# Circuit Measurement

This section will acquaint you with the basics of circuit measurement and some of the devices used to measure voltage, current, resistance, power, and frequency. There are other quantities involved in electrical circuits, such as capacitance, inductance, impedance, true power, and effective power. It is possible to measure any circuit quantity once you are able to select and use the proper circuit measuring device.

You will NOT know all there is to know about circuit measuring devices (test equipment) when you finish this chapter. That is beyond the scope of this chapter and even beyond the scope of this training series. However, more information on test equipment is provided in another portion of this training series.Some examples of in-circuit meters are the generator or alternator meter on some automobiles; the voltage, current, and frequency meters on control panels at electrical power plants; and the electrical power meter that records the amount of electricity used in a building.

A question which you might ask before starting this chapter is "Why do I need to know about circuit measurement?"

If you intend to accomplish anything in the field of electricity and electronics, you must be aware of the forces acting inside the circuits with which you work. Modules 1 and 2 of this training series introduced you to the physics involved in the study of electricity and to the fundamental concepts of direct and alternating current. The terms voltage (volts), current (amperes), and resistance (ohms) were explained, as well as the various circuit elements; e.g., resistors, capacitors, inductors, transformers, and batteries.

In explaining these terms and elements to you, schematic symbols and schematic diagrams were used. In many of these schematic diagrams, a meter was represented in the circuit, as shown in the figure below.

As you recall, the current in a dc circuit with 6 volts across a 6-ohm resistor is 1 ampere. The @(UPPERCASE A) in the circuit below is the symbol for an ammeter. An ammeter is a device that measures current. The name "ammeter" comes from the fact that it is a meter used to measure current (in amperes), and thus is called an AMpere METER, or AMMETER. The ammeter in the figure below is measuring a current of 1 ampere with the voltage and resistance values given.

A simple representative circuit.

In the discussion and explanation of electrical and electronic circuits, the quantities in the circuit (voltage, current, and resistance) are important. If you can measure the electrical quantities in a circuit, it is easier to understand what is happening in that circuit. This is especially true when you are troubleshooting defective circuits. By measuring the voltage, current, capacitance, inductance, impedance, and resistance in a circuit, you can determine why the circuit is not doing what it is supposed to do. For instance, you can determine why a radio is not receiving or transmitting, why your automobile will not start, or why an electric oven is not working. Measurement will also assist you in determining why an electrical component (resistor, capacitor, inductor) is not doing its job.