu-
axis) and its road speed. If necessary, the tion which is transformed to the final 360
brakes are applied at individual wheels. range by 4:1 step-down gearing.
These measures serve to keep the float angle The first item from the top in the exploded
(deviation between the vehicle axis and the view of the LWS 1 steering-wheel-angle sensor
actual vehicle movement) down to a mini- (Fig. 1) shows the nine permanent magnets.
mum and, until the physical limits are These are screened individually by the mag-
reached, prevent the vehicle breaking away. netically-soft code disc beneath them when
Basically speaking, practically all types of this rotates along with the steering shaft, and
angle-of-rotation sensors are suitable for depending upon steering-wheel movement.
registering the steering-wheel angle. Safety The pcb immediately below the code disc con-
considerations, though, dictate that only tains Hall-effect switches (IC), and a micro-
those types are used which can be easily
checked for plausibility, or which in the ideal 1 Exploded view of the digital LWS1 steering-wheel-
angle sensor
case automatically check themselves. Poten-
tiometer principles are used, as well as opti-
cal code-registration and magnetic princi-
ples. Whereas a passenger-car steering wheel 1
turns through 720 (a total of 4 complete
turns), conventional angle-of-rotation sen-
sors can only measure maximum 360. This 2
means that with the majority of the sensors
actually used for this purpose it is necessary 3
to continually register and store the data on
the steering wheels actual setting.
Fig. 1
1 Housing cover with Design and operating concept 4
nine equidistantly There are two absolute-measuring (in con-
spaced permanent trast to incremental-measuring) magnetic
angle-of-rotation sensors available which are
2 Code disc
(magnetically soft
matched to the Bosch ECUs. At any instant
in time, these sensors can output the steer- 5
3 pcb with 9 Hall- ing-wheel angle throughout the complete
effect switches and angular range.
4 Step-down gearing Hall-effect steering-wheel-angle sensor
5 Remaining 5

Hall-effect vane 6
The LWS1 uses 14 Hall-effect vane switches
6 Fastening sleeve to register the angle and the rotations of the
for steering column steering wheel. The Hall-effect vane switch is
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Steering-wheel-angle sensors 35

processor in which plausibility tests are per- 2 AMR steering-wheel-angle sensor LWS3 (principle)
formed and information on angular position
decoded and conditioned ready for the CAN-
Bus. The bottom half of the assembly contains 1
the step-down gearing and the remaining five
Hall-effect vane switches.
The LWS1 was superseded by the LWS3 Fig. 2
1 Steering-column
due to the large number of sensor elements
required, together with the necessity for the 2 5
2 AMR sensor
magnets to be aligned with the Hall-IC. 6 elements
3 3 Gearwheel with m
Magnetoresistive steering-wheel-angle 4 7 teeth
sensor LWS3 4 Evaluation electron-
The LWS 3 also depends upon AMR (aniso- ics
5 Magnets
tropic magnetoresistive sensors) for its oper-

6 Gearwheel with
ation. The AMRs electrical resistance n > m teeth
changes according to the direction of an ex- 7 Gearwheel with
ternal magnetic field. In the LWS3, the infor- m + 1 teeth
mation on angle across a range of four com-
plete rotations is provided by measuring the 3 AMR steering-wheel-angle sensor LWS3
angles of two gearwheels which are rotated
by a third gearwheel on the steering-column
shaft. The first two gearwheels differ by one
tooth which means that a definite pair of
angular variables is associated with every
possible steering-wheel position.
By applying a mathematical algorithm (a
computing process which follows a defined
step-by-step procedure) referred to here as a
modified vernier principle, it is possible to

use the above AMR method for calculating

the steering-wheel angle in a microcom-
puter. Here, even the measuring inaccuracy
of the two AMR sensors can be compensated
for. In addition, a self-check can also be im- 4 AMR steering-wheel-angle sensor LWS4 for attach-
plemented so that a highly plausible mea- ment to the end of the steering-column shaft
sured value can be sent to the ECU.
Fig. 2 shows the schematic representation 1 2 3 4
of the LWS3 steering-wheel-angle sensor. The
two gearwheels, with magnets inserted, can be
seen. The sensors are located above them
togther with the evaluation electronics. With
this design too, price pressure forces the devel-
opment engineers to look for innovative sens-
Fig. 4
ing concepts. In this respect, investigation is
1 Steering column
proceeding on whether, since it only measures

2 Steering box
up to 360, a single AMR angle-of-rotation 3 Steering-wheel-
sensor (LWS4) on the end of the steering shaft angle sensor
would be accurate enough for ESP (Fig. 4). 4 Steering rack
Robert Bosch GmbH

36 Position sensors Axle sensors

Axle sensors is proportional to the magnetic-field

strength. When the toric magnet (6) is ro-
Application tated by the shaft (2), the magnetic field
The automatic headlight leveling control through the Hall IC changes accordingly.
(ALWR) adjusts the vehicles headlight range When spring deflection takes place due to
automatically. With the headlamps on low loading and/or acceleration/braking, the
beam, ALWR compensates for the vehicle tilt connecting rod (Fig. 2, Pos. 4) transfers the
so that the driver has adequate vision with- movement to the pivot lever (3) which ro-
out dazzling oncoming traffic. Whereas, the tates the shaft (Fig. 2, Pos. 2) so that the
static ALWR compensates for the vehicle tilt spring deflection movement is converted in
resulting from the vehicle loading, the dy- the sensor to a voltage signal which is pro-
namic version also takes into account the portional to the angle of rotation.
front-end up and down pitching movement The ECU registers the axle-sensor signals
caused by braking and acceleration. Here, and from them generates the difference be-
the axle sensors precisely register the body- tween front and rear axle. Using this voltage
works angle of inclination. difference, and taking into account the vehi-
cles speed, the ECU now calculates the de-
Design and operating concept sired value for the positioning-motor set-
Axle sensors (angle-of-rotation sensors) are tings. With the vehicle driving at constant
used to measure the vehicle tilt. These are at- speed, the dynamic ALWR remains in the
tached to the bodywork at the front and rear status which features a high level of damp-
of the vehicle. Spring deflection is transmit- ing whereby the positioning motors are
ted to the sensors by a pivot lever which is adapted slowly to the vehicle tilt. This pre-
connected through a connecting rod to the vents bumps, unevenness, or holes in the
particular axle or to the suspension. The ve- road causing continuous correction of the
hicles tilt is then calculated from the differ- headlamp settings. When the vehicle acceler-
ence between the voltages of the front and ates, or the brakes are applied, the system
rear axle sensors. automatically switches to the dynamic
The axle sensors function according to the mode, and adjusts the light range within a
Hall effect. A Hall IC is incorporated in the few milliseconds. The system then switches
sensor stator (Fig. 1, Pos. 5) and surrounded back to the slower mode.
by a homogeneous magnetic field which
generates a Hall voltage in the Hall IC which

1 Axle sensor (section)

Fig. 1
1 Pivot lever
2 Axle sensor (installed in vehicle)

2 Shaft 1
3 Sensor case
4 Toric-magnet mount 1 2 3 4
5 Stator with Hall IC 2
6 Toric magnet

Fig. 2 3
1 Attached to the N
bodywork 5

2 Axle sensor with


plug-in connection 6
3 Pivot lever 5
4 Connecting rod
5 Vehicle axle
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Ultrasonic sensors 37

Ultrasonic sensors Operating concept

These ultrasonic sensors operate according
Application to the pulse/echo principle in combination
Ultrasonic sensors are integrated in the vehi- with triangulation. Upon receiving a digital
cles bumpers for determining the distance transmit pulse from the ECU, within typi-
to obstacles, and for monitoring the area to cally about 300 s, the electronic circuitry
the front and rear of the vehicle when enter- excites the aluminum diaphragm with
ing or leaving a parking lot or when ma- square-wave pulses at resonant frequency
noeuvring. Using "triangulation", the very and causes this to transmit ultrasound. The
wide sensing angle which results when a reflection from the obstacle hits the di-
number of sensors are used (4 to the rear, aphragm and causes it to go into oscillation
4...6 to the front), can be applied to calculate again (it had in the meantime stopped oscil-
the distance and angle to an obstacle. Such a lating). During the time taken for it to stop
system has a detection range of about oscillating (approx. 900 s) no reception is
0.25 m...1.5 m. possible. These renewed oscillations are out-
putted by the piezoceramic as analog electri-
Design and construction cal signals and amplified and converted to a
These sensors are comprised of a plastic case digital signal by the sensor electronics
with integrated plug-in connection, an ul- (Fig. 2). The sensor has priority over the
trasonic transducer (aluminum diaphragm ECU, and when it detects an echo signal it
onto the inside of which has been glued a switches the signal connection to "low"
piezoelectric disc), and a pcb with transmit (<0.5 V). If there is an echo signal on the
and evaluation electronics (Fig. 1). Two of line, the transmit signal cannot be pro-
the three connecting wires leading to the cessed. The ECU excites the sensor to trans-
ECU carry the supply voltage. The third line mit when there is less than 1.5 V on the line.
is bi-directional and is used to trigger the In order to be able to monitor as extensive
transmit function so that the evaluated re- a range as possible, a wide sensing angle is
ceive signal can be reported back to the ECU used in the horizontal plane. In the vertical
(open-collector connection with open-cir- plane, on the other hand, only a narrow an-
cuit potential "high"). gle is required in order to avoid disturbance
due to road-surface reflections.

1 Ultrasonic sensor (section) 2 Ultrasonic sensor: Block diagram

Oscil- Trans-
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 lator former
Fig. 1
1 pcb
2 Casting compound
3 Plastic case
transmit Ultrasonic 4 System mount
logic transducer 5 Decoupling ring
(silicon rubber)
6 Sleeve

7 Ultrasonic trans-

Compa- Band- Ampli- ducer

9 rator pass fier 8 Cover
9 Electrical connec-
tion (plug)
Robert Bosch GmbH

38 Position sensors Ranging radar (ACC)

 Ranging radar

Yet another sensor? using a number of subsequent range mea-

Of course, since it measures the distance, rel- surements, it is calculated more reliably and
ative speed, and side offset of the preceding accurately when the Doppler effect is utilised
vehicle, the ranging radar (Fig. 1) is a sensor. in the measurement. With the vehicles getting
The radar (standing for Radiation Detecting closer (at 76 GHz) the frequency of the re-
and Ranging) installation transmits "packets" ceived waves increases at a rate of 510 Hz
of mm-waves in the 76...77 GHz range (wave- per m/s relative speed.
length approx. 4 mm). This has been approved The third basic quantity which is needed is
for all the worlds important automobile mar- the side offset (angle) of the preceding vehi-
kets. After having been transmitted, the wave cle. The only way this can be measured is by
packets are reflected from metallic surfaces, radiating the radar beam in a number of differ-
or from surfaces with a high dielectric con- ent directions. The (reflected) signal strength
stant and picked-up again by the radars re- is then applied to determine from which direc-
ceive stage. The signals received in this man- tion the strongest reflection came. This
ner are "compared" with the transmitted sig- method needs either high-speed back-and-
nals with respect to their propagation time forth movement of the beam (scanning), or the
and/or frequency. The transmitted wave installation of a multi-beam antenna array.
packet must be modulated in order that this
comparison can be used for this application. No longer just a sensor?
The most common forms of modulation are Of course the ranging radar is far more than
pulse modulation in which 10...30 ns pulses just a sensor. After all, in addition to determin-
are generated, corresponding to a wavelength ing the range to preceding vehicles, and their
of 3...10 m, and frequency modulation in relative speed and side offset, highly complex
which, during transmission, the instantaneous processing takes place in the SCU (Sensor
frequency of the waves is varied as a function and Control Unit) in order to provide the actu-
of time. ator commands for drivetrain and braking-sys-
The received wave packet must be demod- tem control (Fig. 2). This devices function has
ulated in order to extract the required informa- been extended beyond pure ranging control,
tion. In the case of a pulse-modulated signal, and can now be termed ACC (Adaptive
the propagation time between transmitting Cruise Control).
and receiving the signal is measured. Using
the speed of light c (  300,000 km/s) as a 1 Ranging radar
reference, the distance d can be calculated
from the delay caused by propagation:
d = c/2. Dividing c by 2 takes into account
the distance travelled to the reflecting surface
and back again (Example: = 1 s corre-
sponds to a distance to the preceding vehicle
of d = 150 m).
With frequency modulation, the frequency
is varied during the transmission process. If
the variation is linear, there is a difference in
frequency between the transmitted signal and
the received (reflected) signal which has been
delayed by the propagation time. This fre-
quency difference is proportional to the dis-
tance to the preceding vehicle (at 100 MHz/s,

for a distance of 150 m this frequency differ-

ence would be 100 kHz). Although the relative
speed of the other vehicle can be measured
Robert Bosch GmbH

Position sensors Ranging radar (ACC) 39

One of the basic functions is the conventional Selection of the "right" target vehicle is the
Cruise Control which holds the vehicle speed most difficult problem with the signal process-
constant, once it has been set. This function ing in the SCU of the ACC. Here, first of all,
remains permanently in operation as long as a those radar reflections must be identified
preceding vehicle is not detected which is which belong to the already defined vehicles.
travelling at a speed below that set by the Then, it must be ascertained whether these
ACC vehicles driver. If the system picks up vehicles really are in the same lane. Even
such a vehicle inside the radars detection though the sensors belonging to the ESP
zone (approx. 100...150 m) which would pre- (Electronic Stability Program) provide a whole
vent the set speed being maintained, the range of important signals which can be used
speed of the radar-equipped vehicle is for comparitive purposes, this is particularly
adapted to that of the preceding vehicle. In difficult before and in bends.
case of only minor differences in speed it suf-
fices to reduce the accelerator-pedal setting. Its up to the reader to judge for himself
Considerable differences in speed on the whether the ACC SCU is to be regarded as Fig. 2
other hand necessitate the brakes being an ECU with integrated sensor, or as a sensor 11 Oscillator
applied. with ECU. One thing is quite certain though: 12 Modulator
As soon as the difference in speed has More of these systems which monitor the vehi- 13 Transmit/receive
been compensated for, the ACC vehicle fol- cles surroundings will definitely appear on the switch
lows the preceding vehicle with a relatively market in the years to come and, similar to 14 Antenna
constant time gap. That is, as speeds increase video "sensors", with only one single device 15 Demodulator
so does the gap. will be able to perform a number of functions. 16 Amplification
17 Radar control
18 Fourier transforma-
19 Detection
2 ACC Adaptive Cruise Control (block diagram) 10 Matching
11 Tracking
12 Radar monitoring
13 Target selection
14 Curve recognition
15 Ranging control
ACC Adaptive Cruise Control: SCU Sensor and Control Unit
16 Speed control
Radar transceiver Radar signal processing ACC control 17 Prioritization
2 1 7 12 13 15 17 19 18 Drivetrain-control
4 3
19 System monitoring
5 6 8 9 10 11 14 16 18 20
20 Braking-system
control commands
21 ACC status display
22 Display of drivers
desired speed,
CAN data network time gap
Instrument cluster Engine management ESP 23 Control switch
24 Monitoring logic
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
25 Torque control
26 Yaw rate
27 Steering-wheel

28 Wheel speeds
29 Electronically con-
trolled brake inter-
Robert Bosch GmbH

40 Speed and rpm sensors Measured variables/measuring principles

Speed and rpm sensors

Measured variables Examples of relative rotational speed are as

Speed and rpm sensors measure the number
of revolutions or the distance travelled per  Crankshaft and camshaft speeds,
unit of time. When automotive applications  Wheel speeds (for ABS/TCS/ESP), and
are concerned, these are in both cases mea-  Speed of the diesel injection pump.
sured variables which occur between two
components or with respect to the road sur- Here, measurement usually makes use of an
face or another vehicle. In some cases, it is incremental pick-up system comprised of a
necessary to measure the absolute rotational toothed wheel (rotor) and an rpm sensor.
speed in space or about the vehicle axes. This
is often referred to as yaw rate. For instance, Newer applications include the following:
for the Electronic Stability Program (ESP),
the yaw rate about the vehicles vertical (or  Rotational-speed measurement using an
yaw) axis must be picked-off by "sensing". rpm sensor incorporated in the bearing
In the detection of relative yaw rate, de- (wheel bearing, or the so-called composite
pending upon the number and size of the seal with sensor (CSWS) on the crank-
scanned peripheral rotor markings, one dif- shaft).
ferentiates between the following types of  Speed over ground,
sensor (Fig. 1):  Vehicle yaw rate around the longitudinal
(roll) axis and the pitch axis (roll-over
 Increment sensor with closely spaced pe- protection).
ripheral markings. Up to a certain point,
this form of sensor permits instantaneous
speed to be measured at points on the cir- Measuring principles
cumference, or the registration of very
fine angular divisions, Conventional sensors used for rotational-
 Segment sensor, with only a small number speed measurement are based on pronounced
of scanned peripheral segments (for in- measuring effects (e.g. inductive). They are
stance, equivalent to the number of en- therefore for the most part electrically pas-
gine cylinders), sive. That is, they are usually not provided
 Simple rpm sensor, with only a single with any form of local/on-site electronics.
scanned marking per revolution, so that With the newer sensors, however, measure-
only the average rotational speed can be ment is based on less-pronounced measuring
registered. effects (for instance, the Hall effect), and
these sensors thus need local, integrated elec-
1 Detection of the relative rotational speed tronics for signal conditioning. In the broader
sense, according to the definition in "Devel-
opment Trends" at the front of this manual,
they belong to the category "intelligent sen-
sors" (which are also often referred to as "ac-
tive" sensors). In fact, the sensors used for
a b c measuring absolute rotating speed (yaw rate)
need highly complex electronic circuitry di-
rectly at the sensor since the measuring ef-
Fig. 1
fects used here are not only particularly small,

a Incremental sensor
b Segment sensor
but also require complex signal conditioning.
c Rotational-speed Incremental rotational-speed measurement
sensor takes advantage of a wide variety of different
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Measuring principles 41

physical effects (some of which can be applied sive. The fork-shaped sensor on the other
in sensors at a very reasonably price). Optical hand is practically impervious to axial and
and capacitive sensors, though, are highly un- radial play. Regarding toroidal sensors, the
suitable for the rough operating conditions most widely used form combines a large
encountered in the vehicle. Here, magnetic- measurement-signal output with pronounced
effect sensors are used almost exclusively. insensitivity to geometric tolerances.

Presently used sensor shapes New sensor shapes

The following shapes of sensor are presently In many respects, the traditional inductive-
in use (Fig. 2) for speed and rpm sensors: type sensors are highly unsatisfactory. Their
output signal features an rpm-dependent
 Rod sensor, amplitude, and for this reason they are un-
 Fork-shape sensor, suitable for measuring low rotational speeds.
 Internal and external toroidal sensor In addition, they only permit comparitively
low-level air-gap tolerances and are usually
Due to its ease of mounting and simplicity, unable to differentiate between air-gap fluc-
the rod sensor is the most widespread sensor tuations and genuine rotational-speed
version. The rod sensor is located near the pulses. And at least the sensor tip must be
rotor (Fig. 2 b), the teeth of which approach proof against high temperatures (for in-
it and pass by in close proximity. The fork- stance when installed near the brakes). These
shaped sensor (Fig. 2a) is permissible in disadvantages are behind the additional fea-
some cases, and is also in service in the field. tures aimed at with new, innovative sensors:
This sensor must be roughly aligned to the
rotor when installed. The sensor type in  Static detection (that is, at zero speed, or
which the sensor surrounds the rotor shaft at extremely low cranking or wheel
in the form of a ring is practically no longer speeds),
used. From time to time, an inner-ring sen-  Efficient measurement in large air gaps
sor is used which is introduced into the end (non-aligned mounting with air gaps >0),
of a hollow shaft featuring an incremental  Small size,
internal structure.  Efficient operation independent of air-gap
Unfortunately, although it is the most widely  Temperature stability ( 200 C),
used sensor type, the rod-shaped sensor fea-  Identification of the sense of direction
tures the lowest measuring sensitivity and is (optional for navigation), and
problemetical when air gaps become exces-  Reference-mark identification (ignition).

2 Sensor shapes Magnetostatic sensors (Hall, magnetoresis-

tors, AMR) are highly suitable for complying
a b
with the first two demands. And, as a rule,
they also permit compliance with the second
and third stipulations.

Fig. 3 (next page) shows three basically suit-

able sensor shapes, which generally are insen-
Fig. 2
sitive to air-gap fluctuations. Here, one must
a Fork shape
differentiate between sensors which sense rad-

(vane principle)
ially and those which sense tangentially. This b Rod shape
means that independent of the air gap, mag- (proximity principle)
netostatic sensors are always able to differenti- dL Air gap
Robert Bosch GmbH

42 Speed and rpm sensors Measuring principles

3 Sensors insensitive to air-gap fluctuations

netisation (for instance during storage).
Unfortunately, this form of rotor is the most
difficult to scan, particularly in combination
with rod sensors.



As a rule, presuming the same increment


width and output signal, the pole wheels in-
trinsic magnetism (a pole wheel is defined as
a magnetically active rotor) permits a consid-
b erably larger air gap.

Normally, passive rotors are in the form of

gearwheels. In many cases, these are already
present on the engine (for instance the fly-
c wheel ring gear). Otherwise they must be in-
stalled in a specific position in order to gener-
Fig. 3
ate the required signal (as needed for instance

a Radial-field sensor
with pole wheel
for ABS). In the latter case, both planar-
b Tangential sensor S toothed and axial-scan versions are in use.
c Differential sensor An easily identifiable reference mark is
with toothed rotor required for each revolution when picking-
ate between the north and south poles of a off the crankshaft speed or position (for in-
magnetically active pole wheel or rotor ring. stance, at the starter ring gear). This refer-
In the case of magnetically passive rotors, ence mark must ensure interference-free,
the sign of the output signal is then no optimal timing of ignition and fuel injec-
longer independent of the air gap when they tion. This applies in particular when there is
register the tangential-field strength (here no camshaft pick-off available. The reference
though, the fact that the air gap is often en- mark can be in the form of a completely (or
larged due to the rotor is a disadvantage). partially) removed tooth. Due to the fact
Radially measuring differential-field or that a tooth gap "takes more time", the refer-
gradient sensors are often used. These al- ence mark is immediately identifiable, par-
ways register only the gradients of the ra- ticularly since the engine speed can only
dial-field components, the signs of which do vary gradually and never abruptly.
not change with the air gap but only with In addition to toothed gears, stamped per-
the angle of rotation (Fig. 3). forated discs or wave-shaped metal rings
have been introduced in the meantime as
Rotors low-priced rotors (ABS).
The rotor is of decisive importance when
measuring rotational speed. It is usually pro- It was the integration of ABS sensors in the
vided by the vehicle manufacturer, while the vehicles wheel bearing which led to the in-
sensor itself comes from a component sup- troduction of pole wheels some of which also
plier. Up to now, magnetically passive rotors assume the role of a shaft seal (plastic-bound
have been used almost exclusively. These are magnetic powder). Small, for the most part
made from magnetically passive materials encapsulated, tachometer sensors connected
(usually iron), and are less expensive than through a short flexible shaft with one of the
magnetically hard rotors (also known as vehicles wheels, also use pole wheels (with
pole wheels). Apart from that, since they are only very few poles) for generating a speed
not magnetized they are easier to handle, signal. These are usually picked-off by means
and there is no danger of mutual demag- of integrated Hall-effect sensors.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Relative rpm and speed measurement 43

Relative rpm and speed (quasi-static or static). The only exception

here are the coil sensors which are powered
measurement by a carrier frequency and which are based
on the eddy-current or damping principle.
Inductive-type sensors These though are hardly ever used in auto-
Basics motive applications.
Inductive-type sensors were available on the
market as coil versions long before the first Basically, inductive-type sensors are com-
suitable microstructure sensor versions (e.g. prised of three important magnetic compo-
using the Hall principle) became available. nents (Fig. 1):
Such inductive-type sensors use Faradays  fixed coil,
law when measuring rotational speed. In  soft-iron component, and
other words, they generate a voltage UA at  the permanent-magnet component.
their two-pole output which is proportional
to the change (referred to time) of a mag- The change in flux needed for the genera-
netixc flux (w = number of turns). tion of the output voltage results from the
motion or rotation of the hard or soft-iron
UA = Uind = w d/dt magnetic component. Sensors which use a
DC applied to the induction coil instead of
The magnetic flux is also a function of the permanent-magnetic flux were formerly
rotational position x and the air gap dL: referred to as TDC sensors, and were com-
monly used for the manual adjustment of
With = (x, dL) and dL = constant, the ignition.
the following applies: The inductive-type sensors in use today
UA = Uind = w /x dx/dt are preferably composed of a bar magnet
(Fig. 1, Pos. 1) with a soft-magnetic pole pin
Whereby, dx/dt represents the (rotating) (2) carrying the 2-connection induction coil
speed being measured. (3). When a ferromagnetic gear wheel (5), or
some form of similar rotor, rotates in front
The inductive-type sensors weak point is of this sensor (pick-up) the changing mag-
underlined though by the equation: If it is netic flux (which varies as a function of
impossible to keep the air gap dL constant time) induces a practically sinusoidal volt-
(due to flutter or other forms of mechanical age.
play), the air-gap fluctuations induce the
same change of flux as does a fluctuation of
speed. This effect can cause the generation 1 Inductive-typ rpm sensor
of voltage pulses which are either impos-
sible, or at least difficult to separate from the
genuine rpm signals. Since the flux varies
Fig. 1
exponentially along with the change in air 1 Rod magnet
gap, and the air-gap fluctuations are often of S 2 Soft-magnetic pole
the high-frequency type (e.g. brake flutter), 1 pin
these unwanted pulses can easily feature a N 3 Induction coil
high voltage amplitude. 2
4 Air gap dL
5 Ferromagnetic gear-
Inductive-type sensors are therefore al- 3

wheel (or rotor or

ways of the dynamic type, and being as their
4 trigger wheel)
output signal tends to fall to zero in such 6 5 6 Rotational or refer-
cases, they are in principle also unsuitable ence mark
for the registration of extremely low speeds Tooth interval
Robert Bosch GmbH

44 Speed and rpm sensors Relative-rpm and speed measurement

For scanning very fine tooth structures, the ues of the ECU input circuit are adapted
end of the pole pin is sometimes pointed dynamically to the speed in question.
and acts as a flux-concentrating element. In Provided that the tooth gap is not too
other words it is shaped like a pole "blade" narrow, a uniform tooth structure results in
which usually projects through the metal or the practically sinusoidal voltage curve
plastic housing and is adapted to the incre- shown in Fig. 2b. The rotational speed can
ment structure regarding shape and direc- be taken from the spacing between the pas-
tion. sages through zero of this generated voltage.
The rotor can be provided with one or Its amplitude is proportional to the rota-
more peripheral markings (6). Fig. 2 shows tional speed.
the flux curve and the voltage induced by a
single peripheral or reference mark (slot, The signal amplitude is highly dependent
cam, or pole pin). (exponentially) upon air gap and tooth size.
As is the case with all magnetic increment
Normally, the steep passage through zero processes, up to air gaps of dL, teeth can be
which takes place at the mid-point of maxi- efficiently detected as from half or 1/3 of a
mum flux is utilised for the electronic regis- tooth interval .
tration of such a peripheral or reference
mark. According to Faradays Law, in all dL  /(2 ... 3)
phases the signals amplitude is proportional
to rotational speed. The conventional toothed rotors for ABS
In order to ensure adequate, interference- and crankshaft applications cover air gaps of
free evaluation in the ECU, the spacing be- up to 1.5 and 0.8 mm respectively. The refer-
tween the peaks of a double pulse (or of a ence mark needed for the ignition results
periodic voltage pulse) USS should be at from leaving out a tooth or by closing a
least 30 mV. The major disadvantage of the tooth gap. The reference point is detected
inductive-type sensors is the fact that at high when the distance between the passages
rotational speeds their output voltages can through zero changes abruptly and causes a
reach levels far in excess of 100 V which are far higher signal voltage (corresponding to
difficult to process electronically. an apparently larger tooth) which has a neg-
ative effect upon the previous and upon the
If Zener diodes are used to clip the high subsequent incremental voltage this can
voltage peaks, the resulting changes in the under certain circumstances be undesirable.
sensors load impedance rapidly lead to con-
siderable phase-angle errors. With camshaft Assessment
and crankshaft sensors this can have highly
undesirable results with regard to the igni- Advantages
tion where the correctness of phase relation-  Low manufacturing costs,
ship must be better than approx. 0.2.  High-level EMC: Low static internal resis-
tance (dynamic resistance is higher), no
Normally, the prepulse generated by the local electronic circuitry (electrically pas-
magnetic return field can be ignored at low sive) which needs protection,
speeds. With some magnetically passive or  No problems with DC voltage drift (dy-
active peripheral markings though, at high namic measuring concept),
speeds the prepulse voltage can increase to  Broad temperature range (limited primar-
such an extent that it exceeds the threshold ily by the casting-compound characteris-
value of the downstream threshold discrimi- tics).
nator and can cause an even greater error
(Fig. 2a). For this reason, the threshold val-
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Relative-rpm and speed measurement 45

Disadvantages Examples of application

 Conventional coil technology imposes  Inductive engine-speed sensor (crank-
limits on size reduction, shaft-rpm sensor),
 The output signal is rpm-dependent,  Inductive-type wheel-speed sensor,
unsuitable for quasi-static movements,  Inductive-type camshaft sensor (transis-
 Sensitive to air-gap fluctuations. torized ignition with induction-type pulse
generator TC-I,
 Needle-motion sensor (diesel fuel injection).

