9 Advantages of Magnetic vs. Resistive Fuel Senders

In the realm of aircraft fuel systems, fuel senders play a pivotal role in accurately measuring the fuel level in the tanks.

Among the various types available, magnetic fuel senders have emerged as a cutting-edge technology with distinct advantages over their resistive counterparts. In this article, we will explore the nine key benefits in fifteen categories that make magnetic fuel senders a superior choice for fuel quantity measurement. From improved accuracy to enhanced safety features, magnetic fuel senders prove to be a game-changer in modern aviation fuel systems.

Are you curious to learn more about how our senders compare to other fuel senders? Then check out our articles comparing our magnetic technology to ultrasonic fuel senders or capacitive fuel senders.

Here are the nine advantages out of 15 categories for magnetic versus resistive fuel senders:

1. Fuel Quantity

Magnetic fuel senders offer a unique advantage as they measure fuel height or volume in a non-electrical contact manner. This means that the fuel itself is not part of the fuel measurement circuit, resulting in a consistent output. Resistive fuel senders have a similar volume measurement.

2. Fuel Temperature

Magnetic fuel senders maintain their accuracy regardless of fuel temperature changes since they measure fuel height or volume without any electrical contact with the fuel. Resistive fuel senders also experience no change in output due to fuel temperature.

3. Entrained Air

Magnetic fuel senders excel at measuring fuel levels even in the presence of entrained air within the tank. As the fuel height or volume is the primary focus, entrained air does not affect the readings. Resistive fuel senders also experience no change in output due to entrained air.

4. Contamination

When it comes to contamination, magnetic fuel senders have a mild advantage as they are self-cleaning due to generous clearances, ensuring minimal impact on system accuracy. On the other hand, resistive fuel senders are affected by contamination, leading to a gradual degradation of accuracy due to potentiometer trace issues.

5. Fuel Motion

Magnetic fuel senders remain unaffected by fuel motion, thanks to the utilization of a dense closed-cell float that effectively dampens any movement. In contrast, resistive fuel senders experience considerable effects on the potentiometer wiper, resulting in dithering and Morse coding due to the plane of the float arm’s swing.

6. Safety

Magnetic fuel senders stand out in terms of safety since they have no electronics inside the fuel tank, making them intrinsically safe and eliminating any risk of hazards like sparks. Resistive fuel senders, however, include electronics and electrical contacts within the tank, presenting a potential hazard.

7. Damping

The damping advantage lies with magnetic fuel senders, achieved through the minimization of float size and increased density, effectively dampening fuel movement. Resistive fuel senders also rely on the float to dampen fuel movement.

8. Water in Fuel

Magnetic fuel senders maintain a stable output even in the presence of water in the fuel tank, as they have no electrical contact with the fuel contents. In contrast, resistive fuel senders experience significant degradation when exposed to moisture and water-induced corrosion products.

9. Compatibility

Both magnetic and resistive fuel senders offer compatibility with existing fuel quantity mount locations.

10. Output Options

Magnetic fuel senders provide more versatility in output options, including frequency, voltage, and resistance. On the other hand, resistive fuel senders offer only resistance as an output format.

11. Accuracy

Magnetic fuel senders boast the highest accuracy available for fuel quantity measurement, exceeding 0.75%. Their TSO testing confirms no measurable error or hysteresis. In contrast, resistive fuel senders exhibit poorer accuracy due to reliance on factors such as resistive follower size, resistance wire, or resistive grid size.

12. Float Error

Magnetic fuel senders minimize float error by not requiring the float buoyancy to drive a mechanical interface. With smaller and denser floats in Magnetic Field fuel quantity systems, accuracy is improved. Conversely, resistive fuel senders necessitate the float to move the wiper against the potentiometer reliably, often requiring larger floats to overcome corrosion issues.

13. Corrosion

With magnetic fuel senders, corrosion has no effect on fuel level output. In contrast, resistive fuel senders are highly affected by corrosion, leading to measurement degradation, restricted motion, and deposition of corrosion products in the fuel.

14. Fuel Oscillation

Magnetic fuel senders handle fuel oscillation without any issue, thanks to both physical and electronic damping mechanisms. Resistive fuel senders, however, may exhibit dithering in their output when subjected to fuel oscillation.

15. Complexity

Both magnetic and resistive fuel senders offer simple solutions in terms of complexity.

Conclusion

In the fast-paced world of aviation, precision and reliability are paramount when it comes to measuring fuel quantity. In this regard, magnetic fuel senders clearly outshine resistive fuel senders, boasting a myriad of advantages that ensure accurate and hassle-free fuel level readings.

The non-electrical contact measurement method of magnetic fuel senders allows them to be immune to changes in fuel motion, water in the fuel , and the presence of corrosion. This unique feature ensures that the fuel level readings remain consistent and accurate, providing pilots with vital information for safe and efficient flight operations.

Moreover, the intrinsic safety of magnetic fuel senders, devoid of any electronics within the fuel tank, eliminates the risk of hazards like sparks, making them a safe choice for aircraft fuel systems. Their self-cleaning properties and resistance to corrosion ensure a prolonged lifespan with minimal maintenance requirements, enhancing the overall cost-effectiveness and efficiency of the fuel measurement system.

Furthermore, magnetic fuel senders’ capability to dampen fuel motion and resist the effects of fuel oscillation reinforces their reliability even in turbulent flight conditions. Their simplicity in design and compatibility with existing fuel quantity locations make them an easy and convenient upgrade for aircraft fuel systems. In conclusion, magnetic fuel senders stand tall as the preferred choice for fuel quantity measurement due to their unmatched accuracy, safety, and overall performance. With the advantages they bring to the table over resistive fuel senders, it is evident that magnetic fuel senders have revolutionized the aviation industry, enhancing flight safety, efficiency, and peace of mind for pilots and passengers alike.

Would you like to view this comparison in a table format? Check out this page to view a table of magnetic vs. resistive fuel senders.

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About CiES Inc.

Established in 2012, CiES is now the largest supplier of aviation fuel quantity probes and senders. They are the recognized leader in the design, development, certification, and manufacture of electronic sensor solutions for original equipment manufacturers, as well as direct-to-market consumer products. Through the creative application of cutting-edge technologies, CiES creates complex end-to-end solutions. This is a company that is changing the game in aviation technology and revolutionizing the way we navigate the skies. Aiming at future growth and innovation, CiES is pushing the boundaries of what is possible.​

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