In principle, a thermocouple is simple: a bimetal circuit, it produces a voltage when its two junctions differ in temperature, a property that makes it, in refined form, the preferred temperature measurement tool for many industrial applications. The thermocouple's business end -- where the measuring junction resides -- often consists of a probe. The irony of buying a probe is that it can be harder than understanding how one works. Even if you know what you want in a probe, all the variables can be confusing.
The task of selecting and ordering a thermocouple may be easier if you use the “probe configurator” developed by Omega Engineering Inc., Stamford, Conn. Offered via www.omega.com, the probe configurator takes visitors through the decisions required to configure and price a probe. Context-sensitive help is available at every step of the process. If a user chooses a component incompatible with previous specifications, a pop-up box explains the problem and directs the user to valid alternatives.