Signal Conditioning for Thermistors

In the last article we have seen some signal conditioning circuits for RTD. Today we are going to learn signal conditioning for thermistors. We know that thermistor is temperature measuring sensor made up of semiconducting material. The resistance of thermistor normally decreases as the temperature increases hence it is has negative temperature coefficient (NTC).

Change in resistance of thermistor due to change in temperature is given by the following equation,

Thermistor output


RT is the temperature at T(K),

R0 is the resistance at T0 normally at 298K,

Β is the characteristic temperature constant of thermistor,

The characteristics of thermistor resistance vs. temperature is non linear therefore linearization circuit is also included along with amplifier in the signal conditioning circuits for thermistor.

Signal Conditioning for Thermistors

Signal conditioning of thermistor includes bridge amplifier and linearization circuit. These circuits are explained as follows.

Bridge amplifier

Following circuit shows a bridge amplifier used for amplifying the output of thermistor. As the output range of thermistor is quite low and it not good to use such short range of output for getting good accuracy for operating any field devices.

Bridge amplifier for thermistor
Bridge amplifier for thermistor


Bridge amplifier consist of wheatstone bridge in which inverting amplifier with thermistor as feedback resistor is used in one of the arm as shown in the diagram. This operational amplifier produces output voltage proportional to the change in the resistance of the thermistor.

Linearization of thermistor

For linearization of thermistor characteristics there are several methods available.

  • Using parallel resistor:

In this method a parallel resistor is connected with thermistor. This method increases linearity but also decreases the sensitivity of the circuit.

Parallel Resistor with thermistor

the value of the equivalent reistance is given by,

parallel resistor output


where Rp is value of parallel resistor,

Rtm is thermistor temperature at mid scale temperature,

Tm is mid scale of temperature variation,

Β is characteristic temperature constant.

  • Using serial resistor:

In this method a series resitance is used with thermistor. It reduces nonlinearity of conductance vs. temperature characteristics of thermistor.

Series resistor with thermistor

The conductance Gs is given as,

series output

Where Gtm is the conductance of thermistor at mid scale temperature Tm

  • Using op amp:

The third method for linearising the thermistor output is by using op amp.

Following circuit shows the linearization circuit for thermistor. Here we have used a thermistor along with series resistor connected to the inverting terminal of the op amp. An adjustable supply voltage is used to adjust the gain of the amplifier.

Thermistor linearization using op amp


In this way we have seen different signal conditioning circuits for thermistor.

See also: Signal Conditioning for RTD


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Signal Conditioning Circuits for RTD

Hello friends, today we will see Signal Conditioning Circuits for RTD. We know that sensitivity of RTD depends on the temperature resistance coefficient of the metal used for RTD. The value of this coefficient is very small and thus RTD requires the amplifying circuit which is the first signal conditioning circuit for RTD which we are going to see in next post.

Linearization of RTD:

Another signal conditioning circuit required for RTD is linearization circuit. We know that temperature vs resistance curve of RTD is non linear and therefore for wide range of measurements we need to use Linearization circuit for RTD.

Signal Conditioning Circuits for RTD
Linearization of RTD

See also: How to Linearize RTD Output.

Lead resistance elimination:

We know that RTD is a low resistance device that means it has a very small range of resistance and therefore there should not be any lead resistance effect on the output of RTD i.e. Lead wire resistances should not be added with the RTD resistance. Therefore another signal condition circuit for RTD includes lead resistance elimination.

Sensor fault detection is also one of the important signal conditioning circuits for RTD. Sometime due to corrosion of connecting leads RTD may get opened. In such cases signal conditioners may indicate some finite voltages. So to avoid these wrong readings we have to design a signal conditioning circuit for RTD.

In short There are four main signal conditioning circuits for RTD as follows:

  • Bridge amplifier
  • Linearization circuit for RTD output
  • Lead resistance elimination
  • Sensor fault detection circuit

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How to Linearize RTD Output

Hi friends, today we will see how to linearize output of RTD. We know that Resistance Temprature Detector (RTD) is widely used temperature sensor. Sometimes we need a linearly changing sensor output for building any digital control system. For example if we have to control a fuel supply to the burner using the temperature reading of the RTD. We can not apply its output (i.e. non linear resistance) to a digital system for controlling the physical parameter. So the question arises how to linearize RTD output.

We know that the output of normally used platinum (Pt100) RTD is non linear. The non linear change in resistance of RTD with respect to temperature is given by the quadratic equation which includes a non linear term. Following circuit gives the output in the linear form. In the circuit, we have used RTD resistance as a feedback resistance of op amp.

