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ABSTRACT

The AC voltage measurements and the calibration of


alternating voltages and currents embrace a wide range of
equipment and topics. To meet these demands, much of the
equipment and many of the methods in current use were developed
in the 1960’s. Special instruments have been developed in the
Metrology field for the measurement of current and voltage over
rather wide ranges. They make use of thermal converters (often
called thermoelements) like those incorporated in ordinary
thermocouple instruments, but differ in the manner of reading and
use. They may be used either directly to measure the ac-dc
differences of ammeters and voltmeters, or with a suitable
potentiometer and accessories to measure alternating currents and
voltages.

Now, a new generation of a voltage transfer standard is being


introduced. A large number of Fluke 540B Thermal Transfer
Standards, TTS, are still in use. The 540B is relatively easy to use
but it does demand operational skills and knowledge in excess of
those needed to use another devices such as Fluke 5790A, Fluke
792A, and Thermal Voltage Converters (TVC). At this time, many
national institutes such as the National Institute for Standard (NIS)
in Egypt, still use the 540B Thermal Transfer Standard in AC
calibration and measurements of alternating voltages and currents
at level of accuracy about (200 to 1000 ppm).

Unfortunately, these types of thermal transfer standards


(540B) suffer from several drawbacks that affect their applications
in the national and calibration laboratories. Practically, these
drawbacks are reflected on the calibration process, which requires
high experience of the metrologist.

This thesis describes a new Thermal Voltage Converter


(TVC) which was developed to make AC voltage measurements at
higher accuracies than those stated above. The new TVC was
completely fabricated and tested by the Author during his fellowship
at the National Institute for Standard and Technology (NIST), USA,
in August 1999.

In the same direction, at the highest accuracy levels, AC


current is commonly measured by using thermal current converters
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(TCC’s). These TCC’s consist of AC shunts in parallel with low-
voltage (0.3 to 1V) thermal elements (TE’s). The ac-dc difference
(Transfer Error) of a particular TCC depends upon the ac-dc
difference of both the thermal element and the shunt. The present
AC shunt products like Holt Model HCS-1 and Fluke Model 40A

can only measure down to the 10 mA and up to 20A current levels.


They also suffer from several drawbacks that affect their
applications in the national and calibration laboratories. The
technical problem in using these types includes the heating effect, the
thermal drift, and the limitation in the current range up to 20A only.

The problems of shunt heating and frequency dependence


can be avoided by the use of Resistance Transfer Standards (RTS) as
shunts instead of the lumped value shunts for the ac current
measurements. The RTS is a resistance box containing 12 nominally
equal precision resistors.

By using ten-resistance elements of such standard the


resistors can be connected in series, series-parallel, and parallel to
get resistance levels 100, 10, and 1 of the value of every resistance-
elements of the RTS. By using such standards (in the parallel
connection conditions) instead of the lumped–value shunts in the ac
current measurements, the nominal value of the measured current
will be divided by a factor of ten in every resistor.

Consequently the current rating of the Thermal Current


Converters, TCCs can be raised higher than 20A which is the
maximum rated value of the TCCs. Also the heating effect will be
reduced according to the relation of consumption power. Above all,
the short term stability of the measurement process will be higher
than that of the lumped-value shunt.

Through April 2001 to April 2002, the National Laboratories


Accreditation Bureau NLAB, in Egypt have been organized and
coordinated the second round robin program on electrical
measurements. The round robin was performed using an Hewlett
Packard (HP)-34401A Digital Multimeter as the circulating artifact
to measure selected points in the AC and DC voltage and current.
The Instituto Elettrotencnico Nazionale (IEN) in Italy was accepted
to participate in this round robin program as a pivot Lab. (Standard

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Laboratory) to calibrate the artifact according a certain protocol at
the beginning and the end of the program.

To ensure the quality of the final results of the two new


systems in this thesis (the new TVC and new TCC), our new system
was participated in the function of AC voltage and AC current
measurements round robin. The ranges of 10V and 1A of the DMM
have been intercompared among the NIS and IEN at 400 Hz and 1
kHz. For each voltage and current range and at each frequency, the
average values and the associated uncertainty determined by each
participant. The results reported by the two participating
laboratories are in very good agreement.

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