What is a LCR Meter?
A LCR meter is a device that is used to test the electrical impedance of a piece of equipment. In operation, it is capable of identifying the measurement of an object's resistance to steady electrical current. This is most helpful when dealing with alternating current (AC). It will determine the relative change in magnitude of the repetitive variations of the voltage and current known as amplitudes.
Inductance is one of the major properties which a LCR meter will test. Inductance is a change in the flow of current through a circuit and some device such as a resistor prevents that change. This is called electromotive force. Because electrical currents produce magnetic fields that reduce the rate of change in the current, the LCR will measure the ratio of magnetic flux.
An LCR will also measure the ability for an object to continue to hold an electrical charge. This is known as capacitance. The meter can test the amount of charge stored at a specific point known as electric potential. Typically measured in volts, this shows the exact static charge in the electric field of the object.
When measuring strict electrical resistance, the LCR meter will help identify the exact opposition of the current. A component that contains a uniform width will have a proportional resistance to its length. This is helpful in determining the correct design of elements involved with the circuit.
The component that is being introduced to the LCR meter is known as the device under test (DUT). DUT testing is conducted in a variety of industries to ensure that an electrical product is functioning correctly. For example, if a video game system comes off of an assembly line, a LCR can be utilized to perform a final check of the system. Electricity will be supplied to the device and the meter tests the product to ensure proper functioning.
The full LCR meter test can be conducted very quickly depending on the device tested. Basically, after the AC voltage source is supplied, the voltage and current are both measured. While this is not a foolproof option for testing fully assembled items, it works very well on individual components.
LCR meters are available in a wide amount of formats, both analog and digital. Analog testers are more cost-effective and can be constructed using basic components if necessary. Digital testers, however, provide more accurate readings and are available in smaller sizes and weights.
@nony - I’d recommend that if you’re starting out you just go to Radio Shack and get an inexpensive meter for under $50. I don’t know if they measure guitar pickups but they handle most do it yourself jobs and you should become familiar with the units before plunking down several hundred dollars for the Extech multimeter or the comparable Fluke LCR meter.
I’ve used a handheld LCR meter in some industrial testing situations, but many people don’t realize that you can use these things with just about anything.
For example, if you have a guitar you can use the LCR meter to check the guitar pickup. I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve heard that there is one meter in particular you should use if you go this route.
It’s Extech multimeter, mainly because it measures certain variations in the impedance in the guitar pickup. I don’t know if other meters can or cannot do that, but everyone says to get the Extech multimeter if you want to measure guitar equipment.
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