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How to Measure Inductance With a Meter
Mark Stansberry has been a technical and business writer over for 15 years. He has been published in leading technical and business publications such as "Red Herring," "EDN" and "BCC Research." His present writing focus is on computer applications programming, graphic design automation, 3D linear perspective and fractal technology. Stansberry has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from San Jose State University.
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By Mark Stansberry, eHow Contributor
updated November 28, 2010
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How to Measure Inductance With a Meterthumbnail The inductance of a coil can be easily determined with a signal generator and a voltmeter.
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Inductance, a parameter that determines the amount of voltage induced from a change of current, can be measured in a variety of ways. You can use a signal generator, a digital multimeter, an inductance capacitance (LC) meter or even build your own inductance meter with a kit. The least expensive and easiest methods use an AC voltmeter, a frequency generator and a simple test circuit that includes just a resistor. These methods, which are considered very accurate, require that you use a formula. The formula permits you to calculate the inductance based on the signal generator frequency and the value of the resistor used.
Things You'll Need
* AC voltmeter
* 1000-ohm precision resistor
* Frequency generator
Construct the test circuit. Connect one lead of a precision (1 percent) 1000 ohm resistor to one lead of the inductor or coil you want to measure. Connect the resistor's other lead to the positive terminal of the signal generator. Connect the unconnected lead of the inductor or coil to the negative terminal of the frequency generator. Connect the positive terminal of the AC voltmeter to the point where the inductor and resistor leads are tied together.
Tune the signal generator waveform. Set the signal generator such that it will produce a sine wave with a RMS (root mean square) voltage level of 1 Volt. Vary the frequency of the signal generator until the voltage on the AC voltmeter is equal to 0.5 volts, or one-half the input voltage signal. Make a note of this frequency.
Calculate the inductance. Divide the value of the resistor used (1000 ohms) in the test circuit by the product of 6.28 times the frequency (in Hertz) obtained in Step 2. The resulting value will be in Henries, which is the unit for inductance.
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