A multimeter is a handheld testing device that measures electric voltage. It’s used to troubleshoot problems on appliances, wiring systems, power supplies, and circuits. Here are the top reasons why you should own a multimeter.
When and How to Use a Multimeter
A multimeter can test batteries, spot a hot wire, check extension cords, and find a bad switch. If you have a lot of old batteries that you don’t know if they are dead or still usable, a multimeter’s voltage modes can help. Set the dial to 20 volts. The black wire must meet the negative and the red wire should meet the positive. If the battery is usable, the number on display will be higher than 7 for a 9-volt battery. If it’s dead, it’ll be below 1.
You can also use this device to test questionable wires. When testing for a hot wire, set the dial on 250 AC and then touch a probe from the multimeter to an exposed wire. Touch the other probe to any metal on the electrical box. If the needle reads between 110 to 120 volts, it’s a hot wire.
Need to test an extension cord? Just set the multimeter to its continuity test mode. Touch the red probe to the like prong on the plug end of the cord. If it makes a beeping sound, that particular connection is good. To test a switch, touch one tester to the black terminal and the other to one of the traveler terminals. The tester should read close to zero. If you see OL on the switch, it’s faulty.
When to Call an Electrician
A multimeter can be a valuable tool. Just remember, safety first. If you find a hot switch or bad wire, you should call an electrician to fix the issue. Trying to fix electrical issues by yourself can lead to electrical shock or fire.
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