Guide: digital Multimeter – The Basics
The aim of this page is to help beginners and experts alike become familiar with all the various features that a multimeter has. If you’re an expert, perhaps you will find the most value by skipping through to the sections that you find relevant. But if you’re a beginner or just getting started with electronics hopefully this guide can teach you some things about using a multimeter to measure current, resistance, voltage and much more.
Why Use a Multimeter?
For a start, a multimeter is simply a measurement tool mostly used in electronics, or by tradesman and electricians. It has several important features such as; measuring voltage, ohms and amps. If you work with circuits, you’ll know that these are important measurements that can give you valuable information about the work you’re doing. If a circuit isn’t working you’ll need a multimeter to figure out why it’s not working, and locate where the problem is.
Some of the most obvious applications for these features:
- Is the battery alive?
- Is enough current flowing through this wire?
- Is the power switch functioning correctly?
Most multimeters that you can find on the market will support all of the features listed above. However, not all products are created equal. There’s also a huge variety in the amount that they cost, from budget up to very expensive high quality models. If all you need is those basic functions, then you won’t have to spend much money – if you go for the cheaper option though, you’re device will not be so accurate at measuring voltage. Which is okay if you don’t need 100% precision for the job that you’re doing. Some jobs, particularly working with circuits on computers and similar devices will require pinpoint accuracy – in which case a fluke multimeter might be the best option for you.
Getting to Know the parts
There are several parts that serve various purposes. There are also basics functions which you will find on all devices no matter how cheap or basic the model you choose is. All digital multimeters will have a digital display readout. There is also the selection knob, this is a switch that you turn to the metric that you intend to measure. Click the arrow towards amps, ohms, or volts depending on what you need. Most will also feature various ports, you can plug the probes into these.