ASP (Authorized Service Provider): An organization recognized by Measurement Canada to inspect and certify measuring devices. All ASPs must complete training and meet strict criteria before they can do so.

Annunciator: A bell, light, or other device that provides information on the state or condition of something by indicating which of several electrical circuits has been activated. (Example: a warning light)


Bidirectional: Data flow in either direction on a wire between pieces of equipment. Each equipment item can both receive and transmit data. Load receiver (platform) can receive loads in both directions.


Calibration: A scale or weighing system adjusted to meet performance and accuracy specifications. The comparison of load cell outputs against standard test loads.

Capacity: The maximum weight limit of a scale. The scale’s capacity should be at least 20% higher than the average maximum weight of the vehicles weighed on the scale. Otherwise you will greatly shorten the lifespan of the scale, and increase the amount of service required to ensure accuracy.

Character: One letter, number, or symbol, printed or displayed. A space is considered a character.

Checking: A system of limiting elements to prevent a weighbridge (load receiver) from moving off-center under lateral or longitudinal stress, without interfering with vertical movement.

Check sum: One or a group of characters accompanying transmitted information, derived by adding characteristic parts of the information, which the receiving device uses to verify the accuracy, completeness, and/or the source of data.


Dead Load: The weight of the weighbridge, platform, and other structural elements that apply a fixed force on a scale’s lever system or load cell(s). In electronic applications, dead load is nullified (negated or canceled out) by analog or digital offset at installation to achieve optimum value. In all applications, electronic or mechanical, dead load is zeroed off.


Electrical Noise: Extraneous undesirable currents or voltages which interfere with desirable electrical quantities. Some causes are distant lightning, radio transmitters, welding equipment, electrical switching equipment, poor brush contact on motors, and other electronic devices utilizing switching power supplies.

Electrostatic Charge: An electric charge on the surface of an insulated object.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD): A rapid discharge of an electrostatic potential that can cause damage to integrated circuits.

EMI (Electromagnetic Interference): Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is a disturbance generated by an external source that affects an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction. Also called radio-frequency interference (RFI) when in the radio frequency spectrum.

Error: The algebraic difference between the indicated and true value of the load being measured.

Ethernet: A system for connecting a number of computer systems to form a local area network, with protocols to control the passing of information and to avoid simultaneous transmission by two or more systems.

Explosion Proof Enclosure: An enclosure that is capable of withstanding an explosion of a specified gas or vapor which may occur within it and thus prevents the ignition of any gas surrounding it. The enclosure also must operate at an external temperature that makes it incapable of igniting its surrounding atmosphere.


Geotechnical Survey Report:A comprehensive assessment of geological conditions of a particular area where construction or installation of any kind needs to be undertaken.

Gross Weight: The total live load applied to the scale; the sum of the weight of the material and the weight of its container or other carrying device or vehicle.

Grout: A compound (fine mortar, epoxy, or other material) used to fill voids in concrete work, or between concrete work and steel support points such as lever or load cell stands. Formulated for strength, elasticity and durability.


Handshaking: Exchange of predetermined signals between two devices for the purpose of control.

Hardware: The physical components of a weighing system, including the load receiver, instrumentation, control device and accessories.

Hermetically Sealed: Refers to load cells which have a metallic protective cover welded or soldered in place to protect the strain gauge cavity and additional protection at the cable entry, such as a glass-to-metal seal. These load cells provide the best possible protection in harsh chemical or washdown environments.

Hopper: A container for bulk material. In a hopper scale, the container functions as the load receiver.


Indicator: The weight indicating element of an electronic scale. An instrument converts weight data from the load receiver into information that can be displayed, output and stored. An instrument’s panel contains controls required for normal operation, as well as weight readout.

Indicator Capacity: The largest weight that the weight indicating device is capable of reading. In a dial or beam, the capacity is limited, in an electronic instrument, the capacity is limited by the display capabilities and the resolution.

Interface: A device or circuit that allows two units to communicate. Some of the standard interfaces used in the scale industry are 20 mA current loop, BCD, RS232, RS422 and RS485.

Interval: (See division.)

Intrinsically Safe Circuit: A circuit in which any spark or thermal effect is incapable of causing ignition of a mixture of flammable or combustible material in air under prescribed test conditions in its most easily ignitable concentration.

Intrinsically Safe System: An assembly of interconnected intrinsically safe apparatus, associated apparatus and interconnecting cables in which the parts of the system, which may be used in hazardous (classified) locations, are intrinsically safe circuits; may include more than one intrinsically safe circuit.

Intrinsic Safety Barrier: A network designed to limit the energy (voltage and current) available to the protected circuit in the hazardous (classified) location under specified fault conditions.


Junction Box (J-box): A box or enclosure used to join different runs of cable or wiring; it contains space and terminals for connecting and branching the enclosed conductors and adjustments to provide load cell trimming.


