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Instrumentation & Measurement (Lab)

Name: __________________________________________ Date: _________________________

Score: _____________________Signature of Instructor_________________________________

LAB # 01:

(A) To Study the Relay

(B)To Study Different Relay Types and Applications

(A)To Study the Relay

Relays are simple switches which are operated both electrically and mechanically. Relays consist of
an electromagnet and also a set of contacts. The switching mechanism is carried out with the help of
the electromagnet. There are also other operating principles for its working. But they differ
according to their applications. Most of the devices have the application of relays.

Why is a relay used?

The main operation of a relay comes in places where only a low-power signal can be used to control
a circuit. It is also used in places where only one signal can be used to control a lot of circuits. The
application of relays started during the invention of telephones. They played an important role in
switching calls in telephone exchanges. They were also used in long distance telegraphy. They were
used to switch the signal coming from one source to another destination. After the invention of
computers they were also used to perform Boolean and other logical operations. The high end
applications of relays require high power to be driven by electric motors and so on. Such relays are
called contactors.

Relay Design
There are only four main parts in a relay. They are
Electromagnet (Control Coil)
Movable Armature
Switch point contacts
The figures given below show the actual design of a simple relay.

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It is an electro-magnetic relay with a wire coil, surrounded by an iron core. A path of very low reluctance for the
magnetic flux is provided for the movable armature and also the switch point contacts. The movable armature is
connected to the yoke which is mechanically connected to the switch point contacts. These parts are safely held with the
help of a spring. The spring is used so as to produce an air gap in the circuit when the relay becomes de-energized.

Relay's Working Mechanism

The figure shows the working mechanism of the relay.

Relays are mainly made for two basic operations. One is low voltage application and the other is
high voltage. For low voltage applications, more preference will be given to reduce the noise of the
whole circuit. For high voltage applications, they are mainly designed to reduce a phenomenon
called sparking.

Relay Basic Configuration

The basics for all the relays are the same. In the following fig: the terminal 1 and 3 represents the
control circuit while terminal 2 and 4 represents the load circuit. A small control coil is connected
onto the control circuit. A switch is connected to the load and is controlled by the coil in the control

Energized Relay (ON)

As shown in the circuit, the current flowing through the coils (pins 1 and 3) develops a magnetic
field. This magnetic field forces the switch (Pin 2 & 4) to close. The Switch is used to control an
electrical circuit that is connected to it.

De – Energized Relay (OFF)

As the current flow stops (pins 1 and 3), the switch opens and thus the open circuit prevents the
current flow (pins 2 and 4). The relay becomes de-energized (off position).

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Pole and Throw

Relays have the exact working of a switch. So, the same concept is also applied. A relay is said to
switch having one or more poles. Each pole has contacts that can be thrown in mainly three ways.

Normally Open Contact (NO) –Also called a make contact. It closes the circuit when the relay is
activated. It disconnects the circuit when the relay is inactive.

Normally Closed Contact (NC) – NC contact is also known as break contact. When the relay is
activated, the circuit disconnects. When the relay is deactivated, the circuit connects.

Change-over (CO) / Double-throw (DT) Contacts – This type of contacts are used to control two
types of circuits. They are used to control a NO contact and also a NC contact with a common
terminal. According to their type they are called by the names break before make and make before
break contacts.

Relays are also named with designations like

Single Pole Single Throw (SPST) – This type of relay has a total of four terminals. Out of these two
terminals used as a switch and other two are needed for the coil.

Single Pole Double Throw (SPDT) – This type of a relay has a total of five terminals. Out f these,
two are the coil terminals, one common terminal, & two for the switch.

Double Pole Single Throw (DPST) – This has six terminals. These terminals are further divided
into two pairs. Thus they can act as two SPST’s which are actuated by a single coil. Out of the six
terminals two of them are coil terminals.

Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) – This is the biggest of all. It has mainly eight relay terminals.
Out of these two rows are designed to be change over terminals. They are designed to act as two
SPDT relays which are actuated by a single coil.

Relay Applications
Realization of a logic functions, provides time delay functions, controls high voltage/ currents
circuits with the help of low voltage/current signals provides protection, and finally the isolation in
case of any fault.

