How to check if a Wire is Live with a Multimeter?

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A multimeter is a piece of electronic test equipment that is used by almost every electronic technician and engineer. It is primarily used to measure voltage, current, and resistance, the three basic electrical characteristics. It can also be used to check the electrical circuit for continuity between two points.

This instrument is critical in identifying circuit problems so that we can quickly resolve them. On the front panel, there is a rotary switch that can be used to select different electrical parameters for measuring electrical properties.

It can be used as an ammeter, voltmeter, or ohmmeter, among other things. It’s a handheld device with positive and negative indicator needles on top of a digital numeric LCD. It can be used to check batteries, household wiring, electric motors, and power supplies, among other things.

Types of Multimeter

  • Analog Multimeter: A moving coil meter and a pointer that indicates the scale reading make up the analog multimeter, also known as a VOM (Volt-Ohm-Milliammeter).A coil wound around a drum and placed between two permanent magnets makes up a moving coil meter. It has the advantages of being inexpensive, not requiring a battery, and being able to measure fluctuations in readings.
  • Digital Multimeter: The Digital Multimeter’s internal circuitry includes signal conditioning and an analog to digital converter, as well as an LCD and a knob for selecting different variations of the three electrical characteristics. Its benefits include a direct display of the measured value, high accuracy, and the ability to read both positive and negative values.
  • Fluke Multimeter: The Fluke digital multimeter can be customized to include a variety of collaboration features. It usually has a large display and is used to measure voltage and electrical resistance. It is primarily used to calibrate currents, volts, and other electrical units.
  • Clamp Multimeter: Electricity flow is measured using a clamp digital multimeter. When the probes measure volts, this multimeter’s clamp feature measures amps. While measuring, the appropriate feature is used.
  • Autoranging Multimeter: The auto-ranging multimeter is the easiest to use of all the digital multimeters, but it is also the most expensive. It has fewer positions and a knob in the center. This instrument can be used for simple projects, and it is highly recommended for beginners as well as home electricians.

Benefits of Multimeter

  • It displays the o/p automatically.
  • The meter’s measurement results can be recorded and saved in memory, and they can be synchronized via a computer.
  • Auto-polarity functions are included.
  • The accuracy of the meter reading cannot be affected by battery charging.
  • It makes certain that everything is correct.
  • Mechanical-damage resistance
  • Multifunctionality
  • Manually or automatically, measuring ranges can be selected.

Disadvantages of Multimeter

  • The need for a power supply as well as issues with isolation
  • It doesn’t fare well in the face of measurement fluctuations.
  • The LCD is primarily powered by an external power source, such as a battery because when the battery is discharged, the LCD becomes dim and difficult to read.
  • The meter must be used following the manufacturer’s specifications as well as the category rating; otherwise, the meter will be damaged, resulting in equipment loss.

Multimeter Applications

  • Environmental Applications and Temperature
  • Weather station with a low budget
  • The temperature inside the DMM
  • Measuring voltage
  • DC measurement of high and low value
  • Peak-to-peak and DC-average measurements are taken.
  • Current Measurements 
  • Detection of DC
  • AC power with true RMS
  • Measurements of Resistance
  • Microohmmeter is a device that measures the resistance between two points.
  • With a constant voltage, you can measure resistance.
  • The constant current measurement of resistance
  • Measuring both time and frequency

How to Use a Multimeter Correctly When Testing for a Live Wire?

Before we get into the process and steps, there’s something you should be aware of:

  • While measuring the resistance, don’t use a multimeter to apply power to the circuit.
  • When using a multimeter, choose the model with the highest level of security. This is common sense, but many people overlook it.
  • Every time you want to measure an electrical value in your AC circuit, switch your multimeter from DC mode to AC mode.
  • Even if you just like to fix or move the cable, always wear an insulating glove.
  • Before you connect or disconnect the digital multimeter, make sure the circuit is discharged and de-energized.      

How to check if a Wire is Live with a Multimeter?

Step1: Locate an appropriate power outlet.

Make sure the wire you want to test is connected to a power outlet. Take your tester out of the box and turn it on. Place your tester on the positive side of the outlet.

Step2: Check for power using the tester

Place your tester on the negative side of the outlet. Since that is the negative terminal, the tool should not show any power.

Step3: Using a multimeter check the live wire

Connect the probes to your meter and turn it on. One probe should be plugged into the ground wire, while the other should be plugged into the socket’s positive hole. Change one probe to the negative hold and the other into the ground hole. Placing one probe in the positive hold and the other in the negative hole is a good idea.

During the ground and live wires tests, you should get a reading of at least 100 or 120 volts.

What is Live Wire?

A live wire is an electrical wire that has current flowing through it. A positive wire is a live wire, while a neutral wire is a negative wire. These live wires are thought to have the highest voltages and could kill you if you come into contact with them. Most electrical circuits include an Earth wire to protect you from potentially fatal electrical accidents.

Read our blog: How to check 240 Voltage with a Multimeter UK


A multimeter is a tool that can be used to test different aspects of your electrical system. Simply follow the steps outlined above to check if a wire is live using a multimeter.


Is it possible to reverse the live and neutral states?

Since AC has no polarities, the live and neutral wires in an AC circuit can be swapped without causing any problems. When it comes to house wiring, however, live and neutral should never be mixed up.

Is a multimeter with a high safety rating required?

Always choose the model with the highest security settings when using a multimeter. Although this is common sense, many people fail to notice it.

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