Linearization of RTD
Linearization of RTD

In this way we can easily convert nonlinear output of RTD in the linear form. Above circuit is best suited for the temperature range of 0 to 500 degree Celsius.

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Signal Conditioning Circuits

We know that signal conditioning is a process in which signals from different sensors are transferred into a form necessary to interface with other modules of system.

For example, we know that thermocouple produces very low output voltage and this voltage is not sufficient to operate the other controlling modules. Therefore there is need to amplify such signals. For this purpose we use different signal conditioning circuits. In case of thermocouple, we have to use amplifier, linearization circuits, etc. the purpose of using linearization circuits is that, thermocouple has non linear characteristics but in most of the cases we need linear controlling action.

Signal conditioning circuit
Measurement System Block Diagram


Signal Conditioning Circuits:

There are different types of signal conditioning operations such as amplification, filtering, isolation, linearization, excitation, etc. we will discuss all these operation one by one.


We know that most of the sensors produce output in the form of change in resistance, voltage or current. All these parameters are having very low strength i.e. very small voltage in case of thermocouple, small change in resistance in case of RTD, etc. Therefore we have use current or voltage amplifiers in case of sensors which produces output in the form of current or voltage.

If the sensor produces output in the form of change in resistance (such as resistance thermometer) we have to use bridge amplifiers. We can make use of operational amplifiers to amplify the signal.


Another important signal conditioning circuit is filter. As mentioned earlier most of the sensor produces very low output and therefore electromagnetic noise may get added in the original output. To remove the electromagnetic noise from sensor output we have to use different filter circuits. Filter circuits eliminates noise i.e. undesired frequency components from original signal without affecting it.

Active filters, passive filters, bypass filters are the common types of filter circuits.


Isolation circuits are required to differentiate signals from unwanted common mode voltages. Another advantage of isolation circuit is that, it protects measuring devices (sensors) if high voltage is applied to other circuit. It also breaks ground loops.


There are many sensors which produces non linear output such as thermocouple, thermistor, etc. linearization circuits are used to convert non linear signal into linear one. It can be achieved by varying the gain of an amplifier as a function of input signal.


Another signal conditioning operation is current or voltage excitation. Signal conditioning circuits provide the required voltage or current excitation to some passive sensors such as strain gauge, RTD, etc.


In the upcoming posts we will see signal conditioning of RTD, thermistor and thermocouple.

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Temperature Controlled DC Fan using Thermistor (Mini Project)

Hello friends, in this post we are going to make one simple mini project which is temperature controlled DC fan using thermistor. In this mini project we are going to control the speed of the DC fan automatically as the surrounding temperature changes. Thus when temperature of surrounding increases speed of fan also increases and when temperature decrease speed of fan also decreases. This is achieved by using the principle of thermistor.

Components required:

  • R1 = 4.7K
  • R2 = 47 Ohm
  • NTC Thermistor = 4.7K
    bead type thermistor
    bead type thermistor
  • Potentiometer (Vr) = 500K
  • OP AMP IC 741
  • Transistor T1 = BD140 (or other PNP transistor may work)
  • 12V DC fan which is also used in computer (CPU)
  • Diode 1N4007
  • 12 V DC power supply

Circuit diagram:

Following figure shows circuit diagram of temperature controlled DC fan using thermistor.

temperature controlled dc fan using thermistor
Temperature Controlled DC fan using Thermistor


The basic working principle of temperature controlled DC fan is based on the working principle of thermistor. Thermistor is component which changes its resistance as its temperature changes. There are two types of thermistor available which are NTC i.e. negative temperature coefficient and other is PTC which is positive temperature coefficient.

In temperature controlled DC fan we have used a NTC type thermistor. It is called NTC because its resistance increases when its temperature decreases and vice verse. Similarly in PTC its resistance increases when temperature increases and vice verse.

Op amp IC741 is used as a voltage comparator which compares the voltage between its two inputs i.e. inverting and non inverting terminals. Pin number 2 is inverting terminal which is connected to the potentiometer and pin number 3 is non inverting terminal which is connected in between thermistor and R1 which makes a voltage divider circuit. Thus the output of op amp is responsible for the speed of fan.

When the temperature of surrounding increases, temperature of thermistor also increases which causes its resistance to decrease, therefore voltage divider circuit causes more voltage across pin number 3. Thus the output voltage increases causing speed of fan to increase.

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