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16 Electrical Measuring

Instruments

Chapter Overview

1. Types of Electrical Instruments


Electrical measuring instruments may be classified according to their functions as (i) indicating
instruments (ii) integrating instruments and (iii) recording instruments.
(i) Indicating instruments. Those instruments which directly indicate the value of the
electrical quantity at the time when it is being measured are called indicating instruments e.g.
ammeters, voltmeters and wattmeters. In such instruments, a pointer moving over a graduated
scale directly gives the value of the electrical quantity being measured. For example, when an
ammeter is connected in the circuit, the pointer of the meter directly indicates the value of cur-
rent flowing in the circuit at that time.
(ii) Integrating instruments. Those instruments which measure the total quantity of electric-
ity (in ampere-hours) or electrical energy (in watt-hours) in a given time are called integrating
instruments e.g. ampere-hour meter and watt-hour meter. In such instruments, there are sets of
dials and pointers which register the total quantity of electricity or electrical energy supplied to
the load.
(iii) Recording instruments. Those instruments which give a continuous record of the vari-
ations of the electrical quantity to be measured are called recording instruments. A recording
instrument is merely an indicating instrument with a pen attached to its pointer. The pen rests
lightly on a chart wrapped over a drum moving with a slow uniform speed. The motion of the
drum is in a direction perpendicular to the direction of the pointer. The path traced out by the
pen indicates the manner in which the quantity, being measured, has varied during the time of
the record. Recording voltmeters are used in supply stations to record the voltage of the supply
mains during the day. Recording ammeters are employed in supply stations for registering the
current taken from the batteries.
2. Principles of Operation of Electrical Instruments
An electrical instrument essentially consists of a movable element and a scale to indicate or
register the electrical quantity being measured. The movable element is supported on jewelled
bearings and carries a pointer or sets of dials. The movement of the movable element is caused
by utilising one or more of the following effects of current or voltage.
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1. Magnetic effect ..... Moving-iron instruments


2. Electrodynamic effect ..... (i) Permanent-magnet moving coil
(ii) Dynamometer type
3. Electromagnetic-induction ..... Induction type instruments
4. Thermal effect ..... Hot-wire instruments
5. Chemical effect ..... Electrolytic instruments
6. Electrostatic effect ..... Electrostatic instruments

S. No. Type Effect Suitable for Instrument


1. Moving-iron Magnetic effect d.c. and a.c. Ammeter, Voltmeter
2. Permanent-magnet Electrodynamic effect d.c. only Ammeter, Voltmeter
moving coil
3. Dynamometer type Electrodynamic effect d.c. and a.c. Ammeter, Voltmeter,
Wattmeter
4. Induction type Electro-magnetic a.c. only Ammeter, Voltmeter,
induction effect Wattmeter, Energy-
meter
5. Hot-wire Thermal effect d.c. and a.c. Ammeter, Voltmeter
6. Electrolytic meter Chemical effect d.c. only Ampere-hour meter
7. Electrostatic type Electrostatic effect d.c. and a.c. Voltmeter only
The principles of operation of electrical instruments are given in the above table for facility
of reference.
3. Essentials of Indicating Instruments
An indicating instrument essentially consists of moving system pivoted in jewel bearings. A
pointer is attached to the moving system which indicates on a graduated scale, the value of the
electrical quantity being measured. In order to ensure proper operation of indicating instruments,
the following three torques are required :
(i) Deflecting (or operating) torque
(ii) Controlling (or restoring) torque
(iii) Damping torque
(i) Deflecting torque. One important requirement in indicating instruments is the arrange-
ment for producing deflecting or operating torque (Td) when the instrument is connected in the
circuit to measure the given electrical quantity. This is achieved by utilising the various effects
of electric current or voltage mentioned in section 2. The deflecting torque causes the moving
system (and hence the pointer attached to it) to move from zero position to indicate on a gradu-
ated scale the value of electrical quantity being measured. The actual method of producing the
deflecting torque depends upon the type of instrument and shall be discussed while dealing with
particular instrument.
(ii) Controlling torque. If deflecting torque were acting alone, the pointer would continue
to move indefinitely and would swing over to the maximum deflected position irrespective of the
magnitude of current (or voltage or power) to be measured. This necessitates to provide some
form of controlling or opposing torque (TC). This controlling torque should oppose the deflecting
torque and should increase with the deflection of the moving system. The pointer will be brought
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to rest at a position where the two opposing torques are equal i.e. Td = TC. The controlling torque
performs two functions :
(a) It increases with the deflection of the moving system
so that the final position of the pointer on the scale
will be according to the magnitude of current (or Balance
voltage or power) to be measured. Weight
(b) It brings the pointer back to zero position when the
deflecting torque is removed. If it were not provided,
the pointer once deflected would not return to zero
Control
position on removing the deflecting torque. Spring
The controlling torque in indicating instruments may be
Spindle
provided by one of the following two methods :
(a) By one or more springs ... Spring control
(b) By weight of moving parts ... Gravity control
The most common method of providing controlling torque
is by the use of one or more springs as shown in Fig. 16.1.
One or two spiral hair springs made of some nonmagnetic Pivot
material are attached to the moving system of the instrument.
With the deflection of the pointer, the spring is twisted in
the opposite direction. This twist in the spring provides the Fig. 16.1
controlling torque. In the gravity control, a small adjustable
weight W is attached to the moving system [See Fig. 16.2 (i)] which provides the necessary controlling
torque. In the deflected position [See Fig. 16.2 (ii)], only the component W sin provides the
controlling torque.
TC = W sin l = W l sin
or TC sin (for fixed W and l)
60 80

40
10


0

20

l
 Balance
0 Weight

W
 
W W sin 
Control W cos 
Weight W
(i) (ii)
Fig. 16.2
(iii) Damping torque. If the moving system is acted upon by deflecting and controlling torques
alone, then pointer, due to inertia, will oscillate about its final deflected position for quite some
time before coming to rest. This is often undesirable because it makes difficult to obtain quick and
accurate readings. In order to avoid these oscillations of the pointer and to bring it quickly to its
final deflected position, a damping torque is provided in the indicating instruments. This damping
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torque acts only when the pointer is in motion and always opposes the motion. The position of the
pointer when stationary is, therefore, not *affected by damping. The damping torque in indicating
instruments can be provided by (a) air friction (b) fluid friction and (c) eddy currents.
ation of Spindle
Rot

Spindle

Vanes

Vane

Damping Oil

Sector-shaped Box

Fig. 16.3. Air friction damping Fig. 16.4. Fluid friction damping

Spindle

Disc S
Damping
Magnet

Fig. 16.5. Eddy current damping


In air friction damping (See Fig. 16.3), one or two light aluminium vanes are attached to the
same spindle that carries the pointer. The vanes are permitted to swing in a sector-shaped closed
box that is just large enough to accommodate the vanes. As the pointer moves, the vanes swing in the
box, compressing the air in front of them. The pressure of compressed air in the vanes provides
the necessary damping torque. In fluid friction damping [See Fig. 16.4], discs or vanes attached to
the spindle of the moving system are kept immersed in a pot containing oil of high viscosity. As the
pointer moves, the friction between the oil and vanes opposes motion of the pointer and thus necessary
damping torque is provided. In eddy current damping [See Fig. 16.5], a thin **aluminium or copper
disc attached to the moving system is allowed to pass between the poles of a permanent magnet. As
the pointer moves, the disc cuts across the magnetic field and eddy currents are produced in the disc.
These eddy currents react with the field of the magnet to produce a force which opposes motion (Lenzs
law). In this way, eddy currents provide damping torque to reduce the oscillations of the pointer.

* The damping torque acts only when the pointer is in motion. When the pointer is in a particular deflected
position, though deflecting and controlling torques are acting on the moving system but the damping torque
is zero. It is because the pointer is steady and there is no movement of the moving system.
** The disc must be a conductor but non-magnetic.
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4. Ammeters and Voltmeters


The devices which measure current and potential difference in a circuit are called ammeters
and voltmeters respectively. An ammeter is connected in series with the circuit element whose
current we wish to measure as shown in Fig. 16.6. A voltmeter is connected in parallel with the
circuit element across which potential difference is to be measured as shown in Fig. 16.7.

E E R V

Fig. 16.6 Fig. 16.7


The basic principle of the ammeter and of the voltmeter is the same. Both are current operated
devices i.e., deflecting torque is produced when current flows through their operating coils. In
the ammeter, the deflecting torque is produced by the current we wish to measure, or a certain
fraction of that current. In the voltmeter, the deflecting torque is produced by a current which is
proportional to the potential difference we wish to measure. Thus, the same instrument can be
used as an ammeter or voltmeter with proper design.
The following types of instruments are used for making voltmeters and ammeters :
(i) Permanent-magnet moving coil type (ii) Dynamometer type
(iii) Moving-iron type (iv) Hot-wire type
(v) Electrostatic type (for voltmeters only) (vi) Induction type
The instrument at Sr. No. (i) can be used for d.c. work only whereas instrument at Sr. No.
(vi) is employed for a.c. work only. However, instruments from Sr. No. (ii) to (v) can be used
for both d.c. and a.c. measurements.
5. Permanent-Magnet Moving Coil (PMMC) Instruments
(Ammeters and Voltmeters)
These are suitable for d.c. work only. This type of instrument is based on the principle that
when a current carrying coil is placed in a magnetic field, torque acts on the coil. Fig. 16.8
shows the various parts of a permanent-magnet moving coil instrument. It consists of a light
rectangular coil of many turns of fine wire wound on an aluminium former inside which is an
iron core as shown in Fig. 16.8 (i). The coil is delicately pivoted upon jewel bearings and is
mounted between the poles of a permanent horse-shoe magnet. Attached to these poles are two
soft-iron pole pieces which concentrate the magnetic field. The current is led into and out of the
coil by means of two control hair-springs, one above and the other below the coil, as shown in
Fig. 16.8 (ii). These springs also provide the controlling torque. The damping torque is provided
by eddy currents induced in the aluminium former as the coil moves from one position to another.
Working. When the instrument is connected in the circuit to measure current or voltage,
the operating current flows through the coil. Since the coil is carrying current and is placed
in the magnetic field of the permanent magnet, a mechanical force acts on it. As a result, the
pointer attached to the moving system moves in a clockwise direction over the graduated scale to
indicate the value of current or voltage being measured. If the current in the coil is reversed, the
deflecting torque will also be reversed since the direction of the field of the permanent magnet
is the same. Consequently, the pointer will try to deflect below zero. Deflection in this direction
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(i.e., reverse direction) is prevented by a spring stop. Since the deflecting torque reverses with
the reversal of current in the coil, such instruments can be used to measure direct currents and
voltages *only.

Fig. 16.8
The magnetic field in the air-gap is radial due to the presence of soft-iron core. Therefore,
when operating current flows through the coil, a constant deflecting torque Td acts on the coil
given by ;
Td = BINA newton metre
where B = Flux density in Wb/m2 ; I = Current through the coil
N = Number of turns in coil ; A = Area of coil
Since the values of B, N and A are fixed,
Td I
The instrument is spring controlled so that TC . The pointer will come to rest where
Td = TC.
I
Thus the deflection is directly proportional to operating current. Hence such instruments
have uniform scale.

6. Range Extension of PMMC Instruments


The resistance of PMMC instrument and the current needed to produce full-scale deflection
(f.s.d.) are very small. Typical values of these parameters are :
Full-scale deflection current, Ig = 1 mA
Resistance of the meter, G = 20
This means that this instrument can read currents upto 1mA and voltages upto 20 mV
(= 1mA 20 ). In order to measure large currents and voltages (i.e. to extend the range of the
instrument) suitable means are provided.
* The instrument can be used to measure alternating currents and voltages by using a rectifier. The given
alternating quantity is converted to d.c. by using a bridge type rectifier. This d.c. or average value is measured
by the permanent-magnet moving coil instrument. Since a.c. meters are calibrated to indicate effective
or r.m.s. values, we must multiply the average value registered on this meter by 1.11 (the form factor of
sinusoidal wave) to obtain the r.m.s. values. Some instruments are scaled to read r.m.s. values directly.
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(i) Range extension of PMMC ammeter. In order to measure large currents, a suitable
low resistance S (called shunt) is connected in parallel with the instrument. The shunted moving
coil instrument is called an ammeter. The value of shunt is chosen according to the maximum
current we wish to measure. Suppose we want to measure I amperes at full-scale using a moving coil
instrument having full-scale deflection current Ig and resistance G. This means that when circuit
current is I, we want current Ig through the meter as shown in Fig. 16.9. For this purpose we
connect a shunt S of suitable value so that I Ig current flows through it. Since the potential
difference across the shunt is the same as across the meter,
(I Ig) S = Ig G
Ig
S = G
I Ig
GS
Resistance of ammeter, Rm = G y S =
G+S
Clearly, the value of Rm will be less than S. Since the value of S is very small, the ammeter
resistance will be very low. Thus shunt has not only extended the current range but it has also
lowered the resistance of the ammeter.
I G+S
Multiplying power of shunt, n = =
Ig S
Voltmeter

I  Ig Ig R
G
G
I Ig Ig

V
Ammeter

Fig. 16.9 Fig. 16.10


(ii) Range extension of PMMC voltmeter. In order to measure large voltages, a suitable
high resistance R (called multiplier) is used. A moving coil meter in series with a high resist-
ance is called a voltmeter. The value of series resistance is chosen according to the maximum
voltage we wish to measure. Suppose we want to read V volts at full-scale using a moving coil
meter having full-scale deflection current Ig and resistance G. This means that when potential
difference across the voltmeter is V volts, we want that current through the meter should be Ig
as shown in Fig. 16.10. For this purpose, we connect a suitable high resistance R in series with
the meter so that current through the meter is Ig. Referring to Fig. 16.10 and applying Ohms
law, we have,
V V
Ig = orG + R =
G+R Ig
V
R = G
Ig
Resistance of voltmeter, Rm = G + R
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Since the value of R is large, the resistance of the voltmeter will be very high. Thus the
series resistance has not only extended the voltage range but it has also increased the resistance
of the voltmeter.
Voltage to be measured V
Voltage amplification = =
Voltage across meter Ig G
I g (G + R) G + R R
= = =1+
IgG G G
Applications. Permanent-magnet moving coil instruments are acknowledged to be the best
type for all d.c. measurements. They are very sensitive and maintain a high degree of accuracy
over long periods. The chief applications of such instruments are :
(a) In the measurement of direct currents and voltages.
(b) In d.c. galvanometers to measure small currents.
(c) In ballistic galvanometers used mainly for measuring changes of magnetic flux linkages.
7. Dynamometer Type Instruments (Ammeters and Voltmeters)
These instruments can be used as ammeters or voltmeters but are generally used as wattmeters.
They are suitable for d.c. as well as a.c. work. The operating principle of such instruments is
that mechanical force exists between the current carrying conductors.
Fig. 16.11 shows the simplified diagram of a dynamometer type instrument. It essentially
consists of a fixed coil and a moving coil. The fixed coil is split into two equal parts (F, F)
which are placed close together and parallel to each other. The moving coil (M) is pivoted in
between the two fixed coils and carries a pointer as shown in Fig. 16.11. The current is led into
and out of the moving coil by means of two spiral hair-springs which also provide the controlling
torque. *Air friction damping is provided by means of the aluminium vanes that move in the
sector shaped chamber at the bottom of the instrument.

Balance
Weight
Movable
Coil
M

F F

Fixed Coils
(i) (ii)
Fig. 16.11
Working. For use as an ammeter or voltmeter, the fixed coils FF and the moving coil
M are so connected that the same current flows through the two coils. Due to these currents,
mechanical force exists between the coils. The result is that moving coil M moves the pointer
over the scale. The pointer comes to rest at a position where deflecting torque is equal to the
controlling torque. Since the polarity of the fields produced by both fixed and moving coils is
* Since the coils are air-cored, the operating magnetic field is very weak. For this reason, eddy current damp-
ing cannot be provided.
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reversed by the reversal of current, the deflection of the moving I

system is always in the same direction regardless of the direction


of current through the coils. For this reason, dynamometer I M
instruments can be used for both d.c. and a.c. measurements.
F F
The force of attraction or repulsion between the fixed and
moving coils is directly proportional to the product of ampere- I
turns of fixed coils and the moving coil i.e.,
Deflecting torque, Td Nf If Nm Im Fig. 16.12
Now, Nm and Nf are constants, so that :
Td If Im
Since the instrument is spring-controlled, the controlling torque is proportional to the angular
deflection i.e.,
TC
In the steady position of deflection, Td = TC.
If Im
Thus deflection () is directly proportional to the product of currents in the fixed coils and
the moving coil.
(i) As ammeter. When the instrument is used as an ammeter, the fixed coils and the mov-
ing coil are connected in series so that the same current flows through the two coils as shown
in Fig. 16.12. In that case, If = Im = I so that :
I2
For measuring large currents, the moving coil is shunted; the shunt being in series with the
fixed coils as shown in Fig. 16.13. The fixed coils carry the main current while the moving coil
carries a current proportional to the main current.
Im

Shunt
M M
If I
F F If F F

RS I
Multiplier

Fig. 16.13 Fig. 16.14


(ii) As voltmeter. When the instrument is used as a voltmeter, both fixed coils and the
moving coil are connected in series together with a high resistance RS (called multiplier) having
a negligible temperature co-efficient as shown in Fig. 16.14. Therefore, current in both the coils
is the same and is proportional to the voltage V being measured.
V2
It may be seen that whether the instrument is used as an ammeter or voltmeter, the deflection
is directly proportional to the square of quantity (current or voltage) being measured. Hence the
scale of dynamometer ammeter and voltmeter is not uniform ; being crowded at the beginning
and open at the upper end of the scale.
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8. Moving Iron Ammeters and Voltmeters


This type of instrument is principally used for the measurement of alternating currents and
voltages, though it can also be used for d.c. measurements. There are two types of moving-iron
instruments viz attraction type and repulsion type.
(i) Attraction type. Fig. 16.15 shows the Air Chamber
constructional details of an attraction type moving-iron
instrument. It consists of a cylindrical coil or solenoid
which is kept fixed. An oval-shaped soft-iron is attached
Control
to the spindle in such a way that it can move in and out Spring
of the coil. A pointer is attached to the spindle so that
it is deflected with the motion of the soft-iron piece.
The controlling torque is provided by one spiral spring
arranged at the top of the moving element. The damping
torque is provided by an aluminium vane, attached to the
spindle, which moves in a closed air chamber.
Balance
Working. When the instrument is connected in the Weights
circuit to measure current or voltage, the operating current Moving Iron
flowing through the coil sets up a magnetic field. In other
Fig. 16.15
words, the coil behaves like a magnet and, therefore, it
attracts the soft-iron piece towards it. The result is that the pointer attached to the moving system
moves from zero position. The pointer will come to rest at a position where deflecting torque is
equal to the controlling torque. If current in the coil is reversed, the direction of magnetic field
also reverses and so does the magnetism produced in the soft-iron piece. Hence, the direction
of the deflecting torque remains unchanged. For this reason, such instruments can be used for
both d.c. and a.c. measurements.
Deflecting torque. The force F pulling the soft-iron piece towards the coil is directly
proportional to
(a) field strength H produced by the coil
(b) pole strength m developed in the iron piece
F m H
H2 ( m H)
Instantaneous deflecting torque H2
If the permeability of iron is assumed constant, then,
H i where i is the instantaneous coil current
Instantaneous deflecting torque i2
Average deflecting torque, Td mean of i2 over a cycle
Since the instrument is spring controlled,
TC
In the steady position of deflection, Td = TC .
mean of i2 over a cycle
I2 ...for d.c.
I r2.m.s. ...for a.c.
Since the deflection is proportional to the square of coil current, the scale of such instruments
is non-uniform; being crowded in the beginning and spread out near the finish end of the scale.
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(ii) Repulsion type. Fig. 16.16 shows the


Balance Weights
constructional details of a repulsion type moving-
iron instrument. It consists of two soft-iron pieces
or vanes surrounded by a fixed cylindrical hollow
coil which carries the operating current. One
of these vanes is fixed and the other is free to
Control
move as shown in Fig. 16.16. The movable vane Spring
is of cylindrical shape and is mounted axially Damping
Paddle Coil
on a spindle to which a pointer is attached. The
fixed vane, which is wedge-shaped and has a Fixed Iron
larger radius, is attached to the stationary coil. Moving Iron
The controlling torque is provided by one spiral Spindle
spring at the top of the instrument. It may be Fig. 16.16
noted that in this instrument, springs do not
provide the electrical connections. Damping is provided by air friction due to the motion of a
piston in an air chamber.
Working. When current to be measured or current proportional to the voltage to be measured
flows through the coil, a magnetic field is set up by the coil. This magnetic field magnetises
the two vanes in the same direction i.e., similar polarities are developed at the same ends of
the vanes. Since the adjacent edges of the vanes are of the same polarity, the two vanes repel
each other. As the fixed vane cannot move, the movable vane deflects and causes the pointer to
move from zero position. The pointer will come to rest at a position where deflecting torque is
equal to the controlling torque provided by the spring. If the current in the coil is reversed, the
direction of deflecting torque remains unchanged. It is because reversal of the field of the coil
reverses the magnetisation of both iron vanes so that they repel each other regardless of which
way the current flows through the coil. For this reason, such instruments can be used for both
d.c. and a.c. applications.
Deflecting torque. The deflecting torque results due to the repulsion between the similarly
charged soft-iron pieces or vanes. If the two pieces develop pole strengths of m1 and m2 respectively,
then,
Instantaneous deflecting torque m1 m2 H2
If the permeability of iron is assumed constant, then,
H i where i is coil current
Instantaneous deflecting torque i2
Average deflecting torque, Td mean of i2 over a cycle
Since the instrument is spring-controlled,
TC
In the steady position of deflection, Td = TC .
mean of i2 over a cycle
I2 ... for d.c.
I r2.m.s. ... for a.c.
Thus, the deflection is proportional to the square of coil current as is the case with attraction
type moving-iron instrument. Therefore, the scale of such instruments is also non-uniform;
being crowded in the beginning and spread out near the finish end of the scale. However, the
non-linearity of the scale can be corrected to some extent by the accurate shaping (e.g. using
tongue-shaped vanes) and positioning of iron vanes in relation to the operating coil.
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9. Extending Range of Moving-Iron Instruments


As explained above, moving-iron instruments are used mainly on a.c. circuits. Therefore,
range extension shall be discussed with reference to a.c. measurements.
(i) Ammeter. Shunts are not used to extend the range of moving-iron a.c. ammeters. It is
because the division of current between the operating coil and the shunt varies with frequency
(since reactance of the coil depends upon frequency). In practice, the range of moving-iron a.c.
ammeter is extended by one of the following two methods :
(a) By changing the number of turns of the operating coil. For example, suppose that
full-scale deflection is obtained with 400 ampere-turns. For full-scale reading with 100A, the
number of turns required would be = 400/100 = 4.
Similarly, for full-scale reading with 50 A, the number of turns required is = 400/50 = 8.
Thus the ammeter can be arranged to have different ranges by merely having different number
of turns on the coil. Since the coil carries the whole of the current to be measured, it has a few
turns of thick wire. The usual ranges obtained by this method are 0250 A.
(b) For ranges above 0 250 A, a current transformer is used in conjunction with
0 5 A a.c. ammeter as shown in Fig. 16.17. The current transformer is a step-up transformer
i.e., number of secondary turns is more than the primary turns. The primary of this transformer
is connected in series with the load and carries the load current. The a.c. ammeter is connected
across the secondary of the transformer. Since in Fig. 16.17, the current transformer ratio is
10 : 1, it means that the line (or load) current is equal to 10 times the reading on the a.c. meter.
Load current, IL = 3 10 = 30 A
IL
Load

VL

C. T. Ratio 10:1 P. T. Ratio 20:1

A V
3A 100 V

Fig. 16.17
(ii) Voltmeter. The range of a moving-iron a.c. voltmeter is extended by connecting a high
resistance (multiplier) in series with it. For ranges higher than 0 750 V, where power wasted
in the multiplier would be excessive, a 0 110 V a.c. voltmeter is used in conjunction with a
potential transformer as shown in Fig. 16.17. The potential transformer is a stepdown transformer
i.e. number of primary turns is more than the secondary turns. The primary of the transformer
is connected across the load across which voltage is to be measured. The a.c. voltmeter is con-
nected across the secondary. Since in Fig. 16.17, the potential transformer ratio is 20 : 1, the
load voltage is equal to 20 times the reading on the a.c. voltmeter.
Load voltage, VL = 100 20 = 2000 V
Note that both secondaries of the instrument transformers are grounded as a safety measure.
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10. Electrostatic Voltmeters


