Working Principle of Digital Levels: Learn How Do They Work Today

Working Principle of Digital Levels: How Do They Work

Digital levels are called “a surveyor’s best friend.” This versatile and compact device can help you perform advanced leveling work, automatic height/angle calculations, and many more. Many people use the tool almost every day but have no idea how this extraordinary piece of apparatus works. Today, we present the working principle of a digital level for those who want to know their tools better. If you are interested to know, you are welcome to dive in.

Today we will talk about how digital levels work, what features they offer, what they are made of, and answer some FAQs. So without any further ado, let’s jump right in.


What’s a Digital Level

The digital level is a standard piece of tool for many surveyors, excavators, construction workers, and engineers. The tool is basically used to measure elevation, angle, and distance values and provide precise readings. There are many types of digital levels depending on what you want to do with them. This nifty tool provides fast and correct angular measurements that are crucial in many sectors.

The most basic version of the digital level is the bubble/spirit level. Though you can work with standard bubble levels for your household measurement and leveling, if you need highly accurate measurements on your project, There are many updated and advanced versions of these digital devices that you can use.


Let’s Break It Down

Though digital levels come in many shapes and sizes, some basic components are common in most of them. Let’s have a look:

  1. Telescope eyepiece/ objective.
  2. Focus encoder.
  3. Compensator control block.
  4. Focusing lens.
  5. Detecting panel.
  6. Beam splitter.
  7. Eyepiece for visualization.

Though many versions of digital levels might not share the same set of components as mentioned above, they are the most commonly used. A digital level has two main components. The hardware is used to get the precise angular measurement and the software or algorithm to provide an accurate reading.


How Does It Work

Now let’s break down the process of how a digital level works. Shall we?

First, start by looking at the object that needs to be measured and place the level on the tripod legs over a flat surface. Then move the telescope to focus on the surface of the object. Once focused, adjust the compensator to make sure that the beam from the light source is parallel to the surface you’re measuring. Then turn on the detecting panel and wait for the signal to appear.

When the signal appears, take note of the position of the beam. Now you have the exact angle of the surface you’re measuring. Next, move the beam back to its original position and repeat the procedure until all the angles are taken into account. Finally, use the software to calculate the elevation value.

Many digital levels come with additional functionalities like audio confirmation, backlight support, push-button calibration, lesser beam correction, temperature sensor, and auto-off to provide you comfort and convenience alongside precise measurements. We’ll talk about that shortly.

Here are some pro tips that can make the work process of using a digital level much smoother and precise:

  • Avoid exposing the tripod and instrument to one-sided irradiation by sunlight.
  • Give the tool time to adjust to the ambient temperature.
  • Adjust the focus correctly
  • Don’t choose sighting distances that are considerably longer than 30m
  • Make sure that there are no vibrations and shocks that can affect your reading before triggering a measurement
  • Use selectable and automatic controls during Line leveling. Don’t forget, One of the best perks of a digital level is that it is customizable as per your needs.
  • Read the instruction manual carefully, as it will help you get the most out of your setup.

Additional Features

Many advanced digital levels come with a range of amazing features that can increase both your accuracy and convenience. So let’s have a look.


Digital Audio

Many digital levels nowadays offer notification sounds once you achieve your desired readings. Just turn on the function, and whenever you reach the expected values, the sound will notify you. This way, you don’t have to look at the device every time and use the device in dark or low light conditions.


Rotating LCD Screen

This is perfect for those who work in a tight workspace. This will help you twirl around the display to an angle where you can see it easily. This will make your job much easier.


Laser Beam

Not all digital levels have laser beams to help you take measurements. But if you have one that uses laser beams, consider yourself lucky. This feature will not only help you get accurate scale readings but also transfer reference points effortlessly.


Automatic Shut-off

This feature will help your device last longer as it reduces the stress on the batteries and prevents battery drain. In most devices, if kept inactive for 3-10 minutes, the device will shut down automatically to preserve batteries.


Push Button Calibration

Calibration is a big and time-consuming part of the measurement process. That is why modern digital levels use advanced algorithms to make the field calibration process effortless. Just push a button, and you’re good to go.


Digital Backlight

This feature is especially useful in lowlight conditions. Traditional LCD screens can be hard to read in a dark environment. Many digital levels provide an easy read backlight so that you can work in any situation.


Frequently Asked Questions

For those who have further questions regarding digital levels, here are some FAQs that can help you get a better insight.


What is a smart level?

Most people think of a bubble/spirit level whenever they hear the word “digital level.” A smart level provides two ways to check the measurement. One bubble vial for a quick check and the display module for precise measurement.


How much does a digital level cost?

Digital levels come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on what you want to do, you can get your hands on a working digital level for as little as $25. And the more advanced one can cost up to $550 on Amazon.


Is it necessary to perform “Absolute Level” every time I measure an angle?

Yes. Absolutely. As the absolute setting gets reset every time you switch off the device, It is necessary to perform “Absolute Level” before every use to maximize the accuracy.


Will the accuracy change if the digital level drops?

Unfortunately, yes. Like any high-precision measurement instrument/tool, dropping a digital level to the floor or storing it outside the mentioned temperature range can affect its accuracy.


What is the accuracy of a digital level?

A quality digital level has an accuracy of plus or minus 0.1 degrees when measuring horizontally. However, if you attach a laser to it, the accuracy can be plus or minus 1/4 inch (0.25 inches) per 100 feet.


Over To You

Digital levels are one of the most widely used precision tools across the globe. These versatile tools have made and are continuously making wonders possible. I hope by now you have a pretty good idea about how this handy device works and what it can do. If you want to maintain a perfect balance of quality and convenience in your workplace, digital levels can be a big help.

No more today. Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comment section below. Thanks for reading this far. Happy measuring to you.

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