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How to Use a 7 Function Multimeter

Updated on: December 5, 2018

The Intro

These procedures will certainly show you exactly how to utilize a digital multimeter (DMM), a crucial tool that you can utilize to diagnose circuits, find out about other individuals’s digital layouts, and also 7 function multimeter. For this reason the ‘multi’-‘meter’ or multiple dimension name.

The most basic points we measure are voltage as well as current. A multimeter is likewise wonderful for some basic peace of mind checks and troubleshooting. Is your circuit not working? Does the switch work? Place a meter on it! The multimeter is your first defence when fixing a system. In this tutorial we will cover measuring voltage, current, resistance as well as continuity.

Every fixer ought to know their way around a multimeter, which has just north of a zillion makes use of for testing digital elements and circuits.

In this tutorial we’re going to show you exactly how to use a multimeter. This tutorial is primarily resolved for beginners that are starting in electronics and also have no concept how to use a multimeter and also just how it can be helpful. We’ll discover one of the most typical functions on a multimeter and exactly how to measure current, voltage, resistance and how to check continuity.

What is a multimeter and also why do you need one?

A multimeter is a measurement device absolutely essential in electronic devices. It incorporates 3 important attributes: a voltmeter, ohmeter, as well as ammeter, and in many cases continuity.

The tool enables you to recognize what is taking place in your circuits. Whenever something in your circuit isn’t functioning, it will certainly aid you repairing. Below’s some circumstances in electronic devices tasks that you’ll locate the multimeter valuable:

  • is the button activate?
  • is this wire conducting the electrical energy or is it damaged?
  • just how much current is moving via this led?
  • exactly how much power do you have left on your batteries?

What would multimeters measure?

Nearly all multimeters can measure voltage, current, and also resistance.

Various multimeters have a continuity check, leading to a loud beep if two points are electrically linked. This is handy if, for example, you are developing a circuit and also connecting wires or soldering; the beep shows every little thing is attached as well as nothing has actually come loose. You can also use it to make certain 2 points are not linked, to aid protect against brief circuits.

Certain multimeters additionally have a diode check feature. A diode is like a one-way shutoff that only lets electricity circulation in one direction. The precise feature of the diode check can differ from one type to another. If you’re dealing with a diode and also can’t inform which method it goes in the circuit, or if you’re not exactly sure the diode is working properly, the check function can be quite helpful. If your DMM has a diode check feature, reviewed the handbook to figure out exactly just how it works.

Advanced models could have other features, such as the capability to measure and also determine various other electric parts, like transistors or capacitors. Considering that not all of the multimeters have these features, we will certainly not cover them in this tutorial. You can read your multimeter’s guidebook if you need to utilize these features.

What Do Each Of the Symbols Mean?

There’s a great deal taking place when you look at the selection knob, but if you’re only going to be doing some basic stuff, you won’t even use half of all the setups. In any type of situation, right here’s a review of what each symbol implies:

Direct Current Voltage (DCV):Sometimes it will be represented with a V– instead. This setup is utilized to measure straight current (DC) voltage crazes like batteries.
Alternating Current Voltage (ACV): Sometimes it will certainly be signified with a V ~ rather. This setup is used to measure the voltage from alternating current resources, which is practically anything that connects into an outlet, along with the power coming from the outlet itself.
Resistance (Ω): This measures just how much resistance there is in the circuit. The reduced the number, the simpler it is for the current to move through, as well as the other way around.
Continuity: Usually signified by a wave or diode symbol. This simply tests whether or not a circuit is complete by sending out a really percentage of current through the circuit as well as seeing if it makes it out the various other end. Otherwise, then there’s something along the circuit that’s creating a trouble– discover it!
Straight Current Amperage (DCA): Similar to DCV, but rather than providing you a voltage analysis, it will certainly inform you the amperage.
Straight Current Gain (hFE): This setup is to test transistors and also their DC gain, but it’s mostly pointless, because a lot of electrical experts as well as hobbyists will make use of the continuity check instead.

Your multimeter may also have a dedicated setting for testing the amperage of AA, AAA, and also 9V batteries. This setting is usually represented with the battery symbol.

Once more, you most likely will not also make use of fifty percent of the settings revealed, so don’t obtain bewildered if you only know what a few of them do.

Just how to Utilize a Multimeter

For beginners, let’s review several of the different components of a multimeter. At the very basic degree you have the gadget itself, along with two probes, which are the black and also red cable televisions that have plugs on one end and also metal ideas on the other.

The tool itself has a display screen at the top, which offers you your readout, and also there’s a large selection knob that you can rotate around to select a particular setting. Each setup might likewise have different number values, which are there to measure different staminas of voltages, resistances, and also amps. So if you have your multimeter collection to 20 in the DCV area, it will measure voltages as much as 20 volts.

