Hi friends, in this article, I am going to describe the earth tester working principle and method of earth resistance measurement by it. I hope you will find it informative and helpful.
The Resistance of the earth can be measured with the help of megger earth tester or earth megger.

Earth Tester Working Principle | Construction

The earth megger is essentially a direct reading ohmmeter and it has a hand driven generator which supplies the testing current. The ohmmeter essentially consists of two coils (current coil and pressure coil) mounted at a fixed angle to each other on a common axis.
It has four terminals P1, C1, P2 and C2. Its terminals P1 and C1 are short-circuited. This junction makes a common point. Hence it has got three terminals E (common point), P (P1) and C (C1) outside.
To measure the earth resistance with a megger earth tester, the earth electrode under test is connected to its E terminal and P and C terminals are connected to auxiliary electrodes through a connecting lead of negligible resistance.
earth tester working principle and construction
When the handle of the megger earth tester is rotated at a uniform speed, it directly indicates the earth resistance on the dial or calibrated scale. Set of readings are obtained by burying the electrode P at various positions.
Firstly, it can be buried between earth electrode and current electrode C. Secondly, it should be hurried 15 meters away from the earth electrode on the opposite side of current electrode C. Then it should be buried 15 meters away from the current electrode C. The mean of the three readings gives the resistance between the earth electrode and soil.
The resistance between earth electrode (i.e. plate or pipe etc.) and the soil does not remain constant due to variable moisture conditions. To have good and effective earthing, the earthing system should be tested from time to time and moisture contents in the nearby soil should be increased by adding water.
The earth resistance should be less than 1 ohm for power stations. And for the sub-stations, it should be less than 5 ohms. It should be noted be that the earth resistance should be as small as possible for two reasons

  • In the case of a fault, when the metal frame comes in contact with the live wire or phase wire, a current will flow through the earth connection, which causes a potential difference between the metal frame and earth. This potential difference should be very low because it will act across a person who touches the metal frame in such a faulty condition.

  • A low resistance to earth will cause high current to flow when the fault occurs. The high current will cause the fuse to melt in a very short time, thus disconnecting to faulty apparatus from the lines thus ensuring safety.

Significance of Earthing and Earth Resistance

The provision of earthing for an electrical installation is very significant due to the following reasons:

  • All the parts of electrical equipment, like the casing of machines, the casing of circuit breakers, tanks of transformers must be connected to an earth electrode. It is done to protect the various parts of the installation as well as the persons working against damage in case the insulation of a system fails at any point.

  • By connecting these parts to an earthed electrode a continuous low resistance path is available for leakage currents to flow to earth. This current operates the protective devices and thus the faulty circuit is isolated if a fault occurs.

  • The earth electrode ensures that in the event of overvoltage on the system due to lightning discharges or other system faults, those parts of equipment which are normally dead, do not attain dangerously high potentials.

  • In a three-phase circuit the neutral of the system is earthed in order to stabilize the potential of the circuit with respect to earth.

An earth electrode will only be effective so long it has a low resistance to the earth and carry large currents without deteriorating.
Since the amount of current which an earth electrode will carry is difficult to measure, the resistance value of earth resistance is taken as sufficiently reliable indication of its effectiveness. The resistance of the earth electrode should be to give good protection and it must be measured.
The main factors on which the resistance of any earthing system depends are:

  • Shape and material of earth electrode of electrodes used.
  • Depth in the soil at which the electrodes are buried.
  • The specific resistance of soil and in the neighborhood of electrodes.

The specific resistance of the soil is not constant but varies from one type of soil to another. The amount of moisture present in the soil effects its specific resistance of earth electrode is not a constant factor but suffers seasonal variations. This calls for periodic testing that the earthing system remains reasonably effective.
Thanks for reading about earth tester working principle and construction. You may ask questions, if any, in the comment section.

Measuring Instruments — 4 | Objective Type Question Answers

#1 Meggar will give resistance values which

remain constant irrespective of the speed

#2 For measuring an unknown electrical quantity, select the meter with

highest range and work down

#3 Moving iron meters are extensively used for the measurement of A.C. voltage and current because

no current flows through the moving element and is robust

#4 Moving iron instruments are rarely used in low power high resistance circuits because

high reluctance of magnetic path

#5 Scale of an instrument will be uniform if

deflecting torque varies directly as the deflection angle and control torque varies directly as the deflection angle

#6 Which of the following instruments may be used to measure D.C. voltage accurately ?

Moving coil type instrument

#7 A high resistance is usually connected in series with an electrostatic voltmeter

for safety reasons

#8 In measuring instruments a mirror is provided behind the pointer with a purpose that

reading errors due to inclined observation are eliminated by removing parallax between the pointer and its image in the mirror

#9 The accuracy of a meter is determined by…………. deflection.


#10 The sensitivity inaccuracy of an instrument does not depend on

all of the above

#11 The error, when reading at half-scale in an instrument, is

greater than full-scale error

#12 An instrument’s reliability means

the degree to which the repeatability continues to remain within specific limits

#13 Damping in an instrument provides

braking action on a meter pointer

#14 In an instrument hysteresis means

the change in same reading when input is first increased and then decreased

#15 ………. meter has the best accuracy.


#16 . …………. damping method is common in moving coil instruments.

Eddy current

#17 In an ammeter the shunt resistance is usually ……….. meter resistance

less than

#18 A very accurate voltmeter, when used to measure voltage across a low resistance, gives inaccurate reading because

the sensitivity of the meter is too low

#19 Which of the following will happen if a voltmeter is connected like an ammeter in series to the load ?

There will be almost no current in the circuit

#20 The minimum number of wattmeters required to measure power in an unbalanced three-wire system is


#21 The total power delivered to a three-phase load is equal to

algebraic sum of two-wattmeter readings

#22 An induction wattmeter measures

only the true power



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