Measurement 29 (2001) 287–292 www.elsevier.
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Compact and accurate digital thermometer based on Anderson’s loop and Pt-100 sensor
C. Svelto*, G. Galzerano, E. Bava
INFM, Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano and CNR-CSTS, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy Received 17 February 2000; received in revised form 2 June 2000; accepted 12 June 2000
Abstract A simple and practical digital thermometer with an accuracy better than 0.18C over a near-room-temperature (from 2 108C to 508C) measurement range has been developed. The instrument is compact and battery operated and provides for both digital and analog outputs. A four-lead platinum thermal sensor, driven by a constant current loop, allows for accurate temperature readings with high immunity to the contact resistances and to their variations. A low-noise electronics allows for temperature measurements with a 1 mK resolution. By experimentally characterizing the non-linearity of the adopted Pt-100 sensor, a suitable readout correction table has been calculated in order to compensate for the sensor non-linear behavior. This compensating procedure allows for a wider (from 2 508C to 1 2008C) and higher accuracy ( | 0.058C) measurement range. The ultimate accuracy was essentially limited by the accuracy of the temperature standard used for calibration. © 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.
Keywords: Temperature instrumentation; Temperature measurement; Low noise electronics; Current loop; Platinum thermal sensor; Resistance measurement
1. Introduction Temperature measurements characterized by the best accuracy levels use platinum sensors to transduce the thermal signal into an electric one . The low thermal coefﬁcient (a 5 1 /R ? dR / dT(0.385% / 8C for standard commercial probes ) and the relatively low ohmic value of these sensors push toward the need for high-resolution measurements of the variation in the sensor resistance. Such measurements require a careful consideration of the addition*Corresponding author. Tel.: 139-02-2399-3610; fax: 139-022399-3413. E-mail address: email@example.com (C. Svelto).
al resistances arising from the lead wires and contact weldings and from the associated thermal drifts. For this reason, the most accurate resistance measurements need four-wire probes . With a four-wire resistor the voltage difference between the highimpedance voltmetric terminals can be read, essentially without spurious resistance effects, when a constant current is ﬂowing through the other amperometric wires and terminals. A particular and quite recent application of this concept is exploited in the Anderson’s loop circuit . This current-loop topology is now increasingly used for temperature measurements using resistive sensors. When compared to a standard bridge circuit, the Anderson’s loop also presents the clear advantage of generating
0263-2241 / 01 / $ – see front matter © 2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. PII: S0263-2241( 00 )00052-X
. 1. and a reference resistor R 2 5 10060. with a 4 ] 2 digit display. The block diagram of the digital thermometer. 237-1657) has been used. Svelto et al. ICL7129) driving a liquid crystal 1 display (Varitronix. Block diagram of the digital thermometer.288
C. With an excitation current of 373 mA and a total differential subtraction gain of 68. in compliance with BS1904:1984 class B quality. a sensitivity of 10 mV/ mK has been obtained at the measurement circuit output (voltage Vtherm in Figs. OP177). Calibration of the instrument offset and gain is made possible by means of the R w1 and R w2 potentiometers (see Fig.1 V at a reference temperature T 0 5 08C and by a nominal temperature coefﬁcient a 5 (39362) 3 10 25 8C 21 .1 V) resistance uncertainty is not propagated to the uncertainty of the measured temperature. The thermometer uses a four-lead Pt-100 commercial temperature transducer sensed by a doubly differential subtraction circuit in an Anderson’s loop conﬁguration. The combination of low-noise electronics and careful instrument calibration allows for accurate temperature measurements in a 62008C interval within the operating range of the sensor. The constant excitation current is obtained by means of a precise 5 V voltage reference (Linear Technology. 2). respectively). The desired measurement range can be selected by a manual switch acting on the A / D converter and on the display dynamic (6200 mV or 62 V. is characterized by a nominal resistance value of R 0 5 10060. the remaining measurement uncertainties only arise from the sensor non-linearity and from aging of both the sensor and the electronic circuit. The detailed schematic of the measurement electronic circuit is indicated in Fig. Both a digital readout and an analog voltage outputs are available for temperature readings by this instrument. LT1236). The
Fig. INA118) and of another OP177 operational ampliﬁer.2 V/ V. is depicted in Fig. showing the sensor.
