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Tried flipping your light switch but to no avail? Well, it’s time to learn how to test a light switch with a multimeter. This method is pretty straightforward.
But you still need to know a few things before messing with all the power going into the light switch. Below, we’ll cover how you can safely test a switch to determine what’s wrong with your fixtures, brake, and reverse lights.
How to Test a Light Switch Using a Multimeter
Here’s how to test a light switch with a multimeter like a professional:
1. Shut off Your Power
Before starting any home repair project, please kill the power going into the light switch. That said, locate the circuit breaker panel box and flip the breaker that sends power to the light switch.
PLEASE NOTE: You should never test a light switch without turning off the breaker that feeds power to your switch. Even if the light switch is in the “OFF” position, the wires will still have voltage, making it incredibly dangerous to work on.
2. Remove the Plate From the Light Switch
To test the light switch, remove it from the wall. But first, switch it to the “OFF” position. Now, remove the screws holding the plate together. Finally, take the plate and put it to the side.
To be safe, use a voltage defector to make sure there is no electricity running through. To do this, put the detector around the light switch. If there’s power, the voltage tester will beep.
3. Pull the Light Switch
Now that you’ve exposed the light switch, remove the screws on the bottom and top. Then grab the switch by the metal parts and slowly pull it out. After that, remove the screws holding the wires going into the controller.
4. How to Test a Light Switch With a Digital Multimeter
Set the multimeter to continuity. Next, flip the light switch to the “ON” position. Then, proceed to put the leads from your meter on the screws on the side of the switch.
The multimeter will now beep, indicating that there’s continuity. With this information, we can assume that the light switch in great shape. But we still need to check that we’re getting enough voltage.
5. Set the Multimeter to Volts AC
After removing the light switch from the wall, please set the multimeter to volts AC. Next, have somebody turn on the breaker that feeds power to the light switch.
6. How to Test Light Switch Wires With Multimeter
Grab the leads from your multimeter and then put them on the lines going into the switch. The multimeter will now display the voltage. If you’re getting close to 120 volts, then there’s nothing to worry about.
How to Use a Multimeter for Testing a Reverse Light Switch
Having trouble with your car’s lights? Then here’s how you can quickly test the reverse light switch:
1. Set the Multimer to Ohms
Before getting started, please set the multimeter to ohms.
2. How to Test Reverse Light Switch With Multimeter
Get underneath the vehicle and find the light switch, typically located on your car’s transmission. Now have somebody put the car in reverse.
After that, place both leads from the multimeter on the switch. Your multimeter should get about 0.5 ohms. But if there’s no readout, it means the wire quit working and must be replaced.
How to Test a Brake Light Sensor With a Multimeter
Got pulled over because your brake lights were not working? Well, here’s how you can save yourself some money:
1. Find the Brake Pedal
First, find the brake light switch, which is located just above the brake pedal. If you take a closer look, there is a wire going into the switch. Disconnect this wire, and then pull the brake light switch.
2. How to Test Brake Light Switch With Multimeter
Turn the wheel to the WI-FI icon, which is the symbol for continuity. Now grab the leads from your multimeter and touch the pins inside the switch. One lead should go to the left and the other to the right. If the meter beeps, it means the switch is still working.
For more information about brake light sensors, watch this video:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there anything you’re having problems with? Then check this out:
How do you check the voltage on a light switch?
- First and foremost, shut off the power going into the light switch. Do not play games with electricity. After that, remove the plate that covers the light switch. Now test the wires going into the switch with your multimeter.
Are light switches AC or DC?
- Your house runs off of AC. So, if you want to test your light switch, set your multimeter to volts AC. If you were troubleshooting a car’s battery, then you’d need to turn the meter to volts DC.
How do you know if your brake light switch is bad?
- If you press down your brake pedal and the brake lights don’t turn on, then that’s a clear sign there’s something wrong with the sensor. Furthermore, if you’re stuck in the park, it means the brake light switch stopped working.
How do you know if a reverse light switch is bad?
- If your reverse lights don’t come on, it’s safe to assume that the reverse light switch is not working anymore. However, we suggest checking your fuses to make sure they are not the problem.
Learning how to test a light switch with a multimeter is not as hard as you might imagine. You just need to know certain tricks to make it work. But as easy as this process might be, don’t play games with electricity.
Dealing with electricity is incredibly dangerous. Even your light switch has enough power to knock you out and possibly cause permanent damage.
If you still have any questions about light switches, make an appointment with a certified electrician, and they’ll get you out of trouble.