2 Flux path and voltage curve for an inductive-type sensor with a single magnetic marking per revolution, a periodic
increment structure (e.g. a toothed rotor or a pole wheel), or an evaluation circuit

Magnetically passive Magnetically active

Single marking Single marking
1 N 8

2 8 S

3 4





5 6

Angle of rotation Angle of rotation

Toothed rotor Pole wheel

Fig. 2
a Single magnetic

N N marking per

S S b Periodic increment

7 structure (e.g.
3 2 toothed rotor, pole

3 wheel)
c Evaluation circuit
1 Cam

2 Slot

3 Switching point
4 Steep passage
Angle of rotation Angle of rotation through zero
5 Priming edge
Schmitt 6 Switching flank

c 9 trigger 7 Switching point

8 Pole pin
9 Sensor
/2 Phase shift
Robert Bosch GmbH

46 Speed and rpm sensors Relative-rpm and speed measurement

Magnetostatic sensors longer be regarded as a specific advantage of

the inductive-type coil sensor.
Quasi-static speed measurement is best per- Hall-effect vane switches
formed using magnetostatic sensors. Their If Hall-effect Si sensors are to be used for
output signal is independent of rotational incremental rpm measurement, pronounced
speed and depends solely on field strength, manufacturing scatter together with the ef-
so that at high rotational speeds their low fects of temperature mean that they must be
signal voltages are easier to handle electroni- provided with an adequate induction jump
cally. Furthermore, they not only have the of typically 40...50 mT in order to ensure re-
advantage of imposing practically no limits liable high-speed switching. With conven-
with regard to size reduction, but also signal tional Hall-effect sensors and acceptable air
amplification and/or signal processing can be gaps, this was only possible with the sensor
integrated locally. The fact that they are very in the form of a "Hall-effect vane switch"
small means that multiple systems such as (for instance when used as ignition-trigger-
differential configurations, or arrangements ing sensors in the ignition distributor). The
with integrated recognition of direction, sensor and its electronic circuitry for supply
present no difficulties. and signal evaluation are integrated directly
On the other hand, such active sensors on the sensor chip.
have a serious disadvantage, and that is the This "Hall-IC" (using bipolar techniques,
fact that their operating-temperature range is for sustained temperatures up to 150 C, and
for the most part defined by the relevant Si for direct connection into the vehicles on-
(silicon) evaluation electronics which as a board electrical supply), is located in a prac-
rule cannot withstand such high tempera- tically closed magnetic circuit comprising
tures as the sensor element itself. For some permanent magnet and pole pieces (Fig. 3).
time now, active sensors have been available A soft-magnetic trigger wheel (driven, for
with the option of a two-pole current out- instance, by the camshaft) rotates through
put, so that the two-core connection can no the air gap. With a trigger-wheel vane in the
air gap, the magnetic flux is short-circuited
past the sensor element. On the other hand
3 Hall-effect vane switch though, when a trigger-wheel opening
passes through the air gap the flux is unhin-
dered on its way to the sensor. This principle
a 2
ensures that the sensor also performs per-
fectly when the trigger-wheel varies in how
far it penetrates into the air gap, or in case
S N the air-gap shifts radially, that is vertically to
the direction of rotation.
Fig. 3
a Magnetic flux: b 2 3 4 1 Since Hall-effect vane switches of this type
Unhindered feature limited peripheral resolution they
b Magnetic flux: are mainly used as segment sensors. If the
Short-circuited vane slot is too narrow, it is practically im-
1 Vane width b S N possible for the magnetic flux to pass
2 Soft-magnetic con-
through, with the result that the required

ductive element
3 Hall IC
induction jump is not generated.
4 Air gap U0 b
U0 Supply voltage
US Sensor voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Relative rpm and speed measurement 47

Simple Hall-effect rod sensors sition of the working point (B = 0) remains

In contrast to the Hall-effect vane switch, unchanged. Being as the working point on
the working-point magnetization depends new types of Hall-effect sensors is to a great
too much upon the width of the air gap, and extent thermally stable, the switching points
the induction excursion is too small for reli- of the downstream threshold comparator
able switching with this configuration. Sim- can be set relatively close together. This
ple rod-shaped Hall-effect sensors provided means that relatively wide air gaps become
with a working-point magnet are therefore possible. Air-gap fluctuations in this config-
unsuitable for static or quasi-static scanning uration cannot cause missing pulses as they
of a magnetically passive rotor (Fig. 4a, do not lead to polarity change which is the
toothed rotor). The switching point of a only thing that characterises the continuing
downstream threshold comparator (Schmitt measurement motion (rotation).
trigger) would have to be continually
adapted to the varying working point. Such Gradient sensors
applications are only feasible when DC When it comes to scanning passive rotors,
coupling is dispensed with and therefore gradient sensors (Fig. 5) designed on the ba-
also static signal evaluation. The coupling sis of differential Hall sensors or differential
capacitors required for such configurations magnetoresistive sensors, are far better than
(also known as sensors) involve high simple Hall-effect sensors. They are pro-
costs though and lead to reduced opera- vided with a permanent magnet. This pole
tional reliability. face of this magnet facing the rotor is ho-
On the other hand, simple Hall-effect sen- mogenised by a thin ferromagnetic wafer
sors are highly suitable for scanning a mag- (Pos. 2). There are two galvanometric ele-
netically active rotor (Fig. 4b, pole wheel). In ments (generic term for Hall-effect sensors
this case, a working-point magnet is unnec- and magnetoresistors) located on each wafer
essary. The sensor is triggered by the pole about half a tooth gap apart. This means
wheel with varying polarity only in the that one of the elements directly faces a Fig. 4
vicinity of the magnetic zero point. Al- tooth gap while the other faces a tooth. The a Passive rotor
though the magnetic control excursion re- sensor measures the difference in field b Active rotor
duces along with increasing air gap, the po- strength between two neighboring points on 1 Incremental rotor
2 Simple Hall-effect
4 Hall rod-type sensors for scanning magnetically 5 Gradient sensor for toothed-rotor scanning
3 Permanent
passive and active rotors
4 Pole wheel
5 Case
Angle of rotation

Fig. 5
2 4 1 Magnetoresistors
N 1
3 2 R1, R2 or Hall-ef-
S S fect elements H1,
5 N H2
2 Soft-magnetic
S 3 Permanent
N N magnet
S 1

R2 R1 4 Toothed rotor

4 2 U0 U0 Supply voltage
UA( ) UA() Measurement
5 voltage for a rota-
tional angle of
Robert Bosch GmbH

48 Speed and rpm sensors Relative rpm and speed measurement

the circumference of the rotor. The output putted to the downstream amplification and
signal corresponds roughly to the field evaluation stages.
strength derived as a function of the angle at
the circumference, and its sign is therefore Tangential sensors
independent of the air gap. Being as they do In contrast to gradient sensors, tangential
not alter the gradient signals sign, air-gap sensors react to the sign and the intensity of
fluctuations does not cause missing pulses. the magnetic-field components which are
For signal evaluation, it is a simple matter tangential to the rotors circumference.
to connect the two magnetoresistors as a volt- Using AMR thin-film techniques, tangential
age divider which is supplied by a constant sensors are available as barber-pole or
voltage and whose (usually unloaded) out- permalloy resistor types in full-bridge or
put signal is registered by the ECU. At room half-bridge circuits (Fig. 6). In contrast to
temperatures and with the customary air gradient sensors, they need not be matched
gap, this signal is in the volts range, and even to the particular tooth pitch of the rotor and
at high temperatures it is suitable for trans- can in fact be designed to sense practically at
mission to the ECU without any form of a given point. Local amplification is neces-
preamplification. sary, even though their measuring effect is
Provided appropriate circuitry is used, 1...2 orders of magnitude larger than that of
measuring the loaded output current of the the silicon-Hall sensors.
magnetoresister divider instead of its open- In the case of the crankshaft-speed sensor
circuit voltage, permits the sensors pro- integrated in the bearing (composite seal
nounced temperature sensitivity to be com- with sensor), the AMR thin-film sensor is
pensated for to a great extent. mounted together with an evaluation IC on
In the case of a gradient sensor based on a common leadframe.
the Hall effect, the current paths of both In order to save space and protect against
Hall-effect elements can be connected in high temperatures, the evaluation IC is
parallel, and their opposite-polarity output turned through 90 and located further away
voltages in series, so that their differential from the sensor tip.
voltage can be picked off directly and in-
Giant magnetoresistive (GMR) elements
6 AMR rotational-speed sensor in the form of a In 1988, Baibich discovered that in multi-
tangential-field sensor for toothed-rotor scanning
layer (CuCo) elements of only a few
nanometers (nm) thickness, the resistance
Fig. 6
changes by 50% when an external magnetic
1 Toothed rotor (Fe) field is applied at low temperatures. This re-
2 Permanent 1 sistance change, which became known as the
magnet Giant Magneto Resistance effect (GMR), is
3 Sensor considerably more pronounced than on
B Control-field
B Br B B
AMR sensors.
strength with tan-
gential compo-
The resistance changes because the mag-
nents Bt, and ra- netisation which was originally inverse-par-
S allel aligned, re-orientates itself in parallel
dial components 2
Br (B off position, when an external magnetic field is applied.
Bt = 0). R1, R2 The effect reaches saturation at a defined
permalloy thin-film R1 R2
magnetic-field strength.

resistors (AMR) Bt
U0 UA GMR sensors are already in use as the
Angle of rotation
U0 Supply voltage
reading head in high-capacity data disc
UA Measurement
N drives. In the automotive sector, rotational-
voltage speed measurement is the priority applica-
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Absolute rotating-speed measurement 49

tion aimed at at present it is even more 1 Interrelationship between yaw rate, oscillation, and
important than the sensors use for Coriolis acceleration at a lumped mass m.
travel/angle measurement.
Application examples:
 Hall-effect sensor (transistorized ignition
TI-H), z
 Hall phase sensor (camshaft),
 Gearbox Hall-effect sensor (RS50, RS51),
 Active Hall rotational-speed sensor, y Fig. 1

 Active AMR rotational-speed sensor, m z Yaw rate

y Velocity of the
 Magnetoresistive sensor (for diesel radial- acoriolis oscillatory motion
piston distributor pumps). x aCoriolis Coriolis accelera-
m Lumped mass

Absolute rotating-speed Stability Program for the prevention of skid-

measurement ding), and for short-term navigation (for in-
stance at a road junction). Highly advanced
Oscillation gyroscope systems for triggering roll-over protection
Basics systems need data on the yaw rates x and
Mechanical gyroscopes (gyros for short) y around the vehicles pitch and roll axes.
utilise inertial forces in precisely measuring In principle, these sensors are similar to
angular movements in space independent of mechanical gyroscopes. They utilise the so-
the reference system. Notwithstanding their called Coriolis accelerations which are gen-
pronounced measuring effect, rotating gyro- erated when rotation is coupled with an
scopes as well as optical sensors based on the oscillatory component (velocity ). In line
interferometric Sagnac effect (laser and fiber with the familiar vector law, these accelera-
gyroscopes), are out of the question for au- tions are vertical with respect to the x and y
tomotive applications due to the high costs axes (Fig. 1).

On the other hand, with the new automo- aCoriolis = ax = 2

y x z (1)
tive systems, the slightly less-severe require-
ments regarding precision can be complied Whereby, the velocity y changes sinu-
with by gyroscopes manufactured using fine- soidally in accordance with the oscillatory
mechanical and micromechanical processes. movement:
Instead of a rotational movement, these
units use an equivalent, elastic, oscillatory y =  y sin t (2)
movement to generate the measuring effect.
These sensors are known as tuning-fork sen- Assuming a constant yaw rate z, therefore,
sors and up to now have been used primar- this means that a sinuosoidal Coriolis accel-
ily for stabilisation controls. They also com- eration aCoriolis of the same freuqncy and
ply adequately with other automotive stipu- phase is also measured. The amplitude is
lations such as freedom from maintenance, then:
long service life, switch-on time constant

etc., not to forget the question of costs. a Coriolis = 2  y z (3)
Oscillation gyroscopes measure the ab-
solute yaw rate z at the vehicles vertical Hypothetically, this acceleration could be
axis (yaw axis). This applies for instance in felt and measured by anyone located on the
vehicle-dynamics systems (ESP or Electronic lumped mass m.
Robert Bosch GmbH

50 Speed and rpm sensors Absolute rotating-speed measurement/Radar sensors

To register the yaw rate, the amplitude of Radar sensors

velocity of the oscillatory motion is main-
tained at a constant level by means of appro- On special-purpose vehicles with high levels
priate control circuitry. The Coriolis acceler- of drive slip (e.g. agricultural tractors), sim-
ation measured at the oscillating mass m is ple low-cost close-range Doppler-effect
then subjected to frequency and phase-selec- radar systems (24...35 GHz) are used to
tive rectification. Here, for instance, a lock- measure the quantity "vehicle speed over
in amplifier can be used. In the process, un- ground F" (Figs. 1 and 2).
wanted acceleration from the outside (e.g.
bodywork acceleration) is removed. Each side of the vehicle is equipped with a
An output voltage is generated which is transceiver probe which directs its radar
proportional to the yaw rate: beam onto the ground at an oblique angle of
, and with a frequency f0. If a receiver were
UA = const aCoriolis = const (4) situated at this point on the ground, due to
the Doppler effect it would receive this per-
The acceleration ay which is also applied to manent signal at a higher frequency f1 since
the mass m in the oscillatory direction is the transmitter is moving towards it. This is
usually several orders of magnitude higher similar to the acoustic effect experienced
than the useful Coriolis acceleration. when overtaken by an emergency vehicle
with its warning siren in operation:
ay = =  y cos t (5)
dt c
f1 = f0 (6)
c F cos
The falsifying effect of the acceleration ay
caused by over-response is counteracted by The ground underneath the tractor, though,
both the directional selectivity of the reflects the signal back to the transceiver
Coriolis acceleration sensor and its correct probes, and again a higher frequency f2 is
mounting position (factor 102... 104), as well measured at the receiver, since in this case
as by the correct-phase rectification of the the receiver is moving towards the source.
Coriolis signal. Compared to the useful sig-
nal, namely, the interfering oscillatory accel-
c + F cos c + F cos
eration is off-phase by 90. With increasing f2 = f1 = f0 (7)
c c F cos
frequency though, the signal-to-disturbance
ratio increases proportionally.
All in all, this results in a frequency shift f
Examples of application of:
 Piezoelectric yaw-rate sensors,
 Micromechanical yaw-rate sensors MM1
2 F cos
and MM2. f2 = f2 f1 = f0 (8)
c F cos

or, conversely, the speed F:

c f f 1 c f
F = 2 0 F (9)
cos f2 + f0 2 cos f0
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Radar sensors 51

This speed F is directly proportional to the 1 Doppler effect

frequency shift f.
Fig. 1
The vehicles rocking or tilting movements f1 = f 0 c c a Transmitter S
slightly change the angle  at which the sig- a F F
moves towards the
nal is transmitted to ground. The probe S R stationary receiver
which is rigidly attached to the bodywork f0 f1 R
utilises a radar system which "looks to the b Receiver R moves
rear". This is known as the Janus principle c+
towards stationary
b f1 = f 0 F transmitter S
(Fig. 2). F
f0 Transmit-signal

With the tractor horizontal, both systems R S
f1 Frequency of sig-
measure the same value. If the vehicle tilts to f1 f0 nal arriving at the
the front or rear, since the beam angle in- receiver
creases on the one system by the same F Vehicle speed
amount as it decreases on the other, the
systems indicate opposite deviations from 2 Janus principle
this (horizontal) value.
Averaging the two values eliminates the
error resulting from tilt. The low measuring Fig. 2
S/R Transmitter/
effect necessitates a relatively long-term av- F
eraging of the signals (approx. 1 s), so that
Sr, Rr Rearward-measur-
rapid measurements of speed are impossible ing system
Sv, R r Sv, R r
with this system. Sv, Rv Forward-measuring
The difference in the signals from the sys- F Vehicle speed
Alignment angle of
tems on each side of the vehicle provide a
+ the measuring sys-

good indication of the angle-of-travel actu- tem

ally taken by the vehicle. Vehicles angle of
tilt referred to the

3 Measurement of the the tractors speed over ground F using Doppler-effect radar

Fig. 3
S/R Transmitter/
F Vehicle speed
f0 Transmit-signal
f1 Frequency of sig-
nal arriving at the
f2 f2 Frequency of sig-
f0 nal arriving at the

Alignment angle of
f1 the measuring sys-
Robert Bosch GmbH

52 Speed and rpm sensors Inductive engine-speed sensors

Inductive engine-speed 1 Inductive rpm sensor

1 2 3
2 cm
Such engine-speed sensors are used for
Fig. 1  Engine rpm,
1 Permanent magnet  Crankshaft position (for information on N
2 Sensor housing the position of the engine pistons).
3 Engine block

4 Pole pin
5 Solenoid winding
The rotational speed is calculated from the 6
6 Air gap sensor's signal frequency. The output signal 7
7 Trigger wheel with from the rotational-speed sensor is one of
reference-mark gap the most important quantities in electronic
engine management.
ates a sinusoidal voltage in the solenoid
Design and operating concept winding which is proportional to the rate of
The sensor is mounted directly opposite a change of the flux (Fig. 2). The amplitude of
ferromagnetic trigger wheel (Fig. 1, Pos, 7) the AC voltage increases strongly along with
from which it is separated by a narrow air increasing trigger-wheel speed (several
gap. It has a soft-iron core (pole pin) (4), mV...>100 V). At least about 30 rpm are
which is enclosed by the solenoid winding needed to generate an adequate signal level.
(5). The pole pin is also connected to a per-
manent magnet (1), and a magnetic field The number of teeth on the trigger wheel
extends through the pole pin and into the depends upon the particular application. On
trigger wheel. The level of the magnetic flux solenoid-valve-controlled engine-manage-
through the winding depends upon whether ment systems for instance, a 60-pitch trigger
the sensor is opposite a trigger-wheel tooth wheel is normally used, although 2 teeth are
or gap. Whereas the magnet's stray flux is omitted (7) so that the trigger wheel has
concentrated by a tooth and leads to an in- 60 2 = 58 teeth. The very large tooth gap is
crease in the working flux through the wind- allocated to a defined crankshaft position
ing, it is weakened by a gap. When the trig- and serves as a reference mark for synchro-
ger wheel rotates therefore, this causes a nizing the ECU.
fluctuation of the flux which in turn gener- There is another version of the trigger
wheel which has one tooth per engine cylin-
2 Signal from an inductive rpm sensor der. In the case of a 4-cylinder engine, there-
fore, the trigger wheel has 4 teeth, and
4 pulses are generated per revolution.
1 The geometries of the trigger-wheel teeth
and the pole pin must be matched to each
other. The evaluation-electronics circuitry in
Output voltage

the ECU converts the sinusoidal voltage,

which is characterized by strongly varying
3 amplitudes, into a constant-amplitude
square-wave voltage for evaluation in the

Fig. 2 2
1 Tooth ECU microcontroller.
2 Tooth gap Time
3 Reference mark
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Rotational-speed (rpm) sensors and incremental angle-of-rotation sensors 53

Rotational-speed (rpm) around the discs circumference. A double

differential magnetoresistive sensor is used.
sensors and incremental Magnetoresistors are magnetically con-
angle-of-rotation sensors trollable semiconductor resistors, and simi-
Application lar in design to Hall-effect sensors. The
The above sensors are installed in distribu- double differential sensor has four resistors
tor-type diesel injection pumps with solen- connected to form a full bridge circuit.
oid-valve control. Their signals are used for: The sensor has a permanent magnet, and
the magnets pole face opposite the toothed
 The measurement of the injection pumps pulse disc is homegenized by a thin ferro-
speed, magnetic wafer on which are mounted the
 Determining the instantaneous angular four magnetoresistors, separated from each
position of pump and camshaft, other by half a tooth gap. This means that
 Measurement of the instantaneous setting alternately there are two magnetoresistors
of the timing device. opposite tooth gaps and two opposite teeth
(Fig. 1). The magnetoresistors for automo-
The pump speed at a given instant is one of tive applications are designed for operation
the input variables to the distributor pumps in temperatures of 170 C ( 200 C briefly).
ECU which uses it to calculate the triggering
time for the high-pressure solenoid valve, 1 Rotation-speed/angle-of-rotation sensor (principle)
and, if necessary, for the timing-device
solenoid valve.
The triggering time for the high-pressure
solenoid valve must be calculated in order to N
inject the appropriate fuel quantity for the
particular operating conditions. The cam 1
plates instantaneous angular setting defines S
Fig. 1
the triggering point for the high-pressure 2
1 Magnet

solenoid valve. Only when triggering takes 3 2 Homogenization

place at exactly the right cam-plate angle, 4 wafer (Fe)
can it be guaranteed that the opening and 3 Magnetoresistor
closing points for the high-pressure solenoid 4 Toothed pulse disc
valve are correct for the particular cam lift.
Precise triggering defines the correct start- 2 Rotation-speed/angle-of-rotation sensor (as installed)
of-injection point and the correct injected
fuel quantity.
The correct timing-device setting as
needed for timing-device control is ascer-
tained by comparing the signals from the 2
camshaft rpm sensor with those of the 3 Fig. 2
angle-of-rotation sensor. 4 1 Flexible conductive
3 foil
Design and operating concept 5 2 Rotation-speed
The rpm sensor, or the angle-of-rotation (rpm)/angle-of-
rotation sensor
sensor, scans a toothed pulse disc with

6 3 Tooth gap
120 teeth which is attached to the distribu- 4 Toothed pulse wheel
tor pumps driveshaft. There are tooth gaps, (trigger wheel),
the number of which correspond to the 3 5 Rotatable mounting
number of engine cylinders, evenly spaced 6 Driveshaft
Robert Bosch GmbH

54 Speed and rpm sensors Hall-effect phase sensors

Hall-effect phase sensors track perforated plate (Fig. 3a) or a two-

track trigger wheel (Fig. 3b) are needed in
Application order to generate the opposing signals in the
The engines camshaft rotates at half the Hall elements (Fig. 4) as needed for this
crankshaft speed. Taking a given piston on measurement.
its way to TDC, the camshafts rotational
position is an indication as to whether the Such sensors are used when particularly se-
piston is in the compression or exhaust vere demands are made on accuracy. Further
stroke. The phase sensor on the camshaft advantages are their relatively wide air-gap
provides the ECU with this information. range and good temperature-compensation
Design and operating concept

Hall-effect rod sensors

As the name implies, such sensors (Fig. 2a)
make use of the Hall effect. A ferromagnetic 1 Hall element (Hall-effect vane switch)
trigger wheel (with teeth, segments, or per-
forated rotor, Pos. 7) rotates with the +B

Fig. 1
camshaft. The Hall-effect IC is located be-
I Wafer current tween the trigger wheel and a permanent
IH Hall current magnet (Pos. 5) which generates a magnetic I
IV Supply current field strength perpendicular to the Hall IH
UH Hall voltage element.
UR Longitudinal IV
If one of the trigger-wheel teeth (Z) now

B Magnetic induction
passes the current-carrying rod-sensor ele- UR

Deflection of the ment (semiconductor wafer), it changes the UH

electrons by the magnetic field strength perpendicular to the
magnetic field Hall element. This causes the electrons,
which are driven by a longitudinal voltage
across the element to be deflected perpen- 2 Hall-effect rod sensor
dicularly to the direction of current (Fig. 1,
angle ). a
Fig. 2
This results in a voltage signal (Hall volt-
a Positioning of sensor age) which is in the millivolt range, and
and single-track trig- which is independent of the relative speed
2 cm

ger wheel between sensor and trigger wheel. The eval- 3

b Output signal charac- uation electronics integrated in the sensors 4
teristic UA Hall IC conditions the signal and outputs it 5 N

in the form of a rectangular-pulse signal 6 a

1 Electrical connection
(Fig. 2b "High"/"Low"). Z

2 Sensor housing 7 L

3 Engine block Differential Hall-effect rod sensors
4 Seal ring Rod sensors operating as per the differential
5 Permanent magnet principle are provided with two Hall ele- b
6 Hall-IC L L
ments. These elements are offset from each UA s High
7 Trigger wheel with

tooth/segment (Z)
other either radially or axially (Fig. 3, S1 and
S2), and generate an output signal which is Low
and gap (L)
a Air gap proportional to the difference in magnetic Angle of rotation
Angle of rotation flux at the element measuring points. A two-
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Hall-effect phase sensors 55

3 Differential Hall-effect rod sensors

a S2 S1 b

2 1 S1 S2

Fig. 3
7 8 a Axial tap-off (perfor-
ated plate)
b Radial tap-off (two-
track trigger wheel)

1 Electrical connection
2 (plug)
2 Sensor housing
3 Engine block
3 4 Seal ring
4 N 5 Permanent magnet
5 N 6 Differential Hall-IC
S2 S1 S2
6 with Hall elements S1
S1 L Z L Z
L Z and S2
8 7 Perforated plate

8 Two-track trigger
I Track 1
II Track 2

4 Characteristic curve of the output signal UA from a differential Hall-effect rod sensor

L1 L2 L3 L4
UA Z1 Z2 Z3 Z4

90 Fig. 4
Output signal "Low":
180 Material (Z) in front of
270 S1, gap (L) in front of S2

360 Output signal "High":


Gap (L) in front of S1,

material (Z) in front of S2

S signal width
Robert Bosch GmbH

56 Speed and rpm sensors Wheel-speed sensors

Wheel-speed sensors installation conditions encountered with

various wheels. The most common variant is
Application the chisel-type pole pin (also called a flat pole
It is from the wheel-speed sensor signals that pin Fig. 1a) for radial installation at right
the ABS, TCS, and ESP control units (ECUs) angles to the pulse rotor. The rhombus-type
derive the wheel-rotation rates. These wheel (lozenge-shaped) pole pin (Figure 1b) de-
speeds are applied in preventing the wheels signed for axial installation is located radi-
blocking or spinning so that the vehicles ally with respect to the trigger wheel. Both
stability and steerability are maintained. In pole-pin designs necessitate precise align-
verhicle navigation systems, the signals are ment to the trigger wheel. Although precise
used for calculating the distance travelled. alignment is not so important with the
round pole pin (Figure 1c), the trigger wheel
Design and operating concept must have a large enough diameter, or less
Passive (inductive) wheel-speed sensors
The inductive wheel-speed sensor's pole pin,
surrounded by its coil winding, is installed
directly above a trigger wheel (rotor) at-
tached to the wheel hub. This soft-magnetic
pole pin is connected to a permanent mag- 1 Wheel-speed sensors: Pole-pin shapes and types
of installation (DF6 as example)
net which projects a magnetic field toward
and into the trigger wheel. The continuously
alternating sequence of teeth and gaps that
accompanies the wheel's rotation induces
corresponding fluctuations in the magnetic
field through the pole pin and its coil wind-
ing. These fluctuations induce an alternating 1
current in the coil suitable for monitoring at
the ends of its winding.
The frequency and amplitude of this alter-
nating current are proportional to wheel
speed, and with the wheel not rotating, the
induced voltage is zero. Tooth shape, air gap, 5

Fig. 1 rate of voltage rise, and the ECU input sensi-

a Chisel pole pin: tivity define the smallest still measurable
Radial installation, rotation rate and thus, for ABS applications, 1
radial scan the minimum switching speed. 2
b Rhombus pole pin:
Axial installation,
radial scan
To ensure interference-free signal detection,
c Round pole pin: the gap separating the wheel-speed sensor
Radial installation, and the trigger wheel is only approx. 1 mm, 1
axial scan and installation tolerances are narrow. The
1 Sensor case with wheel-speed sensor is also installed on a 2
electrical connections
stable mounting to prevent oscillation pat-

2 Permanent magnet
3 Soft-iron core (pole
terns in the vicinity of the brakes from dis-
pin) torting the sensor's signals. Various pole-pin
4 Winding configurations and installation options are
5 Trigger wheel available to adapt the system to the different
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Wheel-speed sensors 57

Active wheel-speed sensors frequency is proportional to wheel speed.

The conventional inductive units are in- This single-wire data-transmission strategy
creasingly being replaced by active wheel- uses pre-conditioned digital signals. These
speed sensor types in which the function are less sensitive to interference than the sig-
formerly performed by the trigger ring's nals from the inductive sensor. The concept
teeth is taken over by peripheral magnets in- also features the following options:
corporated around the periphery of a multi-
pole ring so that their polarities alternate  Data transmission identifying the wheel's
(Fig. 2). direction of travel. This option is espe-
The sensor element of such an active cially significant for the "hill-holding"
wheel-speed sensor is located in the contin- feature, which relies on selective braking
uously changing fields generated by these to prevent the vehicle from rolling back-
magnets. Rotation of the multipole ring is wards when starting off on a hill. Also
thus accompanied by a continuous alterna- used in vehicle navigation systems.
tion in the magnetic flux through the sensor  Relay of information on sensor-signal qual-
element. ity, including a display indicating that the
Compact dimensions combine with low driver should have the vehicle serviced in
weight to make the active wheel-speed sen- order to check correct sensor functioning.
sor suitable for installation on and even
within the vehicles wheel-bearing assem- 2 Active wheel-speed sensor showing a section of the
multipole ring
blies (Fig. 3). In the latter case, the bearing
seal contains magnetic powder instead of
fixed magnets. This means that a second
function has been added and the bearing
seal now becomes a multipole device.

The most important sensor components are

either Hall or magnetoresistive elements,
both of which generate a voltage that varies
according to the magnetic flux through the
measuring element. This voltage is then con- 1 2 3

ditioned by the active wheel-speed sensor.

Fig. 2
One of the active sensor's advantages is the 1 Multipole ring
fact that in contrast to the inductive sensors, 2 Sensor element
its output voltage is independent of the wheel 3 Sensor case
speed. This fact permits monitoring to con-
tinue until the wheel is practically stationary. 3 Example of sensor installation in the wheel bearing

1 2 3
A typical feature of the active wheel-speed
sensor is the local amplifier circuit. Both
components - measuring element and am-
plifier - are integrated in a single sensor
casing. The active sensor requires a power
supply of between 4.5 and 20 volts, and it is
connected to the ECU by a two-conductor
Fig. 3
wire. The wheel-speed data is impressed on

1 Wheel bearing
one of the two conductors (supply lines) as 2 Sensor
load-independent current. As with the in- 3 Multipole ring/
ductive wheel-speed sensor, the current's Bearing seal
Robert Bosch GmbH

58 Speed and rpm sensors Gearbox-rpm sensors

Gearbox-rpm sensors RM, the current modulation (Low: 7 mA;

High: 14 mA) can then be converted in the
Application ECU into a signal voltage URM (Fig. 1).
Such gearbox-rpm sensors scan the speeds There are two different types of gearbox-
in automatic-transmissions, continuously- rpm sensors (Fig. 2):
variable transmissions, and automatic shift
transmissions (AT, AST, and CVT respec- RS50
tively). For such applications, the sensors are Data protocol: rpm information in the form
designed to be insensitive to ATF gearbox of a rectangular-pulse signal.
oils. The "packaging concept" provides for Functional scope: A frequency signal trig-
sensor integration in the transmission-shift gered by the rotor passing the sensor surface.
control module or for a "stand-alone" ver- It is proportional to the rotor speed.
sion. The sensor needs a power supply of
4.5...16.5 V and operates in the termperature RS51
range 40...+150 C. Data protocol: rpm information in the form
of a rectangular-pulse signal with supple-
Design and operating concept mentary information which are transmitted
The active rpm sensor is provided with a dif- using the pulse-width-modulation (pwm)
ferential Hall-effect IC with 2-wire current principle.
interface. For operation, the sensor must be Functional scope: rpm signal, detection of
connected to a voltage source (supply volt- standstill, direction of rotation, air-gap
age UV). It applies the Hall effect when reserve, and installation position.
scanning ferromagnetic toothed rotors,
punched-sheet rotors, or multipole rings 2 Shape and information content of the output signals
from various sensor versions
(air-gap range: 0.1...2.5 mm), and generates
a constant-amplitude signal which is inde-
pendent of rotational speed. This means that Trigger wheel
it is possible to register rotational speeds Tooth Tooth gap
down to practically n = 0. For signal output,
Magnetic multipole trigger wheel
the supply current is modulated by the in-
North Pole South Pole
cremental signal. Using a measuring resistor
RS 50 (standard): Output signal
1 Example of a Hall-effect sensor with 2-wire current
RS51 (intelligent): Critical air gap

Driving forwards
When reversing

Installation limit (forwards)

Fig. 1
IS Sensor current
Installation limit (reversing)
(supply and signal)
RM Measuring resistor

(in ECU) Standstill signal

RRM Signal voltage
UV Supply voltage
US Sensor voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Nozzle holder with needle-motion sensor 59

Nozzle holder with

needle-motion sensor

Application 2 Two-spring nozzle holder with needle-motion sensor

The start-of-injection point is an important for DI engines
parameter for optimum diesel-engine oper-
ation. For intance, its measurement permits
load and speed-dependent injection timing,
and/or control of the EGR rate within a
closed control loop. On the inline and dis-
tributor injection pumps, a nozzle-holder
with needle-motion sensor is used for this
purpose (Fig. 2) which outputs a signal as
soon as the deedle moves.
Design and operating concept
A current of approx. 30 mA flows through
the pick-up coil (Fig. 2, Pos. 11) and gener-
ates a magnetic field. The long pressure pin
(12) extends into guide pin (9). The so-
called immersion dimension "X", defines the 4
magnetic flux in the pick-up coil. Nozzle-
needle motion causes a change of flux. This, 2 cm
in turn, generates a velocity-dependent sig-
nal voltage which is directly processed in an
ECU evaluation circuit. When a given
threshold voltage is exceeded, this serves as
the signal for the start of injection (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1
a Needle-lift curve
b Signal-voltage curve

Fig. 2
1 Needle-motion sensor signal
11 Mount
Detail Y 12 Needle-motion
a 13 Spring
14 Guide element
Needle lift

15 Spring
10 16 Pressure pin
b 17 Nozzle retaining nut
Threshold 18 Connection for
Signal voltage

X evaluation circuit
11 19 Guide pin
Start-of-injection 10 Contact lug
signal 12


11 Pick-up coil
12 Pressure pin
Crankshaft angle 13 Spring seat
x Immersion
Robert Bosch GmbH

60 Speed and rpm sensors Induction-type sensors for transistorized ignition

Induction-type sensors for and bent upwards at right angles. The rotor
has similar teeth, but these are bent down-
transistorized ignition wards at right angles.
Applications As a rule, the number of teeth on rotor
For ignition-triggering purposes, the TC-I and stator correspond to the number of
transistorized ignition uses an induction- cylinders in the engine. The fixed and rotat-
type sensor which serves as an AC generator. ing teeth are separated by a mere 0.5 mm
The switch-on point for the dwell angle is when directly opposite to each other.
defined by comparing its AC signal with that
of a voltage signal which corresponds to the Operating concept
current-control time. The principle of functioning depends upon
the air gap between the rotor teeth and the
Design and construction stator teeth, and thus the magnetic flux,
The induction-type sensor is incorporated in changing periodically along with rotation of
the ignition-distributor housing in place of the rotor. This change in magnetic flux in-
the former contact-breaker points (Fig. 1). duces an AC voltage in the induction wind-
The soft-magnetic core of the induction ing whose peak voltage S is proportional
winding is disc-shaped, and together with the to the rotors speed of rotation. At low speeds
permanent magnet and the induction wind- it is approx. 0.5 V and at high speeds approx.
ing, forms a fixed, enclosed subassembly, the 100 V. The frequency f of this AC voltage
stator. (Fig. 2) corresponds to the number of igni-
The rotor (trigger wheel) on the distribu- tion sparks per minute (sparking rate).
tor shaft rotates past the ends of the stators. The following applies
Similar to the distributor cam for the former
contact breaker assembly, it is firmly at- f = z n/2
tached to the hollow shaft surrounding the
distributor shaft. where
Core and rotor are produced from soft-
magnetic material and have toothed exten- f Frequency or sparking rate (min1),
sions (stator teeth and rotor teeth). The sta- z Number of engine cylinders,
tor teeth are at the ends of the stator "limbs" n Engine speed (min1).

