If you think about it, sensors control much of our daily lives. Sensors ensure that the food in your refrigerator stays cold, count your steps on a smartphone, and even protect you in an automobile accident. So many devices in our personal lives as well as in business contain sensors.
All of these sensors add a layer of complexity to your test strategy, as you need to simulate them when testing the circuit board that makes decisions based on a sensor’s response. Since it is usually not practical to incorporate actual sensors into a test fixture, that's where programmable resistors come in.
These modules can be used in many applications to simulate resistive sensors such as those used for temperature, strain, light, force, and level measurement. The resistors enable you to create a small test system and therefore build in cost reductions into the system's design since you will not have to physically simulate the environment of the sensor.
For example, if you used actual temperature sensors in a test, you would need a heat source to make the sensor react. A strain gauge would require a mechanical fixture that flexes a plate on which a strain gauge is mounted. Not only would the test system be much larger, but chances are it would be slower when compared to using sensor simulation, and less repeatable.
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