These instruments are based on the fact that an electric force (attraction or repulsion) exists
between charged plates or objects. An electrostatic voltmeter is essentially an air condenser;
one plate is fixed while the other, which is coupled to the pointer, is free to rotate on jewelled
bearings. When p.d. to be measured is applied across the plates, the electric force between the
plates gives rise to a deflecting torque. Under the action of deflecting torque, the movable plate
moves and causes the deflection of the pointer to indicate the voltage being measured. Such
instruments can be used to measure direct as well as alternating voltages.
There are three types of electrostatic voltmeters viz.:
(i) Attracted disc type usual range from 500 V to 500 kV
(ii) Quadrant type usual range from 250 V to 10 kV
(iii) Multicellular type usual range from 30 V to 300 V
Two things are worth noting about electrostatic voltmeters. First, the deflecting torque is very
small for low voltages. For this reason, they are not very sensitive to measure small voltages.
Secondly, the instrument is only available for the measurement of p.d., that is to say as voltmeter.
It cannot be used as an *ammeter.
(i) Attracted disc type voltmeter. Fig. 16.18 shows the simplified diagram of an attracted
disc electrostatic voltmeter. It consists of two mushroom-shaped plates A and B, each mounted
on insulated pedestal. The plate B is fixed while the plate A (negative, for direct voltage) has a
movable central portion-the attracted disc. The movable plate A is attached to a horizontal rod
which is suspended by two phosphor bronze strips.
A B
When p.d. to be measured is applied across the plates,
the plate A moves towards the fixed plate B and actu-
ates the pointer via a pulley or link mechanism. The
control force is provided by gravity and damping force
by air dash pot. If the plates are too close together or if
the applied voltage is too high, a spark discharge may
occur. In order to prevent such a possibility, a ballast
resistor is included in the circuit. The function of this
resistor is to limit the current if any sparking-over oc-
curs. If the applied voltage reverses in polarity, there
is a simultaneous change in the sign of charge on the
plates so that the direction of deflecting force remains  +

unchanged. Hence such instruments can be used for Fig. 16.18


both d.c. and a.c. measurements.
Theory. The force of attraction F between the charged plates is given by ;
1 dC 2
F = V
2 dx
where x = distance between the plates
C = capacitance between the plates
V = applied voltage
Since x is always small, dC/dx is practically constant.
F V2
Obviously, the scale of the instrument will be non-uniform.
* When used as an ammeter, there will be a few millivolts voltage-across the instrument. This extremely
small p.d. is insufficient to produce any deflecting torque.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 463
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(ii) Quadrant type voltmeter. Fig. 16.19 shows the simplified diagram of a quadrant
electrostatic voltmeter. It consists of a light aluminium vane A suspended by a phosphor-bronze
string mid-way between two inter-connected quadrant shaped brass plates BB. One terminal is
joined to fixed plates BB (positive for direct voltage) 
and the other to the movable plate A (negative for
B B
direct voltage). The controlling torque is provided
A
by the torsion of the suspension string. Damping is V
provided by air friction due to the motion of another
vane in a partially closed box.
Working. When the instrument is connected +
in the circuit to measure the p.d., an electric force
exists between the plates. Consequently, the movable Moving Vane
vane A moves inbetween the fixed plates and causes
the deflection of the pointer. The pointer comes to
rest at a position where deflecting torque is equal to
B B
the controlling torque. Since the force of attraction
between the movable plate A and the fixed plates BB
is directly proportional to (p.d.)2, the instrument can be
used to measure either direct or alternating voltages. Fixed Plates
When used in an a.c. circuit, it reads the r.m.s. values.
More robust but *less accurate voltmeters are made Fig. 16.19
by pivoting the moving system. In pivoted voltmeters, the controlling torque is provided by a
spiral spring.
Theory. The capacitance C between the plates depends upon deflection i.e., upon the
position of the movable plate (or vane) A. Suppose that at any instant, the applied alternating
voltage is v.
1
Electrostatic energy at that instant = Cv 2
2
Since the capacitance between the plates depends upon deflection , the instantaneous
deflecting torque T d is given by ;
1 dC 2
Td = v
2 d
Average deflecting torque, Td = Average of Td over a cycle
1 T 1 dC 2
=
T 0 2 d
v dt
1 dC 1 T
=
2 d T 0
v 2 dt

1 dC 2
V Td =
2 d
where V = r.m.s. value of alternating voltage
This equation equally applies to direct voltages. If dC/d were constant, then,
Td V2

* Due to pivot friction, the pivoted voltmeters are less accurate than the suspension type. For this reason,
low voltage electrostatic voltmeters are always of suspension type.
464 Objective Electrical Technology
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Hence the instrument has non-uniform scale. The non-linearity in the scale can be corrected
by shaping the movable vane A in such a way as to increase dC/d for small deflections and to
make the scale nearly uniform for larger ones.
(iii) Multicellular electrostatic voltmeter. The major drawback of quadrant type voltmeter
is that deflecting torque is very *small for low voltages. Therefore, such an instrument cannot
measure accurately voltages below 250 V. This diffi- Torsion Head (H)
culty has been overcome in a multicellular electrostatic
voltmeter which can read as low as 30 volts.
Coach Spring (S)
Fig. 16.20 shows the constructional details of a
multicellular voltmeter. It is essentially a quadrant Phosphor Bronze
String
type voltmeter with the difference that it has ten
moving vanes instead of one and eleven fixed plates Safety Sleeve (E)
forming cells in and out of which the vanes move.
The moving vanes are fixed to a vertical spindle Guide Stop (G)
and suspended by a phosphor-bronze wire so that Fixed Plates
the vanes are free to move, each between a pair
of fixed plates. At the lower end of the spindle, an
aluminium disc hangs horizontally in an oil bath Moving Vanes
and provides damping torque due to fluid friction.
The controlling torque is provided by the torsion
of the suspension wire as the moving system rotates.
The upper end of the suspension wire is attached
through a coach spring S to a torsion head H. The
torsion head is provided with a tangent screw for
zero adjustment. The function of the coach spring is Damping Vane
to prevent the suspension wire from breaking when
accidentally jerked. Should the moving vanes be jerked
downward, then the coach spring yields sufficiently to
allow the safety sleeve E to come into contact with
Fig. 16.20
the guide stop G before the suspension wire is over
strained. The scale is horizontal if the pointer is straight but the indications can be given on a
vertical scale by bending the pointer at right angles.
The working principle of multicellular voltmeter is exactly similar to the quadrant type.
By using a number of inter-leaved stationary and moving plates, we are able to increase the
capacitance and hence the deflecting torque. Consequently, the multicellular voltmeter is much
more sensitive than the quadrant type and can accurately measure low voltages.
11. Range Extension of Electrostatic Voltmeters
The range of electrostatic voltmeters can be increased by the use of multipliers. Two types
of multipliers are employed for this purpose viz.
(i) Resistance potential divider for ranges upto 40 kV
(ii) Capacitance potential divider for ranges upto 1000 kV
The first method can be used for both direct and alternating voltages whereas the second
method is suitable only for alternating voltages.
1
* Deflecting torque also depends upon the capacitance between plates [i.e. Td = (dC/d) V2]. In a quadrant
2
voltmeter, the capacitance cannot be increased since the number of vanes is limited by space consideration.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 465
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(i) Resistance potential divider. This divider consists of a high resistance with tappings
taken off at intermediate points. The voltage V to be measured is applied across the whole of
the potential divider and the electrostatic voltmeter connected across part of it (resistance r in
this case) as shown in Fig. 16.21. Since the voltmeter *practically carries no current, the p.d. v
across it is in the same fraction of the applied voltage V as the resistance across it (i.e. r) is of
the whole resistance (i.e. R) i.e.,
V R
Multiplying factor, =
v r
Thus if the voltmeter is connected across 1/5 of the whole resistance (i.e. R/r = 5), then
voltage V to be measured is 5 times the reading of the voltmeter. The advantage of this method
is that there is no shunting effect of the voltmeter. The drawback is that there is power loss in
the resistance divider.

R
V V Cv
r v
v

Fig. 16.21 Fig. 16.22


(ii) Capacitance potential divider. In this method, a single capacitor of capacitance C is
connected in series with the voltmeter and the whole circuit is connected across the voltage V
to be measured as shown in Fig. 16.22. Let v volts be the reading of the voltmeter. Since the
voltage across a capacitor is inversely proportional to its capacitance,
*
C + Cv 1
V **andv
C Cv Cv
V C + Cv C
Multiplying factor, = = 1+ v
v C C
By using capacitors of different capacitances, different voltage ranges can be obtained. This
method has the advantage that the circuit consumes no power. However, the drawback is that
capacitance current taken is greatly increased.
12. Induction Type Instruments
This class of instruments is suitable only for a.c. measurements. These instruments may be
used either as ammeter or voltmeter or wattmeter or energy meter. Perhaps the widest application
of induction principle is in watt-hour or energy meter.
Principle. Fig. 16.23 illustrates the principle of induction type instruments. Two alternating
fluxes 1 and 2 (whose magnitudes depend upon the current or voltage to be measured) having

* An electrostatic voltmeter is essentially an air capacitor. For direct voltages, no current can flow through
it. For alternating voltages, the current through the voltmeter is extremely small.
C Cv
** Total circuit capacitance = because C and Cv are in series.
C + Cv
466 Objective Electrical Technology
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a phase difference pass through a A B


metallic disc, usually of copper or
aluminium. These alternating fluxes
induce currents in the disc. The 1 2
current produced by one flux reacts Aluminium
with the other flux, and vice-versa, to Disc
produce the deflecting torque that acts
Fig. 16.23
on the disc. It can be proved that net
deflecting torque on the disc is given by ;
Td 1m 2m sin
where 1m = maximum value of alternating flux 1
2m = maximum value of alternating flux 2
Obviously, to obtain maximum deflecting torque, the angle (i.e. phase angle between 1
and 2) should be 90.
The induction type instruments are worked on single phase. The question arises how to obtain
two fluxes having a phase difference (= 90 as far as possible) from a single phase supply.
This can be achieved in two ways viz.
(i) Splitting the phase (i.e. Ferraris Principle) (ii) Shaded-pole arrangement
(i) Splitting the phase. In this method, two flux-producing windings are connected in
parallel across a single phase supply; an inductive coil L in series with one and a resistance R
in series with the other. The values of R and L are so selected that currents through the two
windings [i.e. IR and IL in Fig. 16.24 (i)] have a phase difference of nearly 90. The result is
that we have two alternating fluxes with a relative phase shift of 90. These fluxes pass through
the aluminium disc and induce currents in it to produce the necessary driving torque.
The fluxes produced by the two currents may be represented as :
1 = 1m sin t ; 2 = 2m sin (t + )
where is the phase angle by which 2 leads 1.
Aluminium
Disc
R

Winding
IR 2 i2
2
1
IL i1
Winding F2
1  1 F1
Supply

L
(i) (ii)
Fig. 16.24
The two fluxes 1 and 2 will induce e.m.f.s e1 and e2 respectively in the disc. Assuming
r to be the resistance offered by the disc to each induced e.m.f., the induced currents are given
by ;
e d / dt 1 d 1m cos t
i1 = 1 = 1 = (1m sin t ) =
r r r dt r
Electrical Measuring Instruments 467
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or i1 1m cos t .... as r and are constant


Similarly, i2 2m cos (t + )
The portion of the disc which is traversed by flux 1 and carries currents i2 experiences a
force F1 along the direction indicated. The magnitude of this force is given by ;
F1 1 i2
Similarly, F2 2 i1
Since the direction of both fluxes and both currents are the same, these forces will be in
the opposite directions. This can be easily ascertained by applying right hand rule.
Resultant force, F F2 F1 (2 i1 1 i2)
1m 2m [sin ( t + ) cos t sin t cos ( t + )]
1m 2m sin
This resultant force will produce the deflecting torque Td which is directly proportional to it.
Td 1m 2m sin
(a) If = 0 (i.e. the two fluxes are in phase), then deflecting torque is zero. The deflecting
torque will be maximum when = 90 i.e. when the alternating fluxes have a phase difference
of 90.
(b) The deflecting torque is the same at every instant since 1m , 2m and are fixed for a
given condition.
(c) The direction of deflecting torque depends upon which flux is leading the other. The
deflecting torque acts in such a direction so as to rotate the disc from the point where the leading
flux passes the disc towards the point where the lagging flux passes the disc.
(ii) Shaded-pole arrangement. The shaded-pole structure differs from the split-phase type
in that there is only one flux-producing winding connected to a.c. supply. The flux produced
by this winding is split into two portions 1 and 2 having a phase difference of by shaded-
pole arrangement as shown in Fig. 16.25. In this arrangement, one-half of each pole (on the
same side) embraces a thick short-circuited copper loop called a shading coil. The shading coil
acts as a short-circuited secondary and the main winding as a primary. Induced currents in the
*shading coil cause the flux 1 in the shaded portion to lag the flux 2 in the unshaded portion
by (= 40 to 50). This displacement between the two fluxes produce the necessary deflecting
torque given by ;
Td 1m 2m sin
3
1 2
0

 Shading
Coil
2 1

Disc
Disc
Damping
Magnet

Fig. 16.25 Fig. 16.26


* Note that shading coil serves the same purpose as connecting resistance and inductance in split-phase
arrangement.
468 Objective Electrical Technology
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13. Induction Ammeters and Voltmeters


Induction ammeters and voltmeters can be used for a.c. measurement only and can be of
shaded-pole type or split-phase type.
I. Shaded-pole type. Fig. 16.26 shows the principal parts of a shaded-pole type instru-
ment. It consists of a specially shaped aluminium disc coupled to a pointer and suspended in
jewelled bearings. The disc passes through two air-gaps; the first located in an electromagnet
having a shading coil and the second in a permanent magnet. The permanent magnet provides
the necessary damping torque. The controlling torque is provided by a spiral spring attached to
the moving system. As shown above, the deflecting torque is given by ;
Td 1m 2m sin
(i) When used as an ammeter, the current to be measured or a part of it is passed through
the operating coil of the instrument. Since both the fluxes are produced by the same alternating
current I (r.m.s. value),
Td I2
As the instrument is spring controlled, TC .
I2
(ii) When used as a voltmeter, current proportional to the voltage to be measured is passed
through the operating coil.
Td V2
Again the instrument is spring controlled, TC .
V2
It is clear that shaded-pole instruments have uneven scale, being crowded in the beginning
and open near the end of the scale. However, the non-linearity in the scale can be corrected to
a considerable extent by modifying the shape of the disc i.e., by using cam-shaped disc.
II. Split-phase type. In this method, the windings of the two electromagnets A and B are
connected in parallel across a single phase sup-

ply; an inductive coil L in series with one and a Supply
resistance R in series with the other. The values A
of R and L are so selected that the currents IR
B
IL
through the two windings [See Fig. 16.27] have
a phase difference of nearly 90o. This produces L
R Disc
the deflecting torque on the aluminium disc. The
permanent magnet provides the necessary damp-
ing torque. The controlling torque is provided by
a spiral spring attached to the moving system. As
shown above, the deflecting torque is given by ;
Damping Magnet
Td 1m 2m sin
Both fluxes are proportional to current or Fig. 16.27
voltage to be measured.
Td I2 ...for ammeter
V2 ...for voltmeter
As the instrument is spring controlled, TC .
I2 ...for ammeter
V2 ...for voltmeter
Obviously, the scale of this type of instrument is also non-uniform.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 469
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14. Potentiometer
A potentiometer is an accurate device for measuring the e.m.f. of a cell or potential difference
(p.d.) between two points of an electric circuit.
Principle. If a wire of uniform area of cross-section is carrying a steady current, then fall
of potential across any portion of the wire is directly proportional to the length of that portion.
E Rh
A

K1

E Rh J
A B

l
A C I B
G
K2
V E1

Fig. 16.28 Fig. 16.29


Consider a wire AB of uniform area of X-section and carrying a steady current I as shown
in Fig. 16.28. Consider a portion AC (= l) of this wire. Suppose the p.d. across AC is V i.e. fall
of potential across length l of the wire is V. If A is the area of cross-section of the wire and
is the resistivity of the wire, then,
l
Resistance of portion AC, R =
A
l
Now, V = I R or V = I
A
Since I, and A are constant, V l.
Construction. Fig. 16.29 shows the potentiometer in its simplest form. It consists of a long
uniform wire AB made of manganin stretched on a wooden board. A graduated scale (not shown
in the figure) runs parallel to the wire. The end A of the wire is connected to the positive terminal
of the battery E (driver battery) whose negative terminal is connected to the end B through an
ammeter, rheostat Rh and key K1. The current in wire AB can be changed with the help of the
rheostat. The positive terminal of the cell whose e.m.f. E1 is to be measured is connected to the
end A of the wire. The negative terminal of this cell is connected through a galvanometer G
and key K2 to a jockey J which can slide along the wire AB and can make contact at any point
on the wire. First key K1 is closed and rheostat is set at one position to obtain steady current in
wire AB. Now key K2 is also closed and the jockey is moved over the wire to get the balance
point. The potentiometer is said to be balanced if the jockey is at such a position on the wire
AB that on pressing the jockey, there is no current in the galvanometer.
15. D. C. Potentiometer Measurements
The potentiometer basically measures the potential difference between two points but on
this basis, it can be used to make several other measurements. A few common applications of
potentiometer are given below :
(i) Determination of e.m.f. of a cell. Fig. 16.30 shows the arrangement for determining the
e.m.f. of a cell with the help of a potentiometer. The positive terminal of the cell whose e.m.f.
E1 is to be determined is connected to the positive terminal of the battery E. Following usual
procedure, null point is obtained at point J.
470 Objective Electrical Technology
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At null point, the p.d. between points A and J is equal to the e.m.f. of the cell. If resistance
of 1 cm of wire AB is r and length AJ = l cm, then,
P.D. across A J = I (l r) or E.M.F. of cell, E1 = I l r or E1 = k l
where k (= I r) is the p.d. across 1 cm length of wire AB. Note that E1 l.
Note that potentiometer method is a null method for determining the e.m.f. of a cell.
E E Rh K1
Rh K1
A A

I
I

J J1 J2
A B A B
E1
1
G
3
G 2
K2 E2
E1

Fig. 16.30 Fig. 16.31


(ii) Comparison of e.m.f.s of two cells. Fig. 16.31 shows the arrangement for comparing
the e.m.f.s E1and E2 of two cells with the help of potentiometer. The positive terminals of the
cells (E1 and E2) are connected to the positive terminal of the battery E. The negative terminals
of the cells are connected to terminals 1 and 2 of a two-way key. The common terminal 3 of
the two-way key is connected to the jockey through a galvanometer G.
First null point J1 is obtained with cell E1 alone. Suppose AJ1 = l1. Then E1 l1. Now null
point is obtained with cell E2 alone at point J2. Suppose AJ2 = l2. Then E2 l2.
E1 l
\ = 1
E2 l2
Note. The e.m.f. E of the battery should be greater than the e.m.f. E1 or E2 otherwise null point will
not be obtained. Further, a shunt must be used with the galvanometer initially and near the null point, it
should be removed.
(iii) Determination of internal resistance of a cell. Fig. 16.32 shows the arrangement for
determining the internal resistance (r) of a cell of Battery
Rh K1
e.m.f. E with the help of a potentiometer. The posi- A
tive terminal of the cell is connected to the posi- I
tive terminal of the battery. The negative terminal
of the cell is connected to the jockey through a
galvanometer G. A resistance box R is connected A J2 J1
B
across the cell through key K2.
(a) The key K1 is closed and current in poten- G
E
tiometer wire AB is adjusted to a suitable
constant value (say I) with the help of
rheostat. The setting of the rheostat is not R
to be disturbed throughout the experiment. K2

(b) Keeping key K open, the position of Fig. 16.32


2
jockey is adjusted till null point is obtained, i.e., galvanometer reads zero. Let the null
point be obtained at point J1 on the potentiometer wire and let distance AJ1 = l1.
E.M.F. of cell, E l1
Electrical Measuring Instruments 471
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(c) Now suitable resistance R is inserted and key K2 is closed. Again the position of the null
point is obtained on the potentiometer wire. Now the null point corresponds to the p.d.
V across the terminals of the cell. If the null point is obtained at point J2 and distance
AJ2 = l2, then, P.D. across the cell, V l2.
E l
= 1
V l2

E V E l1 l1 l2
Internal resistance of the cell, r = R = V 1 R = l 1 R = l R
V 2 2
l l
r = 1 2 R
l2
Since the values of l1, l2 and R are known, the value of internal resistance r of the cell can
be determined.
16. Ohmmeter
A device that measures the resistance directly is called an ohmmeter. The simplest direct
reading ohmmeter is the basic series ohmmeter circuit shown in Fig. 16.33 (i). It consists of a
permanent magnet moving coil (PMMC) instrument in series with a battery and a rheostat R.
Note that A and B are the terminals of ohmmeter.
PMMC R
A
M
Infinite Zero
Resistance Ohms Resistance
E Rx 30 k
90 k 10 k
 0
Ohmmeter Scale

(i) B (ii)
Fig. 16.33
(i) With terminals A and B shorted together, R is adjusted for full-scale deflection (f.s.d.).
Since terminals A and B are shorted, the ohmmeter should read zero resistance. Thus
as shown in Fig. 16.33 (ii), the full-scale deflection should read zero resistance.
E
Full-scale deflection current, Ig = (neglecting meter resistance)
R
(ii) When terminals A and B are open-circuited, the pointer should indicate infinity. Therefore
zero deflection point on the scale is marked as infinite resistance [See Fig. 16.33 (ii)].
(iii) When an unknown resistance Rx is connected to terminals A and B, the meter current
Im is
E
Im =
R + Rx
Since the value of Im is more than zero and less than Ig (f.s.d.), the meter will give a
reading between zero and infinity. Thus the value of unknown resistance Rx can be determined.
Note. The circuit shown in Fig. 16.33 (i) relies upon battery voltage remaining absolutely constant.
When the battery terminal voltage falls (as they all do with use), the instrument scale is no longer accurate.
Thus some means of adjusting for battery voltage variations must be built in the circuit.
472 Objective Electrical Technology
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17. Megger
The megohmmeter (or megger) is an instrument for measuring very high resistance such as
the insulation resistance of electrical cables. A megger is essentially an ohmmeter with its own
hand-cranked high voltage generator (See Fig. 16.34). The generated voltage may be anything
from 100 V to 2.5 kV. The high voltage source is required to pass a measurable current through
the high resistance to be measured.
Hand Crank

Cable Under Test 0

Fig. 16.34
As in the case of ohmmeter, the scale of the megger indicates infinity () when its terminals
are open-circuited and zero when the megger terminals are shorted. When the unknown resistance
is connected to megger terminals, it gives the value of resistance between zero and infinity. The
range of the instrument can be changed by switching different values of standard resistor in the
circuit.
18. Wattmeters
A wattmeter, as its name implies, measures electric power given to or developed by an
electric apparatus or circuit. A wattmeter is hardly ever required in a d.c. circuit because power (P =
V I) can be easily determined from voltmeter and ammeter readings. However, in an a.c. circuit,
such a computation is generaly *speaking impossible. It is because in an a.c. circuit, power
(P = V I cos ) depends not only on voltage and current but also on the phase shift between
them. Therefore, a wattmeter is necessary for a.c. power measurement. There are two principal
types of wattmeters viz;
(i) Dynamometer wattmeter for both d.c. and a.c. power
(ii) Induction wattmeter for a.c. power only
19. Dynamometer Wattmeter
A dynamometer wattmeter is almost universally used for the measurement of d.c. as well
as a.c. power. It works on the dynamometer prinicple i.e. mechanical force exists between two
current carrying conductors or coils.
Construction. When a dynamometer instrument is used as a wattmeter, the fixed coils
are connected in series with the load and carry the load current (I1) while the moving coil is
connected across the load through a series multiplier R and carries a current (I2) proportional to
the load voltage as shown in Fig. 16.35. The fixed coil (or coils) is called the current coil and
the movable coil is known as potential coil. The controlling torque is provided by two spiral
springs which also serve the additional purpose of leading current into and out of the moving
coil. Air friction damping is provided in such instruments. A pointer is attached to the movable
coil.
* Except for the case of pure resistance when P = VI ( cos is 1 for pure resistance).
Electrical Measuring Instruments 473
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Current Coil

Fixed Fixed
Coil Coil
I1
R
Potential
Coil
Movable I2
V Load
I1 Coil
I2

V R Multiplier Load

(i) (ii)
Fig. 16.35
Working. When the wattmeter is connected in the circuit to measure power (See Fig. 16.35),
the current coil carries the load current and potential coil carries current proportional to the load
voltage. Due to currents in the coils, mechanical force exists between them. The result is that
movable coil moves the pointer over the scale. The pointer comes to rest at a position where
deflecting torque is equal to the controlling torque. Reversal of current reverses currents in both
the fixed coils and the movable coil so that the direction of deflecting torque remains unchanged.
Hence, such instruments can be used for the measurement of d.c. as well as a.c. power.
Deflecting torque. We shall now prove that deflecting torque is proportional to load power
in a d.c. as well as a.c. circuit.
(i) Consider that the wattmeter is connected in a d.c. circuit to measure power as shown
in Fig. 16.35 (ii). The power taken by the load is V I1.
Deflecting torque, Td I1 I2
Since I2 is directly proportional to V,
Deflecting torque, Td V I1 load power
(ii) Consider that the wattmeter is connected in an a.c. circuit to measure power. Suppose at any
instant, current through the load is i and voltage across the load is v. Let the load power factor be
cos lagging. Then,
v = Vm sin ; i = m sin ( )
Instantaneous deflecting torque vi
The pointer cannot follow the rapid changes in the instantaneous power owing to the large
inertia of the moving system. Hence the instrument indicates the mean or average power.
Average deflecting torque, Td Average of vi over a cycle
1 2

2 0
Vm I m sin sin ( ) d

V I
m m cos V I cos
2
Td load power
Thus whether the instrument is used to measure d.c. or a.c. power, deflecting torque is
proportional to load power.
474 Objective Electrical Technology
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Since the instrument is spring-controlled, TC .


In the steady position of deflection, Td = TC .
load power
Hence such instruments have uniform scale.
Errors. A wattmeter may not give true reading due to several errors such as (i) error due
to connection of potential coil circuit (ii) error due to inductance of potential coil (iii) error due
to capacitance in potential coil circuit (iv) error due to stray fields and (v) error due to eddy
currents.
20. Induction Wattmeters
The induction type wattmeter can be used to measure a.c. power only in contrast to
dynamometer wattmeter which can be used to measure d.c. as well as a.c. power. The principle
of operation of an induction wattmeter is the same as that of induction ammeter and voltmeter
i.e. induction principle.
However, it differs from induction ammeter or voltmeter in so far that two seperate coils are
used to produce the rotating magnetic field in place of one coil with split phase arrangement.
Fig. 16.36 shows the physical arrangement of the various parts of an induction wattmeter.
Construction. Fig. 16.36 shows the principal parts of an induction wattmeter.
(i) It consists of two laminated electromagnets. One electromagnet, called shunt magnet is
connected across the supply and carries current proportional to the supply voltage. The coil of
this magnet is made highly inductive so that the current (and hence the flux produced) in it lags
behind the supply voltage by 90. The other electromagnet, called series magnet is connected
in series with the supply and carries the load current. The coil of this magnet is made highly
non-inductive so that angle of lag or lead is wholly determined by the load.

