Using a Decibel Chart to Choose a Quiet Actuator

If you need a quiet actuator, for whatever reason (maybe the work is to be done in an enclosed space where the sound would be too much, or the actuator will be used in a non-industrial area and so needs to be quiet), the best way to ensure that you can find one is to learn how to use a decibel chart. Decibels were named to honour Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone – the term refers to the intensity of a sound, and is often referred to as dB for short. While many people are aware of what the term decibel means, not many can accurately say what the various acronyms associated with it mean – this article intends to help.

Our sense of hearing is truly miraculous – we can hear mice scuttling along behind the skirting boards just as easily as we can hear a plane or helicopter passing overhead, or the music someone is playing. Because of this, and because we don’t want to lose our hearing, it is important to know exactly how loud an actuator will be before you buy it. The actuator might be installed in an area where you like to be quiet – such as your bedroom – and if it is one which operates at 90dB (for example), you really don’t want to be near it when it switches on!

How Does the Decibel System Work?

The decibel system starts at zero (almost silent), and is multiplied by ten or five each time it goes up a notch. The more common noise level\decibel ratio numbers are below:

Table of common sound pressure levels in dB
Decibel (dB) Sound type
0 nearly silent
15 whispering
60 normal conversation
90 lawnmower
110 car horn
120 live rock concert
140 firecrackers

According to this table, if an actuator is labelled <45 (A), then you can take that to mean that the actuator will be quieter than someone talking at normal volume, but louder than someone whispering.

Using ‘A’ in a measurement can be taken as an indication of the sound level – in this case it refers to the sound level when at one kilohertz (kHz). In other words, if your actuator operates at one Kilohertz, then you can assume that you will hear less than forty five decibels of sound.

Actuators and Decibels

Electric linear actuators are known for being among the quietest than can be found. The lack of moving parts which are found in other actuators, plus the fact that the movement is electronically controlled, mean that there is much less sound involved in the movement of these types of equipment, even if it is meant for heavy duty labour.

Decibel ratings have only become necessary in recent years because of the move from strictly industrial areas (where sound was less of a concern amidst all the other noise and movement, although precautions were still taken) to personal and commercial ones, where sound is more of an intruder. Particularly in the home, we value as little noise as possible, so as to maintain a peaceful and comfortable environment.

Progressive Automations offer a large range of equipment and other products which are excellent for home use; every actuator and other movable device which is offered by our company is guaranteed to function under forty five decibels, so that homeowners can maintain a comfortable and peaceful home environment. If home automation is something which you have in mind, check out our product line – feel free to contact us if you can’t find something to suit your needs, and we will work with you to custom design one. Progressive Automations pledges to offer help with every single step of the process.

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