2. respectively. a four-wire Pt-100 commercial and low cost resistor (RS. / Measurement 29 (2001) 287 – 292
an output voltage which varies linearly with the sensor resistance. BD503DP) with 4 ] digits. the main electronic sections. the theoretical resolution of the digital measurements is 1 mK or 10 mK in the temperature intervals of 6208C or 62008C. an ultra low noise operational ampliﬁer (Analog Device. is described. Digital thermometer design The thermometer design is based on a current loop excitation acting on a resistive thermal sensor whereas active doubly differential subtraction is used to read the voltage difference across the sensing resistance. 1. and both outputs. An 2 analog voltage is also available at a BNC output connector on the back panel of the thermometer. 1 and 2). We note that the uncertainty of this reference resistor to the measurment uncertainty disappears with the thermometer calibration and hence the relatively high (0. This sensor. 2. 2 is sent to an A / D converter (Harris.1 V with
3 ppm / 8C thermal drift. As a temperature sensor. The doubly differential subtraction section is made of two instrumentation ampliﬁers (Burr Brown. Due to the speciﬁcs of the A / D converter and display that have been adopted. The output voltage from the measurement circuit of Fig. If a perfectly linear and calibrated electronic circuit is developed. respectively. In this paper the design and performance of a 1 compact and accurate digital thermometer.
Uncertainty calculation With an adequate calibration procedure. 2. Henceforth. Svelto et al. Owing to the low power consumption of the adopted electronic circuit. Photograph of the digital thermometer. the power supply allows for continuous operation of the thermometer for a time interval period much longer than 100 h.C. The main residual sources of uncertainty for the thermometer are then related to the non-linearity of the platinum sensor (having measured a negligible contribution due to the electronic circuitry non-linearity) and to the
Fig. This thermometer has been developed mostly for near room temperature operation
and it is speciﬁcally designed for thermoelectronic control loops aimed at the temperature stabilization of small optical or mechanical parts even outside of the laboratory environment.
3. 3. The open case shows the internal electronics. / Measurement 29 (2001) 287 – 292
Fig. assuming a linear characteristic of the thermal sensor. all the systematic effects due to electrical components tolerances can be removed from the temperature measurement. 3. the offset error in the electronic circuitry and the reference resistor can be suppressed by imposing (through the offset regulation potentiometer R w1 ) a zero output when the sensor is in contact with a mixture of ice and water at thermal equilibrium. Likewise. the gain error can be suppressed by setting (through the gain-regulation potentiometer R w2 ) a prescribed output voltage at another reference temperature. A picture of the entire instrument and sensor is shown in Fig.
power supply consists of two 9 V batteries series connected. the device is portable (size 85 3 70 3 140 mm 3 and weight 350 g) and battery operated.
. The 1-m-long shielded wire connects the Pt-100 sensor (white bulb) to the instrument. Schematics of the measurement electronic circuit. In particular.
4. kept at a constant temperature.0618 0. long-term mechanical stability and aging). and the corresponding temperature induced variations are then shown in Table 1. e. Obviously. it is therefore necessary to precisely characterize the sensor parameters in order to correct the instrument readings from the non-linear behavior of the probe. e. they still show a residual non-linear dependence on temperature. This gives a (DVr /Du )510 mV/ 8C thermal drift. the uncertainty of this non-linear model will ultimately limit the total accuracy of the thermometer.2 mK / 8C and hence an overall readout error of 61 mK when the instrument operating temperature varies in the range ucase 523658C. / Measurement 29 (2001) 287 – 292 Table 1 Resistance values and associated thermal variations for the different resistors of Fig. This corresponds to a thermal drift of the readout temperature of 10. this linear thermal drift of the measurement readout could be even further reduced by using an additional buffer ampliﬁer with a precisely opposite thermal drift. By both numerical and approximated analytical calculations. R4 R5 R w1 R g1 R w2 R g2 R INA Resistance value [kV] 13. 2. was connected to the instrument in place of the Pt-100 sensor. Finally. With a sampling rate of 100 Sa / s and for observation times as long as 5 min. The reference voltage of the LT1236 supply is
Vr 5560. the doubly-differential output has been recorded by means of a low-noise 16-bit digital acquisition system. one can then calculate the inaccuracy caused by operating the thermometer in a sufﬁciently small temperature range around room temperature.g.1.0880 0. while the drift of the A / D converter. if necessary. the platinum resistance R as a function of the temperature u. Sensor non-linearity
Although platinum sensors are the most linear temperature transducers so far available.