Shunt Magnet
Copper Shading Ring

IV

Supply Load
Aluminium
Disc

IC
Series
Magnet

Fig. 16.36
(ii) A thin aluminium disc mounted on the spindle is placed between the two magnets so
that it cuts the flux of both the magnets. The controlling torque is provided by spiral springs.
The damping is electro-magnetic and is usually provided by a permanent magnet embracing the
aluminium disc (See Fig. 16.37). Two or more closed copper rings (called shading rings) are
provided on the central limb of the shunt magnet. By adjusting the position of these rings, the
shunt magnet flux can be made to lag behind the supply voltage by exactly 90.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 475
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Working. When the wattmeter


is connected in the circuit (See Fig. Spring
16.36) to measure a.c. power, the shunt
Permanent
magnet carries current proportional Magnet
to the supply voltage and the series
magnet carries the load current. The
two fluxes produced by the magnets
induce eddy currents in the aluminium
Shunt
disc. The interaction between the Magnet
fluxes and eddy currents produces the
deflecting torque on the disc, causing
the pointer connected to the moving Aluminium Disc
system to move over the scale. The Series
Magnet
pointer comes to rest at a position
where deflecting torque is equal to the
controlling torque. Fig. 16.37
Let V = supply voltage
IV = current carried by shunt magnet
IC = current carried by series magnet
cos = lagging power factor of the load
The phasor diagram is shown in Fig. 16.38. The current IV V
in the shunt magnet lags the supply voltage V by 90 and so does
the flux V produced by it. The current IC in the series magnet is IC

the load current and hence lags behind the supply voltage V by
. The flux C produced by this current (i.e. IC) is in phase with it.
It is clear that phase angle between the two fluxes is 90 i.e.
C

= 90o
Mean deflecting torque, Td V C sin ...See section 12 90 
VI sin (90 ) IV
V
[ V V and C I]
V I cos Fig. 16.38
a.c. power
Since the instrument is spring controlled, TC .
For steady deflected position, Td = TC .
a.c. power
Hence such instruments have uniform scale.
Application. Due to low accuracy and high power consumption, the characteristics of induction
wattmeters are inferior to those of dynamometer wattmeters. For this reason, dynamometer
wattmeters are almost universally used for the measurement of a.c. as well as d.c. power. However,
induction wattmeters have their chief application as panel instruments where the variations in
frequency are not too much.
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21. Single Phase Induction Watthour Meter


Single phase induction watthour meters (or energy meters) are extensively used for the
measurement of electrical energy in a.c. circuits. One can find such meters installed in homes.
An induction watthour meter is essentially an induction wattmeter with control spring and pointer
removed but brake magnet and counting mechanism provided.
Construction. Fig. 16.39 shows the various parts of a single-phase induction watthour meter.
(i) It consists of (a) two a.c. electromagnets; the series magnet and shunt magnet (b) an
aluminium disc or rotor placed between the two electromagnets (c) brake magnet and
(d) counting mechanism.

Shunt Magnet Recording


Mechanism

P. F. Compen-
sator

Load
Supply
Brake
Magnet

Disc

Series Magnet

Fig. 16.39
(ii) The shunt magnet is wound with a fine wire of many turns and is connected across the
supply so that it carries current proportional to the supply voltage. Since the coil of
shunt magnet is highly *inductive, the current (and hence the flux) in it lags the supply
voltage by 90.
The series magnet is wound with a heavy wire of few turns and is connected in series with
the load so that it carries the load current. The coil of this magnet is highly non-inductive so
that angle of lag or lead is determined wholly by the load.
(iii) A thin aluminium disc mounted on the spindle is placed between the shunt and series
magnets so that it cuts the fluxes of both the magnets.
(iv) The braking torque is obtained by placing a permanent magnet near the rotating disc
so that the disc rotates in the field established by the permanent magnet. Eddy currents
induced in the disc produce a braking or retarding torque that is proportional to the disc
speed.
(v) A short-circuited copper loop (also known as power factor compensator) is provided on
the central limb of the shunt magnet. By adjusting the position of this loop, the shunt
magnet flux can be made to lag behind the supply voltage exactly by 90.
Frictional compensation is obtained by means of two adjustable short-circuited loops placed
in the leakage gaps of the shunt magnet. Geared to the rotating element is counting mechanism
which indicates the energy consumed directly in kilowatthours (kWh).

* The coil has a very large number of turns and the reluctance of its magnetic circuit is very small due to the
presence of small air gaps. This makes the coil highly inductive.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 477
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Theory. When induction watthour meter is connected in the circuit to measure energy, the
shunt magnet carries current proportional to the supply voltage and the series magnet carries the
load current. Therefore, expression for the driving torque is the same as for induction wattmeter.
Referring back to the phasor diagram in Fig. 16.38,
Driving torque, Td V C sin
V I sin (sin 90 )
VI cos
power
The braking torque is due to the eddy currents induced in the aluminium disc. Since the
magnitude of eddy currents is proportional to the disc speed, the braking torque will also be
proportional to the disc speed i.e.,
Braking torque, *TB n (i.e. disc speed)
For steady speed of rotation, Td = TB.
Power n
Multiplying both sides by t, the time for which power is supplied,
Power t n t
or Energy N
where N (= nt) is the total number of revolutions in time t.
The counting mechanism is so arranged that the meter indicates kilowatthours (kWh) directly
and not the revolutions.
Meter Constant. We have seen above that :
N Energy
or N = K Energy
where K is a constant called meter constant.
N No. of revolutions
Meter constant, K = =
Energy kWh
Hence the number of revolutions made by the disc for 1 kWh of energy consumption is called
meter constant.
The meter constant is always written on the name plates of the energy meters installed in
homes, commercial and industrial establishments. If the meter constant of an energy meter is
1500 rev/kWh, it means that for consumption of 1 kWh, the disc will make 1500 revolutions.
22. Errors in Induction Watthour Meter
The users of electrical energy are charged according to the readings of the energy meters
installed in their premises. It is, therefore, very important that construction and design of energy
meters should be such as to ensure long-time accuracy i.e., they should give correct readings over
a period of several years under normal use conditions. Some of the common errors in energy
meters and their remedial measures are discussed below :
(i) Phasor error. The meter will read correctly only if the shunt magnet flux lags behind
the supply voltage by exactly 90. Since the shunt magnet coil has some resistance and is not
* Let = flux of permanent magnet ; disc speed = n
E.M.F. induced in the disc, e n
If R is the resistance of the eddy current path, then, i = e/R n/R.
Braking torque, TB i 2 n/R
The braking mechanism is so designed that and R are constant. Therefore, TB n.
478 Objective Electrical Technology
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completely reactive, the shunt magnet flux does not lag the supply voltage by exactly 90o. The
result is that the meter will not read correctly at all power factors.
Adjustment. The flux in the shunt magnet can be made to lag behind the supply voltage by
exactly 90 by adjusting the position of the shading coil placed around the lower part of the
central limb of the shunt magnet. A current is induced in the shading coil by the shunt magnet
flux and causes a further displacement of the flux. By moving the shading coil up or down the
limb, the displacement between shunt magnet flux and the supply voltage can be adjusted to
90. This adjustment is known as lag adjustment or power factor adjustment.
(ii) Speed error. Sometimes the speed of the disc of the meter is either fast or slow, result-
ing in the wrong recording of energy consumption.
Adjustment. The speed of the disc of the energy meter can be adjusted to the desired value
by changing the position of the brake magnet. If the brake magnet is moved towards the centre
of the spindle, the braking torque is reduced and the disc speed is *increased. Reverse would
happen should the brake magnet be moved away from the centre of the spindle.
(iii) Frictional error. Frictional forces at the rotor bearings and in the counting mechanism
cause noticeable error especially at light loads. At light loads, the torque due to friction adds
considerably to the braking torque. Since friction torque is not proportional to the speed but is
roughly constant, it can cause considerable error in the meter reading.
Adjustment. In order to compensate for this error, it is necessary to provide a constant addition
to the driving torque that is equal and opposite to the friction torque. This is produced by means
of two adjustable short-circuited loops placed in the leakage gaps of the shunt magnet. These
loops upset the symmetry of the leakage flux and produce a small torque to oppose the friction
torque. This adjustment is known as light-load adjustment. The loops are adjusted so that when
no current is passing through the current coil (i.e. exciting coil of the series magnet), the torque
produced is just sufficient to overcome the friction in the system, without actually rotating the disc.
(iv) Creeping. Sometimes the disc of the meter makes slow but continuous rotation at no
load i.e., when potential coil is excited but with no current flowing in the load. This is called
creeping. This error may be caused due to overcompensation for friction, excessive supply volt-
age, vibrations, stray magnetic fields etc.
Adjustment. In order to prevent this creeping, two diametrically opposite holes are drilled in
the disc. This causes sufficient distortion of the field. The result is that the disc tends to remain
stationary when one of the holes comes under one of the poles of the shunt magnet.
(v) Temperature error. Since watthour meters are frequently required to operate in outdoor
installations and are subject to extreme temperatures, the effects of temperature and their com-
pensation are very important. The resistance of the disc, of the potential coil and characteristics
of magnetic circuit and the strength of brake magnet are affected by the changes in temperature.
Therefore, great care is exercised in the design of the meter to eliminate the errors due to tem-
perature variations.
(vi) Frequency variations. The meter is designed to give minimum error at a particular
frequency (generally 50 Hz). If the supply frequency changes, the reactance of the coils also
changes, resulting in a small error. Fortunately, this is not of much significance because com-
mercial frequencies are held within close limits.
(vii) Voltage variations. The shunt magnet flux will increase with an increase in voltage. The
driving torque is proportional to the first power of flux whereas braking torque is proportional
* Moving the brake magnet inwards means that speed of the part of disc under the pole face of brake magnet
will be less. This results in the lesser induced voltage in the disc and hence reduced braking torque.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 479
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to the square of the flux. Therefore, if the supply voltage is higher than the normal value, the
braking torque will increase much more than the driving torque and vice-versa. The result is
that the meter has the tendency to run slow at higher than normal voltages and fast at reduced
voltages. However, the effect is small for most of the meters and is not more than 0.2% to 0.3%
for a voltage change of 10% from the rated value. The small error due to voltage variations can
be eliminated by the proper design of the magnetic circuit of the shunt magnet.

SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS


Q. 1. When is indicating instrument said to be dead-beat?
Ans. If the degree of damping is adjusted to such a value that the pointer comes up to the correct
reading quickly without passing it or oscillating about it, the instrument is said to be dead-
beat or critically damped.
Q. 2. What do you mean by a linear scale and squared scale?
Ans. (i) Linear scale is not necessarily straight as the name implies but is usually in the form of
an arc. It is called linear (or uniform) to denote that it is evenly graduated over the whole
length of the arc with equal sub-divisions.
(ii) When the deflecting torque is directly proportional to the square of the quantity (current
or voltage) to be measured and the instrument is spring controlled, we get a squared
scale. The characteristic of this scale is that it is crowded in the beginning and spread
out near the finish end of the scale.
Note. Except permanent-magnet moving coil instrument and dynamometer wattmeters, all other
indicating instruments have squared scale.
Q. 3. Why should an ammeter have low resistance?
Ans. An ammeter is used to measure current in a circuit. It is thus connected in series with the
circuit under test so that current to be measured or a fraction of it passes through the instrument
itself. Its resistance must therefore be as small as possible :
(i) since power wasted in the instrument is given by I m2 Rm where Im is the meter current
and Rm is the meter resistance.
(ii) so that it does not increase the resistance of the circuit into which it is inserted.
Q. 4. Why should a voltmeter have high resistance?
Ans. A voltmeter is used to measure the potential difference between two points of a circuit. It is
thus connected in parallel with the circuit or some part of the circuit. A voltmeter must have
high resistance so that :
(i) it is not injured by the current that flows through it.
(ii) power wasted is small as the same is given by V2/R.
(iii) it will not materially affect the current in the circuit to which it is connected.
Q. 5. What is DArsonval movement?
Ans. This movement was first conceived by French Physicist Arsene dArsonval in 1881. This
movement is due to force acting on a current carrying conductor placed in the magnetic field
of permanent magnet. This movement is so sensitive and accurate that engineers always try
to devise methods to use this movement in measurements.
Q. 6. Why is eddy current damping not provided in dynamometer type instruments?
Ans. Since the coils of dynamometer instrument are air-cored, the operating magnetic field is very
weak. For this reason, eddy current damping cannot be provided. We provide air friction
damping in such instruments.
480 Objective Electrical Technology
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Q. 7. Why is dynamometer type instrument chiefly used as a wattmeter?


Ans. Dynamometer instruments are very costly. When used as ammeters and voltmeters, their
performance is inferior to moving coil and moving-iron instruments. For this reason,
dynamometer ammeters and voltmeters are rarely used. However, dynamometer wattmeter
is universally used for the measurement of d.c. as well a.c. power. The main reason is that
the scale is uniform and high degree of accuracy can be achieved by careful design. Keeping
in view these features, extra cost is justified.
Q. 8. Can you list any situation where dynamometer ammeter or voltmeter is used?
Ans. Dynamometer instruments are common as wattmeters but are seldom used as general purpose
voltmeters or ammeters. The principal use of dynamometer ammeters and voltmeters is as
transfer instruments i.e. when the instrument is required to read both direct and alternating
currents as in the case of a.c. potentiometer.
Q. 9. Why are moving-iron instruments not used for d.c. work?
Ans. The moving-iron instruments are principally used for alternating current and voltage
measurements. They can also be used for d.c. work but then they are liable to small errors
due to residual magnetism in iron. The residual magnetism can yield either an additive or a
subtractive error. Thus a second reading should be made with leads interchanged when the
meter is used on d.c. circuits. The average of the two readings gives the true value. For this
reason, moving-iron instruments are primarily used in a.c. circuits at power line frequencies.
Q. 10. What is the advantage of a squared scale over a linear scale?
Ans. In a squared scale, the deflection is proportional to the square of the coil current. If the full-
scale deflection is 100 V, the centre scale calibration is 70.7 V instead of 50 V found on a
linear scale. This spread out scale in the upper region is often very useful when the values
of current and voltage tend to fluctuate about particular values. For instance, if line voltage
fluctuates between 220 V and 230 V, it can be monitored more accurately on a squared scale
meter than on a linear scale if both meters have a full-scale deflection of 250 V.
Q. 11. Why is eddy current damping not provided in moving-iron instruments?
Ans. Eddy current damping is not provided in moving-iron instruments because the presence
of permanent magnet required for the purpose would affect the magnetic field due to the
operating coil of the instrument. This will, in turn, affect the reading of the instrument. Air
friction damping is provided in such instruments.
Q. 12. Why are shunts not used to extend the range of moving-iron ammeters?
Ans. Shunts are not used to extend the range of moving-iron ammeters. It is because the division
of current between the operating coil and the shunt varies with frequency (since reactance of
the coil depends upon frequency). In practice, the range of a moving-iron ammeter is extended
by one of the following two methods :
(i) By changing the number of turns of the operating coil.
(ii) By using a current transformer in conjunction with an a.c. ammeter.
Q. 13. Why are dynamometer instruments insensitive?
Ans. In a dynamometer type instrument, fixed coils as well as moving coil produces magnetic
field. Since energy must be used to create two magnetic fields, such instruments are generally
insensitive. Moreover, the power required for a full-scale deflection in such instruments is
much greater than that required for permanent magnet moving-coil instruments.
Q. 14. Why is the pointer of a dynamometer wattmeter in the form of a triangular truss?
Ans. The pointer of a dynamometer wattmeter is generally a triangular truss with a thin tip mounted
at the end. This construction has the following advantages :
Electrical Measuring Instruments 481
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(i) It makes the pointer strong without making it heavy.


(ii) The natural frequency of vibration is kept well outside that of the power at any commercial
frequency, and so steady readings are always obtainable.
Q. 15. What is the practical application of a hot-wire instrument?
Ans. Hot-wire instruments are used for high-frequency alternating currents (e.g. in wireless work)
because the inductance of hot wire is very small. Dynamometer or moving-iron instruments
are unsuitable at such high frequencies.
Q. 16. Why is an electrostatic instrument not used as an ammeter?
Ans. An electrostatic instrument is based on the principle that an electric force (attraction or
repulsion) exists between two charged plates or objects. It is essentially an air condenser ;
one plate is fixed while the other, which is coupled to the pointer, is free to rotate on jewelled
bearings. When p.d. to be measured is applied across the plates, the electric force between
the plates gives rise to a deflecting torque.
When used as an ammeter, there will be a few millivolts voltage across the instrument. This
extremely small p.d. is insufficient to produce any deflecting torque. For this reason, an
electrostatic instrument cannot be used as an ammeter. It is only used as a voltmeter.
Q. 17. Why does an electrostatic voltmeter give very accurate reading?
Ans. An electrostatic voltmeter draws negligible current when connected in the circuit. Hence
such a voltmeter does not alter the conditions of the circuit to which it is connected. In other
words, an electrostatic voltmeter gives very accurate readings.
Q. 18. Why are wattmeters shielded?
Ans. A wattmeter is generally of dynamometer type. Since dynamometer movement employs
air-cored coils, the operating magnetic field is quite weak and is easily affected by the stray
magnetic fields. Stray field errors can be reduced by enclosing the wattmeter in an iron case.
The iron case has a magnetic screening effect.
Q. 19. Why are dynamometer wattmeters always preferred to induction wattmeters for a.c. power
measurements?
Ans. Due to low accuracy and high power consumption, the characteristics of induction wattmeters
are inferior to that of dynamometer wattmeters. For this reason, dynamometer wattmeters
are almost universally used for the measurement of a.c. as well as d.c. power. However,
induction wattmeters have their chief application as panel instruments where the variations
in frequency are not too much.
Q. 20. What is the chief advantage of hot wire-instruments?
Ans. The chief advantage of the hot-wire instruments is that the deflection depends upon the r.m.s.
value of current in the hot-wire whatever the waveform and frequency. Thus, a hot-wire
ammeter can be calibrated with d.c. but used for measuring alternating currents. The same
applies to a hot-wire voltmeter provided its series resistance (i.e. multiplier) is non-inductive.
Q. 21. Why are moving-iron and dynamometer instruments not suitable for high-frequency
applications?
Ans. At high frequencies, the reactance of the operating coil/coils may become so high that the
instrument does not draw any current. Consequently, readings cannot be taken.
Q. 22. All indicating instruments except permanent-magnet moving coil and dynamometer wattmeter
have squared scale. Why?
Ans. (i) Permanent-magnet moving coil instruments have linear scale as they incorporate a
permanent magnet having a constant field which reacts with the current passing through
482 Objective Electrical Technology
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the moving coil and, therefore, the torque or motive power required to rotate the coil
varies directly with the value of this current.
(ii) A dynamometer wattmeter has two coils viz fixed coil and a moving coil. The fixed coil is
designed to carry the line current or a fraction of it while the moving coil carries current
proportional to load voltage. Since one flux is proportional to load current and the other
is proportional to load voltage, the torque on the pointer is directly proportional to load
power.
(iii) In all other types of indicating instruments, the scale is non-linear. It is because these
meters have no constant auxiliary source of energy, such as the permanent magnet of the
moving coil meter and, therefore, the torque at any instant is proportional to the energy
in the coil (I2Rt) i.e. it is proportional to the square of current in the coil. Hence, such
instruments have a squared scale; being crowded in the beginning and spread out at the
finishing end of the scale.
Q. 23. What is a multirange ammeter?
Ans. A multirange ammeter is constructed simply by employing several values of shunt resistors,
with a rotary switch to select the desired range. Fig. 16.40 (i) shows the circuit of a multirange
switch.
M

Rs1

B
C
Rs2 C B

D
Rs3 D A
E

Rs4 E A

(i) (ii)
Fig. 16.40
While using a multirange ammeter, care must be taken to ensure that shunt does not become
open-circuited, even for a brief instant. If the shunt is open-circuited even for a brief instant,
a large current will flow through the meter and will result in its destruction. For this reason,
make-before-break switch is used [See Fig. 16.40 (ii)]. The wide-ended moving contact
connects to the next terminal before it loses contact with the previous terminal. Thus during
switching time, there are two shunts in parallel and an open-circuited shunt is avoided.
Q. 24. What is a multirange voltmeter? R1
Ans. Fig. 16.41 shows the circuit of a
multirange voltmeter. Any one of the A
B
C
R2 rm
several multiplier resistors (R1, R2 and M
R3) is selected by means of a rotary D R 3
switch.
Unlike the case of the ammeter, the
rotary switch used with the voltmeter V
should be a break-before-make type i.e.
the moving contact should disconnect Fig. 16.41
from one terminal before connecting to the next terminal.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 483
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Q. 25. Consider two meters A and B of the same physical size that have full-scale deflection current
of 20 A. The resistance of meter A is 1500 and that of B is 200 . Which meter will be
costlier?
Ans. The full-scale deflection voltage of A = 20 A 1500 = 30 mV and that of B = 20 A
200 = 4 mV. The power input required for full deflection of A = 0.03 V 20 A = 0.6 W
and that for B = 0.004 V 20 A = 0.08 W. Meter B requires about one-eighth of power
needed to operate meter A. Accordingly meter B is more sensitive than meter A. Since the
operating power requirements are different, the construction of meter B is necessarily more
delicate than that of meter A. As a result, the cost of meter B is greater.
Q. 26. A potentiometer is equivalent to a voltmeter of infinite resistance. Discuss.
Ans. When the e.m.f. of a cell is measured by a potentiometer, then at null point, the current through
the cell is zero, i.e. the cell is on open circuit. Therefore, we get the actual value of e.m.f.
of the cell. If the above condition is to be realised with a voltmeter, it should have inifinite
resistance.
Q. 27. A potentiometer measures exact p.d. while voltmeter does not. Explain.
Ans. The potentiometer method is a null method. At null point, no current flows in the circuit
under measurement. Hence, potentiometer measures the exact p.d. On the other hand, when
a voltmeter is connected to measure p.d. across a component (say a resistor), a part of current
is drawn by the voltmeter. As a result, current through the component decreases. Hence, p.d.
being measured by the voltmeter is slightly less than the actual value.
Q. 28. Sometimes balance point is not obtained on potentiometer wire. Why?
Ans. It is because the p.d. under measurement is greater than the potential drop across the
potentiometer wire. In that case, the driver battery of large e.m.f. should be used.
Q. 29. For measuring p.d. by a voltmeter, deflection of the instrument is noted. When measuring
p.d. by a potentiometer, null point position on the potentiometer wire is noted. In which case
error of measurement will be less?
Ans. The error will be less in case of potentiometer. Let us explain this point. When p.d. is measured
by a voltmeter, there can be some error in reading the deflection. However, in reading the
null-point position in a potentiometer, there can be a maximum error of 1mm. Suppose the
potentiometer wire is 2m long and is connected to a cell of e.m.f. 2V. Then potential gradient
along the wire per mm will be 2/2000 = 0.001 V. Thus, the maximum error in measuring the
p.d. will be 0.001 V. This error can be further reduced by using a longer potentiometer wire.
Q. 30. Why should the cross-section of potentiometer wire be uniform?
Ans. If the cross-section of potentiometer wire is not uniform, then potential gradient will not be
same at all places on the potentiometer wire. Consequently, the measured value of potential
difference will not be correct.

Objective Questions
1. An ammeter is ............... instrument. (iii) increases (iv) none of the above
(i) an indicating (ii) an integrating 3. When the pointer of an indicating instru-
(iii) a recording (iv) none of the above ment comes to rest in the final deflected
2. The controlling torque of an indicating position, ...............
instrument ............... as the deflection of (i) only controlling torque acts
the moving system increases. (ii) only deflecting torque acts
(i) remains unchanged (iii) both deflecting and controlling torques
(ii) decreases act
484 Objective Electrical Technology
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(iv) none of the above (iii) it is spring controlled


4. When the pointer of an indicating instru- (iv) it has no hysteresis loss
ment is in motion, then deflecting torque 11. Shunts are generally made of ...............
is opposed by .............. (i) copper (ii) aluminium
(i) controlling torque only (iii) silver (iv) manganin
(ii) damping torque only 12. The range of a permanent-magnet moving
(iii) both damping & controlling torques coil instrument is 0-10 A. If the full-scale
(iv) none of the above deflection current of the meter is 2 mA,
5. The pointer of an indicating instrument is then multiplying power of the shunt is
generally made of ............... ...............
(i) copper (ii) aluminium (i) 2500 (ii) 10000
(iii) silver (iv) soft steel (iii) 5000 (iv) none of the above
6. When the pointer of an indicating instru- 13. A moving coil instrument having meter
ment is in the final deflected position resistance of 5 is to be used as a volt-
,............... meter of range 0-100 V. If the full-scale
(i) deflecting torque is zero deflection current is 10 mA, then required
(ii) controlling torque is zero series resistance is ...............
(iii) damping torque is zero (i) 20 (ii) 1000
(iv) both deflecting & controlling torques (iii) 9995 (iv) none of the above
are zero 14. The multiplying power of the shunt of a
7. In eddy current damping, disc or former milliammeter is 8. If the circuit current is
is made of a material that is a ............... 200 mA, then current through the meter
(i) conductor but non-magnetic is ...............
(ii) conductor but magnetic (i) 200 mA (ii) 25 mA
(iii) non-conductor and non-magnetic (iii) 1600 mA (iv) none of the above
(iv) non-conductor but magnetic 15. The material of the shunt should have
8. In general, fluid friction damping is not ............... temperature co-efficient of re-
employed in indicating instruments al- sistance.
though one can find its use in ............... (i) negligible (ii) positive
(i) dynamometer wattmeter (iii) negative (iv) none of the above
(ii) hot-wire ammeter 16. A small swamping resistance is put in
(iii) induction type energy meter series with operating coil of a moving
(iv) Kelvin electrostatic voltmeter coil ammeter in order to compensate for
the effects of ...............
9. Permanent-magnet moving coil instrument
can be used for ............... (i) temperature variations
(i) a.c. work only (ii) d.c. work only (ii) external magnetic fields
(iii) both d.c. and a.c. work (iii) hysteresis loss (iv) none of the above
(iv) none of the above 17. A moving coil voltmeter gives full-scale
deflection of 100 V for a meter current of
10. The scale of a permanent-magnet mov-
1 mA. For 45 V reading, the meter current
ing coil instrument is uniform because
will be ...............
...............
(i) of effective eddy current damping (i) 0.45 mA (ii) 1.45 mA
(ii) external magnetic fields have no effect (iii) 2.22 mA (iv) none of the above
Electrical Measuring Instruments 485
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18. Dynamometer type instruments can be 27. The full-scale voltage across a moving
used for ............... coil voltmeter is about ...............
(i) a.c. work only (ii) d.c. work only (i) 10 V (ii) 5 V
(iii) both d.c. and a.c. work (iii) 100 V (iv) 50 mV
(iv) none of the above 28. Moving-iron instruments have ...............
19. A dynamometer instrument is chiefly used scale.
as a ............... (i) uniform (ii) squared
(i) d.c. ammeter (ii) d.c. voltmeter (iii) log (iv) none of the above
(iii) wattmeter (iv) none of the above 29. The range of a moving-iron a.c. ammeter
20. In a dynamometer type instrument, damp- is extended by ...............
ing is provided by ............... (i) a shunt (ii) a multiplier
(i) air friction (ii) eddy currents (iii) changing number of turns of operating
(iii) fluid friction (iv) none of the above coil
21. Dynamometer type ............... has uniform (iv) none of the above
scale. 30. To measure high-frequency currents, we
(i) ammeter (ii) wattmeter mostly use ............... ammeter.
(iii) voltmeter (iv) none of the above (i) hot-wire (ii) dynamometer
22. The instrument in which springs provide (iii) moving-iron (iv) thermocouple
the controlling torque as well as serve to 31. For the measurement of high direct volt-
lead current into and out of the operating age (say 10 kV), one would use ...............
coil is ............... instrument. voltmeter.
(i) moving-iron (ii) hot-wire (i) permanent-magnet moving coil
(iii) permanent-magnet moving coil (ii) electrostatic
(iv) none of the above (iii) hot-wire (iv) moving iron
23. If current through the operating coil of 32. ............... movement is most expensive.
a moving-iron instrument is doubled, the (i) DArsonval (ii) Moving-iron
operating force becomes ............... (iii) Dynamometer
(i) two times (ii) four times (iv) None of the above
(iii) one-half time (iv) three times 33. Electrostatic instruments are used as
24. The full-scale deflection current of a mov- ............
ing coil instrument is about ............... (i) voltmeters only (ii) ammeters only
(i) 50 mA (ii) 1 A (iii) both ammeters and voltmeters
(iii) 3 A (iv) 2 A (iv) wattmeters only
25. For measuring high values of alternating 34. An electric pyrometer is an instrument
current with a dynamometer ammeter, we used to measure ...............
use a ...............
(i) phase (ii) frequency
(i) shunt (ii) multiplier
(iii) high temperatures
(iii) potential transformer
(iv) none of the above
(iv) current transformer
35. The best type of meter movement is
26. Hot-wire instruments have ............... scale. ............... movement.
(i) uniform (ii) log (i) iron-vane (ii) DArsonval
(iii) squared (iv) none of the above (iii) dynamometer (iv) none of the above
486 Objective Electrical Technology
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36. ...............instruments are most sensitive. (i) 0 A (ii) 5 A


