If you're just starting out in the building trade or are considering carrying out renovation work on your home, a digital multimeter is an essential item in your tool kit, and you'll need to know how to use one. So, what does a digital multimeter do and how do you use one?

What Is a Digital Multimeter?

A digital multimeter is a tool that is used by people working in the home-building trade to measure amps, ohms and volts. Although you can buy analogue models, multimeters are usually found in digital form with an easy-to-read LED display and simple-to-follow operating instructions.

A digital multimeter is used to measure the individual components of an electrical current. Through the use of digital circuitry, the multimeter measures the current, voltage or resistance of the electricity in an object, such as in an electrical socket or battery. You will mainly use your digital multimeter to measure voltage when testing the electrical circuitry in a new home.

How Do You Measure Voltage Using a Digital Multimeter?

  1. Start by setting the dial to the range, AC or DC, and then set the requisite voltage.
  2. Next, plug the red and black probes into the ports.
  3. Touch the red probe to the power side of the object to be tested, and then touch the black probe to the earth side.
  4. The display will then show the voltage reading for the object concerned.

How Do You Do Continuity Testing?

Continuity testing tells you whether there is a connection where there should not be one. It is also used to check for resistance between two set points. If a reading of low resistance is seen, this indicates that an electrical connection is present.

  1. First of all, set the dial on the multimeter to the continuity mode. Continuity mode is usually indicated on the device by a diode symbol and surrounding waves, but always be sure to check your instruction manual for clarification before you start.  
  2. Now, turn off the object to be tested.  
  3. Next, touch the multimeter's probes to the device's earth pins and also to the power supply. The multimeter will make a distinctive beeping sound if there is continuity.

A digital multimeter is a really useful tool for anyone who is starting work in the construction or home-building industry. As each model of digital multimeter's operating instructions are slightly different, always read the manufacturer's directions before beginning to use your tool.