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Take care when handling your sound level meter

Pulsar Instruments have been manufacturing sound level meters for well over 45 years now. A sound level meter is a handheld device used to make frequency-weighted sound pressure level measurements expressed in decibels. A sound level meter looks pretty straight forward at first sight with a main body that you hold in your hand and a metallic stem that comes out of it. This stem is called a preamplifer and, at the end of it, is the microphone which the user points to the noise source. The microphone samples and measures the sound. The preamplifer keeps the microphone away from the body of the instrument, cutting out reflections, to give a more accurate measurement.

Sound level meters are tough but they still require careful handling

sound level meter microphoneIt may surprise you to learn that out of all its components, the microphone capsule is the most expensive part of a sound level meter. Its performance is dependent upon the level of precision but also how it is handled and protected by its user.   Therefore, you should apply special care when carrying or handling your sound level meter.

Because microphone capsules are unique parts and quite intricate to produce, they can cost hundreds of pounds.  As such, damaging this part of the instrument can be costly as it is likely that you will need to replace it. It is worth remembering also that if the microphone’s internal membrane or diaphragm gets damaged or torn, your noise measurements will be affected and likely to be invalid.

So here are a few useful tips to bear in mind when you handle your sound level meter.

Protect your microphone at all times

Noise-Measurement-200One way of ensuring that your microphone does not suffer any damage such as accidental knocks is to use a windshield over the sound level meter’s microphone.

This accessory made out of foam is supplied with the instrument as standard when you order a complete noise measurement kit and should be used both indoor and outdoor when making measurements.

 

 

Do not tamper with the microphone capsule

Microphone capsules are not fixed as they may need to be serviced or repaired. Do not get tempted to unscrew the capsule or try to lift or extract any fragile internal components.   Do not expose the microphone to water, moisture, dust or chemical contaminants.  Again, your windshield will keep any interference at bay and will protect the accuracy of your microphone.

Calibrating your sound level meter

Calibrating Model 14You will need to calibrate your meter before and after each measurements to check its accuracy and comply with regulations and codes of practice.

This is a simple procedure which involve pushing the microphone into the cavity at the end of the acoustic calibrator as shown on the picture on the left. Be confident, but do not force the calibrator on the microphone. Ensure also that the small bleed-hole next to the microphone cavity is not blocked as this could cause damage to the microphone.

 

New to noise measurement with a sound level meter?

If you have any queries about your sound level meter and would like practical advice on how to handle it correctly, please get in touch on 01723 518011. Our friendly team will be happy to guide you. Alternatively, visit our website for additional information on products, services and training.

Interested in all things acoustics?  We have produced a Glossary of Acoustic Terms most commonly-used and some of it are referred to in this blog.  Click on the link above to learn more.

To receive noise measurement, noise at work legislation or noise awareness training advice delivered once a week to your inbox email sign up to our blog here.

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This blog appeared first on Pulsar Instruments’ website on 10th August 2015.

©Pulsar Instruments 2015. Un-authorised use and/or duplication of the above content or picture without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pulsar Instruments with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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