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Digital voltmeters can be classified in

to the following broad categories.
Ramp type DVM.
Integrating DVM.
Continuous-balanced DVM


The DVM's outstanding qualities are

Input range
Input range of DVM are from 1.000000 V to 1,000.000 V with
automatic/Manual range selection and overload indication
(ii) Absolute accuracy
Accuracy of DVMs are as high as 0.005 per cent of the reading.
(iii) Stability
For short term Stability is 0.002 per cent of the reading for a 24 hr
period. And for long term stability is 0.008 per cent of the reading for a
6 month period.
(iv) Resolution
1 part in 106.i.e 1 V can be read on the 1-V input range.
Input Characteristics
Input resistance typically 10 M and input capacitance is
typically 40 PF.
(vi) Calibration (Not in all Models)
Internal calibration standard allows calibration independent of the
measuring circuit
(vii)To measure current, resistance and voltage ratios an additional

Ramp-type Digital Voltmeter

Block diagram of a ramp-type digital voltmeter.


1. TWO Comparators.
2. Input Voltage Comparator
3. Zero Comparator
4. Switch (gate),
5. Clock pulse generator
6. Ramp generator.
An input voltage Vin is applied to one input of a voltage
The second input being connected to the ramp voltage
When the ramp generator is first turned on, several things
1. At the start of the RAMP counter is RESET to zero.
2. Downward Ramp coincides with the input voltage, a
pulse is generated which opens the gate.
3. Clock pulses from the clock generator are allowed
through the gate to
the counter.
4. The counter then starts to count each clock pulse as it

Operation principle:
The measurement of the time it takes for a linear ramp voltage to rise from
O V to the level of the input voltage, or to decrease from the level of the
input voltage to zero. This time interval is measured with an electronic
time-interval counter.



Counter Voltage-to-time conversion using gated clock pulses.


major disadvantage of this system

1. Very stable clock signal is required.
2. Noise in the signal causes errors.
3. Input Filters are required.
4. Stability is poor.


1. It has excellent noise rejection because noise and superimposed ac are
arranged and in the process of integration.
2. The speed and accuracy are readily varied according to the specific
3) Also accuracy of 0.05% in 100ms is available.

T=1000 clock pulses. The
reference voltage is taken
as half the input voltage.

For 7106(LCD), 7107 (Common Anode LED)

The clock frequency is set for 48KHz. It is divided by 4. So the clock period is
80msec. Integration period is 1000 clock pulses long. The analog period is integrated
over a period of 80msec. This is for optimum hum frequency (50Hz) rejection. 3
samples per second are taken

1. The system commences the measurement when the switch connects the Analog
signal input to the integrator which commences to ramp down. At this point, the
integration capacitor, C, falls linearly from the input, to a level decided by the
average input signal value over the counter time period (T).
2. At the same time the counter begins from zero, to count the clock pulses.
3. When a predetermined number of pulses,( 1000 with the 7106), appear in the
counter, the integrator is electronically switched over to the reference voltage.

As the switch changes to the reference, the counter is reset to zero and
commences counting again.
The reference, which is of opposite polarity to the input signal now causes the
charged integration capacitor (C) to ramp upward with a fixed slope.
4. When the output of the integrator reaches the zero threshold, the counter is
stopped and its contents displayed on the digital readout.

The count displayed is the ratio of the counts during the downward ramp (over time t)
to the counts during the upward ramp (Over timeT). Thus, for a limit of 1000 counts
during the downward ramp, a direct reading of input voltage is obtained if the reference
voltage is chosen appropriately.

1. The absolute value of the integration capacitor and the clock
frequency are of little
significance provided they are stable for the duration of the
conversion period.
2. The relatively long analogue to digital conversion period has
an inherent advantage in that it ignores noise. When noise is
integrated over an extended period, its amplitude tends to zero.
Thus, dual-slope integration results in excellent accuracy.

S.N Ramp Type

Large errors are possible
when noise is
superimposed on the
input signal


Dual Slope
Has excellent noise
rejection because noise
and superimposed ac are
averaged out in the process
of integration.

Circuit complexity is low

Circuit complexity is
Input filters are required Filters not required
Low accuracy and
Accuracy of this DVM is
accuracy depends on the high. Accuracy is
stability of oscillator and independent of oscillator
the linearity of the ramp frequency
Poor stability
High stable
Operating speed slow
Operating speed high


To Generate -5V

Non-standard Voltage Input.

Load cell of a weighing system may have an output voltage of 0.682V when it
has 2.0 Kg weight on it. You want the meter to read the range 0 - 1.99 Kg
It is an easy matter to adjust VREF to 0.341V (half the output voltage), put the
decimal point in the correct position by moving the jumper and the panel
meter now reads off 0 - 1.99 Kg directly from the display.

