# Measuring Input and Output Impedance

## Input Impedance

Meter Method
From the AC impedance triangle, the input or output impedance of a two terminal network can be determined by measuring the small signal AC currents and voltages. For the input, the voltage is measured across the input terminals and the current measured by inserting the meter in series with the signal generator. Use a fixed frequency say 1kHz and set the generator level to around 20 mV RMS. For example, if you read 20mV RMS and 10uA for current, then the impedance is 2k. With high impedance circuits, the current will become very small and difficult to measure, so an alternative method is called for. An easy way to measure small input currents,is to use a fixed resistor, as in the diagram above. Measure the AC voltage at points V1 and V2, then the input current, Iin becomes: (V2 - V1) / R1. The input impedance of the circuit under test is then found from V1 / Iin.
Example:
If you use a 10k resistor for R1 and measure V2=10.1mv and V1=10mV then Iin=0.1mV/10k =10uA. The input impedance would then be 10mV / 10uA or 1K.

Using a Simulation Program
To measure the input impedance over a complete spectrum of frequencies, use the following circuit: The input is a constant current source, its value set to 1 amp. As the current sources in most simulation programs are perfect and have an infinite output impedance, you will have to use a high value resistor in parallel, as shown, to avoid simulation errors. As V= I * Z , and using 1 amp as shown for the current source, hence V=1*Z or V=Z. Hence measuring input voltage returns input impedance. The y-axis on the output graph may be labeled accordingly.
See this example.

## Output Impedance

Meter Method
Output impedance may also be determined using a similar technique. A fixed load resistor is used and the output voltage is measured first with full load, then without the load. In the diagram above, Zo is the output impedance of the network to be measured. The term network is a general term, as the circuit could be an amplifier, filter oscillator, etc. The network is shown as a thevinin source. Firstly the load resistor, Rl is removed and output voltage measured (V). Next the load resistor,Rl is placed in the circuit and the voltage measured again (Vo). The voltage drop across the output impedance,Zo becomes V - Vo, the series current, Io becomes Vo / Rl, and the output impedance is (V-Vo) / Vo/Rl or rearranging Zo= Rl(V-Vo) / Vo.
Using a Simulation Program
To measure the input impedance over a complete spectrum of frequencies, use the following circuit: The input is a constant current source, its value set to 1amp. As the current sources in most simulation programs are perfect and have an infinite output impedance, you will have to use a high value resistor in parallel, as shown, to avoid simulation errors. As V= I * Z , and using 1 amp as shown for the current source, hence V=1*Z or V=Z. Hence measuring output voltage returns output impedance. The y-axis on the output graph may be labeled accordingly.