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In this article a simple inductance meter is presented. It comes in handy when winding your own coils or
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2/14/2017 www.doc­diy.net :: simple inductance meter
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As mentioned above, the circuit was designed by an unknown author. I tried to optimise some part values
with LTspice to increase the range of inductances for which the circuit oscillates, but didn't really
succeed. .

Usage
The measurement setup is shown in the title picture above. Connect the coil to the meter and measure
the frequency at the output. This can be accomplished by a modern multimeter, an oscilloscope or a
sound card in connection with a sound recorder/analyser. If there is no oscillation present, the
inductance is probably out of the measurement range. Try to switch the range or use other values for the
oscillator capacitor. If an oscillation is visible or audible (f < 16kHz) the inductance can be calculated
according to the formula

L = 1/(4π2 C f2)
where L is the inductance in Henry (H), C is the oscillator capacitance in Farad (F) and f is the oscillation
frequency in Hertz (Hz). I've chosen the capacitors in the way they result in nice values when multiplied
with 4π. This simplifies the calculation a little bit. The circuit is very tolerant to the supply voltage range.
It works well with 5V.

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2/14/2017 www.doc­diy.net :: simple inductance meter

Download
lmeter_brd_600dpi.png ‐ PCB layout
lmeter.sch ‐ Eeagle schematic
lmeter.brd ‐ Eeagle board

Links
http://www.national.com/ds/LM/LM311.pdf
LM311 data sheet

Comments

L meter
How many C Faradays?
#14 ‐ guiller mo ‐ 08/30/2016 ‐ 18:56

I tried to download LTSpice file for incuctance meter


All I got was a simple 3‐component of a series LC circuit. Could you please make the schematic shown
in the figure?
#13 ‐ TheHawk ‐ 07/19/2016 ‐ 00:16

To be honest, I have no idea what the reason could be. My circuit oscillated with frequencies
predicted with eagle, roughly (it's while ago).

I guess the range of inductor values that oscillate is limited. The oscillator can also be sensitive to the
comparator type and how the supply voltage is stabilised with capacitors.
#12 ‐ Luk ‐ 06/09/2016 ‐ 19:54

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2/14/2017 www.doc­diy.net :: simple inductance meter

I just put one of these together tonight, and it appears NOT to oscillate at the frequency given by
the resonance of the LC network. The inductor does affect the frequency, but not in any useful way.
As another poster wrote below, this is just a relaxation oscillator (which seems to oscillate at about
1.5Hz in the absence of the LC network).
#11 ‐ Stefan ‐ 06/09/2016 ‐ 04:20

LM311 Question
I think the author chose an lm311 as it is much faster than most common opamps and thuerefore
suitable to build an oscillator that operates at frequencies above the audio range.
#10 ‐ Gor don Rober tson ‐ 11/04/2015 ‐ 20:37

working
Can u explain how is it actually following frequency of tank circuit instead of working as relaxation
oscillator?
#9 ‐ ymmen ‐ 05/04/2015 ‐ 23:07

R6
10K should be fine
#8 ‐ Luk ‐ 07/05/2014 ‐ 12:54

Value of R6?
please tell me what is the value of R6?
#7 ‐ Hamid ‐ 07/03/2014 ‐ 10:41

LM311
I also want to know why the use of LM311, can it be replaced by an LM741?
What is the name of this type of oscilator?
#6 ‐ Fabian ‐ 01/07/2013 ‐ 22:43

Question L Meter
Hello, looking the mathematical formula I have a question: making small changes this circuit could
Capacimeter functions?
#5 ‐ Maur icio Ar tunduaga ‐ 10/31/2012 ‐ 13:30

Numerical Optimizer for LTSpice IV


I have written a numerical optimizer for LTSpice IV. It automatically adjusts component values to
optimize circuit performance objectives you set:
http://www.evospice.site88.net/
You could use it to automatically center the resonant frequency of a LC circuit connected to the base
of a transistor without having to manually calculate the impact of the base diffusion capacitance for
example.
#4 ‐ seanvn ‐ 08/09/2012 ‐ 09:18

Why LM311

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2/14/2017 www.doc­diy.net :: simple inductance meter
I wondered if someone can tell me why this circuit uses a comparator (LM311) as an oscillator instead
of an op amp or something? Is it because op amps tend to have lower bandwidth, because a square
wave output is desired or because it's easier to interface with an LC circuit or what?

Cheers
#3 ‐ Matt ‐ 04/15/2012 ‐ 11:27

Q‐factor
Just had a quick play with your LTSpice file. If your inductor really has a resistance of 0.2 Ohm the
problem is the Q of the circuit. For the series LCR circuit in that file, the resonant freq is about
7117Hz but the Q is only 1.12 ‐ not very selective. Q = 2*PI*Fo*L/R for the series LCR (or
(1/R)*sqrt(L/C) ). If you reduce R you will see the peak in the amplitude of the current in the circuit
get sharper and the slope of the phase trace get steeper (as Q increases). Reducing C also increases Q
but Fo increases too.
The other issue is the actual reactance of L & C at 7kHz If you modify the simulation to put L & C in
parallel with a series resistance of 100k between them and the source that is closer to your real
circuit. Then look at the voltage at the junction of R with L & C the voltage is tiny and that is
probably the real reason for lack of oscillation.
#2 ‐ David ‐ 12/27/2011 ‐ 00:54

Q‐factor
Just had a quick play with your LTSpice file. If your inductor really has a resistance of 0.2 Ohm the
problem is the Q of the circuit. For the series LCR circuit in that file, the resonant freq is about
7117Hz but the Q is only 1.12 ‐ not high enough for oscillation. Q = 2*PI*Fo*L/R for the series LCR (or
(1/R)*sqrt(L/C) ). If you reduce R you will see the peak in the amplitude of the current in the circuit
get sharper and the slope of the phase trace get steeper (as Q increases). Reducing C also increases Q
but Fo increases too.
#1 ‐ David ‐ 12/26/2011 ‐ 02:08

I found tonight that my element(USI1614‐12) only went up 1.2mH inductance from where I had it set
from my computer aided method. I would say that using the inductance method a guy could get 90%
or so of the sensitivity the unit is capable of. I was pretty amazed at how sensitive the inductance
was to relatively small changes of armature positioning. I would say that this method would work best
on elements that have their greatest sensitivity when centered.
#0 ‐ TBasket ‐ 06/18/2010 ‐ 13:52

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