Keep the millimeter in the Ohmmeter position.
1. Check for continuity between the N/C contacts, and for discontinuity between N/O contacts
2. Energies the relay using the rated voltage e.g. use a 9V battery for energizing a 9V relay The
relay will engage with clicking sound
3. Now check for continuity between N/O contacts & for discontinuity between N/C contact
Implement the Following circuit using 12 Volt Relay

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What's its type (spst, spdt) ………………………………

Identify the NO and NC terminals and write your observations


(B)To Study Different Relay Types and Applications

A relay is a device that senses the change in the input signal (normally voltage or current) and acts
accordingly. For Example, if the magnitude of the incoming signal is outside a preset range, the relay will
operate, generally to close or open electrical contacts to initiate some further operation, i.e. the tripping of
a circuit breaker.


Relays can be classified in accordance with the function which they carry out, their construction, the
incoming signal and the type of functioning.
General Function Construction Incoming Signal Protection Type
Auxiliary Electromagnetic Current/ Voltage Over current/ Voltage
Protection Solid state Frequency Directional over current
Monitoring Microprocessor Temperature Differential
Control Nonelectric Pressure Reverse power

Relay Specifications

In order to select a relay following specifications/ features should be considered.

1. Physical size and pin arrangement:
Go for suitable dimensions and pin arrangement based on the PCB size
2. Coil voltage:

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The relay's coil voltage rating and resistance must suit the circuit powering the relay coil. Many
relays have a coil rated for a 12V supply but 5V and 24V relays are also readily available
3. Coil resistance
The circuit must be able to supply the current required by the relay coil
supply voltage
Relay coil current = Coil resistance

For example: A 12V supply relay with a coil resistance of 400 passes a current of 30mA. This is
OK for a 555 timer IC (maximum output current 200mA), but it is too much for most ICs and they
will require a transistor to amplify the current
4. Switch ratings (voltage and current)
The relay's switch contacts must be suitable for the circuit they are to control. Note that the voltage
rating is usually higher for AC, for example: "5A at 24V DC or 125V AC".
5. Switch contact arrangement (SPDT, DPDT etc)
Most relays are SPDT or DPDT which are often described as "single pole changeover" (SPCO) or
"double pole changeover" (DPCO).

Basic Relay Circuits

1. Voltage Suppression Relays

Relays are controlled usually with semi-conductors devices e.g. transistors. There is the presence of
voltage spikes in the relay because of these devices. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce voltage
suppression devices; in order to protect the controlling semiconductor devices.
This voltage suppression can be introduced in two ways. Either the computer
provides the suppression or the relay provides the suppression. If the relay
provides the suppression they are called voltage-suppression relays. In relays
voltage suppression is provided with the help of resistors of high value and even
diodes and capacitors. Whatever device is used, it will be clearly stated in the

2. De-spiking Diode Relays

A diode in the reverse-biased position is connected in parallel with

the relay coil. As there is no flow of current due to such a
connection, an open circuit of the relay will cause the current to
stop flowing through the coil. This will have effect on the magnetic
field. The magnetic field will be decreased instantly. This will
cause the rise of an opposite voltage with very high reverse polarity
to be induced. This is mainly caused because of the magnetic lines
of force that cut the armature coil due to the open circuit. Thus the opposite voltage rises until the
diode reaches 0.7 volts. As soon as this cut-off voltage is achieved, the diode becomes forward-
biased. This causes a closed circuit in the relay, causing the entire voltage to pass through the load.
The current thus produced will be flowing through the circuit for a very long time. As soon as the
voltage is completely drained, this current flow will also stop.

3. De-spiking Resistor Relays

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A resistor is almost efficient as that of a diode. It can not only suppress the voltage spikes efficiently,
but also allows the entire current to flow through it when the relay is in the on position. Thus the
current flow through it will also be very high. To reduce
this, the value of the resistance should be as high as 1 Kilo
Ohm. But, as the value of the resistors increases the voltage
spiking capability of the relay decreases.

Types of Relays
Here is a detailed list of the different types of relays.
1. Latching Relay

Latching relays are also called impulse relays. They work in the bi-stable mode, and thus have two
relaxing states. They are also called keep relays or stay relays because as soon as the current towards
this relay is switched off, the relay continues the process that it was doing in the last state.
2. Reed Relay

Reed relays consist of a coil surrounding a reed switch. Reed switches are normally operated with a
magnet, but in a reed relay current flows through the coil to create a magnetic field and close the
reed switch.
Reed relays generally have higher coil resistances than standard relays (1000 for example) and a
wide range of supply voltages (9-20V for example). They are capable of switching much more
rapidly than standard relays, up to several hundred times per second; but they can only switch low
currents (500mA maximum for example).
These types of relays have been given more importance in the contacts. In order to protect them from
atmospheric protection they are safely kept inside a vacuum or inert gas. Though these types of
relays have a very low switching current and voltage ratings, they are famous for their switching
3. Polarized Relay

This type of relay has been given more importance on its sensitivity. These relays have been used
since the invention of telephones. They played very important roles in early telephone exchanges
and also in detecting telegraphic distortion. The sensitivity of these relays is very easy to adjust as
the armature of the relay is placed between the poles of a permanent magnet.
4. Buchholz Relay

This relay is actually used as a safety device. They are used for knowing the amount of gas present
in large oil-filled transformers. They are designed in such a way that they produce a warning if it
senses the production of gas in the transformer oil.

