Impedance Meters – How To Use Impedance Meters?
Electrical impedance is the measure of the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied.
In quantitative terms, it is the complex ratio of the voltage to the current in an alternating current (AC) circuit. Impedance extends the concept of resistance to AC circuits, and possesses both magnitude and phase, unlike resistance, which has only magnitude. When a circuit is driven with direct current (DC), there is no distinction between impedance and resistance; the latter can be thought of as impedance with zero phase angle.
It is necessary to introduce the concept of impedance in AC circuits because there are two additional impeding mechanisms to be taken into account besides the normal resistance of DC circuits: the induction of voltages in conductors self-induced by the magnetic fields of currents (inductance), and the electrostatic storage of charge induced by voltages between conductors (capacitance). The impedance caused by these two effects is collectively referred to as reactance and forms the imaginary part of complex impedance whereas resistance forms the real part.
Impedance is defined as the frequency domain ratio of the voltage to the current. In other words, it is the voltage–current ratio for a singlecomplex exponential at a particular frequency ω. In general, impedance will be a complex number, with the same units as resistance, for which the SI unit is the ohm (Ω). For a sinusoidal current or voltage input, the polar form of the complex impedance relates the amplitude and phase of the voltage and current. In particular,
- The magnitude of the complex impedance is the ratio of the voltage amplitude to the current amplitude.
- The phase of the complex impedance is the phase shift by which the current lags the voltage.
The reciprocal of impedance is admittance (i.e., admittance is the current-to-voltage ratio, and it conventionally carries units of siemens, formerly called mhos).
The measurement of the impedance of devices and transmission lines is a practical problem in radio technology and others. Measurements of impedance may be carried out at one frequency, or the variation of device impedance over a range of frequencies may be of interest. The impedance may be measured or displayed directly in ohms, or other values related to impedance may be displayed; for example in a radio antenna the standing wave ratio or reflection coefficient may be more useful than the impedance alone. Measurement of impedance requires measurement of the magnitude of voltage and current, and the phase difference between them. Impedance is often measured by “bridge” methods, similar to the direct-current Wheatstone bridge; a calibrated reference impedance is adjusted to balance off the effect of the impedance of the device under test. Impedance measurement in power electronic devices may require simultaneous measurement and provision of power to the operating device.
The impedance of a device can be calculated by complex division of the voltage and current. The impedance of the device can be calculated by applying a sinusoidal voltage to the device in series with a resistor, and measuring the voltage across the resistor and across the device. Performing this measurement by sweeping the frequencies of the applied signal provides the impedance phase and magnitude.
The use of an impulse response may be used in combination with the fast Fourier transform (FFT) to rapidly measure the electrical impedance of various electrical devices.
The LCR meter (Inductance (L), Capacitance (C), and Resistance (R)) is a device commonly used to measure the inductance, resistance and capacitance of a component; from these values the impedance at any frequency can be calculated.