Current sensitivity of a galvanometer is defined as deflection per unit current, $$\frac{\phi}{I}=\frac{NAB}{k}$$

Here, $\phi$ is the angular deflection, k is the torsional constant of the spring, and NAB is the magnetic torque per unit current produced in the galvanometer (MCG).

According to my book: A convenient way for the manufacturer to increase the current sensitivity is to increase the number of turns, N.

My problem: I can't understand the practicality of the current sensitivity. Suppose if we increase N two times the original value of a given galvanometer. It is likely that the resistance will also get doubled, thus the current would also get halved just like in the case of galvanometer turned voltmeter.

So, if I were to measure current using the galvanometer turned ammeter, for a normal current, say 1 A, it would have no significant effect on its angular deflection for if we double the number of turns the resistance would also get doubled and the normal current flowing through the galvanometer will also get halved giving the same value of angular deflection.


2 Answers 2


When an ammeter is used we usually try to ensure that the resistance of the ammeter is small compared to the resistances of the other elements in the circuit. We try to do this so that including the ammeter in the circuit changes the behaviour of the circuit as little as possible.

So if the resistance of the ammeter is negligible it remains negligible when doubled. However you are correct that there is a limit. If we raise the resistance of the ammeter too far it will start to significantly affect the circuit we are using the ammeter to examine.

Response to comment:

Suppose the ammeter resistance is $r$ and the full scale deflection current is $i$. I won't go through the working, but with a shunt resistor $R$ the full scale deflection current is given by:

$$ I_{fs} = i\left(1 + \frac{r}{R}\right) $$

If we're interested in measuring small currents then we don't use a shunt resistor so we get:

$$ I_{fs} = i $$

and the only way to make our meter more sensitive is to reduce $i$ by using more windings on the coil. I assume this is the point of increasing the windings.

If we're measuring large currents then $r/R \gg 1$ and our equation becomes approximately:

$$ I_{fs} \approx \frac{ir}{R} $$

As you say, $ir$ will be constant because increasing the number of windings decreases $i$ but increases $r$. In this case you're quite correct that there is no point in changing the number of windings.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A galvanometer turned ammeter is made by placing a shunt resistance parallel to the galvanometer so that most of the current passes through shunt resistance without disturbing the original set up.In this case when we double the number of coils we are also doubling resistance and therefore current is halved.The angular deflection showed this time would be the same as before so what is the point of increasing current sensitivity?Here one can only increase range of ammeter. $\endgroup$
    – Sikander
    Dec 19, 2015 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ By large current sensitivity I understand that one can measure 'small currents' with accuracy as the deflection becomes larger per unit current.In the above case I cannot see this happen.Can you help $\endgroup$
    – Sikander
    Dec 19, 2015 at 9:11

The current sensitivity is simply the deflection per unit current, so if we double the number of the turns, it will also double the resistance. But not half the current still we not connect it to a battery (or apply any constant potential difference). Suppose we connect the given galvanometer turned ammeter in the circuit ($I=\frac{V}{R}$) the current becomes $I=\frac{V}{R}+r$. Here $r$ is negligible, so no change whether be doubled or halved not change the current appreciably but change the deflection angle.

  • $\begingroup$ Too brief... pls elaborate $\endgroup$
    – QuIcKmAtHs
    Jan 31, 2018 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ I partially fixed your post, but many parts of it are still incomprehensible. $\endgroup$
    – peterh
    Jan 31, 2018 at 14:57

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