(i) Moving-iron (ii) Hot-wire (iii) 2.5 A (iv) none of above
(iii) Dynamometer 46. In the above question, if the meter remains
(iv) Permanent-magnet moving coil connected in the circuit for some time,
37. In induction type ammeter, ............... (i) meter pointer gives full-scale deflection
damping is provided. (ii) meter pointer starts oscillating
(i) air friction (ii) eddy current (iii) meter coil is burnt
(iii) fluid friction (iv) none of the above (iv) none of above
38. The most commonly used induction type 47. If in question 45, the frequency of a.c. is
instrument is ............... 0.1 Hz, the pointer will
(i) induction voltmeter (i) rise from zero and then fall back
(ii) induction wattmeter (ii) read zero
(iii) induction watt-hour meter (iii) read full-scale (iv) none of the above
(iv) induction ammeter 48. On a simple ohmmeter, the infinity
39. All voltmeters except ............... voltmeters mark is ............... of the scale.
are operated by the passage of current. (i) far left (ii) far right
(i) moving-iron (ii) electrostatic (iii) in the middle (iv) none of above
(iii) dynamometer 49. The instrument used in an ohmmeter is
(iv) permanent-magnet moving coil generally
40. The watt-hour meter is ............... instru- (i) moving-iron type
ment. (ii) hot-wire type
(i) an integrating (ii) an indicating (iii) permanent magnetic moving coil type
(iii) a recording (iv) a transfer (iv) dynamometer type
41. Indicating instruments are assumed to be 50. When the terminals of a series ohmmeter
most accurate ............... part of scale. are open-circuited, the pointer reads
(i) at beginnig (ii) at finishing (i) zero (ii) infinity
(iii) at half of full (iv) none of the above (iii) a high resistance
42. ............... meter will be the most sensitive. (iv) none of the above
(i) 50 mA (ii) 100 A 51. Out of the following, the most accurate
(iii) 50 A (iv) 1 A measurement of unknown resistance will
43. On a simple ohmmeter, the 0 mark is be by
............... of the scale. (i) potentiometer (ii) ohmmeter
(i) far left (ii) far right (iii) voltmeter and ammeter
(iii) in the middle (iv) none of the above (iv) Wheatstone bridge
44. If a wattmeter connected in circuit gives 52. A 50 V range voltmeter has a sensitivity
down scale reading, then we normally of 20 k/V. The total resistance of the
change connections of ........... voltmeter is
(i) current coil (ii) potential coil (i) 2.5 k (ii) 0.4 k
(iii) both current and potential coils (iii) 10 k (iv) 1 M
(iv) none of above 53. Fig. 16.42 shows voltmeter-ammeter
45. A permanent magnet moving coil ammeter method of measuring the value of resis-
is connected in 50 Hz a.c. circuit in which tance R. This method is used to measure
5A current is flowing. The meter will read R if its value is
Electrical Measuring Instruments 487
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(i) 20 k (ii) 10 k
(iii) 30 k (iv) 40 k
Rv V R 57. In Fig. 16.44, the resistor r is for
(i) zero adjustment (ii) meter protection
A
(iii) battery protection
Ra
(iv) none of above
Fig. 16.42 58. The scale of an ohmmeter is
(i) very low (i) linear (ii) non-linear
(ii) very high and moderate (iii) linear and non-linear
(iii) cannot say (iv) none of above (iv) none of above
54. Fig. 16.43 shows voltmeter-ammeter 59. Fig. 16.45 shows a permanent magnet
method of measuring the value of resis- moving coil (PMMC) voltmeter having
tance R. This method is used to measure range of 100 V. The coil resistance is
R if its value is 100 and full-scale deflection current
is 50 A. What is the value of voltmeter
sensitivity?
Rv V R R G = 100 
M
A
Ra Ig = 50 A

Fig. 16.43
V
(i) very low
Fig. 16.45
(ii) high and moderate
(i) 10 k/V (ii) 30 k/V
(iii) cannot say (iv) none of above
(iii) 40 k/V (iv) 20 k/V
55. The series ohmmeter shown in Fig. 16.44 is
made up of a 3 V battery, a 100 A meter 60. In the above question, what is the voltmeter
and a resistance r which has a fixed value sensitivity if the range is 50 V?
of 30 k. What is the value of unknown (i) 10 k/V (ii) 30 k/V
resistance R, when the pointer indicates (iii) 20 k/V (iv) 40 k/V
half full-scale deflection? 61. In the circuit shown in Fig. 16.46, what is
the voltage across R2 without the voltmeter
in the circuit?
I2 + Iv

R1 100 k
Iv
E = 100 V A
I2
Range = 2 V
R2 1k V Sensitivity
Fig. 16.44
= 1 k / V
(i) 20 k (ii) 60 k
B
(iii) 30 k (iv) 40 k
Fig. 16.46
56. In the above question, what is the value
of R if pointer indicates 3/4th full-scale (i) 1.2 V (ii) 0.77 V
deflection? (iii) 0.36 V (iv) 0.99 V
488 Objective Electrical Technology
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62. In the above question, what is the voltage (iii) more than actual load power
across R2 with voltmeter connected in the (iv) none of the above
circuit?
(i) 0.66 V (ii) 0.36 V
(iii) 0.75 V (iv) 0.84 V A

63. In the circuit shown in Fig. 16.47, what



is the value of unknown resistor R? The WM

voltmeter reads 4 V. Line V Load

R 10 k
V
4V
I Fig. 16.48
120 V 69. In Fig. 16.48, the ammeter reading will
be
(i) equal to the load current
Fig. 16.47
(ii) more than the load current
(i) 110 k (ii) 290 k
(iii) less than the load current
(iii) 134 k (iv) 245 k
(iv) cannot be predicted
64. In the above question, a voltmeter is used
70. A dynamometer wattmeter with its voltage
instead of ammeter. It is because
coil connected across the load side reads
(i) voltmeter has high resistance 192 W (See Fig. 16.49). The load voltage
(ii) voltmeter sensitivity is low is 208 V and the resistance of potential coil
(iii) the value of R is very large is 3825 . What is the true load power?
(iv) none of the above Wattmeter
65. Resistance of an ammeter having range
0-5A is 1.8 . It is shunted by a resistor
of 0.2 . What is the effective current
when the pointer reads 2 A?
(i) 10 A (ii) 30 A
208 V
(iii) 15 A (iv) 20 A 3825 
66. In a dynamometer wattmeter, the moving
coil is the
(i) current coil (ii) potential coil
(iii) current coil or potential coil Fig. 16.49
(iv) none of the above (i) 125.8 W (ii) 180.7 W
67. Fig. 16.48 shows an ammeter, a voltmeter (iii) 224.6 W (iv) 352.8 W
and a wattmeter connected in the circuit. 71. In the above question, what is the percent-
The wattmeter will read age error due to wattmeter connection?
(i) upscale (ii) down scale (i) 6.25% (ii) 4.85%
(iii) data insufficient (iv) none of above (iii) 11.34% (iv) 7.86%
68. In the circuit shown in Fig. 16.48, the 72. In Fig. 16.50, the resistances of the two
wattmeter reading will be coils of wattmeter are 0.01 and 1000
(i) equal to actual load power respectively and both are non-inductive.
(ii) less than actual load power The load is taking a current of 20 A at
Electrical Measuring Instruments 489
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200 V and 0.8 p.f. lagging. What is the 77. To measure a.c. as well as d.c. power, we
reading of wattmeter? use
(i) induction wattmeter
0.01  I = 20 A (ii) dynamometer wattmeter
(iii) sometimes induction and sometimes
dynamometer wattmeter
(iv) none of the above
200 V
1000  78. In a single phase energy meter, braking
torque is provided by
(i) permanent magnet
(ii) air friction
Fig. 16.50 (iii) fluid friction (iv) none of the above
(i) 1602 W (ii) 6408 W 79. The meter constant of an energy meter
(iii) 1122 W (iv) 3204 W is 1500 rev/kWh, the disc makes 3000
73. In the above question, what is the revolutions in a given time. The energy
percentage error in the reading of the consumed is
wattmeter? (i) 4 kWh (ii) 1 kWh
(i) 0.5% (ii) 1.25% (iii) 3 kWh (iv) 2 kWh
(iii) 0.125% (iv) 0.25% 80. A 230 V, 50 Hz single-phase energy meter
74. Fig. 16.51 shows another way of connect- has a load current of 10 A at p.f. of 0.8
ing the wattmeter in the circuit. If the load lagging. The energy consumed by the load
p.f. is 0.8 lagging, what is the reading of in 2 minutes is
the wattmeter? (i) 1.2 kWh (ii) 0.06 kWh
(iii) 2.4 kWh (iv) 4.2 kWh
0.01  I = 20 A 81. In the above question, if the disc makes
72 revolutions per minute, what is the
meter constant?
(i) 600 rev/kWh (ii) 900 rev/kWh
200 V
1000  (iii) 1200 rev/kWh (iv) none of the above
82. In a single phase energy meter, if the brake
magnet is moved towards the centre of the
spindle, the disc speed
Fig. 16.51 (i) increases (ii) decreases
(i) 1620 W (ii) 3240 W (iii) remains same (iv) none of the above
(iii) 1976 W (iv) 2382 W 83. An energy meter whose meter constant is
75. In the above question, what is the percent- 1500 rev/kWh makes 20 revolutions in 30
age error in the wattmeter reading? seconds. The load in kW is
(i) 0.125% (ii) 2.52% (i) 3.2 kW (ii) 0.8 kW
(iii) 1.25% (iv) 2.65% (iii) 6.4 kW (iv) 1.6 kW
76. Induction wattmeter can measure 84. A 230 V single phase energy meter has
(i) a.c. power only a constant load current of 4 A passing
(ii) d.c. power only through if for 5 hours at unity power fac-
(iii) both a.c. and d.c. power tor. If the meter makes 1104 revolutions
(iv) none of the above during this period, the meter constant is
490 Objective Electrical Technology
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(i) 480 rev/kWh (ii) 240 rev/kWh (i) 0.4 (ii) 0.2
(iii) 320 rev/kWh (iv) 960 rev/kWh (iii) 0.1 (iv) 0.3
85. In the above question, if the load p.f. is 92. In a potentiometer experiment, it is found
0.8, the number of revolutions the disc will that no current flows through the galva-
make in above time (5 hours) is about nometer when the terminals of the cell are
(i) 464 (ii) 572 connected across 125 cm potentiometer
(iii) 883 (iv) 774 wire. On shunting the cell by 2 resistor,
the balancing length is reduced to half.
86. The full-scale deflection current of a
The internal resistance of the cell is
permanent magnet moving-coil (PMMC)
meter is 1 mA and the coil resistance is (i) 3 (ii) 6
50. The least voltage that can be mea- (iii) 1 (iv) 2
sured with this meter is 93. A moving coil galvanometer has a sensitiv-
(i) 50 mV (ii) 25 mV ity of 60 divisions/amp. When a shunt is
used, its sensitivity becomes 10 div/amp.
(iii) 100 mV (iv) none of the above
What is the value of the shunt used if the
87. If the full-scale current of a meter is resistance of the galvanometer is 20 ?
50 A, then its sensitivity is
(i) 2 (ii) 6
(i) 1000 /V (ii) 20,000 /V (iii) 4 (iv) 1
(iii) 10,000 /V (iv) data insufficient 94. Which of the following is likely to have
88. A 100 V, full-scale, 100 /volt meter has the largest resistance?
a full-scale deflection current of (i) moving coil galvanometer
(i) 0.5 mA (ii) 2 mA (ii) voltmeter of range 10 V
(iii) 3.5 mA (iv) 1 mA (iii) ammeter of range 1 A
89. With a potentiometer, null points are ob- (iv) a copper wire of length 1m and diam-
tained at 140 cm and 180 cm with cells eter 3 mm
of e.m.f. 1.1 V and one of the unknown 95. If 2% of the main current is to be passed
e.m.f. respectively. The unknown e.m.f. is through a moving coil galvanometer of
(i) 1.1 V (ii) 1.8 V resistance G, the resistance of the shunt
(iii) 1.41 V (iv) 1.6 V required is
90. In a potentiometer experiment, it is found (i) G/49 (ii) G/50
that no current flows through the galva- (iii) 49 G (iv) 50 G
nometer when the terminals of the cell are 96. A galvanometer has a resistance of G ohms.
connected across 52 cm of potentiometer It is shunted by a resistance of S ohms.
wire. If the cell is shunted by a resistance How much resistance should be added so
of 5 , the balance point is found at 40 that the main current remains unchanged?
cm of the wire from the same end. The S G
internal resistance of the cell is (i) (ii)
S +G G+S
(i) 1.5 (ii) 2.5 SG G2
(iii) (iv)
(iii) 3 (iv) 4.5 G+S G+S
91. A potentiometer wire is 10 m long. It has 97. In a moving coil galvanometer, the
a resistance of 20 . It is connected in deflection becomes one-half when the
series with a battery of e.m.f. 3 V and galvanometer is shunted by a 20 resistor.
negligible resistance and a resistance of The galvanometer resistance is
10 . The potential gradient along the
(i) 10 (ii) 40
wire in volt/meter is
(iii) 20 (iv) 5
Electrical Measuring Instruments 491
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98. It is required to convert a moving coil 104. To send 10% of main current through a
galvanometer of current range 15 mA and moving coil galvanometer of resistance
voltage range 750 mV into an ammeter of 99 , the value of shunt resistance
range 2.5 A. What is the value of shunt required is
resistance required? (i) 33 (ii) 9.9
(i) 0.3 (ii) 1.5 (iii) 22 (iv) 11
(iii) 3.4 (iv) 0.5 105. The sensitivity of a moving coil galva-
99. A moving coil galvanometer of resistance nometer is 60 divisions/ampere. When
25 is connected to a source of e.m.f. a shunt is used, the sensitivity becomes
2V with a resistance of 3 k. Full-scale 10 divisions/ampere. If the galvanometer
deflection of 30 units is obtained. When resistance is 20 , the value of shunt is
3 k resistance is replaced by R, the de- (i) 15 (ii) 20
flection becomes 20 units. The value of (iii) 4 (iv) 5
R is approximately
106. A 20 A, 200 mV meter movement is
(i) 2.3 k (ii) 4.2 k used to make a 25 V voltmeter. What is
(iii) 3.8 k (iv) 4.5 k the sensitivity of the meter?
100. A moving coil galvanometer with a scale (i) 25 k/V (ii) 50 k/V
divided into equal divisions has a current (iii) 100 k/V (iv) 75 k/V
sensitivity of 10 divisions per mA and
107. In the above question, what is the value
voltage sensitivity of 50 divisions per mV.
of multiplier resistance?
To convert it into an ammeter of range 5
(i) 620 k (ii) 1240 k
A, the necessary shunt resistance required
is (iii) 830 k (iv) none of the above
(i) 0.1 (ii) 5/499 108. In question 106, what is the total resistance
of the voltmeter?
(iii) 0.03 (iv) 3/283
(i) 1250 k (ii) 625 k
101. Deflection of a moving coil galvanometer
falls from 50 divisions to 20 divisions (iii) 2500 k (iv) 150 k
when a 12 shunt is applied. Galvanom- 109. A series ohmmeter circuit uses a 3 V bat-
eter resistance is tery and 1 mA meter movement. What is
(i) 18 (ii) 6 the half scale resistance for this ohmmeter?
(iii) 9 (iv) 24 (i) 6 k (ii) 1.5 k
102. A voltmeter of resistance 998 is con- (iii) 12 k (iv) 3 k
nected in series with a cell of e.m.f. 2 V 110. A 10 V range voltmeter is rated for 50 A
and internal resistance 2 . The percentage full-scale current. The total resistance of
error in the reading of voltmeter is the voltmeter is
(i) 1% (ii) 0.2% (i) 100 k (ii) 200 k
(iii) 2% (iv) 0.1% (iii) 300 k (iv) 400 k
103. In an ammeter, 5 percent of main cur- 111. The resolution of an instrument is the
rent passes through the galvanometer. If (i) minimum quantity it can measure
resistances of the galvanometer and shunt (ii) maximum quantity it can measure
are G and S respectively, then, (iii) maximum non-linearity
G 1 (iv) none of the above
(i) S = (ii) S G =
19 19
112. The torque/weight ratio of an instrument
1 S indicates
(iii) G S = (iv) G =
19 19
492 Objective Electrical Technology
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(i) selectivity (ii) accuracy The value of R1 is


(iii) sensitivity (iv) fidelity R4 R3 R2 R1

113. A current i = (10 + 10 sin t) A is passed


through an ideal moving iron type am- + 300 V 100 V 30 V 10 V
meter. Its reading will be Meter

(i) zero (ii) 10 A


(iii) 2 A (iv) 150 A Fig. 16.52
114. A high frequency a.c. signal is applied to (i) 9.9 kW (ii) 10 kW
a PMMC instrument. If the r.m.s. value
(iii) 100 W (iv) 0.0 W
of a.c. signal is 2 V, the reading of the
instrument will be 120. Which of the following instrument/instru-
(i) 2 V (ii) zero ments has/have linear scale?
(iii) 2 2 V (iv) 4 2 V (i) moving iron (ii) PMMC
115. Which of the following instrument is free (iii) induction meter (iv) electrostatic
from hysteresis and eddy current errors? 121. For the voltmeter circuit shown in
(i) Moving iron instrument Fig. 16.53, the basic DArsonval move-
(ii) PMMC instrument ment meter used has full-scale current of
(iii) Electrostaic instrument 1 mA and meter resistance Rm = 100 W.
The values of series resistances R1 and
(iv) Dynamometer instrument
R2 required for 10 V range and 50 V
116. What is the correct sequence of the fol-
range will be
lowing types of ammeters and voltmeters
R2 R1
with increasing accuracy?
(a) moving iron (b) PMMC meter
(c) induction instrument.
Rm
(i) c, a, b (ii) a, c, b
Unknown
(iii) b, a, c (iv) a, b, c Voltage
117. A moving coil instrument gives full-scale
deflection for 1 mA and has a resistance Fig. 16.53
of 5 W. If a resistance of 0.55 W is con-
(i) 10 kW and 50 kW
nected in parallel with the instrument, what
is the maximum current it can measure? (ii) 20 kW and 30 kW
(i) 5 mA (ii) 50 mA (iii) 200 kW and 250 kW
(iii) 100 mA (iv) 10 mA (iv) 9.9 kW and 40 kW
118. A DArsonval movement with internal 122. An energy meter having a meter constant
resistance R = 100 W and full-scale cur- of 1200 rev. per kWh is found to make 5
rent of 1 mA is to be converted into 010 revolutions in 75 seconds. The load power
V range voltmeter. What is the required is
resistance? (i) 500 W (ii) 100 W
(i) 10 kW (ii) 9900 W (iii) 200 W (iv) 1000 W
(iii) 10,100 W (iv) 12000 W 123. A spring-controlled moving iron voltmeter
119. A basic DArsonval movement with inter- draws a current of 1 mA for full-scale
nal resistance 100 W and full-scale current value of 100 V. If it draws a current of
of 1 mA is to be converted into a multi 0.5 mA, the meter reading is
range d.c. voltmeter with ranges 010 V, (i) 25 V (ii) 50 V
030 V, 0100 V and 0300 V. The cir-
(iii) 100 V (iv) 200 V
cuit arrangement is shown in Fig. 16.52.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 493
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124. Which one of the following decides the 125. A galvanometer with a full-scale current
time response of an indicating instrument? of 10 mA has a resistance of 1000 W. The
(i) deflecting system multiplying power of a 100 W shunt with
(ii) damping system this galvanometer is
(iii) controlling system (i) 110 (ii) 10
(iv) pivot and jewel bearings (iii) 100 (iv) 11

Answers to Objective Questions


1. (i) 2. (iii) 3. (iii) 4. (iii) 5. (ii)
6. (iii) 7. (i) 8. (iv) 9. (ii) 10. (iii)
11. (iv) 12. (iii) 13. (iii) 14. (ii) 15. (i)
16. (i) 17. (i) 18. (iii) 19. (iii) 20. (i)
21. (ii) 22. (iii) 23. (ii) 24. (i) 25. (iv)
26. (iii) 27. (iv) 28. (ii) 29. (iii) 30. (iv)
31. (ii) 32. (iii) 33. (i) 34. (iii) 35. (ii)
36. (iv) 37. (ii) 38. (iii) 39. (ii) 40. (i)
41. (iii) 42. (iv) 43. (ii) 44. (ii) 45. (i)
46. (iii) 47. (i) 48. (i) 49. (iii) 50. (ii)
51. (iv) 52. (iv) 53. (ii) 54. (i) 55. (iii)
56. (ii) 57. (i) 58. (ii) 59. (iv) 60. (iii)
61. (iv) 62. (i) 63. (ii) 64. (iii) 65. (iv)
66. (ii) 67. (i) 68. (iii) 69. (ii) 70. (ii)
71. (i) 72. (iv) 73. (iii) 74. (ii) 75. (iii)
76. (i) 77. (ii) 78. (i) 79. (iv) 80. (ii)
81. (iii) 82. (i) 83. (iv) 84. (ii) 85. (iii)
86. (i) 87. (ii) 88. (iv) 89. (iii) 90. (i)
91. (ii) 92. (iv) 93. (iii) 94. (ii) 95. (i)
96. (iv) 97. (iii) 98. (i) 99. (iv) 100. (ii)
101. (i) 102. (ii) 103. (i) 104. (iv) 105. (iii)
106. (ii) 107. (ii) 108. (i) 109. (iv) 110. (ii)
111. (i) 112. (iii) 113. (iv) 114. (ii) 115. (iii)
116. (i) 117. (iv) 118. (ii) 119. (i) 120. (ii)
121. (iv) 122. (iii) 123. (i) 124. (ii) 125. (iv)

Hints to Selected Objective Questions


5. Because aluminium is light and does not increase the weight of the moving system.
6. Damping torque acts only when the pointer is in motion and always opposes motion.
8. Most of the indicating instruments are portable. Fluid friction damping is not suitable
because of the oil contained in the instrument.
10. In a permanent-magnet moving coil instrument, Td I and TC .
In the final deflected position, Td = TC.
I
494 Objective Electrical Technology
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Hence such instruments have uniform scale.


