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SAIEE Africa Research Journal

On-line version ISSN 1991-1696
Print version ISSN 0038-2221


GROBLER, A.J.; VAN SCHOOR, G.  and  RANFT, E.O.. Design and optimisation of a PCB eddy current displacement sensor. SAIEE ARJ [online]. 2017, vol.108, n.1, pp.4-11. ISSN 1991-1696.

Position sensing is one of the crucial parts of many systems, specifically in an active magnetic bearing. The position is used to control the magnetic forces within an active magnetic bearing to keep a rotor levitated. Sensors used in these systems must be very sensitive and are usually very expensive. In this paper a low cost printed circuit board position sensor is analysed. The sensor uses an excitation coil to establish a magnetic field. Four sensing coils are then used to measure the influence a conducting target has on the magnetic field to enable position sensing. The sensor's magnetic operation is analysed using finite element methods and very good correlation is found with measured results. The effects of the target material and the number of PCB layers are analysed. It is shown that a two layer sensor can produce acceptable sensitivity and linearity.

Keywords : eddy current; displacement sensor; multiple layer PCB.

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