Tech Stuff

Get the most from your multimeters

A wide range of excellent multi-meters is available today that allow an incredible range of tests.
<p>A wide range of excellent multi-meters is available today that allow an incredible range of tests.</p>

All shop tools need to earn their keep. That multimeter in your tool box probably cost you a pretty good piece of change when you bought it. If your digital multimeter (DMM) isn’t solving problems and making money for you, it should be. Here are some ways to better understand the basic features of your DMM and the advanced features many meters have.

Read the manual
The first step is to read your manual. There are lots of brands and product numbers out there; you need to know what it is exactly that your particular meter can do. If you are more of a visual learner, training videos online and on DVD are usually offered by the manufacturer. Be sure to check the Web site of the company that made your DMM. This is free training that you get just for the asking. There is genuine content in terms of tips and suggestions on how to really use the instrument to solve problems and make money.

These sites are also useful in terms of keeping up with newly issued accessories. As you will see, there are add-ons available that can greatly expand the usefulness of your meter.

A big section of any meter manual is devoted to safety-related cautions. Do please take note of them. The danger in automotive work is not so much about high voltage as it is high current and/or mechanical entanglement. The working tech should consider that the meter will likely be placed on available, more or less flat surfaces with the probes and test wires extended out over or down into the area near the engine. Leads, or even the meter itself, can become entangled in moving things like the accessory belt drive system or in the fan. The point that I’m making here is to be careful.

Pin-type probes allow testing even the smallest terminals.
<p>Pin-type probes allow testing even the smallest terminals.</p>

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