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You can avoid inaccurate measurements, ghost readings, and every other issue by learning how to use a 7 function digital multimeter. The right way, of course.
Regular multimeters are fantastic, but the 7-function digital multimeter is next level. This is the tool that you need to work on, not one but multiple projects. Of course, getting one of these multimeters is the easy part. For inexperienced users, the issues may come while using this tool.
And that’s the purpose of this article. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what this tool allows you to do and how to do it. The text goes over basic stuff like how to run a car battery test and resistance.
Without anything else to add, let’s begin with some concepts.
7 Function Digital Multimeter – What Is It?
The 7 function digital multimeter is a versatile device designed for technicians. As the name suggests, this single tool can provide accurate measurements in a variety of electronics.
You can use it to perform tests that include AC voltage, DC voltage, DC current, resistance, continuity, transistor, and battery testing.
The best thing about this type of multimeter is that the design is super intuitive. In this article, I’ll use the CEN-TECH 98025 multimeter as an example. This is because this particular device excels in every area. Using it is easy, the reading accuracy is top-notch, and it performs so many tasks with absolute perfection. Moreover, for the low price-point, it’s a no-brainer!
How To Read a 7 Function Digital Multimeter
Most multimeters feature a large knob at the front. You can use this knob to adjust the device, setting it to the most adequate configuration depending on what you want to measure. This knob can point to multiple labels that include settings to measure voltage, current, and resistance.
The main three things to understand about multimeters are that they measure voltage, current, and resistance. Each of these elements has its own symbol that identifies them at the front of the meter. Let’s talk about that briefly.
This refers to how hard the electricity gets pushed through a circuit. The higher the voltage, the harder the electricity gets pushed. Measured in volts, voltage comes represented with the symbol V.
This term refers to quantity, as in how much electricity flows across the circuit. The higher the current, the more electricity flows. Measured in amperes, the symbol for this concept is A.
Lastly, resistance indicates how difficult it’s for the electricity to flow. With higher resistance, you’ll notice that the electricity will have more issues flowing. The symbol for resistance is Ω, and it measures in ohms.
With this information in mind, let’s look at some of the standard tests that this device can do.
How to Test Car Battery with a 7 Function Multimeter
Using the multimeter to test the car battery is the easiest way to know if the battery has issues. Plus, the whole procedure is straightforward, meaning everyone can do it. With your preferred seven-function multimeter at hand, follow these steps to run an inspection on the battery.
7 Function Digital Multimeter Car Battery Test
- Start by turning on the headlights of the vehicle. Allow them to stay active for at least two minutes. This is a basic procedure that you must perform for safety reasons. It’ll help the car get rid of the surface charge that the battery may have.
- Following the two minutes, grab your multimeter and turn it on. Then, set the dial to 15-20 volts. This is all the configuration you’ll have to do during this type of test. Easy and quick.
- Before connecting the multimeter to the battery, make sure to turn off the lights you activated earlier on.
- Back to the multimeter, proceed to connect both the positive and negative to the battery terminals. Red to red, and black to the black terminal. Nothing complicated about this.
- As soon as you complete the previous step, the multimeter display should show a voltage reading. The ideal reading would be around 12. If it doesn’t show anything close to that, the battery may be bad.
Keep in mind that if your reading shows near 12 volts, the battery can still have issues.
This is because batteries can hold a charge but not the cold-cranking amps needed to start the vehicle. You can address this issue by starting the car with the multimeter still attached.
Start the car, and check the multimeter reading. Usually, the measurement shouldn’t go below ten. If it drops below that, then the battery has a problem.
Need more help? Check out this fantastic video.
How to Test Continuity with a 7 Function Multimeter
Testing for continuity is an effective method to check whether the SMD pins are touching. All you have to do here is touch the wire pointers with both probes.
Before even attempting to run a continuity test, you must turn off the whole system. Make sure there’s no electricity running. With that in mind, let’s move forward.
7 Function Digital Multimeter Continuity Test
- With the multimeter at hand, set the dial to the continuity setting. Configure the multimeter properly to avoid false readings.
- As soon as you set the device to continuity settings, a “1” value should show up on the screen. This is important because it establishes that there’s no type of continuity detected. The readout should change the moment you attach the probes to a system.
- Next, you’ll have to work on the circuit. But first, make it, so the circuit has no power at all by unplugging it.
- For this step, you must connect the probes. Attach them to the ends of the circuit. Realistically, there’s no specific way to do this. Connect the probes as you see fit, and it should work correctly.
- At this point, you’ll notice the first reading on the device. If there’s a complete circuit, a “0” measurement, or anything else besides “1,” it means there’s a complete circuit. However, the circuit won’t be done if the multimeter continues displaying a “1.”
Things to Consider While Running a Continuity Test
- Why perform a continuity test? Ideally, the continuity test lets you know where there’s an electric connection between two things. As long as they’re continuous, the electric current will flow openly.
