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Topic: OPamp (Read 2 times) previous topic - next topic



I am in need of some assistants, and was hoping that you guys might be able to help. I'm trying to find a suitable OPamp for a 45KG load cell, I've spent the last couple of days surfing the web hoping to find an answer and I sort of did, many of you suggest using the INA125 instrumentation amplifier, but here's the thing, I don't really need an accurate readout.

I'm in more of a need of weight detection than weight measuring, with a resolution of say 25KG. So I was hoping that a more basic OPamp would do. Or perhaps another device altogether if there is such a thing?

I do have some requirements for the amp, I'd like for it to work of 5-9V and have a adjustable gain using a resistor, if the output was fairly noise free.

Thanks in advance. 


What is the output of your particular 45KG load cell?
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I assume the load cell has no amplifier.  If it has typical ratings, a MCP3422 or MCP3424 would work well.

The LSB (Least Significant Bit) at full gain corresponds to about 2 microvolts.


This is an 18-bit ?? ADC with Differential Inputs. It has these features:

On-Board Programmable Gain Amplifier (PGA) with gains of 1, 2, 4 or 8.

On-Board Voltage Reference (VREF) Accuracy: 2.048V ± 0.05%.

I2C interface.

Here is an old post with some test code http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=12269


Sep 06, 2012, 04:12 pm Last Edit: Sep 06, 2012, 04:32 pm by Thestrongestduck Reason: 1
Thanks a lot for the tips, I'm in no real need of a ADC though, since I'll be hooking it up to the arduino.

Hmm, haven given it more than 5 seconds of thought, I kinda see how it would work, maybe I should mention that I plan on using it in a Wheatstone Bridge configuration, measuring the 2 voltage differences between the resistors and amplifying that,

The load cell or strain gauge "not entirely sure which is which" have been scavenged from a bathroom scale, and is very similar to the ones that Sparkfun sell.   


The load cell is a wheatstone bridge. Not sure why you'd be adding resistors?

If the cell has the typical four wire colors (red, black, green, white) then you would connect red and black to an appropriate voltage (typically 5V) and the remaining two into the Arduino analog pins. The difference between the analog readings varies with the weight applied. It's a very small difference; you might not be able to do this without some kind of amp.


Sep 06, 2012, 07:24 pm Last Edit: Sep 06, 2012, 07:26 pm by RIDDICK Reason: 1


The Arduino ADC just isn't a good choice for measuring a bridge, even with an amplifier.

The MCP3422 was designed as a single part solution for low voltage differential measurements.

The part costs a little over $3.00.  Here are typical applications:

Temperature Sensing with RTD, Thermistor, and Thermocouple

Bridge Sensing for Pressure, Strain, and Force

Weigh Scales


why doesnt an amplifier help the arduino?
it would be 2 times cheaper...
the ISL28130CEZ can do G=10000 with 100nV sensitivity... according to the datasheet...


The load cell is a wheatstone bridge. Not sure why you'd be adding resistors?

I need to add resistors as a "dummy" load cell since the ones I have aren't "full-bridge" I could also combine 2 or more cells into a bridge but that seems like a waste of expensive parts to me.

you might not be able to do this without some kind of amp.

That's why I started this topic, it's less about the cells and more about the OPamp




I'm really starting to get that drowning sensation, you know water over your head  :P

The ISL28130CEZ isn't "available" where I'm at, I can of course get a hold of it but I'd like to get things moving.
The LM358AN has been suggested by some, It's seems to do the things I need, Sadly I have little experience with OPamps beyond the Cmoy, so I'm not really sure.

maybe u should use this topology
for that bridge...?

I intend to


according to this datasheet
(page 10/21 figure 22)
u can use it for ur bridge...

can u show us a picture of ur assumptions about the internals of that "load cell"?

here u can do some simulations:


can u show us a picture of ur assumptions about the internals of that "load cell"?

Something like this,

------ Readout

So my "assumption" is that it's a voltage divider circuit, You apply a voltage across the "resistors(R)" And read the voltage at the "readout",

My load cell isn't a full-bridge Wheatstone Bridge it's a half-bridge


Sorry I didn't understand you wanted to learn op-amp use.

I you just want typical bathroom scale accuracy the Arduino is fine.  You won't need much amplification to get that level of accuracy.

The sensor in the scale is probably a half bridge like this https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10245.

Sparkfun has this link http://www.nerdkits.com/videos/weighscale/.

The video uses a full bridge sensor but you just need two resistors and/or a pot to complete the bridge.  The video uses a true instrumentation amplifier, an AD620, which is expensive but easy to use.

18 - 24 bit delta-sigma ADCs are a better fit for this type application.  A delta-sigma ADC requires less signal conditioning circuitry, less amplification, and has greater resolution than the Arduino SAR ADC.

There are lots of app notes like this on the web:



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