Many times, there comes a need to measure voltage, current, and resistance. In such times Multimeter comes handy; it’s a handheld device that has positive and negative indicator needles. Engineers and technicians are well aware of this tool as it’s used in engineering workshops and labs to measure certain electrical appliances. It’s also called a volt-ohm meter. This test tool is used to measure the values of current, electrical voltage, resistance, and values alike. Multimeters come in two types one is analog, and the other is digital. Electricians recommend these handheld tools for the sake of preventing troubleshooting electrical issues on circuits, appliances, motors, wiring systems, and power supplies. They are a lot helpful when one needs to measure battery voltage or to give complex diagnoses. It’s an excellent tool for DIYers as they can measure simple domestic electrical appliances.
How to use a Multimeter?
Whether you have an analog or a digital version, a multimeter operates in the same way. It has a power source, display screen, probes, and controls. It consists of two probes; one is in red while the other is in black; plus, it has three ports. The probe in the black color is fixed in the standard port. The red color probe gets fixed in other ports depending on the requirement of the measurement. Once you have plugged all the probes into their respective places, you can switch the Multimeter ON to carry out your test. To read the value, you need to touch the pointed metal end of both the leads to one of the terminals or wires. You can see the reading on the display screen.
One thing you need to keep in mind that be very cautious while checking the reading. One should not touch the bar ends of the metal else, you can get a severe electrical shock.
What are the functions of a Multimeter?
There are many models of the Multimeter available in the market. All the models have different measuring capabilities of measuring. The most common multimeters can measure resistance, amperage, and voltage. They can also check the continuity of the circuits. Following is the list to check the complete circuit.
- Capacity in Farads
- Resistance in Ohms
- AC voltage and amperage
- The temperature in Fahrenheit/Celsius
- Inductance Henrys
- Frequency in Hz
- DC voltage and amperage
- Conductance in Siemens
- Duty cycle
There are some multimeters that allow you to connect special sensors and accessories to check more readings like light level, acidity, wind speed, alkalinity, and relative humidity.
For more detailed information, take a detour to my other article: 7 Major Things To Consider Before Buying A Digital Multimeter
What are the types of Multimeters?
There are various types of multimeters, for example, Analog, Digital, and Fluke multimeters.
Analog multimeters are one of the most trustworthy instruments to check out the readings. They have been used for years in the industry. As they are USD to measure volts, ohms, and amps, they are also known as VOA. Analog multimeters are pretty capable and flexible; hence they can help you find various faults and errors in your appliances. Analog Multimeters are engineered while using a moving coil. Everything is based around this moving coil. There is a pointer given to check the reading on the scale. The moving coil meter has a coil wound that is around a drum placed between two magnets. A magnetic field is created in the coil when the current starts to run in it. This instrument consists of a single meter, movement, and series, and parallel resistors.
There are a variety of ranges available in an analog multimeter. They are known as Full-Scale Deflection or FSD. It’s the highest range that an analog multimeter can read.
Following are the ranges of the most common multimeters. The figures mentioned indicate the FSD.
- DC Voltage: 2.5V, 10V, 25V, 100V, 250V, 1000V
- AC voltage: 10V, 25V, 100V, 250V, 1000V
- DC Current: 50µA, 1mA 10mW, 100mA
- Resistance: R, 100R, 10 000R
It’s not very difficult to operate an analog multimeter; one should know how to make current, voltage, and resistance measurements. Keep in mind to fix the probes in the right place.
Although digital multimeters have taken the market, Analog multimeters are still available in many places and widely used to carry out measurements. They are very low in cost as compared to digital multimeters. Plus, there are some people who prefer using an analog multimeter as they are satisfied with them.
Nowadays, Digital multimeters are in demand. They have replaced needle analog multimeters due to their accuracy and reliability. They are test tools used to measure electrical values like voltage, current, and resistance. It has become the standard tool for measuring electrical values. The best part about a digital multimeter is that you can record your measuring values while synchronizing with your PC. It has auto polarity functions. They give automatic o/p displays. They usually consist of the following components.
- There is a display that shows the measuring values.
- There are buttons to select different options. Options vary according to the model of your Multimeter.
- There is a Dial to select primary measurement values like ohm, amps, and volts.
- There are input jacks where you can insert test leads.
For the sake of your safety, before using a multimeter, always read out the user manual.