How to

How to read the data sheet of a pressure switch

Understanding how to interpret a pressure switch’s instrument data sheet (gauge pressure, differential pressure, or absolute pressure) is critical for selecting, installing, and commissioning an EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) engineering project in industries such as oil, gas, and other process industries. The data sheet contains critical information regarding the specs, capabilities, and operating settings of the pressure switch.

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Here are specific instructions to assist you in correctly interpreting the data sheet:


  • Initial consideration should be given to the data sheet’s heading, which includes the manufacturer information and model number.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate data sheet for the pressure switch you want.

Product Overview

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  • Read the product’s description to become familiar with its use, mechanisms (such as a diaphragm or bourdon tube), and applications.
  • Recognize the pressure switch’s overall operation and intended application

Pressure Rating and Range

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  • Identify the pressure range(s) that the pressure switch is capable of operation. It typically provides the minimum and maximum pressure values in relation to atmospheric pressure for gauge pressure switches.
  • It describes the pressure difference between the two places for differential pressure switches.
  • Vacuum is preferred for absolute pressure switches.
  • Consider the operational circumstances of the oil, gas, or process industries when determining if the given pressure range meets your project’s needs.

Pressure Units

  • Take note of the pressure readings’ units (such as psi, bar, or kPa).
  • Make sure they adhere to the guidelines and requirements for your project.

Switching Operation and Setpoints

  • Recognize the setpoints mentioned in the data sheet as well as the switching mechanism (such as a reed switch or a snap-action switch). Setpoints describe the pressure levels at which a switch switches from being open to being closed.
  • Check to see if the setpoints provided match the demands and control approach of your application.

Operating Conditions

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Temperature Range

  • Verify the operating temperature range that has been specified.
  • Ensure the switch can survive the high temperatures found in the process for industries like oil, gas, and process.

Pressure References

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  • Determine whether the switch is intended for gauge, differential, or absolute pressure applications.
  • Make sure it corresponds to the pressure reference that was utilized in your project.

Environmental Considerations

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Hazardous Area Ratings

  • If your project calls for installing the pressure switch in potentially dangerous or explosive situations, see if it has the necessary certifications, such as ATEX or IECEx.

Ingress Protection (IP) Rating

  • Check the IP rating, which describes the switch’s resistance to moisture and dust.
  • In severe industrial environments, a higher IP rating is preferable.

Electrical Characteristics

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Voltage and Current Ratings

  • Take note of the voltage and current specifications needed to operate the pressure switch.
  • Verify that it is compatible with the relay logic or your control system.

Contact Arrangement

  • Determine the switch’s contact configuration (such as NO for normally open, NC for normally closed), as well as the types of contacts (such as SPDT and DPDT).

Physical Specifications

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Dimensions and Mounting

  • Review the switch’s weight, diameter, and other physical characteristics.
  • Make sure your application fits and that the installation is done correctly.

Process Connection

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  • Take note of the size (e.g., 1/2″, 1″) and process connection type (e.g., threaded, flanged) information provided in the data sheet.
  • Check that it satisfies the requirements of both your process and your pipe system before using it.

Wetted Materials and Seals

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  • Determine the materials that were used to create the wet parts that will be in touch with the process fluid.
  • These materials must be resistant to corrosion and deterioration and compatible with the particular fluid.

Adjustment and Hysteresis

  • Check to see if the pressure switch permits you to change the setpoints or hysteresis (the difference between the on and off points).
  • Adjustable setpoints allow for greater adaptability to changing process conditions.

Accuracy, Calibration, and Repeatability

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  • Understand the manufacturer’s accuracy specifications. This metric measures how closely the switch’s readings correspond to actual values.
  • Make note of the suggested intervals and determine whether the switch needs to be calibrated. Regular calibration assures precise operation.
  • This measurement indicates how consistently the switch performs when applied to the same pressure several times. Higher precision is indicated by a lower repeatability value.

Resolution and Sensitivity

  • Determine the resolution, or the smallest pressure change that the switch can detect. A better resolution is required to capture tiny pressure variations properly.
  • Consider sensitivity, which is the change in switch state caused by a given pressure change. Higher sensitivity allows for more precise control over switch activation.

Certifications and Compliance

  • Determine whether the pressure switch complies with industry standards (e.g., CE, UL) and regulations governing the oil, gas, and process sectors.
  • Confirm that the switch complies with industry norms and regulations applicable to the oil, gas, and process sectors.

Additional features include

  • Look for diagnostics or indication features, such as LED indicators, that provide visual feedback on the status of the switch.
  • Examine any fail-safe procedures in place to avoid unpleasant circumstances from occurring as a result of switch faults.

Documentation and assistance

  • Look for user manuals, installation manuals, and technical specifications. These links provide thorough information on how to set up and operate a pressure switch.
  • Check to see if the manufacturer provides installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance assistance.

Sample data sheet

The datasheet for the pressure switch, which can be downloaded from the link below and consulted for more information, is provided by the manufacturer.

Sundareswaran Iyalunaidu

With over 24 years of dedicated experience, I am a seasoned professional specializing in the commissioning, maintenance, and installation of Electrical, Instrumentation and Control systems. My expertise extends across a spectrum of industries, including Power stations, Oil and Gas, Aluminium, Utilities, Steel and Continuous process industries. Tweet me @sundareshinfohe

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