1 Induction-type sensor in the ignition distributor 2 Induction-type sensor in the ignition distributor
(principle) (characteristic)

1 2 3 4

Signal voltage US

Fig. 1 US
1 Permanent magnet
2 Induction winding 0
with core
3 Variable air gap
4 Rotor


Fig. 2
tZ tZ
US Signal voltage
S Peak voltage
tZ Ignition point
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Hall-effect sensors for transistorized ignition 61

Hall-effect sensors for magnetic flux density at the Hall sensor ele-
ment reduces to a negligible level which re-
transistorized ignition sults from the leakage field, and the Hall volt-
Application age drops to a minimum. The dwell angle is
The Hall-effect sensor is also used as the igni- defined by the rotor vanes shape as follows: A
tion-triggering sensor for the TI-H transistor- ramp voltage is generated from the signal volt-
ized ignition system. The information contain- age US (converted Hall voltage, Fig. 2). The
ed in the signal from the Hall generator located switch-on point for the dwell angle is shifted
in the ignition distributor corresponds to that as required along this ramp. The Hall-effect
in the signal generated by the breaker points in sensors priniple of operation and its con-
a conventional breaker-triggered coil-ignition struction permit the ignition to be adjusted
system. Whereas with the conventional ignition with the engine at standstill provided no pro-
system the distributor cam defines the dwell vision is made for peak-coil-current cut-off.
angle via the contact-breaker points, on the
transistorized system the Hall-effect sensor in 1 Hall-effect sensor in the ignition distributor
the ignition distributor defines the on/off ratio (principle of operation)
by means of the rotor (trigger-wheel) vane.

Design and construction

1 2a 3
The Hall-effect sensor (Fig. 1) is installed in
the ignition distributor, and its vane switch is

attached to the movable mounting plate. The

Hall IC is mounted on a ceramic substrate and Fig. 1
in order to protect it against moisture, dirt, 1 Vane with width b
and mechanical damage is encapsulated in 2a Permanent magnet
plastic at one of the conductive elements. The US 2b Soft-magnetic con-
ductive element
conductive elements and the rotor are made of

3 Hall-IC
a soft-magnetic material. The number of vanes 4 2b 4 Air gap
on the rotor corresponds to the number of US Signal voltage (con-
cylinders in the engine. Depending on the type verted Hall voltage)
of ignition trigger box, the width b of the ro-
tors individual conductive elements can define
the ignition systems maximum dwell angle. 2 Hall-effect sensor in the ignition distributor
The dwell angle therefore remains practically (characteristic curve)

constant throughout the Hall sensors service

life and dwell-angle adjustment is unnecessary.

Operating concept
When the ignition-distributor shaft rotates,
Signal voltage US

the rotor vanes pass through the Hall IC air

gap without making contact. If the air gap is
not occupied by a vane, the magnetic field is
free to permeate the Hall IC and the Hall-ef-
fect sensor element (Fig. 1). The magnetic flux
density is high, the Hall voltage is at its maxi-

mum, and the Hall-IC is switched on. As soon tZ tZ Fig. 2

as a rotor vane enters the air gap, the majority Time t US Signal voltage (con-
of the magnetic flux is diverted through the verted Hall voltage)
vane and is isolated from the Hall-IC. The tz Ignition point
Robert Bosch GmbH

62 Speed and rpm sensors Piezoelectric tuning-fork yaw-rate sensor

Piezoelectric "tuning-fork" Operating concept

When voltage is applied, the bottom piezo
yaw-rate sensor elements start to oscillate and excite the up-
Application per section of the "tuning fork", together
In order that it can use the digital road map with its upper piezo elements, which then
stored on the CD-ROM to calculate the dis- starts counter-phase oscillation.
tance driven, the computer in the vehicles
navigation system needs information on the Straight-ahead driving
vehicles movements (composite navi- With the vehicle being driven in a straight
gation). line there are no Coriolis forces applied at
the tuning fork, and since the upper piezo
When cornering (for instance at road junc- elements always oscillate in counter-phase
tions), the navigation systems yaw-rate sen- and are only sensitive vertical to the direc-
sor registers the vehicles rotation about its tion of oscillation (Fig. 1a) they do not
vertical axis. With the voltage signal it gener- generate a voltage.
ates in the process, and taking into account
the signals from the tachometer or the radar Cornering
sensor, the navigation computer calculates When cornering on the other hand, the
the curve radius and from this derives the Coriolis acceleration which occurs in con-
change in vehicle direction. nection with the oscillation (but vertical to
it) is applied for measurement purposes.
Design and construction The rotational movement now causes the
The angle-of-rotation sensor is comprised of upper portion of the tuning fork to leave the
a steel element shaped like a tuning fork. oscillatory plane (Fig. 1b) so that an AC
This incorporates four piezo elements (two voltage is generated in the upper piezo ele-
above, two below) and the sensor elec- ments which is transferred to the navigation
tronics. computer by an electronic circuit in the sen-
This sensor measures very accurately and sor housing. The voltage-signal amplitude is
is insensitive to magnetic interference. a function of both the yaw rate and the os-
cillatory speed. Its sign depends on the di-
rection (left or right) taken by the curve.
Fig. 1
a Excursion during
straight-ahead driving
b Excursion when
1 "Tuning-fork" piezo yaw-rate sensor

1 Tuning-fork direction a 3 2
of oscillation resulting
from cornering 4
2 Direction of rotation 4 4
of the vehicle
3 Directiion of oscilla-
tion resulting from
straight-ahead driving 5
4 Coriolis force 5
5 Upper piezo elements
6 Bottom piezo 7

elements (drive) 6
7 Excitation oscillation
direction 7
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Piezoelectric yaw-rate sensors 63

Piezoelectric "oscillating which are detected by a third pair of piezo el-

ements (3 + 3). Using a fourth pair of piezo
drum" yaw-rate sensors excitation elements (4 + 4) in a closed con-
trol loop, these forces are then controlled
Applications back to a reference value Uref = 0. The ma-
In vehicles with vehicle-dynamics control nipulated variable needed here is then care-
(ESP), the piezoelectric yaw-rate sensors fully filtered and subjected to phase-synchro-
(otherwise known as gyrometers) register nous rectification before being used as a
the vehicles rotation about its vertical axis, highly accurate output signal. The selective,
for instance when cornering, but also when temporary change of the desired value to
the vehicle swerves or goes into a skid. Uref = 0 permits an easy check of the overall
sensor system ("built-in test"). This sensors
Design and construction temperature sensitivity necessitates a com-
The piezoelectric yaw-rate sensors are high- plex compensation circuit, and the material-
precision mechanical sensors. Two diametri- based aging of the piezoceramic elements
cally opposed piezoceramic elements (Fig. 1, necessitates painstaking preliminary aging.
1 + 1) are used to cause sympathetic oscil-
lations in a hollow metal cylinder. Another 2 Piezoelectric yaw-rate sensor
pair of piezoceramic elements (2 + 2) are
used to control and maintain this oscillation
at a constant amplitude which has four axi-
ally aligned oscillation nodes (offset by 45
to the direction of excitation). Refer to
Figs. 1...3.
When rotation takes place at a yaw rate
about the cylinders axis, the nodes are
shifted slightly at the circumference due to

the effects of Coriolis acceleration. The result

is that in the nodes, which otherwise feature
zero force, forces are now generated which
are proportional to rotational speed and
Fig. 1
1 Piezoelectric yaw-rate sensor (measuring principle) 3 Piezoelectric yaw-rate sensor (design principle)
1....4 Piezo elements
5 Circuit
5 6 6 Bandpass filter

1 7 Phase reference
Uref 8 Rectifier (phase-
4 3 5 selective)
UA Output voltage
Yaw rate
2 Uref = 0 (normal opera-
6 tion)
4 6 Uref  0 ("built-in" test)
1 Fig. 3


1....4 Piezo element pairs

8 7
7 5 Oscillatory cylinder
6 Baseplate
UA 7 Connection pins
Yaw rate
Robert Bosch GmbH

64 Speed and rpm sensors Micromechanical yaw-rate sensors

Micromechanical yaw-rate Design and construction

MM1 micromechanical yaw-rate sensor
sensors A mixed form of technology is applied in
Applications order to achieve the high accuracies needed
In vehicles with Electronic Stability Program for vehicle-dynamics systems. That is, two
(ESP), the rotation of the vehicle about its somewhat thicker oscillating elements (mass
vertical axis is registered by micromechani- plates) which have been machined from a
cal yaw-rate (or yaw-speed) sensors (also wafer using bulk micromechanics oscillate
known as gyrometers) and applied for vehi- in counter-phase to their resonant frequency
cle-dynamics control. This takes place dur- which is defined by their mass and their
ing normal cornering, but also when the coupling springs (>2 kHz). On each of these
vehicle breaks away or goes into a skid. oscillating elements, there is a miniature,
These sensors are reasonably priced as surface-type micromechanical capacitive
well as being very compact. They are in the acceleration sensor. When the sensor chip
process of forcing out the conventional rotates about its vertical axis at yaw rate ,
high-precision mechanical sensors. these register the Coriolis acceleration in the
wafer plane vertical to the direction of oscil-
lation (Figs. 1 and 2). These accelerations are
1 Structure of the MM1 yaw-rate sensor proportional to the product of yaw rate and
200 m and the oscillatory velocity which is main-
tained electronically at a constant value.
To drive the sensor, all that is required is a
simple, current-carrying printed conductor
on each oscillating element. In the perma-
nent-magnet field B vertical to the chip sur-
face, this oscillating element is subjected to
Fig. 1 an electrodynamic (Lorentz) force. Using a
1 Retaining/guide
further, simple printed conductor (which
spring 1

2 Part of the oscillat-

saves on chip surface), the same magnetic
ing element 2 field is used to directly measure the oscilla-
3 Coriolis acceleration tion velocity by inductive means. The differ-
sensor ent physical construction of drive system

2 MM1 micromechanical yaw-rate sensor

Fig. 2
1 Frequency-determin-
ing coupling spring
2 Permanent magnet
3 Direction of oscilla-
4 Oscillating element
5 Coriolis acceleration
2 N
6 Direction of Coriolis
acceleration 1
7 Retaining/guide B

Yaw rate
Oscillating velocity
B Permanent-magnet 7 6 5 4 0 2 mm
Robert Bosch GmbH

Speed and rpm sensors Micromechanical yaw-rate sensors 65

and sensor system serves to avoid undesir- oscillator. To avoid excessive damping of this
able coupling between the two sections. In movement, the sensor must be operated in a
order to suppress unwanted external acceler- vacuum. Although the chips small size and
ation effects, the opposing sensor signals are the somewhat simpler production process
subtracted from each other. The external ac- result in considerable cost reductions, this
celeration effects can be measured by apply- miniaturisation is at the expense of reduc-
ing summation. The high-precision micro- tions in the measuring effect, which in any
mechanical construction helps to suppress case is not very pronounced, and therefore
the effects of high oscillatory acceleration of the achievable precision. It also places
which is several factors of 10 higher than the more severe demands on the electronics.
low-level Coriolis acceleration (cross sensi- The systems high flexural stability, and
tivity far below 40 dB). Here, the drive and mounting in the axis of gravity, serve to me-
measurement systems are rigorously decou- chanically suppress the effects of unwanted
pled from each other. acceleration from the side.

MM2 micromechanical yaw-rate sensor

Whereas this silicon yaw-rate sensor is pro-
duced completely using surface-microme-
chanic techniques, and the magnetic drive 4 MM2 yaw-rate sensor: Structure
and control system have been superseded by 50 m
an electrostatic system, absolute decoupling
of the power/drive system and measuring
system is impossible. Comb-like structures
(Figs. 3 and 4) electrostatically force a cen-
trally mounted rotary oscillator to oscillate.
The amplitude of these oscillations is held
constant by means of a similar capacitive 1
pick-off. Coriolis forces result at the same

time in an out-of-plane tilting movement,

the amplitude of which is proportional to Fig. 4
the yaw rate , and which is detected capac- 1 Comb-like structure
itively by the electrodes underneath the 2 Rotary oscillator

3 MM2 surface-micromechanical yaw-rate sensor

CDrv2 1
CDrv Det1

CDrv Det2
0.5 mm
Fig. 3

1 Comb-like structure
2 2 Rotary oscillator
CDet1 CDet2 3 Measuring axis
CDrv Drive electrodes

CDet Capactive pick-off

FC Coriolis force
Oscillatory velocity
= CDet, measured
yaw rate
Robert Bosch GmbH

66 Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Measured variables and measuring principles

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors

Measured variables Measuring principles

Acceleration and vibration sensors are suit- In principle, all acceleration sensors measure
able for IC-engine knock control, as well as according to the basic law of mechanics: The
for triggering passenger-protection and re- force F applied to an inert mass m due to the
straint systems (airbag, seat-belt tightener, acceleration a, irrespective of whether it is
roll-over bar), and for the registration of the dynamic (vibration sensors) or static:
acceleration in a bend and road-speed
changes on 4-wheel-drive vehicles equipped F=ma (1)
with ABS or ESP or chassis control.
Here, similar to force measurement, systems
Acceleration a is the measured quantity, and are available which measure displacement or
is often given as a multiple of the accelera- travel, as well as mechanical strain-measure-
tion of free fall g (1g = 9.81 m/s2). Typical ment systems.
values encountered in automotive engineer-
ing are given in Table 1. Displacement or travel-measuring
Such systems (Fig. 1), are used in particular
in applications concerning very low levels of
acceleration. They also permit the use of the
compensation method in which the system
excursion caused by acceleration is compen-
1 Acceleration and vibration sensors sated for by an equivalent restoring force so
Application Measuring range
that ideally the system practically always op-
erates very close to the restoring-force zero
Knock control 1 ... 10 g point (high linearity, minimum cross sensi-
Passenger-restraint and protection: tivity, high temperature stability).
Airbag, seat-belt tightener 50 g
Roll-over bar 4g
Due to their closed-loop control, these
Seat-belt locking 0.4 g
closed-loop position-controlled systems
ABS, ESP 0.8...1.2 g (Fig. 1b) feature higher stability and have a
Chassis control: higher limit frequency than their "excur-
Body/superstructure 1g sion"-measuring counterparts (Fig. 1a).
Table 1 Axle 10 g

1 Displacement or travel-measuring acceleration sensors

Fig. 1
a Excursion-measuring
b Closed-loop position a b
a a
a Measured accelera-
m m
tion x
x System excursion
FM Measuring force
(inertial force on the

mass m) FM FM FK
UA ~ x ~ a
FK Compensating force IA ~
IA Output current
UA Output voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Measuring principles 67

On all acceleration sensors, with the ex- This means that in accordance with Equa-
ception of the gravity pendelum, the inert tion 3, the measuring sensitivity S is directly
mass is attached flexibly to the body whose linked to the resonant frequency 0 in the
acceleration is to be measured. This means following manner:
that in the static case, the acceleration force
is in equilibrium with the restoring force ap-
plied to the spring which has been deflected S 02 = 1 (6)
by x:

F=ma=cx (2) In other words, it can be expected that sensi-

where tivity drops by factor 4 when the resonant
c is the spring constant. frequency is increased by a factor of 2. Of
course, it is only below their resonant fre-
quency that such spring-mass systems dis-
The systems measurement sensitivity S is play adequate proportionality between
therefore: measured quantity and excursion.

S = x/a = m/c (3) In addition to closed-loop position control,

there is another method which can be ap-
This indicates that a large mass together plied in overcoming the invariable interde-
with low spring stiffness (or constant) result pendence between measuring sensitivity and
in high measurement sensitivity. If however, bandwidth as defined in Equation 6. This is
Equation 2 is written in full for the static taken from Equation 4 and can be success-
and for the dynamic case, then it becomes fully applied up to at least the systems first
apparent that not only the springs elasticity harmonic (20):
must be taken into account but also a fric- Friction and inertia terms can be derived
tion force and an inertial force. These are from the excursion term (c x). If, mathe-
proportional to the derivations with respect matically, these are added to the excursion
to time of the excursion x (p friction coef- term, the resulting sum is a precise measure
ficient). for the acceleration being measured a in-
dependent of the effects of resonance and
The resulting equation (4) defines a (reso- damping.
nant) system capable of oscillation:
In order to achieve a frequency response
which is as constant as possible, and to avoid
F = m a = c x + p x + mx (4) a disturbing increase of resonant frequency
(which can easily lead to system destruc-
tion), damping is needed which is to be
defined as precisely as possible and indepen-
Presuming negligible friction (p 0), this dent of temperature. If the friction coeffi-
system has a resonant frequency of: cient p is normalized to the other parame-
ters in Equation 4, this results in a standard
damping factor D:
0 = 
p p
D= 0 = (7)
2c 2 
Robert Bosch GmbH

68 Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Measuring principles

2 Resonance curves for the transfer function G To a great extent, transient response and res-
onant response are defined by this damping
factor. Whereas with periodic excitation, for
damping D > 1/ 2 = 0.707, no resonance
a 10 sharpness results, for values D > 1 all oscil-
7 lating transient response has already disap-
4 peared in case of jump excitation. In order
3 to achieve a bandwidth which is as broad as
2 D = 0.1
D = 0.3
possible, a compromise is usually applied in
D = 0.5 practice with values of D = 0.5...0.7 (Fig. 2).
Value G

0.5 D = 2/2 Compared to the extremely temperature-

0.4 D=1 dependent damping as exhibited by sili-
0.3 D = 1.5
0.2 cone/oil mixtures, air damping using an air
D=3 gap has proved itself in practice since it has
only a very low level of temperature sensitiv-
0.05 ity. Electrodynamic damping (permanent
0.03 magnet and conductor plate) has proved to
0.02 be equally good, but is considerably more
expensive and voluminous.
b 0
D = 0.1 In the case of position-controlled systems,
-20 D = 0.3
D = 0.5 damping can be implemented and adjusted
-40 D = 2/2 in the electronic (closed-loop) control cir-
Fig. 2
a Amplitude res- -60 D=1 cuit. Since in operation their deflection is in
onance curve D = 1.5 any case practically zero, in the switched-off,
b Phase resonance D=2
-100 D = 3
non-damped state, these systems are usually
Angle G

curve of the complex

protected with "tight" overload stops to pro-
transfer function -120
G_ (i ) =
tect them against damage.
[x_ (i )]/[a
_ (i )]
x_ (i ) Deflection -160 Packaging
amplitude -180 Similar to the majority of sensors on the
_a (i ) Acceleration 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.7 1 2 3 4 5 7 10
0.3 0.5
market, the so-called "packaging" which is
tailor made to suit each individual applica-
amplitude Normalised angular frequency
tion, also plays a decisive role for acceler-

= /0 Normalised
angular ation sensors. Since inertia-type sensors
SAE0810D register the measured quantity without any
D Damping form of movable connection to the outside

2 Acceleration sensors (listed according to electrical pick-off and spring-mass system)

Electrical pick-off Spring-mass system

Ceramic Metal Silicon

Piezoelectric Insulating Steel CuBe Bulk OMM 1)
Voltage measurement
Piezoresistive (DMS)
Piezoelectric X
Travel measurement
Hall X
Capacitive X
Table 2 (X) Actually in production. 1) OMM = Surface micromechanics. Under consideration.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Measuring principles 69

world, it is no problem to encapsulate them the effects of acceleration are typically as

hermetically. They need a suitable rigid me- much as about 25 %. Further advantages of
chanical coupling to attach them to the this technology are its comparatively low
structure at which measurement takes place, current consumption, and the possibility of
otherwise flexible or loose elements could designing the system as a closed-loop pos-
lead to falsification of the measurement. On ition-controlled system by feeding in elec-
the other hand, this rigid, fixed coupling trostatic forces (at the measuring electrodes
must not lead to thermal expansion which or at an additional electrode pair).
may occur at the structure being transferred
to the sensor so that measurements are falsi- Systems for measuring mechanical
fied. strain and stress
Whereas all other forms of pick-off listed in
Table 2 is arranged according to different Table 2, have already been dealt with, piezo-
spring-mass systems and electrical pick-offs. electric pick-ups in the vehicle (apart from
It presents a systematic overview of the pos- the piezoelectric yaw-rate sensors) are only
sibility of implementing various sensors. used in acceleration sensors. This measuring
The combinations have been marked to in- principle will therefore be discussed here in
dicate either those which are already actually more detail.
in production and which will be dealt with When subjected to mechanical strain/
in more detail in the following (X), or those stress which has been caused by outside
which are already being closely considered forces F (Fig. 3), charges Q are generated on
for production (marked in blue): the surface of piezoelectric materials pro-
Often, the springs own mass is adequate vided with electrodes. Crystalline material
as the seismic mass for achieving adequate samples (e.g. quartz crystal) display this fea-
measurement sensitivity. If this is not the ture naturally. Artificially produced materi-
case, mass must be added (usually of the als, on the other hand, such as piezoceramic
same material, or in metallic form). must first of all be polarized with a strong
electric field.
The present-day trend is definitely towards
minimum-dimension sensors using Similar to the magnetic materials, this piezo-
Si-OMM technologies and capacitive signal electric effect is also subjected to a "Curie
take-off. Not least thanks to hermetic encap- temperature" above which the phenomenon
sulation, this form of pick-off is practically disappears completely. For crystals this is re-
only influenced by the sensors geometrical versible, but not for piezoceramic materials.
parameters and is therefore unaffected by With piezoceramics this so-called "depolari-
such other material constants and influ- sation" can be caused by intense mechanical
encing variables as temperature etc. The lo-
cal electronic circuitry, without which oper- 3 Piezoelectric effect
Fig. 3
ation is impossible, also provides effective
1 Electrodes
protection against electromagnetic interfer- F
2 Piezoelectric
ence (EMC). The threat of damage due to 1 material sample
electromagnetic interference, which is com- Q A l Length
mon to this type of pick-off, is effectively A Cross-setional area
counteracted by the local electronic cir- l ,d = const 2 of the sample
F Force
Q Charge
-Q A

U 1 U Voltage
Although the measurement capacities which Dielectric coefficient
can be generated here are extremely small, F d Piezoelectric charge
the variations that can be achieved due to coefficient
Robert Bosch GmbH

70 Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Measuring principles

shock which casues the crystallites in the The "piezoelectric charge coefficient d"
material to return to their original random (sometimes referred to as "piezomodule K"),
positioning. is mainly responsible for the electrical be-
haviour of these sensors. In the simplest
Whereas the Curie temperature for conven- case, taking to be the mechanical tension
tional ceramics is approx. 340 C, on special applied during the test, and D to be the di-
quartz sections it can extend to as high as electric displacement density, the following
440 C. With ceramics, in order to avoid de- relationship applies:
polaristion during operation the operating
temperature must remain a considerable = F/A (1) und D=d (2)
distance from the Curie temperature. On
conventional ceramics, this temperature Using the dielectric coefficients
limit is approx. 160 C. = r o
the charge Q and the voltage U at the sensor
Not only cemamics, but also special very electrodes can be calculated as follows:
thin plastic foils also demonstrate piezoelec-
tric characteristics. In contrast to crystalline Q=AD=Ad=dF (3)
materials, the man-made piezo materials,
which are only used in automotive applica-
Q dF d L
tions, can be produced very cheaply. On the U = = L = F
c A A (4)
other hand though, their measurement
characteristics (temperature sensitivity, hys- L
teresis, resistance to aging, sensitivity scatter, U = g F = g L
internal resistance, etc.) are considerably in- A
ferior to those of the crystalline materials. with the piezoelectric voltage coefficient
Practically all man-made materials demon- g = d/ (5)
strate a very marked, and usually undesir- and an electric field strength in the test
able, pyroelectric effect. Due to this effect, sample
temperature changes generate charges on E = U/L = g (6)
these materials which are superimposed on
the charges generated due to mechanical

The generated charges though do not re- 4 Types of piezoelectric effects

main the whole time force is applied, but are F
discharged through the external resistance of Q
the measuring circuit or through the piezo a X

sensors internal resistance. The time con-

stant of this discharge is the product of the F
sensor capacity and the effective total resis- Q
tance. Such sensors cannot measure stati-
cally, and are only used where dynamic b F
measurement is needed. Whereas high-per-
formance pick-ups can achieve quasi-static Q
Fig. 4
measuring times of approx. 15...60 min, F
a Longitudinal effect
maximum measuring times for ceramics are

b Transverse effect c X

c Tangential force often in the range of only about 1 s ... 1 ms. Z

F Force Q
Q Charge
Robert Bosch GmbH

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Measuring principles 71

In addition to the often-used longitudinal ommended that a decoupling amplifier is

piezoelectric effect, transverse and tangential installed as near as possible to the sensor (if
effects must also be considered (Fig. 4). practical, inside a hermetically sealed hous-
Depending upon the material used, these ing together with the sensor). With long feed
effects can occur singly or, as is often the lines, the parasitic capacity (voltage divider)
case in practice all together. If Equation 2 is and the parastic equivalent resistance falsify
formulated as a tensor equation this fully the signal (Fig. 6a).
defines all the above-named piezoelectric Charge pick-off: With piezoelectric sen-
effects. sors, it is advisable to use a charge amplifier
The transverse effect is used for example in which stores the charge generated by the
"bimorphous plates". These are composed of sensor in a high-precision measuring capaci-
two oppositely polarised piezoceramic plates tor CM and in doing so keeps the sensor itself
joined together and used for the measure- free of charge and voltage. With this type of
ment of bending stresses. When the two- signal evaluation, the harmful parasitic in-
layer ceramic composite bends, one half is fluences of a feed line are for the most part
stretched ( > 0) and the other compressed suppressed, so that it is not absolutely neces-
( < 0). The opposed-polarity of the ceramic sary to integrate the sensor and the amplifier
plates means that the resulting part voltages (Fig. 6b).
U1 and U2 now add to form a total voltage U
which can be picked-off across the two out- Examples of application
side metal layers (Fig. 5). In principle, met-  Hall-effect acceleration sensors,
allisation is not needed between the two  Piezoelectric acceleration sensors (bimor-
ceramic plates. Bimorphous strips measure phous bending elements, longitudinal
their own bending movement, but if they elements such as knock sensors),
are glued or soldered to a metal diaphragm  Micromechanical acceleration sensors.
they also register the diaphragms defor-
mation (for instance the microphone).
Fig. 5
Electrical signal evaluation a Non-active state
Voltage pick-off: Since piezoelectric sensors b Bent state, upper
feature a high internal resistance, when plate expanded
( > 0), lower
registering their output voltage U it is rec-
plate com-
pressed ( < 0)
5 Piezoelectric bimorphous plates 6 Pick-off on piezoelectric sensors
1 Direction of
1 F Measuring force
a F=0
a F U Total voltage
U1 = 0 1
U1, U2 Part voltages
U=0 U2 = 0
U U Fig. 6
a Voltage pick-off
b Charge pick-off
1 1 Feed line
b 2 Piezoelectric
F sample with
>0 b 1
U1 capacity CP
U0 <0 Q CP CM Measuring


2 U=Q/CM capacity
F Measuring force
Q Charge
U Voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

72 Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Hall-effect acceleration sensors

Hall-effect acceleration Design and construction

A resiliently mounted spring-mass system is
sensors used in the Hall-effect acceleration sensors
Applications (Figs. 1 and 2).
Vehicles equipped with the Antilock Braking It comprises an edgewise-mounted strip
System ABS, the Traction Control System spring (3) tightly clamped at one end. At-
TCS, all-wheel drive, and/or Electronic Sta- tached to its other end is a permanent mag-
bility Program ESP, also have a Hall-effect net (2) which acts as the seismic mass. The
acceleration sensor in addition to the wheel- actual Hall-effect sensor (1) is located above
speed sensors. This measures the vehicles the permanent magnet together with the
longitudinal and transverse accelerations evaluation electronics. There is a small
(depending upon installation position copper damping plate (4) underneath the
referred to the direction of travel). magnet.

Operating concept
When the sensor is subjected to acceleration
which is lateral to the spring, the spring-
1 Hall-effect acceleration sensor (opened)
mass system changes its neutral position ac-
cordingly. Its deflection is a measure for the
acceleration. The magnetic flux F from the
moving magnet generates a Hall voltage UH
in the Hall-effect sensor. The output voltage

UA from the evaluation circuit is derived

3 2 from this Hall voltage and climbs linearly
Fig. 1 along with acceleration (Fig. 3, measuring
a Electronic circuitry
range approx. 1 g).
b Spring-mass system
1 Hall-effect sensor b This sensor is designed for a narrow
2 Permanent magnet bandwidth of several Hz and is electrody-
3 Spring namically damped.

2 Hall-effect acceleration sensor 3 Hall-effect acceleration sensor (example of curve)

UH = const a

Output voltage UA


Fig. 2

1 Hall-effect sensor 2 3
2 Permanent magnet
3 Spring a
4 Damping plate 1
IW Eddy currents IW
UH Hall voltage


U0 Supply voltage -1g 0g 1g

Magnetic flux Acceleration a
a Applied (transverse)
Robert Bosch GmbH

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Micromechanical bulk silicon acceleration sensors 73

Micromechanical bulk silicon C12 and C24 (structure capacities 10...

