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EE101 Measurement

June 1

2.0 Dc Meters

2.0 Dc Meters

2.0 DC Meters ............................................................................................................................................... 3 Introduction .............................................................................................................................................. 3 2.1 Basic Principle of analog meter......................................................................................................... 4 2.1.1 2.1.2 2.1.3 2.1.4 2.1.5 2.2 Permanent Magnet Moving Coil (PMMC) ............................................................................. 4 The principle operation of PMMC......................................................................................... 5 Deflection torque .................................................................................................................. 6 Damping curve in analogue indicating instrument ............................................................... 8 Common damping system in indicating instrument ............................................................. 9

Dc Voltmeter ............................................................................................................................... 12 Basic DC voltmeter circuit (single range DC voltmeter) ...................................................... 12 Single range voltmeter ........................................................................................................ 13 Two range voltmeter........................................................................................................... 15 Loading effect in DC voltmeter ........................................................................................... 16

2.2.1 2.2.2 2.2.3 2.2.4 2.3

Dc Ammeter ................................................................................................................................ 18 Basic DC ammeter circuit (single range DC Ammeter). ...................................................... 19 Single range DC ammeter ................................................................................................... 20 Two range DC ammeter ...................................................................................................... 21

2.3.1 2.3.2 2.3.3 2.4 2.5

Ohmmeter ................................................................................................................................... 24 Analogue multimetre .................................................................................................................. 31 Analogue multimeter consists of ammeter, voltmeter and ohmmeter combination .... 31

2.5.1 2.5.2 2.5.3 2.5.5 2.6

The scale of ohm, volt and ampere in analogue multimeter.............................................. 32 Sensitivity of meter and its significance.............................................................................. 32 Multi meter safety precaution ............................................................................................ 34

Digital multi meters .................................................................................................................... 37 Block diagram of a digital multimeter................................................................................. 37 Analog and digital multi meter (differences) ...................................................................... 40 Advantages and disadvantages of digital meter and analogue meter ............................... 40 Digital multimeter safety precaution .................................................................................. 41

2.6.1 2.6.2 2.6.3 2.6.4

2.0 Dc Meters

2.0 DC Meters
Analog meters measure the magnitude of quantity by a proportional deflection of the meter pointer against the calibrated scale. Digital meters, on the other hand first convert the analog signal to a digital signal and then display the magnitude in digits of the quantity being measured. Analog meters employ other circuit components as well, in addition to the basic deflection mechanism. The meters using both passive and active components are called electronic meters. The necessary requirements for any measuring instrument are: 1. With the introduction of the instrument in the circuit, the circuit conditions should not be altered. Thus the quantity to be measured should not get affected due to the instrument used. The power consumed by the instruments for their operation should be as possible.


The instrument which measures the current flowing in the circuit is called ammeter while the instrument which measures the voltage across any two points of a circuit is called voltmeter.

Various forces/torques required in measuring instruments:

1. Deflecting torque/force: The defection of any instrument is determined by the combined effect of the deflecting torque/force, control torque/force and damping torque/force. The value of deflecting torque must depend on the electrical signal to be measured; this torque/force causes the instrument movement to rotate from its zero position. 2. Controlling torque/force: This torque/force must act in the opposite sense to the deflecting torque/force, and the movement will take up an equilibrium or definite position when the deflecting and controlling torque are equal in magnitude. Spiral springs or gravity usually provides the controlling torque. 3. Damping torque/force: A damping force is required to act in a direction opposite to the movement of the moving system. This brings the moving system to rest at the deflected position reasonably quickly without any oscillation or very small oscillation. This is provided by i) air friction ii) fluid friction iii) eddy current. It should be pointed out that any damping force shall not influence the steady state deflection produced by a given deflecting force or torque. Damping force increases with the angular velocity of the moving system, so that its effect is greatest when the rotation is rapid and zero when the system rotation is zero. Details of mathematical expressions for the above torques are considered in the description of various types of instruments.

2.0 Dc Meters


Basic Principle of analog meter

2.1.1 Permanent Magnet Moving Coil (PMMC)

Figure 2.1.1: Permanent Magnet Moving coil

The permanent magnet moving coil instruments are most accurate type for dc measurements. This consists of a rectangular coil wound on an aluminum former. Refer to figure 2.1.1; (1). Mounted so that it can rotate between the poles of a permanent magnet (2). A soft iron core (3) Ensures that a uniform radial magnetic field acts on the coil. When a current flows in the coil it experiences a torque which tries to turn it against the tension in a hair spring (4). the extent to which the coil turns is proportional to the current flowing and this is read off on a scale (5) With the aid of a pointer (6) Attached to the coil assembly. Adjustment (7) Is provided for zeroing the pointer and the instrument is connected into a circuit through terminals (8) and (9).

2.0 Dc Meters 2.1.2 The principle operation of PMMC

The action of these instruments is based on the motoring principle. When a current carrying coil is placed in the magnetic field produced by permanent magnet, the coil experiences a force and moves. As the coil is moving and the magnet is permanent, the instrument is called permanent magnet moving coil instrument. This basic principle is called D Arsonval principle. The amount of force experienced by the coil is proportional to the current passing through the coil.