Linearity: Refers to the quality of delivering identical sensitivity throughout the weighing capacity of a scale or balance.

Live Load: The load applied to a scale base that is actually being measured by the weighing system.

Load: The weight or force applied to a scale platform.

Load Cell: A device which produces an output signal proportional to the applied weight or force. Types of load cells include beam, S-beam, platform, compression, and tension.

Load Cell Output: The signal (voltage) produced by a load cell. The signal (output) is directly proportional to applied weight and must be expressed in the term millivolts (mV) or millivolts per volt (mV/V) or millivolts per volt per ohm (mV/V/Ohm).

Load Receiver: The portion/element of a scale that is designed to receive the load to be weighed; platform, deck, rail, tank, hopper, platter, plate, scoop, etc.

Load Receiver Capacity: The greatest weight which may be safely applied to the load receiver; limited by design of the weighbridge suspension and understructure.


Measurement Canada (MC): The Canadian governmental agency responsible for ensuring accuracy in the selling of measured goods, developing and enforcing the laws related to measurement accuracy, approving and inspecting measuring devices and investigating complaints of suspected inaccurate measurement.


NTEP (National Type Evaluation Program): NTEP provides a one-stop evaluation process that satisfies the initial requirements for introduction of weighing and measuring devices in the U.S.

Net Weight: The actual weight of material, as determined by subtracting the tare from the gross weights.


Output: A serial, analog, ethernet, current, voltage or other means to signal or provide data in any one of several communication mediums. The signal produced by a load cell.


Passive Device: A system component which only reacts to control from another source and has no input function. A remote display is an example of a passive device.

Photocell: A device which changes electrical characteristics in proportion to light intensity.

Port: A point at which signals may be introduced to or extracted from a circuit, device, or system.


Rated Load: The maximum operating capacity of a load cell, provided by the load cell manufacturer.

Register: Storage device for accumulating numerical data.

Repeatability: This is the scale’s ability to show consistent results under the same conditions (same device, same operator, same environment). To determine a scale’s repeatability, a test weight is placed on the scale then removed several times while recording each weight result. The repeatability measures how spread out the values are around the mean or average value.

RFI (Radio Frequency Interference): Radio frequency energy of sufficient magnitude to possibly affect operation of other electrical equipment.

RS232 (EIA-232): RS232 is an electrical signaling specification published by the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). Two connector types, the 25-pin (DB25) connector, or 9-pin (DB9) with specific pin assignments, are accepted as standard RS232 or serial connectors. RS232 is a common physical interface standard for interconnection of devices, such as a scale instrument and printer, or scale instrument and computer. The standard allows for a single device to be connected at baud rates up 115,000. The faster the baud rate, the shorter the distance.

RS422: Data transmission, using balanced or differential signaling, with unidirectional, terminated or non-terminated transmission lines, point to point, or multi-drop. In contrast to RS485 (which is multi-point instead of multi-drop) RS422 does not allow multiple drivers but only multiple receivers.

RS485 (EIA-485): A serial communication protocol similar to RS232 that can achieve longer transmission distances. The notable difference, RS485 features a floating ground on the signal line.


Safety Factor: A figure denoting the overload (and allowance thereof) a device can withstand before it physically breaks down and fails.

Scale: A device for weighing, comparing and determining weight or mass. The combination of a load receiver and an instrument; a complete weighing device.

Scale Capacity: The maximum weight to which a weighing device is calibrated.

Setpoint: The value (in weight) which determines the desired value of the quantity being controlled. In a filling application control system, a setpoint is the weight at which cutoff will occur.

Span: In terms of calibration, span is the difference between the highest value and the lowest value. In regard to weighbridge design, span is the unsupported part of the weighbridge structure between two weighing elements (load cells or levers.) Usually described like this, “This is a 70’scale with spans of 23′.”


Tare: The weight of any containing or supporting device used to transport material onto or away from a scale.

Ticket: A single or multiple copy sheet or form on which data items pertaining to a weighing transaction will be printed in one or more operations.

Tolerance: A value that fixes the limit of allowable error or departure from true performance or value. Usually expressed as the number of divisions.


Unattended System: An automated vehicle scale system that does require a person on site to operate the scale.


Weighbridge: The portion of a load receiver that physically supports a load, and is itself supported by a system of levers or load cells.

Weighment: The performance of one complete weighing operation, including loading the scale, achieving balance, determining weight, and unloading the scale (may include operation of peripheral accessories such as printers, etc.).


Zero Balance: Zero balance occurs when an electronic instrument indicates zero with no load applied, or when the beam/dial on a mechanical scale has been adjusted to zero, with no load applied.

Still have questions about what scale will be suit your needs? Contact one of our scale experts at sales@precisionscale.com, or call 1-800-831-5657 8:00 am to 4:30 pm MST.