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Piezo Transducer

The dictionary definition for a transducer is “any device that converts one form of energy into another”. It has a very broad meaning and encompasses electric motors, microphones, speakers and buzzers for example.

Audio transducer definition:

An Audio Transducer is a device that converts electrical energy into sound. The type of audio transducers we stock at Alan Butcher Components are Audio Transducer Buzzers. These are small audible alarms that use AC voltage to produce sound and can be classified as either piezo transducers or electro mechanical transducers.  Audio transducers are also known as piezo transducer buzzers, sounders, piezo buzzer and audible alarm buzzer.

What is the difference between a piezo transducer and an electro mechanical transducer?

Piezo Transducer – A piezoelectric vibration plate is contained within a moulded housing. When an AC voltage is applied the piezo element inside the case vibrates which generates sound.
Electro mechanical transducer – By applying an AC signal, the diaphragm inside the buzzer is pulled towards the core by magnets. Current flowing through a coil produces a fluctuating magnetic field which causes the diaphragm to vibrate and therefore produce sound.

Audio transducer

This type of audible alarm require additional circuitry to operate as a buzzer. The advantage of this is that design engineers are able to develop their own drive circuit to produce the optimum sound output for their application. This offers more flexibility than an audio indicator which is driven by DC voltage and contains it’s own drive circuit. The lack of drive circuit also means that audio transducer buzzers tend to be slightly cheaper than audio indicator buzzers. The disadvantage however, is that the design process can be more complicated and time consuming.
Top Sellers at Alan Butcher Components
We supply a wide range of audio transducer buzzers here at Alan Butcher Components. Below are some of our top selling items.
Piezo transducer buzzers:

Electro-mechanical buzzers:
Piezo Transducer Selection
When selecting a sounder for your application, there are a few things you need to consider:
1) Fixing – PCB pins, Leads, Screw terminals, Panel Mount or Surface Mount? How you fix your buzzer within your application is important.
With PCB pins, you need to know the pin spacing required to fix to your PCB board. You can use the search criteria on our website you can select by Terminal Type and also by Pin Pitch.
Buzzers with leads have various lead lengths and these can sometimes be customised to suit specific applications. Leads may also be fitted with connectors as per our ABT-469-RC audio transducer buzzers. This simplifies the fixing process even further.
Screw terminals – some of the larger piezo buzzers come with screw terminals.
Panel mount – the housings have lugs attached to the side to enable panel mounting.
Surface mount transducers are usually low profile. One of our smallest devices is the ABMT-801-RC, only 5.5x5x2mm. Solder profiles are often provided on data sheets but can be requested if not shown.
2) Sound Output
This varies considerably between products. Typically, the larger the sounder the higher the sound output. One of our smallest buzzers, the ABT-460-RC is only 6.5mm diameter and 3.6mm high. It’s sound output is 70dB which is still impressive considering it’s size. In contrast our ABT-468-RC generates 110dB and is 40mm diameter, 13mm high. This audible alarm buzzer would be suitable for alarm/warning applications for example, in security or hazardous environments. Sound output will also be influenced by the application itself and environmental conditions.
3) Position of Sound Vent
You will probably have noticed that for the majority of audible alarms the sound is emitted from an opening on the top of the device. You can however purchase buzzers with a sound vent on the side. The ABT-408-RC is a popular audio transducer for designers requiring such a product. The ABT-461-RC is a surface mount option with side sound output.
4) Feedback Option
Some Audio transducers are fitted with a feedback pin or lead. This means they can be run using either DC or AC voltage. If using a square wave (AC), the feedback pin or lead does not need to be connected. The feedback line on a transducer is used to create a voltage which in turn creates a simple, self-oscillating circuit. A reference circuit is provided on the data sheets. This enables the optimum sound levels to be produced. Examples of buzzers with a feedback option are the ABT-468-RC, ABT-467-RC and ABT-469-RC.
5) Voltage Range
The voltage range can be found on the product data sheet for each device. Exceeding the operating voltage is not advisable as it is likely to reduce product reliability. Therefore it is important to establish whether the voltage range of the audible alarm is suitable for your application.

Piezo Buzzers


Piezo and electro-mechanical buzzers are widely used across a variety of industries for indication or alarm purposes. Typical applications include;

Household appliances
Weighing & Measurement
Office equipment
Leisure industry
Control panels
Safety & Security

UK Distributor – Alan Butcher Components

We have been distributing Buzzers & Sounders for over 30 years. During this time we have developed strong working relationships with our suppliers. This is essential for us to be able to support our customers with high quality products and technical expertise. We are able to offer customised solutions, working with both customer and supplier to ensure requirements are met quickly and efficiently. We supply to OEMs of all sizes as well as large mainline distributors.

Miniature speakers are also a key part of our audio range.  Determining whether to use an audio transducer vs speaker is an important question.  Our blog “buzzer vs speaker” provides an overview of points to consider when deciding between audio transducer vs speaker.  Click on the link and if you have any questions, give us a call.

In summary, we have looked at Audio Transducer definition, the types of audio transducer, piezo or electro mechanical, points to consider when selecting a product and the decision between audio transducer vs speaker.

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