[time-nuts] OT: Basics of voltage calibration?

Brian Kirby kilodelta4foxmike at gmail.com
Sun Mar 15 06:01:31 UTC 2009

search LTZ1000, LM399, and LH0070  at www.linear.com , also get app 
notes AN42, AN82, and AN86   -   and by the way, most big parts houses 
have quit carrying these references  -  but they can be ordered direct 
from Linear Technology. 

The LTZ1000 is used in HP3458A multimeters and a lot of voltage 
calibrators from Datron, Fluke, etc.  The LM299 and LM399 were used in 
HP 3457A and HP3456A, and others.

more info on LM199/LM399 at national semiconductor, and a few app notes, 
AN 161 , AN184,

finding a good standard cell, is hard to do nowadays.  I bought 6 units 
on ebay, 2 were from folks that had them and they were able to test and 
furnish  data, and the other four were old and the voltage was too low 
to be stable.  Basically if the voltage is not 1.0183 volts and above 
they are no good.  They are finicky and I would read up on them before I 
would purchase one.  NIST had a paper on them that explained the history 
of them, their construction, and how to handle them and the temperature 
conversion formulas for the saturated cells.  Check out NIST 250-28 
Solid State DC Voltage Calibrations,  A Sub-PPM Automated 1-10 Volt DC 
Measuring System by Bruce E. Field,  NBS Measurement Services:  Standard 
Cell Calibrations, also by Bruce E. Field,  Standard Cells - Their 
Construction, Maintenance and Characteristics by Walter J. Hamer all at 

Look up Kelvin Varley dividers - I don't know if these folks are still 
in business Julie Labs and ESI.  Leeds and Northrup made a few also.

HP had some app notes on measurements, look up the 3456A, 3457A, 3458A 
and it should show some app notes for them.

Zicor had AN177, I believe Intersil bought them

And Keithley had a free book called Low Level Measurements Handbook - 
Precision DC Current, Voltage, and Resistance Measurements thats worth a 

If you can find a copy of Current Sources and Voltage References: A 
Design Reference for Electronics Engineers, by  Linden Harrison, its a 
good read on a lot of semiconductor references in the last 15 years or 
so - I would see if you can find it in a library somewhere, if you 
purchase it its about $50-75 on the used market.

Brian - KD4FM

John Ackermann N8UR wrote:
> I'm interested in learning some basics about precision voltage 
> calibration (as can be realized by the hobbyist, not Josephson Junction 
> systems!).  A Google search hasn't turned up anything like a tutorial.
> Anyone know of any good app notes or other references on things like 
> standard cells, zener references, precision potentiometers, etc? -- and 
> how to use them?
> Thanks,
> John
> _______________________________________________
> time-nuts mailing list -- time-nuts at febo.com
> To unsubscribe, go to https://www.febo.com/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/time-nuts
> and follow the instructions there.

More information about the time-nuts mailing list