Figure 2.1.2: Construction of PMMC instrument

The moving coil is either rectangular or circular in shape. It has number of turns of fine wire. The coil is suspended so that it is free turn about its vertical axis. The coil is placed in uniform, horizontal and radial magnetic field of a permanent magnet in shape of a shoe-horse.



Figure 2.1.3: Movable coil in a magnetic field. a). no current flows through the coil. b). a current flows through the coil.

2.0 Dc Meters

Scale Mirror Soft iron cylinder Pointer Moving coil

Spring Permanent magnet Radial field

Balancing weight

Figure 2.1.4: PMMC instrument

The iron core is spherical if coil is circular and is cylindrical if the coil is rectangular. Due to iron core, the deflecting torque increases, increasing the sensitivity of the instrument. The controlling torque is provided by two phosphor bronze hair springs. The damping torque is provided by eddy current damping. It is obtained by movement of the aluminium former, moving in the magnetic field of the permanent magnet. The pointer is carried by the spindle and it moves over a graduated scale. The pointer has light weight so that it can deflect rapidly. The mirror is placed below the pointer to get the accurate reading removing the parallax. The weight of the instrument is normally counterbalanced by the weight situated diametrically opposite and rigidly connected to it. The scale markings of the basic dc PMMC instruments are usually linearly spaced as the deflecting torque and hence the pointer deflections are directly proportional to the current passing through the coil. 2.1.3 Deflection torque

Td = BANI Td = Deflecting torque in Nm B = Flux density in air gap, N = Number of turns of the coil A = Effective coil area m2 I = Current in the moving coil, amperes So Td = GI Where GI = NBA = constant

2.0 Dc Meters The controlling torque is provided by the springs and is proportional to the angular deflection of the pointer. Tc = K Tc = controlling torque K = spring constant, = Angular deflection For the final steady state position Td = Tc So GI = KB =( )I or I=( ) or

Thus, the deflection is directly proportional to the current passing through the coil. The pointer deflection can therefore be used to measure current. As the direction of the current through to the coil changes, the direction of the deflection of pointer also changes. Hence, such instruments are well suited for the dc measurements. Advantages: The various advantages of PMMC instruments are; i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. vii. viii. ix. It has uniform scale. With a powerful magnet, its torque to weight ratio is very high. So operating current is small. The sensitivity is high. The eddy currents induced in the metallic former over which coil is wound, provide effective damping. It consumes low power, of the order of 25W to 200W It has high accuracy. Instrument is free from hysteresis error. Extension of instrument range is possible. Not affected by external magnetic fields called stray magnetic fields.

2.0 Dc Meters Disadvantages: The various disadvantages of PMMC instruments are; i. ii. iii. iv. Example: The full scale deflection for a moving coil voltmeter occurs at a current of 6mA. The coil has 120 turns, effective depth 3.5cm and width 3.0cm. The controlling torque of the spring is 0.6g/cm for full scale deflection. Find the flux density in the air gap. Solution: Deflecting torque TD = NBIA So TD = 120 B 6 10-3 (3.5 3) 10-4 = 7.56 10-4 B Nm Controlling torque Tc = 0.6 gm cm = 0.6 gm t cm = 0.6 10-3 10-2 kg t m = 0.6 9.8 10-5 Nm Since TD= TC So 2.1.4 7.56 10-4 B = 5.88 10-5 or B = 0.0778 Wb/m2 Suitable for dc measurements only. Ageing of permanent magnet and the control springs introduces the errors. The cost is high due to delicate construction and accurate machining. The friction due to jewel-pivot suspension.

Damping curve in analogue indicating instrument

Figure 2.1.5: Effect of damping on deflection

2.0 Dc Meters If the moving system settles to the final steady position rapidly but smoothly without oscillations, the instrument is said to be critically damped. If the instrument is under damped, the moving system will oscillate and about the final steady position with a decreasing amplitude and will take some time to come to rest. The instrument is said to be over damped if the moving system moves slowly to its final steady position. In over damped case the response of the system is very slow and sluggish. 2.1.5 Common damping system in indicating instrument

The following methods are used to produce damping torque. i) Air friction damping


Air chamber


Pointer Spindle Figure 2.1.6: Air Friction Damping

This arrangement consists of a light aluminium piston which is attached to the moving system, as shown in figure 2.1.6. The piston moves in a fixed air chamber. It is close to one end. The clearance between piston and wall chambers is uniform and small. The piston reciprocates in the chamber when there are oscillations. When piston moves into the chamber, air inside is compressed and pressure of air developed due to friction opposes the motion of pointer. There is also opposition to motion of moving system when piston moves out of the chamber. Thus the oscillations and the overshoot get reduced due to, and fro motion of the piston in the chamber, providing necessary damping torque. This helps in settling down the pointer to its final steady position very quickly.

