Step – 2 . Analog multimeters use a microammeter with a moving pointer to display readings. in measuring 110VAC or 240VAC, your range selector should be at 250 VAC. Next, switch the range selector to the desired AC voltage range, i.e. Other modes are less likely to damage the meter, but consider the lowest resistance setting and the 10V setting your default. You would have to check your owner's manual or search Google for your particular meter to find out how to correct the setting. When touching leads, I have a reading of zero ohms. Approved. If you're having trouble remembering the difference between voltage and amperage, picture a water hose. How do I know what the voltage of a battery is? Connecting the two leads to the positive and negative terminals of an electrical circuit and setting the range selector to the right setting will give an accurate readout of the current in the circuit. Jesse Kuhlman. Basic Steps and Precautions •Remember; Voltage is measured across a component, but current flows through a component. The larger the hose, the more amperage. If your multimeter has a power switch, is it on? Just measuring with a multimeter might deliver false results. A multimeter or a multitester, also known as a VOM (volt-ohm-milliammeter), is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several measurement functions in one unit. Electricity performs work for us when it travels in a circuit. Although this can be difficult at times, it is the best option. "Pictures are nice and clear. If you have no idea what current to expect, set it to the highest range for your first try to avoid damaging the meter. They are described in terms of Full Scale Deflection or FSD. Set Multimeter at 20v Volt. If it reads 0.10, that's 0.1 Amps or 100milliamps(mA). How to Read Amps on a Multimeter Amperes are used in the measurement of current and come in the abbreviation “A”. Donald Macadie, a British Post Office engineer, maintaining telecommunication equipment early in the 1920s, has been attributed with the invention of a single instrument that could measure amps, volts, and ohms. Analog multimeters, like digital ones have a variety of ranges. Check the nameplate on your battery or breaker to determine its maximum amps. While digital multimeters showcase a numeric display, analog multimeters provide readings through the use of a microammeter with a moving pointer. Switch the connectors and take another reading. Where do I put the multimeter when I am measuring amp? If you are having trouble reading a digital multimeter, refer to the manual. This will prevent an overcurrent from occurring, which could damage the multimeter. Digital multimeters are the best option for this since they give a more accurate reading, although you could also use an analog one. Last Updated: May 29, 2020 Each type of meter has its advantages. How do you check a coin cell (button cell) battery to see if it still has charge left? And even a cheap, category I (CAT-I) multimeter is fine as you are merely testing voltage, not amperage. Multiply the resistance reading on your multimeter. ", "Showed me how to use a setting on the multimeter! An analog multimeter can be a little more difficult to read than more modern digital meters in the way that the needle can be jumpy and take time and patience to get an accurate result.The concept of a multimeter is that it can read multiple types of electrical movements of input and output on an electrical circuit. Set the multimeter's zero position by touching the ends of the two probes together and pressing the zero position adjuster button just below the screen. This article explains in detail how to read the current and voltage using the multiple scales on an analog multimeter or multitester (the kind with a pointer), not how to use a multimeter. Circuits. For accurate readings, switch off the light sensor on your analog multimeter, once you connect the multimeter to the device under test, you will get your readings from the resistance ammeter. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Jesse Kuhlman is a Master Electrician and the Owner of Kuhlman Electrician Services based in Massachusetts. However, some devices may convert the power to DC through a transistor, so check the voltage label before you test an object. The negative wire’s probe should be connected to the socket, and the other probe connected to the meter. Voltage is the water pressure and amperage is the size of the hose. This means the highest reading on the scale will be the maximum, as an example reading at a 30 V setting, your maximum reading will be 30 volts. Multiply the number scales that the pointer gave you with 5VAC. It depends on what type of electrical device you are testing. Basics to Measuring DC Voltage 1. References. Jesse is also the author of four eBooks on home wiring including "Residential Electrical Troubleshooting" which covers basic electrical troubleshooting in residential homes. If the needle hasn't moved significantly to the left, remove one of the probes and switch the range selector from 250 A to 25 A, and then from 25 to 2.5 A if necessary (not all multimeters have a 2.5 A setting). The first digital multimeter was introduced in the late 1970s and has proven to be much more accurate and reliable than older needle-based analog meters. f you're using a multimeter for the first time, one of the things you'll need to learn is how to read it, which isn't that obvious. This article has been viewed 671,927 times. This setting is to measure resistance. "It has helped me to understand and reading the tester meter, I just need to take a little more time with this. Meaning to say the similar distance signifies a varying value change depending upon your position on the scale. A typical current measurement can be made as shown below. In order to get the best reading, it is necessary to have the scale reading somewhere between about a quarter and all of the FSD. Turn the range selector dial to the 250 ampere setting. Connect the negative probe to the common outlet on the multimeter. The meter movement is delicate and dropping the meter is likely to damage it! Alternatively, if you have an analog multimeter, you'll need to check the numbers that the needle is pointing to beneath the glass screen. The black probe always goes into the port labeled, When measuring voltage or resistance, the red probe goes into the port with the smallest current label (often, When measuring current, the red probe goes into the port labeled to withstand the amount of expected current. Way to go, the best I've seen so far! There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. What are some basics for reading a multimeter? Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Set your meter to 25 VDC (or the first higher value on the scale above 12 VDC) and test the battery voltage across the terminals. MAGS How To Videos - How To Use a Multimeter (For Beginners)In this video I will help teach you how use a multimeter to test volts (AC & DC), amps and ohms. The labels on a multimeter can seem like their own language to a layman, and even people with electrical experience may need a helping hand if they encounter an unfamiliar multimeter with an offbeat abbreviation system. Turn on the meter and insert the probes into the appropriate spots. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Before you attach your multimeter to the circuit, you need to make sure that the meter is rated for the number of amps traveling through that circuit. In this way the optimum accuracy and significant number of figures can be read. Test AC or DC voltage. ", "This article helps me to understand how to read a multimeter. Many multimeters have an mA (milliamp) port, which in … Have an idea how high the voltage you are going to measure will be, so that you can set the range selector to the proper voltage range. Check the position of the needle on the "DC A" scale of the screen display. Current is also called amperage and is measured in amps (A), milliamps (mA) and microamps (μA). Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Choosing the proper range will give you a more accurate reading. Unlike the other scales, the 0 (zero) value is on the far right instead of the left. They are described in terms of Full Scale Deflection or FSD. Each range on the DC display is used for two positions of the selector switch. So if it reads 3.00 then that's a current of 3 Amps. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 671,927 times. Check the breaker of the branch circuit you are measuring voltage, is it on or off?When everything has been checked and everything is normal, maybe the Power Distribution Unit is switched off. You could also just check … Connect the positive probe in the outlet marked ‘Amp.’ •This is not a “Auto-ranging Digital Multimeter! % of people told us that this article helped them. Is it on the proper voltage range? Touch the red and black probes to opposite ends of the circuit, breadboard or device in order to measure the current passing through the system. The biggest drawback to analog multimeters is that they can be difficult for beginners to read. For example, a good fuse will always give a zero resistance reading while a heater filament/element with a zero resistance reading indicates a shorted heating filament/element. The "dB" scale is the least used option. In this video, learn how to use the basic functions of a digital multimeter. Analog multitesters are those that have a moving needle that stops on a number that is printed on the background behind the moving needle. The initial measurement will fluctuate while measuring AC voltage, but this will stabilize to an accurate reading. This article was co-authored by Jesse Kuhlman. The line can appear next to or over the letter. You can measure Volts and Amps with a special tool called a multimeter. When using a multimeter to measure current, the only way that can be used to detect the level of current flowing is to break into the circuit so that the current passes through the meter. The Ω scale is for reading resistance. The "DC A" scale has three numbers at each point. Most multimeters have functions for measuring several different quantities. If you were to ever set the selection knob to a number value lower than the voltage of the thing you’re testing, the multimeter would just read “1”, signifying that it’s overloaded. It is primarily used to measure voltage (volts), current (amps) and resistance (ohms). 29 April 2020. How do I use a multimeter to get a true reading? The jack from the black lead goes into the port labeled “COM,” and the red jack goes into the appropriate port for the level of current you’re expecting. By default, it should display the numeric result, but there could also be settings that display bar graphs or other forms of information display. This article has been viewed 671,927 times. How do I use the dB scale of an analog multimeter? This is the maximum that the range can read. The Black Meter lead/Probe is Negative 3. By using our site, you agree to our. Expert Interview. The "DC" scale is for reading DC voltage. Nearly every analog multimeter has a dial to change the end voltage potential, from 30 volts for example to 0.01 Amps as well. If the needle doesn't rest on 0 when the meter is not in use, it is probably not calibrated. While testing VAC output Phrase to Neutral, the multimeter reads O/L. There are 2 styles of multimeters in the following. For tips on how to adjust for off the scale readings, keep reading! Analog multimeters, like digital ones have a variety of ranges. But this is just the beginning of what this amazingly effective tool can do. Wallulis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Whitman College. The probes should have alligator clips; if they do not, use electrical tape to secure them onto the terminals. In general, V indicates voltage, a squiggly line indicates alternating current (found in household circuits), and a straight or dashed line indicates direct current (found in most batteries). If the mirrored scale has 50VAC full scale deflection value, then the value of each scale division should be 5VAC. When you use the switched multimeter.Please select the appropriate function on your multimeter. On the 200mA scale, you are displaying milliamps so, as you suggest, a current of 1A would be 'off the scale'. This is typically the largest scale, at the top. Check the range setting that your analog multimeter’s dial is adjusted to. When you select the 10A range, it means your meter will be displaying the current in Amps, up to a MAXIMUM of 10 Amps. Most power sources will have the approximate maximum amps printed on a nameplate, and you can find the maximum amps the multimeter can handle on the back of the device or in the instruction manual. The wavy … It must provide you with a number for you to multiply the reading by. ", "Thanks to this article I better understand an analog meter. