barcode printing using vb.net An example of a utility meter. The reading is a little more than 3875 kWh. in Software

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3-11 An example of a utility meter. The reading is a little more than 3875 kWh.
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Increasingly, metering devices are being designed so that they provide a direct readout, and there s no need (or possibility) for interpolation. The number on the meter is the indication. It s that simple. Such a meter is called a digital meter. The advantage of a digital meter is that it s easy for anybody to read, and there is no chance for interpolation errors. This is ideal for utility meters, clocks, and some kinds of ammeters, voltmeters and wattmeters. It works very well when the value of the quantity does not change very often or very fast. But there are some situations in which a digital meter is a disadvantage. One good example is the signal-strength indicator in a radio receiver. This meter bounces up and down as signals fade, or as you tune the radio, or sometimes even as the signal modulates. A digital meter would show nothing but a constantly changing, meaningless set of numerals. Digital meters require a certain length of time to lock in to the current, voltage, power or other quantity being measured. If this quantity never settles at any one value for a long enough time, the meter can never lock in. Meters with a scale and pointer are known as analog meters. Their main advantages are that they allow interpolation, they give the operator a sense of the quantity relative to other possible values, and they follow along when a quantity changes. Some engineers and technicians prefer the feel of an analog meter, even in situations where a digital meter would work just as well. One problem you might have with digital meters is being certain of where the decimal point goes. If you re off by one decimal place, the error will be by a factor of 10. Also, you need to be sure you know what the units are; for example, a frequency indicator might be reading out in megahertz, and you might forget and think it is giving you a reading in kilohertz. That s a mistake by a factor of 1000. Of course this latter type of error can happen with an analog meter, too.
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The measurement of energy used by your home is an application to which digital metering is well suited. It s easier to read the drum type, digital kilowatt-hour meter than to read the pointer type meter. When measuring frequencies of signals, digital metering is not only more convenient, but far more accurate. The frequency counter measures by actually counting pulses, in a manner similar to the way the utility meter counts the number of turns of a motor. But the frequency counter works electronically, without any moving parts. It can keep track of thousands, millions or even billions of pulses per second, and it shows the rate on a digital display that is as easy to read as a digital watch. It measures frequency directly by tallying up the number of pulses in an oscillating wave, even when the number of pulses per second is huge. The accuracy of the frequency counter is a function of the lock-in time. Lock-in is usually done in 0.1 second, 1 second or 10 seconds. Increasing the lock-in time by a factor of 10 will cause the accuracy to be good by one additional digit. Modern frequency counters are good to six, seven or eight digits; sophisticated lab devices will show frequency to nine or ten digits.
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The following are some less common types of meters that you might come across in electrical and electronic work.
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In high-fidelity equipment, especially the more sophisticated amplifiers ( amps ), loudness meters are sometimes used. These are calibrated in decibels, a unit that you will sometimes encounter in reference to electronic signal levels. A decibel is an increase or decrease in sound or signal level that you can just barely detect, if you are expecting the change. Audio loudness is given in volume units (VU), and the meter that indicates it is called a VU meter. Usually, such meters have a zero marker with a red line to the right and a black line to the left, and they are calibrated in decibels (dB) above and below this zero marker (Fig. 3-12). The meter might also be calibrated in watts rms, an expression for audio power. As music is played through the system, or as a voice comes over it, the VU meter needle will kick up. The amplifier volume should be kept down so that the meter doesn t go past the zero mark and into the red range. If the meter does kick up into the red scale, it means that distortion is probably taking place within the amplifier circuit. Sound level in general can be measured by means of a sound-level meter, calibrated in decibels (dB) and connected to the output of a precision amplifier with a microphone of known, standardized sensitivity (Fig. 3-13). You have perhaps heard that a vacuum cleaner will produce 80 dB of sound, and a large truck going by might subject your ears to 90 dB. These figures are determined by a sound-level meter. A VU meter is a special form of sound-level meter.
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