20 pF). Opposed-phase AC voltages are ap-
acceleration sensors plied across their terminals, and their super-
impositions picked-off between the capaci-
Application tors at CM (measurement capacity), in other
Micromechanical bulk silicon acceleration words at the Si center plate (seismic mass).
sensors are used in passsenger-restraint sys-
tems to register the acceleration values of a When acceleration a is applied in the sens-
frontal or side collision. They serve to trigger ing direction, the Si center plate (the seismic
the seatbelt tightener, the airbag, and the mass) is caused to deflect. This causes a
roll-over bar. change in the spacing to the upper and/or
lower plate, and with it a capacitance change
Design and operating concept in the capacitors C12 and C24 which leads
Anisotropic and selective etching techniques to a change in the electrical signal. In the
are used to form the required spring-mass evaluation electronics circuit (CMOS), this
system from the solid wafer (bulk silicon change is amplified, and then filtered and
micromechanics), and to shape the spring digitalised ready for further signal process-
shoulders. Capacitive pick-offs have proved ing in the airbag ECU.
themselves for the correct measurement of
the mass deflection. They require a wafer- Filling the sensors hermetically sealed
thick silicon or glass plate with counterelec- oscillatory system with a precisely metered
trodes (1, 4), on each side of the spring-held charge of air leads to a very space-saving,
mass (Fig. 1, pos. 2), thus forming a triplex inexpensive form of damping which also
construction. Here, the plates with the exhibits low temperature sensitivity. Today,
counter-electrodes also act as an overload almost without exception, the three silicon
protection. plates are connected together using the
"fusion-bonding process". Due to the differ-
This plate configuration corresponds to a ences in the expansion due to temperature,
series circuit with two differential capacitors the oscillatory systems attachment to the
housing base also has a decisive effect on
1 Bulk silicon acceleration sensor with capacitive measuring accuracy. Connection to the
housing base is therefore practically in a
straight-line, and the oscillatory system is
unsupported in the sensitive areas.
1 2 3
This type of sensor is above all used in the
low acceleration ranges (< 2 g) and necessi-
tates a 2-chip concept:
Sensor chip + CMOS evaluation chip with
integral protective function.
Fig. 1
4 The change-over to expanded signal evalu- 1 Upper Si plate
ation leads to the seismic mass automatically 2 Center Si plate
returning to the zero position, whereby the (seismic mass)
actuating signal appears as an output quan- 3 Si-oxide
tity. 4 Bottom Si plate

5 Glass substrate
a Accelartion in the
C1-2 C2-4
CM sensing direction
CM Measurement
Robert Bosch GmbH

74 Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Surface micromechanical acceleration sensors

Surface micromechanical The seismic mass with its comb-like elec-

trodes (Figs. 2 and 3, pos. 1) is spring-
acceleration sensors mounted in the measuring cell. There are
fixed comb-like electrodes (3, 6) on the chip
Application on each side of these movable electrodes.
Surface micromechanical acceleration sen- This configuration comprising fixed amd
sors are used in passenger-restraint systems movable electrodes corresponds to a series
to register the acceleration values of a frontal circuit comprising two differential capaci-
or side collision. They serve to trigger the tors (capacity of the comb-like structure: ap-
seatbelt tightener, the airbag, and the roll- prox. 1 pF). Opposed-phase AC voltages are
over bar. applied across the terminals C1 and C2, and
their superimpositions picked-off between
Design and operating concept the capacitors at CM (measurement ca-
Although these sensors were initially in- pacity), in other words at the seismic mass.
tended for use with higher accelerations
(50...100 g), they also operate with lower ac- Since the seismic mass is spring-mounted
celeration figures when used in passenger- (2), linear acceleration in the sensing direc-
restraint systems. They are much smaller tion results in a change of the spacing be-
than the bulk silicon sensors (typical edge tween the fixed and movable electrodes, and
length: approx. 100...500 m), and are therefore also to a change in the capacity of
mounted together with their evaluation C1 and C2 which in turn causes the electrical
electronics (ASIC) in a waterproof casing signal to change. In the evaluation electron-
(Fig. 1). An additive process is used to build ics circuit, this change is amplified, and then
up their spring-mass system on the surface filtered and digitalised ready for further sig-
of the silicon wafer. nal processing in the airbag ECU. Due to the
low capacity of approx. 1 pF, the evaluation
electronics is situated at the sensor and is

1 Surface micromechanical acceleration sensors for airbag triggering (Example)

a b


Fig. 1
a Side-airbag sensor
b Front-airbag sensor

1 Casing
2 Sensor and evalua- 1 2
tion chip
3 Cover
Robert Bosch GmbH

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Surface micromechanical acceleration sensors 75

either integrated with the sensor on the Dual micromechanical sensors (4) are
same chip, or is located very close to it. used for instance in the ESP Electronic Sta-
Closed-loop position controls with electro- bility Program for vehicle dynamics control:
static return are also available. Basically, these consist of two individual sen-
The evaluation circuit incorporates func- sors, whereby a micromechanical yaw-rate
tions for sensor-deviation compensation sensor and a micromechanical acceleration
and for self-diagnosis during the sensor sensor are combined to form a single unit.
start-up phase. During self-diagnosis, elec- This reduces the number of individual com-
trostatic forces are applied to deflect the ponents and signal lines, as well as requiring
comb-like structure and simulate the less room and less attachment hardware in
processes which take place during acceler- the vehicle.
ation in the vehicle.

2 Comb-like structure of the sensor measuring element 4 Lateral-acceleration sensor combined with yaw-rate
sensor (dual sensor)
100 m

3 Fig. 2
2 1 Spring-mounted
seismic mass with
1 electrode
2 Spring
3 Fixed electrodes


Fig. 4
a Acceleration in
sensing direction
Yaw rate

3 Surface micromechanical acceleration sensor with capacitive pick-off

1 2 3 C2 CM C1
Fig. 3
1 Spring-mounted
seismic mass with
a 2 Spring
3 Fixed electrodes
with capacity C1
4 Printed Al conductor
5 Bond pad
6 Fixed electrodes
with capacity C2

C1 C2 CM 7 Silicon oxide
a Acceleration in
4 5 6 7 sensing direction
CM Measuring capacity
Robert Bosch GmbH

76 Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Piezoelectric acceleration sensors

Piezoelectric acceleration 2 Piezoelectric acceleration sensor (dual sensor for

vertical mounting)

Piezoelectric bimorphous bending elements
and two-layer piezoceramic elements are
used as acceleration sensors in passenger-re-
straint systems for triggering the seat-belt
tighteners, the airbags, and the roll-over bar.

Design and operating concept

A piezo bending element is at the heart of
this acceleration sensor. It is a bonded struc- 1
ture comprising two piezoelectric layers of
opposite polarities ("bimorphous bending
element"). When subjected to acceleration,
one half of this structure bends and the
other compresses, so that a mechanical
bending stress results (Fig. 1).

The voltage resulting from the element
Fig. 2 bend is picked off at the electrodes attached
1 Bending element to the sensor elements outside metallised
The sensor element shares a hermetically- For signal conditioning, the acceleration
sealed housing with the initial signal-ampli- sensor is provided with a hybrid circuit
fication stage, and is sometimes encased in comprised of an impedance converter, a fil-
gel for mechanical protection. ter, and an amplifier. This serves to define
the sensitivity and useful frequency range.
The filter suppresses the high-frequency sig-
nal components. When subjected to acceler-
1 Bending element from a piezoelectric acceleration ation, the piezo bending elements deflect to
such an extent due to their own mass that
they generate a dynamic, easy-to-evaluate
non-DC signal with a maximum frequency
a 1 which is typically 10 Hz.
a =0
U A= 0
By "reversing" the actuator principle and ap-
plying voltage, the sensors correct operation
can be checked within the framework of
OBD "on-board diagnosis". All that is re-
Fig. 1 quired is an additional actuator electrode.
a Not subject to accel- b 1 a=0
Depending upon installation position and
b Subject to acceler- direction of acceleration, there are single or

ation a
dual sensors available (Fig. 2). Sensors are
1 Piezoceramic bi-
morphous bending
also on the market which are designed
element specifically for vertical or horizontal mount-
UA Measurement voltage ing (Fig. 2).
Robert Bosch GmbH

Acceleration sensors and vibration sensors Piezoelectric knock sensors 77

Piezoelectric knock sensors 2 Knock sensor (design and mounting)

Regarding their principle of functioning,
knock sensors are basically vibration sensors 1 2 3 4
and are suitable for detecting structure-
borne acoustic oscillations. These occur as
"knock" for instance in a vehicle engine F
when uncontrolled ignition takes place, and
are converted into electrical signals by the V
Fig. 2
sensor and inputted to the ECU. As a rule,
1 Piezoceramic
4-cylinder in-line engines are equipped with 5
F element
one knock sensor; 5 and 6-cylinder engines, 2 Seismic mass with
with two; and 8 and 12-cylinder engines compressive forces
have two or more. They are switched in ac- F
cordance with the ignition sequence. 3 Housing
4 Fastening screw

5 Contact surface
Design and operating concept 6 Electrical connec-
Due to its inertia, a mass excited by a given tion
oscillation or vibration exerts a compressive 1 cm 7 Cylinder block
force on a toroidal piezoceramic element at V Vibration
the same frequency as the excitation oscilla-
tion. Inside the ceramic element, these com- The sensors voltage output is evaluated by a
pressive forces cause a charge transfer so that high-resistance AC amplifier in the ECU of
a voltage appears across the ceramic ele- the ignition or Motronic engine-manage-
ments two outer faces which is picked-off ment system (Figs. 1 and 2).
by contact discs and inputted to the ECU for
processing. Sensitivity is defined as the out- Mounting
put voltage per unit of acceleration [mV/g]. Depending on the particular engine, the
knock-sensor installation point is selected so
that knock can be reliably detected from
1 Knock-sensor signal each cylinder. The sensor is usually screwed
to the side of the engine-cylinder block. In
order that the resulting signals (structure-
Without borne oscillations) can be transferred from
knock the measuring point on the engine block
and into the sensor without resonant-fre-
quency effects and in agreement with the
stipulated characteristic curve, the following
points must be observed:
 The fastening bolt must have been tight-
With ened with a defined torque,
knock  The sensors contact surface and bore in
the engine block must comply with cer-
Fig. 1
tain quality requirements, and

b a Cylinder-pressure
 No washers of any type may be used. curve
c b Filtered pressure
c Knock-sensor signal
Robert Bosch GmbH

78 Pressure sensors Measured variables/Measuring principles

Pressure sensors

Measured variables  Element pressure on the diesel fuel-injec-

tion pump (1000 bar, dynamic) for EDC
Pressure measurement takes place either di- (Electronic Diesel Control),
rectly, by way of diaphragm deformation, or  Fuel pressure on the diesel Common Rail
using a force sensor. Examples of pressure System (1500 or 1800 bar), and
measurement are given below:  Fuel pressure on the gasoline Common
 Intake-manifold pressure (1...5 bar) for Rail System (100 bar).
gasoline injection,
 Braking pressure (10 bar) on electropneu-
matic brakes, Measuring principles
 Air-spring pressure (16 bar) on pneu-
matic-suspension vehicles, The measured variable "pressure" is a dy-
 Tire pressure (5 bar absolute) for tire- namic effect which occurs in gases and fluids
pressure monitoring and tire-pressure and which is effective in all directions. It
closed-loop control, propagates well in fluids, and in gel-like sub-
 Hydraulic supply pressure (approx. stances and soft casting compounds, a fact
200 bar) for ABS and power-assisted which is sometimes taken advantage of for a
steering, number of reasons. There are static and dy-
 Shock-absorber pressure (+200 bar) for namic pick-ups or sensors for the measure-
chassis-control systems, ment of pressure.
 Coolant pressure (35 bar) for air-con-
ditioning systems, The dynamic pressure sensors include for
 Modulation pressure (35 bar) on auto- instance all microphones which, since they
matic gearboxes, are insensitive to static pressures, are used to
 Braking pressure in master cylinder and measure pressure oscillations in gaseous
wheel-brake cylinders (200 bar), and au- and/or liquid mediums.
tomatic yaw-moment compensation on
the electronically-controlled brake, Since up to now, practically only static sen-
 Overpressure/low pressure (0.5 bar) and sors have been used in automotive engineer-
OBD "On-Board Diagnosis", ing, these will be dealt with in more detail
 Combustion-chamber pressure (100 bar, here.
dynamic) for detection of missfire and
combustion knock, Direct pressure measurement
Being as all resistors are more or less pres-
1 Pressure measurement sure-dependent (volumetric effect), when
very high pressures (>104 bar) are to be
a b measured it would suffice theoretically to
1 simply subject an electrical resistor to the
Fig. 1
pressure medium. On the other hand, they
a Direct measurement,
are at the same time more or less tempera-
resistor (3) ture-dependent, a characteristic which it is
p p
b Measurement using usually very difficult to suppress. Further-
a force sensor (1) c d more, the sealed lead-out of their connec-
c Measuring the dia- tions from the pressure medium presents
phragm deformation/ 2 difficulties. Encapsulated capacitive measur-

DMS (2)
d Capacitive measure-
4 ing modules have more favorable character-
ment using the istics and, depending upon the particular
deformation of a p p application, are easier to manufacture.
diaphragm cell
Robert Bosch GmbH

Pressure sensors Measuring principles 79

Diaphragm-type sensors used in automotive applications. The list is

The most common method used for pres- arranged according to the type of di-
sure measurement (also in automotive ap- aphragm material and the applied DMS
plications) uses a thin diaphragm as the technology. Those combinations are marked
intermediate stage. The pressure to be mea- which will be dealt with in the following as
sured is first of all applied to one side of this examples (x) or whose manufacture or pur-
diaphragm so that this bends to a greater or chase have been considered more closely
lesser degreee as a function of the pressure. (fields marked in blue):
Within a very wide range, its diameter and
thickness can be adapted to the particular 1 DMS pick-off and diaphragm material
pressure range. Low-pressure measuring DMS pick-off Diaphragm material
ranges lead to large diaphragms which can Ceramic Metal Silicon
easily deform by as much as 1...0.1 mm. (steel)
Higher pressures though demand thicker, Foils 1)
low-diameter diaphrams which only deform (glued)
very slightly by a few m. In case (capaci- Thick-film
tive) pick-offs for spacing or distance mea- Metal
surements are also required, voltage-mea- thin-film
Silicon Table 1
suring methods dominate in the medium- X
pressure to high-pressure ranges. Here, Diffusion
practically only DMS techniques are used. X
1) Unsuitable for large-batch production, x) Present-day

Capacitive pick-off examples Under consideration

In contrast to their application in inertia
sensors (see acceleration/yaw-rate sensors), With regard to the particular measuring
capacitive pressure sensors are still only effects magnitude and type, the DMS tech-
rarely encountered even though they could niques listed above have widely varying
possibly provide similar advantages (par- characteristics. The gauge factor (K)defines
ticularly with respect to their accuracy). This the magnitude of the measuring effect of
is more than likely the result of one impor- deformation resistors. It gives the relative
tant difference compared to the other sen- change in such a resistors resistance R re-
sors dealt with above: ferred to the relative change in its length l an
Pressure sensors need direct contact with (Equation 1):
the pressure medium, whose dieelectric
characteristics practically always affect the
R/R d/
calibration of such capacitive pressure sen- K= =1+2+
sors. This means that the calibration would
then not only be dependent upon the
medium in question, but would also be Here, the symbol (expansion) is often in-
impossible without it (that is, in the "dry" serted for the relationship l/l, and in multi-
state). Clear separation of the sensor from ples of 106 (ppm) as "micron" or "micro
the pressure medium has up to now only strain".
been achieved at the cost of considerable
technical outlay. is the materials "transversal-contraction
factor", and  is its electrical conductivity.
DMS1) pick-off characterises the reduction of cross-sec-
Table 1 presents a systematic overview of the tion area of the material upon elongation.
proven pressure-measurement techniques
which to a great extent have already been 1) DMS = Strain gauge or strain-gauge resistor
Robert Bosch GmbH

80 Pressure sensors Measuring principles

In the ideal case of constant volume, = 0.5 metallic resistors, with regard to Si resistors
(in reality, = 0.3...0.4). it plays a dominant role.

Whereas the conductivity term in Equation One refers, incidentally, to a longitudinal

1 is of hardly any importance in the case of gauge factor when the resistor is expanded
in the direction of current and to a trans-
verse gauge factor when it is expanded cross-
2 Gauge factor, physical quantities wise to the current direction (Fig. 2). Table 2
provides an overview of typical values for
the most important gauge factors.
"Creep" (slight mechanical give under the
effects of long-term unidirectional loading)
l is a highly-feared phenomenon which, when
R I it occurs at all, is only encountered on glued
R/R foil-DMS. The other DMS techniques all
Kl =
l l apply non-glued techniques and are not
l = l affected by this phenomena.
To be precise, a diaphragms deformation
depends upon the difference in the pressure
applied to its top and bottom sides. This
Fig. 2 means that there are four different basic
a Longitudinal
b pressure-sensor types (Table 3):
b Transverse
F Force R I  Absolute pressure,
I Current F F  Reference pressure,
R Resistance  Barometric pressure, and

l Length Kt =
t  Differential pressure.
w Width
t = w
w w Transfer to a force sensor
K Gauge factor
Instead of directly using the force taken up
by their diaphram, a number of sensors
2 Gauge factors for different materials
transfer it to a force sensor whose measuring
Material Gauge factors range can remain constant due to the fact
Longitudinal Transverse
that the purely mechanical diaphragm has
Foil DMS 1.6 ... 2.0 0 already performed the adaptation to the
Thick film 12 ... 15 12 ... 15
pressure-measuring range. Perfect linkage
Metal thin film 1.4 ... 2.0 0.5 ... 0
Si thin film 25 ... 40 25 ... 40
from measuring diaphragm to force sensor
Table 2 Si monocrystalline 100 ... 150 100 ... 150 (for instance by a tappet) must be ensured
3 Basic sensor types for pressure measurement
Examples of application
Pressure on Pressure on diaphragm top side  Thick-film pressure sensors,
diaphragm p0
 Micromechanical pressure sensors,
bottom side Measuring Ambient Vacuum
pU pressure pressure
 Si combustion-chamber pressure sensors,
Measuring Difference Reference Absolute
pressure pressure pressure pressure
 Metal-diaphragm high-pressure sensors.
Ambient Reference Barometric
pressure pressure pressure
Vacuum Absolute Barometric
Table 3 pressure pressure
Robert Bosch GmbH

Pressure sensors Thick-film pressure sensors 81

Thick-film pressure sensors 1 Thick-film pressure sensor (for ECU installation)

As an alternative to micromechanical pres-
sure sensors, thick-film pressure sensors can
sometimes be used (for instance in engine- 1 2 3 4 5 Fig. 1
management systems, M and ME Motronic). Measuring range:
These are in the form of a module for instal- 1 Pressure connection
lation in the ECU or a stand-alone compo- for the measured
nent. They are used as: p pressure p
2 Pressure-measuring

 Manifold-pressure or boost-pressure cell

3 Sealing web
sensor (pressure range 20...400 kPa or Signal conditioning:
0.2...4.0 bar), and 4 Evaluation circuit
0 2 cm
 Atmospheric-pressure sensor (pressure 5 Thick-film hybrid on
range 60...115 kPa or 0.6...1.15 bar). ceramic substrate

Design and operating concept 2 Thick-film pressure sensor (pressure-measuring cell)

The sensor is subdivided into a pressure-

measuring cell and a chamber for the evalu-
ation circuit. Both are arranged on a com-
mon ceramic substrate (Fig. 1).
The pressure-measuring cell (Fig. 2)
1 2 3 4 4 2 5
comprises a "bubble-shaped" thick-film di-
Fig. 2
aphragm which encloses a reference pressure p 1 Thick-film diaphragm
of 0.1 bar. The diaphragm deforms as a
2 Passive reference
function of the pressure being measured. deformation resistor
There are four deformation resistors on the 3 Reference-pressure

diaphragm which are connected to form a chamber ("bubble")

bridge circuit. Two of these active deforma- 4 Active deformation
tion resistors are located in the center of the resistor
5 Ceramic substrate
diaphragm and change their conductivity
p Measured pressure.
when mechanical stress is applied (measured
pressure). Two passive deformation resistors 3 Thick-film pressure sensor (circuit)
are situated on the diaphragms periphery
and function primarily as bridge resistors
for temperature compensation. They have
little effect upon the output signal.
When pressure is applied, the diaphragm
deforms and changes the bridge-circuit bal- A
ance. The bridges measurement voltage UM
is therefore a measure of the measured pres- Fig. 3
sure p (Fig. 3). The evaluation circuit ampli- UM B UA A DMS pressure-
fies the bridge voltage, compensates for the measuring cell
influence of temperature, and linearises the B Amplifier
C Temperature-com-
pressure curve. The evaluation circuits out-

pensation circuit
put voltage UA is inputted to the ECU. U0 Supply voltage
UM Measured voltage
UA Output voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

82 Pressure sensors Micromechanical pressure sensors

Micromechanical pressure 1 Pressure-sensor measuring element with reference

vacuum on the components side

Application 1 3
Fig. 1 R1 R1
Manifold-pressure or boost-pressure sensor
1 Diaphragm
2 Silicon chip
This sensor measures the absolute pressure 2 p
3 Reference vacuum in the intake manifold between the super-
4 Glass (Pyrex) charger and the engine (typically 250 kPa or 4
5 Bridge circuit 2.5 bar) and compares it with a reference
p Measured pressure vacuum, not with the ambient pressure. This R2 R1
U0 Supply voltage
enables the air mass to be precisely defined, UM

UM Measured voltage 5 U0
R1 Deformation resistor
and the boost pressure exactly controlled in R1 R2
(compressed) accordance with engine requirements.
R2 Deformation resistor
(extended) Atmospheric-pressure sensor
This sensor is also known as an ambient-
pressure sensor and is incorporated in the 2 Pressure-sensor measuring element with cap and
reference vacuum on the components side
ECU or fitted in the engine compartment.
Its signal is used for the altitude-dependent
correction of the setpoint values for the con-
trol loops. For instance, for the exhaust-gas
Fig. 2 recirculation (EGR) and for the boost-pres- 1 4
1, 3 Electrical connec- sure control. This enables the differing den- 5
tions with glass-
sities of the surrounding air to be taken into 2
enclosed lead-in 6
account. The atmospheric-pressure sensor
2 Reference vacuum
4 Measuring element
measures absolute pressure (60...115 kPa or
(chip) with evalu- 0.6...1.15 bar).
ation electronics 3 7 UAE0648-2Y
5 Glass base Oil and fuel-pressure sensor
6 Cap Oil-pressure sensors are installed in the oil
7 Input for measured p
filter and measure the oils absolute pressure.
pressure p
This information is needed so that engine
loading can be determined as needed for the 3 Pressure-sensor measuring element with cap and
Service Display. The pressure range here is reference vacuum on the components side
50...1000 kPa or 0.5...10.0 bar. Due to its
high resistance to media, the measuring ele-
ment can also be used for pressure measure-
ment in the fuel supplys low-pressure stage.
It is installed on or in the fuel filter. Its signal
serves for the monitoring of the fuel-filter
contamination (measuring range: 20...
400 kPa or 0.2...4 bar).

Version with the reference vacuum on

the component side

Design and construction

The measuring element is at the heart of the
micromechanical pressure sensor. It is com-
Robert Bosch GmbH

Pressure sensors Micromechanical pressure sensors 83

prised of a silicon chip (Fig. 1, Pos. 2) in 4 Micromechanical pressure sensor with reference
which a thin diaphragm has been etched vacuum on the components side
micromechanically (1). Four deformation
1 2 3 4 5
resistors (R1, R2) are diffused on the dia-
phram. Their electrical resistance changes
when mechanical force is applied. The mea-
suring element is surrounded on the com-
ponent side by a cap which at the same time
encloses the reference vacuum (Figs. 2 and Fig. 4
3). The pressure-sensor case can also incor- 1 Temperature sensor
porate an integral temperature sensor (Fig. 4, (NTC)
Pos. 1) whose signals can be evaluated inde- 2 Lower section of
pendently. This means that at any point a 7 case
3 Manifold wall
single sensor case suffices to measure tem-
4 Seal rings
perature and pressure.

5 Electrical terminal
Method of operation 1 cm 6 Case cover
The sensors diaphragm deforms more or 7 Measuring element
less (10 1000 m) according to the pres-
sure being measured. The four deformation 5 Micromechanical boost-pressure sensor (example
of curve)
resistors on the diaphragm change their
electrical resistances as a function of the V
mechanical stress resulting from the applied
pressure (piezoresistive effect).
The four measuring resistors are arranged
Output voltage

on the silicon chip so that when diaphragm

deformation takes place, the resistance of
two of them increases and that of the other
two decreases. These deformation resistors 1.87
form a Wheatstone bridge (Fig. 1, Pos. 5),

and a change in their resistances leads to a

change in the ratio of the voltages across
100 250 kPa
them. This leads to a change in the measure-
ment voltage UM. This unamplified voltage
is therefore a measure of the pressure ap-
plied to the diaphragm. amplify the bridge voltage, compensate for
The measurement voltage is higher with a temperature influences, and linearise the
bridge circuit than would be the case when pressure curve. The output voltage is be-
using an individual resistor. The Wheatstone tween 0...5 V and is connected through elec-
bridge circuit thus permits a higher sensor trical terminals (Fig. 4, Pos. 5) to the engine-
sensitivity. management ECU which uses this output
voltage in calculating the pressure (Fig. 5).
The component side of the sensor to which
pressure is not supplied is subjected to a ref- Version with reference vacuum in
erence vacuum (Fig. 2, Pos. 2) so that it special chamber
measures the absolute pressure. Design and construction
The manifold or boost-pressure sensor version
The signal-conditioning electronics circuitry with the reference vacuum in a special
is integrated on the chip. Its assignment is to chamber (Figs. 6 and 7) is easier to install
Robert Bosch GmbH

84 Pressure sensors Micromechanical pressure sensors

than the version with the reference vacuum the silicon chip from the side on which the
on the components side of the sensor ele- evaluation electronics is situated. This
ment. Similar to the pressure sensor with means that a special gel must be used at this
cap and reference vacuum on the compo- side of the sensor to protect it against en-
nents side of the sensor element, the sensor vironmental influences (Fig. 8, Pos. 1). The
element here is formed from a silicon chip reference vacuum is enclosed in the chamber
with four etched deformation resistors in a between the silicon chip (6) and the glass
bridge circuit. It is attached to a glass base. base (3). The complete measuring element is
In contrast to the sensor with the reference mounted on a ceramic hybrid (4) which in-
vacuum on the components side, there is no corporates the soldering surfaces for electri-
passage in the glass base through which the cal contacting inside the sensor.
measured pressure can be applied to the sen-
sor element. Instead, pressure is applied to A temperature sensor can also be incorpo-
rated in the pressure-sensor case. It pro-
trudes into the air flow, and can therefore
6 Micromechanical pressure sensor with reference respond to temperature changes with a
vacuum in a chamber
minimum of delay (Fig. 6, Pos. 4).

Operating concept
The operating concept, and with it the signal
1 5 conditioning and signal amplification to-
gether with the characteristic curve, corre-
sponds to that used in the pressure sensor
with cap and reference vacuum on the sen-
Fig. 6 sors structure side.The only difference is
1 Manifold wall that the measuring elements diaphragm is
2 Case 6 deformed in the opposite direction and
3 Seal ring therefore the deformation resistors are
4 Temperature sensor
"bent" in the other direction.

5 Electrical connec-
tion (socket)
6 Case cover
1 cm
7 Measuring element

7 Micromechanical pressure sensor with reference 8 Measuring element of pressure sensor with
vacuum in a chamber and temperature sensor reference vacuum in a chamber

Fig. 8
1 Protective gel
2 Gel frame 1 5
3 Glass base 2
4 Ceramic hybrid 6
5 Chamber with refer- 3
ence volume 7

6 Measuring element 4

(chip) with evalu-

ation electronics
7 Bonded connection
p Measured pressure
Robert Bosch GmbH

Pressure sensors High-pressure sensors 85

High-pressure sensors higher pressures and thinner ones for lower

pressures). When the pressure is applied via
Application the pressure connection (4) to one of the
In automotive applications, high-pressure diaphragm faces, the resistances of the
sensors are used for measuring the pressures bridge resistors change due to diaphragm
of fuels and brake fluids. deformation (approx. 20 m at 1500 bar).
The 0...80 mV output voltage generated
Diesel rail-pressure sensor by the bridge is conducted to an evaluation
In the diesel engine, the rail-pressure sensor circuit which amplifies it to 0...5 V. This is
measures the pressure in the fuel rail of the used as the input to the ECU which refers to
Common Rail accumulator-type injection a stored characteristic curve in calculating
system. Maximum operating (nominal) the pressure (Fig. 2).
pressure pmax is 160 MPa (1600 bar). Fuel
pressure is controlled by a closed control
loop, and remains practically constant inde-
pendent of load and engine speed. Any devi- 1 High-pressure sensor
ations from the setpont pressure are com-
pensated for by a pressure control valve. 2 cm

Gasoline rail-pressure sensor
As its name implies, this sensor measures the
pressure in the fuel rail of the DI Motronic
with gasoline direct injection. Pressure is a
function of load and engine speed and is 3
5...12 MPa (50...120 bar), and is used as an
actual (measured) value in the closed-loop Fig. 1
rail-pressure control. The rpm and load- 4 1 Electrical connec-
dependent setpoint value is stored in a map tion (socket)
5 2 Evaluation circuit
and is adjusted at the rail by a pressure con-
3 Steel diaphragm

trol valve.
with deformation
Brake-fluid pressure sensor p 4 Pressure connection
Installed in the hydraulic modulator of such 5 Mounting thread
driving-safety systems as ESP, this high-
pressure sensor is used to measure the 2 High-pressure sensor (curve, example)
brake-fluid pressure which is usually 25 MPa
(250 bar). Maximum pressure pmax can V
climb to as much as 35 MPa (350 bar). Pres-
sure measurement and monitoring is trig- 4.5
gered by the ECU which also evaluates the
Output voltage

return signals.