2.0 Dc Meters ii) Fluid friction damping Fluid friction damping may be used in some instruments. The method is similar to air friction damping, only air is replaced by working fluid. The friction between the disc and fluid is used for opposing motion. Damping force due to fluid is greater than that of air due to more viscosity. The disc is also called vane.
Rotation Damping oil Spindle

Vane or disc

Figure 2.1.7: Fluid friction damping

The arrangement is shown in figure 2.1.7. It consists of a vane attached to the spindle which is completely dipped in the oil. The frictional force between oil and the vane is used to produce the damping torque, which opposes the oscillating behavior of the pointer. The advantages of this method are: 1. Due to more viscosity of fluid, more damping is provided. 2. The oil can also be used for insulation purposes. 3. Due to up thrust of oil, the load on the bearings is reduced, thus reducing the frictional errors. The disadvantages of this method are: 1. Fluid friction damping can be only used for the instruments which are in vertical position. 2. Due to oil leakage, the instruments cannot be kept clean. There is similarity between fluid friction damping and air friction damping except that oil is used in place of air in case of fluid friction damping. Since viscosity of oil is greater, the damping force is also correspondingly greater. iii) Eddy current damping: This is the most effective way of providing damping. It is based on the Faradays Law and Lenzs law. When a conductor moves in a magnetic field cutting the flux, e.m.f gets induced in it, and direction of this e.m.f is do as to oppose the cause producing it. In this method, an aluminium disc is connected to the spindle. The arrangement of disc is such that when it rotates, it cuts the magnetic flux lines of a permanent magnet. The arrangement is shown in the figure 2.1.8.


2.0 Dc Meters

Damping magnet

Aluminium disc Spindle Figure 2.1.8: Eddy current damping

When the pointer oscillates, aluminium disc rotates under the influence of magnetic field of damping magnet. So disc cuts the flux which causes an induced e.m.f in the disc. The disc is a closed path hence induces e.m.f circulates current through the disc called eddy current. The direction of such eddy current is so as oppose the cause producing it. The cause is relative motion between disc and field. Thus it produces an opposing torque so as to reduce the oscillations of pointer. This brings pointer to rest quickly. This is the most effective and efficient method of damping.


2.0 Dc Meters


Dc Voltmeter

Figure 2.2.1: DC Voltmeter

a) Connection of voltmeter b)
Figure 2.2.2: Dc Voltmeter a) Symbol of voltmeter b) Connection of Dc Voltmeter


Basic DC voltmeter circuit (single range DC voltmeter) The basic dc voltmeter is using a PMMC D Arsonval galvanometer. The resistance is required to be connected in series with the basic meter to use it as a 12

2.0 Dc Meters voltmeter. This series resistance is called a multiplier. The main function of the multiplier is to limit the current through the basic meter so that the meter current does not exceed the full scale deflection value. The voltmeter measures the voltage across the two points of a circuit component. 2.2.2 Single range voltmeter

Figure 2.2.3: Basic Dc Voltmeter

The voltmeter must be connected across two points or a component, to measure the potential difference, with the proper polarity. The multiplier resistance can be calculated as: Rm = Internal resistance of coil i.e meter Rs = Series multiplier resistance Im = Full scale deflection current V = Full range voltage to be measured From the figure; Let V = Im (Rm + Rs) V = ImRm + ImRs ImRs = V ImRm So Rs =

The multiplying factor for multiplier is the ratio of full range voltage to be measured and the drop across the basic meter. Let v = Drop across the basic meter = ImRm m = Multiplying factor = 13

2.0 Dc Meters

=1+ Hence multiplier resistance can also be expressed as, Rs = (m 1) Rm

Thus to increase the range of voltmeter m times, the series resistance required is (m-1) times the basic meter resistance. This is nothing but extension of ranges of a voltmeter. Example: A moving coil instrument gives a full scale deflection with a current of 40A, while the internal resistance of the meter is 500. It is to be used as a voltmeter to measure a voltage range of 0-10V. Calculate the multiplier resistance needed. Solution: Given values are, Rm = 500, Im = 40A, and V = 10V Now Rs = = = 249.5k Example: A moving coil instrument gives a full scale deflection for a current of 20mA with a potential difference of 200mV across it. Calculate: i). Shunt required to use it as an ammeter to get a range of 0-200A ii). Multiplier required to use it as a voltmeter of range 0-500V. Solution: The meter current Drop across meter, Now So Im = 20 mA Vm = 200mV Vm = ImRm 200mV = (20mA) Rm Rm = 10


2.0 Dc Meters i. For using it as an ammeter, I = 200A Rsh = = 0.001 For using it as voltmeter, V = 500V Rs= = = 24.99k 2.2.3 Two range voltmeter The range of basic d.c voltmeter can be extended by using number of multipliers and a selector switch. Such a meter is called multi range voltmeter and is shown in figure 2.2.4. =

Figure 2.2.4: Two range voltmeter

The R1 and R2 are the two series multipliers. When connected in series with the meter, they can give four different voltage ranges as V1 and V2. The selector switch S is multi position switch by which the required multiplier can be selected in the circuit. The mathematical analysis of basic dc voltmeter is equally applicable for such multi range voltmeter. Thus, R1 = , R2 =


2.0 Dc Meters Example: A basic two range voltmeter with an internal resistance of 50 and a full scale deflection current of 2mA is to be used as a multi range voltmeter. Design the series string of multipliers to obtain the voltage ranges of 0 - 10V and 0 50V. Solution:
R1 = 24.95k R2 = 4.95k

Figure 2.2.5: Two range voltmeter

R1 = = = 24.95k

R2 = = = 4.95 k 2.2.4 Loading effect in DC voltmeter

While selecting a meter for a particular measurement, the sensitivity rating is very important. A low sensitive meter may give the accurate reading in low resistance circuit but will produce totally inaccurate reading in high resistance circuit. The less current drawn by a voltmeter to actuate the needle, the less it will burden the circuit under test. This effect is called loading, and it is present to some degree in every instance of voltmeter usage.