11. Since manganin has negligible temperature co-efficient of resistance.
I 10 A
12. Multiplying power of shunt = = = 5000
Im 2 mA
where I is the circuit current and Im is the meter current. In the present case, I is taken
equal to 10 A so that Im will be the full-scale meter current.
V 100 V
13. Series resistance, Rs = Rm = 5 = 10000 5 = 9995
Im 10 mA
17. For full scale deflection (i.e. 100 V), the meter current is 1 mA. For 45 V reading, the
meter current will be = (1/100) 45 = 0.45 mA.
23. In a moving-iron instrument, the deflecting torque is
Td I2 ----- for d.c.
I2r.m.s. ----- for a.c.
If current is doubled, operating torque is increased four times.
25. For measuring alternating currents larger than 5 A, shunts are not practicable with a
dynamometer ammeter. It is because the division of current between the shunt and the
coils varies with frequency (since reactance of coils depends upon frequency). Therefore,
the instrument will be accurate only at the frequency at which it is calibrated. Instead,
we use current transformer.
35. Because it is very light and accurate. Moreover, the sensitivity of the instrument can
be greatly increased by increasing the number of turns of the operating coil.
38. The single phase energy meter used in homes is the induction watt-hour meter.
44. It is easier to change connections of potential coil than current coil connections.
45. At 50 Hz, the meter pointer would have to rise and fall 50 times in every second. The
inertia of the moving system prevents the moving coil from moving this fast. The meter
pointer settles at the average level of alternating current. The average value of alternating
current is zero.
46. The meter coil is burnt due to excessive heat.
51. It is because Wheatstone bridge method is independent of the constancy of supply or
the calibration of an indicating instrument.
52. The voltmeter sensitivity is an important constant and is usually printed on the face of
all voltmeters. To find the total voltmeter resistance, the resistance per volt (i.e. sensitiv-
ity) is multiplied by the voltmeter range.
Total voltmeter resistance = (20 k/V) (50 V) = 1000 k = 1 M
53. Let voltmeter read V and ammeter read I. Then,
V = I Ra + I RorR = V/I Ra
Since R is high, the value of Ra can be neglected. Therefore, R = V/I.
54. Let voltmeter read V and ammeter read I. Then ammeter current is equal to sum of
current through voltmeter and current through R.
V V
I = +
R RV
Since R is very low as compared to RV, V/RV can be neglected.
I = V/RorR = V/I
Electrical Measuring Instruments 495
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

55. When R = 0, the pointer deflects to full-scale and meter current is 100 A.
At half full-scale deflection, Im = 100/2 = 50 A
E 3V
Now, R + r = = = 60 k
I m 50 A
R = 60 r = 60 30 = 30 k
59. The total resistance per volt of the voltmeter is called voltmeter sensitivity. In the given
question,
V 100 V
Total resistance of voltmeter = = = 2 M
I g 50 A
2 M 2000 k

Voltmeter sensitivity = = = 20 k/V
100 V 100 V
V 50 V
60. Total resistance of voltmeter = = = 1 M
I g 50 A
1 M 1000 k

Voltmeter sensitivity = = = 20 k/V
50 V 50 V
Note that for a given voltmeter, voltmeter sensitivity is constant.
61. Voltage across R2 without voltmeter
E 100 V
= R2 = 1 k = 0.99 V
R1 + R2 100 k + 1 k
62. Voltmeter resistance, RV = range sensitivity = 2 V 1 k/V = 2 k
Resistance between A and B, RAB = R2 | | RV = 1 k || 2 k = 666.7
E 100 V
Voltage across R2 = RAB = 666.7 = 0.66 V
R1 + RAB 100 103 + 666.7
Note that voltmeter loading effect can cause error in measurement. For this reason, a
voltmeter should have very high resistance so that the current it draws is extermely
small.
4
63. Circuit current, I = 3
= 4 104 V
10 10
Supply voltage = I (R + RV)
or 120 = 4 104 (R + 10 103)
R = 290 103 = 290 k
64. Since the value of R is very large (290 k), the circuit current is very small (4 104 A).
If ammeter is connected, the ammeter reading will be too small to be measured. This
is an unusual use of a voltmeter to measure the value of a high resistance.
G+S G 1.8
65. Multiplying power of shunt, n = = +1= + 1 = 10
S S 0.2
Therefore, the range of ammeter increases 10 times. When the ammeter indicates 2 A,
the circuit current = 2 10 = 20 A.
67. Fig. 16.48 shows the correct connections of a wattmeter to measure the load power.
Current comes into the terminal of the current coil from the line. The terminal of
the potential coil is connected to the load side of the current coil. With this connection,
the wattmeter reads upscale.
496 Objective Electrical Technology
...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

68. The wattmeter reads high by the amount of power consumed by the voltmeter and by
the potential coil of the wattmeter.
69. The ammeter reads high by the amount of current taken by the voltmeter and by the
potential coil of the wattmeter.
70. Since the voltage coil of the wattmeter is connected on the load side, the power con-
sumed by it is also included in the reading of the wattmeter.
Wattmeter reading = 192 W

Power consumed in potential circuit = = 11.3 W


( 208)2
3825
True load power = 192 11.3 = 180.7 W
192 180.7
71. Percentage error = 100 = 6.25%
180.7
72. Load power = V I cos = 200 20 0.8 = 3200 W
Power loss in current coil = I2 RC = (20)2 0.01 = 4 W
Wattmeter reading = 3200 + 4 = 3204 W.
4
73. Percentage error = 100 = 0.125%
3200
74. Load power = V I cos = 200 20 0.8 = 3200 W
2
V 2 ( 200 )
Power loss in voltage coil = = = 40 W
Rp 1000
Wattmeter reading = 3200 + 40 = 3240 W
40
75. Percentage error = 100 = 1.25%
3200
77. Induction wattmeters have low accuracy and high power consumption. Therefore, they
are inferior to dynamometer wattmeter. For this reason, dynamometer wattmeters are
almost universally used for the measurement of a.c. as well as d.c. power.
80. Energy consumed by the load in 2 minutes
V I cos 230 10 0.8 2
= t = = 0.06 kWh
1000 1000 60
No. of rev. 72
81. Meter constant = = = 1200 rev/kWh
Energy consumed 0.06
82. Moving the brake magnet inwards means that speed of the part of the disc under the
pole face of brake magnet will be less. This results in the lesser induced voltage and
hence the reduced braking torque. Consequently, the disc speed increases.
83. Energy consumed when disc makes 20 revolutions
1 1
= 20 = kWh
1500 75
Now energy consumed is equal to load in kW multiplied by time in hours i.e.
3 1
Load =
3600 75
1 3600
Load = = 1.6 kW
75 30
Electrical Measuring Instruments 497
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

VI cos 230 4 1
84. Energy supplied = t = 5 = 4.6 kWh
1000 1000
No. of revolutions 1104
Meter constant = = = 240 rev/kWh
Energy supplied 46
85. Energy supplied when load p.f. is 0.8
V I cos 230 4 0.8
= t = 5 = 3.68 kWh
1000 1000
No. of revolutions = meter constant energy supplied
= 240 3.68 = 883 revolutions.
86. The least voltage that a movement can measure is the full-scale current multiplied by
coil resistance. Least voltage that can be measured = 1 mA 50 = 50 mV.
87. We can find the sensitivity if 1 V is divided by full-scale current of the meter.
1V 1V 1
Sensitivity = = = M/V = 20,000 /V
f.s.d. current 50 A 50
1V
88. Sensitivity =
f.s.d. current
1V 1V 1

f.s.d. current = = = A = 1 mA
Sensitivity 1000 1000
l 52
90. Internal resistance, r = 1 1 R = 1 5 = 1.5
l2 40
91. Total circuit resistance, R = 20 + 10 = 30
Current in potentiometer wire, I = E/R = 3/30 = 1/10 A
1
P.D. across the wire = 20 = 2 V
10
Potential gradient = 2/10 = 0.2 V/m
l
92. Internal resistance of cell, r = 1 1 R = (2 1) 2 = 2
l2
Ig 10 1
93. = = ; G = 20
I 60 6
Ig S 1 S
Now = or = S = 4
I S +G 6 S + 20
GS
96. Original resistance = G ; New resistance =
G+S
Resistance to be added in series
GS G2 + G S G S G2
= G = =
G+S G+S G+S
97. Fig. 16.54 shows the conditions of the problem. S

I I
20 = G G = 20 I
2 2 2
750 mV G
98. Resistance of galvanometer, G = = 50 I I
15 mA 2
Fig. 16.54
498 Objective Electrical Technology
...........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Value of shunt resistance, S =


Ig G
=
15 103 50
= 0.3
( )
I Ig 2.5 15 103
2 2
99. 30 = and 20 =
3000 + 25 R + 25
On solving, R = 4512 or nearly 4.5 k.
50 103
100. Resistance of galvanometer, G = =5
10 103
Ig G
Required value of shunt, S =
I Ig
Here Ig = 10 mA ; I = 5 A = 5000 mA ; G = 5
10 5 50 5
S = = =
5000 10 4990 499
102. The total circuit resistance = 998 + 2 = 1000 . Therefore, circuit current, I = 2/1000
= 0.002 A and voltage drop in the cell = Ir = 0.002 2 = 0.004 V.
0.004
Error = 0.004 V and % error = 100 = 0.2%
2
103. Fig. 16.55 shows the conditions of the problem. Let S

the main current be I. Then as per given conditions,


0.95 I
0.95 I flows through the shunt and the remaining
0.05 I passes through the galvanometer. As voltages G
across shunt and galvanometer are equal, I Ig = 0.05 I

S 1 Fig. 16.55
S 0.95 I = G 0.05 Ior =
G 19
Ig S I g 10 1
105. = Here = = ; G = 20
I S +G I 60 6
1 S
= orS = 4
6 S + 20

1 1 106
106. Sensitivity = = = /V = 50 k/V
I g 20 106 20
6
1 1 1 10
110. Sensitivity = = = /V = 20 k/V
I g 50 A 50
Total resistance of voltmeter = 20 10 = 200 kW
111. The resolution of an instrument is the smallest change in the input signal (quantity
under measurement) which can be detected by the instrument.
113. A moving iron ammeter reads r.m.s. value of current.
2
10
Ir.m.s. = 102 + = 150 A
2
114. Since the deflecting torque of PMMC instrument reverses with the reversal of current
in the coil, pointer fails to respond to rapid reversal of torque due to its high inertia.
Hence the instrument will read zero i.e. PMMC instrument will not work.
Electrical Measuring Instruments 499
............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

115. Since no iron is used in the construction of electrostatic instruments, they are free
from hysteresis and eddy current losses.
117. G = 5 W ; S = 0.55 W ; Ig = 1 mA ; I = ?
(I Ig)S = Ig Gor(I 1) 0.55 = 1 5 \ I = 10 mA
118. V = 10 volts ; Ig = 1 mA ; R = 100 W ; RS = ?
V 10
Required series resistance, RS = R= 100 = 9900 W
Ig 1 103
119. V = 10 volts ; Ig = 1 mA ; G = 100 W
V 10 V
\ R = G = 100 = 9900 W = 9.9 kW
Ig 1 mA
10 V 10 V
121. For 10 V range, R1 = Rm = 100 = 9900 W = 9.9 kW
Ig 1 mA
50 50 V
For 50 V range, R1 + R2 = Rm = 100 = 49900 W = 49.9 kW
Ig 1 mA

\ R2 = (R1 + R2) R1 = 49.9 9.9 = 40 kW
1 1
122. 1 rev. corresponds to kWh = 1000 3600 watt-sec = 3000 watt-sec
1200 1200
5 revolutions correspond to 3000 5 = 15,000 watt-sec
Load power = 15,000/75 = 200 W
123. For moving iron voltmeter, deflection q V2.
For the first case, 100 12 ; For the second case, V 0.52
V 0.52

\ = 2 = 0.25 \ V = 0.25 100 = 25 V
100 1
125. With shunt S = 100 W, suppose the maximum current that can be measured is I mA.
Now, S = 100 W ; G = 1000 W ; Ig = 10 mA ; I = ?
Now, (I Ig) S = Ig Gor(I 10)100 = 10 1000 \ I = 110 mA
I 110 mA
\ Multiplying power of shunt = = = 11
I g 10 mA
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20
554  Principles of Electronics

Silicon
Controlled Rectifiers
20.1 Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR)
20.2 Working of SCR
20.3 Equivalent Circuit of SCR
20.4 Important Terms
20.5 V-I Characteristics of SCR
20.6 SCR in Normal Operation
20.7 SCR as a Switch
20.8 SCR Switching
20.9 SCR Half-Wave Rectifier
20.10 SCR Full-Wave Rectifier
20.11 Single-Phase SCR Inverter Circuit
20.12 Applications of SCR
20.13 Light-Activated SCR

INTRODUCTION

T
he silicon controlled rectifier (abbreviated as SCR) is a three-terminal semiconductor switching
device which is probably the most important circuit element after the diode and the transis
tor. Invented in 1957, an SCR can be used as a controlled switch to perform various functions
such as rectification, inversion and regulation of power flow. The SCR has assumed paramount
importance in electronics because it can be produced in versions to handle currents upto several
thousand amperes and voltages upto more than 1 kV.
The SCR has appeared in the market under different names such as thyristor, thyrode transistor.
It is a unidirectional power switch and is being extensively used in switching d.c. and a.c., rectifying
a.c. to give controlled d.c. output, converting d.c. into a.c. etc. In this chapter, we shall examine the
various characteristics of silicon controlled rectifiers and their increasing applications in power elec-
tronics.
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 555
20.1 Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR)
A silicon *controlled rectifier is a semiconductor **device that acts as a true electronic switch. It can

Fig. 20.1
change alternating current into direct current and at the same time can control the amount of power
fed to the load. Thus SCR combines the features of a rectifier and a transistor.
Constructional details. When a pn junction is added to a junction transistor, the resulting three
pn junction device is called a silicon controlled rectifier. Fig. 20.1 (i) shows its construction. It is
clear that it is essentially an ordinary rectifier (pn) and a junction transistor (npn) combined in one
unit to form pnpn device. Three terminals are taken; one from the outer p-type material called anode
A, second from the outer n-type material called cathode K and the third from the base of transistor
section and is called gate G. In the normal operating conditions of SCR, anode is held at high positive
potential w.r.t. cathode and gate at small positive potential w.r.t. cathode. Fig. 20.1 (ii) shows the
symbol of SCR.
The silicon controlled rectifier is a solid state equivalent of thyratron. The gate, anode and
cathode of SCR correspond to the grid, plate and cathode of thyratron. For this reason, SCR is
sometimes called thyristor.

Typical SCR Packages

20.2 Working of SCR


In a silicon controlled rectifier, load is connected in series with anode. The anode is always kept at
positive potential w.r.t. cathode. The working of SCR can be studied under the following two heads:

* Why not germanium controlled rectifier ? The device is made of silicon because leakage current in
silicon is very small as compared to germanium. Since the device is used as a switch, it will carry leakage
current in the off condition which should be as small as possible.
** It got this name because it is a silicon device and is used as a rectifier and that rectification can be con-
trolled.
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556  Principles of Electronics
(i) When gate is open. Fig. 20.2 shows the SCR circuit with gate open i.e. no voltage applied
to the gate. Under this condition, junction J2 is reverse biased while junctions J1 and J3 are forward
biased. Hence, the situation in the junctions J1 and J3 is just as in a npn transistor with base open.
Consequently, no current flows through the load RL and the SCR is cut off. However, if the applied
voltage is gradually increased, a stage is reached when * reverse biased junction J2 breaks down. The
SCR now conducts ** heavily and is said to be in the ON state. The applied voltage at which SCR
conducts heavily without gate voltage is called Breakover voltage.

Fig. 20.2
(ii) When gate is positive w.r.t. cathode. The SCR can be made to conduct heavily at smaller
applied voltage by applying a small positive potential to the gate as shown in Fig. 20.3. Now junction
J3 is forward biased and junction J2 is reverse biased. The electrons from n-type material start mov-
ing across junction J3 towards left whereas holes from p-type towards the right. Consequently, the
electrons from junction J3 are attracted across junction J2 and gate current starts flowing. As soon as
the gate current flows, anode current increases. The increased anode current in turn makes more
electrons available at junction J2. This process continues and in an extremely small time, junction J2
breaks down and the SCR starts conducting heavily. Once SCR starts conducting, the gate (the
reason for this name is obvious) loses all control. Even if gate voltage is removed, the anode current
does not decrease at all. The only way to stop conduction (i.e. bring SCR in off condition) is to reduce
the applied voltage to zero.

Fig. 20.3

* The whole applied voltage V appears as reverse bias across junction J2 as junctions J1 and J3 are forward
biased.
** Because J1 and J3 are forward biased and J2 has broken down.
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 557
Conclusion. The following conclusions are drawn from the working of SCR :
(i) An SCR has two states i.e. either it does not conduct or it conducts heavily. There is no state
inbetween. Therefore, SCR behaves like a switch.
(ii) There are two ways to turn on the SCR. The first method is to keep the gate open and make
the supply voltage equal to the breakover voltage. The second method is to operate SCR with supply
voltage less than breakover voltage and then turn it on by means of a small voltage ( typically 1.5 V,
30 mA) applied to the gate.
(iii) Applying small positive voltage to the gate is the normal way to close an SCR because the
breakover voltage is usually much greater than supply voltage.
(iv) To open the SCR (i.e. to make it non-conducting ), reduce the supply voltage to zero.
20.3 Equivalent Circuit of SCR
The SCR shown in Fig. 20.4 (i) can be visualised as separated into two transistors as shown in

Fig. 20.4
Fig. 20.4 (ii). Thus, the equivalent circuit of SCR is composed of pnp transistor and npn transistor
connected as shown in Fig. 20.4. (iii). It is clear that collector of each transistor is coupled to the base
of the other, thereby making a positive feedback loop.
The working of SCR can be easily explained from
its equivalent circuit. Fig. 20.5. shows the equiva-
lent circuit of SCR with supply voltage V and load
resistance RL. Assume the supply voltage V is less
than breakover voltage as is usually the case. With
gate open (i.e. switch S open), there is no base cur-
rent in transistor T2. Therefore, no current flows in
the collector of T2 and hence that of T1. Under such
conditions, the SCR is open. However, if switch S is
closed, a small gate current will flow through the base
of T2 which means its collector current will increase.
The collector current of T2 is the base current of T1.
Therefore, collector current of T1 increases. But col- Fig. 20.5
lector current of T1 is the base current of T2. This
action is accumulative since an increase of current in
one transistor causes an increase of current in the other transistor. As a result of this action, both
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558  Principles of Electronics
transistors are driven to saturation, and heavy current flows through the load RL. Under such condi-
tions, the SCR closes.
20.4 Important Terms
The following terms are much used in the study of SCR :
(i) Breakover voltage (ii) Peak reverse voltage
(iii) Holding current (iv) Forward current rating
(v) Circuit fusing rating
(i) Breakover voltage. It is the minimum forward voltage, gate being open, at which SCR
starts conducting heavily i.e. turned on.
Thus, if the breakover voltage of an SCR is 200 V, it means that it can block a forward voltage
(i.e. SCR remains open) as long as the supply voltage is less than 200 V. If the supply voltage is more
than this value, then SCR will be turned on. In practice, the SCR is operated with supply voltage less
than breakover voltage and it is then turned on by means of a small voltage applied to the gate.
Commercially available SCRs have breakover voltages from about 50 V to 500 V.
(ii) Peak reverse voltage (PRV). It is the maximum reverse voltage (cathode positive w.r.t.
anode) that can be applied to an SCR without conducting in the reverse direction.
Peak reverse voltage (PRV) is an important consideration while connecting an SCR in an a.c.
circuit. During the negative half of a.c. supply, reverse voltage is applied across SCR. If PRV is
exceeded, there may be avalanche breakdown and the SCR will be damaged if the external circuit
does not limit the current. Commercially available SCRs have PRV ratings upto 2.5 kV.
(iii) Holding current. It is the maximum anode current, gate being open, at which SCR is
turned off from ON conditions.
As discussed earlier, when SCR is in the conducting state, it cannot be turned OFF even if gate
voltage is removed. The only way to turn off or open the SCR is to reduce the supply voltage to
almost zero at which point the internal transistor comes out of saturation and opens the SCR. The
anode current under this condition is very small (a few mA) and is called holding current. Thus, if an
SCR has a holding current of 5mA, it means that if anode current is made less than 5mA, then SCR
will be turned off.
(iv) Forward current rating. It is the maximum anode current that an SCR is capable of
passing without destruction.
Every SCR has a safe value of forward current which it can conduct. If the value of current
exceeds this value, the SCR may be destroyed due to intensive heating at the junctions. For example,
if an SCR has a forward current rating of 40A, it means that the SCR can safely carry only 40 A. Any
attempt to exceed this value will result in the destruction of the SCR. Commercially available SCRs
have forward current ratings from about 30A to 100A.
2
(v) Circuit fusing (I t) rating. It is the product of square of forward surge current and the time
of duration of the surge i.e.,
Circuit fusing rating = I2t
The circuit fusing rating indicates the maximum forward surge current capability of SCR. For
2
example, consider an SCR having circuit fusing rating of 90 A s. If this rating is exceeded in the SCR
circuit, the device will be destroyed by excessive power dissipation.
Example 20.1. An SCR has a breakover voltage of 400 V, a trigger current of 10 mA and
holding current of 10 mA. What do you infer from it ? What will happen if gate current is made
15 mA ?
Solution. (i) Breakover voltage of 400 V. It means that if gate is open and the supply voltage is
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 559
400 V, then SCR will start conducting heavily. However, as long as the supply voltage is less than
400 V, the SCR stays open i.e. it does not conduct.
(ii) Trigger current of 10 mA. It means that if the supply voltage is less than breakover voltage
(i.e. 400 V) and a minimum gate current of 10 mA is passed, the SCR will close i.e. starts conducting
heavily. The SCR will not conduct if the gate current is less than 10 mA. It may be emphasised that
triggering is the normal way to close an SCR as the supply voltage is normally much less than the
breakover voltage.
(iii) Holding current of 10 mA. When the SCR is conducting, it will not open (i.e. stop conduct-
ing) even if triggering current is removed. However, if supply voltage is reduced, the anode current
also decreases. When the anode current drops to 10 mA, the holding current, the SCR is turned off.
(iv) If gate current is increased to 15 mA, the SCR will be turned on lower supply voltage.
Example 20.2. An SCR in a circuit is subjected to a 50 A surge that lasts for 12 ms. Determine
whether or not this surge will destroy the device. Given that circuit fusing rating is 90 A 2s.
2 2 3 2
Solution. Circuit fusing rating = I t = (50) (12 10 ) = 30 A s
2
Since this value is well below the maximum rating of 90 A s, the device will not be destroyed.
2
Example 20.3. An SCR has a circuit fusing rating of 50 A s. The device is being used in a circuit
where it could be subjected to a 100 A surge. Determine the maximum allowable duration of such a
surge.
2
I t (rating)
Solution. tmax = where Is = known value of surge current
I s2

50 3
tmax = 2
= 5 10 s = 5 ms
(100)
Example 20.4. A 220 resistor is connected in series with the gate of an SCR as shown in Fig.
20.6. The gate current required to fire the SCR is 7mA. What is the input voltage (Vin) required to fire
the SCR ?
Solution. The input voltage must overcome the junction voltage
between the gate and cathode (0.7V) and also cause 7mA to flow through
the 220 resistor. According to Kirchhoffs voltage law, Vin is given by;
Vin = VGK + IGR
= 0.7V + (7mA) (220) = 2.24V
20.5 V-I Characteristics of SCR
It is the curve between anode-cathode voltage (V) and anode current (I)
of an SCR at constant gate current. Fig. 20.7 shows the V-I characteris- Fig. 20.6
tics of a typical SCR.
(i) Forward characteristics. When anode is positive w.r.t. cathode, the curve between V and I is
called the forward characteristic. In Fig. 20.7, OABC is the forward characteristic of SCR at IG = 0.
If the supply voltage is increased from zero, a point is reached (point A) when the SCR starts conduct-
ing. Under this condition, the voltage across SCR suddenly drops as shown by dotted curve AB and
most of supply voltage appears across the load resistance RL. If proper gate current is made to flow,
SCR can close at much smaller supply voltage.
(ii) Reverse characteristics. When anode is negative w.r.t. cathode, the curve between V and I is
known as reverse characteristic. The reverse voltage does come across SCR when it is operated with
a.c. supply. If the reverse voltage is gradually increased, at first the anode current remains small (i.e.
leakage current) and at some reverse voltage, avalanche breakdown occurs and the SCR starts con-
ducting heavily in the reverse direction as shown by the curve DE. This maximum reverse voltage at
which SCR starts conducting heavily is known as reverse breakdown voltage.
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560  Principles of Electronics

Fig. 20.7

20.6 SCR in Normal Operation


In order to operate the SCR in normal operation, the following points are kept in view :
(i) The supply voltage is generally much less than breakover voltage.
(ii) The SCR is turned on by passing an appropriate amount of gate current (a few mA) and not
by breakover voltage.
(iii) When SCR is operated from a.c. supply, the peak reverse voltage which comes during
negative half-cycle should not exceed the reverse breakdown voltage.
(iv) When SCR is to be turned OFF from the ON state, anode current should be reduced to
holding current.
(v) If gate current is increased above the required value, the SCR will close at much reduced
supply voltage.

20.7 SCR as a Switch


The SCR has only two states, namely; ON state and OFF state and no state inbetween. When appro-
priate gate current is passed, the SCR starts conducting heavily and remains in this position indefi-
nitely even if gate voltage is removed. This corresponds to the ON condition. However, when the
anode current is reduced to the holding current, the SCR is turned OFF. It is clear that behaviour of
SCR is similar to a mechanical switch. As SCR is an electronic device, therefore, it is more appropri-
ate to call it an electronic switch.
Advantages of SCR as a switch. An SCR has the following advantages over a mechanical or
electromechanical switch (relay) :
(i) It has no moving parts. Consequently, it gives noiseless operation at high efficiency.
9
(ii) The switching speed is very high upto 10 operations per second.
(iii) It permits control over large current (30100 A) in the load by means of a small gate current
(a few mA).
(iv) It has small size and gives trouble free service.

20.8 SCR Switching


We have seen that SCR behaves as a switch i.e. it has only two states viz. ON state and OFF state. It
is profitable to discuss the methods employed to turn-on or turn-off an SCR.
Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 561
1. SCR turn-on methods. In order to turn on the SCR, the gate voltage VG is increased upto
a minimum value to initiate triggering. This minimum value of gate voltage at which SCR is turned
ON is called gate triggering voltage VGT. The resulting gate current is called gate triggering current
IGT. Thus to turn on an SCR all that we have to do is to apply positive gate voltage equal to VGT or pass
a gate current equal to IGT. For most of the SCRs, VGT = 2 to 10 V and IGT = 100 A to 1500 mA. We
shall discuss two methods to turn on an SCR.

Fig. 20.8
(i) D.C. gate trigger circuit. Fig. 20.8 shows a typical circuit used for triggering an SCR with
a d.c. gate bias. When the switch is closed, the gate receives sufficient positive voltage (= VGT) to turn
the SCR on. The resistance R1 connected in the circuit provides noise suppression and improves the
turn-on time. The turn-on time primarily depends upon the magnitude of the gate current. The higher
the gate-triggered current, the shorter the turn-on time.

Fig. 20.9
(ii) A.C. trigger circuit. An SCR can also be turned on with positive cycle of a.c. gate current.
Fig. 20.9 (ii) shows such a circuit. During the positive half-cycle of the gate current, at some point IG
= IGT, the device is turned on as shown in Fig. 20.9 (i).
2. SCR turn-off methods. The SCR turn-off poses more problems than SCR turn-on. It is
because once the device is ON, the gate loses all control. There are many methods of SCR turn-off but
only two will be discussed.
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562  Principles of Electronics
(i) Anode current interruption. When the anode current is reduced below a minimum value
called holding current, the SCR turns off. The simple way to turn off the SCR is to open the line
switch S as shown in Fig. 20.10.
(ii) Forced commutation. The method of discharging a capacitor in parallel with an SCR to
turn off the SCR is called forced commutation. Fig. 20.11 shows the forced commutation of SCR
where capacitor C performs the commutation. Assuming the SCRs are switches with SCR1 ON and
SCR2 OFF, current flows through the load and C as shown in Fig. 20.11. When SCR2 is triggered on,
C is effectively paralleled across SCR1. The charge on C is then opposite to SCR1s forward voltage,
SCR1 is thus turned off and the current is transferred to RSCR2 path.

Fig. 20.10 Fig. 20.11

20.9 SCR Half-Wave Rectifier


One important application of an SCR is the controlled half-wave rectification. Fig. 20.12 (i) shows
the circuit of an SCR half-wave rectifier. The a.c. supply to be rectified is supplied through the
transformer. The load resistance RL is connected in series with the anode. A variable resistance r is
inserted in the gate circuit to control the gate current.

