ACS712 Current Sensor Working and Applications

The invention of electricity has led to a revolutionary change in the life of humans. We invented many innovative applications of electricity to make our daily life easier. Today almost all of our equipment runs on electricity. The flow of charge is known as Current. Different devices need a different amount of current based on their functional requirements. Some devices are so sensitive that they get damaged when a high amount of current is delivered to them. So, to save such a situation and monitor the amount of current required or being used in an application, measurement of current necessary. This is where the Current Sensor comes into play. One such sensor is the ACS712 Current Sensor.

What is the ACS712 Current Sensor?

Current flowing through a conductor causes a voltage drop. The relation between current and voltage is given by Ohm’s law. In electronic devices, an increase in the amount of current above its requirement leads to overload and can damage the device.

Measurement of current is necessary for the proper working of devices. Measurement of voltage is Passive task and it can be done without affecting the system. Whereas measurement of current is an Intrusive task which cannot be detected directly as voltage.


For measuring current in a circuit, a sensor is required. ACS712 Current Sensor is the sensor that can be used to measure and calculate the amount of current applied to the conductor without affecting the performance of the system.

ACS712 Current Sensor is a fully integrated, Hall-effect based linear sensor IC. This IC has a 2.1kV RMS voltage isolation along with a low resistance current conductor.

Working Principle

Current Sensor detects the current in a wire or conductor and generates a signal proportional to the detected current either in the form of analog voltage or digital output.

Current Sensing is done in two ways – Direct sensing and Indirect Sensing. In Direct sensing, to detect current, Ohm’s law is used to measure the voltage drop occurred in a wire when current flows through it.

A current-carrying conductor also gives rise to a magnetic field in its surrounding. In Indirect Sensing, the current is measured by calculating this magnetic field by applying either Faraday’s law or Ampere law. Here either a Transformer or Hall effect sensor or fiberoptic current sensor are used to sense the magnetic field.

ACS712 Current Sensor uses Indirect Sensing method to calculate the current. To sense current a liner, low-offset Hall sensor circuit is used in this IC. This sensor is located at the surface of the IC on a copper conduction path. When current flows through this copper conduction path it generates a magnetic field which is sensed by the Hall effect sensor. A voltage proportional to the sensed magnetic field is generated by the Hall sensor, which is used to measure current.

The proximity of the magnetic signal to the Hall sensor decides the accuracy of the device. Nearer the magnetic signal higher the accuracy. ACS712 Current Sensor is available as a small, surface mount SOIC8 package. In this IC current flows from Pin-1 and Pin-2 to Pin-3 and Pin-4. This forms the conduction path where the current is sensed. Implementation of this IC is very easy.

ACS712 can be used in applications requiring electrical isolation as the terminals of the conduction path are electrically isolated from the IC leads. Thus, this IC doesn’t require any other isolation techniques. This IC requires a supply voltage of 5V. Its output voltage is proportional to AC or DC current. ACS712 has a nearly zero magnetic hysteresis.

Where Pin-1 to Pin-4 forms the conduction path, Pin-5 is the signal ground pin. Pin-6 is the FILTER pin that is used by an external capacitor to set the bandwidth. Pin-7 is the analog output pin. Pin-8 is the power supply pin.

Applications of ACS712 Current Sensor

This IC can detect both AC and DC current so, it has a wide range of applications. ACS712 is used in Peak detection circuits, circuits to increase gain, rectification application for AtoD converters, Overcurrent fault latch, etc…The filter pin provided by this IC is used to eliminate the attenuation effect in resistor divider circuits.

ACS712 is used in many industrial, commercial and communication applications. This IC is applicable for Automobile applications. Some of the typical applications of this IC can be found in motor control circuits, for load detection and management, SMPS, overcurrent fault protection circuit.

This IC can measure current for high voltage loads operating at 230V AC mains. To read the values it can be easily interfaced with the ADC of a microcontroller. What would be the value of output voltage provided by ACS712 when a DC load current is applied to it?


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