How to Use a Craftsman Digital Multimeter

Updated on: December 7, 2018


The Intro

These tips will certainly reveal you how to utilize a digital multimeter (DMM), an important tool that you can utilize to identify circuits, discover about other individuals’s digital layouts, as well as even craftsman digital multimeter. Hence the ‘multi’-‘meter’ or numerous dimension name.

One of the most standard things we measure are voltage and current. A multimeter is additionally terrific for some basic sanity checks and also troubleshooting. Is your circuit not functioning? Does the switch job? Put a meter on it! The multimeter is your very first protection when fixing a system. In this tutorial we will cover measuring voltage, current, resistance as well as continuity.

Every fixer should understand their way around a multimeter, which has just north of a zillion makes use of for screening electronic parts and also circuits.

In this tutorial we’re mostly likely to reveal you exactly how to make use of a multimeter. This tutorial is mostly dealt with for novices that are starting out in electronics and have no suggestion how to use a multimeter and how it can be useful. We’ll check out one of the most common features on a multimeter and how to measure current, voltage, resistance and just how to inspect continuity.

What is a multimeter as well as why do you require one?

A multimeter is a measurement device absolutely necessary in electronic devices. It integrates three vital functions: a voltmeter, ohmeter, and also ammeter, and also in many cases continuity.

The tool allows you to understand what is going on in your circuits. Whenever something in your circuit isn’t working, it will help you troubleshooting. Below’s some scenarios in electronic devices tasks that you’ll locate the multimeter useful:

  • is the button activate?
  • is this cable carrying out the electrical energy or is it broken?
  • just how much current is moving with this led?
  • just how much power do you have left on your batteries?

What will multimeters measure?

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

A handful of multimeters have a continuity check, leading to a loud beep if two points are electrically connected. This is helpful if, for circumstances, you are building a circuit and linking wires or soldering; the beep shows everything is connected and also nothing has actually come loose. You can additionally utilize it to see to it two points are not attached, to aid avoid brief circuits.

A number of multimeters also have a diode check feature. A diode is like a one-way valve that only allows electricity circulation in one direction. The exact feature of the diode check can differ from one type to another. If you’re working with a diode as well as can not inform which way it enters the circuit, or if you’re not sure the diode is functioning effectively, the check function can be quite helpful. If your DMM has a diode check feature, read the handbook to locate out specifically how it functions.

Advanced models could have various other functions, such as the capacity to measure and also determine other electrical components, like transistors or capacitors. Considering that not all multimeters have these attributes, we will certainly not cover them in this tutorial. You can review your multimeter’s guidebook if you require to use these attributes.

What Do Every One Of the Symbols Mean?

There’s a whole lot taking place when you take a look at the selection knob, however if you’re just going to be doing some basic stuff, you will not also make use of fifty percent of all the settings. Regardless, right here’s a rundown of what each symbol suggests:

Direct Current Voltage (DCV):every now and then it will be signified with a V– instead. This setup is used to measure direct current (DC) voltage crazes like batteries.
Alternating Current Voltage (ACV): Sometimes it will be denoted with a V ~ instead. This setting is utilized to measure the voltage from alternating current resources, which is practically anything that links into an outlet, as well as the power originating from the outlet itself.
Resistance (Ω): This gauges just how much resistance there is in the circuit. The reduced the number, the simpler it is for the current to stream via, as well as vice versa.
Continuity: Usually represented by a wave or diode icon. This simply tests whether or not a circuit is total by sending out an extremely percentage of current with 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 triggering a problem– discover it!
Direct Current Amperage (DCA): Similar to DCV, yet rather than providing you a voltage reading, it will inform you the amperage.
Straight Current Gain (hFE): This setup is to evaluate transistors and their DC gain, however it’s mostly pointless, given that most electrical experts and enthusiasts will use the continuity check rather.

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

Again, you probably will not also use fifty percent of the setups shown, so do not obtain bewildered if you just understand what a few of them do.

Exactly how to Use a Multimeter

For beginners, allow’s discuss a few of the different parts of a multimeter. At the very basic level you have the gadget itself, together with two probes, which are the black and also red cords that have plugs on one end and steel suggestions on the other.

The tool itself has a display screen at the top, which offers you your readout, and there’s a big selection knob that you can spin around to select a particular setting. Each setup may additionally have various number worths, which exist to measure different staminas of voltages, resistances, and also amps. So if you have your multimeter collection to 20 in the DCV section, it will certainly measure voltages approximately 20 volts.

Your DMM will certainly also have two or 3 ports for plugging in the probes:

  • COM port represent “Common”, as well as the black probe will always connect into this port.
  • VΩmA port (often represented as mAVΩ) is merely an acronym for voltage, resistance, and also current (in milliamps). This is where the red probe will connect into if you’re measuring voltage, resistance, continuity, as well as current less than 200mA.
  • the 10ADC port (often represented as just 10A) is utilized whenever you’re measuring current that’s even more than 200mA. If you’re not exactly sure of the current draw, start with this port. On the various other hand, you would certainly not use this port whatsoever if you’re measuring anything aside from current.

Warning: Make sure that if you’re measuring anything with a current more than 200mA, you plug the red probe right into the 10A port, instead of the 200mA port. Otherwise you could blow the fuse that’s inside of the multimeters. In addition, measuring anything over 10 amps might blow a fuse or destroy the multimeters also.

Your measurement tool may have entirely different ports for measuring amps, while the various other port is especially simply for voltage, resistance, and continuity, yet a lot of less expensive multimeters will certainly share ports.

Anyhow, allow’s start really utilizing a multimeter. We’ll be measuring the voltage of a AA battery, the current draw of a wall clock, and the continuity of an easy wire as some examples to get you began and knowledgeable about using a multimeter.

Parts of Multimeters

A multimeter presents 4 components:

  • Display: this particular is where the dimensions are shown
  • Selection Knob: this chooses what you intend to measure
  • Ports: this is where you connect in the probes
  • Probes: a multimeter includes two probes. Generally, one is red and the various other is black.


  • “COM” or “–” port is where the black probe should be connected. The COM probe is traditionally black.
  • 10A is utilized when measuring huge currents, above 200mA.
  • µAmA is made use of to measure current.
  • enables you to measure voltage as well as resistance and also examination continuity.


COM mean common and is generally connected to Ground or ‘-‘ of a circuit.The COM probe is conventionally black yet there is no distinction between the red probe as well as black probe aside from shade.


10A is the unique port utilized when measuring huge currents (above 200mA).

Selection Knob

The selection knob enables the individual to set the tool to check out different things such as milliamps (mA) of current, voltage (V) and also resistance (Ω).


2 probes are linked into 2 of the ports on the front of the unit. The probes have a banana kind adapter on the end that connects into the multimeter. Any type of probe with a banana plug will certainly collaborate with this meter. This enables for various kinds of probes to be made use of.

Probe Types

There are several sorts of probes available. Below are a few of our faves:

  • Banana to Alligator Clips: These are excellent cables for attaching to large cables or pins on a breadboard. Great for executing longer term examinations where you do not need to need to hold the probes in location while you manipulate a circuit.
  • Banana to IC Hook: IC hooks work well on smaller sized ICs and also legs of ICs.
  • Banana to Tweezers: Tweezers come in handy if you are needing to evaluate SMD elements.
  • Banana to Test Probes: If you ever before damage a probe, they are affordable to change!

Measuring Voltage

To start, let’s measure voltage on a AA battery: Plug the black probe into COM and also the red probe into mAVΩ. Establish to “2V” in the DC (straight current) range. Virtually all portable electronics utilize direct current), not alternating current. Attach the black probe to the battery’s ground or ‘-‘ as well as the red probe to power or ‘+’. Press the probes with a little stress against the positive and adverse terminals of the AA battery. If you’ve obtained a fresh battery, you should see around 1.5 V on the screen (this battery is brand brand-new, so its voltage is somewhat more than 1.5 V).

You may be able to measure DC voltage or AC voltage. The V with a straight line means DC voltage. The V with the wavy line suggests AC voltage.

Measuring voltage

  1. Set the setting 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. See to it the red probe is connected to the port with a V beside it.
  3. Connect the red probe to the silver lining of your component, which is where the current is originating from.
  4. Connect the COM probe to the opposite side of your component.
  5. Read the value on the display.

Suggestion: to measure voltage you have to attach your multimeter in parallel with the component you want to measure the voltage. Positioning the multimeter in parallel is positioning each probe along the leads of the component you intend to measure the voltage.

Measuring a battery’s voltage

In this instance we’re going to measure the voltage of a 1.5 V battery. You understand that you’ll have around 1.5 V. So, you should pick a variety with the selection knob that can read the 1.5 V. So you must pick 2V in the case of this multimeter. If you take an autorange one, you do not have to stress over the variety you need to choose.

Begin by activating it, connecting the probes into their respective ports as well as after that establishing the selection knob to the greatest number value in the DCV area, which in my situation is 500 volts. If you do not recognize at the very least the voltage variety of the important things you’re measuring, it’s constantly a great suggestion to begin with the highest possible worth first and after that work your way down till you obtain an exact reading.

In this instance, we understand the AA battery has a very reduced voltage, but we’ll begin at 200 volts simply for the sake of example. Next off, put the black probe on the negative end of the battery and also the red probe on the positive end. Take an appearance at the analysis on the screen. Given that we have the multimeter collection to a high 200 volts, it reveals “1.6” on the display, suggesting 1.6 volts.

However, I want a more exact reading, so I’ll move the selection knob reduced down to 20 volts. Below, 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 set the selection knob to a number value less than the voltage of things you’re evaluating, the multimeter would just check out “1”, signifying that it’s overloaded. So if I were to set the handle to 200 millivolts (0.2 volts), the 1.6 volts of the AA battery is as well much for the multimeter to take care of at that setup.

In any kind of situation, you may be asking why you would certainly need to test the voltage of something in the very first location. Well, in this case with the AA battery, we’re checking to see if it has any type of juice left. At 1.6 volts, that’s a fully-loaded battery. Nevertheless, if it were to read 1.2 volts, it’s close to being pointless.
In a more practical scenario, you can do this sort of measuring on a cars and truck battery to see if it may be dying or if the generator (which is what charges the battery) is going bad. A reading between 12.4-12.7 volts suggests that the battery remains in excellent shape. Anything reduced which’s evidence of a dying battery. In addition, start your auto up as well as rev it up a bit. If the voltage does not raise to about 14 volts or two, then it’s likely that the alternator is having problems.


What takes place if you select a voltage setting that is too reduced for the voltage you’re attempting to measure? Nothing bad. The meter will just display a 1. This is the meter trying to tell you that it is overloaded or out-of-range. Whatever you’re trying to review is way too much for that specific setting. Attempt altering the multimeter handle to a the following highest possible setup.

Selection Knob

Precisely why does the meter knob reviewed 20V and also not 10V? If you’re wanting to measure a voltage less than 20V, you transform to the 20V setting. This will certainly permit you to read from 2.00 to 19.99. The initial figure on lots of multimeters is only able to display a ‘1’ so the ranges are limited to 19.99 instead of 99.99. Therefore the 20V max range as opposed to 99V max variety.

Measuring Resistance

Plug the red probe right into the ideal port and turn the selection knob to the resistance section. After that, attach the probes to the resistor leads. The method you link the leads does not matter, the outcome coincides.

Normal resistors have color codes on them. If you do not recognize what they mean, that’s ok! There are plenty of on the internet calculators that are simple to make use of. However, if you ever locate on your own without net gain access to, a multimeter is extremely convenient at measuring resistance.

Select a random resistor and also set the multimeter to the 20kΩ setting. After that hold the probes versus the resistor legs with the exact same amount of pressure you when pressing a key on a key-board.

The meter will review one of 3 points, 0.00, 1, or the actual resistor worth.

In this instance, the meter reads 0.97, meaning this resistor has a value of 970Ω, or about 1kΩ (remember you remain in the 20kΩ or 20,000 Ohm mode so you need to relocate the decimal 3 places to the right or 970 Ohms).

If the multimeter reviews 1 or presents OL, it’s strained. You will certainly need to try a greater setting such as 200kΩ mode or 2MΩ (megaohm) mode. There is no injury if this take place, it simply implies the array knob needs to be adjusted.

In case the multimeter reviews 0.00 or nearly no, after that you need to lower the setting to 2kΩ or 200Ω.

Bear in mind that numerous resistors have a 5% tolerance. This implies that the shade codes may indicate 10,000 Ohms (10kΩ), but as a result of inconsistencies in the manufacturing process a 10kΩ resistor could be as reduced as 9.5 kΩ or as high as 10.5 kΩ. Do not stress, it’ll function just great as a pull-up or basic resistor.

As a guideline of thumb, it’s uncommon to see a resistor less than 1 Ohm. Keep in mind that measuring resistance is not perfect. Temperature can influence the checking out a great deal. Likewise, measuring resistance of a gadget while it is physically set up in a circuit can be really difficult. The surrounding elements on a circuit board can greatly impact the analysis.

The mockup generally resembles with a basic clock escaping of a AA battery. On the silver lining, the wire going from the battery to the clock is separated. We merely place our 2 probes in between that break to complete the circuit once again (with the red probe attached to the power source), only this moment our multimeter will read out the amps that the clock is drawing, which in this instance is around 0.08 mA.

While a lot of multimeters can additionally measure alternating current (AC), it’s not actually an excellent concept (specifically if its real-time power), because AC can be unsafe if you wind up making a blunder. If you need to see whether an electrical outlet is functioning, use a non-contact tester rather.

To measure current you require to keep in mind that components in series share a current. So, you require to connect your multimeter in series with your circuit.

POINTER: to place the multimeter in collection, you need to position the red probe on the lead of a component and the black probe on the next component lead. The multimeter acts as if it was a cord in your circuit. If you disconnect the multimeter, your circuit will not work.

Prior to measuring the current, be certain that you’ve connected at a loss probe in the best port, in this instance µAmA. In the example listed below, the very same circuit of the previous example is used. The multimeter is component of the circuit.

Check Continuity

If there is extremely reduced resistance in between 2 points, which is much less than a few ohms, the two factors are electrically linked and also you’ll listen to a continual noise. If the audio isn’t continual or if you don’t hear any kind of noise in all, it indicates that what you’re testing has a damaged connection or isn’t linked at all.

WARNING: In order to test continuity you should switch off the system. Turn off the power supply!

Touch the two probes together as well as, as they are linked, you’ll hear a constant sound.To examination the continuity of a cord, you simply require to attach each probe to the cable pointers.

Continuity is a fantastic method to test if two SMD pins are touching. If your eyes can’t see it, the multimeter is normally a wonderful second testing resource. When a system is not functioning, continuity is another point to help repair the system.

  • Establish your multimeter to the continuity setup utilizing the selection knob.
  • The readout on the display will instantly review “1”, which indicates that there isn’t any type of continuity. This would certainly be appropriate considering that we haven’t linked the probes to anything yet.
  • Next, make certain the circuit is unplugged and has no power. After that link one probe to one end of the cord as well as the various other probe to the various other end– it does not matter which probe goes on which end. If there is a full circuit, your multimeter will certainly either beep, show a “0”, or something aside from a “1”. If it still shows a “1”, then there’s a problem and your circuit isn’t complete.
  • You can also test that the continuity function services your multimeter by touching both probes to each other. This finishes the circuit and also your multimeter should let you recognize that.

A continuity examination tells us whether two things are electrically attached: if something is continuous, an electric current can move easily from one end to the various other.

If there’s no continuity, it implies there is a break someplace in the circuit. This can show anything from a blown fuse or bad solder joint to an improperly wired circuit.

Altering the Fuse

One of one of the most typical blunders with a new multimeter is to measure current on a bread board by penetrating from VCC to GND. This will immediately short power to ground with the multimeter causing the bread board power supply to brown out. As the current rushes with the multimeter, the inner fuse will heat up and afterwards stress out as 200mA flows through it. It will occur in an instant as well as with no real distinct or physical indication that something is incorrect.

Bear in mind that measuring current is done in series (disrupt the VCC line to the breadboard or microcontroller to measure current). If you try to measure the current with a blown fuse, you’ll possibly discover that the meter reviews ‘0.00’ which the system does not transform on like it needs to when you affix the multimeter. This is due to the fact that the internal fuse is damaged and functions as a damaged wire or open.

To alter the fuse, locate your useful dandy mini screw driver, and also start securing screws. The elements and PCB traces inside the multimeter are developed to take different quantities of current. You will harm and also potentially wreck your multimeter if you inadvertently push 5A with the 200mA port.

There are times where you require to measure high current gadgets like an electric motor or burner. Do you see the 2 places to put the red probe on the front of the multimeter? 10A left wing and also mAVΩ on the right? If you attempt to measure even more than 200mA on the mAVΩ port you run the danger of blowing the fuse. Yet if you make use of the 10A port to measure current, you run a much lower risk of blowing the fuse. The trade-off is level of sensitivity. As we talked around above, by utilizing the 10A port and knob setup, you will just have the ability to read to 0.01 A or 10mA. A lot of systems make use of greater than 10mA so the 10A setup as well as port works well enough. If you’re attempting to measure very reduced power (mini or nano amps) the 200mA port with the 2mA, 200uA, or 20uA could be what you need.


You’re currently ready to use your digital multimeter to begin measuring the globe around you. Really feel totally free to begin utilizing it to respond to numerous concerns. A digital multimeter will respond to several questions concerning electronics.

A multimeter is an important tool in any type of electronic devices laboratory. In this guide, we’ve revealed you How To Use a Multimeter. You’ve found out how to measure voltage, current and resistance, and just how to examine continuity.