Design and operating concept

The heart of the sensor is a steel diaphragm
onto which deformation resistors have been

vapor-deposited in the form of a bridge cir- 0.5

cuit (Fig. 1, Pos. 3). The sensors pressure-
0 pmax
measuring range depends upon the di-
aphragms thickness (thicker diaphragms for
Robert Bosch GmbH

86 Force sensors and torque sensors Measured quantities

Force sensors and torque sensors

Measured quantities measured quantity has to be transferred

using non-contact methods from a rotating
The following list underlines the wide var- shaft (e.g. steering spindle or drive shaft) to
iety of applications for force and torque a sensor mounted on the chassis.
sensors in automotive engineering:
Since any form of measurement of only part
 In the commercial-vehicle sector, mea- of the force or torque is very problematical
surement of the coupling force between and can easily lead to false results, force and
the towing vehicle and its trailer or semi- torque sensors must be directly connected
trailer for the closed-loop controlled ap- into the power flux (in other words, the
plication of the brakes, whereby neither complete measured variable must pass
push nor pull forces are active at the through them). In other words, there is a di-
drawbar. rect relationship between the extent of the
 Measurement of the shock-absorber force measuring range and the sensors size, that
for use in electronic chassis-control sys- is, the wider the measuring range the larger
tems, the sensor.
 For electronically controlled braking-force
distribution, measurement of the axle Although, in line with automotive-industry
load on commercial vehicles, demands, there are compact force and
 Measurement of the pedal force on elec- torque sensors on the market, these only
tronically-controlled braking systems, measure accurately enough when the forces
 Measurement of the braking force on are introduced to the sensor in a precisely
electrically actuated, electronically-con- defined manner, a stipulation that normally
trolled braking systems, can only be complied with under laboratory
 Proximity or non-contact measurement conditions. The tolerances and misalign-
of drive and brake torques, ment normally encountered in practice gen-
 Proximity or non-contact measurement erally dictate the connection of homogenis-
of steering torque or power-steering ation elements which in turn then lead to the
torque, sensors becoming too large
 Finger-clamp protection on power win-
dows and electrically operated sunroofs, If force and torque-transfer components
 Force sensors integrated in the wheel must be cut in order for sensors to be fitted,
bearing, this generally results in an interface problem.
 Weight measurement of vehicle occupants This can only be solved by close cooperation
for occupant-restraint systems. between the sensor supplier and the sup-
pliers of the parts which must be cut in or-
In many cases, initial developments failed to der to install the sensors. This usually in-
lead to the expected results since generally volves a large number of different compa-
the costs involved in achieving the stipulated nies and the automaker as well. Up to now,
accuracy were excessive for the systems in this problem has not been encountered with
which the sensors were to be installed. other sensor types, at least not with this
severity and with such wide-ranging impli-
Contrary to expectations, it proved impos- cations.
sible to force down the costs for the produc- Even if the force and torque-transfer com-
tion of good torque sensors below those for ponents do not have to be cut, and mechani-
pressure and acceleration sensors. In fact the cal elements are used as measuring springs
torque sensors cost more. which only need modifying for installation
Matters are aggravated, and this applies of the sensor elements, very precise align-
particularly to torque sensors, when the ment is still necessary.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles 87

Measuring principles present are about 30% (referred to the fun-

damental isotropic values), and can be
Basically speaking, when considering force utilised without electronics being necessary,
measurement, a difference must be made the effects displayed by materials which have
between static and dynamic measuring prin- been optimised from the point of view of
ciples, and between measuring principles measurement techniques is only in an area of
based on displacement and mechanical a few percent and needs electronic backup.
For the most part, static sensors have been The advantages of the magneto-elastic effect
in demand up to now, whereby for force are to be found in its broad temperature
sensors, non-resilient strain-measuring range and the fact that technical applications
principles were preferred. In the present-day are possible up to temperatures as high as
example of steering-torque sensing though, approx. 300 C. On the other hand, it repre-
"soft" resilient sensor systems are acceptable sents a marked volume effect. This means
which can also incorporate angle-measure- that the coils used for detection not only
ment pick-offs. This is possible, particularly register a local variation of permeability
because this characteristic proved to be tol- caused by the application of force, but more
erable in earlier hydraulic systems which or less the effects throughout the whole of
were not equipped with sensors. At present, the coils cross section. This makes the sen-
being as the use of microstructural elements sor somewhat less sensitive to the possibility
for mass production has not yet been clari- of force being applied asymmetrically.
fied, magnetic coil systems still dominate in Since the changes in permeability as a
both sectors. function of applied force are practically al-
ways registered with the help of alternating
Force sensors fields, the penetration depth of these fields,
Magneto-elastic principle which is highly frequency-dependent, must
The magneto-elastic effect is based on the be observed:
anisotropic (directional) behaviour of rela- Only those mechanical forces can con-
tive magnetic permeability r, (relationship tribute to the measuring effect which are
between magnetic induction and magnetic present in the measuring fields effective
field strength). This has the same value in all penetration depth. In order to be able to put
directions when no force is applied from the the measuring effect to maximum use, the
outside, but under the influence of an ap- magnetically active air gap should be kept as
plied force its value changes. In the (longitu- small as possible. Often, this means that the
dinal) direction of the applied force, this magnetically active measuring circuit is
change (rl) is different to that in the trans-
verse direction (rq). 1 Magneto-elastic anisotropic effect

a F b
In fact, the permeability change in the direc-
Fig. 1
tion of force is a true reflection of the sign of a Magneto-elastic
the force. Even though practically all ferro- rl measurement
magnetic materials demonstrate this effect, it 1 structure
can be optimized by using a specific alloy b Measuring effect
composition. Unfortunately though, the ma- rq F Force
terials which have good linearity, low hys- rl r Relative magnetic

teresis, and low temperature sensitivity, are

F rq Transverse to the
not identical with the ones which have a direction of force
high measuring effect. Whereas the maxi- F rl In the direction of
mum measuring effects observed up to the force
Robert Bosch GmbH

88 Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles

closed with ferromagnetic material, even If the field strength H of the supply coil is not
when this is not included in the power flux. axially parallel to the applied force, the effect
Figure 2 shows the two most important of the latter not only changes the magnetic
possibilities of evaluating the magneto-elas- induction B, but also its direction (due to the
tic effect: If a coil is arranged on the mea- anisotropy of the permeability, Fig. 2b).
surement structure so that its direction of Assuming that with no force applied the
field coincides with the direction of applied directions of H and B are superposed one
force, the change in inductance L can be upon the other in the normal manner, these
picked-off and applied directly. Independent assume increasingly different directions
of the magnitude of the applied force, the when force is applied and increased. In par-
excitation field strength H and the induction ticular, this can be of advantage in varying
B always have the same direction (Figs. 2a the magnetic coupling of two measuring
and 3a). coils (Figs. 3b, 3c, and 4).

2 Influence of the magneto-elastic effect 4 Magneto-elastic tensile-force/compressive-force

sensor for measuring braking torque

a F b F

H B (F0)

Fig. 2 H
a With direction of B (F=0)
B (F0)
force parallel to the
B (F=0)
direction of field
b For different direc-
tions of field

strength H and
force F F F
B Induction
Enclosed angle

3 Different forms of magneto-elastic force sensors

a F b F c


L (F)

F F U2

L U2


Fig. 3 F
a Variable inductance
b Variable coupling
c Variable coupling
Robert Bosch GmbH

Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles 89

Strain-gauge (DMS) principle its surface deformation perfectly. The

(piezoresistive) change in resistance resulting from the resis-
Strain-gauge measuring resistors represent tors deformation is defined by the particu-
the most widespread, and probably the most lar gauge factor K of the resistor in question
reliable and precise method for measuring (refer to "pressure sensors"):
force and torque (Fig. 5). Their principle is
based on the fact that in the zone of the elas- R/R = K
tic-member material to which Hookes Law
applies there is a proportional relationship On metal film resistors, the K factor rarely
between the mechanical strain in the exceeds 2. Strain gauges are designed that as
member, caused by the introduction of far as possible (in combination with a given
force, and the resulting deformation . elastic material and its thermal expansion)
they are temperature insensitive (TKR 0).
= l/l = /E Any residual temperature sensitivity is
usually eliminated by depositing the resis-
whereby E is the modulus of elasticity. Since tors on the elastic member in the form of a
it does not directly measure the strain result- half or full bridge. Since temperature effects
ing from the applied force, but rather the result in same-direction changes on the
resulting deformation, the strain-gauge strain gauge this results in no output signal.
method can be regarded as an indirect mea- The auxiliary bridge resistors can be (but
suring method. For instance, if the modulus need not be) located within the elastic mem-
of elasticity decreases by 3% above 100 K, a bers deformation zone. They can also be
figure which is normal for metals, then the fitted as purely compensation resistors
force indicated by the strain-gauge method (Fig. 5c). It must be noted that often the
is 3% too high. K-factor itself also has a temperature coef-
ficient (TKK). Usually, this decreases along
Strain-gauge resistors in the form of film re- with increasing temperature, which means
sistors are so closely bonded to the surface of that in favorable cases it can compensate for
the selected elastic member that they follow the signal increase caused by the E-module.

5 Starin-gauge force sensors

a b Rl Rq

Rq Fig. 5
F a Rod-shaped
b Toroidal-shaped
c Electronic evaluation
F F Force
c Rl Rl, q Metal film resistors,
U0 - lengthways, cross-

+ R Auxiliary bridge
U0 Supply voltage
UA Output voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

90 Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles

Apart from this, signal reductions caused Applications

by the K-factor are usually compensated for As a rule, in order to carry out force mea-
by a bridge supply voltage which increases surements, very small strain-gauge resistors
accordingly. must be attached to larger force-carrying
elastic members. The traditional method of
Disadvantages/Limitations applying the strain-gauge resistors to the
Notwithstanding their high levels of accu- elastic member by means of a foil backing
racy and reliability, since the deformation (as applied in such devices as high-precision
and therefore also the changes in resistance scales), is not inexpensive enough for large-
(at least in the case of metal film resistors) batch "low-cost" production. First attempts
are only in the percentage range of the origi- are therefore being made to apply low-cost,
nal state, the strain-gauge sensors only gen- large batch film/layer techniques by deposit-
erate output voltages in the mV range so ing the strain-gauge resistors on small metal
that in general local amplification is re- wafers which are then pressed into, or
quired. A further disadvantage of small welded onto the elastic element.
strain-gauge resistors is the fact that they
only measure the strain at precisely that Orthogonal printed resistors
point at which it is applied, and no averag- Practically all electrical film resistors change
ing takes place to arrive at a figure which their resistance not only under the influence
applies to the (larger) elastic member as a of laterally applied deformation strain but
whole. This, of course, no longer holds true also when compression is applied vertical to
in cases in which the strain-gauge structure the film plane (orthogonal). Here, the so-
is distributed across the elastic members called "conductive plastic", commonly used
complete surface. This necessitates ex- in potentiometers, features very high sensi-
tremely precise and reproducible application tivity. "Cermet" and "carbon layers" are also
of the strain to be measured if measuring highly sensitive (Fig. 6). Up to a certain
errors due to uneven strain introduction is limit, the resistance of the above materials
to be avoided. decreases along with increasing compres-
sion. The values that can be achieved with-

6 Piezoresistive behaviour of various resistance 7 Force sensor with orthogonally compressed strain-
materials when orthogonal compression is applied gauge resistors

Fig. 6
1 84.5Ag15.5Mn 4 1 F Detail A
2 Manganin
Relative resistance change Rp /R0

3 Cu
4 Au A
5 Ag 0
6 Carbon film/layer 3 2
7 Cermet -2
8 Conductive plastic 3
4 5
-4 4
Fig. 7
1 Force-application -6 5
2 Insulation -8 6
3 Adhesive layer/ 8 7


glass layer -10

4 Sensor layer 0 400 800 bar
5 Insulation Pressure p
6 Support ring
Robert Bosch GmbH

Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles 91

out permanent resistance change are similar construction of multiple sensor configur-
to those which apply for lateral deformation. ations ("sensor arrays") with which the load
In both cases, the limit is a function of sub- distribution over a given surface area can be
strate strength and not of the resistance ma- measured, or even the shape of an object
terial. Of course, sensors of this type are al- with a certain weight. Some sensor arrays
most only suitable for loading by compres- also use materials which demonstrate a far
sion but not by lateral strain. more pronounced measuring effect together
Unfortunately, the majority of materials with a practically exponential characteristic
feature a relatively high temperature sensi- curve. Here, the elastic foil often assumes the
tivity referred to their deformation depen- function of a switch which closes when pres-
dency. This makes such sensors unsuitable sure is applied and switches in the measur-
for static measurements. For bridge circuits, ing resistor. Unfortunately, there is no foil
pressure-free zones can be provided on the encapsulation which is 100% sealed against
substrate on which pressure-independent moisture so that long-term stability cannot
auxiliary bridge resistors or temperature- be counted on with such resistors.
dependent compensation resistors can be
located. Examples of application for force sensors
 Magneto-elastic bearing-pin sensors,
When the measuring resistors are designed  Magneto-elastic braking-force sensors,
as thick-film force-sensing discs, they are and
deposited on a hard substrate (for instance  Seat mat (vehicle-passenger weight).
steel), and joined to form a solid body by
means of a force-application ring (over- Torque sensors
glazed or cemented, Figs. 7 and 8). Basically, the methods used for torque mea-
The pressure-sensitive resistors though surement differ from those for angle and
can also be applied on a carrier foil (Fig. 9) strain measurement. In contrast to strain-
which can be located in a space-saving man- measurement methods (strain-gauge resis-
ner between the force-carrying components tors, magneto-elastic), angle-measurement
(for instance in a vehicle seat). Even though methods (e.g. eddy-current) require a cer-
such foil-type resistors are not highly precise tain length l of the torsion shaft via which
force sensors, they are very suitable for the the torsion angle (approx. 0.4...4) can be

8 Thick-film force-sensing disc 9 Orthogonally loaded strain-gauge resistors on foil

substrate (commercial name "Flexiforce")

Fig. 8
1 Orthogonally loaded

strain-gauge resis-
2 Overglazed force-
application ring
Robert Bosch GmbH

92 Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles

picked-off. The mechanical tension , which A strain-gauge bridge which is powered

is proportional to the torque, is at an angle using transformer principles (rectifier and
of less than 45 to the shaft axis (Fig. 10). control-electronics circuitry on the shaft, in-
The principles described below are all dependent of the air gap), is used to register
suited for the non-contacting (proximity) the mechanical stress. Further local elec-
transfer of measured values, even from ro- tronic components on the shaft permit the
tating shafts. In the case of steering-torque measured signal to be amplified and con-
measurement, it is also desirable for the em- verted to an AC form which is independent
ployed measuring system to measure the of the air gap (for instance, frequency-ana-
steering angle very accurately (through a full log) which can then also be outputted using
rotation of 360). This is in the sense of transformer principles. When large-batch
modular integration and is to be imple- quantities are involved, the electronic cir-
mented with only slight modification. cuitry on the shaft can be integrated in a
single chip. The deformation sensors can be
Strain-measuring sensors inexpensively formed on a prefabricated
Even though magneto-elastic sensors which steel blank (for instance, using thin-film
enclose the shaft are available on the market, techniques) which is then welded to the
these involve very high costs. Since it is often shaft. Considering the fact that such config-
impossible to optimise the shaft material urations are inexpensive to manufacture,
with regard to its magneto-elastic proper- they nevertheless permit high accuracies.
ties, a search is being made for methods to
coat the measuring shaft with a magneto- Angle-measuring (torsion-measuring)
elastic layer. Such a coating, which has to sensors
exhibit good measuring qualities, has still Sensors for measuring angular difference
not been found. The strain-gauge principle It is a relatively easy matter to define the tor-
has therefore also come to the forefront here sion angle when two mutually-independent
(Fig. 11): incremental rotational-speed sensors, or an
absolute-measuring (analog or digital) non-
contacting angular-movement pick-off, are

10 Torque measurement: Basic principle 11 Strain-gauge torque sensor with non-contacting

(proximity) transformer pick-off

M r M

Fig. 10
1 Torque rod 1
Torsion angle
Torsional stress f
M Torque U
9.81 Nm
r Radius
R2 R4
l Rod length
Fig. 11 R1 R3
1 Torque-display


Torsional stress
M Torque
U0 Supply voltage + 1
R1...R4 Deformation
Robert Bosch GmbH

Force sensors and torque sensors Measuring principles 93

provided at each end of the 5..10 cm-long vided with two rows of slots so that when
section subject to torsion measurement the shaft is twisted, it becomes increasingly
(Fig. 12). The difference in their outputs visible through one row of slots, and is hid-
2 1 is a measure for the torsion angle. den more and more by the other row.
Up to now, since adequate accuracy de-
mands extremely precise bearings, together This leads to increasing, or decreasing,
with the necessity to provide correspond- damping of the two high-frequency coils
ingly accurate angular or incremental subdi- (approx. 1 MHz) situated above each row of
vision around the complete periphery, this slots so that coil inductance also varies ac-
method has been regarded as too compli- cordingly. The slotted sleeves must be pre-
cated. Nevertheless work is forcing ahead cisely manufactured and assembled in order
with solving this problem (magnetically or to achieve the stipulated accuracy. The elec-
optically), because such a system would tronic circuitry is located as close as possible
incorporate two distinct advantages: to the coils.
 Possibility of simultaneous measurement
of the angle of rotation with the same Application examples for torque sensors
system.  Strain-measuring strain-gauge torque
 Possibility of measurement without far- sensors, and
reaching modifications to the torsion  Angle-measuring eddy-current torque
shaft being necessary, so that essentially sensors (electric power tools).
the sensor could be in the form of a plug-
in sensor providing an efficient interface
for a supplier component.

Eddy-current sensors
Two slotted sleeves are attached to each end
of a sufficiently long section of the measur-
ing shaft. These are inserted one inside the
other (Fig 13, Pos. 1). Each sleeve is pro-

12 Defining torque by measuring angular difference 13 Eddy-current torque sensor


Fig. 12
3 1, 2 Angle/rotational-
1 speed sensors
3 Angle markings
l Torsion-measure-
2 ment section
M Torque to be
1, 2 Angle signals

Fig. 13

1 Slotted sleeves
2 Air gap
3 HF coils
M Torque
Robert Bosch GmbH

94 Force sensors and torque sensors Occupant classification (OC) and detection of childs safety seat

Occupant classification (OC) or not, provided the seat is equipped with

and detection of childs
safety seat Design and construction
Assignment A so-called sensor mat and ECU incorpor-
Following introduction of the airbag for the ated in the vehicles front seats (Figs. 1 and
front-seat passenger, safety and actuarial 2) registers the information on the person in
considerations made it necessary to detect the seat and sends this to the airbag ECU.
whether the front-seat passengers seat is oc- These data are then applied when adapting
cupied or not. Otherwise, when an accident the restraint-system triggering to the current
occurs and both front airbags are deployed, situation.
unnecessary repair costs result if the passen-
ger seat is unoccupied. Operating concept
Measuring concept
The development of the so-called "Smart This relies upon the classification of passen-
Bags" marked an increase in the demand for gers (OC) according to their physical
the ability to detect occupation of the dri- characteristics (weight, height, etc.), and
ver-seat and front-passenger seat. The smart applying this data for optimal airbag deploy-
bag should feature variable deployment ment. Instead of directly "weighing" the per-
adapted to the actual situation and occupa- son concerned, the OC system primarily
tion of the seats. In certain situations, airbag applies the correlation between the persons
triggering must be prevented when deploy- weight and his/her anthropometric1) char-
ment would be injurious to one of the vehi- acteristics (such as distance between hip-
cles occupants (for instance, if a child is sit- bones). To do so, the OC sensor mat mea-
ting in the seat next to the driver, or a childs sures the pressure profile on the seat surface.
safety seat is fitted). This led to further de- Evaluation indicates first of all whether the
velopment of the "simple" seat-occupation seat is occupied or not, and further analysis
detection to form the "intelligent" Occupa- permits the person concerned to be allo-
tion Classification (OC). In addition, the cated to a certain classsification (Fig. 3).
automatic detection of a childs safety seat is
integrated as a further sensory function. 1) The study of human body measurements, especially on a
This can detect whether the seat is occupied comparative basis.

1 Sensor mat with OC-ECU 2 Installation of the OC sensor mats in the front seats

Fig. 1 1


Fig. 2 1
2 Airbag ECU
Robert Bosch GmbH

Force sensors and torque sensors Occupant classification (OC) and detection of childs safety seat 95

Sensor technology tion on the childs safety seat are sent to the
Basically, the OC sensor mat comprises pres- airbag ECU in a cyclical protocol where, via
sure-dependent FSR resistance elements a decision table, they help to define the trig-
(FSR: Force-Sensitive Resistance), the infor- gering behaviour.
mation from which can be selectively evalu-
ated. A sensor elements electrical resistance Algorithm
drops when it is subjected to increasing Among other things, the following decision
mechanical load. This effect can be regis- criteria serve to analyse the impression of
tered by inputting a measuring current. The the seating profile:
analysis of all sensor points permits defi-
nition of the size of the occupied seat area, Distance between hip-bones:
and of the local points of concentration of A typical seating profile has two main im-
the profile. pression points which correspond to the
distance between the passsengers hip-bones.
A sensing antenna and two receive antennas
in the OC sensor mat serve to implement Occupied surface:
the childs safety-seat detection function. Similarly, there is a correlation between the
During the generation of a sending field, occupied surface and the persons weight.
transponders in the specially equipped
childs seats are excited so that they impose a Profile coherence:
code on the sending field by means of mod- Consideration of the profile structure.
ulation. The data received by the receive
antenna and evaluated by the electronic cir- Dynamic response:
cuitry is applied in determining the type of Change of the profile as a function of time.
childs seat and its orientation.

The ECU feeds measuring currents into the
sensor mat and evaluates the sensor signals
with the help of an algorithm program
which runs in the microcontroller. The re-
sulting classification data and the informa-

3 Seat profile of the human body (a), with assignment of the distance between hip-bones to the persons weight (b)

a A b cm
Distance between hip-bones



14 Fig. 3
a Seating profile
X1 X2 b Diagram
X2 10 A Child with distance
between hip-bones

0 B Adult with distance
20 40 60 80 100 kg
between hip-bones
Robert Bosch GmbH

96 Flow meters Measured quantities

Flow meters

Measured quantities sensors which are used for measuring air

quantity or gas flows in general are also
Flow measurement is only required at a few referred to as "anemometers".
points on the vehicle: Depending upon engine power, the aver-
To register the delivered fuel quantity, and in age maximum air-mass flow rate to be mea-
particular to measure the amount of air sured is between 400 and 1200 kg/h. Due to
drawn in for combustion. the low air requirements at engine idle, the
ratio of minimum to maximum flow is
Fuel-flow measurement 1:90...1:100. The severe emissions and fuel-
On electronically controlled fuel-injection consumption requirements dictate accu-
systems, the fuel quantity is metered to the racies of 1...2% of the measured value. Re-
IC engine precisely (without specific flow ferred to the measuring range, this can easily
measurement), either intermittently or con- correspond to a measuring accuracy of 104,
tinuously. The required fuel quantity is in- a figure which is unusually high for the
jected precisely thanks to the evaluation of automobile.
such variable/adjustable parameters as injec- The air though, is not drawn in continu-
tion duration, setting of the metering unit, ously by the engine, but rather in time with
injection pressure, fuel temperature etc. the opening of the intake valves. Particularly
The fuel-flow meters were developed with the throttle wide open (WOT), this
principally during periods of intense fuel leads to considerable pulsation of the air-
scarcity and were used on the IC engines of mass flow, also at the measuring point which
the time, which were not yet electronically is always in the intake tract between air filter
controlled. They indicated the fuel con- and throttle valve (Fig. 1). Intake-manifold
sumption in liters for a given distance of resonance leads to the pulsation in the
100 km (60 miles). The difference between manifold sometimes being so pronounced
the fuel delivered from the tank and the that brief return flows can occur. This ap-
amount of fuel which flowed back to it plies in particular to 4-cylinder engines in
(whereby, particularly at idle, the amount of which there is no overlap of the air-intake
fuel returned to the tank was considerable) phase and the charge phase. An accurate
was applied as the basis for calculating the flow meter must be capable of registering
amount of fuel that had actually been used these return flows with the correct direction.
(Problem: This was the difference between
two large quantities).
Since there is presently no actual necessity
for such fuel flow meters, and since they are 1 Pulsating air-flow mass QLM in the intake tract of an
IC engine
practically no longer in use, no further space
will be devoted to them here.
Airflow measurement
1 Crankshaft rotation
As such, the often-used term "air quantity"
Air-mass flow QLM

is incorrect because it does not stipulate 300

whether volume or mass is concerned. Since
the chemical processes involved in fuel com- 200
Fig. 1 bustion are clearly based on mass relation-
At WOT and ships, the measurement must apply to the 100
n = 3000 min1;

mass of air drawn in or the mass of super-

intake-manifold pressure
ps = 0.96 bar;
charged air. In other words, the "air mass". 0 5 10 15 20 ms
mean air-flow rate At least on IC engines, the air-mass flow rate Time t
QLMm = 157.3 kg/h is the most important load parameter. The
Robert Bosch GmbH

Flow meters Measured quantities 97

On a 4-cylinder engine, the pulsations are vector at practically every point in the flow
generated at twice the crankshaft speed. This cross-section of area A is only a function of
means that they can easily be in the range the radius to the center line. The flow profile
50...100 Hz. With an air-mass meter featur- (laminar or turbulent, Fig. 2) is directly
ing a linear characteristic curve and a nar- related to the Reynolds number Re.
rower frequency bandwidth than above, it
would suffice for it to follow the mean value Re = D/
of these rapidly fluctuating air flows. The Where
mean value is in any case positive, so that D = Typical cross-section, and
the meter need not necessarily detect the = kinematic viscosity of the medium.
correct sign.
Practically all of the air-mass meters actu- Flow is laminar or turbulent when the
ally in use feature a characteristic curve Reynolds number R is below or above ap-
which is far from linear, so that the measure- prox. 1200. If the transition is in the center
ment signal must be linearized electronically of the measuring range, marked irregularity
before it can be evaluated. If averaging takes of the characteristic curve can be expected at
place before linearisation, this can lead to this point. As far as automotive applications
considerable errors ("mean-value errors"). are concerned, a purely turbulent flow (rec-
Being as the pulsations mostly have a pro- tangular profile: = constr) can be reckoned
nounced non-sinusoidal characteristic, they with. This turbulence is sometimes pro-
therefore also have a considerable harmonic voked on purpose by means of a special grid
content. This fact means that such air-mass element which also serves to protect the
meters must be able to follow the pulsations measuring system against damage. Assum-
rapidly enough. This necessitates a band- ing a homogeneous density , the flow is
width of about 1000 Hz. Apart from this simple to calculate as follows:
considerable bandwidth, the air-mass meters
must also have a high switch-on time con- QV = A Volume flow rate
stant in order for them to be able to measure QM =  A Mass flow rate
correctly during the engine start phase.
Similar to all flow meters, the versions Whereas in measurement techniques, long,
used in the automobile are calibrated for straight, advance and overshoot sections of
"tubular" flow with a symmetrical flow pro- constant cross-section are stipulated in or-
file, in other words for a flow whose velocity der to guarantee a symmetrical profile, such

2 Flow profiles

(r) Fig. 2
1 Laminar flow profile
2 Turbulent flow profile
A Cross-section area
R r of the tube
A 1 2 A Q Flow

R Tube radius
r Distance from the
tube center
(r) Flow profile
Robert Bosch GmbH

98 Flow meters Measuring principles

conditions cannot be complied with in a Measuring principles

vehicles cramped under-hood installation
space. If pronounced asymmetries occur, the Up to now, of the practically unlimited var-
flow meter must be calibrated as a function iety of flow meters on the market, only those
of the actual installation conditions. which operate according to the impact-pres-
sure principle have come to the forefront for
Impact pressure gauges, whose function will air-quantity measurement in the vehicle.
be dealt in more detail below, react to the This principle still depends upon mechani-
pressure drop (p) at a special restriction cally moving parts, and in principle correc-
(metering orifice) in the flow cross-section tion measures are still needed to compensate
and measure a flow which corresponds for density fluctuations.
neither to the volume flow rate nor the mass Today, air-mass meters are increasingly be-
flow rate. Instead this flow value is the geo- ing used which use a thermal method with-
metrical mean of the two: out moving parts. Their "hot-wire" or "hot-
film" principle enables them to follow sud-
 = const. 
QSt = const  QV 
QM den flow changes with a minimum of delay.

Whereby, the pressure loss at the flow meter Variable orifice plates (sensor plates)
(above all at WOT) is not to exceed The calculation of the pressure drop across
20...30 mbar. fixed orifice plates is based on two physical

Continuity equation:

1 1 A1 = 2 2 A2 = const

Bernoullis equation:
1 1
p1 +  2 = p2 + 2 22 = const
2 1 1 2

These laws are to be applied for two different

measuring cross-sections A1 and A2 (Fig. 3).
3 Impact-pressure flowmeter with ring orifice (a) and
sensor plate (b)

a p
p1 p2

Fig. 3 QLM A1 A2 QLM
a Ring orifice
b Sensor plate
1 Orifice plate b p
p1 p2
AS Plate diameter
A1, 2 Measuring cross-

p1, 2 Measurement QLM A1 AS 1 A2 QLM

p Pressure drop
QLM Air-mass flow
Robert Bosch GmbH

Flow meters Measuring principles 99

Assuming constant density  = 1 = 2, this is in relationship to the impact pressure

results in the pressure drop: defined above. The limit frequency for such
air-mass meters is approx. 10 Hz.
Such sensor plates though are unable to fol-
1 1
p = QV2  ( 2 2 ) low the high pulsation frequencies which often
A2 A1
occur. From the point of view of the pulsation,
they can be regarded as fixed orifice plates
This pressure drop can be measured either with a square-law curve. Under certain load
directly with a differential-pressure flow conditions this leads to considerable mean-
meter, or by means of the force acting value errors which can only be compensated
against a so-called sensor plate (Fig. 3). for roughly by the use of suitable software.

Due to their r.m.s. relationship to the flow, Here, when the density  of the drawn-in air
fixed orifice plates permit only a 1:10 varia- changes due to temperature fluctuations or
tion of the measured-variable. When larger changes in altitude, the measured signal
ranges are to be covered, several orifice changes by merely  . An air-temperature
plates must be used, or such versions which sensor and a barometric pressure sensor are
automatically adapt themselves to the mea- needed in order to register the density fluc-
suring range by opening up a larger flow tuation in full.
cross-section A2 in line with the increasing
impact pressure. Hot-wire/Hot-film anemometers
With such variable, moving sensor plates it When current IH flows through a thin wire
is an easy matter to increase the variation to with electrical resistance R, its temperature
1:100. Here, the increasing air flow causes the increases. If at the same time a medium with
sensor plate to be deflected (usually against a density , flows across it at velocity , a bal-
constant counterforce) into an area whose ance is set up between the electrical power
cross section is specifically shaped so that the input Pel and the power PV drawn off by the
resulting deflection/angle relationship com- air flow, whereby
plies with the desired characteristic. In other
words, linear for K-Jetronic and non-linear Pel = IH2 R = PV = c1 
for L-Jetronic. The sensor plates (Fig. 4) set-
ting is then a measure for the air flow which Here, the power drawn off by the air flow is
proportional to the temperature difference
 and the coefficient of thermal conduc-
4 Impact-pressure flow meter with variable, moving
sensor plate tivity . The following applies in close ap-

 + c2 = 
=  QLM + c2

Although is primarily a function of the

1 2
mass flow QLM, with the medium at standstill
3 ( = 0) a certain heat loss takes place (convec-
tion) represented by the additive constant c2 Fig. 4
This results in the familiar interrelationship 1 Sensor plate
2 Damping device

IH = c1 
 3 Soft return spring

x x max ( c2)

R QLM Air-mass flow
x = x(QLM) sensor-
between the heating current IH and the mass plate setting depen-
flow QLM. dent on flow
Robert Bosch GmbH

100 Flow meters Measuring principles

With the application of constant heating practice, this error is avoided by using a
power (IH2R), which presents no problems, a bridge circuit containing a second high-ohm
reciprocal temperature increase  would "compensation resistor" RK of the same type
occur which decreases at a rate correspond- (e.g. platinum). Here, the heater resistor is
ing to the square root of the air-mass flow kept at a constant overtemperature  com-
QLM. If on the other hand, the heating cur- pared to the medium (Fig. 6). In case of a
rent IH is controlled such that a constant sudden jump in the medium temperature,
temperature increase (for instance,  = the sensor reacts with a long time constant
100 K) is maintained even when the flow since in this case the calorific content of the
rate increases, this will lead to a heating cur- heater wire must be changed.
rent which increases at the fourth root of the The heater resistors in the first air-mass
mass flow, and at the same time serves as a meters (anemometers) used for automotive
measure for the mass flow. applications were of very fine platinum wire.
The essential advantage of such a control This wire was mounted in trapezoidal form
circuit lies in the fact that the electrical across the flow cross-section so that it was
heater resistor always remains at the same able take the mean of irregularities in the
temperature so that its calorific content flow profile. Service lives which were accept-
need not be changed by means of time- able from the technical viewpoint only be-
wasting heat transfer. In fact, with a 70 m came possible when the platinum wire was
platinum wire for instance, it is possible to stabilised by alloy additives so that its resis-
achieve time constants in the 1 ms range for tance no longer changed due to deposits and
changes in air-flow rate. In cases where cracks on its surface. This meant though
closed-loop control is not used the time that the deposits on the heater wire had to
constants would be 40...100 times higher be burned-off following every operating
(Fig. 5). phase (approx. 1000 C).

