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What is the difference between Loadstar Sensors' iLoad Series load cells vs. conventional strain gauge load cells?

Conventional load cells are built using strain gauges or piezo resistive devices which are basically variable resistors arranged in a wheatstone bridge network. When a strain/stress is applied to the strain gauge – it changes the resistance of one or more resistors slightly. This change in resistance leads to an unbalanced circuit resulting in a small milliVolt change in output signal that is amplified and calibrated to measure loads. Typical full scale outputs are in the 20-40 mV range.

In comparison, our load cells are built using variable capacitors. When a load is applied, the capacitance changes significantly and is converted into a digital frequency signal. As the load changes, the frequency changes. This frequency change can be measured very accurately and can be converted into either a digital (USB, Bluetooth, XBee Wireless, WiFi) or analog(0-5V, 0-20 mV, 4-20 mA) signal that is easy to input DIRECTLY into a DAQ or a PLC or a PC.

What is the input power requirement for USB operation?

Maximum Input Voltage = 5V Input Voltage Noise < 100µVrms Input Current = 50mA max

Are the load cells NTEP certified?

We offer some NTEP certified resistive load cells in some configurations and capacities such as the RRP1 and RRP2 Single Point Load Cells and the RRS1 S-Beam load cells. The RSP1 Single Point Load Cells are OIML approved. These resistive load cells are sourced from reputable third parties who have been building resistive load cells for a long time.

What kind of forces can the load cells handle? (Impulse/Dynamic/Static loads)?

Generally speaking iLoad series load cells are designed to be used in a static loading situation. The load cells perform well in a dynamic environment as well but are limited to approximately 3 to 5 millisecond response times.

If you are looking for faster response rates you can utilize resistive analog load cells in combination with our AI-1000 analog load cell interface. The AI-1000 provides an amplified 0-5V DC signal that can be sampled at very fast sampling rates using data acquisition systems available from a variety of vendors.

As far as impulse forces are concerned, because of the response rate limitation, we will not be able to provide a true impulse force if the time durations are less than 3 ms. YOU SHOULD ALSO TAKE CARE TO NOT EXCEED THE OVERLOAD LIMITS DURING IMPULSE LOADING since these loads can be several times the force exerted by a static load and can cause a “set” and therefore a change in calibration if care is not taken.

Can I get 3D solid models of our load cells for use in my design process?

Yes,3D models of many of our load cells are available in our specifications page. If you do not find what you need, please contact us.

Which series of load cells is appropriate for use with a data acquisition system or a programmable logic controller?

You can use any of our iLoad Series load cells with the optional 0-5V analog output. You can also use any of our resistive load cells with the AI-1000 Single Channel Load Cell Signal Conditioner which provides a 0-5V output that can be input directly into most DAQs or PLCs.

Do you supply a calibration curve with your load cells?

Yes we provide calibration data that shows the applied load vs. measured loads using our load cells. For analog load cells, we supply a calibration curve that shows load vs. voltage.

What is the nature of the Force vs. Voltage Output?

The iLoad Analog series load cells have a linear output with approximately 0.5V at zero load and approximately 4.5V at full load.

What products use/need the S2U adapter (dongle)?

The S2U adapter converts Serial TTL (UART) signal from the following devices to USB signal; the USB still appears as a virtual COM port to Windows/Linux/Mac applications. Please visit this page for the latest drivers.

  • DI-100U
  • DI-400U internally uses 4 S2U adapters.
  • DQ-1000U
  • DQ-4000U
  • DS-4000U
  • iLoad, iLoad TR and iLoad Pro series load cells.
  • The DI-1000U does not need this adapter.
The Loadstar Sensors software does not recognize the load cell/DI-100/DI-1000/.../other device. How do I troubleshoot?
  • When the load cell or the digital USB load cell interface is connected to the computer, does an USB port show up in the device manager?
  • If the answer is No, then the drivers may not have been properly installed. Please download and install the drivers from this page.
  • Some devices and load cells need an S2U adapter (dongle) to convert the signal from the device into USB. See the answer to the previous question. Make sure you are using this adapter from Loadstar Sensors. You cannot use a off-the-shelf standard USB-A-male to mini-B-male cable with these devices. Our S2U adapter contains proprietary electronics to perform the serial to USB conversion.
  • The DI-1000U does not need this adapter. So an off-the-shelf cable can be used with DI-1000U. Do not use the S2U adapter with the DI-1000U.
  • If the COM port shows up on the device manager, but the software still does not recognize the device then check the cable connections to make sure they are tight. If necessary, try replacing the cable.
  • If the problem is with the DI-100, is the led on the DI-100U blinking? If yes, the dongle and the cable are providing power to the unit. If not try replacing the dongle or the cable or both.
  • Some DI-1000U units have an on-off switch. Is it on?

iLoad Digital USB Load Cells

Is the power regulated inside an iLoad series load cell?

