How to Read Ripple Voltage with a Meter

All characteristics of a ripple voltage can be measured using a digital multimeter.
••• Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Today's key technologies are based on electrical devices. Electricity is due to a flow of electrons through metallic wires. There are two basic types of electricity, known as alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) types. DC electricity works a fixed voltage and does not have any variance with time. AC electricity has a sinusoidal dependence with time, and the voltage oscillates up and down. A ripple voltage is a small AC voltage, which is placed on top of a DC offset. It can be measured using a digital multimeter.

    Plug the probes into the digital multimeter. Two probes are normally supplied. Plug the red probe into the positive terminal and the black probe into the negative terminal. Switch on the digital multimeter by turning the dial on the front panel clockwise.

    Select the "AC Voltage" by turning the dial on the front to the picture of an oscillatory wave. Bring the probes into contact with the circuit that has the ripple voltage. The multimeter will only measure the AC component of the signal -- i.e., the ripple voltage. The display should change to indicate the measured value of the ripple voltage amplitude. In order to characterize a ripple voltage completely, the frequency needs to be measured.

    Rotate the front dial to the frequency function. Bring the probes into contact with the circuit that has the ripple voltage. The frequency (in Hz) will be displayed on the multimeter. The rippled voltage will now be fully characterized.

Related Articles

How to Test Crystal Oscillators
How to Measure Wattage With a Multimeter
How to Read Oscilloscopes
What Is Hertz in Electricity?
How to Calculate Instantaneous Voltage
How to Measure Inductance of a Coil
How to Measure the Ohm Value for an Inductor
How to Convert Hertz to Motor Rpm
Types of Electrical Loads
How to Use a Frequency Counter
How to Calculate Millivolts to Amps
How to Design an RC Snubber
How to Calculate Transformer VA Rating
How to Find Resistance With Power & Voltage
How to Use a Multimeter for the Beginner
How to Use Micronta 22-167
How to Measure the Percent of Ripple on a DC Power...
How to Convert Watts to Volts
How to Regulate DC Power With Resistors
How to Convert 12 Volt Alternator to 120 Volts