analog sensor vs digital sensor-Difference between analog sensor and digital sensor

This page compares analog sensor vs digital sensor and mentions difference between analog sensor and digital sensor. The definitions and examples of analog sensor and digital sensor are mentioned.

Analog Sensor

analog sensor

Definition: The sensor which produces continuous output is known as analog sensor. The output usually is voltage which is proportional to quantity to be measured. Analog sensors are used to measure pressure, temperature, displacement as they are analog in nature. The figure-1 depicts analog sensor operation.

Example of analog sensor:
Classic example is thermocouple which measures temperature continuously.
Amplifier device is used if the output is too low to be measured in order to apply amplification to the analog signal to be measured. Often analog signal is desired to be manipulated or processed. This is possible in digital form. Hence ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) is used to convert analog signal read by the sensor to the digital form.

Digital Sensor

digital sensor

Definition: The sensor which produces discrete output is known as digital sensor. This type of sensor generates output in binary digital form consisting of binary 1s and 0s. This means digital sensor produces non-continuous or discrete form of signal. The figure-2 depicts digital sensor operation.

Example of digital sensor:
Digital Light sensor which uses rotating disc to generate output pulse with logic 0 and logic 1. These pulses are counted by the counter and final output is displayed on the numeric display.

Digital sensor has greater resolution and high accuracy compare to analog sensor type. Moreover analog sensor requires amplifier or filter in order to amplify or filter the signal before making it useful to be measured. These are the advantages of digital sensor over analog sensor making it more suitable to be used for various applications.

Difference between analog sensor and digital sensor

Following table summarize difference between analog sensor and digital sensor types.

Specifications Analog sensor Digital sensor
Output Infinite number of values (i.e. continuous) Finite number of values (i.e. Discrete steps or digital)
Accuracy in reading the output Low High
Application It is ideal for reading continuous varying parameters such as temperature, humidity etc. It is ideal for reading discrete values (i.e. binary values 1 (ON) and 0 (OFF)) such as push button switch, line follower robot (reads black or white colors) etc.
Examples Thermocouple or temperature sensor, Gyroscope Digital Light Sensor, push button, distance sensor, line follower sensor

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