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Detecting Electric Current with AC Current Sensors

Electric current is a flow of electric charge typically occurring in electric circuits and such energy is carried by moving electrons in a wire. Electric current may also be carried by ions in an electrolyte or by both ions and electrons like that in a plasma. For monitoring purposes, an AC current sensor can be used to detect electric current and measure it in amperes using a device called an ammeter.

During the detection process, AC current sensors generates a signal proportional to the electric current flowing into a wire. The sensor can come out with either an analog output, a bipolar output, or a unipolar output. In both analog and bipolar outputs, the sensor duplicates the wave shape of the sensed current. For a unipolar output, on the other hand, the sensor generates a signal proportional to the average or RMS value of the sensed current.

AC current sensors are present in various circuit level current measurement techniques. They can be found on shunt resistors, Hall effect current sensor transducers, transformers, and on magnetoresistive field sensors. All these previously mentioned sensors are designed to detect the movement of electrical charges in a variety of power systems. Due to the importance of electricity and the technologies dependent on it, it’s not surprising that current sensors have a vast range of applications in many industries.