Interested in magnetic fields but do not have the funding for all this fancy, high-tech machines? Worry no more because you can build your own magnetic field-measuring devices. Magnetometers or gauss meters are machines that can measure the strength and direction of magnetic fields. Creating your own gauss meter will require a little technical know-how and some basic materials. Depending on what you already have, you may have to buy a few of these materials so be prepared to shell out some cash. It is relatively simple to assemble a basic one so here is how to build your own gauss meter:
- Assembling your materials. You will need to assemble a few things before you begin. You will need to acquire a 9-volt battery, a Hall Effect device, a voltage regulator, battery clips, a mounting board (either a perforated board or a breadboard) and a digital voltmeter. The voltmeter needs to be able to be accurate to a hundredth of a volt and be able to register at least 20 volts. Depending on what you decide to use as a mounting board, you may also need soldering equipment.
- Hall Effect device. The Hall Effect is defined as the production of a specific voltage difference called the Hall Voltage across a conductor transverse. In order for the gauss meter to function properly, it needs to be able to produce this effect thus the need for a Hall Effect device. Now, you have two options when looking for one. Using an uncalibrated Hall Effect device is cheaper but is less efficient and less accurate. If you choose to go with a calibrated one, you will find that it takes perfect magnetic field readings and even comes with a calibration chart to help you study your findings but is more expensive.
- Soldering. If you decide to use a perforated board as your mounting board, you are going to need to solder the parts together. Soldering is the act of joining two pieces of metal together by melting and adding a filler metal into the spot where they are to meet. It gets its name from the filler metal used, solder. This is a critical step so you want to be really careful when doing this. Do not hesitate to ask for professional help. Make sure to exercise all necessary safety precautions before proceeding. Breadboards do not require any soldering.
- Building your gauss meter. First, take the battery clips. Connect the red one to the input of the voltage regulator and the black one to the common ground of the voltage regulator. Attach the output of the regulator the input of the Hall Effect device. Now take the common grounds of both the regulator and the Hall device and connect the two. Set the voltmeter to a max of 20 volts. The positive terminal of the voltmeter should be connected to the Hall device’s output and the negative terminal to the common ground of the regulator. Attach the battery to the battery clip. Use a magnet to test your gauss meter.
If you do not have a taste for building things, seek the help of someone who does and won’t mind the extra work because you can easily make a mess of things if do not know what you are doing. This won’t take a whole lot of time but requires focus and diligence. Follow these tips and you should have your own gauss meter in no time.