Archive for November 8th, 2013

Hall Effect Sensor: Toroid Winding Direction

Pop Quiz!

What’s the difference between the winding on this toroid:

Hall effect sensor - toroid CW field

Hall effect sensor – toroid CW field

And the winding on this one:

Hall effect sensor - toroid CCW field

Hall effect sensor – toroid CCW field

Very good!

In the first picture, the top lead goes down the hole. In the second picture, the bottom lead goes down the hole.

Bonus question 1: Why is this important?

The winding’s chirality determines the direction of the magnetic field in the toroid by the right hand rule: grab the wire with your right hand, with your thumb pointed in the direction of (conventional) current flow, then your fingers wrap around the wire in the direction of the induced field.

The Hall effect sensor snuggled in the toroid’s gap produces a bipolar output that depends on both the magnetic field’s direction and intensity, so reversing the field direction changes the phase of the sensor output: an increasing field can either increase or decrease the sensor’s output.

Bonus question 2: For a given sensor orientation, what’s the probability of winding the toroid correctly on the first try?

Yup: zero. Wound it backwards…

It’s not practical to reverse the sensor orientation, the leads weren’t quite long enough to swap, and turning the toroid upside-down is effectively the same as swapping the too-short leads.

The size of the solder blob at the end of the top lead tells you everything you need to know about the sequence of the picvtures.