In order to use a multimeter effectively, you first have to ensure that you understand the basics of electricity. Although it is often defined as a flow of electric charge, there is so much more to it. Understanding the physics of the matter will not necessarily help you use a multimeter, but might give you a better idea of the things that can go wrong and put them in a context when troubleshooting one of your devices.
Before buying one, it is important for you to know its uses. A multimeter can be used to measure voltage, current and resistance. Also, it can test continuity and perform diode tests. There are standard and advanced multimeters on the market that can be used for very different purposes, so it is important to analyse your needs before investing in such a device. For instance, if you want to own a multimeter for home and occasional use, there is no need to invest in an advanced one, as you will probably never make use of all of its functions.
Using a multimeter isn’t a difficult task, yet one must know how to read its display, its knob and ports. Also, it is good to know which the ranges of voltage, amperage and current that your devices require in order to function properly are.
Here is what you have to learn in order to be able to use a multimeter:
- The meaning of COM
COM stands for common and is the black probe that must always be plugged in into its own port. In case the multimeter does not work, it is highly probable that the probes have been entered incorrectly.
- The meaning of VΩmA / mAVΩ
As scientific as it may seem, this abbreviation stands for voltage, resistance and current and nothing more. In order for you to measure them, you must plug the red probe into its port. Also, it is important to know that voltage, resistance, continuity, and current can be tested using this port if they are less than 200 mA.
- The use of the 10ADC port
This port is also referred to as 10A and it must be used when measuring the above at more than 200 mA.
The most basic test that you can start with is testing the voltage of an AA battery. What you need to do in this situation is simply place the probes in the right plugs and make sure that you touch the black probe on the negative side of the battery and the red probe on its positive side. Set the multimeter to 200 volts and then take a look at the screen. The value that will be displayed represents the voltage. This is a general reading. If you want to obtain a more accurate one, you will have to lower the voltage. So, for example, you can turn the knob to 20 volts.
Testing voltage is the easiest tasks that you can start with. When confident enough, you can go ahead and learn how to test amperage and continuity. Owning a digital multimeter is extremely useful in a variety of situations, which is why you should start learning how to use one today.