What is the different types of Multimeter ?

What is the different types of Multimeter ?

What is the different types of Multimeter ?
What is the different types of Multimeter ?

A multimeter or a multitester, also known as a VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter), is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions in one unit. A typical multimeter can measure voltage, current, and resistance. Analog multimeters use a microammeter with a moving pointer to display readings. 

Digital multimeters (DMM, DVOM) have a numeric display, and may also show a graphical bar representing the measured value. Digital multimeters are now far more common due to their lower cost and greater precision having obsoleted analog multimeters.

A multimeter can be a hand-held device useful for basic fault finding and field service work, or a bench instrument which can measure to a very high degree of accuracy. Multimeters are available in a wide range of features and prices. Cheap multimeters can cost less than US$10, while laboratory-grade models with certified calibration can cost more than US$5,000.

General properties of Digital multimeters:

Any meter will load the circuit under test to some extent. For example, a multimeter using a moving coil movement with full-scale deflection current of 50 microamps (μA), the highest sensitivity commonly available, must draw at least 50 μA from the circuit under test for the meter to reach the top end of its scale. 

This may load a high-impedance circuit so much as to affect the circuit, thereby giving a low reading. The full-scale deflection current may also be expressed in terms of "ohms per volt" (Ω/V). The ohms per volt figure is often called the "sensitivity" of the instrument. 

Thus a meter with a 50 μA movement will have a "sensitivity" of 20,000 Ω/V. "Per volt" refers to the fact that the impedance the meter presents to the circuit under test will be 20,000 Ω multiplied by the full-scale voltage to which the meter is set. For example, if the meter is set to a range of 300 V full scale, the meter's impedance will be 6 MΩ. 20,000 Ω/V is the best (highest) sensitivity available for typical analog multimeters that lack internal amplifiers. For meters that do have internal amplifiers (VTVMs, FETVMs, etc.), the input impedance is fixed by the amplifier circuit.

The first Avometer had a sensitivity of 60 Ω/V, three direct current ranges (12 mA, 1.2 A, and 12 A), three direct voltage ranges (12, 120, and 600 V or optionally 1,200 V), and a 10,000 Ω resistance range. An improved version of 1927 increased this to 13 ranges and 166.6 Ω/V (6 mA) movement. 

A "Universal" version having additional alternating current and alternating voltage ranges was offered from 1933 and in 1936 the dual-sensitivity Avometer Model 7 offered 500 and 100 Ω/V. Between the mid 1930s until the 1950s, 1,000 Ω/V became a de facto standard of sensitivity for radio work and this figure was often quoted on service sheets. 

However, some manufacturers such as Simpson, Triplett and Weston, all in the USA, produced 20,000 Ω/V VOMs before the Second World War and some of these were exported. After 1945–46, 20,000 Ω/V became the expected standard for electronics, but some makers offered even more sensitive instruments. For industrial and other "heavy-current" use low sensitivity multimeters continued to be produced and these were considered more robust than the more sensitive types.

High-quality analog (analogue) multimeters continue to be made by several manufacturers, including Chauvin Arnoux (France), Gossen Metrawatt (Germany), and Simpson and Triplett (USA).

Pocket-watch-style meters were in widespread use in the 1920s. The metal case was typically connected to the negative connection, an arrangement that caused numerous electric shocks. The technical specifications of these devices were often crude, for example the one illustrated has a resistance of just 33 Ω/V, a non-linear scale and no zero adjustment.

Vacuum tube voltmeters or valve voltmeters (VTVM, VVM) were used for voltage measurements in electronic circuits where high input impedance was necessary. The VTVM had a fixed input impedance of typically 1 MΩ or more, usually through use of a cathode follower input circuit, and thus did not significantly load the circuit being tested. VTVMs were used before the introduction of electronic high-impedance analog transistor and field effect transistor voltmeters (FETVOMs). 

