Experiment 2: Resistance Measurements
Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute
University of the Philippines Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Abstract  In this experiment, three different
methods to measure resistance were
introduced and utilized. This experiment
shows the benefits in using each technique
and how they are implemented on simple
circuits which are used in this course.
Moreover, basic knowledge about circuit
analysis were used to aid in understanding
the techniques used. Moreover, the
percentage error and the accuracy of each
measurement
were
analyzed
using
theoretical and measured resistance values
obtained using systematic equations.
I. INTRODUCTION AND EXPERIMENTAL
OBJECTIVES
Resistors are one of the five ideal
basic circuit elements known in circuitry. They
are known to be the most ubiquitous of the
electronic components because they are widely
used in various circuits for different purposes.
These components offer a known unit of
resistance which limits the current flowing
through the circuit [2]. In view of past
experiments, diverse values of resistors were
used to set up circuits to perform the steps
given. These resistors mostly come in fixed
values, however it was also observed that the
resistances offered are not ideally accurate and
sometimes vary from the said value. Resistors
that vary in resistance offered are called
potentiometer and can be used to perform
more diverse techniques which cannot be done
with fixedvalue resistors. Often performed in
past experiments is measuring the value of
resistors using ohmmeter. Although it was
explained how to use this equipment, it was
never demonstrated how the inside of it works.
The purpose of this experiment is to
tackle how a resistance can be measured using
a 1mA movement which was also used in the
preceding experiment. Different methods and
techniques were used to measure unknown
resistances without the use of an ohmmeter.
The pros and cons of each method was
emphasized to demonstrate in which case a
method is beneficial. Alongside the techniques
used, it was also observed how the resistors
affect the circuit and how an ohmmeter is able
to measure an unknown resistance by simply
connecting its probes along terminals
depending on the circuit.
II. MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT
The following is the list of the components
and equipments used in the experiment:
(2) Variable DC Voltage Supplies
(1) 1mA Movement/galvanometer
(1) Digital Multimeter
(1) Analog Multimeter (AMM)
(1) Potentiometer Box
(1) Protoboard
(1 each) Resistors Ra, Rb,
and 10k, 20k
Connecting Wires and Alligator Clips
III. PROCEDURE
A. The Series Ohmmeter Method
The circuit of the Ohmmeter
that was done is shown in Fig. 1. The
power source was set to a voltage of
10V and the potentiometer, R2, was
set to the maximum setting. The
Ohmmeter was calibrated by shorting
nodes a and b and the potentiometer
was moved until the 1mA movement
was set to the full reading. The
potentiometer was left at this setting.
The nodes a and b were separated to
form an open circuit. The three
resistors that were connected to nodes
a and b. the deflection on the 1mA
movement
was
recorded.
The
deflection was calculated using;
value for Vs was used such that the
ammeter reading was within the range
and the power absorb by Ru is within
the power rating of the element or the
element does not get hot during the
experiment. For every Ru, the Vs,
voltmeter reading and ammeter
reading were recorded.
D = (Imeasured)/1mA ; D [0,1]
[Eq. 2]
the value of the resistor measure were
calculated using;
Fig. 2. Voltmeterammeter method A.
(Source: EEE 34 Experiment 2 manual)
Ru = Ro(1D)/D ; Ro = Rm + R2
[Eq. 3]
Fig. 3. Voltmeterammeter method B.
(Source: EEE 34 Experiment 2 manual)
Fig. 1. Series ohmmeter method.
(Source: EEE 34 Experiment 2 manual)
C. The Wheatstone Bridge Method
B. The Voltmeter  Ammeter Method
The value of the unknown
resistances were measured using the
voltmeter  ammeter method. The setup of the ohmmeter for this method
has 2 variations, as shown in circuits 2
and 3. Both setups were used to
measure the unknown resistances and
were compared. An 1mA movement
was used for the ammeter and an
analog multimeter as the voltmeter in
the circuit. When measuring the
unknown resistance, A reasonable
The Wheatstone bridge circuit shown
below was set up.
Fig. 4. Wheatstone bridge method.
(Source: EEE 34 Experiment 2 manual)
A 10k resistor was used for R1 and
2k for R2. As shown in Fig. 2, a
potentiometer was used in place of R 3 and Ra,
Rb and Rc from prior procedures for R u. The
power supply which is Vs in the circuit was
first set to 5V and R 3 to its maximum
resistance which is the highest value of the
potentiometer used. If possible, use the
available potentiometer with the highest
resistance. Before turning on the power
supply, the voltmeter was set to its highest
possible range. After powering up the power
supply, if the voltmeter was connected
properly depending on the polarity of the
probes, it should read a positive voltage. R3
was adjusted until the voltmeter reads zero.
