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Physics - Sensor Project

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Jayan Solanki

Physics Coursework

Sensor Project


I shall be undertaking a individual instrumentation project, in my project I shall be building and testing a sensor - exploring the characteristics of a sensor and it to design and assembling a system to allow a sensor to make a measurement.

For my task of building and testing a sensor I shall be adapting the problem of not knowing the level of water in your Cold Water Tank or in Toilets in housing and offices. When building my sensor I shall be following a specification that I shall construct to allow me to stick to my idea and not to begin design things that do not apply to my idea.

When testing my sensor I shall have be limited to using school appliance and equipment therefore I shall simply fill sink or a bucket up with water, clamp my sensor with my construction of the ability to measure the water level, then slowly I shall reduce the amount of water to test the sensor for its sensitivity.

For my sensor I shall also have to use mechanical objects to allow my sensor to work in its environment, such as gearing ratios to allow the ball on the water level to go up and down.

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Potentiometer diagram...




  1. 4x AA 1.5V Batteries + Battery Holder
  1. 1x Coloured 5V LED 1.5mm.
  1. 1x 1K Resistor.
  1. 1x 1K Rotary Potentiometer.
  1. 2x Voltmeter.


To begin my practical side of my project I firstly need to measure the resistance of the resistors in my circuit by using a Ammeter and connecting it in parallel with the fixed resistor first and set the meter to 2k Ohms, it should read 0.96 or higher, it shall be lower than the provided data with the resistor due to the resistance of the wire in the resistor. Following this I shall be following the same stages that you need for measuring the resistance of the fixed resistor for the variable one (rotary potentiometer) by connecting the meter in parallel with the resistor connecting the middle and the left or right connector to the suitable ports to measure resistance.

For my circuit to work in classroom conditions I shall calibrate my sensor by connecting a LED as a indicator to view if the circuit is operating and if it is it should dim as the resistance increases on the variable resistor. Although to measure the resistance as it changes I shall connect the voltmeter in parallel to the variable resistor.

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Also wires tend to be fray with excessive use, before using the cables I checked each cable of any danger of fray wires which could result in a cut or scratch on me.


My instrumentation project went according to the plan and method I had written. Also my predication that I wrote about my experiment was correct as the intensity of the light decreased as the resistance of the rotary potentiometer increased when turning it 10o c clockwise.

I feel I could have improved my project by attempting to reduce the internal resistance of the wires and semi conductors in the circuit, to resolve this the only option I would have is to change the wires to a better conductor such as Gold or Platinum, although due to being limited to the school equipment I had no choice in using standard copper wire. Also I could have increased the surface area of the components for connecting in the circuit to once again   reduce any short or loose connection to enable the P.D to travel through the ions more freely.

Also in my experiment I could have made it more of a fair test by carrying out my practical experiment by repeating the experiment 3 or 5 times then finding the average from the results that I collected from calibrating of the sensor.

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