How to use Analog Multimeter

Electricity is an invisible, silent and odorless physical phenomenon. To find out if a circuit is live, if an electric current is flowing, for troubleshooting, electricians frequently use a multimeter. But how to use it? This guide aims to use analog multimeter correctly.

How to use Analog Multimeter

Power failures are commonplace in everyday life, a blown fuse, a light that goes out, a battery that may be dead.

Without using a multimeter it is difficult to see clearly. But how do you adjust it, plug it in, and interpret the measurement? Easy with these few explanations. But beware, an absolute rule in electricity: priority to safety.

1. Check your multimeter before using it

Before use, it is important to check the multimeter and the insulating gloves to ensure your safety

Check your multimeter before using it

For the multimeter, make sure that:

  • The housing of the device is not cracked or broken;
  • The category and voltage are sufficient at least category III and voltage 600 V for measurements in a home (indications visible near the terminals at the bottom of the device);
  • The cords are not damaged (risk of electric shock);
  • The batteries are correctly installed (the device is working).

Note that, if a fuse is blown, it is important to replace it with a strictly identical fuse in order to prevent the device from exploding in the event of incorrect handling.

For insulating gloves, make sure they are not punctured. To do this, they must be inflated like a balloon and check that air does not escape.

2. Measure the voltage of an electrical circuit

Measuring a voltage is an essential operation to know if an electrical panel is live, to troubleshoot a circuit, to measure the value of the voltage … so many essential indications for the electrician.

Measure the voltage of an electrical circuit

To perform this measurement, proceed as follows.

1. Set the central switch of the device:

  • On V to measure a voltage in direct current or in rectified current. For example a cell, a battery;
  • On V ~ to measure alternating current voltage. For example an electrical outlet, an electrical panel;
  • Choose the rating just above the measured voltage. Choose the maximum size if in doubt.

 2. Connect the two cords to the device:

  • The red lead on the terminal usually marked “VΩmA” ;
  • The black cord on the terminal usually marked “COM”.

3.  Put on the insulating gloves

4. Place a point of the bead on each of the two points of the voltage to be measured.

  • Red on the ” + “, black on the ”  – ” in direct current ;
  • No sense in alternating current.

5.  Read the value on the display.

If the device displays “I”, choose a higher rating.

If possible, choose a lower gauge to get a more accurate reading.

3. Measure the intensity of an electrical circuit

The intensity of an electric current represents the quantity of electrons which circulate in the electric wire. To measure it, you must insert the multimeter “in series” in the electrical circuit.

Some multimeters are equipped with an amp aerometric measuring clamp which greatly facilitates this operation.

For this measurement, proceed as follows:

1. Set the central switch of the device:

  • On A   to measure a current in direct current or in rectified current;
  • On A ~ to measure an ac current . Please note, many devices do not have this function ;
  • Choose the caliber just above the measured intensity . Choose the maximum rating in case of doubt , usually 10 A.

2. Connect the two cords to the device:

  • The red lead on the terminal is usually marked “VΩmA” for currents below the maximum rating in mA or on the terminal marked “10 A” for currents with a higher value. If in doubt, use this “10 A” terminal.
  • The black cord on the terminal usually marked “COM”.

3. Switch off the circuit by tripping the general circuit breaker located next to the electricity meter  for example.

4. Put on the insulating gloves.

5. Check that the circuit is de-energized by measuring the voltage (Cf. 2.).

6. Open a point in the circuit by disconnecting the wire from a terminal.

7. Connect the tip of a test lead to the disconnected wire.

8. Connect the tip of the other cord to the terminal disconnected previously.

9. Switch on again (switch on the circuit breaker if necessary).

10. Read the current value on the display.

If the device displays “I”, choose a higher rating.

If possible, choose a lower gauge to get a more accurate reading.

If the device is equipped with a current clamp, it is sufficient to insert the wire in the clamp and to read the displayed value. For an electric cable, you must insert the clamp on a wire of the cable and not on the cable.

4. Measure resistance

This function is very useful in troubleshooting to test a fuse, a lamp, a switch or measure the value of the resistance of an oven in  particular.

The measurement of resistance or electrical continuity is always done with the power off, otherwise the multimeter could be damaged.

To measure the resistance of an element, it is essential to disconnect at least one wire, otherwise the measurement will be inaccurate.

For this measurement, proceed as follows:

1. Set the central switch of the device:

  • On Ω;
  • Choose a rating just above the resistance to be measured (kΩ = x1000 Ω, MΩ = x 1,000,000 Ω).

2. Connect the two cords to the device:

  • The red lead on the terminal usually marked “VΩmA” ;
  • The black cord on the terminal usually marked “COM”.

3. Check that the circuit is de- energized by measuring the voltage (Cf. 2.).

4. Place a point of the bead on each of the two points of the resistance to be measured.

5. Read the value on the display.

If the device displays “I”, choose a higher rating.

If possible, choose a lower gauge to get a more accurate reading.

To measure continuity, choose the minimum rating or the “” function . The multimeter will display a very low resistance and / or beep if there is continuity.

5. Read a measurement on an analog multimeter.

An analog multimeter is equipped with a needle dial. If its reading is less easy than a digital multimeter, it is nevertheless more suitable in certain cases, in particular for observing variations in value.

Its setting and connection are identical to the digital multimeter, only its reading is different. Before using it, you must adjust the needle to 0 by moving it using the screw located on the dial or on the back of the device.

The dial has several scales, you have to choose the scale corresponding to the selected function and / or the nature of the electric current. For example “Ω”, “DC”, “AC” …

Important: The maximum deviation of the needle corresponds to the value of the gauge.

Examples of reading:

  • Caliber 600 VAC maximum deviation 30 graduations; if the needle deviates by 11 => the value is 220 VAC, i.e. (600/30) x 11.
  • Caliber 0.1 ADC maximum deviation 10 graduations; if the needle deviates by 5.5 => the value is 0.055 ADC or (0.1 / 10) x 5.5.

To have an accurate reading you have to see a single hand in the mirror of the dial ; move the gaze laterally to achieve this and, only afterwards, read the value indicated by the needle.

How to Read an Analog Multimeter – Watch the Video

Let’s Find Out Top 10 Analog Multimeter for 2021

Image

Name

Total Functions

Rating

Price

Gardner Bender GMT-312 Analog Multimeter

5 Fuction

Simpson 260-8 12388 Analog Multimeter

5 Fuction

Gardner Bender GMT-318 Analog Multimeter

6 Fuction

Gardner Bender GMT-319 Multimeter 

5 Fuction

Simpson 260-8P Relay Protected Black Analog Multimeter

5 Fuction

Hioki 3030-10 HiTester Analog Multimeter

Multi Fuction

Sperry Instruments HSP5 Analog Multimeter

5 Fuction

Triplett Model 310 Hand-Sized Analog Multimeter

Multi Fuction

Power Gear Analog Multimeter

6-Fuction

Simpson 12227 (270-5RT) Analog Multimeter

5-Fuction

Michael Nguyen (Electrical Enthusiast)

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