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Having trouble figuring out how to test a circuit breaker with a multimeter? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Breakers trip when there’s a gradual increase in load or the breaker short circuits. Typically, you would reset the breaker to fix the issue. However, things can get a little bit tricky when this method does not work. To find more about this, check this out:
DIY Guide: How to Test a Circuit Breaker Using a Multimeter
Here’s how you can test a circuit with a cheap or expensive multimeter:
What You Will Need
Before getting started, grab your multimeter and a flathead screwdriver. That’s all you will need throughout this guide.
1. Reset the Circuit Breaker
Before learning how to test a circuit breaker with a digital multimeter, consider resetting the circuit breaker before replacing or troubleshooting the unit. To reset the breaker, push the switch all the way off and then move it to the on position.
After resetting the circuit, the power should be restored. However, if the breaker tips continue, call your local electrician to determine what’s wrong with the unit.
Need help resetting the circuit breaker? Then watch this YouTube video:
2. Remove the Panel Cover
To test a circuit breaker using a multimeter, please remove the panel cover using a flathead screwdriver. When removing the last screw, hold your hand against the cover. After that, pull it out and put it to the side.
3. Set up the Multimeter
Before troubleshooting the circuit breaker, plug the meter leads into the terminals. The red one must go into the positive side, and the black one should go into the negative side. Next up, set the multimeter to ADC volts. Once that’s done, you’re good to go.
4. How to Test a Circuit Breaker With Multimeter
After setting up the multimeter, grab the red lead, put it on the breaker terminal, and then place the black lead on the neutral bar.
When doing this, the multimeter should display 120V or 230V, depending on where you live. If there’s something wrong with the circuit breaker, then the multimeter won’t show any numbers.
5. Test a 240V Breaker
What about those who have a double pole breaker? Well, to check one of those, please put both the red and black leads on the breaker terminal. If the circuit breaker is working, the multimeter should display 250 volts.
Again, if there’s something wrong with the circuit breaker, the multimeter will display 120 volts or zero.
How to Measure Amperage With a Clamp Multimeter
Measuring your amperage with a clamp multimeter is incredibly dangerous. If you don’t feel confident doing this job, please leave it up to a professional.
1. What You Will Need
Get the following tools for this job:
- Electricians’ gloves — do not mess with electricity unless you’re wearing gloves for this job.
- A flathead screwdriver and multimeter — get the screwdriver to remove the cover
2. Remove the Panel Cover
To measure the amperage on the circuit breaker, please remove the cover. Be careful when removing the panel cover.
3. How to Check AMPS On a Circuit Breaker With a Multimeter
After removing the cover, find the breaker that controls the outlet and then find that wire that connects to it. Please, do not touch anything inside the circuit breaker.
Next up, set the multimeter to measure AMPs and clamp it on that wire. After that, have a family member turn on other devices at home. Now, the multimeter will show the amperage being consumed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The fastest way to test a circuit breaker at home is with a multimeter. But it can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, here’s some info to clear up any doubts you might have:
How do you test a circuit breaker with a multimeter?
- First, set up the leads. Next up, put the positive lead on the breaker terminal. Once that’s done, place the negative lead on the neutral bar. The multimeter will now read the voltage.
How do you tell if a breaker doesn’t work with a multimeter?
- Before spending unnecessary time troubleshooting, reset the breaker. If you’re still getting no power, please put the red terminal on the breaker terminal and then the black lead on the neutral bar. If the screen is not showing any power, the breaker needs to go.
How to test a circuit breaker that keeps tripping?
- If you had a breaker trip at home, you have to reset it. To do so, please move it to the off position all the way and then switch it back to the on position. If that doesn’t work, you probably have a loose connection inside.
Can a circuit breaker fail without tripping?
- Yes, your lights can go out without the breaker tripping. If you’ve tried resetting it and could fix it, then it’s safe to assume you got a bad breaker. If you feel comfortable working with panels, try swapping the unit with one that works.
Learning how to test a circuit breaker with a multimeter is a big commitment — it will get out of you so much trouble in the future. But, sure, messing around with electricity is no joke if you don’t know what you’re doing.
But once you get the basics down, you should be able to test your circuit breaker at home. If you don’t feel comfortable, get in touch with your local electrician. He or she will find out what’s wrong with your power.