Fig. 20.12
Operation. The a.c. supply to be converted into d.c. supply is applied to the primary of the
transformer. Suppose the peak reverse voltage appearing across secondary is less than the reverse
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 563
breakdown voltage of the SCR. This condition ensures that SCR will not break down during negative
half-cycles of a.c. supply. The circuit action is as follows :
(i) During the negative half-cycles of a.c. voltage appearing across secondary, the SCR does not
conduct regardless of the gate voltage. It is because in this condition, anode is negative w.r.t. cathode
and also PRV is less than the reverse breakdown voltage.
(ii) The SCR will conduct during the positive half-cycles provided proper gate current is made
to flow. The greater the gate current, the lesser the supply voltage at which SCR is turned ON. The
gate current can be changed by the variable resistance r as shown in Fig. 20.12 (i).
(iii) Suppose that gate current is adjusted to such a value that SCR closes at a positive voltage V1
which is less than the peak voltage Vm. Referring to Fig. 20.12 (ii), it is clear that SCR will start
conducting when secondary a.c. voltage becomes V1 in the positive half-cycle. Beyond this, the SCR
will continue to conduct till voltage becomes zero at which point it is turned OFF. Again at the start
of the next positive half-cycle, SCR will start conducting when secondary voltage becomes V1.
(iv) Referring to Fig. 20.12 (ii), it is clear that firing angle is i.e. at this angle in the positive
half-cycle, SCR starts conduction. The conduction angle is (= 180 ).
It is worthwhile to distinguish between an ordinary half-wave rectifier and SCR half-wave recti-
fier. Whereas an ordinary half-wave rectifier will conduct full positive half-cycle, an SCR half-wave
rectifier can be made to conduct full or part of a positive half-cycle by proper adjustment of gate
current. Therefore, an SCR can control power fed to the load and hence the name controlled rectifier.
Mathematical treatment. Referring to Fig. 20.12 (i), let v = Vm sin be the alternating volt-
age that appears across the secondary. Let be the firing angle. It means that rectifier will conduct
from to 180 during the positive half-cycles.
180 180
1 Vm
Average output, Vav =
2

Vm sin d =
2 sin d

Vm
=
2
[ cos ]180

Vm
= (cos cos 180)
2
Vm
Vav = (1 + cos )
2
Vav Vm
Average current, Iav = = (1 + cos )
RL 2 RL
The following points may be noted :
(i) If the firing angle = 0, then full positive half-cycle will appear across the load RL and the
output current becomes :
Vm V
Iav = (1 + cos 0) = m
2 RL RL
This is the value of average current for ordinary half-wave rectifier. This is expected since the
full positive half-cycle is being conducted.
(ii) If = 90, then average current is given by :
Vm Vm
Iav = (1 + cos 90) =
2 RL 2 RL
This shows that greater the firing angle , the smaller is the average current and vice-versa.
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564  Principles of Electronics
Example 20.5. A half-wave rectifier circuit employing an SCR is adjusted to have a gate cur-
rent of 1mA. The forward breakdown voltage of SCR is 100 V for Ig = 1mA. If a sinusoidal voltage of
200 V peak is applied, find :
(i) firing angle (ii) conduction angle (iii) average current.
Assume load resistance = 100 and the holding current to be zero.
Solution. v = Vm sin
Here, v = 100 V, Vm = 200 V
(i) 100 = 200 sin

or sin = 100 = 0.5


200
= sin1 (0.5) = 30 i.e. Firing angle, = = 30
(ii) Conduction angle, = 180 = 180 30 = 150

(1 + cos ) = 200 (1 + cos 30) = 59.25 V


Vm
(iii) Average voltage =
2 2
Average voltage
Average current = = 59.25 = 0.5925 A
RL 100

Example 20.6. An SCR half-wave rectifier has a forward breakdown voltage of 150 V when a
gate current of 1 mA flows in the gate circuit. If a sinusoidal voltage of 400 V peak is applied, find:
(i) firing angle (ii) average output voltage
(iii) average current for a load resistance of 200 (iv) power output
Assume that the gate current is 1mA throughout and the forward breakdown voltage is more
than 400 V when Ig = 1 mA.
Solution. Vm = 400 V, v = 150 V, RL = 200
(i) Now v = Vm sin

or sin = v = 150 = 0.375


Vm 400
1
i.e. firing angle, (= ) = sin 0.375 = 22
(ii) Average output voltage is
V 400 (1 + cos 22) =
Vav = m (1 + cos 22) = 122.6 V
2 2
average output voltage
(iii) Average current, Iav = = 122.6 = 0.613 A
RL 200
(iv) Output power = Vav Iav = 122.6 0.613 = 75.15 W

Example 20.7. An a.c. voltage v = 240 sin314 t is applied to an SCR half-wave rectifier. If the
SCR has a forward breakdown voltage of 180 V, find the time during which SCR remains off.
Solution. The SCR will remain off till the voltage across it reaches 180 V. This is shown in Fig.
20.13. Clearly, SCR will remain off for t second.
Now v = Vm sin 314 t
Here v = 180 V; Vm = 240 V
180 = 240 sin (314 t)
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 565
180 = 0.75
or sin 314 t =
240
1
or 314 t = sin (0.75)
= 48.6 = 0.848 radian
0.848
t = = 0.0027 sec
314
= 2.7 millisecond
Example 20.8. In an SCR half-wave rectifier circuit,
what peak-load current will occur if we measure an aver-
age (d.c.) load current of 1A at a firing angle of 30 ? Fig. 20.13
Solution. Let Im be the peak load current.
Vm
Now, Iav = 2R (1 + cos )
L
Im Vm
= (1 + cos ) ( Q Im = )
2 RL
2 I av
Im =
1 + cos
Here Iav = Idc = 1A ; = 30
2 1
Im = = 3.36A
1 + cos 30
Example 20.9. Power (brightness) of a 100W, 110 V tungsten lamp is to be varied by control-
ling the firing angle of an SCR in a half-wave rectifier circuit supplied with 110 V a.c. What r.m.s.
voltage and current are developed in the lamp at firing angle = 60?
Solution. The a.c. voltage is given by;
v = Vm sin
Let be the firing angle as shown in Fig. 20.14. This means that the SCR will fire (i.e. start
conducting) at = . Clearly, SCR will conduct from to 180.

1 V 2 sin 2 d
E2r.m.s. =
2 m

*
= Vm2 2 ( ) + sin 2
8
2( ) + sin 2
Er.m.s. = Vm
8 Fig. 20.14
Here, Vm = 2 110 = 156V; = 60 = /3
2 ( / 3) + sin 120
Er.m.s. = 156 = 70 V
8
2 2
V = (110)
Lamp resistance, RL = = 121
P 100
Ir.m.s. = r.m.s. = 70 = 0.58 A
E

RL 121

* On carrying out the integration.


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566  Principles of Electronics
Comments. The load current can be decreased by increasing the firing angle. The larger the
value of , the smaller is the load current and vice-versa. This method of controlling power is very
efficient because other methods, such as added series resistance, waste much power in the added
control element.
20.10 SCR Full-Wave Rectifier
Fig. 20.15 (i) shows the circuit of SCR full-wave rectifier. It is exactly like an ordinary centre-tap circuit
except that the two diodes have been replaced by two SCRs. The gates of both SCRs get their

Fig. 20.15
supply from two gate controls. One SCR conducts during the positive half-cycle and the other during
the negative half-cycle. Consequently, full-wave rectified output is obtained across the load.
Operation. The angle of conduction can be changed by adjusting the gate currents. Suppose the
gate currents are so adjusted that SCRs conduct as the secondary voltage (across half winding) be-
comes V1. During the positive half-cycle of a.c. across secondary, the upper end of secondary is
positive and the lower end negative. This will cause SCR1 to conduct. However, the conduction will
start only when the voltage across the upper half of secondary becomes V1 as shown in Fig. 20.15 (ii).
In this way, only shaded portion of positive half-cycle will pass through the load.
During the negative half-cycle of a.c. input, the upper end of secondary becomes negative and
the lower end positive. This will cause SCR2 to conduct when the voltage across the lower half of
secondary becomes V1. It may be seen that current through the load is in the same direction (d.c.) on
both half-cycles of input a.c. The obvious advantage of this circuit over ordinary full-wave rectifier
circuit is that by adjusting the gate currents, we can change the conduction angle and hence the output
voltage.
Mathematical treatment. Referring to Fig. 20.15 (i), let v = Vm sin be the alternating voltage
that appears between centre tap and either end of secondary. Let be the firing angle.
180 180
1 Vm
Average output, Vav =


Vm sin d =
sin d

V 180 V
= m [ cos ] = m (cos cos 180)

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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 567
Vm
Vav = (1 + cos )

This value is double that of a half-wave rectifier. It is expected since now negative half-cycle is
also rectified.
Vav V
Average current, Iav = = m (1 + cos )
RL RL
Example 20.10. An SCR full-wave rectifier supplies to a load of 100 . If the peak a.c. voltage
between centre tap and one end of secondary is 200V, find (i) d.c. output voltage and (ii) load current
for a firing angle of 60.
Solution. Vm = 200 V; = 60; RL = 100

(1 + cos ) = 200 (1 + cos 60) = 95.5 V


Vm
(i) D.C. output voltage, Vav =

= 95.5 = 0.955 A
Vav
(ii) Load current, Iav =
RL 100
Example 20.11. Power (brightness) of a 100 W, 110 V lamp is to be varied by controlling firing
angle of SCR full-wave circuit; the r.m.s. value of a.c. voltage appearing across each SCR being
110 V. Find the r.m.s. voltage and current in the lamp at firing angle of 60.
Solution. Let v = vm sin be the alternating voltage that
appears between centre tap and either end of the secondary. Let
be the firing angle as shown in Fig. 20.16. This means that SCR
will conduct at = . Clearly, SCR circuit will conduct from to
180.

1 V 2 sin 2 d
2
Er.m.s. =
m
Fig. 20.16
*
2 ( ) + sin 2
= Vm2
4
2 ( ) + sin 2
Er.m.s. = Vm
4
Here Vm = 110 2 = 156V ; = 60
2 ( /3) + sin 120
Er.m.s. = 156 = 98.9V
4
2 2
(110)
Lamp resistance, RL = V = = 121
P 100
Er.m.s. 98.9
Ir.m.s. = = = 0.82 A
RL 121

20.11 Single-Phase SCR Inverter Circuit


SCR inverter provides an efficient and economical way of converting direct current or voltage into
alternating current or voltage. In this application, SCR acts as a controlled switch, alternately opening
and closing a d.c. circuit. Fig. 20.17 shows the basic inverter circuit. Here, a.c. voltage is generated
by alternately closing and opening switches S1 and S2. Replacing, the mechanical switches

* On carrying out the integration.


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568  Principles of Electronics

Fig. 20.17
with SCRs, whose gates are triggered by an external pulse generator, we get the practical SCR inverter
as shown in Fig. 20.18.

Fig. 20.18
Circuit Action
The circuit action is as under :
(i) When conduction is initiated by applying a positive trigger pulse to SCR 1 (SCR 2 is as-
sumed OFF), the voltage across SCR decreases rapidly as the current through it increases. At the
same time, the capacitor C charges through SCR 1 in the polarity shown. The load current flows
through inductor L, upper half of the transformer primary winding and SCR1.
(ii) When a firing pulse is applied to the gate of SCR 2, this SCR turns on and conducts current.
At this instant, capacitor C begins to discharge through SCR 1 and SCR 2. This discharge current
flows through SCR 1 in a reverse direction. This reverse current turns off SCR1. At this time, with
SCR 1 turned off, the capacitor voltage (approximately*2E) appears across SCR 1 as a reverse
voltage, long enough for this SCR to recover for forward blocking.
Simultaneously, during this interval, conducting SCR 2 allows the capacitor to discharge through
the transformer primary winding and inductor L. The function of L is to control the discharge rate of
C to allow sufficient time for SCR 1 to turn OFF. Capacitor C discharges rapidly from 2E to zero
and then charges up in the opposite direction to + 2E. The load current is now carried through the
second half of the transformer primary winding and SCR 2.
(iii) When trigger pulse is applied to the gate of SCR 1, this device will conduct and SCR 2 will
turn off by the process just described. In this way, SCR 1 and SCR 2 alternately turn ON and OFF.
Consequently, a.c. output is obtained as shown in Fig. 20.18.

* The capacitor voltage will charge to double the suppply voltage (E) as a result of transformer action be-
tween the two primary windings.
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 569
The a.c. waveform produced by a single-phase inverter is a poor version of sine wave and would
not be suitable for most industrial, commercial and domestic loads. More complex inverters using
multiple SCRs and sophisticated triggering circuits are capable of generating a.c. voltages that are
extremely close to a pure sine wave.
20.12 Applications of SCR
The ability of an SCR to control large currents in a load by means of small gate current makes this
device useful in switching and control applications. Some of the important applications of SCR are
discussed below :
(i) SCR as static contactor. An important application of SCR is for switching operations. As
SCR has no moving parts, therefore, when it is used as a switch, it is often called a static contactor.

Fig. 20.19
Fig. 20.19 shows the use of SCR to switch ON or OFF a.c. power to a load RL. Resistances R1 and R2
are for the protection of diodes D1 and D2 respectively. Resistance R3 is the gate current limiting
resistor. To start the circuit, switch is closed. During the positive half-cycle of a.c. supply, end A is
positive and end B is negative. Then diode D2 sends gate current through SCR1. Therefore SCR1 is
turned ON while SCR2 remains OFF as its anode is negative w.r.t. cathode. The current conduction
by SCR1 follows the path ARLK1BA. Similarly, in the next half-cycle, SCR2 is turned ON and con-
ducts current through the load. It may be seen that switch S handles only a few mA of gate current to
switch ON several hundred amperes in the load RL. This is a distinct advantage over a mechanical
switch.

Fig. 20.20
570  Principles of Electronics
(ii) SCR for power control. It is often necessary to control power delivered to some load such
as the heating element of a furnace. Series resistances or potentiometers cannot be used because they
waste power in high power circuits. Under such conditions, silicon controlled rectifiers are used
which are capable of adjusting the transmitted power with little waste. Fig. 20.20 shows a common
circuit for controlling power in the load RL. During the positive half-cycle of a.c. supply, end A is
positive and end B is negative. Therefore, capacitor C2 is charged through AD1 RC2 D4B. The charge
on the capacitor C2 depends upon the value of potentiometer R. When the capacitor C2 is charged
through a sufficient voltage, it discharges through the zener Z. This gives a pulse to the primary and
hence secondary of transformer T2. This turns on SCR2 which conducts currents through the load RL.
During negative half-cycle of supply, the capacitor C1 is charged. It discharges through the zener and
fires SCR1 which conducts current through the load.

Fig. 20.21
The angle of conduction can be controlled by the potenti-
ometer R. The greater the resistance of R, lesser is the voltage
across C1 or C2 and hence smaller will be the time during which
SCR1 and SCR2 will conduct in a full cycle. In this way, we
can control a large power of several kW in the load RL with the
help of a small potentiometer R.
(iii) SCRs for speed control of d.c. shunt motor. The
conventional method of speed control of d.c. shunt motor is to
change the field excitation. But change in field excitation
changes the motor torque also. This drawback is overcome in
SCR control as shown in Fig. 20.21. Diodes D1, D2, D3 and D4
form the bridge. This bridge circuit converts a.c. into d.c. and
supplies it to the field winding of the motor. During the posi-
tive half-cycle of a.c. supply, SCR1 conducts because it gets
gate current from bridge circuit as well as its anode is positive
w.r.t. cathode. The armature winding of the motor gets current. SCR Power Control
The angle of conduction can be changed by varying the gate
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 571
current. During the negative half-cycle of a.c. sup-
ply, SCR2 provides current to the armature winding.
In this way, the voltage fed to the motor armature and
hence the speed can be controlled.
(iv) Overlight detector. Fig. 20.22 shows the
use of SCR for overlight detection. The resistor R is
a photo-resistor, a device whose resistance decreases
with the increase in light intensity. When the light
falling on R has normal intensity, the value of R is
high enough and the voltage across R1 is insufficient
to trigger the SCR. However, when R is in strong
light, its resistance decreases and the voltage drop
across R1 becomes high enough to trigger the SCR.
Consequently, the buzzer sounds the alarm. It may Fig. 20.22
be noted that even if the strong light disappears, the
buzzer continues to sound the alarm. It is because once the SCR is fired, the gate loses all control.
(v) SCR Crowbar. A crowbar is a circuit that is used to protect a voltage-sensitive load from
excessive d.c. power supply output voltages. Fig. 20.23 shows the SCR crowbar circuit. It consists of
a zener diode, a gate resistor RG and an SCR. It also contains a *snubber to prevent false triggering.

Fig. 20.23
Operation. The circuit action is as under:
(a) Under normal conditions, the zener diode and the SCR are OFF. With zener diode being in
cutoff, there is no current through RG and no voltage drop occurs across this resistor. This means that
the gate of SCR is at 0V so that the SCR is in the off state. Therefore, as long as zener diode is off, the
SCR behaves as an open and will not affect either the d.c. power supply or the load.
(b) Suppose the output voltage from the d.c. power supply suddenly
increases. This causes the zener diode to break down and conduct current.
As the current flows through the zener diode, voltage is developed across
resistor RG which causes the SCR to conduct current. When the SCR con-
ducts, the voltage source is shorted by the SCR. The supply voltage fuse
blows out and the load is protected from overvoltage.
20.13 Light-Activated SCR
The light-activated SCR (LASCR) is the light sensitive equivalent of the nor-
mal SCR and is shown in Fig. 20.24. As the name suggests, its state is con-
trolled by the light falling on depletion layers. In a normal SCR, gate current Fig. 20.24

* It is an RC circuit connected between the SCR anode and cathode to eliminate false triggering.
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572  Principles of Electronics
turns on the device. In the *LASCR, instead of having the external gate current applied, light shinning
on the device turns it ON. Just as a normal SCR, the LASCR will continue to conduct even if the light
source is removed. The LASCRs find many applications including optical light controls, relays, phase
control, motor control and a large number of computer applications. The maximum current (r.m.s.)
and power (gate) ratings for LASCRs commercially available today are about 3A and 0.1W. It may be
noted that LASCR is most sensitive to light when the gate terminal is open. Its sensitivity can be
reduced and controlled by the insertion of a gate resistor.
Example 20.12. The SCR of Fig. 20.25 has gate trigger voltage VT = 0.7V, gate trigger current
IT = 7 mA and holding current IH = 6 mA.
(i) What is the output voltage when the SCR is off ?
(ii) What is the input voltage that triggers the SCR ?
(iii) If VCC is decreased until the SCR opens, what is the value of VCC ?
Solution.
(i) When the SCR is off (i.e. it is not conducting),
there is no current through the 100 resistor.
Vout = Supply voltage VCC = 15V
(ii) The input voltage Vin must overcome VT (=0.7V)
and also cause 7 mA to flow through 1 k resistor.
Vin = VT + IT R = 0.7 + (7 mA) (1 k)
= 7.7V
(iii) In order to open the SCR, the VCC must be re-
duced so that anode current is equal to IH.
VCC VT
IH = 100
Fig. 20.25
or VCC = (100) (IH) + VT
= (100) (6 mA) + 0.7 = 1.3V
Example 20.13. In Fig. 20.26, the SCR has a trigger voltage of 0.7 V. Calculate the supply
voltage that turns on the crowbar. Ignore zener diode resistance.

Fig. 20.26
Solution. The breakdown voltage of the zener is 5.6V. To turn on the SCR, the voltage across
68 has to be equal to VT (= 0.7V).
VCC = VZ + VT = 5.6 + 0.7 = 6.3V

* For maximum sensitivity to light, the gate is left open.


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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 573
When the supply voltage becomes 6.3 V, the zener breaks down and starts conducting. The
voltage VT (= 0.7V) across 68 forces the SCR into conduction. When the SCR conducts, the supply
voltage is shorted by the SCR and the fuse in the supply voltage burns out. Thus the load (100) is
protected from overvoltage.
Example. 20.14. The zener diode of Fig. 20.27 has a tolerance of 10% and the trigger voltage
can be as high as 1.5V. What is the maximum supply voltage where crowbarring takes place?

Fig. 20.27
Solution. The breakdown voltage of the zener diode is 12V and it has a tolerance of 10%. It
means that breakdown voltage of zener can vary from 10.8V to 13.2V. Since the trigger voltage of
SCR has a maximum value of 1.5 V,
Maximum value of supply voltage for crowbarring
= 13.2V + 1.5V = 14.7V
Example. 20.15. The circuit of Fig. 20.28 is in a dark room. When a
bright light is turned on, the LASCR fires. What is the approximate output
voltage? If the bright light is turned off, what is the output voltage?
Solution. Fig. 20.28 shows a light-activated SCR, also known as a
photo-SCR. When light falls on the device, it starts conducting and the
output voltage is ideally,
Vout = 0V
However, if we take into account anode-cathode drop, Vout = 0.7V.
When light is turned off, the LASCR stops conducting and the output Fig. 20.28
voltage is equal to the supply voltage VCC i.e.
Vout = VCC = + 25V
Example 20.16. Give a simple method for
testing an SCR.
Solution. Fig. 20.29 shows a simple cir-
cuit for testing an SCR. The test lamp serves two
purposes. First, it is a visual indicator of current
conduction. Secondly, it limits current through
the SCR.
(i) When switch S is closed, the lamp
should not light for the SCR to be good. It is
because voltage is *applied only between anode
and cathode but there is no trigger voltage. If Fig. 20.29
the lamp lights, the SCR is shorted.

* It is understood that the applied voltage is less than the breakover voltage of the SCR.
574  Principles of Electronics
(ii) Now touch R1 momentarily between gate and anode terminals. For the SCR to be good, the
lamp should light and *continue to light. If it does not, the SCR is open.
Note that the lamp will be on at half brilliance because the SCR conducts only every other half-
cycle.

MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS
1. An SCR has ............... pn junctions. (iii) a rectifier and capacitor
(i) two (ii) three (iv) none of the above
(iii) four (iv) none of the above 11. The control element in an SCR is ...............
2. An SCR is a solid state equivalent of ............ (i) cathode (ii) anode
(i) triode (ii) pentode (iii) anode supply (iv) gate
(iii) gas-filled triode (iv) tetrode 12. The normal way to turn on an SCR is by
3. An SCR has ............... semiconductor layers. ...............
(i) two (ii) three (i) breakover voltage
(iii) four (iv) none of the above (ii) appropriate anode current
4. An SCR has three terminals viz. ............... (iii) appropriate gate current
(i) cathode, anode, gate (iv) none of the above
(ii) anode, cathode, grid 13. An SCR is turned off by ...............
(iii) anode, cathode, drain (i) reducing anode voltage to zero
(iv) none of the above (ii) reducing gate voltage to zero
5. An SCR behaves as a ............... switch. (iii) reverse biasing the gate
(i) unidirectional (ii) bidirectional (iv) none of the above
(iii) mechanical (iv) none of the above 14. An SCR is a ............... triggered device.
6. An SCR is sometimes called ............... (i) voltage
(i) triac (ii) current
(ii) diac (iii) voltage as well as current
(iii) unijunction transistor (iv) none of the above
(iv) thyristor 15. In an SCR circuit, the supply voltage is gen-
7. An SCR is made of ............... erally ............... that of breakover voltage.
(i) germanium (ii) silicon (i) equal to (ii) less than
(iii) carbon (iv) none of the above (iii) greater than (iv) none of the above
8. In the normal operation of an SCR, anode is 16. When an SCR is turned on, the voltage across
............... w.r.t. cathode. it is about ..............................
(i) at zero potential (i) zero (ii) 10 V
(ii) negative (iii) 0.1 V (iv) 1V
(iii) positive 17. An SCR is made of silicon and not germa-
nium because silicon ...............
(iv) none of the above
(i) is inexpensive
9. In normal operation of an SCR, gate is
............... w.r.t. cathode. (ii) is mechanically strong
(i) positive (iii) has small leakage current
(ii) negative (iv) is tetravalent
(iii) at zero potential 18. An SCR is turned off when ...............
(iv) none of the above (i) anode current is reduced to zero
10. An SCR combines the features of ............... (ii) gate voltage is reduced to zero
(i) a rectifier and resistance (iii) gate is reverse biased
(ii) a rectifier and transistor (iv) none of the above

* Recall that once the SCR is fired by the gate voltage, it continues to conduct current even if the gate voltage
is removed.
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Silicon Controlled Rectifiers 575
19. In an SCR circuit, the angle of conduction (i) exactly zero
can be changed by ............... (ii) small leakage current
(i) changing anode voltage (iii) large leakage current
(ii) changing gate voltage (iv) none of the above
(iii) reverse biasing the gate 23. An SCR can exercise control over ...............
(iv) none of the above of a.c. supply.
20. If firing angle in an SCR circuit is increased, (i) positive half-cycles only
the output ............... (ii) negative half-cycles only
(i) remains the same (iii) both positive and negative half-cycles
(ii) is increased (iv) positive or negative half-cycles
(iii) is decreased 24. We can control a.c. power in a load by con-
(iv) none of the above necting ...............
21. If gate current is increased, then anode-cath- (i) two SCRs in series
ode voltage at which SCR closes ...............
(ii) two SCRs in parallel
(i) is decreased
(iii) two SCRs in parallel opposition
(ii) is increased
(iii) remains the same (iv) none of the above
(iv) none of the above 25. When SCR starts conducting, then ...............
22. When SCR is OFF, the current in the circuit loses all control.
is ............... (i) gate (ii) cathode
(iii) anode (iv) none of the above

Answers to Multiple-Choice Questions


1. (ii) 2. (iii) 3. (iii) 4. (i) 5. (i)
6. (iv) 7. (ii) 8. (iii) 9. (i) 10. (ii)
11. (iv) 12. (iii) 13. (i) 14. (ii) 15. (ii)
16. (iv) 17. (iii) 18. (i) 19. (ii) 20. (iii)
21. (i) 22. (ii) 23. (iv) 24. (iii) 25. (i)

Chapter Review Topics


1. Explain the construction and working of an SCR.
2. Draw the equivalent circuit of an SCR and explain its working from this equivalent circuit.
3. Explain the terms breakover voltage, holding current and forward current rating as used in connection
with SCR analysis.
4. Draw the V-I characteristics of an SCR. What do you infer from them ?
5. Explain the action of an SCR as a switch. What are the advantages of SCR switch over a mechanical
or electro-mechanical switch ?
6. Discuss some important applications of SCR.

