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Author Topic: Multimeters are indispensable when working with any electrical apparatus.  (Read 1924 times)

IainB

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A search of the DC forum discussions for "multimeter" shows several references where multimeters have been suggested as a useful/necessary investigative or safety tool.
I was today reminded of how indispensable a multimeter can be when, after using my multimeter (I use an analogue multimeter) to check my freshly-soldered connections - made to fix a new rechargeable battery power supply into a portable household telephone handset - I read this post in my Basqux feed-reader:
Quote
Why You Should Have a Multimeter When Doing Any Electrical Work
Timothy Dahl 2015-02-25.

Multimeters are absolutely necessary for any type of electrical work. From installing a ceiling fan to changing a junction box, using a multimeter helps determine if wires are hot or not (and so much more).

Multimeters are designed to measure three fundamental components of electrical energy: volts, amps and ohms. The best analogy to explain these components is water flowing through a pipe. Volts are the pressure of the water (psi), amps are the number of gallons per minute (volume), and ohms are anything that limit the flow.

To measure electrical energy, a multimeter has two wire leads. Touch them to exposed wires, and they'll give you measurements. Its dial or buttons determine what type of energy you are measuring and at what range.

Without knowing these measurements, your home could be in danger of electrical fire and you could be putting yourself at risk.

Multimeters are available as analog or digital devices. The easy way to determine the difference is that the display on an analog device will be a needle on a gauge. Digital multimeters are the way to go and there are great options from Milwaukee and Klein.

For a more in-depth breakdown of how to use a digital multimeter, read the link below.

The Indispensable Digital Multimeter - Fine Homebuilding Article

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The job I was doing was testing and replacing a failed standard 3 x AAA rechargeable battery pack (a new standard replacement pack would have cost NZ$42) with 3 higher performance longlife GP rechargeable AAA batteries (cost about NZ$18), which I had to connect together in series using the standard connector leads cannibalised from the old (failed) pack. The standard battery pack had a life expectancy of 2 years, whereas the new batteries were twice that, so it was a significant cost-saving. (From experience, I have found that GP rechargeable alkaline batteries tend to out-perform most other and more expensive rechargeable batteries.)

Using the multimeter, I then tested the finished result before installing the new (modified) pack that I had assembled, and before putting the handset in its charging bay to charge the pack up.

Deozaan

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I'd love to hear DC members' recommendations for a particular model/brand of multimeter, as I've been playing with the idea of purchasing one for myself, but don't really know what sort of features/quality to look for.


Edvard

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The workhorse "Cadillac" of multimeters would be anything by Fluke.  Hands down.  As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for" and any given Fluke model comes with a price tag, but it's just one of those things...  Accurate, built like a tank, and is the first choice of professionals.

The best "entry-level" you're likely to find is the best you can afford from Klein Tools.  I've owned a few Klein models; they just plain work, and are cheap enough that replacing one isn't a chore, because honestly, they're not the toughest nuts on the tree.
...just don't go testing your 12-volt power supplies with the dial accidentally switched to "Ohms".  :-\
Beyond that, some names to look for would be Innova, Extech, and Ampprobe, just be sure to read the reviews before buying.

Oh, and the "killer feature" to look for would be the ability to measure capacitance.   :Thmbsup:

Edvard

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A few suggestions:

How to Buy a Multimeter
Quote
Even the cheapest meter is useful for DIY electronics. There are myriad problems with cheap meters, but none of them actually prevent you from making use of the meter for DIY electronics. A cheap meter simply has limits on the questions it can be expected to answer, and on the situations it can be safely used in.
http://tangentsoft.net/elec/meters.html

http://multimeter-te...imeter-buying-guide/

And from the standpoint of your garden variety "maker":
http://codeduino.com...ews-best-multimeter/


4wd

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Apparently you can never have too many:

IMG_2001.JPGMultimeters are indispensable when working with any electrical apparatus.

Plus the monster:

AVOMeter 01.jpgMultimeters are indispensable when working with any electrical apparatus.

One thing about an analogue meter: "It don't need no steenkin' batteries to measure voltage and current."

 ;D

Shades

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And for the elite: a digital or analog oscilloscope... :P