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Inductance meter


The circuits may be constructed on a small perf board (Radio Shack dual mini-board (#276-168), or if you prefer, on a PCB (Printed Circuit Board). Layout is non-critical - almost any construction technique will suffice. Wire-wrapping or point-to-point soldering may be used.


The schematic shown below converts an unknown inductance into a voltage that can be displayed on a DVM or VOM. Values between 3uH and 500uH are measured on the L (low) range and from 100uH to 7mH on the H (high) range. NAND gate ICA is a two frequency RC square-wave oscillator. The output frequency (pin 3) is approximately 60 KHz in the L (low) range and 6 KHz in the H (high) range. The square-wave output is buffered by ICB and applied to a differentiator formed by R3 and the unknown inductor; LX. The stream of spikes produced at pin 9 decay at a rate proportional to the time constant of R3-LX. Because R3 is a constant, the decay time is directly proportional to the value of LX. ICC squares up the positive going spikes, producing a stream of negative going pulses, at pin 8 whose width is proportional to the value of LX.

They are inverted by ICD (pin 11) and integrated by R4-C2 to produce a steady dc voltage at the + output terminal. The resulting dc voltage is proportional to LX and the repetition rate of the oscillator. R6 and R7 are used to calibrate the unit by setting a repetition rate that produces a dc voltage corresponding to the unknown inductance. D1 provides a 0.7 volt constant voltage source that is scaled by R1 to produce a small offset reference voltage for zeroing the meter on the L (low) inductance range.

When SW1 is L (low), mV corresponds to uH, and when H (high), mV corresponds to mH. A sensitive VOM may be substituted for the DVM with a sacrifice in resolution.

Test and Calibration...

Short the LX terminals with a piece of wire and connect a DVM set to the 200-mV range to the output. Adjust R1 for a zero reading. Remove the short and substitute a known inductor of approximately 400uH. Set SW1 to the L (low) position and adjust R7 for a reading equal to the unkown inductance. Switch SW1 to the H (high) position and connect a known inductor of about 5mH. Adjust R6 for the corresponding value. For instance, if the actual value of the calibration inductor is 4.76mH, adjust R7 so the DVM reads 476mV.

Inductance Meter Schematic

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