Digital multimeters can be one of the most useful tools to have if you’re doing electrical work around your house or for a job. It’s a test tool that you can use to measure electrical values accurately and easily.
Because of the practicality of the tool, it’s perfect for troubleshooting certain issues with your car, house, or electronic projects that you do as a hobby. You can test if the voltages are at their correct levels, see if there are short circuits, or check the amount of current flowing into a circuit. If you are checking the current, which is measured in amperes, here’s what you have to do.
Before Measuring Amps
Understand that you’re measuring the current of electricity, which is the rate of electric charge that’s flowing. Even low levels of amperage can be dangerous and harmful, which means that contact with any number of amps can hurt you. Any current over 10 milliamps is capable of inflicting severe shock and pain. 50 milliamps can cause heart arrhythmias and other health problems. Make sure that you’re careful when you’re measuring the amps in your home and always ensure that there’s someone there to help you if something goes wrong. If an issue occurs, make sure that you seek medical attention as soon as you can.
Get to Know the Multimeter
Measuring with the multimeter can be a little difficult if you don’t know what you’re holding. Although every brand of multimeter may look a little different, there are a few similarities that you should look for on your multimeter. There’s a black jack that you need to find for the negative or common lead. Then, there are three red jacks that you need. One is for measuring voltage and resistance, the other is for measuring amps, and the last is for measuring milliamps and microamps. You should also know that the amp symbol is an A. Milliamps is shown by the symbol mA and microamps is shown by the symbol µA. You should also see a dial that chooses the different functions that you can test AC voltage, DC voltage, continuity, and resistance. There might also be some settings and push buttons to choose ranges.
Set the Multimeter’s Range
You want to set the range that the multimeter might be measuring Of course, since you’re measuring the amps, you don’t know the exact range, but you might have an idea. If you don’t have an idea, then you can set it to the highest setting. The highest setting is usually 10A, which means that you have to plug the red probe of the multimeter into the 10A jack. If the dial on the machine only has a single setting for amperage, then just stick the probe there.
Some multimeters, specifically the newer ones, are auto- ranging, which means that you don’t have to complete the steps listed above. The modern multimeters set the range as soon as you begin the test.
How to Measure Amps with the Multimeter
1. Cut off power to the circuit that you’re trying to measure. Unplug a power connector or disconnect a wire.
2. Run the circuit through the meter. Connect the red lead on the multimeter to the part of the circuit that moves “upstream.” This should be closest to the power source.
3. Then, connect the black lead to the “downstream” part of the circuit.
4. Restore the power to the circuit once everything is connected properly.
5. Look on the display and a number should be there.
If the number that you see is a whole number, then you’re measuring in amps. If it starts with a 0 and has a decimal point, then you’re measuring in milliamps. If you set a really high range, then you might get a more accurate range if you set the range lower. If the number is below 0.400, then you need to put the red lead into the mA jack. This will change the display reading. For example, if you see 0.400 A originally and change the lead, then the reading will change to 400 µA. It will also go out to three decimal points so you might see 400.346 mA.
Now, you should be able to complete all the readings that you need to with your multimeter.