Basic Uses of the multimeter

The multimeter is an integral part of any electrician’s working tool.

Without the multimeter, no meaningful troubleshooting task can be carried out. To a professional, using a multimeter may not be a big ask. However, a home owner or an individual who is not technically savvy will need to understand the basic functions of the multimeter before making effective use of the gadget.

Basically, a multimeter is used to measure AC/DC voltage, current, resistance, continuity and for diode checking purposes. Apart from knowing the functionalities of this gadget, it’s wise to understand its safety measures in order to remain safe when working with the multimeter.

This article will provide a detailed explanation of the various uses of the multimeter and some safety measures to make sure you remain safe when troubleshooting electrical appliances with the multimeter.



Uses of the multimeter

Measurement of AC/DC voltage

One of the primary things to do with a multimeter is to measure AC/DC voltage. When choosing a multimeter, it is necessary to select one with higher main voltage rating than traditional multimeters. It should be higher than most household voltage ratings, which is below 10 percent of 230 V. With the right kind of multimeter, you will able to accurately measure the AC/DC voltage of your electrical appliances to detect any issue with the appliance.

Measurement of AC/DC current

The same method of measuring voltage is also applied when measuring current. However, when measuring current it is important to adhere to safety rules. High current can result to electrical hazards which may be escalated by the use of cheap multimeters. This is the reason why you need to select the most ideal multimeter that will provide accurate and safety readings when troubleshooting your appliances.

Never make use of the multimeter above the range it was intended for.

This may lead to frequent cases of electrical hazards.

With the correct use of the multimeter and if the right safety measures are followed, the multimeter will definitely help you solve most of your electrical troubleshooting problems.

Measurement of resistance and continuity

This is another important feature of the multimeter. When measuring resistance between two points, it is done by moving current through the present component being measured. To do this effectively, you need to remove the component from the circuit. Closed circuits usually have a little resistance while open circuits have infinite resistance. All these will be familiar to you if you are an experienced electrician. However, if you are not so tech-savvy, you need to understand their differences to be able to do a better job when using the multimeter. Most multimeters are designed with a beeper which indicates the measurement of the small resistance through an emitted tone. Some are even designed with a visual alert, particularly a red light, to help users correctly detect the signals. When selecting a multimeter, choose a device with a good indicating light and tone that doesn’t delay when giving signals. This is why it is important to opt for a high quality multimeter because your work will be more effective if you are making use of the right piece of equipment.

Diode Checking

There are good multimeters with special features that can enable you perform diode checking on your appliance. This features show the forward voltage drop of the diode. When buying a multimeter, even when you only intend using it for household appliance, it is important to select a product which is diode checking enabled because you never know when you may need such features for your troubleshooting tasks.

Capacitance measurement

There are also some digital multimeters that can equally measure capacitance. But the digital multimeters measure capacitance in different ways than the handheld multimeter. The former makes use of AC signal which is more accurate than computing the voltage rate of change, used by the handheld multimeter. However, this measurement is not accurate when you want to measure capacitors with traits like equivalent series resistance, dissipation factor, leakage or dielectric absorption. In this case, a LCR meter should be pressed into action instead.

Frequency Measurement

Finally, a multimeter is also used for measuring frequency. This can be important if your appliance depends on a steady current and AC voltage for proper performance. You can monitor current or real time voltage with the frequency measurement within a specific pulse width, duty cycle or frequency. However, remember that not every multimeter is designed with this feature. It is always important to see what features the multimeter has before purchasing.

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