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How Does an Electronic Balance Work?

January 06, 2024

From the user’s perspective, electronic balances are pretty straightforward. You just turn the balance on and put the target object on the platform. The mass of the object is shown on the digital display with built-in mass conversion features.

But, how does an electronic balance work? Well, electronic balances don’t usually measure the mass of the target object directly. They measure how much force the target object exerts on the platform. The equivalent mass of the force is displayed through electrical signals.

In this guide, we will elaborate on the working principle of electronic balances to give you a detailed insight. Let’s get into the nooks and crannies of electronic balances.


How Does an Electronic Balance Work?

The working mechanism of an electronic balance depends on the type of the balance. You will commonly see two types of electronic balances.

· Electromagnetic type

· Load cell type

Let’s see how these two types of electronic balances work.

Electromagnetic Type Balance

These electronic balances have a pan where you place the target object. On the inside, the balance has a magnet and coil assembly that creates an electromagnetic field. A cylindrical bar moves across the coil depending on the mass of the target object.

When you put an object on the pan, it changes the position of the cylinder. As a result, the electromagnetic field inside the balance changes. The change in the electromagnetic field is then processed to determine the mass of the target object. At last, you see the mass value on the digital display of the electronic balance.

Load Cell Type Balance

This type of electronic balance works a bit differently. The exterior design of both balances is almost the same. On the inside, you will find an elastic body. When you place something on the pan, the elastic body flexes. This flex measurement is used to determine the mass of the target object.

There is a strain gauge inside the balance. One end of the strain gauge is fixed to the balance body. The other end connects to the elastic body. When you put a weight on the pan, it exerts force on the elastic body. As a result, the elastic body gets deformed.

The strain gauge measures this deformation, i.e., the expansion and contraction on both ends. Depending on the expansion and contraction, the resistance value in the electrical circuit changes. The balance detects the change in the electrical resistance. It then amplifies the signal and converts it into the desired mass unit.


Pros and Cons of Electromagnetic Type Electronic Balances

Check the benefits of drawbacks of electromagnetic type balances below.


· Electromagnetic type balances are highly accurate

· You can use them as analytical balances

· They are suitable for smaller weights


· The weighing range is generally low in these balances


Pros and Cons of Load Cell Type Electronic Balances

Load cell type electronic balances have a few more benefits than electromagnetic type balances. Check them out below.


· These balances are suitable for a larger weighing range

· Load cell type balances are more affordable

· The stability of load cell type balances is better


· The accuracy of load cell type balances is a bit lower than electromagnetic balances.


How to Use Electronic Balances Correctly?

Electronic balances are easy to use as long as they are calibrated properly. Let us guide you through the steps so that you can measure different objects with high accuracy.

Step 1: Level the Balance

You should always place an electronic balance on a flat surface. To easily level the balance, you will have a bubble level built into the balance. Make sure the bubble is located at the center to confirm the balance is leveled correctly.

Step 2: Connect the Balance to the Power Source

Plug the power socket into the wall outlet to power up the balance. The digital display will light up once you press the On switch.

Step 3: Use a Weighing Pan or Tray

Even though you can directly place the mass on the balance pan, it is better to use a weighing pan or tray. Place the tray carefully in the middle of the balance pan. Then, press the Tare button to remove that mass from the calculation. The display should show all zeros.

Step 4: Place the Target Object Carefully

Place the target object on the weighing tray. Let it be stable and wait for a few seconds before you take the reading. Then, take the mass reading from the digital display. You can also convert the unit using the buttons. For a more accurate result, take a few readings and figure out the mean.



Electronic balances are symptoms of precision. Many people wonder, how does an electronic balance work on such a small scale. We explained the working principle of two common types of electronic balances. This should help you understand how the force exerted by the target object is converted into the mass.

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