What Do the Symbols on a Multimeter Mean?

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You will find many things you need to understand in a multimeter. You cannot ever utilize the tool itself efficiently and effectively if you’re simply guessing and only trying to express ideas in your head. 

Remember that there are numerous factors in the device that you should keep in mind. Lucky for you this post will answer all of your concerns. This guide aims to present you with all the information you need to understand about a multimeter and the different symbols you see on the device.

Are you ready? Without further ado, let’s begin! 

What is a Multimeter?

A multimeter, also referred to as VOM or multitester, is an electronic measuring tool utilized to measure different electrical parameters. Multitesters are a standard diagnostic device for electricians and technicians in the electronic and electrical industries. 

A standard multimeter could measure resistance, current, and voltage. The perfect multimeters could also measure other electrical qualities like capacitance, frequency, and continuity. They also come along with built-in non-contact voltage detectors. 

Did you know that multimeters could either be bench-top multimeters or handheld multimeters? You could get these two types in both analog and digital forms. 

How Do You Read a Multimeter?

Keep in mind that each multimeter has the following four main settings: 

  • Selection knob – It tells you what you like to measure
  • Probes – A multimeter has two probes, normally a red one and the other is a black one
  • Ports – Plug-in probes, like for testing car batteries
  • Display – That is where you can see the readings or measurements

To measure and read the ohms resistance of a digital multimeter: 

  • Attach the test leads on the resistor leads 
  • Dial your multimeter to the estimated resistance range
  • Read the value 

Does your multimeter offer you a reading of 1? Then you have guessed low for a value. Feel free to transfer the multimeter’s dial upward until it presents you with a valid reading. 

Nonetheless, if it provides you a 0 reading, then you have probably guessed too high. Feel free to change the dial downward until you receive a valid reading. Are you in the lowest range and still got a 0? No matter what circuit you are testing has a resistance too low for the multimeter to measure.

Remember that that’s not just important if you don’t have an auto-ranging multimeter. It will do all that for you if you have an auto-ranging multimeter. Just connect the test leads to the Device Under Test (DUT) and read the resistance, current, or voltage from the screen.

What are the Different Symbols of a Digital Multimeter?

The following is an explanation of the most typical multimeter symbols. The different symbols are the following:

  • Probes

These are color-coded: black for negative and red for positive. They normally have a long-exposed metal to make component leads or bare wire to be secured by twisting or with the use of alligator clips. 

That will make the readings hands-free. Many basic probes have metal pointers that could be utilized to touch wires and other parts on a printed circuit board.

  • S-shaped curved line

This line normally shows on the metering device and shows with either an A or V symbol along with their corresponding prefixes. That bent line stands for alternating current. If it shows with V, it indicates the voltage could be measured in an AC. If the curved line is put with V, it suggests you can measure the amps in an AC circuit. 

  • Brightness button

This button allows you to change the display’s backlight from bright to dim. That button will help you adjust the brightness of the meter at any time of the day. 

  • Alternating current test

This is typically utilized along with the attachment. The multimeter’s alternating current is crucial for testing. For instance, you’d like to know how much load an appliance is signifying. You can use this symbol to find that out.

  • Continuity check

Other users might find this symbol quite familiar. It has a horizontal Wi-Fi symbol. Having that feature allows the meter to release an audible sound every time it’s detected. Do you find open or short circuits? Then the continuity could work fast and efficiently in any way.

  • Ohms setting

This is created to measure the object’s resistance. Ohm’s setting doesn’t only measure resistance, but it can also be utilized to test the condition of fuses in a simple and fast way. If you test a fuse and the result is OL, it means you got a blown fuse. 

  • Diode check

This setting is known to be the most dependable method to test and determine if you are using good or bad diodes. Did you know that the diode test could also be utilized to check whether a diode is working or not? When we talk about doing the test, the procedure normally involves using the Ohms setting. 

  • Range button

This button is utilized to cycle between the various ranges. Most multimeters are geared with the auto-ranging feature. However, some devices have the option of choosing a particular range that the user might opt for. 

  • Hold button 

This button holds whatever the device reads after it’s pressed. That symbol has been an excellent feature, particularly for users who like precise reading to be remembered.

  • AC voltage symbol

Ac voltage is the most typical setting for testing voltage. Voltage measurement typically falls between 100 to 240 volts AC. Nonetheless, the measurement typically differs in the area where you reside. 

Final Thoughts

Just like other tools, multimeters have electrical symbols as well. Their means are essential for proper use and understanding of the product. No matter if you are still learning to use the device or you have one for a while already, breaking uncertainties on what a couple of the symbols mean must be given attention. 

Many different multimeters are sold everywhere. However, all of them utilized common symbols. We hope this article guided you to typical multimeter symbols while helping you pick the perfect multimeter in the best way.

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