If the heater temperature were to be main- Notwithstanding a number of functional

tained constant simply by keeping its (tem- advantages, this sensor concept was far too
perature-dependent) resistance constant, costly. Although a thick-film version (HFM2)
with constant mass flow and higher medium was able to combine all the resistors con-
temperature, this would result in a current cerned with the measurement on a single
drop and therefore a false measurement. In ceramic substrate, this failed to bring the

5 Hot-wire air-mass meter 6 Hot-wire air-mass meter (electronic closed-loop

Fig. 5 1
8 IH
1 Theoretical charac-
2 QM
teristic tL
Signal voltage U

2 Experimental charac- 7
Fig. 6
QLM Air-mass flow 5 R1
UM Measurement
voltage 4

RH Hot-wire resistor

RK Compensation 0 RM UM
resistor 0 20 40 60 kg/h
RM Measuring resistor Air-mass flow QLM
R1, 2 Trimming resistor
Robert Bosch GmbH

Flow meters Measuring principles 101

hoped-for advantages with regard to the higher the flow the higher the temperature
costs. Due to the substrates considerable difference between the two sensors. The out-
thermal capacity, it was difficult not to ex- put signal derived from the temperature dif-
ceed the maximum permissible switching ference has a similar characteristic to the
constants. Furthermore, a complicated saw anemometers used up to now, whereby its
cut had to be made to reduce the undesir- sign is a clear indication of the flow direc-
able heat coupling between heating and tion.
compensation resistors. On the other hand Due to its small size, the micromechanical
though, this version permitted the burn-off flow meter is only a partial-flow meter. In
process to be dispensed with since the spe- other words, it is no longer in any way able
cial flow conditions no longer led to un- to average-out any non-homogeneity in the
wanted deposits. flow velocity as a function of the flow cross-
sectional area. Rather, this flow meter must
In contrast to both its predecessor types, a ensure that the partial flow it measures rep-
further silicon-based micromechanical ver- resents the same fraction of the total flow
sion (HFM5) fulfilled practically all expec- throughout the whole measuring range. This
tations. In particular, this version is able to is not always an easy matter.
measure in both directions with the correct
sign (Fig. 7). This means that the brief re- Examples of application
turn flows that occur as a result of pulsation  Sensor-plate air-mass meter LMM,
no longer lead to measuring errors (Fig. 8).  Hot-wire air-mass meter HLM,
To this end, in addition to the heater con-  Hot-film air-mass meter HFM2 und
trol circuit used in the previous versions, a  Hot-film air-mass meter HFM5.
temperature sensor is located on each side of
the heater resistor, in other words upstream
and downstream. This principle is similar to
the "Thomas process" often encountered in
literature. When there is no flow (QML = 0),
each of these sensors indicates the same
temperature. When flow starts though, since
the upstream sensor is cooled by the
medium and the other is heated by it, the

7 Micromechanical hot-film air-mass meter with air- 8 Pulsating air-mass flow of a 4-cylinder engine
quantity measurement in both directions

5 kg/h
4 100
Air-mass flow QLM
Signal voltage U

3 Fig. 7
QR 50 1 QR Return flow
0 Fig. 8
1 At WOT and speed
n = 900 min1

0 -50
1 Hot-wire air-mass
-100 0 100 200 300 kg/h 0 10 20 30 40 50 ms meter
Air-mass flow Q LM Time t 2 Hot-film air-mass
Robert Bosch GmbH

102 Flow meters Sensor-flap air-flow sensor LMM

Sensor-flap (impact-pressure) serves to damp the oscillations of the pul-

sating intake air.
air-flow sensor LMM
Application Instead of the desired mass flow which is
The sensor-flap air-flow sensor is still in proportional to the product from  , mea-
operation in a number of engines equipped surement according to the impact-pressure
with certain versions of the L-Jetronic or M- principle only measures a flow which is pro-
Motronic. It is installed between the air filter portional to the product   . This means
and the throttle valve and applies the sensor- that density compensation (air temperature,
flap principle in registering the air flow QL air pressure) is required in order to achieve
drawn in by the engine (Figs. 1 through 3). precise fuel metering.

Design and operating concept The intake airs density changes along with
The air-flow sensors pivoting sensor flap its temperature. This fact is taken into ac-
(Fig. 1, Pos. 1) forms a variable orifice plate. count by the ECU calculating a correcting
The incoming air QL deflects the flap against quantity from the temperature-dependent
the constant return force of a spring, resistance of a temperature sensor integrated
whereby the free cross-section area increases in the air-flow sensor (2). M-Motronic ver-
along with increasing air flow the more the sions always feature barometric-pressure
plate is deflected. compensation. Here, a manifold-pressure
The change of the free air-flow-sensor sensor is connected pneumatically to the
cross section as a function of the sensor-flap intake manifold so that it can pick-off the
setting has been selected so that there is a absolute manifold pressure. It is either inte-
logarithmic relationship between the sensor- grated directly in the ECU (connected by
flap angle and the air quantity drawn in by hose to the intake manifold), or located in
the engine. This leads to high air-flow sensor the vicinity of the intake manifold, or at-
sensitivity, a valuable asset in the case of tached directly to it.
small air quantities which necessitate high
measuring accuracy. The stipulated measur-
ing accuracy is 1...3% of the measured value
throughout a range defined by
Qmax : Qmin = 100 :1.
The sensor-plate angle is picked-off by a
potentiometer (4) which converts it into an 1 Impact-pressure airflow sensor
output voltage UA (Fig. 4) which is used as
an input to the ECU. In order to eliminate
the effects of potentiometer aging and tem- 1
perature coefficient on accuracy, the ECU
only evaluates resistance ratios.

A further phenomenon which must be taken QL

Fig. 1 into account are the intake or induction
1 Sensor plate strokes from the individual cylinders. These 2
2 Air-temperature generate oscillations in the intake manifold,
sensor which the air-flow sensor can only follow up 3

3 To ECU
to about 10 Hz. To keep these effects down
4 Potentiometer
5 Damping chamber
to a minimum, the measuring flap has a
6 Compensation flap compensation flap attached to it which, in 4 5 6
QL Intake-air flow combination with a damping chamber (5),
Robert Bosch GmbH

Flow meters Sensor-flap air-flow sensor LMM 103

2 Impact-pressure air-flow sensor (air-chamber side)

1 2

QL Fig. 2
1 Compensation flap
2 Damping chamber
3 Bypass

4 Sensor plate
5 Idle-mixture adjust-
ing screw
5 4 3 QL Intake-air flow

3 Impact-pressure air-flow sensor (connection and components side)

1 2

Fig. 3
7 1 Ring gear for spring
6 2 Return spring
5 3 Wiper track
4 Ceramic plate with
resistors and printed

5 Wiper pick-off
6 Wiper
7 Pump contact
4 3
QL Intake-air flow

4 Impact-pressure air-flow sensor (potentiometer circuitry and voltage curve)


R0 R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10
Output voltage UA

1 2
Fig. 4
1 Wiper track

0 2 Conductor seg-
0 1000 2000 l/min ments (data points)
Air quantity QL UA ~ 1/QL applies for the
Robert Bosch GmbH

104 Flow meters Hot-wire air-mass meter HLM

Hot-wire air-mass meter to air-mass flow. The HLM, on the other

hand, cannot detect the direction of air flow.
HLM In order to prevent measurement-result
Application drift due to deposits on the platinum wire,
The HLM hot-wire air-mass meter is in- this is heated for about 1 second to a burn-
stalled as a "thermal" load sensor between off temperature of approx. 1000 C every
air filter and throttle plate in a number of time the engine is switched off. Here, the
LH-Jetronic or M-Motronic gasoline en- dirt deposits evaporate or flake off and leave
gines. It registers the air-mass flow QM the hot wire in a clean state.
drawn in by the engine, and applies this to
determine the engine load. Being as it is able
to follow average fluctuations of up to 1 Hz,
the HLM is the fastest of the air flowmeters
at present in use.

Design and construction

The intake air drawn in by the engines flows 1 Hot-wire air-mass meter (circuit)
through the tubular HLM housing which is
protected at each end by a wire mesh. A
heated, 70 m thin platinum wire element is IH
suspended across the HLM measuring tube. QM tL
Fig. 1
It is suspended trapezoidally so that in good
RK Temperature-com- RK RH
pensation resistor
approximation it is able to cover the whole
RH Hot-wire heater of the flow cross-section. A temperature-
resistor compensation (thin film) resistor projects
RM Measuring resistor into the air flow just upstream of the hot
R1, 2 Bridge balance wire. Both of these components (hot wire
and resistor) are integral parts of a closed-
UM Measurement
loop control circuit, where they function as R2 RM UM
IH Heating current temperature-dependent resistors. The con-
tL Air temperature trol circuit is basically a bridge circuit and
QM Air-mass flow an amplifier (Figs. 1 and 2).

Operating concept 2 Hot-wire air-mass meter

Before the air flowing through the HLM
cools down the hot wire, its temperature is
measured by means of the temperature-
compensation resistor. A closed-loop control
circuit regulates the heater current so that
the hot wire assumes a temperature which is
held at a constant level above that of the in- 1 2 3
Fig. 2 take air. Since the air density influences the
1 Temperature-com- amount of heat dissipated to the air by the
pensation resistor hot wire, this measuring concept must ade-
quately take it into account. The heating
2 Sensor ring with hot

wire RH
current IH is therefore a measure of the air- QM RM
3 Precision measuring mass flow, and across a precision measuring RH
resistor (RM) resistor (RM) it generates a voltage signal UM,
QM Air-mass flow for input to the ECU, which is proportional
Robert Bosch GmbH

Flow meters Hot-film air-mass meter HFM2 105

Hot-film air-mass meter The HFM2 electronic circuitry converts

this voltage into the voltage UM which it
HFM2 adapts to make it suitable for input into the
Application ECU. The computer than uses this to calcu-
The HFM2 hot-film air-mass meter is a late the air mass drawn in by the engine for
thick-film sensor which is installed as a every working cycle. The HFM2 cannot
"thermal" load sensor between air filter and determine the direction of air flow.
throttle plate in a number of LH-Jetronic or The long-term measuring accuracy of
M-Motronic gasoline engines. It very accu- 4 % referred to the measured value applies
rately registers the air-mass flow QM drawn even without the burn-off of dirt deposits.
in by the engine, and applies this to deter-
mine the engine load.

Design and construction

Together with bridge resistors, the electri-
cally heated HFM2 platinum heater resistor
RH is located on a ceramic chip (substrate, 1 Hot-film air-mass meter (circuit)
Fig. 1).
The bridge also incorporates a tempera-
ture-dependent resistor RS (flow sensor) Fig. 1
RK Temperature-com-
which registers the heater temperature. Sep-
R2 R3 pensation sensor
aration of the heater and the flow sensor is (resistor)
advantageous for the (closed-loop) control RH Heater resistor
circuit. The heater element and the air-tem- IH RS Sensor resistor
perature compensation sensor (resistor RK) QM tL R1, Bridge resistors
are decoupled thermally by two saw cuts R2,
(Fig. 2). R1 RS RH
UM Measurement

Since the dirt is deposited mainly on the voltage

front edge of the sensor element, the com- IH Heating current
ponents which are decisive for the heat tran- tL Air temperature
sition are situated downstream on the cer- QM Air-mass flow
amic substrate. Furthermore, the sensor is so
constructed that air flow around the sensor 2 Hot-film air-mass meter (substrate)
remains unaffected by dirt deposits.
Operating concept 3



The electrically heated platinum heater resis- 1

tor projects into the intake-air flow which
cools it down. A closed-loop control circuit
Fig. 2
regulates the heater current so that the hot A Front side
wire assumes a temperature which is held at a B Rear side
constant level above that of the intake air. 1 Ceramic substrate
Since the air density, just as much as the flow 2 2 Two saw cuts
rate, is decisive regarding the amount of heat 3 Contacts

dissipated to the air by the hot wire, this mea- RK R1 RS RH RK Temperature-com-


pensation sensor
suring concept takes it into account to the (resistor)
appropriate degree. The heating current IH, RH Heater resistor
and the voltage at the heater, is thus a non- QM RS Sensor resistor
linear measure for the air-mass flow QM. R1 Bridge resistor
Robert Bosch GmbH

106 Flow meters Hot-film air-mass meter HFM5

Hot-film air-mass meter iety of diameters (for 370...970 kg/h). This

tube is installed in the intake tract down-
HFM5 stream from the air filter. Plug-in versions
Application are also available which are installed inside
For optimal combustion as needed to com- the air filter.
ply with the emission regulations imposed The most important components in the
by legislation, it is imperative that precisely sensor are the sensor element (4), in the air
the necessary air mass is inducted, irrespec- intake (8), and the integrated evaluation
tive of the engine's operating state. electronics (3). The partial air flow as re-
To this end, part of the total air flow quired for measurement flows across this
which is actually inducted through the air sensor element.
filter or the measuring tube is measured by a
hot-film air-mass meter. Measurement is Vapor-deposition is used to apply the sen-
very precise and takes into account the pul- sor-element components to a semiconduc-
sations and reverse flows caused by the tor substrate, and the evaluation-electronics
opening and closing of the engines intake (hybrid circuit) components to a ceramic
and exhaust valves. Intake-air temperature substrate. This principle permits very com-
changes have no effect upon measuring pact design. The evaluation electronics are
accuracy. connected to the ECU through the plug-in
connection (1). The partial-flow measuring
Design and construction tube (6) is shaped so that the air flows past
The housing of the HFM5 hot-film air-mass the sensor element smoothly (without whirl
meter (Fig. 1, Pos. 5) projects into a measur- effects) and back into the measuring tube
ing tube (2) which, depending upon the en- via the air outlet (7). This method ensures
gine's air-mass requirements, can have a var- efficient sensor operation even in case of ex-
treme pulsation, and in addition to forward
1 Hot-film air-mass meter HFM5 (circuit) flow, reverse flows are also detected (Fig. 2).

Operating concept
1 The hot-film air-mass meter is a "thermal
sensor" and operates according to the fol-
lowing principle:

2 A micromechanical sensor diaphragm

(Fig. 3, Pos. 5) on the sensor element (3) is
heated by a centrally mounted heater resis-
Fig. 1 tor and held at a constant temperature. The
1 Electrical plug-in temperature drops sharply on each side of
this controlled heating zone (4).
2 Measuring tube or
air-filter housing wall
3 Evaluation electron- The temperature distribution on the dia-
ics (hybrid circuit) 4 phragm is registered by two temperature-
4 Sensor element dependent resistors which are mounted up-
5 Sensor housing 5 8 stream and downstream of the heater resis-
6 Partial-flow measur- QM tor so as to be symmetrical to it (measuring

ing tube
6 points M1, M2). Without the flow of incom-
7 Air outlet for the
partial air flow QM
ing air, the temperature characteristic (1) is
1 cm 7 the same on each side of the heating zone
8 Intake for partial air
flow QM (T1 = T2).
Robert Bosch GmbH

Flow meters Hot-film air-mass meter HFM5 107

As soon as air flows over the sensor element, tion of water and contamination are pro-
the uniform temperature distribution at the vided for (inner measuring tube and protec-
diaphragm changes (2). On the intake side, tive grid).
the temperature characteristic is steeper
since the incoming air flowing past this area
cools it off. Initially, on the opposite side
(the side nearest to the engine), the sensor
element cools off. The air heated by the 2 Hot-film air-mass meter (output voltage as a function
of the partial air mass flowing past it)
heater element then heats up the sensor ele-
ment. The change in temperature distribu- V
tion leads to a temperature differential (T) Reverse flow
between the measuring points M1 und M2. 6
Forward flow
The heat dissipated to the air, and therefore
the temperature characteristic at the sensor
Output voltage

element is a function of the air mass flow.
Independent of the absolute temperature of 3
the air flowing past, the temperature differ-
ential is a measure of the air mass flow. 2
Apart from this, the temperature differential
is directional, which means that the air-mass 1

meter not only registers the mass of the in-
coming air but also its direction. 0 200 400 kg/h 600
Due to its very thin micromechanical dia- Air-mass flow
phragm, the sensor has a highly dynamic re-
sponse (<15 ms), a point which is of partic-
ular importance when the incoming air is 3 Hot-film air-mass meter: Measuring principle
pulsating heavily.
The evaluation electronics (hybrid circuit) T
integrated in the sensor convert the resis- 1
tance differential at the measuring points Fig. 3
M1 and M2 into an analog signal of 0...5 V T1 = T2
2 1 Temperature profile
which is suitable for processing by the ECU. without air flow
across sensor
Using the sensor characteristic (Fig. 2) pro- T element
grammed into the ECU, the measured volt- T1 2 Temperature profile
age is converted into a value representing the 0 with air flow across
air mass flow [kg/h]. sensor element
3 Sensor element
The shape of the characteristic curve is such 4 Heated zone
that the diagnosis facility incorporated in M2 5 Sensor diaphragm
M1 7 6 Measuring tube with
the ECU can detect such malfunctions as an
air-mass meter
open-circuit line. A temperature sensor for 7 Intake-air flow
auxiliary functions can also be integrated in M1, M2 Measuring
the HFM5. It is located on the sensor ele- 4 points
ment upstream of the heated zone. T1, T2 Temperature val-
3 ues at the meas-

5 uring points M1
It is not required for measuring the air mass.
and M2
For applications on specific vehicles, supple- 6 7 T Temperature differ-
mentary functions such as improved separa- ential
Robert Bosch GmbH

108 Gas sensors, concentration sensors Measured quantities/Measuring principles

Gas sensors, concentration sensors

Measured quantities blocked by particles so that it no longer

The concentration of a given material or
medium defines the mass or volume percent The introduction of the fuel cell as an auto-
of a given material in another given material motive drive means that further gas sensors
or in a mixture or combination of other ma- will have to be developed, for instance for
terials. With a concentration sensor (also the detection of hydrogen.
known as a concentration probe), the im-
portant thing is that in the ideal case it is Measuring principles
sensitive to only one medium, while at the
same time practically "ignoring" all other Measured mediums occur in gaseous, liquid,
mediums. Of course, in practice, every con- or solid state, so that in the course of time
centration sensor has its own cross sensitiv- countless measuring methods have been de-
ity to other mediums even though, as is of- veloped. For automotive applications, up till
ten the case, "temperature" and "pressure" now only the gas-analysis area, and in par-
are maintained constant. ticular the measurement of gaseous humid-
In the vehicle, the following parameters ity, has been of any interest. Table 1 presents
must be measured: an overview of the processes applied in gen-
 Oxygen content in the exhaust gas eral measurement techniques.
(closed-loop combustion control, cat-
alytic-converter monitoring), Gas measurement in general
 Carbon-monoxide and nitrogen-oxide Gas sensors are usually in direct unprotected
content, as well as air humidity inside the contact with the measured medium (in
vehicle (air quality, misting of vehicle other words with foreign matter) so that the
windows), danger exists of irreversible damage. This
 Humidity in the compressed-air braking form of damage is referred to as sensor
system (air-drier monitoring), "contamination". For instance, the lead that
 Dampness of the outside air (black-ice may be contained in fuel can make the elec-
warning), trolytic oxygen concentration sensor
 Concentration of soot in diesel-engine (Lambda oxygen sensor) unusable.
exhaust gas. A still unsolved problem. In
contrast to the above-mentioned gas Moisture measurement
concentrations, this is a particle concen- In addition to the outstanding significance
tration. The difficulties inherent in the of the Lambda oxygen sensor in dealing with
measuring assignment are further aggra- exhaust gases, moisture measurement also
vated by the possibility of the sensor being plays an important role.

1 Gas-analysis processes (without particular attention being paid to the moisture-measurement process).
(X) = For automotive applications.

Physical process Physical-chemical process Chemical process

Thermal conductivity Catalytic effect Selective absorption

Magnetic process Absorption warmth Selective absorption

with prior chemical
Radiation absorption Characteristic
color reaction
Gas chromatography Electrical X
Radioactive process Electrochemical X
Table 1
Robert Bosch GmbH

Gas sensors, concentration sensors Measuring principles 109

In the broader sense, moisture can be said ps Saturated vapor pressure (vapor pres-
to be present in gaseous, liquid, or solid sure of the water at mixture tempera-
form. In the narrower sense, we are dealing ture)
here with the gaseous-water (water vapor)
content in gaseous mediums above all in Absolute humidity:
the air.
mw Mw pw
= = (in %)
mtr Mtr ppw
When a damp gas is cooled in an isobaric
process, it reaches its saturation point at a
specific temperature (known as the dew fa = (volume-related)
point ).
A number of important definitions are Relative humidity:
given below in connection with humidity
measurement (refer also to Fig. 1): (in %)
mw Mass of water
ms Mass of water in the saturation state For low-cost applications (for instance in
mtr Mass of dry gas the vehicle), resistive and capacitive sensors
are used almost exclusively. They are pro-
Mw Mole mass of water vided with hygroscopic layers which can
Mtr Mean mole mass of the dry gas store water as a function of the relative hu-
p Total pressure of the gas mixture midity (and release it again), and thus trig-
pw Partial pressure of the water vapor ger a usually drastic change in a resistors
value or in the value of a planar capacitor.

1 Temperature/humidity diagram for air

5% 10% 20% 30%

C 130 40%
120 50%
110 70%
80 90%
100 100%
Damp-air temperature t

50 idity
40 R elat
Water level Absolute humidity
Dew point 10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Partial pressure Pw
2.14 4 6 8 10 20 30 40 50 60 80 100 150 200 300 400 500 600 760

Absolute humidity a
2.35 3 4 6 8 10 20 30 40 50 60 80 100 130 150 200 300 400 500 597
Absolute humidity
1.8 2 4 6 8 10 20 30 40 60 80 100 120 150 200 300 500 1000 2000 5000
Robert Bosch GmbH

110 Gas sensors, concentration sensors Measuring principles

2 Humidity-measurement procedures. X = technologically important

Method/Process number Measuring instrument Measuring method
Saturation method 1 X Dew-point hygrometer Direct method
2 X LiCi dew-point hygrometer (Measurement of absolute humidity)
Evaporation method 3 X Psychrometer
Absorption method 4 Volume hygrometer
5 X Electrolysis hygrometer
6 Condensate-quantity hygrometer
Energy method 7 X Infrared hygrometer
8 Microwave hygrometer
9 Electrical-discharge hygrometer
10 Diffusion hygrometer
Hygroscopic method 11 X Electrical conductive-foil hygrometer Indirect method
12 X Capacitor hygrometer (Measurement of relative humidity)
13 X Hair hygrometer
14 Two-strip hygrometer
15 Color hygrometer
16 Quartz hygrometer
Table 2 17 Gravimetric hygrometer

2 Capacitive sensor wafer with comb electrodes On capacitive humidity sensors, a hygro-
scopic insulating layer (e.g. Al2O3, or a poly-
1 2 mer plastic), which can possibly also be the
mounting wafer, serves as the dielectric of a
capacitor. Either one of the electrodes is per-
meable to water, or the electrodes have a
comb shape (Fig. 2). Along with increasing
humidity, the dieeletric absorbs more water
and the sensors capacitance increases con-

siderably (relative dielectric constant of

Fig. 2
1 Plastic wafer
water rW 81, Fig. 3).
2 Comb-shaped,
embossed gold-foil In the case of the resistive sensor, an insula-
electrodes tion substrate is coated with a layer of hy-
groscopic salt (LiCi) held in a paste binder
3 Resistive and capacitive humidity sensor (typical and located between an electrode pair. The
layers conductivity changes drastically along
with the relative humidity (Fig. 3). Unfortu-
nately this resistance change is also highly
10000 dependent upon temperature so that nor-
mally compensation is needed. If the air
1000 nF temperature (NTC) is then measured, the
dew point can be defined and with it the ab-
Resistance R

Capacity C

100 100
C solute humidity. The typical time constants
of these sensors are about 30 s.
10 10

R Table 2 gives an overview of the numerous

1 1
measurement processes that have been de-

veloped in the course of time for humidity

0.1 0.1
0 20 40 60 80 % 100 measurement.
Relative humidity
Robert Bosch GmbH

Gas sensors, concentration sensors Air-quality sensors 111

Air-quality sensors Teflon diaphragm, such sensors have a re-

sponse time of milliseconds.
Air-quality sensors (Fig. 1) continually The latest air-quality ECUs also incorporate
monitor air quality at the point where venti- a humidity sensor (Fig. 3). Together with the
lation air enters the vehicle. In particular, interior temperaure as measured by an NTC
these sensors respond to toxic exhaust-gas resistor, its signal is used for calculating the
components such as CO (mainly from gaso- dew point which is an important factor with
line engines) and NOX (mainly from diesel regard to the misting-up of the vehicles
engines). windows.
A further assignment is to prevent the
misting-up of the windows. Here, a humidity 1 Air-quality ECU with sensors
sensor registers the airs water-vapor level. 1 2

Design and operating concept
The sensors incorporated in the air-quality
ECU (Figs. 1 and 2) are comprised of thick-
film resistors containing tin oxide. As soon
Fig. 1
as the measured medium collects there
1 NOX/CO measuring
(process is reversible), the resistors in some element
cases change their electrical resistance dras- 2 Evaluation electron-
tically (e.g. 1...100 k). The sensor resistors 3
are all grouped on a common ceramic sub- 3 Humidity sensor
strate which is heated from the rear to an
operating temperature of approx. 330 C by 2 Air-quality sensor
a heating conductor. Due to the high operat-
ing temperature, there is an air gap between
components and substrate. 1 2 3 4 Fig. 2
1 Teflon diaphragm
The CO sensor measures concentrations in 2 Cover (gas-per-
the 10...100 ppm range (ppm = parts per meable)
3 NOX/CO measuring
million) and the NOX sensor in the

0.5...5 ppm range. As soon as the concentra- 4 Plug

tion of pollution gases is excessive (some- 5 Housing
times almost 100 times higher than in clean 5 6 7 6 Cover with gasket
air), the air-quality ECU closes the fresh-air 7 pcb
inlet flaps. This serves to prevent the driver
breathing in these gases so that he/she does 3 Humidity sensor
not tire so quickly. The activated carbon fil-
ters also last longer when not loaded by
1 2 3
these pollution gases.
Fig. 3
Rough protection is provided by a metal 1 Housing
cover, underneath which there is a Teflon 2 pcb
3 Cover with gasket
diaphragm for both sensor chambers which
4 Temperature sensor

permits passage of the measured gases and 4 5 6 7 5 Humidity measuring

gaseous vapors while at the same time hold- element
ing back fluid humidity. Even though the 6 Teflon diaphragm
measured gases must first pass through the 7 Plug
Robert Bosch GmbH

112 Gas sensors, concentration sensors Two-step Lambda oxygen sensors

Two-step Lambda oxygen The ceramic body protrudes into the ex-
haust pipe, and the platinum electrode on its
sensors outside surface acts as a catalytic converter
Application in miniature. Exhaust gas which reaches this
These sensors are used in gasoline engines electrode is processed catalytically and
equipped with two-step Lambda control. brought to a stoichiometrical balance
They extend into the exhaust pipe and to the ( = 1). In addition, the outside of the sen-
same extent register the exhaust-gas flow sor which is in contact with the exhaust gas
leaving each cylinder. Their operating con- is provided with a porous ceramic (Spinel)
cept is based on the principle of a galvanic layer to protect it against contamination.
oxygen concentration cell with solid-state The ceramic body is protected against mech-
electrolyte. anical impact and thermal shocks by a slot-
"Two-step sensors" indicate whether the ted metal tube. The sensors "open" inner
A/F mixture in the exhaust gas is "rich" chamber is connected to the surrounding
( < 1) or "lean" ( > 1). The sudden jump in air, which acts as a reference gas (Fig. 2).
the characteristic curve of these sensors per-
mits A/F mixture control to = 1 (Fig. 1). Unheated finger sensor LS21
A ceramic support tube and a disc spring
Design and construction serve to locate, fix, and seal-off the active, fin-
Tube-type (finger) sensors ger-shaped sensor ceramic in the sensor hous-
The solid-state electrolyte is formed from a ing (Fig. 3, design and construction similar to
hollow zirconium-dioxide ceramic body the heated Lambda sensor Fig. 4, but without
which is impermeable to gas and closed on heater element). A contact element between
one end. Yttrium dioxide has been added for the support tube and the active sensor ce-
stabilisation purposes. The inside and out- ramic element provides the contact between
side surfaces have each been provided with a the inner electrode and the connection cable.
porous platinum coating which serves as an The outer electrode is connected to the
electrode. sensor housing by the metal seal ring. A pro-

1 Two-step Lambda oxygen sensor (voltage curve for 2 Configuration of a tube-type Lambda oxygen sensor
600C working temperature) in the exhaust pipe

a b
Fig. 1 7
1000 5
a Rich A/F mixture
Sensor voltage US

b Lean A/F mixture 4

800 1
Fig. 2
600 2 3
1 Sensor ceramic
2 Electrodes 400
3 Contacts US
4 Housing contact
5 Exhaust pipe
6 Ceramic protective


coating (porous) 0.8 0.9 1 1.1 1.2
7 Exhaust gas
Excess air factor
8 Outside air
US Sensor voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

Gas sensors, concentration sensors Two-step Lambda oxygen sensors 113

tective metal sleeve, which at the same time Heated tube-type (finger) sensor LSH24
serves as the support for the disc spring, lo- This heated sensor (Fig. 4) is equipped with a
cates and fixes the sensors complete inner heater element. On this sensor, at low engine
structure. It also protects the sensor interior loads (e.g. low exhaust-gas temperatures) the
against contamination. The connection cable ceramic-elements temperature is defined by
is crimped to the contact element which the electrical heater, and at high loads by the
protrudes from the sensor, and is protected exhaust-gas temperature. This heated tube-
against humidity and mechanical damage by type sensor can be installed further away from
a special high-temperature-resistant cap. the engine so that even extended periods of
In order to keep combustion residues in full-load (WOT) driving present no problems.
the exhaust gas away from the sensors cer- Thanks to the electrical heating, the sensor
amic element, a specially shaped, slotted pro- heats up so quickly that it has already reached
tective tube is slipped over the sensor hous- operating temperature 20...30 s after the en-
ing at the end exposed to the exhaust gas. gine has started so that the Lambda closed-
The slots are configured so that they provide loop control can come into operation. The
particularly effective protection against ex- fact that the heated Lambda sensor is always at
treme temperatures and chemical loading. optimum operating temperature contributes
to low and stable exhaust-gas emission figures.
3 LS21 unheated tube-type (finger) Lambda sensor

1 cm
Fig. 3
1 Protective tube
2 Active sensor
3 Sensor housing
4 Contact element
5 Protective sleeve

6 Ceramic support
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 tube
7 Disc spring
8 Connection cable

4 LSH24 heated tube-type (finger) Lambda sensor

Fig. 4
1 Sensor housing
1 2 3 2 Ceramic support
1 cm tube
3 Connection cable
4 Protective tube with
5 Active sensor
6 Contact element
7 Protective sleeve
8 Heater element

9 Clamp-type connec-
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 tions for the heater
10 Disc spring
Robert Bosch GmbH

114 Gas sensors, concentration sensors Two-step Lambda oxygen sensors

Planar Lambda oxygen sensors against thermal and mechanical influences

Regarding their function, planar Lambda by a double-walled protective tube.
sensors correspond to the heated finger sen-
sors with their voltage-jump curve at = 1. The planar ceramic element (measuring
On the planar sensor though, the solid-state element and heater) is shaped like a long
electrolyte is comprised of a number of indi- stretched-out wafer with rectangular cross-
vidual laminated foils stacked one on top of section. The measuring elements surface is
the other (Fig. 5). The sensor is protected provided with a microporous noble-metal
coating, on the exhaust-gas side this also has
5 Planar Lambda sensor (functional layers) a microporous ceramic coating to protect it
against the erosive effects of the exhaust gas
1 components. The heater is a wave-shaped
element containing noble metal. It is inte-
grated and insulated in the ceramic wafer
3 and ensures that the sensor heats up quickly.
Fig. 5
1 Porous protective 4 Whereas the reference chamber inside the
layer LSF4 sensor (Figs. 6a & 7) has a direct con-
2 Outer electrode nection to the surrounding air, in the LSF8
3 Sensor foil sensor (Figs. 6b & 8) it is connected to a
4 Inner electrode 7 sealed oxygen reference chamber.
5 Reference-air-
passage foil
6 Insulation layer
Operating concept

7 Heater The two-step sensors operate in accordance

9 with the Nernst principle, and as from about
8 Heater foil
9 Connection 350 C their ceramic becomes conductive for
contacts oxygen ions. When the engine is operated with
excessive fuel, there is residual oxygen in the
6 Planar Lambda sensor (schematic) exhaust gas (e.g. for = 0.95, there is still 0.2...
a 0.3 percent by volume). This leads to the gener-
ation of a voltage between the sensors bound-
2 3 1
ary layers due to the different oxygen concen-
tration inside and outside the sensor. This
UA means that the exhaust gass oxygen content
Fig. 6
can be applied as a measure for the A/F ratio.
a LSF4 version The LSF8 sensors special feature is that it
b LSF8 version compares the residual oxygen in the exhaust
1 Exhaust gas gas with the oxygen contained in a reference
2 Protective porous 4a 5 chamber inside the sensor which is com-
ceramic layer
b pletely sealed-off to the outside. With the
3 Measuring element
with microporous
pump voltage UP applied at the two elec-
noble-metal coating 2 3 1 trodes a 20 A current flows which continu-
4a Reference-air Uref ally pumps oxygen from the exhaust gas
O 2-
through the oxygen-conducting ZrO2 cer-
4b Reference chamber US UA amic and into the reference chamber. From
for O2 O2 the reference chamber though, which is
5 Heater

filled with porous filler material, oxygen

UA Output voltage
US Sensor voltage 4b 5
permanently diffuses to the exhaust-gas side
UP Pump voltage in accordance with the oxygen content there.
Uref Reference voltage This interplay results in the sensor voltage.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Gas sensors, concentration sensors Two-step Lambda oxygen sensors 115

The sensors output voltage is a function of Whereas response times at ceramic tempera-
the oxygen content in the exhaust gas. In the tures below 350 C are in the seconds range,
case of a rich mixture ( < 1) it reaches at optimum temperatures of around 600 C
800...1000 mV, and for a lean mixture the sensor responds in less than 50 ms.
( > 1) only about 100 mV. The transition When the engine is started therefore, the
from the rich to the lean area is at about Lambda closed-loop control is switched off
450...500 mV. until the minimum operating temperature
The ceramic structures temperature also of about 350 C is reached. During this pe-
influences its ability to conduct the oxygen riod, the engine is open-loop controlled.
ions, and therefore the shape of the output-
voltage curve as a function of the excess-air Excessive temperatures reduce the sensors
factor (the values in Fig. 1 apply for about useful life. This means that the Lambda sen-
600 C). Apart from this, the response time sor must be installed so that 850 C is not
for a voltage change when the A/F mixture exceeded for longer periods during WOT
changes is also strongly dependent upon operation. 930 C are permissible for brief
temperature. periods.

