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Multimeter Measurements on Different Circuit Components

Anthony Paul N. Fox1 and Jenny Lou B. Sagisi2*
National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines, Diliman Quezon City
2
Jenny Lou Sagisi: jlsagisi@nip.upd.edu.ph

Abstract
The theory and application of the multimeter in different electrical circuits
shows its importance in electronics in checking for anomalies and defects of
several circuit components. It is also shown to be useful in efficiently creating a
desired output of a circuit by choosing a specific component for a circuit. The
results of the experiment show that the multimeter can measure different
parameters in a circuit.

1. Introduction
A basic electrical circuit consists of a source of electric potential difference or voltage, a conductive path
that allows movement of electric charges or a current of charges, and an electrical resistance or resistor. The unit
representations of the said components are V for voltage, A for current and Ω for resistance.
The multimeter is a device commonly used to measure the resistance, current, and voltage of an electrical
circuit. The voltmeter measures the potential difference between two points. In order to properly measure the voltage
of a circuit, the multimeter is switched to the voltmeter function and its probes should be in parallel with the “load”
or resistance of the circuit as seen in Figure 1. Because currents tend to flow to components with lower resistance,
voltmeters should have a large resistance to assure that only a minimal current or no current at all can pass through
it, hence it won’t affect the current distribution in the circuit.

Figure 1. Placement of a voltmeter in an electrical circuit

The ammeter function of the multimeter is used to measure the current of a point of interest in a circuit. In
order to do this, the ammeter should be in series with the load as seen in Figure 2.

Methodology . An ohmmeter has an internal battery that would supply a current when connected to a resistor. the theoretical calculation of the current passing through a parallel connection of resistors differs from a series connection of resistors because of the Effective Resistance ( Reff ) value derived from Ohm’s Law given by: i Reff ¿ ∑ Rn n (1) For a series connection and. 2. The multimeter device can be used to locate defects or check anomalies in an electrical circuit.Figure 2. several circuit components and equipments were assessed using the multimeter. In the case for parallel resistors in a circuit. It can also be used creating a desired output of a circuit by choosing a specific component for a circuit. The ohmmeter function of the multimeter measures the resistance of a resistor. In this experiment. Because of this. the ohmmeter will measure how hard it is for the current to pass through. The value of the current in a junction that is only applicable for a parallel resistor connection is given by: i Inet ¿∑ I n n (3) where n is the number of resistors present in the connection. Placement of multimeter in an electrical circuit The ammeter has very low resistance values so the current will pass through the ammeter easily and thus measures the current. i R -1 eff ¿ ∑ (R n) −1 n (2) for a parallel connection.

The current across each resistor and across the whole current was measured by connecting the multimeter in series with the component in question. This is to ensure that the voltage reading in the resistor is the same as the output voltage of the source. Three different components were tested for resistance namely a resistor. 3. The measured values were then compared to the designed resistance value. A BNC cable plug was tested for continuity. the multimeter functions as an ammeter which measures the current flowing through a circuit component. Comparison between the designed resistance value of resistors and the measured value Trial Designed value (Ω) Measured value (Ω) Relative deviation 1 75x103 ± 5% 75.4 % 2 75x103 ± 5% 75.3x103 0. Measuring current In this part of the experiment. This was done by connecting a resistor to the power supply. The ground line was connected to the ground and the signal line was connected to the ____ part of the probe. or current that flows through circuit component/s. The voltage across the resistor was then measured and compared to the voltage output of the power supply. Two different resistors with color bands violet-green-red-gold (R=7200 ohm) and orange-orange-red-gold (R=3300 ohm) were used as a load with three trials each. The resistance was then measured with a multimeter and observations were made. I. a capacitor and a wire. Three resistors with color codes 2 brown-gray-brown-gold and green-blue-black-gold. This band indicates the tolerance resistance value of a resistor. This is because current in a series connection is the same all throughout. Several circuit components were tested for some defects by comparing the theoretical/calculated values to the measured value by the multimeter. The wire was then broken into two and the resistance was also measured. and square wave were measured. This includes measuring the resistance. The voltage output of a function generator was also tested by the same procedure with the generator set at 100 Hz frequency and at maximum amplitude (A=1). A total of three trials were made. Voltage output for the sine wave.A multimeter has several functions. The voltage given by a power supply was tested. making the reading the same as the component. Measuring resistance In this part of the experiment. Results and Discussion Comparison between the measured values and the designed values are summarized in the following tables below. The multimeter can also test for continuity across electronic circuits and thus identify which components have open connections and are thus no longer usable. A power supply set to 5V was connected to the constructed circuit. The multimeter was then connected in parallel with the resistor. Three trials were made and the measured values were recorded. the multimeter functions as a voltmeter which measures voltage across two points in a circuit. The tolerance value suggests the range of all acceptable resistance value of a resistor. The resistance of the wire was also measured. III. voltage. Measuring voltage In this part of the experiment. II. This was compared with the designed resistance and calculated resistance values respectively. A capacitor with a capacitance value of C = 1µF was discharged by connecting both terminals with a resistor. were connected in parallel to each other. triangle wave. the multimeter functions as an ohmmeter which measures resistance of a circuit component. Table 1.3x103 0. The resistor that was tested in the experiment has Gold as the last color band.4 % . A resistor with color code of violet-green-orange-gold (which corresponds to a resistance value of R = 75 x 103 Ω) were connected in series with the multimeter. now functions as an ohmmeter. There were a total of five trials and the values were recorded.

