Loadstar Sensors Blog

Short Updates on interesting applications using our sensor solutions.

Measuring thrust forces exerted by quadcopter rotors

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Are you a drone or quadcopter enthusiast?  Trying to build your own kick-ass quadcopter that will soar high and move fast?  Then you need to really understand the thrust characteristics of your motors and make sure it can generate enough thrust to provide sufficient lift and forward movement.  

Jim Grubb, the VP of Emerging Technologies Marketing and Chief Demonstration Officer at Cisco Systems is one such enthusiast, who uses our iLoad TR USB load cell system to characterize the thrust applied by the motors and uses the iLoad Mini load cells to measure the weight and balance of the quadcopter to make sure it is properly balanced so the motors do not have to do extra work to rectify the imbalance resulting in reduced fuel efficiency.

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Load Cells with USB, UART, & Analog 0-5V Output shown in various configurations

iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell Top View
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell Side View
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell Bottom View
iLoad Pro/TR Capacitive Load Cell Connected to PC/Mac and Tablet
LoadVUE Log Data
LoadVUE Log Data
LoadVUE Share Data
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell to HX-100 Hybrid (Analog and Digital) Output to Microcontroller
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell to HX-100 Hybrid (Analog and Digital) Output to Voltmeter to Windows PC/Tablet
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell to HX-400 USB Output to Windows PC/Tablet
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Load Button
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Inline Adaptor
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Eye Bolt
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Inline Adaptor and Eye Bolts
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Rod End
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Inline Adaptor and Rod Ends
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Foot Pedal
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Leveling Foot
iLoad Pro Capacitive Load Cell with Caster Wheel

The iLoad Pro load cell is one of the family of load cells that use capacitive measurement techniques to measure forces or loads.  Unlike traditional strain gauge load cells, these capacitive load cells do not use resistive strain gauges that are bonded to a metal member.  Instead it uses two capacitive plates separated by a gap as the sensing element.  When the load/force is applied, this gap changes changing the capacitance.  This change is measured and transmitted as a digital signal directly from within the sensor and can be in the UART or USB format.  In addition, an analog voltage (0-5 V DC) can also be output as an option simultaneously making it easy to use for a wide variety of application!  

 

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Using USB Load Cells to measure lift and drag forces acting on WingSuits

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Since the dawn of time, man has observed birds that can take off at will and fly through the sky with effortless ease and dreamed of doing the same.  Although over the last hundred years, man has invented and built amazing flying machines, nothing until now has come close to doing so without being confined inside a metal cocoon that we call an aircraft.  Wingsuit flying is the closest one comes to the "dream of flight" where one can fly without any powered engines or cabins.  Experienced skydivers don colorful fabric suits with “wings” between their arms and legs and leap from aircraft or high cliffs and glide through the air.

When flown by an expert pilot this type of wingsuit can fly over 3 feet forward for every one foot of downward travel, this is called a “3 to 1 glide ratio”. This is a thrilling and amazing sport but the professional aerodynamicists and undergraduate researchers in Team Eagle Wingsuit at Embry Riddle University, believe that wingsuit performance can be greatly improved and can achieve glide ratios of 6:1.

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NASA uses our S-Beam Load Cells with USB Output to Test Forces on a Parachute

Parachutes bring Orion Capsule Down Safely during Test

NASA Ames Research center used two of our RAS1 S-Beam Load Cells and one RES2 S-Beam Jr. Load Cell with matching DI-1000U 24-bit USB Load Cell Interfaces and our LV-4000 software to measure the forces acting on a parachute during a test conducted in the giant wind tunnel facility.

The  solution provides a fully calibrated and accurate system which can be used to measure both tension and compression forces in real time.  The software allows the user to display the data in various units, log the data to a comma separated file as well as plot the data as a Force vs. Time plot in real time.

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