3. can be written as R(u ) 5 R 0 [1 1 Au 1 Bu 2 ] (1)
where R 0 is the sensor resistance at 08C and A and B are suitable constants. 2 Resistor R1 R2.0000 1. With reference to the components shown in Fig. the thermal drift of the operational ampliﬁer OP177 is given by (DVOP /Du )5100 nV/ 8C while the drift of the instrumentation ampliﬁer INA118 can be written as (DVINA /Du )5[0.0003 0.
3.3 kV?(1115 ppm / 8C) 100 V?(113 ppm / 8C) 4. and R g is the external gain resistance. a temperature-converted rms value of 0. all chosen for low thermal drifts. For an optimum employment of these sensors in high accuracy electronic thermometers. is (DVICL7129 /Du )50.2500
stability of both the electronics and the sensor itself (e.21(5 /GINA )] mV/ 8C where GINA is the particular gain of the ampliﬁer. expressed in Celsius degrees. ucase 5238C.12 kV?(1115 ppm / 8C) 880 V?(11100 ppm / 8C) 1 kV?(1150 ppm / 8C) 50 kV?(11100 ppm / 8C) 100 kV?(1150 ppm / 8C) 50 kV?(1125 ppm / 8C) Thermal variation [V / 8C] 0. Furthermore it should be noted that. Thermal drifts
Even after a proper calibration procedure.5 mV/ 8C. once the temperature variations of all electronic components are known.g. R3. with a temperature coefﬁcient of 12 mV/ 8C over an extremely wide (61008C) operating temperature interval.g.1995 0. Svelto et al. Noise measurements and instrument calibration To evaluate the contribution of the electronic noise. referred to its input. In a sufﬁciently small temperature interval around 08C.2 mK in a
C. 2. In these measurements a low thermal drift 100 V resistor. If we assume that an instrument calibration has been performed at a given room temperature for the thermometer case and internal electronics.2. ucase 523658C. a linear overall thermal drift has been obtained for Vtherm . Its value is given by GINA 5(11R INA /R g ) where R INA is an internal resistance (R INA 550 kV) not shown in Fig.0000 5.0025 V with a 2 ppm / 8C thermal drift.0500 5. systematic errors are still present due to thermal drifts of the electrical components in the sensing circuit. the values of the resistors.
99 49.071 27.125 96.ucase .007 0 1. a third measurement. To extend this range of accurate measurement and to achieve an even better accuracy.391 100.60 230.172 101.051 10.89 98. this correction depends on the particular sensor being used.071 0.224 92.733 103.007 2. and upon assuming that the non-linear relation between the measured temperature and the actual values.051 20.055 20.960(2)?10 21 V / 8C and R 0 ?B5 27. a correction for the sensor non-linearity becomes necessary. When this noisy thermal voltage signal is fed to the A / D converter.033 0.5(3)?10 25 V / 8C 2 .026 5. Without correction for the non-linear behavior of the speciﬁc Pt-100 sensor used.343 102.045 98.014 20.81 193.83 Correction [8C] 0.782 101. Calibration of the thermometer has been obtained by means of a stable bath temperature (Ethafrigo.086 96. In particular.016 0.85 240. Of course.082 28. however. of our thermometer at this temperature.118C while in
.05 39.007 0 20.870 97. / Measurement 29 (2001) 287 – 292
bandwidth of 3 Hz has been obtained. which vary non-linearly with the sensor temperature. Upon calculating the sensor resistance by Eq.068 20.082 0.026 20. on its mechanical design and on materials aging.39 220.051 25.05 0.042 20.042 24.093 29.042 0.123 103.037 7.436 98.22 215. as due to the sensor.07 30.032 20.539 119.262 97.395 138.315 84.055 15.07 20.902 105. Svelto et al.014 3. varying in the interval of 23658C.39 0.007 20.513 103.154 210.562 101.032 6.061 0. uenv . The corresponding linear and quadratic coefﬁcients of Vtherm vs.11 1.17 3.037 20. GR →V ((68.672 115. Upon dividing these coefﬁcient values by the resistanceto-voltage.258C.478 96. This is due to the current-loop topology of the measurement circuit and to the high Common Mode Rejection Ratio of the doubly-differential subtraction used.849 107.033 23.25 mK readout resolution) at two or three speciﬁc temperature points.500 157.042 8.22 0. the measured system thermal drift proved to be below 61 mK for environment temperatures.047 9. (1) as R 0 ? A53. a readout correction for the measured temperature values has been deduced (see Table 2). (1).60 0. one then obtains the values of this resistance.093 0.10 mV). whose temperature was measured by a high-accuracy secondary temperature standard (65 mK accuracy and 0.047 20.074(5)?10 23 V/ 8C
