A Hall Effect Sensor or a Hall Effect Device is a transducer which varies its output voltage in response to changes in magnetic field.
Unlike reed contacts, Hall Effect Devices require amplification circuits and an external power source for operation.
A Hall effect sensor (or simply Hall sensor) is a type of sensor which detects the presence and magnitude of a magnetic field using the Hall Effect. The output voltage of a Hall sensor is directly proportional to the strength of the field. It is named for the American physicist Edwin Hall.
Hall sensors are used for proximity sensing, positioning, speed detection, and current sensing applications. Frequently, a Hall sensor is combined with threshold detection to act as a binary switch. Commonly seen in industrial applications such as the pictured pneumatic cylinder, they are also used in consumer equipment; for example, some computer printers use them to detect missing paper and open covers.
Hall sensors are commonly used to time the speed of wheels and shafts, such as for internal combustion engine ignition timing, tachometers and anti-lock braking systems. They are used in brushless DC electric motors to detect the position of the permanent magnet. In the pictured wheel with two equally spaced magnets, the voltage from the sensor peaks twice for each revolution. This arrangement is commonly used to regulate the speed of disk drives.