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Optimum signal gain chain

My data acquisition card needs to convert a small input signal. Can you provide guidelines on how to determine the optimal amplification gain before feeding the signal to the ADC?


    The optimum gain  should be: 

    1. A)  large enough to allow the  smallest  input signal to be detected with sufficient resolution.
    2. B) small enough so that the largest input signal does not overload the ADC.


    Notice that using a larger gain value than required by  condition A may result in worse overall performance, since amplifying a signal more than required may result in larger swings and hence larger errors caused by non-linearities.  See also answer to this question