App note: Building a battery operated auto ranging DVM with the ICL7106


Intersil’s application note (PDF!) on building a battery operated auto ranging DVM with the ICL7106:

This application note describes a technique for auto-ranging a battery operated DVM suitable for panel meter applications. Also, circuit ideas will be presented for conductance and resistance measurement, 9V battery and 5V supply operations, and current measurement.

Join the Conversation


  1. ICL7106 must be at least 20 years old! A classic oldie, or maybe an undead zombie… it will be available for years and years, like a 741. There is a Harris data sheet copyrighted 1993. Anyone has any idea about the first manufacturer and year?

    It’s too bad there is likely little business case to _really_ upgrade this. I’d like to save the environment from buying fewer 9V PP3s, please! :-) :-)

    1. I remember finding some schema of ICL7106 when I first started looking at electronics. I was really thrilled with that IC. :)
      Do you know some similar chips?

    2. I think this app note is basically the business case for an improved ICL7106 replacement, actually. Look at the amont of discrete logic that’s required to to build an auto-ranging meter with one! It’s obvious why there’s a market for more modern chips like the ES51986, and why cheap meters aren’t auto-ranging.

      1. Ya ! 9V batteries probably wherever there is still analog circuitry involved! Like many of my Multi- and other Meters . But excuse me, what is so bad with old zinc coal batteries? Specially if You compare to some more modern , more heavy metal ones ??
        wiki :–carbon_battery
        , does actually not consider them as a hazardous waste !

      2. Well, my lament is more of a casual reaction, not an engineering analysis… It’s a fair bit of metal for battery casings there, six in a PP3. I measured my cheapo multimeters driving resistance measurement at ~3V. Now there are kitchen timers that use 1xAA or AAA. If a multimeter can run at ~2V with 2xAA perhaps the overall battery consumption will be lower… But I suspect multimeter users aren’t major PP3 users anyway.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply to Darko Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.