2.0 Dc Meters There always will be some degree of loading, causing the meter to indicate less than the true voltage with no meter connected. Obviously, the higher the voltmeter resistance, the less loading of the circuit under test, and that is why an ideal voltmeter has infinite internal resistance. Voltmeters with electromechanical movements are typically given ratings in "ohms per volt" of range to designate the amount of circuit impact created by the current draw of the movement. Because such meters rely on different values of multiplier resistors to give different measurement ranges, their lead-to-lead resistances will change depending on what range being set to. The voltmeter is always connected across the two points between which the potential difference is to be measured. If it is connected across a low resistance then as voltmeter resistance is high, most of the current will pass through a low resistance and will produce the voltage drop which will be nothing but the true reading. If the voltmeter is connected across the high resistance in parallel, the current will divide almost equally through the two paths. Precautions to be taken while using a voltmeter; 1. The voltmeter resistance is very high and it should always be connected across the circuit or component which voltage is to be measured. 2. The polarities must be observed correctly. The wrong polarities deflect the pointer in the opposite direction against the mechanical stop and this may damage the pointer. 3. While using the two or multi range voltmeter, first use the highest range and then decrease the voltage range until the sufficient deflection is obtained. 4. Take care of the loading effect. The effect can be minimized by using high sensitivity voltmeter. Requirement of a Multiplier; 1. The resistance of multiplier should not change with time. 2. The change of resistance with temperature should be small. 3. The resistance should be non inductively wound for ac meters. The multiplier commonly constructed by resistive materials such as manganin and constantan.


2.0 Dc Meters


Dc Ammeter

Figure 2.3.1: Dc Ammeter

a) b)
Figure 2.3.2: Dc Ammeter a) Symbol of ammeter b) Connection of ammeter


2.0 Dc Meters An ammeter is a measuring instrument used to measure the flow of electric current in a circuit. Electric currents are measured in amperes, hence the name. The word "ammeter" is commonly misspelled or mispronounced as "ampmeter" by some.The earliest design is the D'Arsonval galvanometer. It uses magnetic deflection, where current passing through a coil causes the coil to move in a magnetic field. The voltage drop across the coil is kept to a minimum to minimize resistance in any circuit into which the meter is inserted. A galvanometer can burn out if its tiny, delicate coil overheats. To measure larger currents, a resistor called a shunt is placed in parallel with the coil. Most of the current flows through the shunt, and only a small fraction flow through the meter. With this solution, arbitrarily large currents can be measured with a single meter. Traditionally, the meter used with a shunt reaches full-scale deflection when a voltage of 50mV is placed across its coil, so shunts are typically designed to produce a voltage drop of 50mV when carrying their full rated current. Cruder ammeters simply use a moving piece of iron (or a magnet) that is acted-upon by the electromagnetic force of fixed coil of (usually heavy gauge wire. At very high current ratings, such an ammeter can actually just clamp on to an existing conductor (where the conductor acts as a single-turn coil); this later example is sometimes used in automotive applications where it clamps-on to the main battery wire to show the charging and discharging of the battery. More modern ammeter designs use an analog to digital converter to measure the voltage across the shunt resistor. The ADC is read by a microcomputer that performs the calculations to display the current through the resistor. One problem with the use of an ammeter is the need for the meter to be inserted into the circuit and become part of it. In AC circuits, an inductive coupling adapter converts the magnetic field around a conductor into a small AC current that can be easily read by a meter. See clamp meter. In a similar way, accurate DC non-contact ammeters have been constructed using Hall Effect magnetic field sensors.


Basic DC ammeter circuit (single range DC Ammeter).



Figure 2.3.3: a) Basic Dc ammeter circuit b) Single range Dc Ammeter


2.0 Dc Meters The basic dc ammeter is using DArsonval Galvanometer Principe. The coil winding of a basic movement is very small and light and it can carry very small current. The circuit is required to be bypassed using a resistance called shunt (Rsh) to measure the large current for Dc ammeter. 2.3.2 Single range DC ammeter

The shunt resistance can be calculated as: Let Rm Internal resistance of coil Rsh Shunt resistance Im Full scale deflection current Ish Shunt current I Total current Now I = Ish + Im

As the two resistances Rsh and Rm are in parallel, the voltage drop across them is same. IshRsh = ImRm Rsh Ish So Rsh Rsh =

I - Im

= = where m =

The m is called multiplying power of the shunt and defined as the ratio of total current through the coil. It can be expressed as;

The shunt resistance may consist of a constant temperature resistance wire within the case of the meter or it may be external shunt having low resistance. Thus to increase the range of ammeter m times, the shunt resistance required is basic meter resistance. This is extension of ranges of an ammeter. times the


2.0 Dc Meters Example: A 2mA meter with an internal resistance of 100 is to be converted to 0 150mA ammeter. Calculate the value of the shunt resistance required. Solution: Rm = 100, Im = 2mA, I = 150mA