7 LSF4 planar Lambda sensor

1 cm 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Fig. 7
1 Protective tube
2 Ceramic seal
3 Sensor housing
4 Ceramic support

5 Planar measuring
6 Protective sleeve
7 Connection cable

8 LSF8 planar Lambda sensor

1 cm
1 2 3 4 56 7 8 Fig. 8
1 Protective tube
2 Planar measuring
3 Insulating sleeve
4 Ceramic seal

5 Union nut
6 Sealing flange
7 Sensor housing
8 Sheathed-metal
Robert Bosch GmbH

116 Gas sensors, concentration sensors LSU4 planar broad-band Lambda oxygen sensors

LSU4 planar broad-band cations led to the designation LSU: Lambda

Sensor Universal (taken from the German),
Lambda oxygen sensors in other words Universal Lambda Sensor).
Application The sensor projects into the exhaust pipe
As its name implies, the broad-band and registers the exhaust-gas mass flow from
Lambda sensor is used across a very exten- all cylinders.
sive range to determine the oxygen concen-
tration in the exhaust gas. The figures pro- In a number of systems, several Lambda
vided by the sensor are an indication of the sensors are installed for even greater accu-
air-fuel (A/F) ratio in the engines combus- racy. Here, for instance, they are fitted up-
tion chamber. The excess-air factor is used stream and downstream of the catalytic con-
when defining the A/F ratio. Broad-band verter as well as in the individual exhaust
Lambda sensors are capable of making pre- tracts (cylinder banks).
cise measurements not only at the stoichio-
metric point = 1, but also in the lean range Design and construction
( > 1) and the rich range ( < 1). In the The LSU4 broad-band Lambda sensor
range from 0.7 < < ( = air with 21% (Fig. 3) is a planar dual-cell limit-current
O2), these sensors generate an unmistakable, sensor. It features a zirconium-dioxide mea-
continuous electrical signal (Fig. 2). suring cell (Fig. 1) which is a combination of
a Nernst concentration cell (sensor cell
These characteristics enable the broad-band which functions the same as a two-step
Lambda sensor to be used not only in en- Lambda sensor) and an oxygen pump cell
gine-management systems with two-step for transporting the oxygen ions.
control ( = 1), but also in control concepts The oxygen pump cell (Fig. 1, Pos. 8) is so
Fig. 1 with rich and lean air-fuel (A/F) mixtures. arranged with respect to the Nernst concen-
1 Exhaust gas
This type of Lambda sensor is also suitable tration cell (7) that there is a 10...50 m
2 Exhaust pipe
3 Heater
for the Lambda closed-loop control used diffusion gap (6) between them which is
4 Control electronics with lean-burn concepts on gasoline en- connected to the exhaust gas through a gas-
5 Reference cell with gines, as well as for diesel engines, gaseous- access passage (10). A porous diffusion bar-
reference-air pas- fuel engines and gas-powered central heaters rier (11) serves to limit the flow of oxygen
sage and water heaters (this wide range of appli- molecules from the exhaust gas.
6 Diffusion gap
7 Nernst concen-
1 Planar broad-band Lambda sensor (installation in the exhaust pipe and schematic design of the measuring cell)
tration cell
8 Oxygen pump cell
with internal and 2 3 4
external pump
9 Porous protective US I P
10 Gas-access UP
1 11
11 Porous diffusion
barrier 10

IP Pump current
UP Pump voltage UH

UH Heater voltage
URef Reference voltage
(450 mV corre-
sponds to = 1) 9 8 7 6 5
US Sensor voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

Gas sensors, concentration sensors LSU4 planar broad-band Lambda oxygen sensors 117

On the one side, the Nernst concentration position of the gas in the diffusion gap re-
cell is connected to the atmosphere by a ref- mains constant at = 1. If the exhaust gas is
erence-air passage (5), and on the other, it is lean, the pump cell pumps the oxygen to the
connected to the exhaust gas in the diffusion outside (positive pump current). On the
gap. other hand, if it is rich, due to the decompo-
sition of CO2 and H2O at the exhaust-gas
The sensor must have heated up to at least electrode the oxygen is pumped from the
600...800 C before it generates a usable sig- surrounding exhaust gas and into the diffu-
nal. It is provided with an integral heater sion gap (negative pump current). Oxygen
(3), so that the required temperature is transport is unnecessary at = 1 and pump
reached quickly. current is zero. The pump current is propor-
tional to the exhaust-gas oxygen concen-
Operating concept tration and is thus a non-linear measure for
The exhaust gas enters the actual measuring the excess-air factor (Fig. 2).
chamber (diffusion gap) of the Nernst con-
centration cell through the pump cells gas-
access passage. In order that the excess-air
factor can be adjusted in the diffusion gap, 2 Pump current IP of a broad-band Lambda sensor as
a function of the exhaust-gas excess-air factor ()
the Nernst concentration cell compares the
gas in the diffusion gap with that in the ref-
erence-air passage.
The complete process proceeds as follows:
Pump current Ip

By applying the pump voltage UP across

the pump cells platinum electrodes, oxygen 0

from the exhaust gas can be pumped

through the diffusion barrier and into or out -1

of the diffusion gap. With the help of the

Nernst concentration cell, an electronic cir- -2
0.7 1 2 3 4
cuit in the ECU controls the voltage (UP)
Excess-air factor
across the pump cell in order that the com-

3 LSU4 planar broad-band sensor

Fig. 3
1 Measuring cell
(combination of
Nernst concen-
tration cell and
oxygen-pump cell)
1 cm
2 Double protective
3 Seal ring
4 Seal packing
5 Sensor housing
6 Protective sleeve
7 Contact holder
8 Contact clip
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 9 PTFE sleeve (Teflon)

10 PTFE shaped sleeve

11 Five connecting
12 Seal ring
Robert Bosch GmbH

118 Temperature sensors Measured quantities

Temperature sensors

Measured quantities majority of sensors in the active state should

be kept to a minimum (e.g. <1 mW).
Temperature is defined as a nondirectional The temperature sensors dynamic re-
quantity which characterises the energy state sponse is given the time constant . This de-
of a given medium, and which can be a fines the time taken by the sensor to reach
function of time and location: 63%, 90%, or 99% of its final reading when
subjeted to a jump in temperature. This time
T = T (x, y, z, t) (1)
depends not only upon the sensors thermal
Where x, y, z are the space coordinates, t is capacity, but also to a great extent upon the
time, and T is measured according to the heat-transfer coefficient between the sensor
Celsius or Kelvin scale. and the medium. The higher it is, the faster
the sensor reaches its final reading. Natu-
Generally speaking, with measured me- rally, this figure is far higher for liquid medi-
diums which are in gaseous or liquid form, ums than for gaseous mediums. It must also
measurements can be taken at any point. In be taken into account that in case of
the case of solid bodies, measurement is medium flow, the heat-transfer coefficient is
usually restricted to the bodys surface. With highly influenced by the flow rate (refer to
the most commonly used temperature sen- "hot-film air-mass meter"), and increases by
sors, in order for it to assume the mediums about  . In other words, the time constant
temperature as precisely as possible, the of a temperature sensor should always be
sensor must be directly in contact with the specified with reference to the defined flow
measured medium (direct-contact ther- rate of a defined medium.
mometer). In special cases though, proxim- Temperature measurement in the vehicle
ity or non-contacting temperature sensors makes use almost exclusively of the tem-
are in use which measure the mediums tem- perature-dependence of electrical resistance
perature by means of its (infrared) thermal material with positive (PTC) or negative
radiation (radiation thermometer = Pyrom- (NTC) temperature coefficient. The direct-
eter, thermal camera). contact thermometers apply this phenom-
Generally speaking, a temperature sensor ena. For the most part, the conversion of the
should reflect this dependency correctly, in temperature change to an analog voltage
other words, it should reflect as accurately as takes place by adding a second resistor to
possible the local distribution of the tem- form a voltage divider (which also has a lin-
perature and its change as a function of earising effect). The latter can be either neu-
time. tral with regard to temperature, or tempera-
ture-dependent in the other direction. Re-
In special cases, possibly for functional rea- cently though, non-contacting (pyrometric)
sons, this stipulation can be relaxed some- temperature sensing has been considered for
what. The call for high local resolution and passenger-protection (passenger-position
for high-speed response both demand that monitoring for airbag triggering), and for
the sensor should be as small as possible, comfort and convenience (climate control in
since it should not falsify the temperature accordance with skin-temperature measure-
readings by itself absorbing heat. In other ment, prevention of windscreen mist-up). It
words it should have a low thermal capacity. needed the advent of microsystem technol-
In order to ensure that the temperature ogy for this (pyrometric) method to become
assumed by the sensor remains independent feasible from the costs viewpoint. Table 1
of the usually very different temperature of presents a listing of the temperatures which
its mounting, it should be thermally well in- have to be measured in the vehicle.
sulated from it. Since this also falsifies the
measurement, the heat developed by the
Robert Bosch GmbH

Temperature sensors Measuring principles 119

1 Temperatures in the vehicle which the temperature effect is very distinc-

tive and dominant and as far as possible fea-
Measuring point Temperature range C
tures a linear characteristic. Furthermore,
Intake air/Charge air 40 ... 170
Vehicle surroundings 40 ... 60
the measuring elements should be suitable
Passenger compartment 20 ... 80 for inexpensive mass-production, whereby
Fan outlet air/Heater 20 ... 60 they should be adequately reproducible and
Evaporator (air-conditioner) 10 ... 50 non-aging. Taking these considerations into
Coolant 40 ... 130 account, the following sensor techniques
Engine oil 40 ... 170 have come to the forefront, some of which
Battery 40 ... 100
are also applied in automotive technology:
Fuel 40 ... 120
Tire air 40 ... 120
Exhaust gas 100 ... 1000 Resistive sensors
Brake caliper 40 ... 2000 In the form of 2-pole elements, tempera- Table 1
ture-dependent electrical resistors are par-
Not only the highly differing temperature ticularly suitable for temperature measure-
ranges demand a variety of different sensor ment, no matter whether in wire-wound,
concepts and technologies, but also the dif- sinter-ceramic, foil, thin-film, thick-film, or
ferent accuracies and speeds which are re- monocrystalline form. Normally, in order to
quired but not listed in the Table. In many generate a voltage-analog signal they are
cases, the temperature is measured and ap- combined with a fixed resistor RV to form a
plied as an auxiliary quantity in order to be voltage divider, or load-independent current
able to compensate for it as a cause of defect is applied (Fig. 1). The voltage-divider cir-
or as an unwanted influencing variable. cuit changes the original sensor characteris-
tic R(T), to another characteristic U(T):

Measuring principles R(T)

U(T) = U0 (2)
R(T) + RV
Direct-contact sensors
The fact that practically all physical
processes are temperature-dependent means On the other hand, the application of a
that there are almost just as many methods load-independent current I0 permits the
for making temperature measurements. The resistor curve to be reproduced exactly:
preferable methods though are those in
U(T) = I0 R(T) (3)
1 Methods for resistance/voltage conversion
The measurement sensitivity is reduced
more or less depending upon the construc-
U0 tion of the voltage-divider circuit. Notwith-
standing this fact, in the case of resistance
RV I0 characteristics which display a slightly pro-
gressive curve it does have a linearisation in- Fig. 1
fluence (an effect which is usually very wel- I0 Current supply
come). Very often, in this connection, the U0 Suppy voltage

R(T) UA(T) R(T) UA(T) auxiliary resistor is so dimensioned that it RV Temperature-

equals the measuring resistor at a given ref- dependent series

erence temperature T0 (e.g. 20 C):

R(T) Temperature-
dependent mea-
RV R (T0) (4) suring resistor
UA(T) Output voltage
Robert Bosch GmbH

120 Temperature sensors Measuring principles

If the precision is inadequate, a resistance

sensor can be calibrated to the desired value 1 )
B ( 1
both with regard to its resistance (referred to R(T) = R0 e T T0

a reference temperature), and its tempera- Where R0 = R(T0),

ture coefficient (TK), by means of an ad- B = 2000...5000 K = constant,
justable parallel resistor RP and a series resis- T absolute temperature
tor RS (Fig. 2). Of course, when resistors are
added the TK is reduced and the characteris- Here, the characteristic-curve gradient (TK)
tic changes somewhat. or the percentage resistance change as a
function of temperature, is highly depen-
Sintered-ceramic NTC reistors dent upon the working point. This means
As a result of their pronounced measuring that it can only be defined at given points:
effects and inexpensive manufacture, the
most common semiconductor resistances in TK = B/T2 (6)
use are based on heavy-metal oxides and ox-
idised crystals. These are sintered in bead It reduces considerably along with increas-
form or disc form (Fig. 3) and have a poly- ing temperature, and often the resistance
crystalline structure. They are often referred varies by 4 ... 5 powers of ten. For instance, a
to as NTC thermistors. To a good approxi- typical variation would be from several
mation, and by applying the exponential 100 k to 50...60 . This pronounced tem-
law, their characteristic curve can be defined perature-dependence means that applica-
as follows: tions are restricted to a "window" of about
200 K. This though can be selected in the
40...approx. 850 C range. Tighter toler-

2 Calibration of a resistor to its desired value 3 NTC resistors (examples)

a 1 RS RNi

Fig. 2
R(T) t
a Resistance sensor b
b Characteristic
1 Auxiliary contacts 2 RP
2 Bridge c
RNi Nickel film resistor b RP Increase 10 5
Rtot(T) Total resistance
referred to tem-
10 4
Resistance R T

RP Adjustable parallel Curve-slope

resistor calibration
Total resistance Rtot

RS Adjustable series
resistor 10 3
RS Increase

Fig. 3
Curve-position 10 2
a Pearl-form calibration

b Disc form
c Characteristc curve Temperature T -50 0 50 100 150
with limits of vari- Temperature T
Robert Bosch GmbH

Temperature sensors Measuring principles 121

ances of up to 0.5 K at a given reference possible to adapt the masking layer as used
point are complied with by using a selection for protection against the measured
process, or possibly even by grinding in oil, a medium, and the substrate material, to the
method which of course has an affect upon particular measuring assignment. The sub-
costs. The ageing stability of these sensors strate material can be ceramic, glass, or plas-
has been vastly improved compared to ear- tic foil, and the masking layer can use plastic
lier versions which means that it is quite moulding, paint, welded foil, glass or cer-
possible for the very close tolerances to amic materials. Compared to oxide-ceramic
apply throughout the sensors useful life. semiconductor sensors, metallic layers fea-
ture lower temperature-dependencies, but a
PTC thin-film/thick-film metallic resistors more favorable characteristic regarding lin-
The thin-film metallic resistors are inte- earity and reproducibility. The following
grated with two additional temperature- applies for the computational definition of
neutral trimming resistors on a common these sensors:
substrate chip. Since these resistors have a
close-tolerance characteristic curve, can be R(T) = R0 (1 + T + T2 + ..) (7)
manufactured with long-term stability, and
are suitable for fine trimming using laser Where T = T T0 und
cuts (Fig. 4), they feature very high accuracy. T0 = 20 C (reference temperature),
Thanks to the film technology applied, it is = Linear temperature coefficient (TC),
= Quadratic temperature coefficient.
4 Thin-film temperature sensor (Ni) with frequency-
analog output signal
Even though the coefficient is very small
for metals it cannot be ignored completely.
This is why the measurement sensitivity of
such sensors is usually characterised by
means of a mean TC, the "TC 100". The TC
100 corresponds the mean curve gradient
between 0 C and 100 C (Table 2 and
Fig. 5).

2 Temperature Coefficient TC 100

Sensor TK 100 Characteristic Measuring
material curve range
Nickel 5.1 Slightly 60 ... 320
(Ni) progressive
Copper 4.1 Slightly 50 ... 200
(Cu) progressive
Platinum 3.5 Slightly 220 ... 850
(Pt) degressive

Table 2

R(100 C) R(0 C)
Where TK 100 = (8)
R(0 C) 100K
Although platinum (Pt) resistors have the

lowest TC, they are not only the most pre-

cise resistive temperature sensors, but can
also boast the best ageing stability. They are
available on the market under the designa-
Robert Bosch GmbH

122 Temperature sensors Measuring principles

tion "PT 100" or "PT 1000" (100 or ing voltage-divider circuits from NTC and
1000 nominal resistance at a reference PTC materials.
temperature of 20 C) in a variety of differ-
ent tolerance classes (up to 0.1 C, Fig. 6). At Monocrystalline silicon semiconductor
temperatures up to about 1000 C, thick- resistors (PTC)
film Pt sensors are suitable whose Pt layer Basically speaking, with temperature sensors
has been stabilized by special additives. of monocrystalline semiconductor materials
such as silicon (Si), it is possible to incorpo-
Thick-film resistors (PTC/NTC) rate further active and passive circuit ele-
Thick-film pastes with high specific resis- ments on the sensor chip (initial signal con-
tance (low surface area), and with positive ditioning at the measurement point). Due to
and negative temperature coefficients are the close tolerances involved, their produc-
mainly used as temperature sensors for tion uses the "spreading resistance" principle
compensation purposes. They have a non- (Fig. 7a). Current flows through the measur-
linear characteristic (which though is not as ing resistor via a surface point contact and
"bent" as the curve of the solid NTC resis- into the Si bulk material from where it
tors), and are suitable for laser-trimming. spreads in a fan shape to a counter-electrode
The measuring effect is improved by form- covering the base of the sensor chip. In ad-
dition to the high reproducibility material

5 Definition of the mean temperature coefficient 7 Spreading-resistance principle (dual-hole version)

TK 100 = 100

Fig. 7
R100 a R(T)
a Design
b Characteristic 1 2 1 3
Resistance R

1 Contacts 100
2 Passivation
(Nitride, oxide) (0C)
3 Si substrate R0

4 Counter-electrode
without connection 0 100 C
R(T) Temperature- Measurement temperature TM 4
dependent resistor
6 Pt resistor (tolerance diagram)
Temperature tolerance T

Resistance R

1 1.2

0 0.8


-100 0 100 200C
-200 0 200 400 C Measurement temperature TM
Measurement temperature TM
Robert Bosch GmbH

Temperature sensors Measuring principles 123

constants, the high current density behind there is a voltage between the ends of a
the contact point (high accuracy thanks to metallic conductor when these are at differ-
photolithographic production) mainly de- ent temperatures T1 und T2. This "thermo-
fines the sensors resistance. In order to voltage" Uth is solely a function of the tem-
make the sensor highly independent of po- perature difference T between the ends of
larity, these sensors are usually series-con- the conductor (Fig. 9). The following
nected in pairs (dual-hole version, Fig. 7). applies:
The base electrode can be in the form of a
temperature contact (no electrical function). Uth = c (T2 T1) = c T, (9)
Measurement sensitivity is practically
double that of a Pt resistor (TK = whereby the proportionality constant is
7.73 103/K). The progressive bend of the material-specific and termed the "Seebeck-
temperature curve is more pronounced than Effect".
on a metallic sensor. The measuring range is Since the instrument leads used to mea-
limited to approx. +150 C by the materials sure this voltage across the metallic conduc-
intrinsic conductivity (Fig. 7b). There are tor must themselves be equipped with ter-
special versions (Fig. 8) available for oper- minals (for instance made of copper), these
ations up to 300 C. are also subject to the same temperature dif-
ference, so that unfortunately only the dif-
Thermocouples ference between the metallic conductor and
Thermocouples are used in particular for the instrument leads is measured. Thermo-
measurement ranges >1000 C. They rely on electric voltages are always listed based on
the "Seebeck Effect" according to which Platinum as the reference material (Table 3).

8 Spreading resistance sensor (unipolar version for 9 Seebeck effect

temperatures up to 300 C)

T2 > T1

Fig. 9
1 1 Heat source
A 2 2 Metallic conductor
+ High,
Low thermal velocity
of the electrons

1 2 T2 High temperature
T1 Low temperature
Uth Thermoelectric

3 Thermoelectric voltage Uth of a number of metals

n+ Material Thermoelectric voltage Uth

mV/100 C
Detail A
Constantan 3.40
Nickel 1.90
Paladium 0.28 Fig. 8
Platinum 0.00 1 Metal wire

Copper +0.75 2 Glass

Manganin +0.60 3 Si crystal
Iron +1.88
Silicon +44.80 Table 3
Robert Bosch GmbH

124 Temperature sensors Measuring principles

In order that the generated voltages are as ence point. If the measuring points absolute
high as possible, a number of material pairs temperature is to be measured, other devices
have established themselves (Fig. 10, e.g. (such as resistive sensors) must be used to
iron/constantan etc.). It is important that also measure the temperature at the refer-
the "limbs" of such a thermocouple are ence point.
joined at the end to which the heat is ap- The characteristic curve of the thermo-
plied in such a manner that the joint is elec- electric voltage against temperature is usu-
trically conductive (by means of twisting, ally not as linear as that given in Equation
welding, soldering, etc., Fig. 11). (8). The sensor signals are usually small, and
ICs are used for their amplification and for
Thermocouples themselves are usually their linearisation. In order to increase the
short, and the extensions up to the point measurement voltage, it is common practice
where the signal is picked-off can be made to connect a number of identical thermo-
Fig. 10
1 Copper/Constantan
with equalising conductors which use the couples in series. These have their "hot"
2 Iron/Constantan same material pair as in the thermocouple junctions at the temperature to be mea-
3 Nickel-chromium/ itself. It is important that both free ends of sured, and their "cold" junctions at the refer-
Nickel the thermoelement configuration are at the ence temperature (Fig. 12, thermopile).
4 Platinum rhodium/ same (reference) temperature, otherwise the
temperature difference at the free ends will Although thermocouples are robust (for in-
also be included in the measurement. Ther- stance, high-level EMC due to low internal
Fig. 11 mocouples, therefore, always measure only resistance), they are not particularly accurate
A/BMaterial pair (ther- the temperature difference to a given refer- as a measuring device. Their deviation can
mocouple legs)
1 Measurement point 10 Common thermocouples (characteristic curves) 12 Thermocouples connected in series
(electrically conduc-
tive junction) mV
Thermoelectric voltage Uth

2 Connection head
3 Equalising con- 40 a TM
ductor 1 2 3
4 Reference point 30 2
5 Connection cable
TM Measurement tem- 4
perature 3

TR Reference tempera- 0
ture 0 400 800 1200 C TR
Uth Thermoelectric Measurement temperature TM

11 Thermocouple measuring set-up

Fig. 12
a Principle of the ther-
b Example of appli- A 3 TR
1 Sensitive surface TM
2 "Hot" junctions at
the measurement 1 Uth 1 2 3 4
temperature TM (TM ) (TR )


3 "Cold" junctions at
the reference tem-
B 2 3 4 5
perature TR
4 Thermopile
Robert Bosch GmbH

Temperature sensors Measuring principles 125

easily be in the 5...15 range, and they are coefficient (NTC). This current increases
not outstanding regarding their resistance to dramatically with rising temperature. Here,
ageing, which means that individual cali- the silicons intrinsic conductivity limits this
bration does not result in a permanent im- sensors application to temperature ranges
provement of their accuracy. <150 C.
Of course, thermocouples can be manu- Sometimes, emitter-coupled transistor
factured using both thin-film and thick-film pairs are used in a similar manner for tem-
techniques. Metallic films stacked one on perature measurement. With this form of
top of the other provide for excellent ther- temperature measurement, the ratios of the
mal contact, and extemely small thermo- collector currents to each other represent a
couples can be produced by applying micro- very good reproducible measure for the
system technology. Thermocouples are par- temperature. Usually, an integrated sup-
ticularly suitable for use in thermopiles plementary circuit is used for the "on-chip"
comprised for instance from 50...100 indi- conversion to an analog output voltage.
vidual thermocouples. They are used in
non-contacting radiation thermometers Zener diodes operated in the reverse direc-
(pyrometers). tion can also be used as highly practical tem-
perature sensors. Their voltage changes are
Semiconductor barrier layers highly dependent upon the Zener voltage.
Presuming a constant current, the forward Here, the option exists of various levels of
voltage of semiconductor barrier layers voltage reduction at Zener voltages <4.7 V,
(Fig. 13) such as those in diodes and in the and voltage increases at Zener voltages
basis-emitter path of a transistor, demon- >4.7 V.
strate very good linearity as a function of Such sensors are often used for tempera-
temperature: ture compensation on the chip itself.

k T ln(
UF(T) = IF + 1) (10)
q Isat

Isat = Isat (T) and IF = constant,
q = 1.6 1019 C (elementary charge),
k = 1.88 1023 JK1 (Boltzmanns constant),
T Absolute temperature.

