Digital Multimeters: One size does not fit all

One size does not fit all. Selection of the proper multimeter involves significant consideration. Cost is one, another is the specific purpose of the device. How it will be used and the qualifications of those using it are also important. The author...


Oscilloscopes have been considered by many to be the electrical measuring tool of choice for many applications. In recent years Scopemeters have become very popular troubleshooting devices. These can allow the technician to accomplish all the basic functions of a VOM plus observe digital data streams and even locate electrical noise that can often interfere with the operation of electronic systems. While a typical oscilloscope is rather bulky and often requires an external power supply, scopemeters are now not much larger than a common multimeter and contain their own internal battery. The use of such a device requires a bit more knowledge of electrical principles and the cost is frequently significantly higher for brand name equipment.

Proper Use and Testing Procedures

Procuring a meter is really only half the battle. Without proper test leads the functionality will be limited. Most VOMs come with a basic set of straight probes.

Various clamps, clips, and adaptors can transform a basic tester into a very useful tool. Proper care and maintenance of test leads is critical. An intermittent conductor or a corroded or burnt contact in a meter test lead can corrupt the troubleshooting process for even the most capable technician. It is also a good practice to ensure any internal meter batteries are replaced at regular intervals. Even the lead connection to the tester may require some concentration. In some devices multiple receptacles are located on the meter face and attention to specific function is important to ensure proper operation.

Well, I never did go out and buy one of those universal wrenches I saw on television and I have to this day still not removed my JetStar Starter Generator wrench or any other special mission tool from my toolbox, nor do I intend to!

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