A frequency to voltage converter (FVC) is an electronic device that converts the sinusoidal input frequency into a proportional current or output voltage.

Frequency to voltage converters have been around for a long time. But what the heck are they?

What are Frequency to Voltage Converters?

A frequency to voltage converter is a bit of technical equipment that alters currents, frequencies, pulses, and other waveforms into comparable electrical production. The voltage output relates to the variations of the input signal.

Frequencies can be modulated to limit production, usually expressed in volts (v), volts direct, or alternating current. In many cases, the safety of our vehicles is dependent on these small devices.

How Does it Work?

There are three essential components found in electronic circuits, capacitor, resistor, and inductor. These individual parts play a significant role in how an electronic circuit works, with each connected by conductive wires over which electric current can flow.

Components are sorted into two classes as active and passive elements. The parts that are capable of controlling current by utilizing another electrical signal are called active components. In contrast, passive components can respond to the flow of current and either spend or store energy.

The active parts need an external power source to get triggered.

What are the Resistor and Capacitor?

Resistors and capacitors are passive elements of a frequency to voltage converter, whereas transistors are categorized as active components of an electronic circuit.

Resistors are key components in electrical and electronic circuits. They are used to control voltage and current values in circuits. Resistors are energy-consuming elements that restrict the movement of electricity. Thereby you can have the right amount of current and voltage as needed for your circuits.

Capacitors are made from two metal plates with an insulator between them. It’s one of the primary passive elements used in electrical circuits. What makes them unique is their ability to store energy. The energy they store is kept in an electric field. When the circuit needs it, the capacity returns it.

Both the resistor and capacitor are energy storage components, but they differ in how they store energy. A resistor is used to resist the flow of current in a circuit. It’s more like friction that restricts power. A capacitor is used to store an electrical charge. It commonly opposes changes in the electrical flow in electrical and electronic circuits.

What is an Inductor?

An Inductor is a passive electrical part that has a coil of wire in use to take advantage of the connection between magnetism and electricity. This connection is due to the result of an electric current passing through the coil.

In its most primary form, an inductor is nothing more than a twist of wire wrapped around a central core. In most coils, the current, flowing through the coil generates a magnetic flux around it that is comparable to this stream of electrical current.

An inductor can also be called a choke that creates a magnetic field in itself. Putting a wire coil into an inductor will result in a much stronger magnetic field. Instead of one that would be made by a simple loop of wire.

Inductors are constructed with a wire tightly wrapped around a central core. It can be either a straight cylindrical rod or a continuous loop or ring to concentrate their magnetic flux.

The current that flows through an inductor produces a magnetic flux that is proportional to it. It is unlike a capacitor in that it resists a change of voltage across its plates. An inductor opposes the rate of change of the current flowing through it. This reaction is due to the build-up of self-induced energy within its magnetic field.

Inductors or coils are very common in electrical circuits. Many factors determine how a coil will be used. For example, it considers the shape of the coil, the number of turns of the insulated wire, along with other factors.

Bringing it Together

Voltage and frequency converters convert frequencies or pulses to electrical output, like voltage or current. When we present a frequency across a frequency to voltage converter circuit, it provides a comparable DC output.

These converters are used in many sectors and processes. They are a vital part of tachometers that are put in medical devices as well as speedometers. Converters control response times of vehicle controls, switches, and safety systems. The data is gathered from encoders, timers, and relays, while devices production voltage is changed within programmable parameters.

They have an added operational amplifier for pure linear signal processing and a small resistor-capacitor (RC) network for eliminating frequency-dependent ripples.

Frequency-to-voltage converters can accept:

  • AC and DC voltages
  • frequencies and pulses
  • other specialized waveforms from devices such as:
  • encoders
  • tachometers
  • timers
  • relays
  • switches

Possible Applications

Aside from assessing engine speeds and component response times, they can control flowmeter data. Other units aid in machine analysis and control. Converters also support vehicle drivers and pilots to choose appropriate gear and throttle configuration reliably within an engine’s rotation standard.

Frequency-to-voltage converters are used in many business sectors and applications. As an example, vehicle-monitoring applications use frequency-to-voltage converters for many applications. These applications range from assessing the response times of clutches, air-conditioning compressors, to anti-lock braking systems.

Frequency-to-voltage converters are also used in driveline analysis and to track and control engine speeds.

What are Tachometers?

When learning about frequency to voltage converters, tachometers are frequently mentioned. So, what is a tachometer?

A tachometer is a sensor device used to measure the rotation speed of an object, and an excellent example is the engine shaft in a car. It is usually restricted to mechanical or electrical instruments. This device indicates the revolutions per minute (RPM) or spin rate performed by the object.

So, think of the speedometer of your car. The frequency to voltage converter in the speedometer tells you how fast your engine is running in RPMs.

In the medical field, haematachometers use frequency to voltage converters to measure blood speed. The device is connected to an artery or vein, where it draws in blood from one point and expels it from another spot. It allows it to assess the speed or rate of blood flow by measuring the speed the turbine spins.

These readings are then put to use in diagnosing circulatory problems such as clogged arteries.

Frequency to Voltage Converters Are Helpful Devices!

As you can see, frequency to voltage converters are used in a wide range of applications. You probably use them all the time without even realizing it.

Want to learn more? Check out some of our other great posts!

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