Understanding Different Types of Tank Senders: Resistive, Current, and Voltage

Tank senders, often referred to as fuel or liquid level sensors, are pivotal in accurately monitoring the level of liquid within a tank. Depending on specific applications and requirements, various tank senders are available. This guide will delve into the three primary types: Resistive, Current, and Voltage senders.

1. Resistive Tank Senders

Resistive tank senders operate based on variable resistance. As the liquid level fluctuates, the sender's resistance adjusts accordingly. This resistance variation is then converted into a gauge reading, providing a clear indication of the tank's content.

European vs. American Resistive Tank Senders:

  • European Resistive Senders: Typically, these operate within a 0-180 Ohms range. At an empty tank, the resistance is at its minimum (0 Ohms), and at full capacity, it peaks at 180 Ohms. For a deeper understanding, check out our KUS 180mm Fuel Gauge Sender.

  • American Resistive Senders: These, on the other hand, function within a 240-33 Ohms range. An empty tank reflects a resistance of 240 Ohms, which decreases to 33 Ohms when full.

Applications: Due to their straightforward design and affordability, resistive senders are predominantly found in vehicles, boats, and select industrial environments.

Prominent Brands:

  • Kus
  • Wema USA

2. Current Tank Senders

Operating by modulating the current signal relative to the liquid's level, 4-20mA senders (or current senders) offer a continuous current signal. This makes them ideal for scenarios demanding precise level monitoring.

Applications: Owing to their precision and dependability, current senders are a staple in industrial sectors, wastewater treatment facilities, and other settings where meticulous measurements are paramount.

Renowned Brands:

  • Endress+Hauser
  • Siemens

3. Voltage Tank Senders

Voltage senders adjust the voltage signal in response to the liquid's changing level. They can be tailored to offer either a continuous or a discrete signal.

Applications: Voltage senders, due to their adaptability, are utilized across various domains, including vehicles, marine environments, and specific industrial contexts.

Leading Brands:

  • Gems Sensors & Controls
  • TE Connectivity

Units Compatible with Different Types of Tank Senders

To interpret and display the data from tank senders, be it resistive, current, or voltage-based, compatible units or displays are essential. These units transform sender signals into user-friendly formats, such as gauge readings or digital displays. Dive into the types of units compatible with these tank senders:

  1. For Resistive Tank Senders:

    • Analog Gauges: Predominantly paired with resistive senders, they depict the tank level using a needle over a calibrated scale. The gauge's internal mechanics adjust the needle's position based on the received resistance.
    • Digital Displays: Contemporary systems might translate the resistive input into a digital format, detailing the tank's exact level or content percentage.
    • Control Units: In industrial contexts, resistive senders might interface with control units, like our pre-wired boards, which initiate alarms or actions upon reaching specific levels.
  2. For Current Tank Senders (4-20mA):

    • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs): A mainstay in industrial applications, PLCs can process the 4-20mA signal for diverse purposes, from basic displays to intricate control operations.
    • Digital Panel Meters: These dedicated displays transform the current signal into a digital format, commonly used in control panels.
    • Data Loggers: For tracking and recording tank levels over durations, data loggers archive the 4-20mA signal data for subsequent analysis.
  3. For Voltage Tank Senders:

    • Voltmeters: Both analog and digital voltmeters can directly showcase the voltage signal, indicating the tank's content.
    • Microcontroller Units (MCUs): In technologically advanced setups, MCUs, like our Cerbo GX, interpret voltage levels, process the data, and even relay it to other systems.

Key Considerations:

  • Compatibility: Ensure the unit's input range aligns with the sender's output. For instance, a unit designed for a 0-180 Ohms resistive input might not function optimally with a 240-33 Ohms sender.
  • Calibration: Even with compatibility, calibration might be necessary for accurate readings, ensuring the display mirrors the actual tank level.
  • Integration: In today's setups, especially in industrial contexts, integration capabilities are invaluable. Units that can interface with other systems, wired or wireless, provide enhanced versatility.