Everything You Need To Know About Digital Multimeters

Everything You Need To Know About Digital Multimeters


Have you long wondered how to use a digital multimeter and what it’s for? A digital multimeter is a test tool used to measure two or more electrical valves – principally voltage (volts), current (amps), and resistance (ohms). It is a standard diagnostic tool for technicians in the electrical industry. 

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about digital multimeters, what they’re used for, who can use them, and where to find them. 

What Exactly Is a Digital Multimeter? 

A digital multimeter is an indispensable tool for testing, diagnosing, and troubleshooting electrical circuits, components, and devices. The first digital multimeter was introduced in the late 1970s and has proven much more accurate and reliable than old needle-based analog meters. 

Four Common Uses 

Here are four everyday uses your digital multimeter can come in handy. These instructions apply to most multimeters. However, the exact procedures and how the screen reads out might differ slightly based on your particular device’s features and its functionality.


Testing Batteries

Using the voltage mode on your meter, you can check battery output. Most modern meters make this setup all but foolproof by also color-coding the jacks. The black standard probe goes into the blackjack; the red probe goes into the red jack. 

This will test the voltage, not the battery’s ability to supply current under load. The test gives you a rough idea of whether the battery is good, shot, or needs to be charged. 

Testing Electrical Outlets 

Using a digital multimeter can help you determine if the wall outlets in your home deliver the correct voltage, which in most modern homes is 120 volts. Simply plug the black probe into the meter’s black COM jack and the red probe into the red volts jack. Then turn the rotary switch to volts AC, which is also indicated by a wavy line on the dial.

A properly functioning outlet should produce 110 to 120 volts. 

Testing a Wall Switch 

Got a faulty ceiling light? A digital multimeter can help determine if the problem is with the switch. First, turn off the switch’s power, remove the cover plate, and unscrew the switch from its wires. Before disconnecting the wires, label them to ensure you reconnect them correctly. 

Testing Extension Cords 

It’s smart to use your meter to occasionally test old extension cords because damaged cords can shock you or start a fire. Begin by unplugging the extension cord from the wall and turning the meter’s dial to the OHM setting. 

Where To Find One 

If you’re looking for a digital tester, look no further, because you can find it at Fix & Feed, a local Texas hardware store with locations in Commerce, Sulphur Springs, Bonham, and Quinlan. 

With over twenty-five years of experience, Fix & Feed is committed to being approachable, affordable, and accessible. These principles continue to guide the second generation of family leadership. Visit a store near you to discover the promotions and a variety of products.