A shunt is a low-value resistor used to measure current – it is therefore also referred to as a current-sense resistor. The shunt typically connects in series so it carries the current of interest. A voltage measurement device then connects in parallel with the shunt. The current through the shunt generates a voltage drop that is measured. The current value is derived from Ohm’s law and the known resistance (I=V/R). To keep power loss – and thus heat development – to a minimum, shunts must have resistive values no higher than the milliohm range. Some are even below that.
The advantage of this measuring method is that it allows the quick detection and elimination of faults. Shunts are therefore particularly interesting for safety-relevant applications where faults must be detected. Furthermore, shunts deliver precise measurements and thus enable the efficient control of drives or the monitoring of battery management systems. And shunt resistors are an excellent value for money.