Multimeter Symbols and What They Mean
June 16, by admin 2 Comments Are you confused by all the symbols on a multimeter? Are you wondering what that little line with a squiggle next to it could possibly mean?
Perhaps you're still learning how to use your multimeter or maybe you've had yours for a while, but are just unsure on what a couple of the symbols actually mean because you've never had to use that setting.
This guide is for you. We're going to explain in detail what settings and symbols mean on the common meter. This could be especially dangerous if you were trying to undertake a continuity test and accidentally had your instrument set to the Volt measurement. Take note of the yellow symbols around the dial, these readings can only be performed after pressing the SHIFT button. The SHIFT button works the same as on a standard keyboard, you simply press it and the meter will perform and additional function, depending on where you have set the dial.
Number 1: Hold Button. This button will "hold" whatever the meter reads after you have pressed it. This is a great feature if you need to remember the exact reading of what you're measuring or if you cannot see the multimeter whilst you're testing with the test lead or probes Number 2: AC Voltage. This will be your most common setting for testing voltages around the home or work. Depending on where you live, you will typically measure between volts AC.
Used to measure the frequency of your circuit or equipment. Different equipment and circuits are designed to operate at either fixed or variable frequency, so it's important you know that before you undertake your test. Number 3: DC Voltage. The DC Voltage setting will enable you to test small electronic ciruits, indicator lights and batteries. Number 4: Continuity. The meter will emit an audible tone when continuity is detected between two points. This is a fast and effective way for finding short circuits, or open circuits.
Simply place one probe on one point, and another probe on another point and and your meter will give you a visual and audible signal. Number 5: Direct Current. The same as Alternating Current Number 13 , but with Direct. Number 6: Current Jack. Only to be used for measuring current amps with either a red test lead, or a dedicated clamp attachment.
If you use a dedicated clamp meter, you will most likely not have this jack on your unit. Number 7: Common Jack. Used for all tests and is only to be used with the black test lead. Number 8: Range Button. Used to cycle between different ranges of your meter. Most meters have auto-ranging, but some have the option of selecting a specific range.
For example, you may want to know what your Ohms reading is in mega-ohms. Number 9: Brightness Button. Cycles the backlight of the display from dim, to bright. Number AC Millivolts. If you're testing a small ciruit on the AC Voltage setting and the reading is low, it's advised that you switch to the AC Millivolts setting to obtain a more accurate reading.
As above, but with DC voltage. Number Ohms. This setting is used to measure the resistance, which is measured in ohms. The function on its own is called an ohmmeter. A great way to check the accuracy of your multi meter is to get a resistor that you know the resistance of, and use the ohms setting to test the resistance. If it reads correctly, you can be sure that your DMM is accurate.
The ohm setting also a quick and easy way to test the condition of fuses - if the meter reads OL, the you can be sure the fuse has blown. Number Diode Test. The diode test setting is the most reliable way to test if your diodes are good or bad. The other way to test if a diode is functioning as it should involves using the Ohms setting, however it isn't as accurate as using a dedicated diode test.
It is extremely important to note that some capacitors will have an electric charged stored in them, even after power has been turned off. Please ensure you safely discharge capacitors before measuring their capacitance.
Number Alternating Current. Normally performed with the addition of a clamp attachment, the alternating current test is a must for tests such as how much load an appliance is drawing. Number Red Jack. Used for all tests besides current, including: voltage, resistance, frequency, diode, duty cycle, temperature, impedance and capacitance. Having even a basic electrical knowledge and your own testers will help you greatly, and could save you thousands of dollars in electrician costs.
In saying that, voltage and current can be extremely dangerous - even at small measurements, be sure to call an electrician if you have any doubts and never carry out any work that requires you to be licensed.
Multimeter Symbols – What Do They Mean?
Yours might be slightly different in some ways, but all multimeters are similar for the most part. Which Multimeter Should You Get?
Or you can spend a bit more cash and get something fancier, like this one from AstroAI. It can also measure frequency and even temperature. What Do All the Symbols Mean? This setting is used to measure direct current DC voltage in things like batteries. This setting is used to measure the voltage from alternating current sources, which is pretty much anything that plugs into an outlet, as well as the power coming from the outlet itself.
The lower the number, the easier it is for the current to flow through, and vice versa. Continuity: Usually denoted by a wave or diode symbol.
This simply tests whether or not a circuit is complete by sending a very small amount of current through the circuit and seeing if it makes it out the other end.
This setting is usually denoted with the battery symbol. How to Use a Multimeter For starters, lets go over some of the different parts of a multimeter. At the very basic level you have the device itself, along with two probes, which are the black and red cables that have plugs on one end and metal tips on the other.
