Measuring Voltage

Electrical voltage is measured with a voltmeter. The following graphics show the circuit symbol of a voltmeter (left), an example of an analog voltmeter as found in a motor vehicle where it is used to display the battery voltage (centre) and a conventional multimeter, which may be used to measure voltage and other properties and is normally provided with a variety of measurement ranges.

Components of an Electrical Circuit !

To perform the measurement the voltmeter has to be connected to the voltage to be measured. A voltage can only ever exist between two points, e.g. between the terminals of a voltage source or a load. To measure this the voltmeter is connected parallel to the component, across which the voltage is to be determined. The following animation illustrates this. 

Components of an Electrical Circuit !

The following circuit diagrams demonstrate how the voltmeter is connected to measure various voltages in the simple circuit already considered. The circuit diagram on the left shows how the voltmeter should be connected to measure the source voltage, the circuit diagram in the centre shows how the instrument is connected to measure voltage across a switch and the diagram on the right shows how to connect it to measure the load voltage. 

Components of an Electrical Circuit !

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