Measuring the voltage of electrostatic machines

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by DHodges38, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. DHodges38

    Thread Starter New Member

    Aug 5, 2010
    Hi; All

    I have a 3.5" DIA. meter that has a 0-20 scale, the face of the meter reads as follows (KILOVOLTS D. C., 0-5-10-15-20, use with external resistor, weston electrical instrument corp. newark nj. usa, 1000Ω/volt, model 301, no).
    I want to use the meter with a voltage divider so that it reads 1Mv full scale,so I can measure the output voltage of my electrostatic machines. I read the article titled Voltmeter impact on measurement, and the math on voltage dividers looks easy enough, and was planing on a 50:1 voltage divider. If I understand the article correctly that meter requires 1mA for full scale deflection,but these machines only put out 10's of μA.

    My questions are:
    1) Is this possible?
    2)Would you put a 1kΩ resistor in series with the meter as the external resistor for the meter circuit?
    3)Does this require an amplifier to measure voltages at the μA level?

    This is my first post and I hope that I have made the problem clear enough for everyone to understand. Thank's for any help
  2. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    You need a Hi-Z HV meter for electrostatic measurements. example

    What you have is part of a older version of a common HV probe. Like these.
  3. JDT

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    Exactly. This meter is not sensitive enough for this type of measurement.

    One rough way of measuring is to note that air breaks down at about 30kV per cm. So how large a spark can you produce?

    The technical way is to use a electrostatic voltmeter that measures the force between two charged plates.
  4. chriso

    New Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    At school we used gold leaf electroscopes.