Your DMM will certainly likewise have 2 or 3 ports for plugging in the probes:

  • the COM port mean “Common”, as well as the black probe will certainly always connect into this port.
  • the VΩmA port (often denoted as mAVΩ) is just a phrase for voltage, resistance, and current (in milliamps). This is where the red probe will connect into if you’re measuring voltage, resistance, continuity, and current less than 200mA.
  • the 10ADC port (occasionally represented as just 10A) is used whenever you’re measuring current that’s more than 200mA. If you’re uncertain of the current draw, begin with this port. On the other hand, you would certainly not utilize this port whatsoever if you’re measuring anything various other than current.

Warning: Make sure that if you’re measuring anything with a current higher than 200mA, you connect the red probe right into the 10A port, rather than the 200mA port. Or else you might blow the fuse that’s within the multimeter. Furthermore, measuring anything over 10 amps could blow a fuse or damage the multimeter too.

Your measurement tool may have completely separate ports for measuring amps, while the other port is specifically just for voltage, resistance, as well as continuity, however most cheaper multimeters will certainly share ports.

Anyhow, let’s get going actually using a multimeter. We’ll be measuring the voltage of a AA battery, the current draw of a wall clock, and the continuity of a basic cable as some instances to obtain you started as well as familiar with making use of a multimeter.

Parts of Multimeters

Multimeters are made up by 4 essential areas:

  • Display: this specific is exactly where the measurements are shown
  • Selection Knob: this selects what you intend to measure
  • Ports: this is where you plug in the probes
  • Probes: a multimeter includes 2 probes. Usually, one is red as well as the other is black.
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Ports

  • “COM” or “–” port is where the black probe should be attached. The COM probe is traditionally black.
  • 10A is made use of when measuring large currents, better than 200mA.
  • µAmA is used to measure current.
  • permits you to measure voltage and also resistance and test continuity.

COM

COM stands for common as well as is usually connected to Ground or ‘-‘ of a circuit.The COM probe is traditionally black however there is no distinction between the red probe as well as black probe other than color.

10A

10A is the special port made use of when measuring big currents (greater than 200mA).

Selection Knob

The selection knob permits the individual to set the tool to read different things such as milliamps (mA) of current, voltage (V) as well as resistance (Ω).

Probes

Two probes are plugged into two of the ports on the front of the device. The probes have a banana kind adapter on completion that connects into the multimeter. Any type of probe with a banana plug will certainly deal with this meter. This permits different kinds of probes to be utilized.

Probe Types

There are various kinds of probes offered. Right here are a few of our favorites:

  • Banana to Alligator Clips: These are fantastic cables for attaching to large cords or pins on a breadboard. Good for carrying out longer term examinations where you do not have to have to hold the probes in position while you control a circuit.
  • Banana to IC Hook: IC hooks function well on smaller sized ICs and legs of ICs.
  • Banana to Tweezers: Tweezers come in handy if you are requiring to evaluate SMD parts.
  • Banana to Test Probes: If you ever before break a probe, they are economical to replace!

Measuring Voltage

To begin, allow’s measure voltage on a AA battery: Plug the black probe into COM as well as the red probe into mAVΩ. Establish to “2V” in the DC (direct current) range. Nearly all mobile electronic devices utilize straight current), not alternating current. Connect the black probe to the battery’s ground or ‘-‘ and the red probe to power or ‘+’. Squeeze the probes with a little pressure against the positive and also unfavorable terminals of the AA battery. If you’ve obtained a fresh battery, you need to see around 1.5 V on the screen (this battery is brand name new, so its voltage is slightly greater than 1.5 V).

You can measure DC voltage or AC voltage. The V with a straight line suggests DC voltage. The V with the wavy line indicates AC voltage.

To be able to measure voltage understand all of these steps:

  1. Set the mode to V with a bumpy line if you’re measuring AC voltage or to the V with a straight line if you’re measuring DC voltage.
  2. Ensure the red probe is connected to the port with a V beside it.
  3. Link the red probe to the silver lining of your component, which is where the current is coming from.
  4. Attach the COM probe to the other side of your component.
  5. Review the value on the display.

Suggestion: to measure voltage you need to link your multimeter in parallel with the component you wish to measure the voltage. Positioning the multimeter in parallel is placing each probe along the leads of the component you wish to measure the voltage.

Measuring a battery’s voltage

In this instance we’re mosting likely to measure the voltage of a 1.5 V battery. You understand that you’ll have roughly 1.5 V. So, you ought to pick a variety with the selection knob that can read the 1.5 V. So you must choose 2V in the situation of this multimeter. If you get an autorange one, you don’t have to bother with the range you require to choose.