Modern digital meters (DVMs) and some modern analog meters also use electronic input circuitry to achieve high input impedance—their voltage ranges are functionally equivalent to VTVMs. The input impedance of some poorly designed DVMs (especially some early designs) would vary over the course of a sample-and-hold internal measurement cycle, causing disturbances to some sensitive circuits under test.

Additional scales such as decibels, and measurement functions such as capacitance, transistor gain, frequency, duty cycle, display hold, and continuity which sounds a buzzer when the measured resistance is small have been included on many multimeters. While multimeters may be supplemented by more specialized equipment in a technician's toolkit, some multimeters include additional functions for specialized applications (temperature with a thermocouple probe, inductance, connectivity to a computer, speaking measured value, etc.).


A multimeter is the combination of a DC voltmeter, AC voltmeter, ammeter, and ohmmeter. An un-amplified analog multimeter combines a meter movement, range resistors and switches; VTVMs are amplified analog meters and contain active circuitry. 

For an analog meter movement, DC voltage is measured with a series resistor connected between the meter movement and the circuit under test. A switch (usually rotary) allows greater resistance to be inserted in series with the meter movement to read higher voltages. The product of the basic full-scale deflection current of the movement, and the sum of the series resistance and the movement's own resistance, gives the full-scale voltage of the range. As an example, a meter movement that required 1 mA for full-scale deflection, with an internal resistance of 500 Ω, would, on a 10 V range of the multimeter, have 9,500 Ω of series resistance.

For analog current ranges, matched low-resistance shunts are connected in parallel with the meter movement to divert most of the current around the coil. Again for the case of a hypothetical 1 mA, 500 Ω movement on a 1 A range, the shunt resistance would be just over 0.5 Ω.

Moving coil instruments can respond only to the average value of the current through them. To measure alternating current, which changes up and down repeatedly, a rectifier is inserted in the circuit so that each negative half cycle is inverted; the result is a varying and nonzero DC voltage whose maximum value will be half the AC peak to peak voltage, assuming a symmetrical waveform. Since the rectified average value and the root mean square (RMS) value of a waveform are only the same for a square wave, simple rectifier-type circuits can only be calibrated for sinusoidal waveforms. Other wave shapes require a different calibration factor to relate RMS and average value. This type of circuit usually has fairly limited frequency range. Since practical rectifiers have non-zero voltage drop, accuracy and sensitivity is poor at low AC voltage values.

To measure resistance, switches arrange for a small battery within the instrument to pass a current through the device under test and the meter coil. Since the current available depends on the state of charge of the battery which changes over time, a multimeter usually has an adjustment for the ohm scale to zero it. In the usual circuits found in analog multimeters, the meter deflection is inversely proportional to the resistance, so full-scale will be 0 Ω, and higher resistance will correspond to smaller deflections. The ohms scale is compressed, so resolution is better at lower resistance values.

Amplified instruments simplify the design of the series and shunt resistor networks. The internal resistance of the coil is decoupled from the selection of the series and shunt range resistors; the series network thus becomes a voltage divider. Where AC measurements are required, the rectifier can be placed after the amplifier stage, improving precision at low range. 

Digital instruments, which necessarily incorporate amplifiers, use the same principles as analog instruments for resistance readings. For resistance measurements, usually a small constant current is passed through the device under test and the digital multimeter reads the resultant voltage drop; this eliminates the scale compression found in analog meters, but requires a source of precise current. An autoranging digital multimeter can automatically adjust the scaling network so the measurement circuits use the full precision of the A/D converter. 

In all types of multimeters, the quality of the switching elements is critical to stable and accurate measurements. The best DMMs use gold plated contacts in their switches; less expensive meters use nickel plating or none at all, relying on printed circuit board solder traces for the contacts. Accuracy and stability (e.g., temperature variation, or aging, or voltage/current history) of a meter's internal resistors (and other components) is a limiting factor in long-term accuracy and precision of the instrument.