The wire’s internal structure can be accounted for the deviation. t.4 % It can be seen from Table 1 that the deviation of the measured value from the designed resistance value is less than the tolerance value of the resistor. Table 2. If that were the case. the capacitor charges up according to Q = CV I dt = CV I=C dV dt (4) From equation (4). Thus the capacitor that was tested is concluded to be working properly. Because higher resistance means a lower current.200 2 0. the multimeter was tested for its ability to measure voltages using a functional power supply. Comparison between the designed voltage output of power supply and the measured value . then we cannot expect the resistance of the capacitor to be constant at any time. This means a higher resistance value is measured for broken wires.300 3 0. it is expected for the broken wires to register a higher resistance value because the current cannot pass through the wires now being broken. This was expected because the multimeter itself sends a current through the capacitor in order to measure its resistance.300 The resistance of a wire is expected to be very small compared to the component of interest in a circuit. The wire was then broken and the multimeter (ohmmeter) reading increases. Measured resistance of a wire Trial Measured value (Ω) 1 0.300 4 0. it must not affect the flow of charges/electrons in the electrical circuit.3x103 0.300 5 0. falls within the acceptable resistance value of the resistor. The measured resistance value by the multimeter as shown in Table 1.71 250 Ω. But as seen in Table 2. The resistance value of the capacitor was then tested and was observed to increase after discharging it with a resistor. which in this case is 5%. The resistor is thus known to be properly working if it falls under the range of 78 750 Ω . Assuming that the resistor is properly working. it can be seen that the current is not simply proportional to the voltage (as in Ohm’s law) but rather to the rate of change of voltage (the art of electronics). As a voltmeter. Table 3. and while doing so. This is because the wires are just bridges which connects a circuit component to another component. the multimeter is shown to function normally as an ohmmeter.3 75x103 ± 5% 75. the measured resistance of the wire is relatively high so the wire that was measured is not ideal for electrical circuits.

005 0.145 0.12% R2 (180 Ω) 0.577 0.00 2 0. as the table suggests.05 7 0. Three functions were tested and the expected root-mean-square (RMS) voltage is listed in Table x along with the measured RMS voltage (expected values were taken from [1]). Thus. the relative deviation decreases as the resistance value of the resistors are increased. Comparison between the calculated current value of resistors and the measured value Trial Calculated value (A) Measured value (A) Relative deviation R1 (56 Ω) 0.1 % From Table 2.10 1 0. It can be noticed that a relatively high deviation arise from the experiment (~90% in all trials) and this can be accounted by concluding that the function generator is not working properly.028 0. Trial Sine Wave (mV) Triangle Wave (mV) Square Wave (mV) R1 R2 Expected R1 R2 Expected R1 R2 Expec ted 1 0.066 0. triangle wave and square wave.05 7 0.065 0.57% whole circuit 0.00 A function generator was then tested for its voltage output. Table 4.10 1 0.049 0.144 0. the accuracy of the ammeter reading is higher at higher currents.08 7 1. the effective current is larger compared to the individual resistors).707 0.1 % 2 5 5.69% It can be seen from Table 4 that the relative deviation achieved in the experiment is less than 5%. Also.05 7 0. Therefore the multimeter is shown to function normally as a voltmeter.088 1.05 7 0.027 3.089 0.08 7 1. Table 3.08 7 1.027 3. Comparison between the measured RMS voltage and the expected value for sine wave.028 0.049 0.577 0. .577 0.005 0.57% R3 (180 Ω) 0.707 0.05 7 0. it can be seen that the error of the measured voltage from the output voltage of the power supply is relatively low which has a value of 0.00 3 0.Trial Designed value (V) Measured value (V) Relative deviation 1 5 5.10 1 0.1 % 3 5 5.707 0.1%.049 0.065 0.005 0.05 6 0. and a relatively low deviation was achieved in measuring the current for the whole circuit (being connected in parallel to each other.

wikipedia. The art of electronics . References: [1] en. . 4. Also. This is not achieved by the multimeter and so deviations may arise.2nd ed.. P. & Hill. or current of any circuit component. the multimeter is shown to successfully track any defective component or faults in the circuit by testing the continuity of the circuit or simply measuring any of the above mentioned parameter.org/wiki/Root_mean_square [2] Horowitz. An ideal voltmeter has to have an infinite resistance and an ideal resistance has to have a zero resistance. (1990). Conclusion The experiment successfully demonstrates the different functions of the multimeter and how it can be used to measure the resistance.The deviation in the experiment is mainly due to the multimeter being not an ideal component. Another thing is the circuit components itself are not ideal. W. Cambridge University Press. voltage.