How to Use a Multimeter for Electrical Tasks?

A Volt-Ohm meter or better known as multimeter, is a device used to gauge current, resistance, and voltage. Multimeter can be analog type or digital type, depending on the kind of circuit being used.

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It’s is important to find out how to use a multimeter since these hand-held tool are very beneficial to identify faults or give field measurements at a very high degree of precision.

They are one of the favored tools by electricians to fix electrical problems on appliances, motors, power supplies, circuit, and wiring systems.

Also Read: Best Multimeters in the Market

Analog vs Digital Multimeter

As technology has developed and prices have dropped, the digital type of the multimeter becomes a more popular product today. There are still classic analog multimeter, but they’re harder to find. 

The main difference between analog and digital is the display. An analog multimeter utilizes a needle to display the value, while digital multimeters will display the results on LED or LCD screen.

Analog-vs-Digital-Multimeter

Knowing how to use multimeter makes measuring using digital multimeter much more accurate. Not every task will call for measurement which is that specific, but those tasks that do will benefit greatly from the capacity to get an accurate reading.

How to Use a Digital Multimeter

1

Measuring Resistance

  • Attach the digital multimeter to the circuit. Put the black probe into the COM terminal and the red one into the terminal with volts and ohms mark. The said terminal may likewise be marked for diodes testing.
  • Turn the selector knob in order to set the digital multimeter to measure resistance.
  • Turn the power off to the circuit.
  • Take away the resistor you need to measure. Once you leave the resistor you have to measure in the circuit you may not receive an accurate reading.
  • Touch the edges of the probes to per side of the resistor.
  • Check and read the display. It is important that you know how to read a multimeter.
  • Pay close attention to note the units being displayed. A reading of 12 may indicate 12 ohms, 12 kilo-ohms or 12 mega-ohms.
Measuring-Resistance

2

Measuring Voltage

  • Attach the digital multimeter to the circuit. Put the black probe into the COM terminal and the red one into the terminal with volts and ohms mark.
  • Set the digital multimeter for the voltage you are measuring. You can gauge volts DC or direct current, millivolts direct current or volts AC or alternating current. If your digital device contains auto-range function, it is not needed to select the voltage you are measuring.
  • Know AC voltage by putting the probes in the component. It is not essential to observe polarity.
  • You should observe polarity when measuring millivoltage or DC voltage. Put the black probe on the negative part and the red probe on the positive part of the component.
  • Check and read the display. It is important that you know how to measure voltage with digital multimeter.
  • If you want, you can utilize the touch-hold function to keep the reading on display after you take away the probes. The digital multimeter will beep every time a new voltage is identified.
Measuring-Voltage

3

Measuring Current

  • Select either the terminal that is marked for measuring 300 milliamps (mA) or the one marked for 10 amps. If you are uncertain of the current, begin in the 10 amps terminal until you are sure the current is lesser 300 milliamps.
  • Set the digital multimeter to measure current.
  • Turn the power off to the circuit.
  • Break the circuit. To gauge current, you must put the digital device in series with the circuit. Put the probes on whichever side of the break, noting polarity (red probe on positive and black probe on negative).
  • Turn on the power. The current will course through the circuit.
  • Check and read the display. It is important that you know how to measure current with a multimeter, remembering whether you’re measuring milliamps or amps.
  • You can make use of the touch-hold function if desired.
Measuring-Current

4

Multimeter Functions

Multimeters are used to get several tests and measurements. However, many multimeters can also record the following:

  • Direct Voltage
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    Alternating Voltage
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    Direct Current
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    Alternating Current
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    Resistance in Ohms
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    Conductance (Siemens)
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    Capacity (farads)
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    Decibels
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    Duty cycle, measured as percentage
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    Inductance (henrys)
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    Frequency (Hz)
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    Temperature Fahrenheit or Celsius, only some models and with special tool

Other sensors can be attached to digital multimeters to record measurements of:

  • Acidity
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    Light level
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    Alkalinity
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    Relative Humidity
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    Wind Speed

Many multimeter makers have additional functions that can be included when you are getting your new device, so make sure to read and validate your needs so you can get the proper equipment for your work.

Measure capacitance

Moreover, check if the manufacturer has instructions on how to read a digital multimeter.

Things to Consider When Buying a Multimeter

If you’re not an electrician or engineer and you’re looking into purchasing a new tool, you must be mindful of the following things prior to making that purchase.

Price - You can buy one at the local hardware store but then again you have to know that if your device isn’t calibrated, you will then require to do that no less than once a year. Pricing depends on the type and functions. Usually cheaper ones aren’t calibrated.

Features and Functions - Consider purchasing one with a clean LCD display, and if probable an auto-ranging device, that is able to identify multiple voltages. Digital multimeters provides more accurate results than the analog type.

Things-to-Consider-When-Buying-a-Multimeter

Brands - It all depends on what does a multimeter measure, how frequent you’re going to use it, and what kind of measurement that you need to get from your multimeter, so think intelligently before buying the device.

Final Thoughts

A digital multimeter can save you a lot of money over a few years. You just need to find out the best fit for your needs, how to use a multimeter, as well as how to maintain your measuring equipment.

You will regularly be able to address many electrical issues yourself in less time compared to the time it would take to request a technician to visit your home and check the electrical problem.

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