Yes, but only for the iLoad, iLoad TR and iLoad Pro Digital USB load cells – not the iLoad Analog load cells. You would need to provide a 5V regulated power supply to the iLoad Analog load cell. Any offset from this voltage will cause a similar offset in the output voltage.

How can I mount the iLoad Series load cells to my apparatus?
Can the iLoad series of load cells handle side loads?
Do we need any signal conditioning electronics to operate a iLoad series load cell?
What is the pin-out of the iLoad Digital USB load cell connector?
How many iLoad Digital USB load cells can be connected to a PC?
Is it possible to interface iLoad Series USB load cells to LabView or Matlab?
Are the iLoad Series capacitive load cells temperature compensated?

iLoad Mini USB Load Cells

What is meant by “frequency” output? How can I interpret the frequency data to infer loads in lb.?

The iLoad Mini load cells has 2 frequency outputs. When Control Input = logic ‘1’, the Mini outputs the load cell frequency, Fsensor. When Control Input = logic ‘0’, the Mini outputs the reference frequency, Fref. The compensated frequency Fcomp = Fsensor - K*Fref, where K is a constant provided by Loadstar. Loadstar can provide the coefficients for the quadratic equation to translate Fcomp to weight. Although possible in theory, most customers do not have the equipment, skill or time to perform calibration in their facility, hence we recommend that you purchase the Mini Load Cells with the DQ-1000 or DQ-4000 interface devices.

This can be tested by launching the Hyperterminal application from Windows XP, opening up the relevant COM port and sending the command "O0W1". The load cell will return the sensed load in millipounds as an ASCII string. LabVIEW or Matlab can retrieve this string and process the result. See Driver Installation and Hyperterminal Operation for more information and examples using LabVIEW and Matlab.

iLoad Analog Load Cells

Can I use a 9V battery to power the iLoad Analog load cell?

You can use a 9V battery with a regulator to regulate down to 5V from 9V. You just have to be careful that the battery doesn't deplete down to below 5 V since the output signal will then start dropping with the drop in voltage.

What is the wiring diagram for the output from the iLoad Analog load cell cable?
Is the output from the iLoad Analog load cell ratiometric?
What is the difference between a CS Series and the iLoad Analog load cell?
I purchased a CS Series load cell from you earlier. Do you still carry it?


What is the difference between the DI-100 and DI-1000?

The biggest difference between both interfaces is resolution and accuracy. The DI-100 has a 16 bit ADC while the DI-1000 has a 24 bit ADC for much greater resolution. Additionally, the DI-100 has an accuracy of ±0.1% and the DI-1000 is accurate to ±0.02%.

How is the DI-100 or DI-1000 powered?
Are all resistive load cells supported for the DI-100/DI-1000(four or six wire)?
How fast is the data update rate for the DI-100/DI-1000?


Do your load cells and sensor interfaces support other platforms like Windows CE, Unix or Macintosh?

Yes, we provide drivers for several different platforms including Windows (XP to 8.1), Macintosh and Linux. Since we use the industry standard FTDI chips to convert serial output from our load cells and interfaces to USB output, any platform that supports these FTDI chips will be able to read our devices. Please visit http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm for the latest drivers for your platform.

Once the drivers are installed, the device appears as a virtual COM port to the system (similar to a Bluetooth device). The device then can be read with any terminal or modem program that can read serial ports.

Note: Currently LoadVUE software is supported only on Windows versions (32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8). A free Java version suitable for use in Mac OS is available here. iLoad series load cells purchased prior to March 2009 will only work with 32 bit versions of Windows XP.

Do I need to purchase LoadVUE to use iLoad Digital USB load cells?
Will LoadVUE software run on Windows 64 bit systems?
What are the differences between LoadVUE and LoadVUE Lite?
What software can I use to log or plot data?
Is it possible to interface iLoad Series USB load cells to LabView or Matlab?

Building Wired and Wireless Scales

How can I build a scale with 4 iLoad Series Digital USB load cells?

You can connect at least 3 but typically 4 (for improved mechanical stability) iLoad Digital USB load cells to your PC either directly if it has 4 USB ports available or via a USB Hub that has 4 ports with a single UBS connection to the PC. Install and run LoadVUE Pro 4000 software. LoadVUE can display individual as well as the summed total of the weights or loads on the four load cells.

How can I build a wireless scale with your load cells?

Discounts and Warranty

Do you give any educational discounts?

Yes. We offer a 10% discount on the total order value for educational institutions using the products for teaching or research purposes.

What is your warranty policy?
What is your return policy?
What kind of payments do you accept?