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What is the purpose of an ammeter shunt

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waldorff

KevinAM has a good answer. Ammeters have a certain resistance, which can be quite high for milliammeters and microammeters, because the instrument itself measures volts (except for the early analog, moving coil meters). A shunt is needed to pass heavier currents, and reduce the resistance in the ammeter circuit.

To calculate the value of a given shunt, you need to know the voltage dropped across the ammeter, or it's resistance - same thing, really, as you know the current.
A shunt will then have the same voltage across it, but at the required full scale current.

It's all Ohm's Law...

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The purpose of an ammeter shunt is to provide parallel resistance to current that flows in to an ammeter. An ammeter can not handle a large amount of current in some cases, thus a shunt is used to distribute some current so that the ammeter does not malfunction when measuring big loads of current.

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