How to Use a Multimeter in 6 Steps?

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A multimeter, sometimes known as a multitester, is an electrical instrument that can measure voltage, current, and resistance.

As a result of combining the functions of a Voltmeter, Ammeter, and Ohmmeter into a single device, the moniker “Multi” metre was coined.

It’s a must-have tool for electrical and electronics experts, and it’s typically the first item they go for when diagnosing a circuit. 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.

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 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 analogue 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 analogue 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 centre. This instrument can be used for simple projects, and it is highly recommended for beginners as well as home electricians.

Multimeter Applications

  • Testing the switch
  • Determining the frequency
  • AC/DC measurement
  • Voltage measurement (AC/DC)
  • Old incandescent light bulbs can be tested.
  • Measurement of time and frequency
  • Testing the batteries
  • An outlet can be tested.
  • It’s used for environmental and temperature control.
  • Diode testing       
  • Testing for continuity and resistance

How to Use a Multimeter?

Measuring Resistance  

Step1

If the metre has a separate power switch, turn it on. Because resistance and continuity are opposites, a multimeter that measures resistance in ohms cannot measure continuity.

There will be a lot of continuity when there isn’t much opposition and vice versa. You can make inferences regarding continuity based on the resistance levels recorded if you keep this in mind.

Step2

The needle or pointer of an analogue metre will rest at the left-most position if the test leads aren’t in contact with anything.

This symbolises an infinite amount of resistance, or an “open circuit,” with no continuity or passage between the black and red probes.

Step3

The black test lead should be connected to the jack labelled “Common” or “-.” The red test lead should then be connected to the jack marked with the Omega (Ohm symbol) or the letter “R” near it.

Step4

The metre pointer should go to the right completely. Find the “Zero Adjust” knob and turn it until the metre reads “0.” (or as close to “0” as possible). Identify the light bulb’s two electrical contact points. The threaded base and the bottom of the base’s centre will be the locations.

Step5

Set your meter’s range to R x 1. For this range, reset the metre to zero and restart the process from the beginning. Take note of how the metre hasn’t swung as much to the right as it had previously. Each number on the R scale can now be read directly.

Step6

Set the metre to the maximum possible R x value and then zero it. The probes mustn’t come into contact with anything other than the item being tested.

When testing if your fingers provide an alternate path around the device, such as when touching the probes, a device that has burned out will not indicate “open” on the metre.

Measuring Voltage

Step1

Many times, the voltage to be measured has an unknown value. As a result, the largest range possible is chosen to ensure that voltages greater than expected do not damage the metre electronics and movement.

Step2

The black probe should be inserted into the “COM” or “-” jack. The red probe should then be inserted into the “V” or “+” jack.

Step3

There could be multiple Volt scales with varying maximum values. The voltage scale to read is determined by the range selected by the selector knob.

Step4

In the United States, 120 volts or even 240 volts are common. 240 or 380 volts may be expected in other locations. Select the lowest range available that is greater than the voltage shown by rotating the selector knob (120 or 240).

At this moment, the metre may read anywhere from 110 to 125 volts. To get precise measures, the meter’s range is crucial.

Step5

Whenever possible, attempt to connect at least one probe so that you don’t have to hold both while performing testing. Some metres come with accessories like alligator clips or other sorts of clamps that can help with this. Keeping your interaction with electrical circuits to a minimum decreases your risk of burns or injuries.

Measuring Ampere

Step1       

You must identify whether the circuit is alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) by measuring the voltage of the circuit as detailed in the preceding steps.

Step2

Stop testing if the circuit to be checked is alternating current but the metre only measures direct current amps (or vice versa).

The metre must be capable of measuring the same mode (AC or DC) amps as the voltage in the circuit; otherwise, it will display 0.

Step3

This metre would be ideal for the average homeowner, measuring the current through a 4700-ohm resistor across 9 Volts DC.

Step4

Since the empty filter capacitors function almost like a short circuit, even though the working current is low and within the range of the metre fuse, the surge can be many times higher than the operational current.

If the DUT’s (device under test) inrush current is many times greater than the fuse rating, the metre fuse will almost certainly blow. In any event, always utilise the higher range measurement, which is protected by a higher fuse rating, and be cautious.

Read: How to Use a Voltage Tester In 6 Steps?

Conclusion

It can be used to examine several aspects of your electrical system. To examine the voltage, resistance, and ampere, any homeowner can use an electronic multimeter. Simply read the instructions above to learn how to use a multimeter.

FAQs:

If both wires are black, which one is the hot one?

Place the black wire prong of the multimeter on the bare metal at the end of a white wire to read the metre. The black wire is hot if you obtain a reading; if you don’t, the black wire isn’t hot.

How do you test line and wire using a multimeter?

Touch the terminals of wires connecting to the switch with the multimeter’s shielded terminals. If it displays 120 volts or higher, your metre box or switches have a line and load wires.

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