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5. Overload protection Relay

As the name implies, these relays are used to prevent the electric motors from damage by over
current and short circuits. For this the heating element is kept in series with the motor. Thus when
over heat occurs the bi-metallic strip connected to the motor heats up and in turn releases a spring to
operate the contacts of the relay.
6. Mercury Wetted Relay

This relay is almost similar to the reed relay explained earlier. The only difference is that instead of
inert gases, the contacts are wetted with mercury. This makes them more position sensitive and also
expensive. They have to be vertically mounted for any operation. They have very low contact
resistance and so can be used for timing applications. Due to these factors, this relay is not used
7. Machine Tool Relay

This is one of the most famous industrial relay. They are mainly used for the controlling of all kinds
of machines. They have a number of contacts with easily replaceable coils. This enables them to be
easily converted from NO contact to NC contact. Many types of these relays can easily be setup in a
control panel. Though they are very useful in industrial applications, the invention of PLC has made
them farther away from industries.
8. Contactor Relay

This is one of the most heavy load relay ever used. They are mainly used in switching electric
motors. They have a wide range of current ratings from a few amps to hundreds. The contacts of
these relays are usually made with alloys containing a small percentage of silver. This is done so as
to avoid the hazardous effects of arcing. These types of relays are mainly categorized in the rough
use areas. So, they produce loud noises while operated and hence cannot be used in places where
noise is a problem.
9. Solid State relay

SSR relays, as its name implies are designed with the help of solid state components. As they do not
have any moving objects in their design they are known for their high reliability.
10. Solid State Contactor Relay

These relays combine both the features of solid state relays and contactor relays. As a result they
have a number of advantages. They have a very good heat sink and can be designed for the correct
on-off cycles. They are mainly controlled with the help of PLC, micro-processors or

Relays and transistors compared

Like relays, transistors can be used as an electrically operated switch. For switching small DC
currents (< 1A) at low voltage they are usually a better choice than a relay. However, transistors
cannot switch AC (such as mains electricity) and in simple circuits they are not usually a good
choice for switching large currents (> 5A). In these cases a relay will be needed, but note that a low

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power transistor may still be needed to switch the current for the relay's coil! The main advantages
and disadvantages of relays are listed below:

Advantages of relays:
 Relays can switch AC and DC, transistors can only switch DC.
 Relays can switch higher voltages than standard transistors.
 Relays are often a better choice for switching large currents (> 5A).
 Relays can switch many contacts at once.
Disadvantages of relays:
 Relays are bulkier than transistors for switching small currents.
 Relays cannot switch rapidly (except reed relays), transistors can switch many times per
 Relays use more power due to the current flowing through their coil.
 Relays require more current than many ICs can provide, so a low power transistor may be
needed to switch the current for the relay's coil.


Construct the below circuit and verify that Motor rotate in both clockwise and anticlockwise
directions. Use 5-6 volt dc motor and appropriate relay
Implement the circuit with any protection device like diode and observe the effect back emf and then
resistor or capacitors. Finally write your observations.
Simple Relay Based - Motor Direction Controller Circuit


The relays in the schematic above are in their normal state. With no power applied to the
electromagnets, both terminals of the motor remain grounded. Depending on what relay is triggered
the motor can spin either forward or reverse. An electromagnetic breaking effect will occur when
both terminals are connected. When either both relays are either enabled or disabled the motor will
break. In this circuit there is no idle. The motor will quickly come to a stop once power is removed
from the relays. Since a DC electric motor can also act as a generator, electricity will continue to be
produced after the battery is removed and the motor slows down. The breaking effect occurs when

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this generated electricity is fed back into the motor (by the motor terminals being directly
connected). Another way to think of this phenomenon is as electromagnetic friction.
Circuit #2: Construct the below circuit at the breadboard remember you have to use 220 volt
operated relay available in the Lab

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