6 Quick Tips About Multimeter

A multimeter is a must-have instrument for any DIY enthusiast. You would need one while working on your car, electronic devices, or other household projects. Chances are, you’d find a multimeter in every American family toolbox. Despite its widespread use, not many of us are aware of the device’s full potential. Today we will try to give you some pointers that would help you make use of your multimeter the right way. So without further ado, here are 6 quick tips about multimeter. These will show you how to take full advantage of your multimeter’s abilities.

1. REPLACE MULTIMETER PROBES WITH ALLIGATOR CLIPS FOR A HANDS-FREE EXPERIENCE

Standard multimeters come with little probes that can be placed on the test subject to measure current, voltage, or resistance. Both of our hands stay occupied when we take measurements using the probes. It is essential when you need to be taking frequent readings along the surface. But, if you need to monitor the changes in current and other related parameters at a fixed point, it would be wiser to use alligator clips instead. It will allow you to work hands-free and attend to other matters, while the multimeter remains clamped on. Cut off the probes and solder on the alligator clips. Now all you need to do is clip them on and take readings without having to use your hands.

2. TURNING ON AUTO RANGING IS A GOOD WAY TO GET STARTED

The auto-ranging function can be a godsend for beginners. Many digital multimeters or DMMs now offer this feature which allows the machine to automatically detect current, resistance, and polarities without having to adjust the knobs manually. This comes in handy when you need to evaluate quickly changing signals. Autoranging helps you establish a suitable electrical range for your electronic component, and eliminates the need for a separate ranging device and the risks of current or voltage overload. Without the auto-ranging feature, you would have to switch your DMM to find the accurate range constantly. So enabling, auto-ranging would save you some precious time as well.

3. HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAD BLOWN YOUR MULTIMETER FUSE

The multimeter fuse protects your circuitry from current and voltage overflows. Unfortunately, you won’t find any indicators that will tell you that you need to change your indicator. In recent DMMs, a blown a fuse won’t impede the regular operation of your meter, but the short circuit risks will be extremely high. In older models, the meter might not function at all in case of a faulty fuse. If the latter’s the case, take out the fuse and insert a piece of wire into the fuse holder as a makeshift fuse. If the meter gets back to the working state, then you need to replace the fuse. If your meter remains operational, but you suspect your fuse has been compromised just take it off and test it with your meter. Put the meter on ohms mode and place the probes on the fuse. If the reading is 0 ohms, or near 0, your fuse is fine. If the reading says infinity ohms, however, your fuse has been blown.

4. NO BACKLIGHT IN YOUR MULTIMETER? JUST ADD IT YOURSELF!

Most of us can make do with cheap multimeters at home. But most of these models often lack backlight privileges which makes it difficult to take measurements in the dark or low light conditions. You can always shell out some extra cash to get a fancy one with an integrated backlight display. A simple mod trick, however, can save you the additional expense and make your display illuminate in the dark. Let me walk you through the process-

  1. Unscrew the back part and identify the buzzer. This is usually a circular electronic part that is attached to the circuit board with two wires. Each of these wires can supply 3.3V of current, which is ideal for powering two LEDs in parallel connection.
  2. Take two LEDs. Glue them on either side of the multimeter back cover over the circuit board. Connect positive to positive and negative to negative ends of both LEDs via wires.
  3. Connect both positive and negative LED wires to buzzer wires.

And you are done! The entire procedure takes less than 10 minutes. Now every time you power up your multimeter, the LEDs will glow and keep your display visible in the dark.

5. CAN YOU DETERMINE POLARITY BY USING A MULTIMETER?

This might sound pretty basic, but determining polarity with a multimeter could be a bit tricky for new users. Let me give you an example to explain this simply. Let’s take a battery and measure its voltage using a multimeter. Have a look at the reading. If the value is negative, you have placed the positive lead of the multimeter on the negative end of the battery and vice versa. Flip the battery and measure the voltage again. This time, you will get a positive result meaning the positive end of the battery met the positive lead of your multimeter and vice versa.

6. CONNECT YOUR METER TO THE GROUND TERMINAL

When you are working on a circuit board with both multimeter probes, there’s always a good chance of shorting something while you are too busy looking at the readout. You should plug the ground wire of the multimeter straight into the power supply ground to avert this danger. Now, a single probe would be sufficient to take all the measurements you want.

Did any of these 6 quick tips about multimeter help you out in your DIY endeavors? Please, let us know in the comments below.

Spencer Hutt
 

Product reviewer & passionate blogger. Beside writing for this blog, I spend my time crafting research based contents for HuffingtonPost, Lifehacker & Forbes!

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