Odd voltage reading from digital volt meter

In summary, the voltmeter may be defective and the alternator may not be producing the correct voltage.
  • #1
Idea04
194
1
I have a three phase alternator and I used a digital voltage meter across the output terminal and the reading went from OL to 4000 volts to 3000 volts and quickly decreased to zero volts, then went through the range again starting from OL. It continued to do this, I thought the meter could have had a fault so I used another volt meter and the same thing happened. What would cause this?
 
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  • #3
I had the volt meter set to AC volts.
 
  • #4
Then I suggest two tests:
  1. Set the meter to DC volts and measure an AA battery. It should show a bit above 1.5V.
  2. Set the meter to AC volts and measure the mains voltage. This should give you a stable reading.
If both tests are OK, then there is something wrong either with the alternator or the measurement setup. One thing to check is the alternator load. Mostly those things have problems with the regulation if there is no load, so make sure there is a load of some sort (since you have not informed us on the nominal output voltage, I cannot tell you what kind of load).
 
  • #5
What voltage should the alternator be outputting? Was this under a static RPM and load? What is the frequency that it outputs?

BoB
 
  • #6
I tested all the meters and the DC and AC voltage measurements are correct with the appropriate supply. The load I am using is basically a short circuit, It drops 99.95% of the power across the load. The frequency remains stable at 240Hz with no fluctuation.
 
  • #7
So the voltage you are trying to measure is a very small?

You may be measuring the ambient em field rather than your alternator.

BoB
 
  • #8
Idea04 said:
The load I am using is basically a short circuit,
Do you really mean that? Should it not be a resistance, suitable for the rating of the alternator? Is there any regulation for the field of the alternator?
 
  • #9
The resistance of the load is less than 0.0003 ohm. The voltage across the load is in excess of 100 volts. There is regulation for the field, it is supplied by a separate DC source.
 
  • #10
Idea04 said:
The resistance of the load is less than 0.0003 ohm. The voltage across the load is in excess of 100 volts. There is regulation for the field, it is supplied by a separate DC source.
That makes about 300MW (X3?). That's a pretty fearsome alternator. What is the nominal output voltage per phase? You are not giving us the whole story here. Is there not some other metering associated with the alternator? What's the background?
 
  • #11
The source per phase winding had a resistance of 0.7ohm. I tried to get a current reading with a clamp meter and it was showing zero amps. I thought the value of voltage across the load was current x resistance. I tried to measure the load voltage many times with different multimeters and they would show the same results. The odd thing is the prime mover was a 1/3 HP motor. The results are odd, as well I ran the alternator several time and the results were the same.
 
  • #12
Idea04 said:
The source per phase winding had a resistance of 0.7ohm. I tried to get a current reading with a clamp meter and it was showing zero amps. I thought the value of voltage across the load was current x resistance. I tried to measure the load voltage many times with different multimeters and they would show the same results. The odd thing is the prime mover was a 1/3 HP motor. The results are odd, as well I ran the alternator several time and the results were the same.
There is something very strange here. Have you a diagram and a photo of your setup? Why did you apply a dead short to the output? No alternator is designed to work into a short.
 
  • #13
Sorry, but I don't have a diagram or photo of this setup. I designed a circuit that interfaces into the alternator to collapse the magnetic field of the system. It seems to have worked, just odd output results. I used a short circuit as a load to provide a high counter torque on the alternator for testing purposes.
 
  • #14
Insufficient data!
What was the original intended use for the generator?
What is on the nameplate?
 
  • #15
None of this is making any sense. Waste of time so far. No diagram and no decent description. We are told it is a 3 phase alternator but are not told how the phases are connected. Implication is a single load, but is it 3 loads so it is balanced for all 3 phases? Anyone who can
I designed a circuit that interfaces into the alternator to collapse the magnetic field of the system. It seems to have worked, just odd output results.
should not need to ask a question about voltmeter readings. Nor should they provide a load of .0003 ohms with a winding resistance that is .7 ohms and claim that:
I tested all the meters and the DC and AC voltage measurements are correct with the appropriate supply. The load I am using is basically a short circuit, It drops 99.95% of the power across the load. The frequency remains stable at 240Hz with no fluctuation.
and
The resistance of the load is less than 0.0003 ohm. The voltage across the load is in excess of 100 volts.
Technically we drop voltage, not power. How do you know it is stable at 240 hertz? What kind of device are you measuring this with? A 1/3 HP motor will at best get 150 to 200 watts out of the average alternator. What makes you think you can possibly get 100 volts across .0003 ohms for a power of well above tens of megawatts? Is your load actually a large inductive load?
 
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Related to Odd voltage reading from digital volt meter

1. What causes an odd voltage reading from a digital volt meter?

There are several possible causes for an odd voltage reading from a digital volt meter. It could be due to a malfunction or error in the meter itself, an issue with the electrical circuit being tested, or interference from outside sources such as electromagnetic fields.

2. How can I troubleshoot an odd voltage reading from a digital volt meter?

To troubleshoot an odd voltage reading, you can try checking the connections and leads of the meter to make sure they are secure and not damaged. You can also try testing the meter on a known power source to see if it reads accurately. If the issue persists, it may be necessary to consult the manufacturer's instructions or seek professional help.

3. Is it possible for a digital volt meter to give false readings?

Yes, it is possible for a digital volt meter to give false readings. As with any electronic device, there is always a chance of malfunctions or errors. It is important to regularly calibrate and maintain the meter to ensure accurate readings.

4. Can environmental factors affect the accuracy of a digital volt meter?

Yes, environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can affect the accuracy of a digital volt meter. Extreme temperatures can cause the internal components of the meter to expand or contract, leading to incorrect readings. It is best to use the meter in controlled indoor environments for the most accurate results.

5. How often should I calibrate my digital volt meter?

The frequency of calibration for a digital volt meter can vary depending on the manufacturer's recommendations and how often it is used. It is generally recommended to calibrate the meter at least once a year or after any significant impact or damage. Regular calibration helps maintain accuracy and prolong the lifespan of the meter.

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