Start by switching on it, connecting the probes into their corresponding ports and also then establishing the selection knob to the greatest number value in the DCV area, which in my instance is 500 volts. If you do not recognize at the very least the voltage series of the point you’re measuring, it’s always an excellent suggestion to begin with the highest worth first and afterwards function your way down up until you get a precise analysis.

In this situation, we know the AA battery has a really low voltage, yet we’ll start at 200 volts simply for the benefit of instance. Next, place the black probe on the unfavorable end of the battery and the red probe on the positive end. Take an appearance at the reading on the display. Since we have the multimeter set to a high 200 volts, it shows “1.6” on the display, indicating 1.6 volts.

Nonetheless, I want a more precise reading, so I’ll move the selection knob reduced to 20 volts. Right here, you can see that we have an even more precise analysis that floats between 1.60 and 1.61 volts. If you were to ever before establish the selection knob to a number value lower than the voltage of the thing you’re examining, the multimeter would just check out “1”, signifying that it’s overwhelmed. So if I were to set the knob to 200 millivolts (0.2 volts), the 1.6 volts of the AA battery is as well much for the multimeter to deal with at that setup.

All the same, you could be asking why you would require to check the voltage of something to begin with. Well, in this situation with the AA battery, we’re inspecting to see if it has any juice left. At 1.6 volts, that’s a fully-loaded battery. However, if it were to read 1.2 volts, it’s close to being pointless.
In a more practical circumstance, you could do this kind of measuring on a vehicle battery to see if it may be dying or if the alternator (which is what charges the battery) is going bad. A reading between 12.4-12.7 volts suggests that the battery is in good shape. Anything lower and that’s proof of a passing away battery. In addition, begin your cars and truck up and rev it up a bit. If the voltage doesn’t increase to about 14 volts or so, after that it’s most likely that the generator is having problems.

Overload

What occurs if you select a voltage setup that is too reduced for the voltage you’re attempting to measure? Nothing poor. The meter will just display a 1. This is the meter trying to inform you that it is overloaded or out-of-range. Whatever you’re attempting to review is excessive for that certain setting. Try altering the multimeter handle to a the next highest possible setting.

Selection Knob

Precisely why does the meter knob checked out 20V and also not 10V? If you’re wanting to measure a voltage much less than 20V, you rely on the 20V setting. This will enable you to check out from 2.00 to 19.99. The first number on many multimeters is only able to present a ‘1’ so the varieties are limited to 19.99 rather than 99.99. For this reason the 20V max array rather than 99V max variety.

Measuring Resistance

Plug the red probe into the appropriate port as well as turn the selection knob to the resistance area. After that, connect the probes to the resistor leads. The way you connect the leads doesn’t matter, the result coincides.

Normal resistors have shade codes on them. If you don’t recognize what they suggest, that’s ok! There are plenty of online calculators that are simple to use. Nonetheless, if you ever before discover yourself without web accessibility, a multimeter is extremely convenient at measuring resistance.

Choose out a random resistor and also established the multimeter to the 20kΩ setup. After that hold the probes versus the resistor legs with the exact same quantity of pressure you when pressing a key on a keyboard.

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The meter will read among 3 things, 0.00, 1, or the real resistor worth.

In this situation, the meter reviews 0.97, implying this resistor has a worth of 970Ω, or about 1kΩ (remember you remain in the 20kΩ or 20,000 Ohm mode so you need to relocate the decimal three locations to the right or 970 Ohms).

If the multimeter reviews 1 or shows OL, it’s overwhelmed. You will need to attempt a higher mode such as 200kΩ mode or 2MΩ (megaohm) setting. There is no injury if this occur, it merely implies the array handle needs to be changed.

Whenever the multimeter reads 0.00 or virtually absolutely no, then you need to lower the setting to 2kΩ or 200Ω.

Keep in mind that numerous resistors have a 5% tolerance. This indicates that the shade codes might indicate 10,000 Ohms (10kΩ), however as a result of discrepancies in the production procedure a 10kΩ resistor might be as reduced as 9.5 kΩ or as high as 10.5 kΩ. Don’t stress, it’ll function simply great as a pull-up or general resistor.

As a guideline of thumb, it’s uncommon to see a resistor much less than 1 Ohm. Bear in mind that measuring resistance is not best. Temperature level can affect the checking out a whole lot. Likewise, measuring resistance of a tool while it is literally installed in a circuit can be really tricky. The surrounding elements on a motherboard can greatly influence the analysis.

