The Importance of NIST Traceable Calibration for USB Power Sensors

by Ladybug

USB power sensors are used for power measurement and are connected to a computer or other device that is used to display the measurement. Their rugged design can be used in harsh environments.

USB power sensors, do not need a traditional power meter, but instead use a computer which adds flexibility and capability. Further, the uncertainty between the sensor and power meter is eliminated.

Calibration and its traceability are important aspects when it comes to ensuring the accuracy levels of these sensors. This post talks about what calibration traceability means and the market significance of NIST-calibrated devices and their makers.

A Brief Introduction to NIST Traceable Calibration

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory body of the US Department of Commerce. They set standards related to calibration, data, and measurements, and work closely with the industry leaders to foster innovation. NIST calibration is a quality assurance program, which offers certification to manufacturers of various machines and equipment upon meeting their set parameters or measurement standards. An NIST-calibrated device is the one which is directly compared to NIST SRM.  When we talk about calibration traceability, it is the end user’s responsibility. The next section discusses calibration traceability in detail.

What is Calibration Traceability?

It is expected that any sensor must give accurate data output. To achieve this, power sensors receive a transfer calibration from a standard. However it would be impractical and expensive to send all manufactured sensors to the governing body such as NIST for calibration. Instead, sensors are calibrated at the manufacture with a standard that is traceable to the body.

A company’s calibration standard sensor(s) that was directly calibrated by NIST (or other governing body) is considered a tier 1 standard. Some manufacturers maintain their own calibration labs, these labs may contain one tier 1 NIST calibrated standard that is used to calibrate additional standards. When this is done, uncertainty is added to these additional standards, and their accuracy may be reduced; as such they are referred to as a tier 2 standards. It is further possible to have third and fourth tier standards. A quality power sensor would be expected to have either a first or second tier standard. LadyBug technologies maintains several NIST calibrated standards and our calibrations are first tier.

Market Significance of NIST-Calibrated Devices

There is no doubt that a standard or certified product has more value in the market than generic ones, however there is more to it. The following points will help you understand it better.

  • If the standards are set by NIST or significant bodies, the credibility of that product is higher. It also adds value to the brand, as well as the manufacturer. Indirectly, it may help other products as well.
  • Manufacturers can validate the accuracy of their calibrated sensors or other devices to prospective buyers.
  • Tier 1 calibrated devices get a high rating and price. Also, traceability allows tracing back the value to primary standards.

If you are looking for high-quality USB power sensors, which are NIST traceable, ensure you source them from a reliable manufacturer and supplier. LadyBug Technologies is a well-known manufacturer and supplier of tier 1 NIST traceable USB power sensors. These sensors do not require a meter and run independently through a software application.