Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

Detect presence of a thin wire

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I have a small gap (5mm-10mm) where a thin Nitinol wire passes through. I'd like to detect the presence/passing through of the Nitinol wire with a sensor. It can be contactless or a contact based sensor. The wire could make direct contact with the sensor but only at the sensor so it doesn't form a complete circuit (the wire dangles from a quad copter drone in mid air while the write enters the gap).

Ideally the sensor detects in under 100ms.

Thank you in advance.

Would a photo interrupter work?

They are basically an IR LED and IR receive in one and will give 6ou a signal is something blocks the gap.

A sketch would be helpful to understand the wire’s position and also to tell why the wire would not be there, or move out of position. Just to avoid becoming a XY problem https://xyproblem.info/

IR reflection sensor would be my first pick if it had to be done with minimum engineering.

Capacitive sensing would have the advantage of not responding to non conductive debris.

As the wire is thin any IR transmission gap sensor would liekly need to be sensitive with an analogue output, to detect a drop in intensity as the wire crosses rather than a total blocking. Whether reflective IR could work will depend on how shiny the wire's surface finish is.

You want to avoid any sensor that could cause a complete circuit, does that mean a current is running in that wire between the drone and somewhere else, or that the wire is held at a particular voltage? Either of those possibilities would open up more sensing possibilities, Hall sensor ifa current is flowing for example.


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