Electrical components play a big role in our everyday life. In order to keep it functioning within its intended specifications, electricians and electrical engineers have conducted tests to ensure its reliability. To aid them with that task, they have multimeters that can provide accurate measurement of a circuit’s electrical output.
A multimeter is likened to a weapon in an electrician’s hand. It can help him wield his years of education and make an accurate assessment of which part of the device needs to be serviced. It can also be used to fine-tune a project, making it perform to specifications. Read on as we will discuss the factors in choosing one are plus, we have a list of the top picks available here in the Philippines.
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Table of Contents
Before delving into the considerations in choosing a Multimeter, let's go over what is it and the basic know-how of using it.
A multimeter is a tester, operable by hand, which is used to test a multitude of electrical outputs. It is commonly used to test voltage, current, and resistance. The first versions of multimeters came in analog, with a needle indicating the value; however, newer versions now come in digital, which offer a more accurate reading.
The electrical reading can be used to diagnose any underlying problem in the electronics. If used by a capable hand, it can troubleshoot problems precisely and offer possible solutions. It can also be used to test any projects or homemade electronics to determine if they perform to your intended specifications.
A multimeter has two connectors, usually denoted by red and black color wires. The black lead connects to a port which is the base or the starting point, while the red probe is inserted into the intended electrical output you need to cover. The opposite ends of both probes are then placed onto the leads that you want to measure.
You then select the function that you want to be measured. There are different functions that you can use; the most common are resistance, capacity, or voltage, which can either be direct current or alternating current.
Touch the leads on the circuit that you want to take a reading, and take note that it must be the bare metal. The reading will then display on the multimeter either digitally or through an analog reader.
An electrician is only as good as his tools allow him to. To give the most accurate reading and to diagnose problems the best way possible, he must have the perfect multimeter for his specialty. Let’s check below how an electrician should go about choosing his multimeter.
There are two main types of multimeter available in the market. The first one is a remnant of old technology that some still use today. The other one is a culmination of new technologies leading to a much simpler way of measuring electrical readings. Let’s go over the differences.
Back in the olden days, people used to measure simple things such as voltage and current. To display the readings, analog multimeters were built. The readings are displayed using a moving coil meter. The minute changes in the electrical output move the coil meter to the corresponding value by deflecting the indicator needle.
This type of meter show changes in the reading in real-time, making it useful to track any changes in the electrical system due to a switch or a surge in electricity. However, the reading must be done at a right angle, often leading to inaccurate readings when read at the wrong position. Therefore, experience and expertise are needed to maximize an analog multimeter.
Advances in technology have made it easier for multimeters to read electrical values. The main difference between a digital and an analog is the display is the use of an LCD. This removes any possible mistakes that may happen from reading from an analog multimeter.
Digital multimeters are also added with other electrical measurements previously unavailable on analog testers. This becomes more versatile. However, a digital multimeter needs to stabilize first to give an accurate reading. It is therefore not suited for giving out readings in real-time.
There is a special setting that you need to check on your multimeter, which can make life easier or harder for you. Depending on the application, you may want your multimeter to set a range for the test you are doing. This is called auto-ranging. For some applications, you need to set the range to get results. Multimeters that are manual-ranging fit this scenario.
Manual-ranging is a bit fiddly, but it offers precision that is usually not adjustable on an auto-ranging multimeter only. For those with more experience with multimeters, going for a manual-ranging model can offer accuracy to their work. Some models offer manual and auto-ranging, so look into those if you want the flexibility.
To do a measurement, you should be able to connect the multimeter firmly to the circuit. There are different ways to attach the multimeter by the use of probes.
Some probes can provide a secure grip, such as grabbers and alligator clips. For a tight fit or for spaces that need a little fiddling, hook probes or tweezer leads will make it easier to have a secure connection.
A multimeter can be used in several ways. Some use it for science projects, while some use it for industrial applications. For those scenarios, there are various ranges of maximum load a multimeter can accommodate.
Industrial applications need a higher maximum capacity due to the higher electrical load in the circuitry so check if the multimeter you are getting is within that range.
For the common usage of multimeter such as voltage, the usual maximum limit is around 600 volts. For current, a limit of 10 amperes is seen on good multimeters. Lastly, the resistance, which is denoted by ohms (Ω), can be measured up to 20 MΩ.
Multimeters were originally made to measure voltage, amperage, and resistance. But as technology discovered ways to use electrical signals, the development of sensors has progressed, with multimeters now able to measure various environmental outputs.
Some of the measurements that can be done without any additional attachments are voltage and amperage for alternating and direct currents, resistance, capacity, decibels, inductance, and even the temperature!
With the use of additional sensors that can be attached to the multimeter, other measurements such as brightness, PH level, and relative humidity can be acquired as well.
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Original Digital Multimeter Tester Multi Tester CAT.III 600V ｜DM2002
Harness the Power of Electricity in Your Hands
LCD Digital Multimeter｜XL830L
A Reliable Tester for Electrical Needs
Digital Clamp Tester Multimeter
A Multimeter That Holds on to Your Reading Reliably
Digital Autoranging Multimeter
Measure Accurately While Enjoying the Digital Revolution
Digital Multimeter Tester｜ZT102
A Tester to Make Your Troubleshooting Easier
Mini Multimeter with NCV and Type K Temperature｜EX330
Harness the Technology of Non-Contact Voltage Detection
Digital Multimeter ｜SMT-750
A Tool to Understand the Synergy Between Electricity and Component
True RMS Digital Multimeter｜UT-139B
Highly Accurate Tester for Better Electrical Diagnosis
Record Even the Minute Fluctuations Using This Analog Tester
LCD Digital Multimeter｜DT830D
A No-Frills Multimeter Fit for a Student
The Ingco Digital multimeter is an all-around tester that anyone can use. It features a rubberized grip, giving you that soft, supple, and sure grip while also providing insulation for your hands as you use it.