It is advantageous here when the sensor

directly outputs a voltage which is a func- 13 Semiconductor barrier layers
tion of the temperature. The two-pole sen-
sor is of course dependent upon polarity. a b
C Fig. 13
Whereas, for all sensors, the forward voltage a Diode
decreases by almost exactly 2 mV/C, the IF b Transistor
absolute voltage at the barrier layer differs B B Base
UF C Collector
considerably from sensor to sensor, and may
E Emitter
necessitate additional calibration elements
IF Conducting-state

in order for a precise measurement to be UBE

made. Above all, it is the temperature- E UF Forward voltage
dependent saturation current Isat which is UBE Voltage between
responsible for the negative temperature base and emitter
Robert Bosch GmbH

126 Temperature sensors Measuring principles

Non-contacting temperature often corresponds to only 1/1000th of this

measurement, Pyrometry difference at the measuring point. Neverthe-
The radiation emitted by a body is used for less, the objects temperature can be deter-
the non-contact (or proximity) measure- mined with an accuracy of 0.5 C.
ment of its temperature. This radiation is for
the most part in the infrared (IR) range Bolometer
(wavelength: 5...20 m). Strictly speaking, it The Bolometer is a highly sensitive resis-
is the product of the bodys radiated power tance temperature sensor for measuring
and emission constant. The latter is a func- minute temperature increases (Fig. 14). A
tion of the material, but for materials which further sensor is needed for measuring the
are technically of interest it is usually around temperature of the sensor housing. If this
1, although for reflective (applies also to device is to operate efficiently across a wide
glass) and IR-permeable materials it is far temperature range, it is necessary though for
less than 1. both these sensors to feature an extremely
The measuring point is projected onto a high degree of synchronism. The Bolometer
heat-sensitive element which, as a result, housing is therefore usually thermostatically
heats up slightly compared to its surround- controlled (and well-insulated to the hous-
ings (typically by 0.01...0.001 C). The ele- ing) so that the primary detecting element
ments temperature is a measure for the (sensor) always operates at the same temper-
temperature of the body being measured. A ature.
given temperature difference at the object
Fig. 14 Thermopile sensor
1 Lens housing with 14 Prototype of a bolometric sensor array for When a very extensive temperature range is
automotive applications
lens concerned, it is more practical for the tem-
2 Connections perature difference generated by the radia-
3 Infrared-detector
tion from the object to be measured using
4 Infrared window
thermocouples. In order to increase the
5 Detector measuring effect, a number of thermocou-
4 5 ples are connected in series to form the so-
called thermopile. Such a thermopile sensor
Fig. 15 (Fig. 15) is inexpensive to manufacture mi-
a Principle of the

cromechanically. All its "hot" junctions are
measuring element
2 located on a thermally well insulated thin
1 Si chip
2 Thermocouples
diaphragm, and all its "cold" junctions are in
connected in series contact with the thicker chip rim (heat
(i.e. Al/Poly-Si)
3 SiN diaphragm 15 Pyrometric sensor produced using micromechanical techniques, with thermopile pick-off.
4 Thermopile junctions
5 Absorber layer
a 2 5 b 5 6 7 8
b Sensor configuration
1 Thermocouple
2 "Cold" junction 1
3 Diaphragm 2
4 Absorber
5 Heat radiation
6 Electrical connec-

7 Si3N4 layer
8 SiO2 layer 3 4 1 3 4 9
9 Heat sink
Robert Bosch GmbH

Temperature sensors Measuring principles 127

sink). Typically, the sensors response time is other hand, Si lenses are highly suitable for
approx. 20 ms. Using such a so-called thermal radiation and up to diameters of
"single-pixel sensor", it is an easy matter to approx. 4 mm micromechanical techniques
determine the windshields surface tempera- can be used to inexpensively manufacture
ture so that measures can be taken to pre- them in the form of a Fresnel or refraction
vent misting-up should the dew point be lens. Fitted in the cover of a TO5 casing,
dropped below. these then also serve to protect the sensor
against direct damage (Fig. 17). Even though
Single-point sensors, image sensors filling the casing with an inert gas improves
If a number of pixels are combined on a the crosstalk between the individual pixels, it
single chip (for example, 4x4) to form an ar- also negatively affects their response time.
ray, this provide the basis for a rough form
of image analysis (Fig. 16). The pixels must Examples of application
be thermally well insulated from each other,  Intake-air temperature,
and there must not be too much insensitive  Engine temperature,
surface between them. Due to the fact that  Passenger-compartment temperature
each pixel can be electrically addressed, the control,
chip has a large number of connections. On  Exhaust-gas high-temperature sensor,
a TO5 casing for example, the ASIC for sig-  Infrared image sensor.
nal preamplification and series connection
of the signal, must be located directly adja-
cent to the sensor chip. Usually, in the case
of thermopile sensors, this ASIC also in- 16 Micromechanical thermopile array
cludes a reference-temperature sensor which 3 2
measures the pixels absolute temperature.
This permits object temperatures to be mea-
sured with an accuracy of approx. 0.5 K.
An IR imaging-optics system is required
for the rough thermal display of an image
on the sensor array. The very inexpensive
curved mirror is usually ruled out due to it

needing too much room. Glass lenses are Fig. 16

impermeable for IR light, and plastic lenses 1 Si chip
are can only be used for operating tempera- 4 4 1 2 Pixel
tures of up to approx. 85 C max. On the 3, 4 Pixel connections

17 Thermal image analysis Fig. 17

a IR image sensor
a b 1 Si IR lens
2 TO5 casing
3 Terminal posts
1 2 3 4 5 4 Sensor chip
2 5 Evaluation ASIC
Viewing angle
b Simple IR camera
1 Electronics
2 Lens system

3 Cameras field of
3 4 5 4 Si IR lens
5 Sensor array
Robert Bosch GmbH

128 Temperature sensors Measured quantities

1 Coolant temperature sensor 2 NTC temperature sensor: Characteristic curve

1 2 3 4 5 6

10 4

Fig. 1
1 Electrical con- 10 3
2 Housing

3 Gasket
10 2
4 Thread - 40 0 40 80 120C
5 Measuring resistor Temperature
1 cm
6 Coolant

Temperature sensors Exhaust-gas temperature sensor

This sensor is mounted on the exhaust sys-
Applications tem at points which are particularly critical
Engine-temperature sensor regarding temperature. It is applied in the
This is installed in the coolant circuit closed-loop control of the systems used for
(Fig. 1). The engine management uses its exhaust-gas treatment. A platinum measur-
signal when calculating the engine tempera- ing resistor is usually used (measuring range
ture (measuring range 40+130 C). 40+1000 C).

Air-temperature sensor Design and operating concept

This sensor is installed in the air-intake Depending upon the particular application,
tract. Together with the signal from the a wide variety of temperature sensor designs
boost-pressure sensor, its signal is applied in are available. A temperature-dependent
calculating the intake-air mass. Apart from semiconductor measuring resistor is fitted
this, desired values for the various control inside a housing. This resistor is usually of
loops (e.g. EGR, boost-pressure control) can the NTC (Negative Temperature
be adapted to the air temperature (measur- Coefficient, Fig. 2) type. Less often a PTC
ing range 40+120 C). (Positive Temperature Coefficient) type is
used. With NTC, there is a sharp drop in
Engine-oil temperature sensor resistance when the temperature rises, and
The signal from this sensor is used in calcu- with PTC there is a sharp increase.
lating the service interval (measuring range
40+170 C). The measuring resistor is part of a voltage-
divider circuit to which 5 V is applied. The
Fuel-temperature sensor voltage measured across the measuring
Is incorporated in the low-pressure stage of resistor is therefore temperature-dependent.
the diesel fuel circuit. The fuel temperature It is inputted through an analog to digital
is used in calculating the precise injected (A/D) converter and is a measure of the
fuel quantity (measuring range temperature at the sensor. A characteristic
40+120 C). curve is stored in the engine-management
ECU which allocates a specific temperature
to every resistance or output-voltage.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Automotive sensors Micromechanics 129


Micromechanics is defined as the application Surface micromechanics

of semiconductor techniques in the pro- The substrate material here is a silicon wafer
duction of mechanical components from semi- on whose surface very small mechanical struc-
conductor materials (usually silicon). Not only tures are formed (Fig. 2). First of all, a "sacri-
silicons semiconductor properties are used ficial layer" is applied and structured using
but also its mechanical characteristics. This semiconductor processes such as etching (a).
enables sensor functions to be implemented An approx. 10 m polysilicon layer is then de-
in the smallest-possible space. The following posited on top of this and structured vertically
techniques are used: using a mask and etching. In the final process-
ing step, the "sacrificial" oxide layer under-
Bulk micromechanics neath the polysilicon layer is removed by
The silicon wafer material is processed at the means of gaseous hydrogen fluoride. In this
required depth using anisotropic (alkaline) manner, the movable electrodes for accelera-
etching and, where needed, an electrochemi- tion sensors (Fig. 3) are exposed.
cal etching stop. From the rear, the material is
removed from inside the silicon layer (Fig. 1, Wafer bonding
Pos. 2) at those points underneath an opening Anodic bonding and sealglass bonding are
in the mask. Using this method, very small di- used to permanently join together (bonding)
aphragms can be produced (with typical thick- two wafers by the application of tension and
nesses of between 5 and 50 m, as well as heat or pressure and heat. This is needed for
openings (b), beams and webs (c) as are the hermetic sealing of reference vacuums for
needed for instance for acceleration sensors. instance, and when protective caps must be
applied to safeguard sensitive structures.

1 Structures produced by bulk micromechanics

Apply mask Etch Remove mask

a 1

Fig. 1
a Diaphragms

b Openings
c c Beams and webs
1 Etching mask
2 Silicon

2 Surface micromechanics (processing steps) 3 Surface micromechanics (structure details) Fig. 2

A Cutting and structur-
ing the sacrificial
A layer
1 2 3
B Cutting the polysili-
C Structuring the
B polysilicon
12 m
D Removing the sacri-
2 m ficial layer


Fig. 3
1 Fixed electrode
2 Gap
3 Spring electrodes
Robert Bosch GmbH

130 Prospects Development trends/Sensor examples


Development trends (e.g. passenger recognition by way of

In future, it is to be expected that consider-
ably more automotive sensors will be devel- Such sensors also form the basis for semi-
oped for the vehicles immediate and more autonomous (partially independent) vehicle
remote surroundings (Fig. 1) than for its driving, with full autonomy being the long-
drivetrain. These developments include the term objective.
sensor technology which measures the vehi-
cles movement (kinematics), both as an en-
tity on its own and as a moving component Sensor examples
in the flow of traffic. Also included are sen-
sors which directly register the contact of Image sensors (video)
the vehicles wheels with the road surface. In particular those sensors which generate
Of decisive importance here are a number images on the basis of visible light or in-
of extensive, new assignment areas: frared light will come to the forefront in ever
increasing numbers. These will serve for
 Guiding and steering the vehicle to a passenger-compartment monitoring, and
destination (navigation), for observation outside the vehicle will be
 Reliable, safe vehicle guidance and steer- aligned to the vehicles surroundings.
ing by means of electronic assistance sys- All of these sensors have one objective in
tems (up to the limits of physical possi- view, and that is the simulation of the superior
bilities), capabilities of the human eye and its mental
 Extended passenger protection systems recognition capabilities (of course, only to a
with higher intelligence levels and pre- very modest degree at first). It is certain that
emptive effects, up to as far as the total in the foreseeable future, the costs for image
prevention of collision as the optimum sensors, and the associated very-high-perfor-
objective, mance processors needed for the interpret-
 Safeguarding the vehicle by way of theft- ation of a given scene, will become interesting
deterrent systems using biometric sensors from the automotive-applications viewpoint.

Fig. 1 1 Systems for vehicular all-round vision

1 Distant-zone radar
77 GHz, series pro-
duction (distant
zone: 120 m)
2 Distant-zone/near-
range infrared
6 4 6
viewer (nightview-
ing) 2
3 Video coverage of
the vehicles im- 3
mediate vicinity 1 5
mid-range 40 m)
4 Near-range radar
24 GHz (near range:
10 m)
5 Passenger-compart-

ment video
6 Ultrasonic, series
production (very
near range 1.5 m)
Robert Bosch GmbH

Prospects Sensor examples 131

In contrast to the human eye, common 3 CCD principle (Charge-Coupled Device)

image sensors are sensitive in the near
IR range (wavelength approx. 1 m). With
1 2 3 4 5 6
appropriate non-visible IR illumination,
therefore, all imaginable applications in the
vehicle become feasible, including nighttime SiO2
In future, image sensors will be able to
play a highly variegated role for the obser- p-Si
vation of the vehicles interior (seating pos-
ition, forward shift in case of a crash, size of
seat occupants etc.), and of the vehicles sur-
roundings (vehicle tracking, collision pre- t1
vention, parking and back-up aids, traffic-
sign recognition).
Image sensors are a special case of "multi-
sensor structures" formed from light-sensi-
tive elements (pixels) which are arranged as
matrix or line arrays and which receive their
light through a conventional imaging-optics
system. With the Si image sensors (CCD
Charge-Coupled Devices, Figs. 2 and 3) t3
available at present, the light entering
through a transparent electrode generates
charge carriers proportional to the light in- Fig. 3
SH 1 Photodiode
tensity and the exposure time. These are col-

2 Light
lected in a "potential layer" (Si-SiO2 bound- 1 3 Storage elecrode
ary layer). Further electrodes are used to 4 Shift gate
t1 t 2 t 3
transfer these charges into an opaque zone 5 Transfer electrode
6 Optical masking
2 Image-sensor structure


Fig. 2
1 Column clock pulse
2 Photosensors

3 CCD array
4 Line clock pulse
4 6
5 5 Output register
6 Video output
Robert Bosch GmbH

132 Prospects Sensor examples

and by means of "analog" shift registers This light is reflected from the dry outside
(bucket-brigade principle) are then trans- surface (total reflection) and reaches the re-
ferred line by line into an output register ceiver (photodiode) which is also aligned to
which is then read out serially at a high the windshield at an angle. If there are water
clock-pulse rate. droplets on the windshield, a considerable
Whereas, due to their limited dynamic portion of the light is refracted from them
light/dark response (50 dB), their read-out and is lost so that the signal received by the
time, and their temperature range (<50 C), photodiode is correspondigly weaker. As
CCD sensors are unsuitable for use in the from a certain level, the wiper also switches
automobile, innovative "smart" image sen- on automatically when there is dirt on the
sors based on CMOS technology are appar- windshield. On newer sensor versions, in-
ently 100% suitable for such applications. frared light is used instead of the visible light
Here, as well as having a dynamic response commonly employed.
of 120 dB, the logarithmic light/signal curve The sensor controls the speed of the
which is possible corresponds to that of the windshield wipers as a function of the
human eye. This, for instance, not only amount of rain measured on the windshield.
makes an aperture control superfluous, but Together with the electronically controlled
also provides for constant contrast resol- wiper drive, infinitely-variable wiper speeds
ution throughout the complete brightness are possible during interval operation. For
range. These sensors permit random access instance, if the windshield is suddenly del-
to the individual pixels while at the same uged by a gush of water when passing a
time permitting higher levels of sensitivity truck, the system automatically switches on
(higher readout rate). The first steps in pre- at top speed.
processing the signals on the image-sensor The rain sensor can also be used for clos-
chip have already been implemented. ing the windows and the sunshine roof. Pro-
vided a second sensor is fitted, it can also
Optical sensors control the vehicle headlights. When there is
Simple, optical sensors for contingency-trig- insufficient light, or when the vehicle enters
gered automatic cleaning of the vehicles a tunnel, it automatically switches on the
windshield or of the headlamp lenses are headlamps without the driver having to do
also aligned to the environment outside the anything. It is even conceivable that the rain
vehicle. sensors signals can be used to inform traffic
telematics systems about the actual weather
Rain sensors situation on a particular stretch of road.
The rain sensor detects rain drops on the ve-
hicles windshield and triggers the operation 4 Rain sensor for windshields
of the windshield wipers. The relieves the
driver of a number of operations that are
needed with conventional wiper systems,
and thus enables him/her to concentrate 1
better on the road. Nevertheless, manual
control is retained as an additional interven-
Fig. 4 tion. If the automatic control is required, the
1 Raindrops driver must activate it after starting the
2 Windshield 5
vehicle. 2

3 Ambient-light sensor
The rain sensor comprises an optical
4 Photodiode
5 Light sensor, aligned
transmit/receive path (similar to the dirt 4
to far distance sensor). An LED emits light which is 3
6 LED coupled into the windshield at a given angle.
Robert Bosch GmbH

Prospects Sensor examples 133

Dirt sensors crash energy. It would therefore be of consid-

The dirt sensor (Fig. 5) detects the degree of erable advantage to be able to reliably forecast
dirt on the headlamp lenses and triggers an the severity of the collision from the very first
automatic cleaning process for them. The moment of impact. To this end, near-range
sensors reflected-light barrier comprises a radar sensors are being worked on which will
light source (LED) and an opto-receiver be installed all round the vehicle to provide
(phototransistor). It is located on the lens 100% coverage of its surroundings.
inner surface inside the cleaning area tra-
versed by the headlamp-wiper blade, but not Further sensor systems
within the direct beam path of the light For the new assignments dealt with above,
from the bulb. When the headlamp lens is work is proceeding on the following sensor
clean or covered by raindrops, the measur- systems:
ing light (which is in the near IR range)  Steering-torque sensing (electromotive
passes through the headlamp lens practically power steering, "steer-by-wire" system),
unhindered, and only a negligible portion is  Drive-torque sensing (misfire detection,
reflected back to the opto-receiver. On the load signal),
other hand, if the transmitted light hits dirt  Braking-force sensing (electromotive
particles on the outside lens surface it is braking systems, "brake-by-wire"),
caused to scatter and reflects back to the  Passenger protection (AOS Automotive
opto-receiver. The degree of scatter is pro- Occupancy Sensing, Out of Position
portional to the degree of dirt, and above a sensing (OOP), passenger weight),
certain level automatically triggers the head-  Deformation sensors for broadside-colli-
lamp wipers. sion sensing,
 Pedestrian detection for triggering of
Near-range radar (24 GHz) engine-hood protective systems,
In case of broadside collisions, and frontal  Registration of wheel forces (e.g. force-
collisions on compact-class automobiles, the sensor technology integrated in the wheel
time available for triggering the safety and bearing, and friction-coefficient poten-
restraint systems is extremely short (5 ms), tial),
and there is very little space between the pas-  Liquid-measurement sensors (liquid lev-
sengers and the intruding vehicle. And in els, condition/quality of engine oil etc.)
contrast to frontal collisions on larger vehicles  "Autonomous", that is 100% non-contact-
there are very few vehicle components avail- ing sensors which can in some cases be
able for distortion and for absorbing the scanned by radio, and which need no con-
tacts for energy supply (plug-in contacts
5 Dirt sensor for the headlamp lens are still the most frequent causes of mal-
function in the vehicle).

It is therefore obvious that the multiplicity

1 2 of new electrical and electronic systems be-
ing introduced in the vehicle necessitates the
development of a wide variety of new sen-
sors. Of course, it still remains the objective
that once they have completed an economi-
cally acceptable service life, existing sensors Fig. 5

1 Lens
are replaced with new, more cost-efficient
2 Dirt particles
and better sensors produced using new tech- 3 Sensor housing
4 5
nologies. 4 Transmitter
5 Receiver
Robert Bosch GmbH

134 Sensor-signal processing Signal conditioning

Sensor-signal processing

Signal conditioning the sensor (Fig. 1, integration stages 1 to 3)

has the advantage that sensor and signal
(Evaluation IC) conditioning can be calibrated and compen-
The sensor signals must be conditioned be- sated together. These then form an insepar-
fore they can be evaluated digitally (refer to able unit which is highly interference-proof
the Section "Data Processing"). As far as re- and which must be replaced completely if
quired, this signal conditioning can include one of the stages should fail.
the following functions: Whereas previously, the functions de-
 Amplification (AC, DC), scribed above were in some cases imple-
 Rectification (also phase-synchronised), mented as separate circuits (e.g. CMOS-IC
 Threshold-value evaluation (also variable for signal processing, bipolar IC as the inter-
thresholds, pulse-shaping), ference-proof driver stage), present-day
 Voltage/frequency conversion, pulse- "mixed" technologies (e.g. BICMOS, BCD)
duration modulation (pdm), also permit the integration on a single chip
 Frequency filtering including interfer- of the complete function including any digi-
ence-protection measures, tal, programmable memory-location cells
 Analog/digital (AD) and digital/analog which might be necessary (PROM). Basi-
(DA) conversion, cally, in practically all cases, monolithic inte-
 Calibration of offset and amplification gration of the sensor and the signal process-
(characteristic curve in general), analog, ing is possible (for instance Si manifold-
digital (including E2PROM), pressure sensors and Hall-effect sensors).
 Linearisation, The euphoria which initially accompanied
 Calibration of temperature compensation this integration has now given way to more
(analog, digital), sober considerations which take economic
 Automatic zero reset, possibly also with aspects more into account. At present, there-
calibration during operation fore, other state-of-the-art integration meth-
 Self-monitoring (On-Board-Diagnosis ods are in use which are more cost-effective
(OBD), diagnosis output) and test func- (e.g. thick-film hybrids, combined "Lead
tions, frame" and combined chip housing). Such a
 Control of the servo-controlled sensors concept, which in effect can be regarded as
(compensation method), being modular, is also considerably more
 Generation of AC voltage for carrier- flexible since it can be more easily adapted
frequency sensor systems, to new assignments.
 Power-supply stabilisation, Considering the fact that the majority of
 Short-circuit-proof/overvoltage-proof sensors need an ASIC in order for them to
output and driver stages, operate correctly, and for their defined char-
 Signal multiplexers, analog and/or digital acteristics to apply, the wide variety of such
serialisation of the signals, coding, includ- signal-processing ASICs that have been cre-
ing fault detection, ated at Bosch represents a "treasure" of im-
 Bus interface (e.g. CAN) etc. mense value. When sensors are produced
not only for "in-house" use but also for sale
These functions are all available in the form outside, they should as far as possible only
of ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated be marketed together with these signal-
Circuits). These circuits are tailor-made for processing circuits.
the particular sensor application, and can
either be installed locally (at the sensor) or
at the ECU. In some cases, the functions are
divided between both sides as far as this is
expedient. Local integration of the circuit at
Robert Bosch GmbH

Sensor-signal processing Examples of application 135

1 Sensor integration stages (signal-conditioning stages shown in blue)

Sensors Transmission path ECU

Susceptible to
Conventional SE interference SA A
(analog) D SG

Resistant to
Multiple interference A
1st integration level SE SA SG
tap-off (analog) D

Immune to Fig. 1
Bus- interference
2nd integration level SE SA A SG SE Sensor(s)
D compatible (digital)
SA Signal conditioning

Immune to
3rd integration level SE SA A MC interference SG A/DAnalog/digital
D compatible (digital) converter
SG ECU (digital)
MC Microcomputer

Examples of application Since this ASIC is already installed in the

ECU, the advantages of individual curve and
Originally, ASICs were conceived primarily temperature compensation aligned to the
for installation in the ECU. This meant special sensor version were dispensed with
though, that requirements which in part on purpose. This electronic circuitry could
were based on special, and in some cases in- have been installed directly on the sensor
dividual, sensor features could not be taken and could have simplified the sensor as a re-
into account. As a rule, the ASICs are there- sult (refer to ASIC CC400). This automati-
fore now designed for direct installation on cally detects short circuits and cable breaks
the sensor, and are able to store individual in and at the sensor, and suppresses any in-
parameters for calibration and compensa- terference peaks which might be present on
tion, and use these to implement corrective the sensor output lead.
measures in the sense of an "intelligent" sen-
sor. Below, we deal with just a few examples The ASIC drives a half-differential short-cir-
of these ASICs. cuiting-ring sensor as an AC voltage divider
(10 kHz), whereby the end of the divider is
ASIC CC212 fed with a constant amplitude. Phase-op-
The CC212 is an ASIC for the short-circuit- posed voltage is applied to the other end of
ing-ring sensor (for instance, the half-differ- the divider, the amplitude of which is regu-
ential version) used for the measurement of lated (closed-loop controlled) until the out-
displacement, travel, and angle. Due to their put at the dividers pick-off reduces to zero.
considerable measuring effect and their The closed-loop-controlled output voltage is
moderate operating frequency (5...50 kHz) at the same time the analog output signal
short-circuiting-ring sensors do not neces- (Fig. 2, next page).
sarily need local electronic circuitry. The
ASIC CC212 is therefore installed in the
ECU where it combines all electronic func-
tions as needed in the ECU, for instance, for
the triggering and evaluation of the sensors
for Electronic Diesel Control (EDC).
Robert Bosch GmbH

136 Sensor-signal processing Examples of application

2 ASIC CC212 for the signal evaluation on short-circuiting-ring sensors (installed in ECU)

Zo Z Sensor

Uactual Analog output


Controller Sine-wave Smoothing Interfer- Controller Sine-wave Smoothing

oscillator filter ence blanking oscillator filter

Multiplier Uref
Prg. Clock Sigma-delta
generator converter

8-stage Address/
Quartz FIR filter port
Data bus

3 ASIC CC195 for knock-sensor signal evaluation (installed in ECU)

Reference Oscillator Frequency

voltage divider

Test-pulse divider

Sensor 1.. Output signal

signals 4
Rectifier UAE0888E
Multiplexer Amplifier Filter Integrator

4 ASIC interface for acceleration-sensor signal evaluation (integrated in ECU)

Central ECU External-mounted acceleration sensor (PAS)

Receiver IC ASIC Micromechanical

sensor measur-
Voltage regula- ing element
Current Current C/U
tor and reset
source and interface converter
measurement Amplifier and

A/D converter

Processor and logic Oscillator

Robert Bosch GmbH

Sensor-signal processing Examples of application 137

ASIC CC195 their signals digitally to the central ECU

The CC195 is a knock-sensor ASIC. Knock through a two-wire connection.
sensors are mounted directly on the engine As its name implies, the PAS (Peripheral
where they detect acceleration signals in the Acceleration Sensor) is located at the pe-
form of structure-borne noise. The combus- riphery of the vehicle, and in a two-chip
tion-knock signals are typically in the concept contains the capacitive acceleration
5...15 kHz range, and must be filtered out. A sensor itself as well as its triggering circuitry
time-window control suppresses precisely and evaluation electronics (Fig. 4). The
that phase of the working cycle during ASIC used here, incorporates not only the
which the signal can theoretically occur and sensor-triggering circuitry and sensor-signal
allocates this to a given cylinder. The signal evaluation, but also triggering for the output
occurring in the critical frequency range is interface and sensor self-monitoring.
rectified and averaged and then evaluated by
the ECU. As a result, the ECU shifts the igni- ASIC CC340
tion point until knock stops. The ASIC The CC340 is a universal, digitally control-
which is responsible for the above functions lable signal amplifier (Fig. 5, three-chip con-
is inside the ECU and is able to evaluate the cept). This module applies CMOS technol-
signals from up to 4 knock sensors (Fig. 3). ogy and is in fact an analog DC difference
amplifier. Depending upon a temperature
Interface ASIC signal, it can simultaneously control the off-
In case of a frontal collision, acceleration set and the amplification by means of a cor-
sensors trigger the vehicles restraint systems rection circuit.
in order to protect the passengers. They are Using this ASIC therefore, and provided
located directly in the airbag ECU which is that the bridge operating temperature t is
usually installed in the vehicles console. precsiely monitored, it is possible to pre-
The triggering of the protection system cisely amplify the output voltage of the pres-
for side-on collisions must be much faster, sure-sensor DMS bridge. Here, on the one
and it is therefore necessary to locate the re- side the advantages of simple broad-band,
spective acceleration sensors at the vehicles no-delay analog amplification are retained,
periphery (for instance at the chassis cross and on the other, temperature correction
member). From here, the sensors transmit takes place in a fully digitised circuit stage
which need not be subjected to any demands

5 Combination of sensor, signal amplifier CC340 and EEPROM in one sensor housing (three-chip concept)

Sensor ASIC CC340 EEPROM Power supply

Output signal

D 64 * 16

Fig. 5
p Pressure
t Temperature
Robert Bosch GmbH

138 Sensor-signal processing Examples of application

at all regarding high working speeds and mechanical versions (for instance, inductive
high resolution. or capacitive sensors). This takes place by in-
tegrating the electronics, a step which at the
Using 6 bits (64 stages), the temperature sig- same time leads to sensor simplification.
nal is roughly digitised. With this digital
word, an offset factor and an amplification In the measuring systems, using a simple
factor are read out of an EEPROM. These self-oscillating circuit, the inductance L of a
each comprise 8 bits, and can be applied to travel or angle sensor, and its operating-
the amplifier so that extremely non-linear temperature as registered by an NTC tem-
temperature responses can be corrected perature sensor, are converted into an easily
across a wide range. A selectable basic am- digitised period of oscillation. By means of
plification and a basic offset are also stored these two values, the relevant practically
in the EEPROM. faultless measurement values are then read
out of a two-dimensional "look-up table".
When the design of this ASIC is updated, Only a few values are stored on the ASIC
both the EEPROM and the bipolar protec- in order to get by with very little memory
tive circuit could be integrated in a single space. When necessary, the ASIC performs a
chip (Fig. 6). In the first versions of this linear interpolation between these values.
ASIC, these had to be separated in the three- The values in the "look-up table" are calcu-
chip concept in line with the state-of-the-art lated in a once-only calibration process and
at that time. stored in the (EE)PROM of the ASIC. Total
measure and calculation time is less than
ASIC CC400 0.5 ms.
Using the CC400, it is possible to digitally Thanks to the measured-value correction
evaluate inductive sensors using calibration as described above, on short-circuiting-ring
and correction functions that have been sensors for instance, the linearisation con-
specifically aligned to the special sensor de- tour for the laminated iron core can be dis-
sign (Fig. 7). With this ASIC, it is possible to pensed with as can a second, fixed-adjusted
vastly improve the characteristics not only of reference system. This serves to simplify the
micromechanical sensors but also of macro- sensor somewhat. Nonetheless, the CC400

6 Future ASIC with EEPROM and bipolar protective circuit all on a single chip

Oscillator Reference
Preamplifier voltage
Sensor signal

Offset Basic Variable Scan

amplification amplification and hold
Output signal

Register (8) Register (5) Register (8)

A/D converter

D Control and EEPROM interface
Robert Bosch GmbH

Sensor-signal processing Examples of application 139

permits a considerable increase in sensor ac-

curacy compared with conventional evalua-
tion. Across the complete temperature
range, this applies up to 0.1% of the measur-
ing range. The only principle limitation here
is the ageing stability of the travel/angle sen-
sors and of the temperature sensor used.

Fig. 8 shows an example of a capacitive ac-

celeration sensor with evaluation circuit.

7 Full-digital circuit of the ASIC CC400 for the high-speed evaluation of inductive sensors, including the individual
correction of characteristc curves and temperature errors, with digital or pwm output signal

Operating-mode adjustment

Timing Oscillator CAN-Bus

control Interface
Sensors Measuring PWM
channel interface
system 1 Sequence
NTC control system Corrected
Measuring measured
system 2 values
channel PROM
Measuring Correction Processor
counter data

8 Capacitive acceleration sensor with evaluation circuit SMB070 (Example)

Power supply Clock pulse Data

sensor Setting for offset and sensitivity

C Output

Evaluation circuit BITE

SMB 070
Robert Bosch GmbH

140 Data processing in the vehicle Requirements/Microcomputer/Electronic control unit (ECU)

Data processing in the vehicle

Requirements Microcomputer
Highly sophisticated state-of-the-art open- The microcomputer comprises both the cen-
loop and closed-loop control concepts are tral processing unit (CPU) for processing
essential for meeting the demands for func- arithmetic operations and logical relation-
tion, safety, environmental compatibility and ships, and special function modules to moni-
comfort associated with the wide range of tor external signals and to generate the con-
automotive subsystems installed in modern- trol signals for external servo elements. These
day vehicles. Sensors monitor the reference peripheral modules are largely capable of as-
and controlled variables, which an electronic suming complete control of real-time oper-
control unit (ECU) then converts into the ations. The program-controlled CPU could
signals required to adjust the final control- only discharge these at the price of both ad-
ling elements/actuators. The input signals ditional complication and curtailment in the
can be analog (e.g. voltage characteristic at number of functions (e.g. determining the
pressure sensor), digital (e.g. switch position) moment at which an event occurred).
or pulse-shaped (i.e. information content as
a function of time; e.g. engine-speed signal). Computing power
These signals are processed after being con- Apart from the architecture (e.g. accumu-
ditioned (filtering, amplification, pulse shap- lator, register machine) and the word length
ing) and converted (analog/digital); digital (4 ... 32 bits), the product of the internal
signal-processing methods are preferred. clock frequency and the average number of
Thanks to modern semiconductor tech- clock pulses required per instruction deter-
nology, powerful computer units, with their mines the CPUs power:
accompanying program and data memories,  Clock frequency: 1 ... 40 MHz (typical),
and special peripheral circuitry, designed  Clock pulses per instruction:
specifically for real-time applications, can all 1 ... 32 pulses (typical), depending on the
be integrated on only a few chips. CPU's architecture and the instruction
Modern vehicles are equipped with nu- (e.g. 6 pulses for addition, 32 pulses for
merous digital control units (ECUs), e.g. for multiplication).
engine management, ABS, and transmission-
shift control. lmproved performance and ad-
ditional functions are obtained by synchro- Electronic control unit (ECU)
nizing the processes controlled by the indi-
vidual control units, and by adapting (in real Digital input signals
time) their respective parameters to each Register a switch position or digital sensor
other. An example of this type of function is signals (e.g. rotational-speed pulses from a
traction control (TCS) which reduces the Hall-effect sensor),
driving torque when the drive wheels spin. Voltage range: 0 V to battery voltage.
Up to now, data between the control units
(in the example cited above, ABS/TCS and Analog input signals
engine management) has been exchanged Signals from analog sensors (lambda sensor,
mostly through separate lines. However, this pressure sensor, potentiometer). Voltage
type of point-to-poi