Each setting may also have different number values, which are there to measure different strengths of voltages, resistances, and amps. So if you have your multimeter set to 20 in the DCV section, the multimeter will measure voltages up to 20 volts. Furthermore, measuring anything over 10 amps could blow a fuse or destroy the multimeter as well. Advertisement Your multimeter might have completely separate ports for measuring amps, while the other port is specifically just for voltage, resistance, and continuity, but most cheaper multimeters will share ports.
Testing Voltage Start by turning on your multimeter, plugging the probes into their respective ports and then setting the selection knob to the highest number value in the DCV section, which in my case is volts.
Next, place the black probe on the negative end of the battery and the red probe on the positive end. Take a look at the reading on the screen. Here, you can see that we have a more accurate reading that hovers between 1. Good enough for me. So if I were to set the knob to millivolts 0. Advertisement In any case, you might be asking why you would need to test the voltage of something in the first place. However, if it were to read 1. In a more practical situation, you could do this type of measuring on a car battery to see if it might be dying or if the alternator which is what charges the battery is going bad.
A reading between Furthermore, start your car up and rev it up a bit. Testing Current Amps Testing the current draw of something is a bit trickier, as the multimeter needs to be connected in series.
Above is a crude mockup of what this would look like with a basic clock running off of a AA battery. On the positive side, the wire going from the battery to the clock is broken up. We simply place our two probes in between that break to complete the circuit again with the red probe connected to the power source , only this time our multimeter will read out the amps that the clock is pulling, which in this case is around 0.
If you need to see whether or not an outlet is working, use a non-contact tester instead. Advertisement Set your multimeter to the continuity setting using the selection knob. Next, make sure the circuit is unplugged and has no power. You can also test that the continuity feature works on your multimeter by touching both probes to each other. This completes the circuit and your multimeter should let you know that.
Digital Multimeter Troubleshooting and Repair
That pulse is only over microseconds long. The circuit becomes complete when an animal touches the electrical fence. At this point, the shock will be received by the animal. Electric fences are not only a physical barrier but more likely as a psychological barrier, which can make the animals be educated in respecting the fence. Though it does not physically harm the animals, it still gives them a short-lived pain when they touch the fence.
Still, it is much better compared to a fence made from barbed wires which causes long lasting pain because of some severe cuts. How to Measure the Current of an Electric Fence? The electrical current will be determined in your electrical circuit through the use of current measurement. Ampere A is the unit of measure given to the electric currentaccording to the International System of Units. The device used for measuring the amperage is ammeter but you can also use a multimeter as it can also do the function of an ammeter.
A multimeter is known for its multi-functionality and current measurement is one of its three standard functions, so considerably, any model of the multimeter can carry out the measuring process. It will be easy for you to measure the current with the multimeter, but you still need to be attentive to some points to avoid getting your device being damaged. It would not be nice to damage your multimeter because you did not know the right setting when you are to measure the current.
To be able to do the measuring properly, here are the basic steps you must follow. Step one You need to set the measuring range.
Can I Test an Electric Fence with a Multimeter?
You should always set your multimeter into the proper range A, 10A, mA, etc. Number 5: Direct Current. The same as Alternating Current Number 13but with Direct. Number 6: Current Jack. Only to be used for measuring current amps with either a red test lead, or a dedicated clamp attachment.
If you use a dedicated clamp meter, you will most likely not have this jack on your unit. Number 7: Common Jack. Used for all tests and is only to be used with the black test lead. Number 8: Range Button.
How to Use a Multimeter – Beginner’s Guide
Used to cycle between different ranges of your meter. Most meters have auto-ranging, but some have the option of selecting a specific range.
For example, you may want to know what your Ohms reading is in mega-ohms. Number 9: Brightness Button. Cycles the backlight of the display from dim, to bright. Number AC Millivolts. If you're testing a small ciruit on the AC Voltage setting and the reading is low, it's advised that you switch to the AC Millivolts setting to obtain a more accurate reading. As above, but with DC voltage. Number Ohms. This setting is used to measure the resistance, which is measured in ohms.
Placing the multimeter in parallel is placing each probe along the leads of the component you want to measure the voltage. So, you should select a range with the selection knob that can read the 1. So you should select 2V in the case of this multimeter. What happens if you switch the red and the black probe? Nothing dangerous will happen. This example circuit lights up an LED. TIP: two components in parallel share voltage, so you should connect the multimeter probes in parallel with the component you want to measure the voltage.
To measure the voltage drop across the resistor: You just have to place the red probe in one lead of the resistor and the black probe on the other lead of the resistor. The red probe should be connected to the part that the current is coming from. Measuring Current To measure current you need to bear in mind that components in series share a current. So, you need to connect your multimeter in series with your circuit.
TIP: to place the multimeter in series, you need to place 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 wire in your circuit. In the example below, the same circuit of the previous example is used.