An introduction to electronic weighing

Weighing In

© Lead Image © Carlos Velayos,

© Lead Image © Carlos Velayos,

Article from Issue 249/2021

Create your own weighing device with easily available components and open source software.

In this article, I discuss the design of a compact and portable workshop balance for various single-load-cell weighing applications constructed with a small load cell, an instrumentation amplifier, an excitation supply, a microcontroller, a display, and a serial port for debugging. Throughout, I used Linux and open source software, and I provide code samples, with directions for finding the complete code online.


Ancient civilizations used simple balances to compare weights for trading in precious metals, spices, salt, and the like. Today's civilization is no less dependent on knowing the weight of objects. It is hard to imagine a day in which the knowledge of weight does not take part: from the morning visit to the bathroom scales, a trip to the supermarket, baking a cake, to weighing baggage at the airport – the list of times weight plays a part in our lives seems endless. Today, we've moved away from mechanical balances, for the most part, obviating the need for ready reference weights.

Today's weighing equipment is usually based on electronic signals from strain gauges. These sensors are thin-film resistors whose resistance varies in response to tension or compression. When bonded to a mechanical structure subject to the force of an applied mass, the resistance of a strain gauge will change proportionally in response. Practical weighing systems use more than one strain gauge, and these are generally bonded to a metallic billet in a controlled manner to form a more complex electrical circuit designed to eliminate nonlinearities and temperature effects. These billets are known as load cells and are available commercially with working ranges from a few grams to hundreds of tonnes.


Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Solar-Powered Mini PC with Puppy Linux

    The Aleutia E1 is a Mini PC with Puppy Linux on board designed for deployment in areas far away from power sources.

  • Neural Networks

    3, 4, 8, 11… ? A neural network can complete this series without knowledge of the underlying algorithm – by a kind of virtual gut feeling. We’ll show you how neural networks solve problems by simulating the behavior of a human brain.

  • Amazed

    Mazes fascinated even the ancient Greeks. Mike Schilli uses his Go programming skills to create a maze and then efficiently travel through it.

  • In-cell Charting in Calc
  • Calc Conditional Formatting

    Integrate graphical information alongside the data it represents with conditional formatting and sparklines.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95