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Pressure control

A pressure sensor couldn’t be considered a tangible control within itself, it needs to receive a certain input in order to be able to provide output that can then be harnessed into controlling components.

For this control I will use a project that measures the amount of water in a vessel by means of comparing the vacum and the pressure:

There is a large variety of pressure sensors. They vary regarding:

  • Its use (The amount of pressure they have to resist)
  • The sensibility (a lot of them are used for safety applications so it is fundamental they change any change imediatly)
  • The way they are mounted and their size
  • The materials they are made of (a lot of them are required to resist corrosion)
  • How they are packaged: the amount of nossels they have, if any, how they are mounted, and wether they are dry or wet.

For this control I will be using the MPX2010DP sensor since online documentation shows there is a considerable ease of use with the Arduino microcontroller due to its analog output capability.

“The MPX2010 silicon piezoresistive pressure sensors provide a very accurate and linear voltage output directly proportional to the applied pressure. These sensors house a single monolithic silicon die with the strain gauge and thin film resistor network integrated. The sensor is laser trimmed for precise span, offset calibration and temperature compensation.


  • Temperature Compensated over 0°C to +85°C
  • Ratiometric to Supply Voltage
  • Differential and Gauge Options
  • Available in Easy-to-Use Tape & Reel” ()

Other components in the control are:

  • LM324 op-amp
  • 100nF capacitor
  • 1k ohm resistor
  • 10k potentiometer
  • 1k potentiometer
  • 22k ohm resistor
  • Arduino Uno

The LM324 op-amp is required to interpret the signal that the change in the piezoresistor generates because of the differential between the scale span and Arduino’s analog read range.

Link to source for purchase

Both the sensor and the LM324  I got from mouser electronics  , they also provide other pressure sensors in the MPX2010 line, as well as other pressure sensors from different lines.

They have a next day delivery option, but do not guaratee delivery (a problem I  had with them)

Link to data sheet



Description of example uses

The control’s readings need to be perfect in order to understand its possibilities. (ongoing)

Analysis of strengths or weaknesses

(Of the MPX2010)


  • The sensor I picked is the one with two nozzles because it is a differential pressure sensor[1], this made it really hard to install
  • Like any other sensor its readings need to be calibrated to the environment in which it is working, and that proves to be a very tricky task in this sensor due to the circuit that needs to be made with the LM324
  • Although most of the web documentation shows it being used to measure the amount of water in a tank, or its depth this is a dry sensor so it must be isolated from the liquid it is measuring, normally through tubing, constraining the fabrication possibilities.

Example circuit schematic and microcontroller codeto use the control

For the time being these two are the control’s schematic and code.


Microcontroller code


 * WaterTankDepthSensor


 * Uses an analog input to read the level of water in a tank using a

 * differential pressure transducer, with the result displayed in serial line


 * Copyright 2009 Jonathan Oxer <>

 * Copyright 2009 Hugh Blemings <>




int sensorValue      = 0;

int constrainedValue = 0;

int tankLevel        = 0;




#define TANK_EMPTY 0

#define TANK_FULL  1023

void setup() {


  // Enable Serial output and ask WiServer to generate log messages (optional)

  Serial.begin( 9600 );




 * Main program loop. everything is handled by callbacks

 * in the object itself. Nothing much happens


void loop(){

   sensorValue = analogRead(A0);

  constrainedValue = constrain( sensorValue, TANK_EMPTY, TANK_FULL );

  tankLevel = map( constrainedValue, TANK_EMPTY, TANK_FULL, 0, 100 );

  Serial.print (“Tank Value”);

  Serial.println (sensorValue);


Any construction drawings you made for laser cutting, CNC, etc.

(none yet)

Citation of all example code or example drawings or documentation that you learned from or used

(none yet)


[1] This sensor measures the difference between two pressures, one connected to each side of the sensor. Differential pressure sensors are used to measure many properties, such as pressure drops across oil filters or air filters, fluid levels (by comparing the pressure above and below the liquid) or flow rates (by measuring the change in pressure across a restriction). Technically speaking, most pressure sensors are really differential pressure sensors; for example a gauge pressure sensor is merely a differential pressure sensor in which one side is open to the ambient atmosphere.(


Published in sensors