7 Steps To Check if Multimeter Is Working Properly

How To Check if Multimeter Is Working Properly? (Easy Checklist)

A Multimeter is working properly if it can measure the electrical circuit, voltage, resistance, and the current capacitance of capacitors correctly.

It’s also handy when it comes to identifying and troubleshooting any issues related to your electrical gadgets and devices. Some multimeters have sensors to measure light/sound pressure level, wind speed, humidity, and acidity/alkalinity level. However, there are times that it may give an inaccurate reading. Thus, it is really important that the multimeter is working properly in order to serve its purpose.

So how do you test if your multimeter is working properly?

One way to check is by buying a resistor and then setting the multimeter to the correct factor of 10. Set the multimeter to 100ohms and see if it reach the known value of the resistor.  You also have to put one probe at each tip of the resistor. If your multimeter displays the right value, then it is working fine, otherwise, there could be factors that affect it.

This article will further elaborate on how to check if your multimeter works properly, from testing it to other things that could affect its performance.

7 Steps To Check if Multimeter Is Working Properly

  1. First, connect the rear connector of the dark ground cable to your multimeter. You can do this through the black ground cable attachment slot found on your multimeter.
  2. Next, connect the rear connector of the red lead cable to the tool. Attach it via the read lead cable attachment slot on your multimeter.
  3. Put the dial or the setting selector to the lowest Ohm setting. In most multimeters, the lowest Ohm setting is 100 Ohms.
  4. Tap the black ground point and the red lead point together. Then check the readout of the multimeter. A multimeter is working properly when the display will show 0 Ohms. A slight tick of up to 0.05 Ohms is perfectly fine. If the result is more than the allowable reading, then you have to have it calibrated.
  5. Just remember, newer models of multimeter comes with a built-in calibration function. Tap the lead and ground tips together if you want to check if these new multimeter models are calibrated. Press the calibration button until the reading shows 0 Ohms.
  6. In some cases, you may have to twist the calibration knob in order to have the same result. Do not use an improperly calibrated multimeter, it will not give you an accurate result.
  7. Regardless of whether you are using a digital or an analog multimeter, you need to calibrate properly them before you use them.

Aside from the above-mentioned tips and guides that would ensure that your multimeter is working properly, you also have to clean it as often as possible. The good thing about cleaning your multimeter, there is no need to deep clean it. A simple wiping of the surface with a clean damp cloth will suffice. Do not use a wet cloth, it can damage your multimeter. An accurate multimeter is working properly, thus keeping it free from dust and other contaminants.

Checking and troubleshooting your multimeter

With proper care and maintenance, your multimeter will typically last for years. However, there are instances that they may not work properly, and when this happens you may have to think if you want to repair it or get a new one. Before heading to the store or calling a professional, you can check your multimeter and see if you can still salvage it.

  • The first step is to check the battery
    • Check if the display turns on or the lights are dim. When it does, chances are you have a weak or dead battery. Change them and see if this helps.
    • If it powers up but does not give an accurate reading, you probably have some faulty test leads. You can check this by setting your multimeter to read resistance. Then, touch the test probes and see if it displays zero Ohms, otherwise, your test leads are the culprit.
    • Should your multimeter show resistance ratings of over 1 Ohm or the display provide erratic reading, replace the probe leads and see if this works.
    • However, if all of these were not able to address the issue, you may consider opening up your multimeter with a screwdriver.
    • Next, Open your multimeter and check the fuse.
  • Check out the fuse box and remove the fuse.
    • See if it is burned out. You can do this by observing the thin wire inside the fuse.
    • Replace the fuse if it is burned out. Do not try to reuse damaged or burned-out fuses
    • If you have a ceramic fuse, try its resistance with another multimeter. If there is no resistance, you can replace it. Refer to the user’s manual for the correct kind of fuse.
  • Lastly, inspect your multimeter’s wires and connections
    • See if the wires and other connections of your multimeter are not corroded or broken.
    • With a soldering gun, you can desolder the damaged connections and then attach them back securely.
    • For loose parts, simply tighten them and see if the multimeter will work. Just be sure that you return them to the right connections.
    • Put your multimeter back and set it to measure resistance. Hold the probe leads and see if it reads properly. Double-check for any parts and screws you left behind.

If all of these fails, it is time to head out to the store and get a brand new multimeter. Make sure that you get a reliable and trusted multimeter.

Related Readings:

How To Measure and Identify Resistor Using Multimeter & Color Codes?

How To Check If Wire is Broken With a Multimeter?

How To Identify Neutral Wire With Multimeter?

How To Identify Wires On A Thermostat? (How To DIY)

Every home and office should have its own multimeter. The benefit of having one is tremendous. It can measure voltage, current, and resistance, and lets you know for any problems with your electrical system. Moreover, a multimeter can help spot any issues with your own power supplies and other equipment. However, to maximize the use of your multimeter, it’s vital that your multimeter is working properly, and that it functions as it’s supposed to. Thus, it’s imperative that you have it checked at least once a year or have it looked at by a professional.

If you are you are not planning to use your multimeter for a long time, make sure to remove the batteries. Store the batteries and the multimeter in a cool and dry place. To ensure that your multimeter is working properly even if you have stowed it away, protect it from rodents and roaches, and from the elements.

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