Industrial and electrical companies must constantly monitor variables like temperature, pressure, vibration, frequency, voltage, and current to keep things running smoothly. Digital panel meters can measure all of these variables (and more). Digital panel meters are very similar to their analog counterparts, but they feature LCD or LED numeric displays rather than a needle and gauge, and most can be calibrated to read only the desired units. Featuring customizable screens and built-in alarms, most digital panel meters display three to six digits. While there are a number of different digital panel meters available, they all function in mostly the same way.

Electronic measuring equipment offers a number of benefits, one of which is accuracy. Digital panel meters consistently calculate electrical consumption with remarkable accuracy. Analog panel meters use needles that constantly move and rely on the user’s sight and judgement and all too often this leads to inaccurate or false readings. Because digital meters have computer-generated numeric displays, it is quick and easy to take exact readings that indicate whether you are measuring AC or DC and whether the value is negative or positive.

Another benefit of digital panel meters is their built-in overload protection, which serves as a second line of defense against exceptionally strong electrical loads. Mechanical panel meters don’t have a comparable feature. Digital panel meters can also be calibrated by exposing them to the zero/neutral position. Calibration can stress moveable parts in analog panel meters and move them from the neutral point, thus reducing these devices’ accuracy over time.

Digital panel meters are quite handy and durable to boot. Because they don’t have mechanical parts, digital panel meters are easy to maintain and quality meters have impressive lifespans. They are handy in that they can be brought and placed almost anyplace, allowing you to access difficult-to-reach and dangerous places. Another perk to using digital panel meters is that they are more tamper resistant than their analog brethren.

Featuring modular architecture for medium- and high-end meters, digital panel meters enable users to easily configure their device and they can be set up without any additional equipment. Digital panel meters are extremely easy to use — it’s no wonder why they have replaced analog panel meters in most applications.


George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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