What Is an Ammeter?

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What Is an Ammeter?

01 March 2024 - Author : Aydem Perakende
What is in this article?

An ammeter is a measuring instrument used to gauge the magnitude of the electric current in electrical circuits. The instrument that displays the magnitude of current in circuits in amperes is a fundamental tool in electrical measurements.


What Is an Ammeter? What Does It Measure?

An ammeter measures the intensity of the current flowing through electrical circuits. It gets its name from “ampere, the unit of electric current.

Ammeters, connected in series with the circuit, determine the amount of current flowing through them. This enables the checking of electrical circuits’ proper functioning, protection of circuit components, and monitoring of system performance.


How Does It Work?

The operational principle of ammeters varies according to their internal mechanisms. Analog ammeters have a needle that moves due to the influence of a magnetic field.

When the electric current passes through the ammeter, it creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field causes the needle to move along a scale that indicates the intensity of the current. Digital ammeters, on the other hand, have electronic components that measure the current and display the value on a digital screen.


Types of Ammeters

Ammeters are categorized into various types based on their structure and methods of measurement. 

ammeter typesHere’s a summary of these types:

  • Analog Ammeters: They show the current value by way of a mechanical needle and scale.
  • Digital Ammeters: They show the current value on the digital screen and make more precise measurements.
  • Terminal Ammeters (Current Clamps): They measure the current by placing it on the cable without breaking the circuit.
  • Hall Effect Ammeters: They measure the current through a magnetic field, using hall effect sensors.
  • Multimeters: These instruments are versatile and can measure not only current but also other electrical properties like voltage and resistance.


Who Invented Ammeter?

The invention of the ammeter is linked to the advancement of electrical science in the early 19th century. André-Marie Ampère was among the pioneers who developed the initial instruments for measuring electric current.

Ampère made the discovery of the magnetic effects of electric current and applied the knowledge he gained to create the first devices used for measuring current. Nevertheless, the evolution of the modern ammeter was achieved through the contributions of numerous scientists.

André-Marie Ampère


How to Connect Ammeter to the Circuit?

For the ammeter to take measurements, all the current flowing through the circuit component being measured must pass through the ammeter. This requirement leads to the ammeter being connected in series with the circuit under measurement. As a result, all the electric current destined for the circuit element flows through the ammeter, guaranteeing a direct measurement of current.

To achieve precise measurements, it’s important for the internal resistance of the ammeter to be kept as low as possible. The minimal internal resistance has a negligible impact on the operating conditions of the circuit being measured. It’s crucial to disconnect the circuit’s power supply and correctly connect the ammeter with the right polarity before measuring current, especially to prevent any damage to other components within the circuit.


Differences between Ammeter and Voltmeter

The ammeter and voltmeter are two fundamental measuring instruments employed for various measurements in electrical circuits. The ammeter measures the electric current flowing through the circuit in amperes and is connected in series with the circuit. Internal resistance should be low.

The voltmeter gauges the electrical potential difference, also known as voltage, between two points within the circuit and is connected in parallel with the circuit. The voltmeter should have a high internal resistance. This ensures that it draws a minimal amount of current from the circuit and does not interfere with the measurement.

The ammeter, which plays a pivotal role in measuring electric current, holds a significant position in the progress of the field of electricity.

If you have a passion for electricity and electronics, don’t hesitate to reach out to us through the comments section. We’re here to provide you with insights into the proper utilization and distinctions of these devices, and we also welcome you to share your own experiences with us.

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