turns, such as found in transmitter tank circuits and operating at frequencies above 10 MHz, can be expected to have Q factors

of around 200 to 500. Some inductors have Q factors as low as five or 10 at some frequencies and such inductors are generally unsuitable for use in selective circuits or in sharp filters. The Q meter is very useful to check these out. The tuning capacitor (C) of the Q meter has a calibrated dial marked in pico-farads so that, in conjunction with the calibration of the oscillator source, the value of inductance (Lx) can be derived. The tuned circuit is simply set to resonance by adjusting the frequency and/or the tuning capacitor for a peak in the output voltage meter and then calculating the inductance (Lx) from the usual formula: Lx = 1/4π²f²C For L in μH, C in pF and f in MHz this reduces to: 25330/f²C Another use of the Q meter is to measure the value of small capacitors. Providing the capacitor to be tested is smaller than the tuning range of the internal tuning capacitor, the test sample can be easily measured. Firstly, the capacitor sample is resonated with a selected inductor by adjusting the source frequency and using the tuning capacitor set to a low value on its calibrated scale. The sample is then disconnected and using the same frequency as before, the tuning capacitor is reset to again obtain resonance. The difference in tuning capacitor calibration read for the two tests is equal to the capacitance of the sample. Larger values of capacitance can be read by changing frequency to obtain resonance on the second test and manipulating the resonance formula. A poorly chosen inductor is not the only cause of low Q in a tuned circuit as some types of capacitor also have high loss resistance which lowers the Q. Small ceramic capacitors are often used in tuned circuits and many of these have high loss resistance, varying considerably in samples often taken from the same batch. If ceramic capacitors must be used where high Q is required, it is wise to select them for low loss resistance and the Q meter can be used for this purpose. To do this, an inductor having a high Q, of at least 200, is used to resonate the circuit, first with the tuning capacitor (C) on its own and then with individual test sample capacitors in parallel. A drastic loss in the value of Q, when the sample is added, soon shows up which capacitor should not be used. DISTRIBUTED COIL CAPACITANCE Direct measurement of Q in an inductor, as discussed in previous paragraphs. is based on the circuit having two components, inductance and capacitance. Inductors

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