Voltmeter is an electrical measuring instrument used to measure the potential difference between two points. The voltage to be measured may be AC or DC. Two types of voltmeters are available for the purpose of voltage measurement i.e. analog and digital.
Analog voltmeters generally contain a dial with a needle moving over it according to the measure and hence displaying the value of the same. With time analog voltmeters are replaced by digital voltmeters due to the same advantages associated with digital systems.
Although digital voltmeters do not fully replace analog voltmeters, still there are many places where analog voltmeters are preferred over digital voltmeters.
Digital voltmeters display the value of AC or DC voltage being measured directly as discrete numerical instead of a pointer deflection on a continuous scale as in analog instruments.
Advantages Associated with Digital Voltmeters
The advantages of digital voltmeters include:
The block diagram of a simple digital voltmeter is shown in the figure.
Explanation of various blocks
1. Input signal: It is basically the signal i.e. voltage to be measured.
Pulse generator: Actually it is a voltage source. It uses digital, analog or both techniques to generate a rectangular pulse. The width and frequency of the rectangular pulse is controlled by the digital circuitry inside the generator while amplitude and rise and fall time is controlled by analog circuitry.
2. AND gate: It gives high output only when both the inputs are high. When a train pulse is fed to it along with rectangular pulse, it provides us an output having train pulses with duration as same as the rectangular pulse from the pulse generator.
NOT gate: It inverts the output of AND gate.
3. Decimal Display: It counts the numbers of impulses and hence the duration and display the value of voltage on LED or LCD display after calibrating it.
Now we are in situation to understand the working of a digital voltmeter as follows:
We can see the working of digital voltmeter that it is nothing but an analog to digital converter which converts an analog signal into a train of pulses, the number of which is proportional to the input signal. So a digital voltmeter can be made by using any one of the A/D conversion methods.
On the basis of A/D conversion method used digital voltmeters can be classified as:
Now-a-days digital voltmeters are also replaced by digital millimeters due to its multitasking feature i.e. it can be used for measuring current, voltage and resistance. But still there are some fields where separated digital voltmeters are being used.