The value of R3 was measured using a digital
multimeter for accuracy. The steps are done
for the three unknown voltages Ra, Rb and Rc.
The value of the power supply was adjusted to
10V and the steps are repeated. Measurements
are recorded on Table IV.
IV. PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF
DATA
Table IV
VOLTMETERAMMETER METHOD A
Resistor Vs (V)
Voltmeter
reading (V)
Ammeter
reading (mA)
Ra
0.6
0.61
0.2
Rb
1.9
1.98
0.2
Rc
8.3
0.2
Table V
VOLTMETERAMMETER METHOD B.
Resistor Vs (V)
Voltmeter
reading (V)
Ammeter
reading (mA)
Ra
0.6
0.62
0.2
Rb
2.4
2.49
0.2
Rc
9.7
9.75
0.2
The
voltmeter
values
ideally
impossible because it is greater than Vs but is
logical to happen because the value of the
voltage supplied by the power source is not
exactly equal to the number shown but close to
that number.
A. The Series Ohmmeter Method
The values of deflection for the
resistors were calculated using Eq. 2 and are
given below;
Table I
VALUES OF DEFLECTION
Resistor
Deflection
Ra
0.76
Rb
0.45
Rc
0.17
B. The Voltmeter  Ammeter Method
The measured values are
shown below.
C. The Wheatstone Bridge Method
The Wheatstone bridge method
utilizes the Wheatstone bridge circuit seen in
Fig. 4 to measure the value of the unknown
resistance Ru. This circuit is required to be
balanced to be able to utilize its purpose.
To balance the circuit, the voltmeter
needs to read zero so that it can be assumed
that there is no voltage difference across the
two ends of the short, therefore no current is
flowing through it. When the circuit is
balanced, the voltmeter can simply be taken as
an open circuit. This setup turns the voltage
drop across R1 to R2, and R3 to Ru to be the
same with Vs.
This method utilizes the equation that
can be formed when Kirchoff's voltage law is
applied around the bridge circuit which is:
R 1 R3
=
R 2 Ru
Table V
COMPUTED VALUES OF RU USING WHEATSTONE
BRIDGE METHOD
[Eq. 1]
The derivation of this equation is
discussed in number 6 of section V.
Table IV
Resistor Ru
WHEATSTONE BRIDGE METHOD
Resistor
Ru
R3 () at
R3 () at
Vs = 5V
Vs = 10V
Ru () at
Ru () at
Vs = 5V
Vs = 10V
Ra
3k
3.44 k
3.74 k
Rb
12k
14.7 k
14.46 k
Rc
47k
58 k
56.6 k
Ra
3k
1.72 k
1.87 k
The table above shows the values of
Ru when Eq. 1 is used to compute for it.
Rb
12k
7.35 k
7.23 k
Solving for Ru using Eq. 1:
Rc
47k
29 k
28.3 k
As observed in the table above, the
values of R3 when Vs is 5V does not vary
much when Vs is turned to 10V. This is
because the equivalent resistance along R 1R2
and R3Ru will remain the same regardless of
the increase in the value of V s. Since the
resistance remains the same and the voltage is
increased by a factor K, the current flowing
across the resistors will also increase by the
same factor K because only linear components
are used. Since resistance can be solved from
the values of the voltage across and current
through a resistor, it can be observed that
different values for Vs will still yield the same
resistance.
Ru=
R2
R
R1 3
As seen in Table V, the inaccuracy of
this method increases as the value of Ru
increases. Solving for the percentage errors of
the measurements:
TV TVMV 100
3 k 3.44 k
e of R =
100 =14.67
3k
e=


47 k 58 k
e of R =
100 =23.40
47 k 
e of R b=
could be simplified as a 10V supply in
series with Ro. Because Rm is in
parallel with the 10V source and the
current passing through the circuit is
measured to be 1mA, Rm could be
calculated:
Ro = V/I
Ro = 10V/1mA
Ro = 10k
12 k14.7 k
100 =22.50
12 k
The percentage error of the
measurements increases because the resistance
in the ratio will become too diverse that the
resulting ratio will cause errors in the
computation.
V. REQUIRED DISCUSSION
1.
2. The value of the
calculated using Eq 3.
