Hall effect sensor technology has advanced signifi cantly, offering high performance, accuracy, consistency, reliability, and new feature sets at reasonable costs. Now leading the way in high-volume automotive applications, which are cost-sensitive, quality and reliability conscious, and subjected to harsh environments, Hall effect devices have distinguished themselves, and have become the preferred technology for many critical safety and performance uses involving the sensing of: motion, position, speed, direction, proximity, and electrical current. The highly successful application of Hall effect sensors in the automotive sector in many cases is directly transferable to appliances. Hall effect devices may not completely replace mechanical switches, but they do offer signifi cant advantages for appliances. Their major advantage versus other switch technologies is contact-less, bounce-free switching. This virtually eliminates failures induced by physical “wear and tear, ” and they are not affected by dirt, dust, or other environmental factors normally associated with “harsh ” conditions, but which are important for appliances as well. This paper briefl y reviews the basic principles of Hall effect technology and its evolution to today’s state of the art. This includes a look at historic areas of concern for the technology, and how these have been addressed. It also provides a comparison with mechanical switch technology. Lastly, an overview of how Hall effect technology has, and can be, used in various appliance applications is presented. THEORY OF OPERATION The basic element in a Hall effect device is a small sheet of semiconductor material represented by fi gure 1. When a constant voltage source is applied to the element, as shown in fi gure 2, it forces a constant bias current to fl ow in the element. Th
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