How to Measure Current With an Ammeter

Written by william kinsey
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How to Measure Current With an Ammeter
Digital multimeter with ammeter capability (Digital Multimeter image by TekinT from

An ammeter is an instrument used to measure the amount of current flowing through a component or branch of a circuit. This information, along with Ohm's law, can be used to analyse a circuit. Ammeters vary in size and type depending on what types of currents they will be measuring. Inductive ammeters are used for very large currents. These ammeters measure current by measuring the electromagnetic field around the conductor. This keeps the operator from having to physically touch or connect the ammeter to the conductor.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ammeter
  • Test circuit ( this could be as simple as a 12 volt power supply connected to a 1000 Kilohm resistor)

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  1. 1

    Set-up a test circuit by connecting a 1000 kilohm resistor across the output terminals of a 12 volt DC power supply.

  2. 2

    Set the ammeter to measure current and set it on it's highest setting.

  3. 3

    Disconnect one terminal connecting the resistor to the power supply. Connect the terminal that use to be connected to the resistor to the ammeter. Connect the other terminal of the ammeter to the resistor. In this configuration, all of the current that flows through the resistor should flow through the ammeter too.

  4. 4

    Turn on the power supply. The ammeter should have a reading. Reduce the ammeter setting if the indicated current is out of range.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not send more current through the ammeter than it is rated for.

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