Static Characteristics

Static characteristics refer to the characteristics of the system when the input is either held constant or varying very slowly. The items that can be classified under the heading static characteristics are mainly:

Accuracy  the closeness of the measured value with the actual or true value  The maximum amount by which the result differs from the true value.  expressed in the form of the maximum error = measured value – true value, as a percentage of full scale reading.

Thus, if the accuracy of a temperature indicator,
with a full scale range of 0-500 oC is specified as

±0.5%, it indicates that the measured value will
always be within ±2.5 oC of the true value, if

measured through a standard instrument during the
process of calibration. But if it indicates a reading

of 250 oC, the error will also be ±2.5 oC, i.e. ±1%
of the reading.

Precision Precision indicates the repeatability reproducibility of an instrument.


The ability of an instrument to reproduce a certain reading with a given accuracy. To cite an example, If all clocks in a jewelry store are set at 8:20 but are not running, the indicated values show precision but are accurate only twice in 24hrs. Precise data have small dispersion, but may be far from the true value

 The difference between precision and accuracy needs to be understood carefully.  Precision means repetition of successive readings, but it does not guarantee accuracy; successive readings may be close to each other, but far from the true value.

 On the other hand, an accurate instrument has to be precise also, since successive readings must be close to the true value (that is unique).

Range  It defines the maximum and minimum values of the inputs or the outputs for which the instrument is recommended to use.
 For example, for a temperature measuring instrument the input range may be 100-500 oC and the output range may be 4-20 mA.

 Linearity is defined as the maximum deviation in the output of measuring system from a specified straight line applied to a plot of data points on a curve of measured values versus input values  Linearity is actually a measure of nonlinearity of the instrument.

Sensitivity The sensitivity of an instrument is the ratio of the linear movement of the pointer on the instrument to the change in the measured variable causing this motion.
Output, qo Δqi Δqo

Input, qi

 When an instrument is subjected to repeated measurements of an input quantity under similar conditions, it is observed that the input – output curves do not coincide for continuously ascending and then descending values of the input quantity. This noncoincidence of the curve for increasing and decreasing inputs is a phenomenon called hysteresis.  External and internal friction, sliding friction, backlash in the mechanism etc.

 It is defined as the ability of a measuring system to reproduce output readings, when the same input is applied to it consecutively, under the same conditions, and in the same direction  If an instrument is used to measure the same input many times and at different time intervals, the output obtained may be scattered.

 Threshold is the minimum value of the input quantity to which an instrument responds and indicates a change in the output value.
 Below the threshold value no output is detected by the instrument.

 Resolution is defined as the smallest increment of input signal that measuring system is capable of displaying.

 The closeness with which the scale of the instrument may be read.  Eg: an instrument with 30cm scale would have a higher readability than an instrument with 15cm scale.

Dynamic Characteristics

Dynamic characteristics refer to the performance of the instrument when the input variable is changing rapidly with time.

System Response

Response of the system is the measure of a system's fidelity to purpose. It may be defined as an evaluation of the ability of a system to transmit and present all the relevant information contained in the input signal and to exclude all others.

The system response characteristics are:
Amplitude response Frequency response Phase response Slew rate and delay

Measurement lag. The most important factor in the performance of a measuring system is that the full effect of an input signal (i.e. change in measured quantity) is not immediately shown at the output but is almost inevitably subject to some lag or delay in response. This is a delay between cause and effect due to the natural inertia of the system and is known as measurement lag.

Fidelity: It is defined as the degree to which a measurement system indicates changes in the measured quantity without any dynamic error.

Dynamic Error: It is the difference between the true value of the quantity changing with time and the value indicated by the measurement system if no static error is assumed.

Time delay: It is the difference between the true value of the quantity changing with time and the value indicated by the measurement system if no static error is assumed.

Time Delay
I n p u t
s i g n a l

System input

o u t p u t

s i g n a l

System output
Δt Time, t

Loading effect:

In sensing the input, the sensors absorbs a portion of the energy from the signal source, and thus the information from the source is changed by the act of measurement. This effect is known as loading effect

 True value: it is the actual magnitude of the input signal.  Indicated value: the magnitude of the input signal indicated by a measuring instrument.  Result: Obtained by making all known corrections to the indicated value.
Error: The difference between the true value and the result.

Error Classification:
I. Systematic or Fixed errors
(A) calibration errors

(B) Human Errors
(C) Experimental Errors (D) Errors of techniques

(E) Loading Error

II. Random or accidental errors (A) Errors on judgment (B) Variation of conditions (C) Definition


Illegitimate errors

(A) Blunders or Mistakes (B) Computational Errors (C) Chaotic errors

Systematic errors are of constant or similar form resulting from improper conditions or procedures that are consistent in action Human errors are systematic errors The equipment itself may introduce built-in errors resulting from incorrect design, fabrication or maintenance. Loading error results from the influence exerted by the act of measurement on the physical system being tested.

Random errors are distinguished by their lack of consistency. An observer may not be consistent in his method of estimating readings, or the process involved may include certain uncontrolled or poorly, variables causing changing conditions. Variation of conditions would also include the effects of unconstrained elements caused by such things in backlash and friction.

Illegitimate errors include outright mistakes which may be eliminated through exercise of care and repetition of the measurement. Chaotic errors include random disturbances introducing errors of sufficient magnitude to hide the test information. Extreme vibration, mechanical shock of the equipment, or pick up of extraneous electrical noise may be of sufficient magnitude to make test meaningless.

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