A digital indicator, sometimes also referred to as a panel meter, is an instrument that acts as the display unit for process application equipment. Digital indicators accept input from a wide range of probes, transducers, thermocouples, strain gauges, potentiometers, and other sources and convert their electrical signals into the proper engineering units to provide a visual reference of the measured value.

Generally speaking, digital indicators can be configured to accept input from nearly any type of equipment though some models are designed for use in specific applications such as flow meters. Some indicator models boast of universal input capable of accepting linear input, such as voltage or current, as well as input for all thermocouples and RTDs. Depending upon the indicator, input type can be either programmed into the meter or needs to be selected at the time of ordering the meter. Other indicators are capable of reading other inputs such as pulse / frequency or resistive/strain gauge or are capable of accepting A/C input for high voltage readings.

Digital indicators are an easy way to provide remote readout of measured values for permanently installed equipment. Indicators are most commonly installed inside an instrument panel (hence the name “panel meters”), offering a centralized location away from noise and hazards from which to monitor one or more processes. Some models are available with NEMA rated enclosures for installation in rugged environments.

Many digital indicators also offer a range of communications and advanced features to increase the versatility of the meter. For applications in which the user wants to store data for later recall or from which to create charts or reports, RS-482, RS-485, MODBUS, Ethernet, DeviceNet, and other communications options are available. If more than simply displaying measured values is desire, many models offer alarms, set points, counters, scaling, and advanced math functions. Many digital panel meters can accept multiple inputs and have adjustable or bar graph displays that allow users to easily switch between these inputs. It’s pretty easy finding a digital indicator that can be easily tailored to suit your exact process monitoring needs.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Digital Indicator / Panel Meter:

  • What is the input signal of the device the meter will read?
  • What resolution is required?
  • Are alarm capabilities needed?
  • How and where will the meter be mounted?
  • Will the meter be used in a hazardous location or a location subjected to water or dust?
  • Are communications needed? If so, which format?
  • Are advanced function such as scaling required?
  • Will the meter power the sensor with which it is paired?

If you have any questions regarding digital indicators / panel meters please don't hesitate to speak with one of our engineers by e-mailing us at sales@instrumart.com or calling 1-800-884-4967.