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Measurement of Voltages and Currents Chapter 11

Introduction
Sine waves
Square waves
Measuring Voltages and Currents
Analogue Ammeters and Voltmeters
Digital Multimeters
Oscilloscopes

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OHT 11.1

Introduction

11.1

Alternating currents and voltages vary with time and


periodically change their direction

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OHT 11.2

Sine Waves

11.2

Sine waves
by far the most important form of alternating quantity
important properties are shown below

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OHT 11.3

Instantaneous value
shape of the sine wave is defined by the sine function
y = A sin
in a voltage waveform
v = Vp sin

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OHT 11.4

Angular frequency
frequency f (in hertz) is a measure of the number of
cycles per second
each cycle consists of 2 radians
therefore there will be 2f radians per second
this is the angular frequency (units are rad/s)

= 2f

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OHT 11.5

Equation of a sine wave


the angular frequency can be thought of as the rate
at which the angle of the sine wave changes
at any time
= t
therefore
v = Vp sin t

or

v = Vp sin 2ft

or

i = Ip sin 2ft

similarly
i = Ip sin t

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OHT 11.6

Example see Example 11.2 in the course text


Determine the equation of the following voltage signal.
From diagram:
Period is 50 ms = 0.05 s
Thus f = 1/T =1/0.05 = 20 Hz
Peak voltage is 10 V
Therefore
v Vp sin 2ft
10 sin 2 20t
10 sin 126t
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OHT 11.7

Phase angles
the expressions given above assume the angle of the
sine wave is zero at t = 0
if this is not the case the expression is modified by
adding the angle at t = 0

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OHT 11.8

Phase difference
two waveforms of the same frequency may have a
constant phase difference
we say that one is phase-shifted with respect to the other

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OHT 11.9

Average value of a sine wave


average value over one (or more) cycles is clearly zero
however, it is often useful to know the average
magnitude of the waveform independent of its polarity
we can think of this as
the average value over
half a cycle
or as the average value
of the rectified signal

Vav

1
0Vp sin d

Vp

cos 0

2Vp

0.637 Vp

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OHT 11.10

Average value of a sine wave

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OHT 11.11

r.m.s. value of a sine wave


the instantaneous power (p) in a resistor is given by
p

v2
R

therefore the average power is given by


Pav

where

[ average (or mean) of v 2 ]


R

v2
R

is the mean-square voltage

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OHT 11.12

While the mean-square voltage is useful, more often


we use the square root of this quantity, namely the
root-mean-square voltage Vrms
where Vrms =

v2

we can also define Irms =

i2

it is relatively easy to show that (see text for analysis)


Vrms 1 V 0.707 Vp
p
2

I rms 1 I 0.707 I p
2 p

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OHT 11.13

r.m.s. values are useful because their relationship to


average power is similar to the corresponding DC
values
P

av

rms rms

av

av

rms

2
rms

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OHT 11.14

Form factor
for any waveform the form factor is defined as
Form factor r.m.s. value
average value

for a sine wave this gives


Form factor

0.707 V
0.637 V

p
p

1.11

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OHT 11.15

Peak factor
for any waveform the peak factor is defined as
Peak factor

peak value
r.m.s. value

for a sine wave this gives


V

p
Peak factor
1.414
0.707 V
p
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OHT 11.16

Square Waves

11.3

Frequency, period, peak value and peak-to-peak


value have the same meaning for all repetitive
waveforms

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OHT 11.17

Phase angle
we can divide the period
into 360 or 2 radians
useful in defining phase
relationship between signals
in the waveforms shown
here, B lags A by 90
we could alternatively give
the time delay of one with
respect to the other
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OHT 11.18

Average and r.m.s. values


the average value of a symmetrical waveform is its
average value over the positive half-cycle
thus the average value of a symmetrical square wave
is equal to its peak value
V V
av
p

similarly, since the instantaneous value of a square


wave is either its peak positive or peak negative value,
the square of this is the peak value squared, and
V
V
rms
p
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OHT 11.19