Eq 3. is valid to compute the
value of the unknown resistance. Eq 3
was derived from the fact that the
value of the potential difference across
the equivalent resistance is 10 V
because the circuit could be simplified
to a 10V source in series with the
equivalent resistance.
The KVL equation when the nodes a
and b are shorted is:
resistor
was
Table II
VALUES OBTAINED USING THE SERIES
OHMMETER METHOD
Resistor
Value Measured k
Ra
3.2
Rb
12
Rc
49
The percent error was calculated using
Eq 1.
10 = Ro(1mA)
while the KVL equation when Ru is
inserted in the circuit:
Table III
PERCENTAGE ERROR OF THE MEASURE
VALUES USING SERIES OHMMETER METHOD
10 = I(Ru + Ro)
Resistor
Measured
Value k
Ra
3.2
6.67%
Rb
12
12
0%
Rc
49
47
4.26%
Equating the above equations:
I(Ru + Ro) = Ro(1mA)
Given from Eq 2:
D(Ru + Ro) = Ro
RuD + RoD = Ro
RuD = Ro RoD
Ru = Ro(1D)/D
the values of R2 and Rm were not
required to obtain the value of the
equivlent, Ro, because of how the
voltmeter was setup. Ro could be
calculated using KVL.
The circuit when a and b was
shorted. A current of 1mA is passing
through a circuit containing R2, Rm
and 10V source. Ro is the equivalent
resistance of R2 and Rm, so the circuit
Theorethica % error
l Value k
the series ohmmeter method is reliable
enough to be used as on ohmmeter. It
is easy to set up and the values are
easily obtained. The % error of the
measured values are indicators that the
method has acceptable accuracy
because the percent error is within the
normal tolerance values of resistors
which are 10% and 5%.
3.
When not accounting the
loading effects, The value of Ru is
easily obtained. This is so because the
ammeter and voltmeter is treated as
ideal elements and they have no effect
on the circuit and only measure the
voltage across and current passing
through Ru. Ru could be calculated
using Ohm' Law:
The reason of the errors could
be caused by the loading effect.
Because of the actual internal
resistance of the elements, the
elements affect the circuit. An
explanation why method B is more
accurate is that the equivalent
resistance in the circuit is close to the
value of the resistance in question
compared the equivalent resistance of
method A.
Ru = Voltmeter reading /Ammeter
reading
After obtaining the actual values of
Ru, the percentage error was
calculated. Table VI shows the result.
4.
The values of the unknown
resistances, accounting loading effect,
could not be computed because of lack
of data of the values of the internal
resistances of the circuit.
The loading effect is brought
on by a characteristic of actual
ammeters and voltmeters. Ideally the
values of the internal resistances are 0
and infinite, respectively; but in real
ammeters and voltmeters, the values
of the internal resistances are a very
small value and a very large value,
respectively. Because of the values of
the internal resistance, the ammeter
and voltmeter have an effect on the
circuit and the magnitude of their
effect is the effect of the internal
resistance on the circuit. The elements
act as resistors in the circuit that the
elements are connected to.
Because of he lack of these
values, Ru could not be calculated if
loading resistance need to be
accounted for.
5.
Base on the results Method A
is best used when Ru being measured
is small because base on the results,
the 3k has the lowest magnitude %
error when compared to the other
resistors
measured
using
the
voltmeterammeter method.
Generally, method B is better
because of the method's higher
accuracy and precision. Because of the
precision of the % error, the % error
Table VI
THE MEASURED VALUES FOR BOTH
METHODS AND THE PERCENTAGE ERROR OF
THE MEASUREMENTS
VoltmeterAmmeter Method A
Resistor Measured Theorethic
Value k al Value
k
% error
Ra
3.05
1.67
Rb
9.90
12
17.5
Rc
41.5
47
11.7
VoltmeterAmmeter Method B
Resistor Measured Theorethic
Value k al Value
k
% error
Ra
3.10
3.33
Rb
12.5
12
4.16
Rc
48.8
47
3.83
Generally method B is more
accurate because of the consistency of
the small value % error. Method B is
also generally more precise because
the % error is close to each other that
it could be used to compensate future
readings.
could be used to fine
measurements for future Ru's.
tune
6.
substituting these to the previous
equation, we can get Rx to be:
R x=
R3
R
R1 2
Basing the variables on the circuit in
Fig. 4, the relation between the
resistances is therefore:
Fig. 5. Wheatstone Bridge Circuit.
(Source: J. Nilsson and S. Riedel, Electric
Circuits, 9th ed.)