= 1.351


Two range DC ammeter

a). Basic circuit of two range Dc Ammeter

b).Two range of Dc Ammeter

Figure 2.3.4: Two range Dc Ammeter

The range of basic dc ammeter can be extended by using number of shunts and a selector switch. The meter is called two ranges Dc Ammeter. R1 and R2 are two shunts. They give two different ranges I1 and I2. The selector switch S is multi position switch; it is having low contact resistance and high current carrying capacity. If the ordinary switch is used, while range changing the switch remains open and full current passes through the meter. The meter may get damaged due to such high current. The design of such switch is so that it makes contact with next terminal before completely breaking the contact with the previous terminal. 21

2.0 Dc Meters The two range ammeters are used for the ranges up to 50A. While using the two range ammeter, highest range should be used first and the current range should be decreased till good upscale reading is obtained. All the shunts are very precise resistances and hence cost of such multirange ammeter is high. The mathematical analysis of basic dc ammeter is equally applicable to such multirange ammeter. Thus,

Where m1 and m2 are shunt multiplying powers for the currents I1 and I2. Example: Design a two range dc mili ammeter with a basic meter having a resistance 75 and full scale deflection for the current of 2mA. The required ranges are 0 10mA and 0 50mA. Solution: The first range is 0 10mA, I1 = 10mA While Im = 2mA and Rm = 75

The second range is 0 50mA, I2 = 50mA

The design of two range dc ammeter with a selector switch is shown in the figure below.

R1 = 18.75 R2 = 3.125

Figure 2.3.5: Two range dc ammeter


2.0 Dc Meters Pre-caution to be taken while using a dc ammeter. 1. As the meter resistance is very low, it should never be connected across any source of emf. Always connect an ammeter in series with the load. 2. The polarities must be observed correctly. The opposite polarities deflect the pointer in opposite direction against the mechanical stop and this may damage the pointer. 3. While using two or multi range ammeter, make sure to use the highest current range and then decrease the current range until sufficient deflection is obtained. So to increase the accuracy, finally select the range which will give the reading near full scale deflection.


2.0 Dc Meters



Figure 2.4.1: Ohm meter

a) b) Figure 2.4.2: Ohmmeter a) Connection of ohm meter b) Symbol of ohm meter

The ohmmeter is a meter for measuring electrical resistance in ohms. It is usually just one of several meters contained in a single unit including a voltmeter which measures voltage and an ammeter which measures current in amperes. These units are typically called multimeters or VOMs, which stands for Volt-Ohm-Milliamp because current measuring is limited to the much lower and safer mili amp range.


2.0 Dc Meters 2.4.1 Basic series type ohmmeter circuit.

The Series type ohmmeter essentially consists of a d Arsonval movement connected in series with a resistance and a battery to a pair of terminals to which the unknown is connected. The current through the movement then depends on the magnitude of the unknown resistor, and the meter indication is proportional to the value of the unknown resistance, provided that calibration problems are taken into account. The figure above shows the elements of a simple single range series ohmmeter.

Figure 2.4.3: Series type ohmmeter.


Current limiting resistance (series resistance), zero adjust resistance, meter resistance and unknown resistance in series type ohmmeter

Figure 2.4.4: Scale of series ohmmeter

When the unknown resistor Rx = 0 (terminals A and B shorted), maximum current flows in the circuit. Under this condition, shunt resistor Rb is adjusted until the movement indicates full-scale current (Ifsd). The full scale current position of the pointer is marked 0 on the scale. Similarly, when Rx = (terminals A and B open), the current in the circuit drops to zero and the movement indicates zero current, which is then marked on the scale. Intermediate markings may be placed on the scale by


2.0 Dc Meters connecting different known values of Rx to the instrument. The accuracy of the scale markings depends on the repeating accuracy of the movement and the tolerances of the calibrating resistors. A convenient quantity to use in the design of a series- type ohmmeter is the value of Rx which causes half - scale deflection of the meter. At this position, the resistance across terminals A and B is defined as the half - scale position resistance Rh. Given the full - scale current Ifsd and the internal resistance of the movement Rm, the battery voltage E and the desired value of the half scale movement Rh, the circuit can be analyzed, i.e values can be found for Ra and Rb. The design can be approached by recognizing that, if introducing Rh reduces the meter current to 0.5 Ifsd, the unknown resistance must be equal to the total internal resistance of the ohmmeter. Therefore,

The total resistance presented to the battery then equals 2 Rh, and the battery current needed to supply the half scale deflection is

To produce full - scale deflection, the battery current must be doubled and, therefore,

The shunt current through Rb is

The voltage across the shunt (Esh) is equal to the voltage across the movement and or And


2.0 Dc Meters


Solving for Ra gives;


Basic shunt type ohmmeter circuit R1


Im Rm


Ix Rx

Figure 2.4.5: Basic shunt type ohmmeter

Figure above shows the basic circuit of the shunt type ohmmeter where movement mechanism is connected parallel to the unknown resistance. In this circuit it is necessary to use a switch; otherwise current will always flow in the movement mechanism. Resistor Rsh is used to bypass excess current. Let the switch be closed. When Rx = 0 (short circuit), the pointer reads zero because full current flows through Rx and no current flows through the meter and Rsh. Therefore, zero current reading is marked 0. When Rx = (open circuit), no current flows through Rx. Resistor R1 is adjusted so that full scale current flows through the meter. Therefore, maximum current reading is marked ohms. Comparison of series and shunt ohmmeter scales is shown in figure below.


