Hyundaitech said he did not understand what I was talking about in
another note so here goes. I think it's something that should be
When one designs a circuit or mechanical device part of the design
process is to take into account the power to be transmitted. In a
mechanical part it would be the material choice, cross section area,
shape, etc. In electrical components it is mostly rated heat
dissipation. Electrical waste is generally produced as heat. To keep
it simple if I use a 12 ohm load in the control module sensor
connected to it will cause at most a 1 amp current at a nominal 12
volt system. Amps=volts/ohms. That is with the sensor resistance at
0 ohms. As the sensor increases reistance the current drops and the
power decreases. The power also divides between the sensor and the
control module. Max power is 12x1 watts.
There are 3 failure models.
1. Open circuit - no current flow.
2. Short circuit - currnet limited by source resistance - classic arc
and spark with charred remains.
3. Lowered impedance. Result is more current, more power
dissipation. If it's low enough you approach failure 2 but what if it
drops something less? To pick a number sya a 30% drop. My 12 ohm
resistor becomes 8 ohms. Max current goes to 12/8=1.5 amps. Max
power becomes 12x1.5 watts.
OK - what's it mean? Not enough power for arc and spark but the extra
power becomes extra heat that slowly simmers the parts instead of
flash burning them. It is hard to predict what will happen as there
are many failure modes as well as conditions. For example if the
sensor is the gas gauge and you never let it get below half full you
probably won't get to max power so nothing happens. On the other hand
if you consistently run low the gauge fails prematurely when either
the sensor or the load in the meter circuit cook off. The failure is
as likely to be a type 1- open circuit as a type 2 short. Either way
it's broken but a type 1 will not damage the rest of the circuitry
even thogh the part that fails may be the "good" part that is being
operated out of it's design range of power dissipation. Most sensor
circuits work at lower power levels than this but the principle
remains the same.