Problems
1. An SCR has a breakover voltage of 450 V, a trigger current of 15 mA and holding current of 10 mA.
What do you infer from it?
2. An SCR in a circuit is subjected to a 50 A current surge that lasts for 10 ms. Determine whether or not
2
this surge will destroy the device. Given that circuit fusing rating of SCR is 90 A s.
[will not be destroyed]
2
3. An SCR has a circuit fusing rating of 70 A s. The device is being used in a circuit where it could be
subjected to a 100 A surge. Determine the limit on the duration of such a surge. [7ms]
4. An SCR has a circuit fusing rating of 60 A2s. Determine the highest surge current value that SCR can
withstand for a period of 20 ms. [54.77A]
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576  Principles of Electronics
5. In Fig. 20.30, what value of input voltage would be required to cause the SCR to break down if the gate
current required for firing is 10 mA ? [3.7V]

Fig. 20.30 Fig. 20.31


6. In Fig. 20.31, if the trigger current of the SCR is 1.5 mA, what is the input voltage that triggers the SCR?
Given VT = 0.7V. [7.3V]
7. A 24V r.m.s. supply is connected to a half-wave SCR circuit that is triggered at 50. What is the d.c.
voltage delivered to the load ? [8.88V]

Discussion Questions
1. How does SCR differ from an ordinary rectifier ?
2. Why is SCR always turned on by gate current ?
3. Why SCR cannot be used as a bidirectional switch ?
4. How does SCR control the power fed to the load ?
5. Why are SCRs usually used in a.c. circuits?
6. Name three thyristor devices.
7. Why is SCR turned on by high-frequency radiation ?
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22
Electronic Instruments 601

Electronic
Instruments
22.1 Electronic Instruments

22.3 Applications of Multimeter

22.5 Merits and Demerits of Multimeter

22.7 Electronic Voltmeters

22.9 Applications of VTVM

22.11 Transistor Voltmeter Circuit

22.13 Cathode Ray Oscilloscope

22.15 Deflection Sensitivity of CRT

22.17 Display of Signal Waveform on CRO

22.19 Various Controls of CRO

INTR ODUCTION
INTRODUCTION

I
n recent years, the rapid strides and remarkable advances in the field of electronics is partly due
to modern electronic instruments. By using these instruments, we can gather much information
regarding the performance of specific electronic circuit. Electronic instruments are also used for
trouble shooting since they permit readings to be taken so that circuit faults can be located by
ascertaining which component values do not coincide with the pre-established values indicated by the
manufacturer. In fact, electronic instruments are playing a vital role in the fast developing field of
electronics. It is with this view that they have been treated in a separate chapter.
22.1 Electronic Instruments
Those instruments which employ electronic devices for measuring various electrical quantities (e.g.
voltage, current, resistance etc.) are known as electronic instruments.
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602  Principles of Electronics
There are a large number of electronic instruments available for completion of various tests and
measurements. However, in this chapter, we shall confine our attention to the following electronic
instruments :
(i) Multimeter
(ii) Electronic Voltmeters
(iii) Cathode ray oscilloscope
The knowledge of the manner in which each instrument is used plus an understanding of the
applications and limitations of each instrument will enable the reader to utilise such instruments
successfully.
22.2 Multimeter
A multimeter is an electronic instrument which can measure resistances, currents and voltages. It is an
indispensable instrument and can be used for measuring d.c. as well as a.c. voltages and currents.
Multimeter is the most inexpensive equipment and can make various electrical measurements with
reasonable accuracy.
Construction. A multimeter consists of an ordinary pivoted type of moving coil galvanometer.
This galvanometer consists of a coil pivoted on jeweled bearings between the poles of a permanent
magnet. The indicating needle is fastened to the coil. When electric current is passed through the
coil, mechanical force acts and the pointer moves over the scale.
Functions. A multimeter can measure voltages, currents and resistances. To achieve this objec-
tive, proper circuits are incorporated with the galvanometer. The galvanometer in a multimeter is
always of left zero type i.e. normally its needle rests in extreme left position as compared to centre
zero position of ordinary galvanometers.
(i) Multimeter as voltmeter. When a high resistance is connected in series with a galvanom-
eter, it becomes a voltmeter. Fig. 22.1 (i) shows a high resistance R connected in series with the
galvanometer of resistance G. If Ig is the full scale deflection current, then the galvanometer becomes
a voltmeter of range 0 V volts. The required value of series resistance R is given by :
V = Ig R + Ig G
or V/Ig = R + G
or R = V/Ig G

Fig. 22.1
For maximum accuracy, a multimeter is always provided with a number of voltage ranges. This
is achieved by providing a number of high resistances in the multimeter as shown in Fig. 22.1 (ii).
Each resistance corresponds to one voltage range. With the help of selector switch S, we can put any
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Electronic Instruments 603
resistance (R1, R2 and R3) in series with the galva-
nometer. When d.c. voltages are to be measured,
the multimeter switch is turned on to d.c. position.
This puts the circuit shown in Fig. 22.1 (ii) in ac-
tion. By throwing the range selector switch S to a
suitable position, the given d.c. voltage can be mea-
sured.
The multimeter can also measure a.c. voltages.
To permit it to perform this function, a full-wave
rectifier is used as shown in Fig. 22.2. The recti-
fier converts a.c. into d.c. for application to the
galvanometer. The desired a.c. voltage range can
be selected by the switch S. When a.c. voltage is Fig. 22.2
to be measured, the multimeter switch is thrown to
a.c. position. This puts the circuit shown in Fig. 22.2 in action. By throwing the range selector switch
S to a suitable position, the given a.c. voltage can be measured. It may be mentioned here that a.c.
voltage scale is calibrated in r.m.s. values. Therefore, the meter will give the r.m.s. value of the a.c.
voltage under measurement.
(ii) Multimeter as ammeter. When low resistance is connected in parallel with a galvanom-
eter, it becomes an ammeter. Fig. 22.3 (i) shows a low resistance S (generally called shunt) connected
in parallel with the galvanometer of resistance G. If Ig is the full scale deflection current, then the
galvanometer becomes an ammeter of range 0 I amperes. The required value of shunt resistance S
is given by :
Is S = IgG
Is G +1
or Is/Ig = G/S or +1 =
Ig S
Is + I g G+S I G+S
or = or =
Ig S Ig S

Fig. 22.3
In practice, a number of low resistances are connected in parallel with the galvanometer to pro-
vide a number of current ranges as shown in Fig. 22.3 (ii). With the help of range selector switch S,
any shunt can be put in parallel with the galvanometer. When d.c. current is to be measured, the
multimeter switch is turned on to d.c. position. This puts the circuit shown in Fig. 22.3 (ii) in action.
By throwing the range selector switch S to a suitable position, the desired d.c. current can be mea-
sured.
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604  Principles of Electronics
The multimeter can also be used to measure alternating current. For this purpose, a full - wave
rectifier is used as shown in Fig. 22.4. The rectifier converts a.c. into d.c. for application to the
galvanometer. The desired current range can be selected by switch S. By throwing the range selector
switch S to a suitable position, the given a.c. current can be measured. Again, the a.c. current scale is
calibrated in r.m.s. values so that the instrument will give r.m.s. value of alternating current under
measurement.
(iii) Multimeter as ohmmeter. Fig. 22.5 (i) shows the circuit of ohmmeter. The multimeter
employs the internal battery. A fixed resistance R
and a variable resistance r are connected in series
with the battery and galvanometer. The fixed resis-
tance R limits the current within the range desired
and variable resistance r is for zero-adjustment
reading. The resistance to be measured is connected
between terminals A and B. The current flowing
through the circuit will depend upon the value of re-
sistor connected across the terminals. The ohmme-
ter scale is calibrated in terms of ohms. The ohm-
meter is generally made multirange instrument by
using different values of R as shown in Fig. 22.5 (ii).
To use ohmmeter, terminals A and B are shorted
and resistance r is adjusted to give full scale deflec-
tion of the galvanometer. Under this condition, the
resistance under measurement is zero. Because the
needle deflects to full scale, the ohmmeter scale must
then indicate full scale deflection as zero ohm. Then
probes A and B are connected across the resistance
to be measured. If the resistance to be measured is Fig. 22.4
high, lower current flows through the circuit and the
meter will indicate lower reading. It may be mentioned here that each time the ohmmeter is used, it
is first shorted across AB and r is adjusted to zero the meter. This calibrates the meter and accommo-
dates any decrease in the terminal voltage of the battery with age.

Fig. 22.5
Typical multimeter circuit. Fig 22.6 shows a typical multimeter circuit incorporating three
voltage and current ranges.
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Electronic Instruments 605

Fig. 22.6
Here the full-scale deflection (f.s.d.) current of the meter is 100 A and meter resistance is 50 .
The design of this multimeter means finding the values of various resistances.
22.3 Applications of Multimeter
A multimeter is an extremely important elec-
tronic instrument and is extensively used for
carrying out various tests and measurements in
electronic circuits. It is used :
(i) For checking the circuit continuity.
When the multimeter is employed as continu-
ity-checking device, the ohmmeter scale is
utilised and the equipment to be checked is shut
off or disconnected from the power mains.
(ii) For measuring d.c. current flowing
through the cathode, plate, screen and other
vacuum tube circuits.
(iii) For measuring d.c. voltages across Checking the circuit continuity by multimeter
various resistors in electronic circuits.
(iv) For measuring a.c. voltages across power supply transformers.
(v) For ascertaining whether or not open or short circuit exists in the circuit under study.
22.4 Sensitivity of Multimeter
The resistance offered per volt of full scale deflection by the multimeter is known as multimeter
sensitivity.
Multimeter sensitivity indicates the internal resistance of the multimeter. For example, if the
total resistance of the meter is 5000 ohms and the meter is to read 5 volts full scale, then internal
resistance of the meter is 1000 per volt i.e. meter sensitivity is 1000 per volt. Conversely, if the
meter sensitivity is 400 per volt which reads from 0 to 100 V, then meter resistance is 40,000 ohms.
If the meter is to read V volts and Ig is the full scale deflection current, then,
V
Meter resistance =
Ig
Meter sensitivity = Resistance per volt full scale deflection
1
= V V =
Ig Ig
Sensitivity is the most important characteristic of a multimeter. If the sensitivity of a multimeter
is high, it means that it has high internal resistance. When such a meter is connected in the circuit to
606  Principles of Electronics
read voltage, it will draw a very small current. Consequently, there will be no change in the circuit
current due to the introduction of the meter. Hence, it will measure the voltage correctly. On the other
hand, if the sensitivity of multimeter is low, it would cause serious error in voltage measurement. The
sensitivity of multimeters available in the market range from 5 k per volt to 20 k per volt.
22.5 Merits and Demerits of Multimeter
Although multimeter is widely used for manufacturing and servicing of electronics equipment, it has
its own merits and demerits.
Merits
(i) It is a single meter that performs several measuring functions.
(ii) It has a small size and is easily portable.
(iii) It can make measurements with reasonable accuracy.
Demerits
(i) It is a costly instrument. The cost of a multimeter having sensitivity of 20 k per volt is
about Rs. 1000.
(ii) It cannot make precise and accurate measurements due to the loading effect.
(iii) Technical skill is required to handle it.
22.6 Meter Protection
It is important to provide protection for the meter in the event of an accidental overload. This is
achieved by connecting a diode in parallel with the voltmeter as shown in Fig. 22.7.

Fig. 22.7
Let us see how diode across the meter enables it to withstand overload without destroying the
expensive movement. If I is the normal f.s.d. current, a potential difference of IRm is developed
across the diode. The circuit is so designed that IRm does not turn on the diode. In the event of an
accidental overload (say 5 I), the voltage across diode becomes 5 times greater and it is immediately
turned on. Consequently, diode diverts most of the overload current in the same manner as a shunt.
Thus protection of the meter against overload is ensured. Silicon diodes are perhaps the best to use in
such circuits.
Example 22.1. A multimeter has full scale deflection current of 1 mA. Determine its sensitivity.
3
Solution. Full scale deflection current, Ig = 1 mA = 10 A
Multimeter sensitivity = 1/Ig = 1/10 3 = 1000 per volt
Example 22.2. A multimeter has a sensitivity of 1000 per volt and reads 50 V full scale. If the
meter is to be used to measure the voltage across 50000 resistor, will it read correctly ?
Solution. Meter sensitivity = 1000 per volt
Full scale volts = 50 V
Meter resistance = 50 1000 = 50,000
When the meter is used to measure the voltage across the resistance as shown in Fig. 22.8, the
total resistance of the circuit is a parallel combination of two 50,000 resistors. Therefore, the
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Electronic Instruments 607
circuit resistance would be reduced to 25000 and double
the amount of current would be drawn than would other-
wise be the case.
Meter will give highly incorrect reading.
Comments. This example shows the limitation of mul-
timeter. The multimeter will read correctly only if its re-
sistance is very high as compared to the resistance across
which voltage is to be measured.
As a rule, the resistance of the multimeter should be
atleast 100 times the resistance across which voltage is to Fig. 22.8
be measured.
Example 22.3. In the circuit shown in Fig. 22.9 (i), it is desired to measure the voltage across
10 k resistance. If a multimeter of sensitivity 4 k/volt and range 0-10 V is used for the purpose,
what will be the reading ?
Solution. In the circuit shown in Fig. 22.9 (i), the circuit current by Ohms law is 1 mA. There-
fore, voltage across 10 k resistance is 10 V. Let us see whether the given multimeter reads this
value. Fig. 22.9 (ii) shows the multimeter connected across 10 k resistance. The introduction of
multimeter will change the circuit resistance and hence circuit current.
Resistance of meter = 4 k 10 = 40 k
Total circuit resistance = 40 k || 10 k + 10 k
40 10
= + 10 = 8 + 10 = 18 k
40 + 10
20 V
Circuit current = = 1.11 mA
18 k

Fig. 22.9
Voltage read by multimeter = 8 k 1.11 mA = 8.88 V
Example 22.4. If in the above example, a multimeter of sensitivity 20 k per volt is used, what
will be the reading ?
Solution. Meter resistance = 20 k 10 = 200 k
Total circuit resistance = 200 k || 10 k + 10 k
200 10
= + 10 = 9.5 + 10 = 19.5 k
200 + 10
20 V
Circuit current = = 1.04 mA
19.5 k
Voltage read by multimeter = 9.5 k 1.04 mA = 9.88 V
608  Principles of Electronics
A comparison of examples 22.3 and 22.4 shows that a multimeter with higher sensitivity gives
more correct reading.
Example 22.5. In the circuit shown in Fig. 22.10, find the voltage at points A, B, C and D (i)
before the meter is connected and (ii) after the meter is connected. Explain why the meter readings
differ from those without the meter connected.
Solution. (i) When meter is not connected. When meter is not connected in the circuit, the
circuit is a simple series circuit consisting of resistances 20 k, 20 k, 30 k and 30 k.
Total circuit resistance = 20 + 20 + 30 + 30 = 100 k
100 V
Circuit current = = 1 mA
100 k
Voltage at point A = 100 V

Fig. 22.10
Voltage at point B = 100 1 mA 20 k = 80 V
Voltage at point C = 100 1 mA 40 k = 60V
Voltage at point D = 100 1 mA 70 k = 30V
(ii) When meter is connected. When meter is connected in the circuit, the circuit becomes a
series-parallel circuit. The total circuit resistance would depend upon the position of switch S.
(a) When switch is at position A
The voltage at point A is 100 V because point A is directly connected to the voltage source.
Voltage at point A = 100 V
(b) When switch is at position B
80 60
Total circuit resistance = 20 + = 20 + 34.28 = 54.28 k
80 + 60
100 V
Circuit current =
54.28 k
100 V
Voltage at point B = 34.28 k = 63 V
54.28 k
(c) When switch is at point C
60 60
Total circuit resistance = 40 + = 40 + 30 = 70 k
60 + 60
100 V
Circuit current =
70 k
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Electronic Instruments 609
100 V
Voltage at point C = 30 k = 42.8 V
70 k
(d) When switch is at point D
30 60
Total circuit resistance = 70 + = 70 + 20 = 90 k
30 + 60
100 V
Circuit current =
90 k
100 V
Voltage at point D = 20 k = 22.2 V
90 k
Comments. Note that potential measurements are being made in a high-impedance circuit; the
circuit resistance is comparable to meter resistance. As a rule, the resistance of the voltmeter should be
100 times the resistance across which voltage is to be measured. Since such a condition is not realised in
this problem, the meter readings differ appreciably from those without the meter connected.
22.7 Electronic Voltmeters
The electromagnetic and electrostatic voltmeters have two main drawbacks. First, the input resis-
tance/impedance of these instruments is not very high so that there is a considerable *loading effect of
the instrument. Secondly, considerable power is drawn from the circuit under measurement. Both
these drawbacks are overcome in electronic voltmeters. The electronic devices (e.g. vacuum tubes,
transistors etc.) have very high input resistance/impedance and possess the property of amplification.
The latter property permits the input signal to be amplified so that the power to operate the indicating
mechanism comes from a source other than the measured circuit. There are a large number of elec-
tronic voltmeters. However, we shall discuss the following three types of electronic voltmeters :
(i) Vacuum Tube Voltmeter (VTVM)
(ii) Transistor Voltmeter
(iii) Bridge Rectifier Voltmeter

22.8 Vacuum Tube Voltmeter ( VTVM )


A vacuum tube voltmeter consists of any ordinary voltmeter and electron tubes. It is extensively
used for measuring both a.c. and d.c. voltages. The vacuum tube voltmeter has high internal resis-
tance ( > 10 M ) and draws extremely small current from the circuit across which it is connected. In
other words, the loading effect of this instrument is very small. Therefore, a VTVM measures the
exact voltage even across a high resistance. In fact, the ability of VTVM to measure the voltages
accurately has made this instrument the most popular with technicians for trouble shooting radio and
television receivers as well as for laboratory work involving research and design.
(i) Simple VTVM circuit. Fig. 22.11 shows the simple circuit of a vacuum tube voltmeter. It
consists of a triode having meter M connected in the plate circuit. The meter is calibrated in volts. R1
is the grid leak resistor. The voltage to be measured is applied at the grid of triode in such a way that
grid is always negative w.r.t. cathode. This voltage at the grid is transformed by the triode into
corresponding plate current. The meter M connected in the plate circuit directly gives the value of the
voltage under measurement. It may be seen that as grid draws extremely small current (< 1 A),
therefore, internal resistance of VTVM is very large. This circuit has the disadvantage that if the
applied voltages change (especially filament voltage), the plate current will also change. Conse-
quently, the meter will give wrong reading.

* When a voltmeter is connected across a resistance R to measure voltage, the measured voltage will be
less than the actual value. It is because the resistance R is shunted by the voltmeter. This is called
loading effect of the meter. The greater the input resistance of voltmeter, the smaller will be the loading
effect and more accurate is the reading.
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610  Principles of Electronics

Fig. 22.11
(ii) Balanced bridge Type VTVM. The disadvantage of above circuit is overcome in the
balanced bridge type VTVM shown in Fig. 22.12. Here, two similar triodes V1 and V2 are used. The
meter M is connected between the plates of triodes and indicates the voltage to be measured. The
variable resistance r in the plate circuit of V2 is for zero adjustment of the meter. The voltage to be
measured is applied at the grid of triode V1 in such a way that grid is always negative with respect to
cathode.
Operation. When no voltage is applied at the input terminals AB, the plate currents flowing in
both valves are equal as the triodes are similar. Therefore, plates of both valves are at the same
potential. Consequently, the current through the meter M is zero and the meter reads zero volt.
However, in actual practice, there are always some constructional differences in plates, grids and
cathodes of the two valves. The result is that two plate currents differ slightly and the meter may give
some reading. In such a case, the meter needle is brought to zero by changing resistance r.

Fig. 22.12
The voltage to be measured is applied at the grid of triode V1, making the grid negative w.r.t.
cathode. This changes the plate current of triode V1 and the plates of two valves no longer remain at
the same potential. Therefore, a small current flows through the meter M which directly gives the
value of the voltage being measured. It may be noted that actually triode V1 is used for voltage
measurement, the purpose of V2 is simply to prevent zero drift. By using two similar tubes, any
Electronic Instruments 611
change in plate current due to supply fluctuations will equally affect the two plate currents. There-
fore, net change in potential drop across voltmeter is zero.

Fig. 22.13
Range selection. In practice, a VTVM is made
a multirange instrument by employing a potentiometer
at the input circuit as shown in Fig. 22.13. By throwing
the range selector switch S to a suitable position, the
desired voltage range can be obtained. Thus when the
range selector switch S is thrown to position 1, the volt-
age applied to the grid is three times as compared to
position 3. Although only three voltage ranges have
been considered, a commercial VTVM may have more
ranges.
22.9 Applications of VTVM
A VTVM is far superior to a multimeter and performs a
number of measuring functions. A few important appli-
VTVM cations of VTVM are discussed below :

Fig. 22.14
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612  Principles of Electronics
(i) d.c. voltage measurements. A VTVM can accurately measure the d.c. voltages in an elec-
tronic circuit. The d.c. voltage to be measured is applied at the input (i.e. grid of V1) terminals in such
a way that grid of the input valve V1 is always negative. Fig. 22.14 shows the circuit of an amplifier
stage and measurement of d.c. voltage across cathode resistor RK.
(ii) d.c. current measurements. A conventional VTVM does not incorporate a current scale.
However, current values can be found indirectly. For instance, in Fig. 22.14, the d.c. current through
RK can be found by noting the voltage across RK and dividing it by the resistance RK.
(iii) a.c. voltage measurements. For measuring a.c. voltage, a rectifier is used in conjunction
with a VTVM. The rectifier converts a.c. into d.c. for application to the grid of valve V1. In fact,
rectifier circuit is a part of VTVM. Fig. 22.15 shows the transistor power amplifier stage and mea-
surement of a.c. voltage across the speaker.

Fig. 22.15
(iv) Resistance measurements. A VTVM can be used to measure resistances and has the ability
to measure resistances upto 1000 megaohms whereas the ordinary ohmmeter will measure only upto
about 10 megaohms. Fig. 22.16 shows the circuit of VTVM ohmmeter. By throwing the selector
switch S to any suitable position, the desired resistance range can be obtained. The unknown resistor
whose value is to be measured is connected between points A and B. If the unknown resistance has
high value, a higher negative bias will be applied to triode V1. Reverse will happen if the unknown

Fig. 22.16
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Electronic Instruments 613
resistance has low value. The imbalance in the plate currents of the two valves will cause a current
through the meter M which will directly give the value over the resistance scale of the meter.

22.10 Merits and Demerits of VTVM


A VTVM is an extremely important electronic equipment and is widely used for making differ-
ent measurements in electronic circuits.
Merits
(i) A VTVM draws extremely small current from the measuring circuit. Therefore, it gives
accurate readings.
(ii) There is little effect of temperature variations.
(iii) Because a VTVM uses triodes, the voltage to be measured is amplified. This permits the use
of less sensitive meter.
(iv) It has a wide frequency response.
Demerits
(i) It cannot make current measurements directly.
(ii) Accurate readings can be obtained only for sine waves.

22.11 Transistor Voltmeter Circuit


Since vacuum tubes have become obsolete, these have been replaced by transistors and other semi-
conductor devices. Fig. 22.17 shows the circuit of an emitter-follower voltmeter. The voltage E to be
measured is applied between base and emitter. A permanent-magnet moving coil (PMMC) instrument
and a multiplier resistor RS are connected in series with the transistor emitter. The circuit measures the
voltage quite accurately because the emitter follower offers high input resistance to the voltage being
measured and provides a low output resistance to drive current through the coil of PMMC meter.

Fig. 22.17
Operation. The voltage E to be measured is applied between base and emitter of the transistor
and causes a base current IB to flow through the base circuit. Therefore, collector current IC = IB
where is the current amplification factor of the transistor. Since IE M IC and the meter is connected
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614  Principles of Electronics
in the emitter, the meter current Im = IE = IB. Now the meter current Im depends upon the input
voltage to be measured. Therefore, the PMMC meter can be calibrated to read the input voltage
directly.
Emitter voltage, VE = E VBE
VE
Meter current, Im = R + R
S m
Here RS = multiplier resistor ; Rm = meter resistance
E
Input resistance of voltmeter, Ri =
IB
Example 22.6. The emitter follower circuit shown in Fig. 22.17 has VCC = 12 V ; Rm = 1kW
and a 2 mA meter. If transistor = 80, calculate (i) the suitable resistance for RS to give full -scale
deflection when E = 5V (ii) the voltmeter input resistance.
Solution.
Meter resistance, Rm = 1 k
3
F.S.D. current of meter,Im (f.s.d.) = 2 mA = 2 10 A
(i) Emitter voltage, VE = E VBE = 5 V 0.7 V = 4.3 V
VE
Im (f.s.d.) =
RS + Rm
3 4.3V
or 2 10 = RS = 1150
1000 + RS
I m ( f .s.d .) 2 mA
(ii) Base current, IB = = = 0.025 mA
80
E = 5V
Input resistance of voltmeter, Ri = = 200 k
I B 0.025 mA
Example 22.7. The emitter-follower voltmeter circuit in Fig. 22.17 has VCC = 20 V, RS + Rm =
9.3 k, Im = 1 mA and transistor = 100.
(i) Calculate the meter current when E = 10V.
(ii) Determine the voltmeter input resistance with and without the transistor.
Solution.
(i) Emitter voltage, VE = E VBE = 10V 0.7 V = 9.3 V
VE 9.3 V
Meter current, Im = = = 1 mA
RS + Rm 9.3 k
I m 1 mA
(ii) Base current, IB = = = 0.01 mA
100
E 10 V
With transistor, Ri = I = 0.01 mA = 1000 k = 1 M
B
Without transistor, Ri = RS + Rm = 9.3 k
Note that without transistor, the voltmeter input resistance = RS + Rm = 9.3 k. However, with
transistor, the voltmeter input resistance = 1 M = 1000 k. The obvious advantage of the electronic
voltmeter is that its loading effect in voltage measurement will be very small.
Example 22.8. In the above example, if E = 5V, all other values remaining the same, what will
be the value of meter current? Comment on the result.
Solution.
E VBE 5V 0.7V
Meter current, Im = = = 4.3V = 0.46 mA
RS + Rm 9.3 k 9.3 k
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Electronic Instruments 615
With E = 5V, the meter should read half of full-scale reading i.e. 0.5 mA. However, the meter current
is actually 0.46 mA. This error is due to VBE and can be eliminated by the modification of the circuit.
22.12 Bridge Rectifier Voltmeter
A permanent-magnet moving coil (PMMC) instrument responds to average or d.c. value of current
through the moving coil. If alternating current is passed through the moving coil, the driving torque
would be *zero. It is because the average value of a sine wave over one cycle is zero. Therefore, a
PMMC instrument connected directly to measure a.c. indicates zero reading. In order to measure a.c.
with a PMMC instrument, the given a.c. is converted into d.c. by using a bridge rectifier. The instru-
ment is then called rectifier type instrument.
Circuit details. Fig. 22.18 shows bridge rectifier voltmeter for the measurement of a.c. volt-
ages. A multiplier resistor RS is connected in **series with the PMMC instrument having resistance
Rm. When a.c. voltage to be measured is applied to the circuit, full-wave rectification will be obtained
as shown in Fig. 22.19. The meter deflection will be proportional to the average current. Since there
is a definite relationship between the average value and r.m.s. value of a sine-wave (r.m.s. value =
1.11 average value), the meter scale can be calibrated to read the r.m.s. value directly.