2.0 Dc Meters

Figure 2.4.6: a). Series type ohmmeter scale

Figure 2.4.6: b). Shunt type ohmmeter scale

To calculate R1 and Rsh, Use the concept of half scale deflection. Let Rh be the half deflection resistance. For this value of Rx , .

Further, at half deflection, current through Rh is equal to sum the currents through Rsh and Rm i.e.


Solving for Ish,



2.0 Dc Meters



Example: In the circuit of figure below, a 1 mA meter movement with an internal resistance of 50 is to be used. The battery voltage is 3V. Half scale deflection should be for 0.5. Calculate the values of R1 and Rsh. R1

Im Rm


Ix Rx

2.4.7: Basic shunt type ohmmeter

Solution: For half scale deflection



2.0 Dc Meters

The shunt type ohmmeter can measure low values of resistance. OHMMETER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: The following safety precautions and operating procedures for ohmmeters are the minimum necessary to prevent injury and damage. 1. Be certain the circuit is de energized and discharged before connecting an ohmmeter. 2. Do not apply power to a circuit while measuring resistance. 3. When finished using an ohmmeter, switch it to the off position if one is provided and remove the leads from the meter. 4. Always adjust the ohmmeter for 0 (or in shunt ohmmeter) after you change ranges before making the resistance measurement.


2.0 Dc Meters


Analogue multimetre

The multi meter is a portable single instrument capable of measuring various electrical values including voltage, resistance, and current. The volt-ohm-milli ammeter (VOM) is the most commonly used multi meter. The typical VOM has a meter movement with a full scale current of 50 A, or a sensitivity of 20 KW/V, when used as a DC voltmeter. A single meter movement is used to measure current, AC and DC voltage, and resistance. Range switches are usually provided for scale selection (e.g., 0-1V, 0-10V, etc).

Figure 2.5.1: Analogue Multimeter


Analogue multimeter consists of ammeter, voltmeter and ohmmeter combination

Figure 2.5.2: Analogue Multimeter


2.0 Dc Meters 2.5.2 The scale of ohm, volt and ampere in analogue multimeter

Ohm () scale

Dc Voltage & Ampere scale

Ac Voltage & Ampere scale

Figure 2.5.3: Analogue Multimeter (Scale)


Sensitivity of meter and its significance

Sensitivity of an analogue multimeter Multimeters must have a high sensitivity of at least 20k/V otherwise their resistance on DC voltage ranges may be too low to avoid upsetting the circuit under test and giving an incorrect reading. To obtain valid readings the meter resistance should be at least 10 times the circuit resistance (take this to be the highest resistor value near where the meter is connected). Increase the meter resistance by selecting a higher voltage range, but this may give a reading which is too small to read accurately. The current load or how much current is drawn from the circuit being tested may affect a multimeter's accuracy. A small current draw usually will result in more precise measurements. With improper usage or too much current load, a multimeter may be damaged therefore rendering its measurements unreliable and substandard. Meters with electronic amplifiers in them, such as all digital multimeters and analog meters using a transistor for amplification, have input impedance that is usually considered high enough not to disturb the circuit tested. This is often one million ohms, or ten million ohms. The standard input impedance allows use of external probes to extend the direct-current measuring range up to tens of thousands of volts. Most analog multimeters of the moving pointer type are unbuffered, and draw current from the circuit under test to deflect the meter pointer. The impedance of the meter varies depending on the basic sensitivity of the meter movement and the range which is selected. For example, a meter with a typical 20,000 ohms/volt sensitivity will have an input resistance of two million ohms on the 100 volt range (100 V * 20,000 ohms/volt = 2,000,000 ohms). Lower sensitivity meters are useful for general purpose testing especially in power circuits, where source impedances are low compared to the meter impedance. Some measurements in signal circuits require higher sensitivity so as not to load down the circuit under test with the meter impedance. 32

2.0 Dc Meters The sensitivity of a meter is also a measure of the lowest voltage, current or resistance that can be measured with it. For general-purpose digital multimeters, a full-scale range of several hundred millivolts AC or DC is common, but the minimum full-scale current range may be several hundred milliamps. Since general-purpose mulitmeters have only two-wire resistance measurements, which do not compensate for the effect of the lead wire resistance, measurements below a few tens of ohms will be of low accuracy. The upper end of multimeter measurement ranges varies considerably by manufacturer; generally measurements over 1000 volts, over 10 amperes, or over 100 megohms would require a specialized test instrument, as would accurate measurement of currents on the order of 1 microamp or less. On any DC voltage range: Analogue Meter Resistance = Sensitivity Max. Reading of range e.g. a meter with 20k/V sensitivity on its 10V range has a resistance of 20k/V 10V = 200k. By contrast, digital multimeters have a constant resistance of at least 1M (often 10M) on all their DC voltage ranges. This is more than enough for almost all circuits. Reading analogue scales: Check the setting of the range switch and choose an appropriate scale. For some ranges you may need to multiply or divide by 10 or 100 as shown in the sample readings below. For AC voltage ranges use the red markings because the calibration of the scale is slightly different. Sample readings on the scales shown: DC 10V range: 4.4V (read 0-10 scale directly) DC 50V range: 22V (read 0-50 scale directly) DC 25mA range: 11mA (read 0-250 and divide by 10) AC 10V range: 4.45V (use the red scale, reading 0-10) A typical meter may have the following ranges (note that the figures indicate the FSD): DC Voltage: 2.5V, 10V, 25V, 100V, 250V, 1000V AC voltage: 10V, 25V, 100V, 250V, 1000V DC Current: 50uA, 1mA 10mW, 100mA Resistance: R, 100R, 10 000R


2.0 Dc Meters 2.5.5 Multi meter safety precaution

Multi meter Safety Precautions: As with other meters, the incorrect use of a multi meter could cause injury or damage. The following safety precautions are the minimum for using a multi meter: 1. De-energize and discharge the circuit completely before connecting or disconnecting a multi meter. 2. Never apply power to the circuit while measuring resistance with a multi meter. 3. Connect the multi meter in series with the circuit for current measurement and in parallel for voltage measurements. 4. Be certain the multi meter is switched to ac before attempting to measure ac circuits. 5. Observe proper dc polarity when measuring dc. 6. When you are finished with a multi meter, switch it to the OFF position, if available. If there is no off position, switch the multi meter to the highest ac voltage position. 7. Always start with the highest voltage or current range. 8. Select a final range that allows a reading near the middle of the scale. 9. Adjust the 0 ohms reading after changing resistance ranges and before making a resistance measurement. 10. Be certain to read ac measurements on the ac scale of a multi meter. Observe the general safety precautions for electrical and electronic devices. Some multimeters include a fuse, which will sometimes prevent damage to the multimeter if it is overloaded. However the fuse often only protects the highest current range on the multimeter. A common error when operating a multimeter is to set the meter to measure resistance or current and then connect it directly to a low-impedance voltage source; meters without protection are quickly damaged by such errors, and can sometimes explode causing injury to the operator.

Measuring resistance with a multimeter: To measure the resistance of a component it must not be connected in a circuit. If you try to measure resistance of components in a circuit will obtain false readings (even if the supply is disconnected) and you may damage the multimeter.


2.0 Dc Meters Measuring resistance with an ANALOGUE multimeter: The resistance scale on an analogue meter is normally at the top, it is an unusual scale because it reads backwards and is not linear (evenly spaced). This is unfortunate, but it is due to the way the meter works. 1. Set the meter to a suitable resistance range. Choose a range so that the resistance you expect will be near the middle of the scale. For example: with the scale shown below and an expected resistance of about 50k choose the 1k range. 2. Hold the meter probes together and adjust the control on the front of the meter which is usually labeled "0 ADJ" until the pointer reads zero (on the RIGHT remember). If the pointer cannot adjust to read zero, the battery inside the meter needs replacing. Put the probes across the component. Avoid touching more than one contact at a time or the resistance will upset the reading. Measuring voltage at a point in electronic circuits: 1. When testing circuits, various points need to find for measuring the voltages, for example the voltage at pin 2 of a 555 timer chip. Connect the black (negative -) lead to 0V, normally the negative terminal of the battery or power supply. Connect the red (positive +) lead to the point you where you need to measure the voltage 2. The black lead can be left permanently connected to 0V while using the red lead as a probe to measure voltages at various points. 3. Use crocodile clip to the black lead of the multimeter to hold it in place while doing testing like this.

Figure 2.5.4: Measuring voltage at a point in electronic circuits.


2.0 Dc Meters Measure current with an analogue multimeter: It is quite easy to use an analogue meter to measure electrical current. There are a few minor differences in way that current measurements are made, but the same basic principles are used.

Figure 2.3.5: Multimeter connection (Measuring current with an analogue multimeter)

When using the meter it is possible to follow a number of simple steps: 1. Insert the probes into the correct connections - this is required because there may be a number of different connections that can be used. Be sure to get the right connections as there may be separate connections for very low or very high current ranges. 2. Set switch to the correct measurement type (i.e. to measure current) and range for the measurement to be made. When selecting the range, ensure that the maximum for the particular range chosen is above that anticipated. The range on the multimeter can be reduced later if necessary. However by selecting a range that is too high, it prevents the meter being overloaded and any possible damage to the movement of the meter itself. 3. When taking the reading, optimize the range for the best reading. If possible adjust it so that the maximum deflection of the meter can be gained. In this way the most accurate reading will be gained. 4. Once the reading is complete, it is a wise precaution to place the probes into the voltage measurement sockets and turn the range to maximum voltage position. In this way if the meter is accidentally connected without thought for the range to be used, there is little chance of damage to the meter. This may not be true if it left set for a current reading, and the meter is accidentally connected across a high voltage point.


2.0 Dc Meters


Digital multi meters

Figure 2.6.1: Digital Multimeter


Block diagram of a digital multimeter


2.0 Dc Meters Operational Principle: 1. The input signal such as dc voltage going through the attenuation circuit or selector switch and AD converter and continue to drive and display. Readings are displayed in digital form on the LCD display. 2. Similarly, the ac voltage signal applied on the input terminal, it will be through the attenuation circuit (switching range) and then converted to dc voltage through ac to dc converter and fed to the A-D converter. 3. For current measurement, signal will be converted to a dc voltage and the signal through the detector circuit and it will be fed into the A-D converter. 4. To measure of resistance, the resistance will be converted to a dc voltage through a Dc ohm to V converter and connected to the AD converter. Types of analog to digital converter: There are several types of A/D converter which used in variety of digital meters, among which are: 1. 2. 3. 4. Ramp type Integral type Successive Approximation type Continuous comparison type

