Extensive Range of Platinum Resistance Thermometer (RTD's)

A Pt100 or Pt1000 is a Platinum RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector) with a resistance of 100 ohms at 0°C which changes with temperature. They are suitable for applications in the temperature range of -200°C to 600°C but are more commonly used in the range -50°C to +250°C. These temperature sensors are reliable and can offer a higher degree of accuracy.

To find out more about how Platinum Resistance Thermometers work scroll down the page for more details.

PT100 Sensor and PT1000 Sensor

Custom Built sensors (Some of which are mentioned below)
  • Plain Stem c/w Pot seal and cable
  • Mineral Insulated c/w either pot seal / cable, connector or head
  • Plastics RTD’s
  • Surface RTD’s
  • Fixed Process Thread RTD’s
  • Bearing RTD’s
  • HVAC & Air Temperature Sensors
  • Autoclave RTD’s

What are the different types?

Most users of temperature probes will be familiar with the terminology Pt100, Pt500 or Pt1000. These are the standard values for this type of sensor, but what does it mean?

Pt is the chemical symbol for Platinum and denotes its use in the sensor. Other sensors may use Cu (copper) or Ni (Nickel) accordingly.

The number relates to the resistance value at 0°C. So a Pt100 probe will have a resistance of 100Ω at °C, and it follows that a Pt1000 RTD will be 1000Ω at 0°C.

How does the PT100 sensor work?

As the temperature in your application changes then the electrical resistance will also change. An increase in temperature will increase the resistance of the temperature sensor.

The measurement is completed by your instrument by applying a small measurement voltage and utilising a bridge type circuit.

Are RTD’s interchangeable?

Yes. All sensors manufactured by Process Parameters Ltd conform to the relevant British and International standards that apply. In the case of Platinum Resistance Thermometers we apply BS EN 60751 which covers the characteristics, accuracy and colour coding systems used. This means that you can take a Pt100 and replace it with another and it will simply work, there is no need for any configuration. In some applications there is a requirement for a procedural calibration check.

PT100 Temperature Sensor or Thermocouple?

Thermocouples are made with two dissimilar metals or conductors where a temperature difference between the hot and cold junctions (join) of the thermocouple generates a small voltage signal which changes with temperature. They are best suited to elevated temperatures (up to 1700°C) or very low temperatures (down to -200°C) and are also ideal where there is any vibration (where a Pt100 is more likely break).   If you need a fast response temperature sensor we recommend the use of thermocouples.

How accurate are RTD’s?

Part of the standard that we operate to governs accuracy. In theory a RTD pt100 can be extremely accurate but you need to consider a few factors when thinking about accuracy.

First of all there are five accuracy bands; Class B, Class A, 1/3 DIN, 1/5 DIN and 1/10 DIN. Class B is the least accurate, 1/10 DIN is the most accurate. The table below gives the accuracy for each tolerance band at different temperatures. Note that accuracy is best for all classes at 0°C and worsens for increasing and decreasing temperature.

Tolerance for Pt100 to BS EN 60751

How accurate are RTD’s? (Continued)

The next thing to consider is the probe immersion. It is extremely important to ensure that your Pt100 temperature probe is completely immersed to ensure that accuracy is maintained. Incomplete immersion can introduce measurement errors due to stem conduction.

Finally, it is also important to consider the wiring system utilised in the sensor. For the lower accuracy sensors it is quite acceptable to use a 3 or even a 2 wire system but for the higher accuracy 1/5 DIN and 1/10 DIN types we strongly recommend a 4 wire system. See below for more information.

There is a myth that PRT’s are always more accurate than thermocouples but this is not necessarily the case. Take a Class B Pt100 operating at 300°C, it should be accurate to ±1.8°C. A type K thermocouple however will have an accuracy of ±1.5°C at the same temperature. There are other factors to consider but it should not be assumed that PRT’s are “best”.

What is meant by 2 wire, 3 wire and 4 wire?

The resistance change of a Pt100 sensor is just 0.385Ω per 1°C temperature change so it is easy to see that errors can be introduced fairly easily.

When using a Resistance Thermometer you clearly need to be able to connect it to your instrumentation which involves using a cable. The simplest way is to use a 2 core cable, but this introduces additional resistance into the measurement circuit and therefore potentially large measurement errors. In general therefore we sell the majority of our PRT’s with either a 3 wire or 4 wire configuration. The addition of the third and fourth wires allows your instrumentation to compensate for the resistance of the extension cabling and negate most or all of the effects of this ensuring you get the most accurate measurement.

Note that you can use copper based cables with PRT’s. You do not need special cables as with Thermocouples.

Wiring Colour Codes

BS EN 60751 also specified the colour coding used for the wiring of PRT’s and is extremely simple. See the chart below for wiring colour coding for each wiring system.

2 wire Pt100 diagram3 wire Pt100 diagram4 wire Pt100 diagram

What temperature range are PRT’s suitable for?

Many measuring instruments will often quote a measuring range of up to 850°C but, this is extremely optimistic for an industrial PRT.

The maximum range we recommend for an industrial PRT is -200 to +650°C but this is very much dependent on the construction and materials used in the assembly.