- If you run the test and there’s no continuity, there may be a break along the circuit. Now, this could indicate many things. The most common issues that cause this are blown fuses, negative solder joints, or poorly wired circuits.
- Not sure the multimeter can do continuity tests? Here’s a quick and easy trick to check its effectiveness. With the two test probes connected, grab both of them with each hand and let the tips touch. Before doing that, the readout should be “1.” With both probes in contact, the multimeter should read close to 00.5 ohms.
- The multimeter may behave differently while testing switches. If this is the device you want to test, the meter should go off and on. This happens while flipping the switch.
Guidelines on How to Use the 7 Function Digital Multimeter
One thing to love about the CEN-TECH 98025 multimeter is the included manual. This is an informative piece that tackles some of the most essential elements of this device. For instance, it teaches you how to use the tool properly. That includes safety tips, how to use the probes correctly, and much more.
These are some of the highlighted parts of the manual.
7 Function Digital Multimeter Manual Highlights
Before use, check the multimeter to confirm the following:
- Make sure the connectors have protection via insulation. Pay special attention to this to avoid potentially risky situations.
- The leads are equally important. Take a deep look at the leads to guarantee there’s no exposed metal. Also, consider damaged insulation and proper continuity.
- If the test leads have any of the issues mentioned above, act quickly to replace them as soon as possible.
Do not use the multimeter if it has some of the following issues:
- The test leads have significant damage, as described above.
- Low batteries, which could cause other problems unexpectedly.
- You also want to avoid using the device in dangerous environments. This can be either explosive gasses or fumes. Speaking of batteries, the correct type to use is 9V batteries.
There are also other things to remember, such as:
- Remember to disconnect the circuit’s power supply before using the multimeter. This is most important while measuring current.
- Find a proper place to store away the multimeter when not in use. Ideally, store it in a dry location. This will allow it to reduce exposure to moisture, which could damage the device. Also, this place must be out of hands for children.
- You may want to avoid using this equipment on circuits over 750 volts AC and 1000 volts DC. In any case, testing voltages in these circuits is a task only a qualified professional should perform.
- Always use the correct setting depending on the task at hand. The setting must match the terminals and the range of the circuit. Multimeter manuals share plenty of information on how to configure the tool.
- Calibrating the multimeter is necessary per year. However, only a qualified technician must do this procedure. If you don’t have your meter calibrated, the accuracy of the device won’t be high.
- After connecting the multimeter to a circuit, don’t attempt to switch the testing modes. This would be reckless, unnecessary, and dangerous.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Don’t want to have a single doubt before using a 7-function digital multimeter? This section may help you out:
What are probes/leads? How do you use them?
Upon receiving the multimeter, the other major elements that come with it are the test probes or leads. These are two wires of different colors, one black, and the other red. At one end, these wires have what people call banana jack. This is the section of the cable that you must attach to the multimeter.
The other end is the probe tip. This is what you use to run tests on circuits, components, and equipment. As per standard electronics convention, the wire color defines the purpose of each probe. Thus, red works for positive, and black is for negative.
What do series and parallel circuits mean?
While running a circuit test using the multimeter, you have to figure out whether to attach the test probes in series or parallel. Of course, following each method will depend entirely on what you want to measure. Allow me to elaborate on that.
A series circuit has all of its elements under the same current. Therefore, it’s essential to measure the circuit’s current by attaching the multimeter in series.
On the other hand, a parallel circuit refers to a circuit with each measurement under the same voltage. This is when you’d want to attach the multimeter in parallel.
Are 7 function multimeters safe to use?
Yes. All decent multimeters feature fuses, which protect the device if a considerable amount of current flows through. When that happens, these fuses burn out to stop electricity flow right on track. Besides being safe for users, this measure also protects the multimeter from receiving any damage.
Some multimeter models have different fuses. This is because they make the tool compatible with high or low current. Therefore, considering the fuse before starting your test over the circuits is super important.
Combined with the safety measures discussed previously, the fuses make the multimeter a safe tool.
How to test a transistor with a 7 function digital multimeter?
Testing a transistor using this tool is straightforward. Follow these steps:
- First, start by turning the dial and set it to the hFE position. This setting should be on the right side of the diode symbol.
- Continue by plugging the transistor, which should go in the NPN/PNP jack. Since multimeters can be different from one another, consult the manual and the transistor’s manual as well.
- Turn on the meter.
- Check the reading, and look for the transistor’s specifications for comparison.
Knowing how to use a 7 function digital multimeter is an indispensable requirement for technicians. This tool offers versatility like no other, allowing you to use it for more than one or two applications. Though the design of these meters makes them somewhat intuitive, there’s still a technique needed to use them right.
So, don’t miss out on the information shared here. Every bit is essential, as it’ll take you one step closer to mastering this tool. Once you do, testing circuits, batteries, equipment, and much more will be a breeze.