Table 2 Calculated thermometer readout values at different measurement temperatures between 250 and 12008C and readout corrections for the sensor non-linearity Temperature [8C] 250 240 230 220 215 210 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 15 20 30 40 50 100 150 200 Sensor resistance [V] 80.051 0.4338C. the 20 ms integration time provides for enough electronic noise suppression that the displayed values do not show any ﬂuctuation even at the mK resolution level. can be described by a non-linear model of the second order of the form shown in Eq. was performed.01 0.18C over the temperature range from 210 to 1508C.161 94.e.44 mV/ mV. respectively. on its quality class.218 99.839 Thermometer readout [8C] 250. the maximum correction applied in the 210 to 1508C temperature range is 0. (1).024 22. To estimate the non-linearity of our Pt-100 sensor (quality class B). the actual temperature turn out to be A9510. the estimated thermometer accuracy turns out to be better than 0. In agreement with the theoretical result obtained in the previous section.17
and B95 21.024 0.0008C and 40.020 20. R(u )→Vtherm . KB22 with a 61 mK temperature stability).793 111. Regulations of the voltage offset and gain of the measurement circuit have been performed at the bath temperatures of 0.827 99.275 88.C. From the measured error of 20.6568C.2 V/ V)?(373 mA)(25.068 20. gain of the instrument.91(8)?10 26 V/ 8C 2 . we can deduce the sensor coefﬁcients of Eq.609 100 100. also shown in Table 2.19 6.83 146.020 4.653 98.016 21. Changes in the wire resistances up to 100 V were also applied without noticing readout variations (DVtherm .953 102. i. at 60.315 175.061 26.85 0.154 0.
1964. We note that the temperature values of Table 2 are taken from the 2508C operating range of this digital thermometer. Antimo Silvestre.292
C.  J. WCH. for his helpful technical assistance during the instrument calibration.
.). To maintain a 1 mK readout stability. / Measurement 29 (2001) 287 – 292
the full measurement range the error limit. The new current loop: an instrumentation and measurement circuit topology. Even with a Pt-100 sensor of modest quality. Ricolﬁ.F.178C at the maximum temperature of 12008C. 1952.K. Handbook of Modern Sensors. the thermometer accuracy over a measurement range from 210 to 1508C is better than 0. J. 1996. will be performed in order to assess the long-term stability and conﬁrm the overall accuracy of this inexpensive but precise and versatile measurement device. from 2508C (limited by the sensor minimum operating temperature) to 12008C (limited by the converter / display dynamic). in: T. Gopel. Conclusions A portable digital thermometer has been developed performing accurate temperature measurements in the temperature range from 2508C to 12008C and allowing for both digital readout and analog output. Sensors. the accuracy of the thermometer goes to 0. of the center of the calibration service in Italy (SIT) of the Politecnico di Milano. calculated from the above three-point calibration. Svelto et al.1 V 3 ppm / 8C resistor in place of the Pt-100 sensor.N. Repeated comparisons with a secondary temperature standard. AIP. over a 62008C interval. Vol. or 1 mK. Harris. Fraden. is of 26. Thermal Sensors. over a 6208C interval. A Comprehensive Survey. Sholz (Eds. By using the correction values reported in Table 2. Chapter 4. based on a three-point calibration. J.  K. IM46 (1) (1997) 1061–1067. with a two-point calibration.
Acknowledgements The authors are indebted to Mr. the thermometer needs to be operated within a 658C range around the temperature which was used during the instrument calibration. before correction. Weinheim. J. temperature while the errors produced by thermal drifts and noise in the
 W.  F.
electronic circuit are below the resolution limit set by the digital display.e. to be performed in an ofﬁcial calibration center. 4.058C over the entire measurement range. Zemel. By this test it was veriﬁed that the stability of the readings was within 1 mK when switching on and off the thermometer during different days over a 2-month observation period. The resolution of the digital measurement can be selected to be either 10 mK. Wiley and Sons. Anderson. Chapter 7. IEEE Trans. the thermometer allows for high-accuracy measurements in this wide temperature range. Measurements of the instrument repeatability have also been performed using a 10060. Hesse. Electrical Measurements.
5. Upon using a suitably calculated readout correction table. i.18C. This accuracy is essentially limited by the uncorrected non-linear characteristic of the platinum sensor vs.