Current Measurement.
Currents up to 2A can be easily measured using the space on the board for a 5W
shunt resistor, R. The current is converted into a voltage by the shunt resistor.
If R = 0.1 ohms then 200mV will be developed when the current through it is 2A.
This voltage is applied to the meter which is set up for the 200mV range. (That is,
VREF is set to 100mV.) Power dissipation at the maximum reading is I2R which is
0.4W, well within the 5W rating of the resistor.
To measure a full scale of 200mA then R should be 1.0 ohms in order to generate
200mV input to the meter. For a 20 mA meter then R = 10 ohms. Note that because
of wide tolerances in the shunt resistors it may be necessary to adjust the reference
voltage in order to get the correct reading. So further adjustment of VREF using a
known current may be required.

Typical specification of DMM

Maximum voltage between terminals:600V
Fuse protection :200mA/250V
Power: 9V battery
Display: LCD 31/2digits, updates 2-3/ sec.
Input impedance:10 M
Frequency range : :40-400Hz
Measuring method: Dual-slope integration
Over range indication: Only figure 1on the
Polarity indication -displayed for negative

Example 1: A dual slope A/D has R= 100 k and C= 0.01 F . The

reference voltage is 10 volts and the fixed integration time is 10ms. Find
the conversion time for a 6.8volt input.

The total conversion time is then 10 ms + 6.8 ms = 16.8 ms

Accuracy of DMM

Ex: A 20 V dc voltage is measured by analog and digital multimeters. The

analog instrument is on its 25 V range , and its specified accuracy is 2%. The
digital meter has 3 digit display and an accuracy of (0.6+1). Determine the
measurement accuracy in each case.
Analog instrument: Voltage error = 2%of 25V
= 0.5V
Error = 0.5 V/20 100%
= 2.5%

Digital instrument: For 20 V displayed on a 3digit display

1 Digit = 0.1 V.
Voltage error=(0.6%of reading + 1Digit)
= (1.2V + 0.1V)
= 0.22V
Error = 0.22 V/20V 100%
= 1.1%



The basic block diagram of a servo balancing potentiometer

type DVM is shown in Fig.5.15.
The input voltage is applied to one side of a mechanical chopper
comparator, the other side being connected to the variable arm of a
precision potentiometer. The output of the chopper comparator,
which is driven by the line voltage at the line frequency rate, is a
square wave signal whose amplitude is a function of the difference
in voltages connected to the opposite side of the chopper. The square
wave signal is amplified and fed to a power amplifier, and the
amplified square wave difference signal drives the arm of the
potentiometer in the direction needed to make the difference voltage
zero. The servo-motor also drives a mechanical readout, which is an
indication of the magnitude of the input voltage.
This DVM uses the principle of balancing, instead of sampling,
because of mechanical movement. The average reading time is 2 s.

Fig. 5.15

Block Diagram of a Servo Balancing Potentiometer Type


If n = number of full digits, then
Resolution (R) is 1 / 10n.
The resolution of a DVM is determined by the number of full or
active digits used,
Sensitivity of Digital Meters
Sensitivity is the smallest change in input which a digital meter is able to detect.
Hence, it is the full scale value of the lowest voltage range multiplied by the
meter's resolution.
Sensitivity S = (fs)min x R
where (fs)min = lowest full scale of the meter
R = resolution expressed as decimal
Example: What is the resolution of a
digit display on 1 V and 10 V
Solution Number of full digits is 3. Therefore resolution is 1/10 n where n = 3.

Resolution R = 1/103 = 1/1000 = 0.001

Hence the meter cannot distinguish between values that differ from each other by
less than 0.001 of full scale.
For full scale range reading of 1 V, the resolution is 1 x 0.001 = 0.001 V.
For full scale reading of 10 V range, the resolution is 10V x 0.001 = 0.01 V.
Hence on 10 V scale, the meter cannot distinguish between readings that differ by
less than 0.01 V.
Example 5.4
digit voltmeter is used for voltage measurements,
(i) Find its resolution
(ii) How would 12.98 V be displayed on a 10 V range?
(iii) How would 0.6973 be displayed on 1 V and 10 V ranges.
Solution: Resolution = 1/10n = 1/104.=0.0001
where the number of full digits is n = 4
(ii) There are 5 digit places in 41/2 digits, therefore 12.98 would be displayed as
Resolution on 1 V range is 1 V x 0.0001 = 0.0001
Any reading up to the 4th decimal can be displayed.
Hence 0.6973 will be displayed as 0.6973.
(iii) Resolution on 10 V range = 10 V x 0.0001 = 0.001 V
Hence decimals up to the 3rd decimal place can be displayed.
Therefore on a 10 V range, the reading will be 0.697 instead of 0.6973.