Form factor and peak factor


from the earlier definitions, for a square wave
V

p
Form factor r.m.s. value
1 .0
average value V
p
Peak factor

p
peak value

1.0
r.m.s. value V
p

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OHT 11.20

Measuring Voltages and Currents

11.4

Measuring voltage and current in a circuit


when measuring voltage we connect across the component
when measuring current we connect in series with the component

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OHT 11.21

Measuring Voltages and Currents

11.4

Loading effects voltage


measurement
our measuring instrument will have
an effective resistance (RM)
when measuring voltage we
connect a resistance in parallel
with the component concerned
which changes the resistance in
the circuit and therefore changes
the voltage we are trying to
measure
this effect is known as loading
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OHT 11.22

Measuring Voltages and Currents

11.4

Loading effects current


measurement
our measuring instrument will have an
effective resistance (RM)
when measuring current we connect a
resistance in series with the
component concerned which again
changes the resistance in the circuit
and therefore changes the current we
are trying to measure
this is again a loading effect
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OHT 11.23

Analogue Ammeters and Voltmeters

11.5

Most modern analogue


ammeters are based on
moving-coil meters
see Chapter 4 of textbook
Meters are characterised by their full-scale deflection (f.s.d.)
and their effective resistance (RM)
typical meters produce a f.s.d. for a current of 50 A 1 mA
typical meters have an RM between a few ohms and a few kilohms

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OHT 11.24

Measuring direct
currents using a
moving coil meter
use a shunt resistor
to adjust sensitivity
see Example 11.5 in
set text for numerical
calculations

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OHT 11.25

Measuring direct
voltages using a
moving coil meter
use a series resistor
to adjust sensitivity
see Example 11.6 in
set text for numerical
calculations

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OHT 11.26

Measuring alternating quantities


moving coil meters respond to both positive and negative
voltages, each producing deflections in opposite directions
a symmetrical alternating waveform will produce zero deflection
(the mean value of the waveform)
therefore we use a rectifier to produce a unidirectional signal
meter then displays the average value of the waveform
meters are often calibrated to directly display r.m.s. of sine waves
all readings are multiplied by 1.11 the form factor for a sine wave

as a result waveforms of other forms will give incorrect readings


for example when measuring a square wave (for which the form factor
is 1.0, the meter will read 11% too high)
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OHT 11.27

Analogue multimeters
general purpose instruments use a
combination of switches and resistors
to give a number of voltage and
current ranges
a rectifier allows the measurement of
AC voltage and currents
additional circuitry permits resistance
measurement
very versatile but relatively low input
resistance on voltage ranges
produces considerable loading in
some situations
A typical analogue multimeter
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OHT 11.28

Digital Multimeters

11.6

Digital multimeters (DMMs) are often (inaccurately)


referred to as digital voltmeters or DVMs
at their heart is an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC)

A simplified block diagram


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OHT 11.29

Measurement of voltage, current and


resistance is achieved using appropriate
circuits to produce a voltage proportional
to the quantity to be measured
in simple DMMs alternating signals are
rectified as in analogue multimeters to
give its average value which is multiplied
by 1.11 to directly display the r.m.s. value
of sine waves
more sophisticated devices use a true
r.m.s. converter which accurately
produced a voltage proportional to the
r.m.s. value of an input waveform
A typical digital multimeter
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OHT 11.30

Oscilloscopes

11.7

An oscilloscope displays voltage waveforms

A simplified block diagram


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OHT 11.31

A typical analogue oscilloscope

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OHT 11.32

Measurement of phase difference

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OHT 11.33

Key Points
The magnitude of an alternating waveform can be
described by its peak, peak-to-peak, average or r.m.s.
value
The root-mean-square value of a waveform is the value
that will produce the same power as an equivalent direct
quantity
Simple analogue ammeter and voltmeters are based on
moving coil meters
Digital multimeters are easy to use and offer high accuracy
Oscilloscopes display the waveform of a signal and allow
quantities such as phase to be measured.
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OHT 11.34