The mockup usually appears like with a standard clock running of a AA battery. On the silver lining, the wire going from the battery to the clock is separated. We simply position our 2 probes in between that break to complete the circuit once again (with the red probe connected to the source of power), only this moment our multimeter will certainly read out the amps that the clock is pulling, which in this situation is around 0.08 mA.

While the majority of multimeters can likewise measure rotating current (AC), it’s not really a great idea (especially if its real-time power), because AC can be hazardous if you wind up slipping up. If you need to see whether or not an electrical outlet is working, make use of a non-contact tester rather.

To measure current you need to remember that parts in collection share a current. So, you need to connect your multimeter in collection with your circuit.

SUGGESTION: to place the multimeter in series, you need to position the red probe on the lead of a component and also the black probe on the following component lead. The multimeter acts as if it was a wire in your circuit. If you detach the multimeter, your circuit won’t function.

Before measuring the current, make sure that you’ve plugged in the red probe in the right port, in this instance µAmA. In the instance listed below, the exact same circuit of the previous example is made use of. The multimeter belongs to the circuit.

Test for Continuity

If there is really reduced resistance in between 2 factors, which is less than a few ohms, the 2 points are electrically attached and also you’ll hear a continual noise. If the sound isn’t constant or if you do not hear any audio in all, it indicates that what you’re testing has a malfunctioning link or isn’t connected in any way.

WARNING: To check continuity you must switch off the system! Shut off the power supply!

Touch both probes together and, as they are connected, you’ll listen to a continuous sound.To examination the continuity of a wire, you simply require to attach each probe to the wire pointers.

Continuity is a fantastic means to test if two SMD pins are touching. If your eyes can not see it, the multimeter is usually a great second testing resource. When a system is not working, continuity is one more thing to assist repair the system.

  • Establish your multimeter to the continuity setup utilizing the selection knob.
  • The readout on the display will instantly check out “1”, which suggests that there isn’t any type of continuity. This would be proper given that we haven’t attached the probes to anything yet.
  • Next, ensure the circuit is unplugged and also has no power. After that connect one probe to one end of the cable and also the various other probe to the various other end– no matter which probe goes on which end. If there is a complete circuit, your multimeter will certainly either beep, reveal a “0”, or something apart from a “1”. If it still shows a “1”, after that there’s a problem as well as your circuit isn’t complete.
  • You can also examine that the continuity feature deals with your multimeter by touching both probes to every various other. This completes the circuit and also your multimeter must let you recognize that.

A continuity test tells us whether two things are electrically connected: if something is continuous, an electric current can flow openly from one end to the various other.

If there’s no continuity, it suggests there is a break someplace in the circuit. This might indicate anything from a blown fuse or negative solder joint to an incorrectly wired circuit.

Altering the Fuse

Among one of the most usual blunders with a brand-new multimeter is to measure current on a bread board by probing from VCC to GND. This will immediately brief power to ground via the multimeter creating the bread board power supply to brown out. As the current hurries through the multimeter, the inner fuse will warm up and after that shed out as 200mA moves through it. It will happen in a split second and without any genuine distinct or physical indicator that something is wrong.

Keep in mind that measuring current is done in collection (disturb the VCC line to the breadboard or microcontroller to measure current). If you try to measure the current with a blown fuse, you’ll most likely notice that the meter reads ‘0.00’ and also that the system does not switch on like it needs to when you attach the multimeter. This is due to the fact that the internal fuse is damaged as well as serves as a busted cord or open.

To alter the fuse, find your convenient dandy mini screw vehicle driver, and also begin securing screws. The parts and PCB traces inside the multimeter are created to take various amounts of current. You will certainly damage as well as perhaps ruin your multimeter if you accidentally push 5A with the 200mA port.

There are times where you need to measure high current devices like an electric motor or heating component. Do you see the 2 locations to place the red probe on the front of the multimeter? 10A on the left and also mAVΩ on the right? If you try to measure greater than 200mA on the mAVΩ port you run the danger of blowing the fuse. However if you utilize the 10A port to measure current, you run a much lower danger of blowing the fuse. The compromise is level of sensitivity. As we chatted about above, by utilizing the 10A port and knob setup, you will only be able to read down to 0.01 A or 10mA. A lot of systems utilize greater than 10mA so the 10A setup and port works all right. If you’re trying to measure very reduced power (mini or nano amps) the 200mA port with the 2mA, 200uA, or 20uA can be what you require.

Final thought

You’re currently ready to use your digital multimeter to start measuring the globe around you. Do not hesitate to start using it to address several inquiries. A digital multimeter will answer many questions concerning electronic devices.

A multimeter is an important device in any electronics laboratory. In this overview, we’ve shown you How To Use a Multimeter. You’ve learned how to measure voltage, current as well as resistance, and how to examine continuity.