What is a Flame Sensor?

If a roll out switch is a master “things have gone horribly wrong, stop the show” switch and thermisters are basically limited to measuring temperature, how do we know the burner is actually making a flame? Sure, the thermister will read heat, but that takes time. Imagine the igniter has failed, it takes maybe 10-40 seconds to register enough heat to confirm a flame. The combustion chamber is now pumped full of a potentially explosive fuel mixture and nothing is happening. We need something much, much faster, we need a flame sensor.   How Not to Detect a Flame The way a person knows something is on fire is usually the bright flames and the fact that sticking their hand near it becomes really painful. This approach doesn’t quite work for a furnace. We could measure the light output, that requires more processing power to interpret the data, some incredibly sensitive hardware to detect the tiniest start of a flame, and it doesn’t work on every fuel type. There are systems that work this way, but it’s a little more expensive. We could measure the temperature, but we run into challenges with making a sensor you can shove in the heart of a flame for years on end without failure. It has been done, but it’s expensive. There are however, laws of physics we can exploit to detect a flame without anywhere near so many challenges. We can detect a […]

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How Do Transformers Work?

So, transformers are these really cool robots that turn into cars, trucks, jets and the like. They usually end up breaking a major city, there’s some explosions, and a lot of screaming going on. It’s all because of this big war of the robots going on..   JUST KIDDING! You really thought I was gonna talk about robots when we have Electrical Transformers to talk about? No, no, no. These things are just too cool to pass up. We use them EVERYWHERE. Seriously, if you live in 21st Century USA and use electronics, you have at least one transformer, but more likely, probably dozens to hundreds of them. You need them in your washer, drier, computers, cell phone chargers, TVs, and so much more. It’s amazing.   The Problem Everything in the world runs on electricity, but the details about that electricity are different for nearly every device. Your home most likely receives AC Power from your local provider. In the US, that’s 120 VAC at 60 Hertz. What’s a little weird is that we transmit AC power everywhere, near every device in your home is run with DC Power. That’s alternating current versus direct current. So, we’re sending the wrong kind of power to your home or business, which can’t directly power your devices. It gets worse. The voltages are all different too. The processor in your computer needs multiple voltages. Generally at most, 1.35 Volts, plus some others. […]

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