Ohmmeter

# Ohmmeter

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An ohmmeter is an electrical
Electricity
Electricity is a general term encompassing a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. These include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning, static electricity, and the flow of electrical current in an electrical wire...

instrument
Measuring instrument
In the physical sciences, quality assurance, and engineering, measurement is the activity of obtaining and comparing physical quantities of real-world objects and events. Established standard objects and events are used as units, and the process of measurement gives a number relating the item...

that measures electrical resistance
Electrical resistance
The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. Electrical resistance shares some conceptual parallels with the mechanical...

, the opposition to an electric current
Electric current
Electric current is a flow of electric charge through a medium.This charge is typically carried by moving electrons in a conductor such as wire...

. Micro-ohmmeters (microhmmeter or microohmmeter) make low resistance measurements. Megohmmeters (aka megaohmmeter or in the case of a trademarked device Megger) measure large values of resistance. The unit of measurement for resistance is ohms (Ω).

The original design of an ohmmeter provided a small battery to apply a voltage
Voltage
Voltage, otherwise known as electrical potential difference or electric tension is the difference in electric potential between two points — or the difference in electric potential energy per unit charge between two points...

to a resistance. It uses a galvanometer
Galvanometer
A galvanometer is a type of ammeter: an instrument for detecting and measuring electric current. It is an analog electromechanical transducer that produces a rotary deflection of some type of pointer in response to electric current flowing through its coil in a magnetic field. .Galvanometers were...

to measure the electric current through the resistance. The scale of the galvanometer was marked in ohms, because the fixed voltage from the battery assured that as resistance is decreased, the current through the meter would increase. Ohmmeters form circuits by themselves, therefore they cannot be used within an assembled circuit.

A more accurate type of ohmmeter has an electronic circuit that passes a constant current (I) through the resistance, and another circuit that measures the voltage (V) across the resistance. According to the following equation, derived from Ohm's Law
Ohm's law
Ohm's law states that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the potential difference across the two points...

, the value of the resistance (R) is given by:

For high-precision measurements the above types of meter are inadequate. This is because the meter's reading is the sum of the resistance of the measuring leads, the contact resistances and the resistance being measured. To reduce this effect, a precision ohmmeter has four terminals, called Kelvin contacts. Two terminals carry the current from the meter, while the other two allow the meter to measure the voltage across the resistor. With this type of meter, any voltage drop due to the resistance of the first pair of leads and their contact resistances is ignored by the meter. This four terminal measurement
Four-terminal sensing
Four-terminal sensing , 4-wire sensing, or 4-point probes method is an electrical impedance measuring technique that uses separate pairs of current-carrying and voltage-sensing electrodes to make more accurate measurements than traditional two-terminal sensing...

technique is called Kelvin sensing, after William Thomson, Lord Kelvin
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin OM, GCVO, PC, PRS, PRSE, was a mathematical physicist and engineer. At the University of Glasgow he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging...

, who invented the Kelvin bridge
Kelvin bridge
A Kelvin bridge is a measuring instrument invented by William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin. It is used to measure an unknown electrical resistance below 1 Ω. Its operation is similar to the Wheatstone bridge except for the presence of additional resistors...

in 1861 to measure very low resistances. The Four-terminal sensing
Four-terminal sensing
Four-terminal sensing , 4-wire sensing, or 4-point probes method is an electrical impedance measuring technique that uses separate pairs of current-carrying and voltage-sensing electrodes to make more accurate measurements than traditional two-terminal sensing...

method can also be utilized to conduct accurate measurements of low resistances.

• Ammeter
Ammeter
An ammeter is a measuring instrument used to measure the electric current in a circuit. Electric currents are measured in amperes , hence the name. Instruments used to measure smaller currents, in the milliampere or microampere range, are designated as milliammeters or microammeters...

• Multimeter
Multimeter
A multimeter or a multitester, also known as a VOM , is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions in one unit. A typical multimeter may include features such as the ability to measure voltage, current and resistance...

• Measuring instrument
Measuring instrument
In the physical sciences, quality assurance, and engineering, measurement is the activity of obtaining and comparing physical quantities of real-world objects and events. Established standard objects and events are used as units, and the process of measurement gives a number relating the item...

• Electronic test equipment
Electronic test equipment
Electronic test equipment is used to create signals and capture responses from electronic Devices Under Test . In this way, the proper operation of the DUT can be proven or faults in the device can be traced and repaired...

• Electronics
Electronics
Electronics is the branch of science, engineering and technology that deals with electrical circuits involving active electrical components such as vacuum tubes, transistors, diodes and integrated circuits, and associated passive interconnection technologies...

• Electric circuit
• List of electronics topics
• Series and parallel circuits
Series and parallel circuits
Components of an electrical circuit or electronic circuit can be connected in many different ways. The two simplest of these are called series and parallel and occur very frequently. Components connected in series are connected along a single path, so the same current flows through all of the...

• Galvanometer
Galvanometer
A galvanometer is a type of ammeter: an instrument for detecting and measuring electric current. It is an analog electromechanical transducer that produces a rotary deflection of some type of pointer in response to electric current flowing through its coil in a magnetic field. .Galvanometers were...