What are Digital Load Cells?

Let’s start with Analog Load Cells

Traditionally, most industrial scales are equipped with analog strain gauge load cells. Analog strain gauge load cells are simple, passive devices that are generally robust and easy to use. Besides the small resistor bridge on the load cell surface, and a number of temperature compensating resistors, there are no electronics fitted to the actual load cell – making it ideal for most industrial environments.

For these analog load cells to be useful, there needs to be an external set of electronics to accept very small voltage signals coming from the load cell sensor. These electronics then amplify, convert and process these signals so that they can be interpreted as an actual weight. This can be seen on a Digital Indicator, or it can be further amplified to produce 4-20mA / 0-5V signals so it can be read by other appliances such as Programmable Logic Controllers (or PLCs). Or it can be output as digital data, using RS-232, USB, Ethernet, or other standards.

The Problem

All of this means that with analog strain gauge load cells, you must require at least one additional set of electronics (such as a bulky digital indicator or an amplifier box) on the outside to do the signal processing so that you can utilize the weight data. What if your needs require a compact unified load cell that can provide fully processed, ready-to-use, digital readings for your utilization? This is where a Digital Load Cell comes in.

Solution: Digital Load Cells

Digital Load Cells can provide an all-in-one, single point solution to the problems defined above. Since they are designed with built-in electronics for signal processing, they are ideal for applications that require compact solutions without the extra bulk of a digital display or an external amplifier board.

Arlyn Scales’ Digital Load Cells provide a fully processed output. This means there is no need for additional processing, filtering or averaging to be done when they are integrated to your system. All of this is done within the electronics housed inside the digital load cell.

Arlyn Scale Digital Load Cells

Digital Load Cells (DLC) from Arlyn Scales not only provide the tried and tested reliability and ruggedness that is known for the brand, but they also come with ease of use. 


Our DLCs can come with many different types of connectivity such as RS-232, USB as well as RS-422 and RS-485 for multi-load cell applications. Our Digital Load Cells can also accommodate Ethernet TCP/IP connectivity which allows our customers to connect to their systems.


Our simplified protocols allow our users to directly test the DLCs out of the box using typed commands on any serial terminal (such as PuTTY, RealTerm, TeraTerm, etc.) to retrieve human readable, ASCII formatted weight values.The Digital Load Cells have a dual layer protocol; 

  1. Simple Protocol
  2. Complex Protocol. 

The Simple Protocol allows users to use our unique, simplified 2-character “star command” system to retrieve weights from the DLC. Other functions available are ZERO, TARE, NET/GROSS and UNIT commands. 

The Complex Protocol allows for even greater control over the DLC. This protocol allows our users not only to retrieve weights but to perform complicated functions such as load cell calibration, configure filter settings, tracking, and other parameters. The Complex Protocol was also designed in such a way that it can be performed on any serial terminal without the need for special equipment.

Factory Direct Pricing

In addition to the unique features presented above, our customers will be able to utilize these features at a much more reasonable price point  as compared to our competitors. These Digital Load cells are Made In USA and are supplied Factory Direct, a fact which most of our competitors cannot proclaim.

Types of Arlyn Digital Load Cells

There are two types of DLCs that Arlyn Scales offers; 

  1. Standard Strain Gauge Digital Load Cell
  2. Ultra Precision Digital Load Cells

Standard Strain Gauge Digital Load Cells

The Strain Gauge DLCs are similar in nature as our regular non-Ultra Precision scale offerings. These DLCs support resolution of 1:5000. The two types of Strain Gauge Load Cells and Shear Beam Strain Gauge Digital Load Cells. Single Point Load Cells with capacities/readability ranging from [10 lb x 0.0002 lb] to [150 lb x 0.05 lb] while Shear Beam Digital Load Cells range from [250 lb x 0.05 lb] to [10000 lb x 2 lb]. For further specifications on these types of load cells, please visit the Stainless Steel Single Point Digital Load Cell and Shear Beam Digital Load Cell product pages

Ultra Precision Digital Load Cells

The Ultra Precision Digital Load Cells are similar in nature as our Ultra Precision Scale offerings. These DLCs are equipped with a Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) transducer. They provide more than 10 times better accuracy than any other scale in its price range. As a bonus, they are also more rugged than regular load cells, and can be used in a wide variety of industrial environments. Capacities and readabilities range from 5000 grams with readability as high as 20 mg, up to 500 kg with readability of 5g. For further specifications on these types of load cells, please visit the Ultra Precision Single Point Digital Load Cell product page.

Intrinsically Safe Variants

The Digital Load Cell types mentioned above can also come in Factory Mutual approved Intrinsically Safe variants. However, the electronics are not yet Intrinsically Safe and therefore have to be situated in the Safe Area and connected using a Safety Barrier. This should still provide a more compact solution akin to having an analog 4-20mA amplifier board for your IS applications.

Typical Applications

Our Digital Load Cells are ideal for use in Inventory Control Systems or “Bin” Systems, typically implemented for collecting real time data on the number parts in a bin at any given time. This also helps in alerting when the number of parts is critically low and needs to be replenished.

Other applications that Digital Load Cells are used are in Platform and Bench Scales / Custom Platform Footprints, Tank Weighing Systems, Aircraft Weighing, Truck Scales, Tank Bin and Hopper Weigh systems, Filling and Packaging scales, Check weighing (low speed) and Conveyor scales.

The Arlyn Scale Difference

Arlyn Scales creates the highest quality scales for growing companies around the world. We have been leaders in the weighing industry for the past thirty years. We focus on developing precision accuracy for all industries regardless of the capacity. Our research and development division works on technological advancements to create better load cells and other component parts to achieve this goal. We also pay an enormous amount of attention to the durability of our scales. 

Our scales are manufactured right next door to our offices in Long Island, New York. The fact that both our office and our factory are next to each other allows us to ship Factory Direct to our customers. This reduces our need for distributors, which means our customers get exceptionally low prices. The savings that we get by eliminating distributors gets rolled right back into our manufacturing process. This means our customers get an even better scale at a lower price. 

For more information on Digital Load Cells, please visit the Digital Load Cell page If our standard models do not quite meet your company’s expectations, we will gladly sit down with you, discuss various options, and create a customized scale for you. Fill out the form on our Contact Us page or call us at (800) 645-4301 to learn more about our digital scales or for help selecting the model that best suits your needs.