It can test for the voltage for DC and AC, with a range from 200mV to 600V, sufficient enough for all electrical applications. Current is rated at 20mA-10A while the Resistance can be tested from 200ohms tp 2Megaohms.
The display is legible, which is crisp, and easy to read. The labeling is also spot-on, leading to no confusion and disorientation as you use this tester. This is a true workhorse that beginners and experienced electricians can rely on!
The XL830L is one of the most successful multimeter designs available. It features a circuit board that is easy to manufacture but produces reliable and accurate readings, making it a staple to electricians all over the world.
It features common measurement needs such as voltage, current, and resistance. The ranges are perfect for DIY builds up to small industrial-scale electrical systems, making your transition from a beginner to an intermediate electrician a breeze.
Other than the usual measurements, it can also acquire readings for Gain and Continuity, should your job require you to do so. It is also ergonomic, a comfortable hold when going through a normal day testing for electrical outputs.
There are times when it gets tiring to hold on to your electrical tester. For those moments, there is this multimeter. It has a built-in clamp to allow it to be hung, freeing both of your hands to fiddle over hard-to-reach wires and circuit boards.
Once you have your hands freed, taking measurements is a walk in the park. You won't feel amiss with any tester capabilities as this multimeter offers good testing capabilities while letting you set the range at which to measure.
It also has the ability to test for continuity and capacitance, making it more adept than some testers out there. This a remarkable tester that will continue holding on.
Going digital has been the trend. A digital multimeter is common, but a multimeter that feels like your phone? This tester has got your back. At first glance, it looks like a smartphone, and rightly so. The display is big and contains a lot of information, making it readable and useful.
It measures voltage and resistance. Unfortunately, the current measurement isn't available. Other features include measurement of temperature, gain, frequency, capacitance, and inductance. But for those looking for the complete package, the loss of current testing is noticeable.
For ease of use, the manufacturer has included a wrist strap. A backlight is also available if you perform electrical tests in cramped, poorly-lit areas. This multimeter is the right step towards the future of electrical testing.
A multimeter should be designed as safe as it can be while offering quality performance. Zotek has produced a tester that is up to those standards, giving you a bang for your buck. This tester is able to detect minute changes in Voltage, Current, Resistance, Capacitance, and Frequency.
It is also portable, fitting inside a pocket when not in use. An attachment bracket exists at the back, which can be used to attach your test probe for convenience. With its wealth of features and ease of use, your electrician worries will be swept away under the current.
Testing electrical components can be quite tricky and dangerous. To resolve that, non-contact voltage detectors came about. It provides accurate readings of up to 0.5% accuracy without making contact with the leads.
With its compact build, this multimeter is no slouch. It can withstand voltages of up to 600V, a current of 10A, and resistances of up to 2MΩ. It is also feature-laden, giving you the opportunity to measure a myriad of other electrical outputs, even the temperature of any surface!
The multimeter body is lined with a rubber holster, keeping your investment safe from falls and damages. High-end technology and its ergonomic and compact design make this multimeter hard to beat.
A better understanding is needed for you to master the intricacies of electrical diagnosis. With the help of a multimeter such as this, it brings you a step closer and a test wiser. The multimeter is portable and is good for general-purpose testing.
It features safety circuitry and accurate sensing to generate test results for better diagnosis. The LCD screen is large and clear, making it easy to understand readings without fear of misinterpretation. It also sports a durable holder, making it a perfect companion for your electrical needs.
Accuracy is important when you are measuring something as dangerous and unpredictable as electrical energy. With the use of True RMS technology, it harnesses computational technology to give more accurate readings, right up to the decimals.
The tester is auto-ranging, able to detect the appropriate data field for much better accuracy. The voltage, resistance, and current are therefore highly reliable, giving you an edge to your electrical troubleshooting. Other measurements include capacitance and frequency for different applications.
The tester is encased in a rubber holster, giving you a firm grip while protecting it from accidental scuffs and falls. The rubber also protects you from discharge just in case the safety circuit inside fails. Accuracy is truly the name of the game with this multimeter.
If you fancy using a tester that is responsive to your circuitry's changes, going for an analog one would do you wonders. One of the advantages of analog is it doesn't need to stabilize to get an accurate reading. Just follow where the needle points, and you're set.
It covers most electrical output, albeit smaller ranges. The disadvantage of the analog is its coil limitation. Since the reading is physically shown, the coil can only take a certain range of output for it to be usable. Nevertheless, this analog tester is perfect for a DIY electronics build.
A common staple in a school setup, this multimeter has been a source of fond memories for college engineering students. Due to its competitive pricing and capable specifications, most universities have used this model of multimeter for years.
The strength of this tester is its wide range. Although manual ranging, you can cater to different applications due to the range of output it can test, making this a compact yet powerful multimeter. The only downside is the casing, which becomes brittle over the years.
The joy of creating something from the confines of your imagination into reality is a beautiful feeling. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and progresses you in your specialty. In order to help you realize your creative freedom, we have reviewed some of the best tools used by DIYers in their quest for perfection. Have a look below and see if we are of help to your DIY projects.
Author: Richard Martin
No. 1: Ingco｜Original Digital Multimeter Tester Multi Tester CAT.III 600V ｜DM2002
No. 2: Ledstar｜LCD Digital Multimeter｜XL830L
No. 3: Uni-T｜Digital Clamp Tester Multimeter
No. 4: Aneng｜Digital Autoranging Multimeter
No. 5: Zotek｜Digital Multimeter Tester｜ZT102
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