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How to Use a Multimeter

A multimeter is a handy device for taking measurements of electric currents. You can use it to test for functions including AC/DC currents, voltage, resistance, and ohms.


  • : Use caution when working with electricity. Always unplug appliances from their power sources before testing unless you know how to properly test a live circuit. Do not touch exposed metal, and do not exceed the maximum voltage rating on a meter.
  • Step 1: Identify connections Identify the connections to the circuits that you want to test in your electronic equipment.
  • TIP: You will need some knowledge of electronics to get to the connectors safely and to understand the meanings of the multimeter readings. Consult the schematic diagrams before beginning.
  • Step 2: Turn on device Turn the multimeter on if it has a digital output. If the multimeter does not power on, check that it has a working battery.
  • Step 3: Adjust output setting Adjust the multimeter's mode to the setting you want to test and the expected output range.
  • TIP: Do not attach a high voltage connector to a low voltage multimeter.
  • Step 4: Connect electronics Connect the correct terminals on the electronic device to their corresponding ports on the multimeter.
  • TIP: The black probe generally goes into a common terminal. The other line's location depends on what you are measuring.
  • Step 5: Take reading Take the reading from the multimeter.
  • Step 6: Disconnect Disconnect the multimeter, reconnect the electronic equipment, and turn off the multimeter's power. Record your readings feeling confident that everything's in working order.
  • FACT: Electricity travels at approximately the speed of light -- about 186,000 miles per second.

You Will Need

  • Multimeter
  • Electronic device
  • Schematic diagrams (optional)

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