DIY Arduino Esr Meter Shield - Part 1: Intro & Demo

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This is part 1 of the Arduino ESR Shield I designed.

Here is a link to instructions on easily making your own transformer:

Part 2 can be seen here:

In this video I go over the background of the design, I then demo the operation and functions of the meter and go over future video segments I am doing to explain how it works and how to make one yourself.

The circuit used is based on a design by Manfred Morninweg and can be reviewed at

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Added: 1 year
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Author snipersquad100 (6 months)
Hi ive got your eagle schematic and have put the design onto the
breadboard, im having a problem getting a voltage to the transformer. I got
2.5v going into the + side of c4 10uf electrolytic cap but nothing comes
out, if I put it on mv setting I get -0.4mv. tried different caps but same

Author ingram010 (5 months)
Hi Dennis, you seem to know what your talking about when it comes to
measuring ESR, My question is what modifications would I need to make to
your design to measure down to 1 milliohm, for my college project I am to
investigate how to measure very low ESR values on a charged electrolytic
capacitors, I have seen this circuit by Lawrence P. Glaister at who has a nice circuit with
isolation and input protection. Any thoughts would be gratefully

Author Francisco T (9 months)
Hi Dennis I picked up all the parts yesterday except the transformer. Can
you suggest anything where I might be able to scavenge a small transformer
like that. Thx

Author RenanzinhoSP (10 months)
Amazing project. Congratulations!

Author Vintage USA Tech (1 year)
Thanks man I got all that shit in my pocket! I couldn't find any Franklins
for a ESR meter lol now I don't have too

Author Krzysztof Lorkowski (1 year)
It's the most complete video on Arduino ESR meter I have seen on YouTube.

Author Dennis Hill (9 months)
Yes, Manfred has a page on his site discussing how to wind a transformer
for this project. Check the link to Manfred Morninweg's site in the

Author ciprianwiner (1 year)
This project rocks. Keep up the good work. I'm working on mine wich is
using the same schematic as yours but only with a analog 500µA meter and as
you said in your previous video, it just doesn't cut it on the resolution.
I'm experimenting with the Op-Amps that i have laying aroung and the best
of the bunch seems to be the TL082 but I am going to try LM324 tomorrow. It
will be nice to make myself an Arduino ESR but the parts costs here in
Romania double that an already made digital one. Cheers!

Author Dennis Hill (1 year)
Thanks! I still have two videos left to finish the project. I have been
waiting for the Visual Micro release for Atmel Studio to do the programming
code for the Arduino. The Atmel Studio IDE is great & FREE! Visual Micro is
an add-in for programming the Arduino platform & is FREE also! Visual Micro
does include a debugger you can try free for 30 days, but you don't have to
have it; it is nice and only costs $15. Check out my video on the install
and I'll get the programming video up soon.

Author Dennis Hill (9 months)
Thanks! It really wasn't too bad after I decided to use the 1.1 Volt
internal reference of the Arduino for the ADC.

Author Dennis Hill (1 year)
Glad you like it. Let me know how it turns out!

Author Dennis Hill (9 months)
1. It wasn't too bad. Manfred had done all the real work of coming up with
the idea of the step down transformer, that isolated the Device Under Test,
and to provide the low impedance output! I just had to put the circuit on
the shield and come up with a way to attenuate signal in order to scale it
properly for measurement with the ADC and add the ability to adjust the
test frequency. There are certainly better ways of doing what I threw

Author (10 months)
Your project is great! You must have devoted a lot of time for it. I've got
two questions: 1. How did you manage to make your shield based on Manfred
Mornhinweg's analog design and write Arduino code for it? I guess It must
have been a very difficult part of your project. 2. How did you pick a
proper transformer (if I heard right - you salvaged it from an old PC power
supply). How did you know it's parameters (I mean primary and secondary
windings) and know that it would work with your shield?

Author Renan Santana Pelícia (9 months)
I see.

Author Dennis Hill (1 year)
Thanks! I tried a couple of different op-amps also and I had the best luck
with the rail-rail, it really makes the difference.

Author Dennis Hill (9 months)
2. I originally built Manfreds design and used it as a test base. I found
an off the shelf audio transformer at Radio Shack that worked well but was
too large to use for this build. I was going through my parts when I came
across the transformer I used. The xformer needs to be around 20:1 and pull
< 100 mA ( the lower the better) on the primary windings. Manfred has a
great writeup on his page discussing the xformer. There is a link to his
site in the description of this video.

Author Francisco T (9 months)
You also mention building it with a toroid. Can you suggest a site where I
might learn how to do that. Thx again

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