What Are Hall Effect Sensors and How Are They Used on Aircraft?

Hall Effect sensors are devices which measure the direction and intensity of a magnetic field by way of its interactions with current. The Hall Effect that it observes has been known for hundreds of years, but has only been put to use in the last three decades through these sensors. Although the Hall Effect sensor is a magnetic field sensor, it can be used as the principle component in many other types of sensing devices such as those that measure current, temperature, pressure, and more. Hall Effect sensors are particularly ideal sensors because they are able to detect the voltage of a current without breaking the line to put a meter in. Rather, they can register a magnetic field from a short distance away from the conductive material. As such, they have found a continuous role in many aircraft systems such as keyboard switches, fuel-level indicators, DC transformers, and more.

As the name would suggest, Hall Effect sensors work by recording the Hall Effect exhibited by a current. In general, the Hall Effect is a term that is used to describe the way a magnetic field interacts with current. When you place a magnet beside a piece of conductive material transferring a current, the magnetic field will either attract or repel the electrons to one side of the conductor without breaking the flow of electricity. As the electrons collect on one side, it will induce a negative charge. Hall Effect sensors can therefore be used to detect the difference in charge between one side of a conductor (or semiconductor) and the other to determine the voltage of the current as well as the direction and intensity of the magnetic field.

Though this reading can be used to accurately convey voltage and a magnetic field, the values are quite small. Consequently, most Hall Effect sensors route the transferred charge through an amplifier. They also often use semiconductor material because the molecular structure will exhibit a positive charge on the opposite side of the accumulated electrons in addition to just observing a negative charge. By having an observable positive charge as well, the resulting value is more noticeable and accurate than with a simple conductor. In addition to measuring magnetic field and current as a constant value, Hall Effect sensors can operate as potentiometers that can measure the difference in potential across a circuit. Rather than using a scrubber which will wear out over time, Hall Effect sensors can measure the change in current voltage with minimal moving parts and can therefore reduce the risk of regular wear. 

By measuring the impact of a magnet on an electrical current, Hall Effect sensors are able to convey accurate information about a magnetic field and the voltage of the current it affects. These devices are particularly useful for their indirect, nearly motionless design, that refuses wear and will not interrupt a circuit. For their diverse capabilities for measuring temperature, voltage, and position among other qualities, Hall Effect sensors can be found all over most modern vehicles, including aircraft. If you are an aircraft owner or operator looking for parts for your next project, Just Connectors is here to fulfill all your operational requirements with time and cost savings. We invite you to browse our ever-expanding inventory of top-notch parts, including Hall Effect sensors, that are all sourced from leading global manufacturers on our Approved Vendor List (AVL). For convenient solutions to your parts needs, get in contact with one of our representatives by phone, email, or by submitting an Instant RFQ form, and see why so many rely on us as their sourcing partner.


December 27, 2023
December 20, 2022

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