Electrical circuit for pressure sensors: when is a sensor active, and when passive?

When using pressure sensors, the output signals 0 ? 20 mA, 4 ? 20 mA and DC 0 ? 10 V are generally chosen to ensure that the sensor signals to be evaluated and further processed. For this, the signal output of the pressure sensor is usually linked to a corresponding input card in the PLC.
In this context it can often be confusing, because the day-to-day usage of the terms ?active?, ?passive?, ?current source?, ?voltage source?, ?current sink? and ?load? tend to be wildly mixed together. Any electrical signal processing always takes a voltage supply (an ? Accuse ?) and a ?load?, for instance a pressure sensor, which represents the ?passive part?. Sometimes the active area of the interconnection is also referred to as an electrical source/voltage source and the passive part is known as a ?current sink?. In order that a power circuit can function, current must flow in a circuit ? even when an instrument is usually known as a load, the current isn’t consumed because of it, rather it only flows from the current or voltage source through the load and back to the current source.
This works only if an ?energy gap? exists between current source and current sink, so the power source operates actively (= sending out current) and the existing sink passively (= current flows through it) . Therefore, an interconnection of two current sources or two current sinks won’t operate normally. This example is complicated in day-to-day application:
When does a pressure sensor work passively (current sink) so when does it work actively (current source)?
How does the input card in my PLC operate?
As a rule of thumb, you can remember that 2-wire sensors usually work passively and thus need an active PLC input card. It is difficult with 4-wire sensors, since, for example, a 4-wire flow sensor includes 2 wires for a separate voltage supply and 2 wires for an active or passive 0/4 ? 20 mA signal output. Hence, it is vital to check the datasheets for the sensor and PLC input card used.

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