Measuring resistance with a digital multimeter: To measure the resistance of a component it must not be connected in a circuit. 1. Set the meter to a resistance range greater than expect the resistance to be. Notice that the meter display shows "off the scale" (usually blank except for a 1 on the left). Do not worry, this is not a fault, it is correct - the resistance of air is very high. 2. Touch the meter probes together and check that the meter reads zero. If it does not read zero, turn the switch to 'Set Zero' if your meter has this and try again. 3. Put the probes across the component. Avoid touching more than one contact at a time or the resistance will upset the reading. Measuring current with a digital multimeter: To measure current with a digital multimeter it is possible to follow a few simple steps: 1. Turn the meter on. 2. Insert the probes into the correct connections - in many meters there are a number of different connections for the probes. Often one labeled common into which the black probe is normally placed. The other probe should be entered into the correct socket for the current measurement to be made. Sometimes there is a special connection for current measurements, and sometimes a separate one for either low or high current measurements. Select the correct one for the current measurement to be made. 38

2.0 Dc Meters 3. Set main selector switch on the meter switch to the correct measurement type, (i.e. current) and range for the measurement to be made. When selecting the range, ensure that the maximum range is above the expected reading anticipated. The range on the DMM can then be reduced as necessary. However by selecting a range that is too high, it prevents the meter being overloaded. 4. When the measuring the current, optimize the range for the best reading. If possible enable all the leading digits to not read zero, and in this way the greatest number of significant digits can be read. 5. Once the reading is complete, it is a wise precaution to place the probes into the voltage measurement sockets and turn the range to maximum voltage. In this way if the meter is accidentally connected without thought for the range used, there is little chance of damage to the meter. This may not be true if it left set for a current reading, and the meter is accidentally connected across a high voltage point. How to measure ac current with a multimeter: It is often necessary to measure AC current. Although the same basic steps are sued for taking the AC current measurement as when a normal DC measurement is taken, there are a few additional points to note. The differences in the measurement result from the fact that the multimeter has to rectify the alternating waveform to enable it to measure AC current. For a digital multimeter the main difference is that the measurement type switch must be set to measure AC current rather than DC current.. For an analogue multimeter the situation is a little different. As an analogue multimeter does not contain any active electronics, the diode rectifier used to rectify the alternating waveform has a certain turn on voltage and this will affect the low voltage end of some scales. Some meters may not be able to measure AC current, or they will have very restricted ranges. How to Measure Voltage with a Digital Multimeter: 1. Turn on the device and allow it to cycle through its startup checks. 2. Turn the function selector switch to the V= position in order to measure DC volts. 3. Connect the red and black leads to the red input terminal marked VO and the black terminal marked COM respectively. 4. Measure voltage by placing the red lead on the terminal that has the higher potential and the black lead on the terminal with lower potential or closer to the ground.


2.0 Dc Meters 2.6.2 Analog and digital multi meter (differences)

2 3 4

Digital meter Leaves no doubt about the measured quantity. In digital multimeters the measurement result is given in numerical form Superior resolution and accuracy ( 0.5 % or better). Indicates a negative quantity when the terminal polarity is reversed. Not easily damages by rough treatment.

Analogue meter Wrong scale might be used or might be read incorrectly. Inferior resolution and accuracy (3% in common. Pointer attempts to deflect to the left when the polarity is reversed. Can be damaged when dropped from bench level.

2.6.3 Property Reading errors

Advantages and disadvantages of digital meter and analogue meter Analogue Can occur, especially when the pointer off marks. Moderate, varies with range, about 20kW/V Continuous Continuous None except when used as an ohmmeter. RM 20 RM 200 (Low) Digital Less likely. High, about 10MW on all ranges. In steps of 1 digit. Samples taken at intervals, about every microsecond. Battery needed, LCD instruments take a very small power. RM 30 RM 1000 (High)

Input resistance as a voltmeter Scale/ display Response to input Power used Cost


2.0 Dc Meters 2.6.4 Digital multimeter safety precaution

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS 1. Read the operation instructions thoroughly and completely before operating a digital multimeter. Pay particular attention to WARNINGS. The instructions and warnings must be followed. 2. Must be careful when working with voltages above 30V AC. Keep fingers behind the probe barriers while measuring. 3. Never use the meter to measure voltages that might exceed the allowable maximum input value of any function measurement mode. 4. Always inspect the digital multimeter and test leads before every use. If any abnormal conditions exist, broken test leads, cracked cases, LCD not reading, etc, do not attempt to take any measurement. 5. Never replace the protective fuse inside the instrument with a fuse other than the specified or approved equal fuse. Replace only with same type of fuses. To avoid electrical shock, turn off the instrument and disconnect the test leads and any input signals before replacing the fuses. 6. Use the meter with the equipped test leads only to conform to safety requirements. If needed to replace broken test leads, they must be replaced with the same type and electric specification. 7. Never touch a voltage source when the test leads are plugged into a current jack. 8. Do not expose the instrument to direct sunlight, extreme temperature or moisture.

SAFETY SYMBOLS Important safety information, refer to the operating manual Dangerous voltage may be present. Earth ground Double insulation (Protection class) AC (Alternating Current)

DC (Direct Current)