Choosing the right pressure gauge does not depend on comparing one gauge to another but the specific application for which it was meant to be used. It is important for end users to determine their requirements prior to selecting the right pressure gauge that will provide them with the best results. Another way to determine the right pressure gauge will be the kind of accuracy needed in the production processes. If an accuracy of 0.5% will suffice, then the least expensive option of analog pressure gauge might work well enough. However, if precise accuracy with no interpretation needed is required, you will do better with digital pressure gauges.
The outstanding features of digital pressure gauges
- Accurate and precise readings of low pressure applications of less than 5 psi are possible with the digital pressure gauges. Resolutions of up to .01 or .001 are rather common with digital gauges. Changes in such small increments are not possible through the analog pressure gauges.
- Digital pressure gauges are more resistant to withstanding over-pressure spikes without sustaining damage. The instruments are more suitable to for applications where there is constant pressure pulsation. This would cause the analog device to wear out moving parts which includes the indicator.
- Digital pressure gauges are desirable when the end-user wants both local and remote pressure indications and when an automated process control uses pressure as an input to the control system.
- High accuracy measurements can be made through digital pressure gauges such as temperature drift that can now be calibrated allowing the sensor to remain accurate over a wide range of operating temperatures.
Avoiding the pitfalls when installing pressure gauges
- End users must always be aware of the gauge’s datasheet specifications to understand its technology. Over-torquing the gauge during installation will stress the sensor and cause the calibration to go wrong. Installing the pressure gauges require just enough torque to prevent leakage on a full scale.
- Vibration process and ambient temperature can affect accuracy, repeatability, functionality and over-pressure spikes. Pressure pulsations can introduce premature wear in the analog gauges.
- Another potential problem is seen from media that is slurry or has a high concentration of particulate matter that can clog pressure ports. Corrosion is another problem that can damage both the analog and digital pressure gauges. This potential problem can be avoided by selecting a gauge with wetted parts compatible with the media being sensed or through the use of diaphragm seals and remote mounting.
- Though the design of the gauges can be considered good and reliable, preventive maintenance is important for the extended life of the gauge. The gauges require frequent calibration often depending upon the frequency of use. Whatever minor problems exist have to be corrected to maintain accuracy of the pressure readings.
- Even with the modern advantages of the digital pressure gauges, there are instances when the simplicity of the analog pressure gauges would work best economically. One of the drawbacks of the digital pressure gauges is the price however, new developments continue to be undertaken to reduce costs and offer a wider range of temperature measurements.