Fig. 22.18 Fig. 22.19


Operation. When a.c. voltage to be measured is applied to the circuit, it passes the positive half-
cycles of the input and inverts the negative half-cycles.
(i) During the positive half-cycle of the a.c. input voltage, point A is positive w.r.t. point B.
Therefore, diodes D1 and D4 are forward biased while diodes D2 and D3 are reverse biased. As a
result, diodes D1 and D4 conduct and the current follows the path RS D1 PMMC meter D4 back
to point B. Note that multiplier resistor RS and the meter are in series.
(ii) During the negative half-cycle of the a.c. input voltage, diodes D2 and D3 are forward biased
while diodes D1 and D4 are reverse biased. As a result, diodes D2 and D3 conduct and the current
follows path D3 PMMC meter D2 RS back to point A. Note that current through the meter is in
the same direction as for the positive half-cycle. Consequently, full-wave rectification results.

* The driving torque would be in one direction for the positive half-cycle and in the other direction for the
negative half-cycle. The inertia of the coil is so great that at supply frequency (50 Hz),the pointer cannot
follow the rapid reversals of the driving torque. Therefore, pointer of the meter remians stationary at zero
mark.
** If you see carefully, the four diodes (D1, D2, D3 and D4) form the bridge. Note that the same current
flows through the RS and Rm.
Note that a voltmeter is a current-operated device.
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616  Principles of Electronics
The scale of the PMMC meter is calibrated to read directly the r.m.s. value of a.c. voltage being
measured. It may be noted that rectifier voltmeter can be used only to measure pure sine-wave
voltages. When other than pure sine-waves are applied, the meter will not indicate the r.m.s. voltage.
Example 22.9. A PMMC instrument with a full-scale deflection (f.s.d.) current of 100 A and
Rm = 1 k is to be used as a voltmeter of range 0 100 V (r.m.s.). The diodes used in the bridge
rectifier circuit are of silicon. Calculate the value of multiplier resistor RS required.
Solution. Note that 100 A is the average current.
6 4
F.S.D. current of meter, Im (f.s.d.) = 100 A = 100 10 A = 10 A
Total circuit resistance, RT = RS + Rm = (RS + 1000)
Peak value of applied voltage, Vm = 2 Vr.m.s. =
2 100 V = 141. 4V
* Total rectifier drop = 2 VF = 2 0.7 = 1.4V
Peak applied voltage Rectifier Drop
Peak f.s.d. current of meter =
Total circuit resistance
4 141.4 1.4 I av.
10
or
0.637
=
RS + 1000 I peak = 0.637


RS = 890.7 k
Example 22.10. An a.c. voltmeter uses a bridge rectifier with silicon diodes and a PMMC
instrument with f.s.d. current of 75 A. If meter coil resistance is 900 and the multiplier resistor is
708 k, calculate the applied r.m.s. voltage when the meter reads f.s.d.
Solution. The PMMC meter reads average value.
6
75 10 I av.
Peak f.s.d. meter current =
0.637 I peak =
A
0.637
Peak applied voltage Rectifier drop
Now Peak f.s.d. meter current =
Total circuit resistance
6 2 Vr.m.s. 2 0.7
75 10
or =
0.637 RS + Rm
6 1.414 Vr.m.s 1.4
or 117.74 10 = 3
708 10 + 900
6 3
(117.74 10 ) (708 10 + 900) + 1.4
Vr.m.s. = = 60V
1.414
22.13 Cathode Ray Oscilloscope
The cathode ray oscilloscope (commonly abbreviated as CRO) is an electronic device which is capable
of giving a visual indication of a signal waveform. No other instrument used in the electronic industry
is as versatile as the cathode ray oscilloscope. It is widely used for trouble shooting radio and television
receivers as well as for laboratory work involving research and design. With an oscilloscope, the wave-
shape of a signal can be studied with respect to amplitude distortion and deviation from the normal. In
addition, the oscilloscope can also be used for measuring voltage, frequency and phase shift.
In an oscilloscope, the electrons are emitted from a cathode accelerated to a high velocity and
brought to focus on a fluorescent screen. The screen produces a visible spot where the electron beam
strikes. By deflecting the electron beam over the screen in response to the electrical signal, the
electrons can be made to act as an electrical pencil of light which produces a spot of light wherever it
* During positive or negative half-cycle of input a.c. voltage, two diodes (D1 and D4 or D2 and D3) are in
series.
Electronic Instruments 617
strikes. An oscilloscope obtains its remarkable properties as a measuring instrument from the fact
that it uses as an indicating needle a beam of electrons. As electrons have negligible mass, therefore,
they respond almost instantaneously when acted upon by an electrical signal and can trace almost any
electrical variation no matter how rapid. A cathode ray oscilloscope contains a cathode ray tube and
necessary power equipment to make it operate.
22.14 Cathode Ray Tube
A cathode ray tube (commonly abbreviated as CRT) is the heart of the oscilloscope. It is a vacuum
tube of special geometrical shape and converts an electrical signal into visual one. A cathode ray tube
makes available plenty of electrons. These electrons are accelerated to high velocity and are brought
to focus on a fluorescent screen. The electron beam produces a spot of light wherever it strikes. The
electron beam is deflected on its journey in response to the electrical signal under study. The result is that
electrical signal waveform is displayed visually. Fig. 22.20 shows the various parts of cathode ray tube.

Fig. 22.20
(i) Glass envelope. It is conical highly evacuated glass housing and maintains vacuum inside
and supports the various electrodes. The inner walls of CRT between neck and screen are usually
coated with a conducting material, called aquadag. This coating is electrically connected to the
accelerating anode so that electrons which accidentally strike the walls are returned to the anode.
This prevents the walls of the tube from charging to a high negative potential.
(ii) Electron gun assembly. The arrangement of electrodes which produce a focussed beam of
electrons is called the electron gun. It essentially consists of an indirectly heated cathode, a control
grid, a focussing anode and an accelerating anode. The control grid is held at negative potential
w.r.t. cathode whereas the two anodes are maintained at high positive potential w.r.t. cathode.
The cathode consists of a nickel cylinder coated with oxide coating and provides plenty of
electrons. The control grid encloses the cathode and consists of a metal cylinder with a tiny circular
opening to keep the electron beam small in size. The focussing anode focuses the electron beam into
a sharp pin-point by controlling the positive potential on it. The positive potential (about 10,000 V)
on the accelerating anode is much higher than on the focusing anode. For this reason, this anode
accelerates the narrow beam to a high velocity. Therefore, the electron gun assembly forms a narrow,
accelerated beam of electrons which produces a spot of light when it strikes the screen.
(iii) Deflection plate assembly. The deflection of the beam is accomplished by two sets of
deflecting plates placed within the tube beyond the accelerating anode as shown in Fig. 22.20. One
set is the vertical deflection plates and the other set is the horizontal deflection plates.
The vertical deflection plates are mounted horizontally in the tube. By applying proper poten-
tial to these plates, the electron beam can be made to move up and down vertically on the fluorescent
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618  Principles of Electronics
screen. The horizontal deflection plates are mounted in the vertical plane. An appropriate potential
on these plates can cause the electron beam to move right and left horizontally on the screen.
(iv) Screen. The screen is the inside face of the tube and is coated with some fluorescent
material such as zinc orthosilicate, zinc oxide etc. When high velocity electron beam strikes the
screen, a spot of light is produced at the point of impact. The colour of the spot depends upon the
nature of fluorescent material. If zinc orthosilicate is used as the fluorescent material, green light spot
is produced.
Action of CRT. When the cathode is heated, it emits plenty of electrons. These electrons pass
through control grid on their way to screen. The control grid influences the amount of current flow as
in standard vacuum tubes. If negative potential on the control grid is high, fewer electrons will pass
through it and the electron beam on striking the screen will produce a dim spot of light. Reverse will
happen if the negative potential on the control grid is reduced. Thus, the intensity of light spot on the
screen can be changed by changing the negative potential on the control grid. As the electron beam
leaves the control grid, it comes under the influence of focussing and accelerating anodes. As the two
anodes are maintained at high positive potential, therefore, they
produce a field which acts as an electrostatic lens to converge
the electron beam at a point on the screen.
As the electron beam leaves the accelerating anode, it
comes under the influence of vertical and horizontal deflection
plates. If no voltage is applied to the deflection plates, the
electron beam will produce spot of light at the centre (point O
in Fig. 22.21) of the screen. If the voltage is applied to vertical Fig. 22.21
plates only as shown in Fig. 22.21, the electron beam and hence
the spot of light will be deflected upwards (point O1). The spot of light will be deflected downwards
(point O2) if the potential on the plates is reversed. Similarly, the spot of light can be moved horizontally
by applying voltage across the horizontal plates.
22.15 Deflection Sensitivity of CRT
The shift of the spot of light on the screen per unit change in voltage across the deflection plates is
known as deflection sensitivity of CRT. For instance, if a voltage of 100 V applied to the vertical
plates produces a vertical shift of 3 mm in the spot, then deflection sensitivity is 0.03 mm/V. In general,
Spot deflection = Deflection sensitivity Applied voltage
The deflection sensitivity depends not only on the design of the tube but also on the voltage
applied to the accelerating anode. The deflection sensitivity is low at high accelerating voltages and
vice-versa.
Example 22.11. The deflection sensitivity of a CRT is 0.01 mm/V. Find the shift produced in the
spot when 400 V are applied to the vertical plates.
Solution. As voltage is applied to the vertical plates only, therefore, the spot will be shifted
vertically.
Spot shift = deflection sensitivity applied voltage
= 0.01 400 = 4 mm
Example 22.12. The deflection sensitivity of a CRT is 0.03 mm/V. If an unknown voltage is ap-
plied to the horizontal plates, the spot shifts 3 mm horizontally. Find the value of unknown voltage.
Solution. Deflection sensitivity = 0.03 mm/V
Spot shift = 3 mm
Now, spot shift = deflection sensitivity applied voltage
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Electronic Instruments 619
spot shift 3 mm
Applied voltage = = = 100 V
deflection sensitivity 0.03 mm/V

22.16 Applying Signal Across Vertical Plates


If a sinusoidal voltage is applied to the vertical deflection plates, it will make the plates alternately
positive and negative. Thus, in the positive half of the signal, upper plate will be positive and lower
plate negative while in the negative half-cycle, the plate polarities will be reversed.

Fig. 22.22

The result is that the spot moves up and down at the same rate as the frequency of the applied
voltage. As the frequency of applied voltage is 50 Hz, therefore, due to persistence of vision, we will
see a continuous vertical line 2 - 1 - 4 on the screen as shown in Fig. 22.22 (iii). The line gives no
indication of the manner in which the voltage is alternating since it does not reveal the waveform.
22.17 Display of Signal Waveform on CRO
One interesting application of CRO is to present the wave shape of the signal on the screen. As
discussed before, if sinusoidal signal is applied to the vertical deflection plates, we get a vertical line.
However, it is desired to see the signal voltage variations with time on the screen. This is possible
only if we could also move the beam horizontally from left to right at a uniform speed while it is
moving up and down. Further, as soon as a full cycle of the signal is traced, the beam should return
quickly to the left hand side of the screen so that it can start tracing the second cycle.

Fig. 22.23
In order that the beam moves from left to right at a uniform rate, a voltage that varies linearly
with time should be applied to the horizontal plates. This condition is exactly met in the saw tooth
wave shown in Fig. 22.23 (i).
When time t = 0, the negative voltage on the horizontal plates keep the beam to the extreme left
on the screen as shown in Fig. 22.23 (ii). As the time progresses, the negative voltage decreases
linearly with time and the beam moves towards right forming a horizontal line. In this way, the saw-
tooth wave applied to horizontal plates moves the beam from left to right at a uniform rate.
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620  Principles of Electronics
22.18 Signal Pattern on Screen
If the signal voltage is applied to the vertical plates and saw-tooth wave to the horizontal plates, we
get the exact pattern of the signal as shown in Fig. 22.24. When the signal is at the instant 1, its
amplitude is zero. But at this instant, maximum negative voltage is applied to horizontal plates. The
result is that the beam is at the extreme left on the screen as shown. When the signal is at the instant
2, its amplitude is maximum. However, the negative voltage on the horizontal plates is decreased.
Therefore, the beam is deflected upwards by the signal and towards the right by the saw tooth wave.
The result is that the beam now strikes the screen at point 2. On similar reasoning, the beam strikes
the screen at points 3, 4 and 5. In this way, we have the exact signal pattern on the screen.

Fig. 22.24

22.19 Various Controls of CRO


In order to facilitate the proper functioning of CRO, various controls are provided on the face of
CRO. A few of them are given below:
(i) Intensity control. The knob of intensity control regulates the bias on the control grid and
affects the electron beam intensity. If the negative bias on the grid is increased, the intensity of elec-
tron beam is decreased, thus reducing the brightness of the spot.
(ii) Focus control. The knob of focus control regulates the positive potential on the focussing
anode. If the positive potential on this anode is increased, the electron beam becomes quite narrow
and the spot on the screen is a pin-point.
(iii) Horizontal position control. The knob of horizontal position control regulates the ampli-
tude of d.c. potential which is applied to the horizontal deflection plates, in addition to the usual
saw-tooth wave. By adjusting this control, the spot can be moved to right or left as required.
(iv) Vertical position control. The knob of vertical position control regulates the amplitude of
d.c. potential which is applied to the vertical deflection plates in addition to the signal. By adjusting
this control, the image can be moved up or down as required.
22.20 Applications of CRO
The modern cathode ray oscilloscope provides a powerful tool for solving problems in electrical
measurements. Some important applications of CRO are :
1. Examination of waveforms
2. Voltage measurement
3. Frequency measurement
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Electronic Instruments 621

Fig. 22.25
1. Examination of waveform. One of the important uses of CRO is to observe the wave
shapes of voltages in various types of electronic circuits. For this purpose, the signal under study is
applied to vertical input (i.e., vertical deflection plates) terminals of the oscilloscope. The sweep
circuit is set to internal so that sawtooth wave is applied to the horizontal input i.e. horizontal deflec-
tion plates. Then various controls are adjusted to obtain sharp and well defined signal waveform on
the screen.
Fig. 22.25 shows the circuit for studying the performance of an audio amplifier. With the help of
switch S, the output and input of amplifier is applied in turn to the vertical input terminals. If the
waveforms are identical in shape, the fidelity of the amplifier is excellent.
2. Voltage measurement. As discussed before, if the signal is applied to the vertical deflec-
tion plates only, a vertical line appears on the screen. The height of the line is proportional to peak-
to-peak voltage of the applied signal. The following procedure is adopted for measuring voltages
with CRO.
(i) Shut off the internal horizontal sweep generator.
(ii) Attach a transparent plastic screen to the face of oscilloscope. Mark off the screen with
vertical and horizontal lines in the form of graph.
(iii) Now, calibrate the oscilloscope against a known voltage. Apply the known voltage, say
10 V, to the vertical input terminals of the oscilloscope. Since the sweep circuit is shut off, you will get
a vertical line. Adjust the vertical gain till a good deflection is obtained. Let the deflection sensitivity
be V volts/mm.
(iv) Keeping the vertical gain unchanged, apply the unknown voltage to be measured to the
vertical input terminals of CRO.
(v) Measure the length of the vertical line obtained. Let it be l mm.
Then, Unknown voltage = l V volts
3. Frequency measurement. The unknown frequency can be accurately determined with the
help of a CRO. The steps of the procedure are as under :
(i) A known frequency is applied to horizontal input and unknown frequency to the vertical
input.
(ii) The various controls are adjusted.
(iii) A pattern with loops is obtained.
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622  Principles of Electronics
(iv) The number of loops cut by the horizontal line gives the frequency on the vertical plates (fv)
and the number of loops cut by the vertical line gives the frequency on the horizontal plates (fH).
fv No. of loops cut by horizontal line
=
fH No. of loops cut by vertical line
For instance, suppose during the frequency measurement test, a pattern shown in Fig. 22.26 is
obtained. Let us further assume that frequency applied to horizontal plates is 2000 Hz. If we draw
horizontal and vertical lines, we find that one loop is cut by the horizontal line and two loops by the
vertical line. Therefore,
fv No. of loops cut by horizontal line
=
fH No. of loops cut by vertical line
fv 1
or =
2000 2
or fv = 2000 1/2 = 1000 Hz
i.e. Unknown frequency is 1000 Hz.
Example 22.13. In an oscilloscope, 200 V, 50 Hz signal produces a
deflection of 2 cm corresponding to a certain setting of vertical gain
control. If another voltage produces 3 cm deflection, what is the value
of this voltage ? Fig. 22.26
Solution. Deflection sensitivity = 200 V/2 cm = 100 V/cm
Unknown voltage = D. S. deflection = 100 3 = 300 V
Example 22.14. When signals of different frequencies were applied to the vertical input termi-
nals of oscilloscope, the patterns shown in Fig. 22.27 were obtained. If the frequency applied to
horizontal plates in each case is 1000Hz, determine the unknown frequency.

Fig. 22.27
Solution.
(i) The number of loops cut by horizontal and vertical line is one.
fv 1
= or fv = fH = 1000 Hz
fH 1
(ii) The number of loops cut by horizontal line is 2 and the number of loops cut by vertical line
is 1.
fv 2
= or fv = 2 fH = 2 1000 = 2000 Hz
fH 1
(iii) The number of loops cut by the horizontal line is 6 and that by vertical line is 1.
fv 6
=
fH 1
or fv = 6 fH = 6 1000 = 6000 Hz
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Electronic Instruments 623
MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS
1. An ammeter is connected in ............... with 10. The input resistance of a VTVM is about
the circuit element whose current we wish ...............
to measure. (i) 1000 (ii) 10 k
(i) series (iii) 20 k (iv) 10 M
(ii) parallel 11. If the negative potential on the control grid
(iii) series or parallel of CRT is increased, the intensity of spot
(iv) none of the above ...............
2. A galvanometer in series with a high resis- (i) is increased
tance is called .............................. (ii) is decreased
(i) an ammeter (ii) a voltmeter (iii) remains the same
(iii) a wattmeter (iv) none of the above (iv) none of the above
3. An ammeter should have ............... resis- 12. For display of signal pattern ............... volt-
tance. age is applied to the horizontal plates of a
(i) infinite (ii) very large CRO.
(iii) very low (iv) none of the above (i) sinusoidal (ii) rectangular
4. A voltmeter is connected in ............... with (iii) sawtooth (iv) none of the above
the circuit component across which poten- 13. Two multimeters A and B have sensitivities
tial difference is to be measured. of 10 k/V and 30 k/V respectively. Then
(i) parallel ...............
(ii) series (i) multimeter A is more sensitive
(iii) series or parallel (ii) multimeter B is more sensitive
(iv) none of the above (iii) both are equally sensitive
5. A voltmeter should have .............. resistance. (iv) none of the above
(i) zero (ii) very high 14. A galvanometer of resistance G is shunted
(iii) very low (iv) none of the above by a very small resistance S. The resistance
of the resulting ammeter is ...............
6. The sensitivity of a multimeter is given in
............... (i) GS (ii) G + S
G+S
(i) (ii) amperes
(iii) G S (iv) none of the above
(iii) k/V (iv) none of the above
15. A VTVM is never used to measure ...............
7. If the full-scale deflection current of a mul-
timeter is 50 A, its sensitivity is ............... (i) voltage (ii) current
(i) 10 k/V (ii) 100 k/V (iii) resistance (iv) none of the above
(iii) 50 k/V (iv) 20 k/V 16. The sensitivity of a voltmeter which uses a
100 A meter movement is ...............
8. If a multimeter has a sensitivity of 1000
per volt and reads 50 V full scale, its inter- (i) 1 k/V (ii) 10 k/V
nal resistance is............... (iii) 5 k/V (iv) data insufficient
(i) 20 k (ii) 50 k 17. What is the total resistance of a voltmeter
(iii) 10 k (iv) none of the above on the 10 V range when the meter move-
ment is rated for 50 A of full-scale current ?
9. A VTVM has ............... input resistance than
that of a multimeter. (i) 10 k (ii) 20 k
(i) more (ii) less (iii) 200 k (iv) none of the above
(iii) same (iv) none of the above 18. The material used to coat inside face of CRT
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624  Principles of Electronics
is ............... 25. Which of the following is likely to have the
(i) carbon (ii) sulphur largest resistance ?
(iii) silicon (iv) phosphorus (i) voltmeter of range 10 V
19. When an ammeter is inserted in the circuit, (ii) moving coil galvanometer
the circuit current will ............... (iii) ammeter of range 1 A
(i) increase (iv) a copper wire of length 1 m and diam-
(ii) decrease eter 3 mm
(iii) remain the same 26. An ideal ammeter has ............... resistance.
(iv) none of the above (i) low (ii) infinite
20. A series ohmmeter circuit uses a 3 V battery (iii) zero (iv) high
and a 1 mA meter movement. What is the 27. The resistance of an ideal voltmeter is .........
half-scale resistance for this movement ? (i) low (ii) infinite
(i) 3 k (ii) 1.5 k (iii) zero (iv) high
(iii) 4.5 k (iv) 6 k 28. To send 10% of the main current through a
21. The most accurate device for measuring volt- moving coil galvanometer of resistance
age is ............... 99 , the shunt required is ...............
(i) voltmeter (ii) multimeter (i) 11 (ii) 9.9
(iii) CRO (iv) VTVM (iii) 100 (iv) 9
22. The horizontal plates of a CRO are supplied 29. A voltmeter has a resistance of G ohms and
with ............... to observe the waveform of a range V volts. The value of resistance re-
signal. quired in series to convert it into voltmeter
(i) sinusoidal wave of range nV is .....................
(ii) cosine wave G
(i) nG (ii)
(iii) sawtooth wave n
G
(iv) none of the above (iii) n 1 (iv) (n 1) G
23. A CRO is used to measure ...............
30. An ammeter has a resistance of G ohms and
(i) voltage (ii) frequency range of I amperes. The value of resistance
(iii) phase (iv) all of above required in parallel to convert it into an am-
24. If 2 % of the main current is to be passed meter of range nI is ....................
through a galvanometer of resistance G, then (i) nG (ii) (n 1) G
resistance of the shunt required is ............. G G
(i) G/50 (ii) G/49 (iii) n 1 (iv)
n
(iii) 49 G (iv) 50 G

Answers to Multiple-Choice Questions


1. (i) 2. (ii) 3. (iii) 4. (i) 5. (ii)
6. (iii) 7. (iv) 8. (ii) 9. (i) 10. (iv)
11. (ii) 12. (iii) 13. (ii) 14. (i) 15. (ii)
16. (ii) 17. (iii) 18. (iv) 19. (ii) 20. (i)
21. (iii) 22. (iii) 23. (iv) 24. (ii) 25. (i)
26. (iii) 27. (ii) 28. (i) 29. (iv) 30. (iii)
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Electronic Instruments 625
Chapter Review Topics
1. What is a multimeter ? How does it work ?
2. What type of measurements can be made with a multimeter ? Explain with suitable diagrams.
3. Briefly explain the advantages of 20 k/volt multimeter as compared to a 10 k/volt multimeter.
4. What are the applications of a multimeter ?
5. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a multimeter.
6. What is a VTVM ? Explain balanced bridge Type VTVM with a neat circuit diagram.
7. What are the applications of VTVM ?
8. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of VTVM.
9. Briefly explain the differences between a VTVM and a multimeter.
10. Explain the construction and working of a cathode ray tube.
11. How will you make the following measurements with a CRO :
(i) voltage (ii) frequency ?
12. Write short notes on the following :
(i) Limitations of multimeter
(ii) Advantages of oscilloscope
(iii) Vacuum tube voltmeter
(iv) Oscilloscope controls

Problems
1. A voltmeter is used to measure voltage across 20 k resistor as shown in Fig. 22.28. What will be the
voltage value if (i) voltmeter has infinite resistance (ii) voltmeter has a sensitivity of 1000 per volt
and reads 100 V full scale ? [(i) 50 V (ii) 45 V]

Fig. 22.28 Fig. 22.29


2. The three range voltmeter is arranged as shown in Fig. 22.29. The ranges are 0 to 3 V, 0 to 15 V and
0 to 50 V as marked. If the full scale deflection current is 10 mA, what should be the values of R1, R2
and R3 ? The resistance of the meter is 5 . [305 , 1505 , 5005 ]
3. If the sensitivity of voltmeter in Fig. 22.28 is 500 /volt (Full-scale reading being 100 V), what will
be the reading of the voltmeter ? [41.7 V]
4. What is the lowest full-scale voltage that could be displayed with a 100 A meter movement with an
internal resistance of 150 ? What would be the sensitivity of this meter in ohms per volt ?
[15 mV, 10,000 /V]
5. If a 20,000 /V meter with 5 k internal resistance is used in an ohmmeter with a 3-V-battery, what
internal resistance is required in the meter to produce proper zeroing? [60 k ]
6. A PMMC instrument with f.s.d. = 100 A and Rm = 1 k is to be used as an a.c. voltmeter with f.s.d.
= 100 V (r.m.s.) as shown in Fig. 22.18. Silicon diodes are used in the bridge rectifier circuit. Calcu-
late the pointer indications for the voltmeter when the r.m.s. input voltage is (i) 75 V (ii) 50V.
[0.75 f.s.d. ; 0.5 f.s.d.]
7. In the above example, calculate the voltmeter sensitivity. /V]
[9 k
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626  Principles of Electronics

Discussion Questions
1. Why is sensitivity of best multimeter not more than 20 k per volt ?
2. Why do we generally prefer VTVM to multimeter for measurements in electronic circuits ?
3. Why does oscilloscope give more accurate measurements than a VTVM ?
4. What is the basic difference between vacuum tubes and cathode ray tube ?
5. How can a multimeter be used for continuity checking ?
6. Which would usually have more linear scales, dc or ac meters ?
7. Which is more sensitive, a 0 59 A or a 0 1 mA meter ?
8. On a multirange ohmmeter, where is 0 mark ?
9. What component prevents meter damage in a VTVM?
10. Could a 0 1 mA-movement 100 V voltmeter and a 0 50 A movement 100 V voltmeter be
used in series across 125 V ?