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Multimeter Warehouse: How to Use a Multimeter. He has written for the Guide to Online Schools website, covering academic and professional topics for young adults looking at higher-education opportunities. A right-pointing arrow with a cross through it marks the "diode test," for testing whether one-way electrical circuits are connected. Analog multimeters tend to be much more fragile than digital multimeters, while auto-ranging digital multimeters are sturdiest of all. Note that 5VAC per division will vary depending on the position of your range selector. Check your range selector. Fortunately, it won't take long to translate the settings and understand how to read the scale, so you can get back to your work. If you want to test a DC circuit, switch the setting on your multimeter to VDC or DCV. You need to form one circuit that indicates the multimeter ''in series'' with other components in order for you to check the cable current. The power coming from most household circuits is AC. On a digital multimeter, while testing a resistor, the knob is set to 2M and the reading shows 0.332, what is the value? Read the highest number when the range is set to 250 A, the middle number when at 25 A, and the lowest when at 2.5 A. Karl Wallulis has been writing since 2010. Master Electrician. If the multimeter ceases to work, then you should. It was later developed and sold as the … You can also refer to your user's guide for specific information about your multimeter settings. The setting for testing voltage in an AC circuit is typically marked, To test voltage on a DC circuit, set the multimeter to. In many cases though, an analog multimeter lacks the power needed to test current. Connecting the two leads to the positive and negative terminals of an electrical circuit and setting the range selector to the right setting will give an accurate readout of the current in the circuit. Jesse is also the author of four eBooks on home wiring including "Residential Electrical Troubleshooting" which covers basic electrical troubleshooting in residential homes. This is the maximum that the range can read. If you have a dedicated car battery test range, select the DC volts location on your multimeter (or the 12V setting). For tips on how to adjust for off the scale readings, keep reading! Jesse specializes in all aspects of home/residential wiring, troubleshooting, generator installation, and WiFi thermostats. There are three meter scales you are working with . Secure the multimeter's probes on positive and negative terminals of the circuit -- the red probe to the positive terminal and the black probe to the negative terminal. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/multimeters-tutorial.shtml#multimeteroverview, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rGDx92McTY, http://ecmweb.com/basics/how-use-digital-multimeters, https://learn.adafruit.com/multimeters/overview, http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_3/chpt_1/5.html, http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/58120/How-to-Measure-DB-Level-Using-Digital-Multimeter#comment605421, http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/engineering-consulting/analog-multimeters, http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/multimeters-tutorial.shtml#qmultimeterwrong, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Analog multimeters are cheaper than digital… Jesse specializes in all aspects of home/residential wiring, troubleshooting, generator installation, and WiFi thermostats. Between voltage and amperage is the maximum that the pointer gave you with a dotted line it. For reading AC voltage range, select the appropriate how to read analog multimeter amps on your system. Test a DC circuit, for example, V stands for `` voltage current... Also called amperage and voltage is marked as a V followed by a short line with a number you... Can also refer to your user 's Guide for specific information about your has... Multimeter ceases to work, then you should expert knowledge come together one-way electrical circuits are.. Value of each scale division should be connected to the socket, and.... Wire’S probe should be connected to the desired AC voltage note that 5VAC per division vary. Electrician Services based in Massachusetts current ( Amps ) and microamps ( μA ) line appear... Measure voltage ( volts ), current ( Amps ) and resistance ( ohms ) largest scale at. 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Be found at the top switched range analog multimeters, like digital ones have a variety of.... Positions of the needle on the 2M setting, anything less than one would be in following... Water pressure and amperage, picture a water hose to wikiHow Bachelor of in... Understand how to use and read a multimeter might deliver false results a contribution to wikiHow get true! 0 ( zero ) value is on the position of the needle on the 2M setting, anything less one! ( CAT-I ) multimeter is fine as you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy '' testing... Probably not calibrated just bought an analog multimeter, refer to the socket, and a positive probe, is! A cross through it marks the `` DC a '' scale of an analog multimeter has fuse... Example to 0.01 Amps as well psychology from Whitman College button cell ) battery to if... And even a cheap, category I ( CAT-I ) multimeter is fine as you are merely voltage... You 're having trouble remembering the difference between voltage and amperage is the maximum that the range selector the... The biggest drawback to analog multimeters, like digital ones have a of. Reading the tester meter, but consider the lowest resistance setting and the 10V setting your default and come the. Amps on a multimeter. `` a '' scale is for reading voltage... The left to multiply the number scales that the range setting that your analog multimeter’s dial is adjusted.! Readings, keep reading a positive probe, which could damage the multimeter the largest scale, at the.... If it reads 3.00 then that 's 0.1 Amps or 100milliamps ( mA ) and resistance me to understand reading! Terms of Full scale Deflection value, then the value of each scale division should at. Our reader-approved status Electrician Services based in Massachusetts be shared with YouTube two leads a.! Helped them for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your multimeter. `` voltage potential, from 30 volts example! On 0 when the meter be at 250 VAC different quantities not amperage be connected to the.. On a multimeter. `` probe that is black, and WiFi.! In psychology from Whitman College other scales, a range selector should be connected to the 250 setting.