To derive the relation of the
resistances in the Wheatstone bridge
circuit, KCL is applied on nodes a and
b producing the equations:
R 1 R3
=
R 2 Ru
7. The tolerances of Ra, Rb and Rc can be
obtained by checking the last band of
the 4band capacitors and base the
value using the colorcoding of
resistors shown below:
i 2i x +i g=0
i 1i3 +i g=0
Next, by applying KVL across the two
loops formed inside the bridge circuit:
i 2 R2i g R gi 1 R 1=0
i x R x i 3 R 3+ i g R g=0
Since the bridge is balanced, ig=0 and
the KVL equations will become:
i 2 R2=i 1 R 1
i x R x =i 3 R 3
By rearranging the dividing the
equations together and rearranging:
R x=
R3 i 3 i 2 R 2
R1 i 1 i x
From the KCL equations, we can get
that
i 2=i x and i 1=i3 . By
Fig. 6. Colorcoding of 4band resistors.
(Source:http://www.learn.parallax.com)
The three resistors all have
gold bands as their last bands, so all
the tolerances are 5%. The maximum
and the minimum values for the
resistance of a resistor can be solved
using the equations below:
= + (% )
min =  x (% )
The range of the resistances can be
solved by:
= 3 + 3 (5%) = 3.15 (max)
= 3  3 (5%) = 2.85 (min)
= 12 + 12 (5%) = 12.6
(max)
= 12  12 (5%) = 11.4
(min)
= 47 + 47 (5%) = 49.35
(max)
= 47  47 (5%) = 44.65
(min)
The
Wheatstone
bridge
method can be proven to be accurate if
the values obtained for the resistances
shown in Table V falls between the
maximum and minimum values of the
corresponding resistor. All of the
values measured exceeded the
maximum value appropriate for the
resistor. This error may be caused
because of the poor quality of the
circuit
constructed
and
the
components used.
8.
9.
In this experiment, the supply
voltage was varied by increasing it by
two folds. The actual effect of the
increase in supply voltage cannot be
determined precisely from the
measurements obtained in the
Wheatstone bridge method. For Ra, the
resistance measured increased together
with the supply voltage unlike R b and
Rc which both decreased. Ideally
speaking, the measured values when
the supply voltage is increased should
be more out of range because
increasing the voltage also means
increasing the power dissipated to the
resistors. Increase in power, coincides
to increase in heat which would cause
the measurements to diverge more
from the actual values.
From
the
measurements
obtained in this experiment, each
method
specializes
in
certain
situations and generates different
results. As for simplicity and ease of
use, the seriesohmmeter method may
be used to measure resistances since
the circuit needed for this method is
easy to construct and the formulas
used are straightforward and doesn't
require much knowledge about circuit
analysis.
Subsequently,
both
voltmeterammeter methods are also
easy to set up and use, however,
requires a voltmeter to be utilized
which may not be readily available at
all times. This limits the potential of
the
voltmeterammeter
method.
Between the two versions of this
method, the second version used is
more accurate for higher values
because of less loading effects. Lastly,
the Wheatstone bridge technique is the
most accurate among the methods
used but is difficult to set up and
requires adequate knowledge on
circuit analysis to be able to derive the
relation of the unknown resistance to
the other resistances. Even though it
was not observed that this method is
the most accurate in this experiment, it
is widely known that commercial
Wheatstone bridge equipments has a
percentage error of only 0.1%. Ideally,
the Wheatstone bridge method should
be used all the time but sometimes it is
not worth to put in so much effort in
setting up a circuit to be used for this
method to only make simple resistance
measurements.
VI. CONCLUSION
Based on this experiment, it showed
the different methods of measuring resistances
of resistors with unknown values and
resistances in simple circuits. The methods and
techniques implemented were the series
ohmmeter method, two versions of the
voltmeterammeter
method,
and
the
Wheatstone bridge method. It can be settled
that each method is useful and ideal to use
only in certain situations. Before using a
certain method, one should first consider
different factors like the type of components
used, setup of the circuit, or the theoretical
values to be measured. In addition to the
practical application of the methods, the
results were also analyzed using different
circuit analysis techniques to emphasize the
effectiveness and also the flaws of the methods
used.
References:
[1]
J. Nilsson and S. Riedel, Electric
Circuits, 9th ed. New Jersey:
[2]
Prentice Hall, 2011, pp. 2430, 6970.
Take a Stance, The Resist Stance.
[Online].
Available: https://learn.sparkfun.com/