Resolution and Accuracy of Multimeter
The resolution of a multimeter is the smallest part of the scale which can be shown, which is scale dependent. On some digital multimeters it can be configured, with higher resolution measurements taking longer to complete. For example, a multimeter that has a 1 mV resolution on a 10 V scale can show changes in measurements in 1 mV increments. 

Absolute accuracy is the error of the measurement compared to a perfect measurement. Relative accuracy is the error of the measurement compared to the device used to calibrate the multimeter. Most multimeter datasheets provide relative accuracy. To compute the absolute accuracy from the relative accuracy of a multimeter add the absolute accuracy of the device used to calibrate the multimeter to the relative accuracy of the multimeter.

The resolution of a multimeter is often specified in the number of decimal digits resolved and displayed. If the most significant digit cannot take all values from 0 to 9 it is generally, and confusingly, termed a fractional digit. 

For example, a multimeter which can read up to 19999 (plus an embedded decimal point) is said to read ​4 1⁄2 digits. By convention, if the most significant digit can be either 0 or 1, it is termed a half-digit; if it can take higher values without reaching 9 (often 3 or 5), it may be called three-quarters of a digit. A ​5 1⁄2-digit multimeter would display one "half digit" that could only display 0 or 1, followed by five digits taking all values from 0 to 9.

Such a meter could show positive or negative values from 0 to 199999. A ​3 3⁄4-digit meter can display a quantity from 0 to 3999 or 5999, depending on the manufacturer. 

While a digital display can easily be extended in resolution, the extra digits are of no value if not accompanied by care in the design and calibration of the analog portions of the multimeter. Meaningful (i.e., high-accuracy) measurements require a good understanding of the instrument specifications, good control of the measurement conditions, and traceability of the calibration of the instrument. 

However, even if its resolution exceeds the accuracy, a meter can be useful for comparing measurements. 

For example, a meter reading ​5 1⁄2 stable digits may indicate that one nominally 100 kΩ resistor is about 7 Ω greater than another, although the error of each measurement is 0.2% of reading plus 0.05% of full-scale value. Specifying "display counts" is another way to specify the resolution. 

Display counts give the largest number, or the largest number plus one (to include the display of all zeros) the multimeter's display can show, ignoring the decimal separator. 

For example, a ​5 1⁄2-digit multimeter can also be specified as a 199999 display count or 200000 display count multimeter. Often the display count is just called the 'count' in multimeter specifications. The accuracy of a digital multimeter may be stated in a two-term form, such as "±1% of reading +2 counts", reflecting the different sources of error in the instrument.

Analog meters are older designs, but despite being technically surpassed by digital meters with bargraphs, may still be preferred[according to whom?] by engineers[which?] and troubleshooters.[original research?] One reason given is that analog meters are more sensitive (or responsive) to changes in the circuit that is being measured.[citation needed] A digital multimeter samples the quantity being measured over time, and then displays it. 

Analog multimeters continuously read the test value. If there are slight changes in readings, the needle of an analog multimeter will attempt to track it, as opposed to the digital meter having to wait until the next sample, giving delays between each discontinuous reading (plus the digital meter may additionally require settling time to converge on the value). The digital display value as opposed to an analog display is subjectively more difficult to read. 

This continuous tracking feature becomes important when testing capacitors or coils, for example. A properly functioning capacitor should allow current to flow when voltage is applied, then the current slowly decreases to zero and this "signature" is easy to see on an analog multimeter but not on a digital multimeter. 

This is similar when testing a coil, except the current starts low and increases. 
Resistance measurements on an analog meter, in particular, can be of low precision due to the typical resistance measurement circuit which compresses the scale heavily at the higher resistance values. Inexpensive analog meters may have only a single resistance scale, seriously restricting the range of precise measurements. 

Typically, an analog meter will have a panel adjustment to set the zero-ohms calibration of the meter, to compensate for the varying voltage of the meter battery, and the resistance of the meter's test leads.

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