Strain & DC Amplifiers (Signal Conditioners)
In electronics, Signal conditioners, Strain amplifiers or DC Amplifiers are used to manipulate an analog signal in such a way that it meets the requirements of the next stage for further processing.
In control engineering applications, it is common to have a sensing stage (which consists of a sensor), a signal conditioning stage (where usually amplification of the signal is done) and a processing stage (normally carried out by an ADC and a micro-controller). Operational amplifiers (op-amps) are commonly employed to carry out the amplification of the signal in the signal conditioning stage.
Signal conditioning can include amplification, filtering, converting, range matching, isolation and any other processes required to make sensor output suitable for processing after conditioning.
Signal amplification performs two important functions: increases the resolution of the input signal and increases its signal-to-noise ratio. For example, the output of an electronic temperature sensor, which is probably in the millivolts range is probably too low for an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to process directly. In this case it is necessary to bring the voltage level up to that required by the ADC.