Impedance is a form of resistance that is necessary to resist and react to the flow of current in an AC circuit. Unlike resistors, which when used alone to manage the current flowing through a DC-powered circuit is rather straightforward, components in AC-powered electronics such as conductors and inductors manage the flow of current based on the operating frequency of the circuit.

LCR meters and impedance meters are designed to test and validate the impedance of electronic components at certain frequencies or across a broad range of frequencies.  If the impedance is not according to specifications, the circuit will not work as intended.

Hioki LCR meters and impedance analyzers operate using 2 main principles or methods: Auto-balancing Bridge (ABB) and RF I-V.

An LCR meter or impedance analyzer operating on the ABB method offers a broad impedance measurement range and frequency range of 1 mHz to 100 MHz. They are suitable for low-frequency, general-purpose testing, but is not sufficient for high frequency testing.  On the other hand, instruments operating on the RF I-V method generally deliver higher accuracy at about 1%, and provide a broad impedance testing range at high frequencies.

LCR meters and impedance analyzers can use either method to measure for impedance - the difference between the two types of products is more of functionality and presentation:

  • LCR meters generally take measurements at a single frequency and provide numerical values,
  • Impedance analyzers measure while sweeping through multiple frequencies and can provide graphic results.  Impedance analyzers also perform equivalent circuit analysis.

Recently, Hioki has been placing greater focus on developing impedance analyzers in light of continued growth in signal inductors and power inductors for smartphones, tablets, and vehicle applications.  The need for manufacturers to keep up with demand calls for high-speed, high-stability measurement capabilities.  The compact designs, wide frequency range, and affordability compared to other manufacturers make it easy for our customers to expand their existing production lines with our products.

Download these resources to learn more about impedance testing and LCR applications now: