How to Maintain a Multimeter

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As you already know, a multimeter is a tool created to troubleshoot electronic and electrical circuits and is utilized for checking voltages to check proper operating levels. Average multimeters measure voltage, resistance, and current. Costlier models can measure inductance, temperature, and capacitance as well. 

A voltmeter is utilized to measure voltage between two points. An ohmmeter enables you to measure resistance; an ammeter measures current. Multimeters combine the three functions in one instrument. Keep in mind that you won’t recognize common electronic schematic symbols for parts to totally realize how to utilize your multimeter.

You may not know it, but your multimeter could make the work around your home or commercial space a bit much easier! You will find a wide array of maintenance things you can use it for, such as checking for continuity or testing batteries. 

Nonetheless, you need to be aware that extra safety precautions are needed before you start taking electrical measurements. To begin, make sure you carefully read the instructions and ensure you work on a non-energized system. 

There are also important storage and maintenance tips you need to know. Lucky for you, this post will talk about that. 

Where can you use a digital multimeter? 

You will find two types of multimeters accessible in the market today: analog and digital. The former type is simple to use and is a cheap way of getting the measurements you need. On the other hand, a digital multimeter is ideal for people who like to perform their home maintenance. 

Did you know that digital multimeters were invented in the 1970s? They have been proven to be a much dependable and practical tool compared to their analog counterpart.

As discussed earlier, a multimeter is an electrical tester that can help with testing and troubleshooting electrical circuits and their associated parts. These meters also go by the name VOM or volt-ohm-milliammeter. 

They could measure AC current and DC current in everything from capacitance and car batteries to extension cords. 

How do you use a multimeter?

You will find a few basics about multimeters that can help you around your home. It’s just essential to be familiar that each multimeter appears differently and has a unique set of features. 

Here are some examples we have for you:

For wall switch

Are you currently having concerns with your home’s lighting? You can perform a basic test through the wall switch. Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Turn off the power switch. Make sure you detach the cover plate and unbolt the switch. Also, label the wires before you detach them to prevent any confusion. 
  1. Turn your multimeter’s dial to Ohms setting and set the resistance to X1. You don’t need it, though, if you already have an auto-reading meter. 
  1. Insert the red and black probe into their applicable jacks. Make sure the switch is on the off position and touch probe to bolt terminals. Your meter might read OL (over limit or overload). 
  1. Finally, turn the switch on, and your reading must be less than 1 ohm. If yes, you’ll need a new wall switch for your home. 

For electrical outlets 

You need to be extra careful when testing electrical outlets because potential exists for electrical shock. Many American homes have a voltage of 120 volts.

  1. Insert the black and red probes into their corresponding jacks to identify voltage.
  1. Turn your meter’s dial to Volts AC. 
  1. Push the black probe into the longer slots and the shorter of the two vertical slots. 
  1. After the reading shows, detach the black probe and plug it into the hole below both slots. The outlet might be incorrectly wired if the number does not remain the same. 

For battery testing 

Battery testing is one of the simplest ways to begin using a multimeter.

  1. Begin by inserting the black probe of your multimeter into the jack specified as COM for common.
  1. Plug the red probe into the jack labeled +V. A lot of multimeters are color-coded these days, so you can immediately identify this. 
  1. Turn your dial to volts DC after both probes are plugged in. 
  1. Hold the tip of the red probe to the positive side of the battery. Hold the tip of the black probe to its negative side. The voltage will show on your meter’s display. 

The correct ways of using a multimeter

Make sure your meter is held securely when handing it. Dropping it, particularly an analog one, even from a small height, could impact future readings and the meter’s accuracy. We recommend holding the meter with both hands while using it. 

Ensure your multimeter is set in a safe area where you can read it efficiently without having to change your position. If there’s no accessible spot, you can ask the help of your friend or family member to hold the meter for you or record the readings on your behalf. 

Other meters in the market are geared with tethers or magnetic straps to help a technician. 

Proper storing is the key to avoid wear and tear on the device 

After you use your multimeter, take time to store it in a dry area where it won’t be subject to any physical damage. A lot of multimeters these days come with a case that helps you with easy storage. That not just keeps all the parts together in one place, but it also safeguards the vulnerable components like the display, and the probe leads from any damage that may happen. 

Do you plan to store your digital multimeter for a very long time? Then we suggest removing the batteries to ensure corrosion will not build up at the battery connections. Further, the leads on your multimeter could be of different lengths. 

Extra care should be taken to ensure the lead’s internal connections don’t become damaged by winding them around themselves very tightly. 

Final Thoughts

For the DIY handyperson out there, these are the things you need to remember when keeping your meter. Whether you pick a digital or analog multimeter, it can help you fix a wide array of household concerns. Do you have any tips for maintaining and storing a meter? Share it with us too!

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