Definitions for galvanometerˌgæl vəˈnɒm ɪ tər
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
gal•va•nom•e•terˌgæl vəˈnɒm ɪ tər(n.)
an instrument for detecting the existence of small electric currents and determining their strength.
Category: Electricity and Magnetism
Origin of galvanometer:
gal•va•no•met•ricˌgæl və noʊˈmɛ trɪk, gælˌvæn ə-(adj.)
meter for detecting or comparing or measuring small electric currents
A device used to indicate the presence and direction of a small electric current, especially used to detect a null or balanced condition in a bridge circuit.
an instrument or apparatus for measuring the intensity of an electric current, usually by the deflection of a magnetic needle
The Standard Electrical Dictionary
An instrument for measuring current strength and sometimes for measuring inferentially potential difference, depending on the action of a magnetic field established by the current, such action being exerted on a magnetic needle or its equivalent. A current passing through a conductor establishes circular lines of force. A magnetic needle placed in their field is acted on and tends to place itself parallel with the lines, in accordance with the principles of current induction. (See Induction, Electro-magnetic.) A common compass held near a conductor through which a current is passing tends to place itself at right angles to such conductor. For a maximum effect the conductor or the part nearest the needle should lie in the magnetic meridian. If at right angles thereto its action will only strengthen the directive force of the earth's induction or magnetic field, as the needle naturally points north and south. Such combination is virtually a galvanometer. A typical galvanometer comprises a flat coil of wire placed horizontally within which a magnetic needle is delicately poised, so as to be free to rotate with the least possible friction. The needle may be supported on a sharp point like a compass needle, or may be suspended by a long fine filament. It should be covered by a glass plate and box, or by a glass shade. Finally a graduated disc may be arranged to show the amount of deflection of the needle. In use the apparatus is turned about until the needle, as acted on by the earth's magnetic field, lies parallel to the direction of the coils of wire. On passing a current through the coil the needle is deflected, more or less, according to its strength. By using exceedingly fine wire, long enough to give high resistance, the instrument can be used for very high potentials, or is in condition for use in determining voltage. By using a coil of large wire and low resistance it can be employed in determining amperage. In either case the deflection is produced by the current. The needle is often placed above or below the coil so as only to receive a portion of its effect, enough for all practical purposes in the commoner class of instruments. The galvanometer was invented by Schweigger a short time after Oersted's discovery, q. v.
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