Multimeters are current meters, voltmeters, and ohmmeters contained in one case. There are separate current, voltage, and resistance circuits interconnected by switches and they share the same meter movement. A function switch is utilized to choose the type of measurement: position 1 is for de volts and resistance, position 2 is for de and ac current, and position 3 is for ac voltage. The jack on the right, the COMMON jack, is used for all measurements. For every type of measurement, the range switch is set for the correct scale reading. Positions I and 2 are resistance ranges, positions 3 to 6 are current shunt settings, and positions 7 to 9 are voltage multiplier settings. Rectifiers D1 and D3 are linked for ac current measurements and rectifiers D2 and D3 are used for ac voltage measurements. Fuse FI safeguards the meter movement from overload. Resistors R1, R2, R7, R8, and R9 are switched in and out of the circuit by the range switch. The current shunts, R3 to R6 are only linked into the circuit in position 2 of the function switch. The range switch then chooses portions of the ring shunt.
Checking Wattmeter Power Loss
The stationary (current) coils and the moving (voltage) coil of a wattmeter have resistance, resulting in some circuit power loss by the wattmeter. Unless this power loss is considered, incorrect power readings will result.
If you wish to find power dissipated in an electrical load, measure any two of the three basic electrical quantities- current, voltage, and resistance. For example, you will recall that power can be calculated by multiplying voltage by current: P = VI. Therefore, if you use a voltmeter to measure the voltage across a load, and a current meter to measure the current flowing through the load, insert these values into the power equation. Similarly, you can measure current through the load and the resistance of the load, and then calculate power with: P = 12 R. Or you can measure the voltage across the load and use the equation: p = y2; R.
The electronic meter is used for resistance measurements in a manner similar to the way it is used for current measurements. Using the same types of amplifier stages as was used for the voltmeters and ammeters, where a 0.5-volt-signal produced a full-scale deflection, resistance circuits can be set up using standard battery source voltages supplying current to standard high precision resistance circuits, whose values are known. When the resistor under test is connected into the circuit, it will change the total resistance, resulting in a change in current flow, which produces a signal voltage that is directly related to the resistance under test.
Because many insulation breakdowns occur during operation under the stress of high voltages, more dependable tests are performed with a megger (megohm-meter) and with hi-pot (high potential or high-voltage) equipment. The megger is a tiny, portable instrument that can be battery operated or powered by a hand-cranked generator. Meggers supply from 500 to 5000 volts for the insulation test. They measure leakage current, but the readout is calibrated in insulation resistance (ohms), in ranges to 100 and often 2000 megohms (MQ). The megger can measure insulation resistance between wires, between wires and ground, and between wiring and casings. Normal insulation resistance depends on the wire, insulation, length, and rating by the manufacturer. The greater the leakage, the more defective is the insulation. The wire manufacturer’s rating should be the guide.