Using an Electrical Test Meter

In order to assess problems within your electrical devices safely, you have to use an electrical testing meter. The meter is also known as a multi-meter which is designed to have the ability of measuring a multiple of variables such as voltage, current, resistance, and sometime it also comes with a few more functions and features depending on the model and the manufacturer. Some of the newer meter models are designed with digital displays and have a certain method of selecting which test that you want to perform as well as the type of current the item required, which is either AC or DC. The multi-meter is an efficient work tool and a safety device, but when you are using the device, you must not be ignorant. Always be extra careful because it can also be a source of danger when it is connected to a ‘live’ circuit.

What you need to do:

  1. Electrical test meter or multi-meter

Electrical Test Meter


  1. In order for you to connect the meter to your device, you need to use test leads, which are color coded to the meter. It is designed in such a way for ensuring that you would connect the leads onto the correct ports on the meter.
  2. The first thing to do is to insert the meter’s test leads into the appropriate ports that you see on the meter. Then, set the black lead into the black port which is marked with the word ‘COM’ while the red lead should be plugged into the red ports. Once done, you have to test its operation whether it is able to perform or not.
  3. For whatever testing that you want to perform, you must set the knob on the meter which enables you to select different types required. The available selections provided by the meter depend on the model of your multi-meter, but usually the meter would have two of the common options of ‘DC’ and ‘AC’ for volts, ohms and amperage.
  4. After that, you have to touch the ends of your test leads to the testing points and where you decide to touch the ends also depends on which quantity you are measuring. Next, you need to turn the power to the device off before you proceed with the test again if you decide to do continuous testing and then, touch the leads onto the device’s terminal.
  5. Once finished, you would be able to read the display in order to determine the measurement. The measurement displayed on the meter may vary depending on the quantity that you are measuring.
  6. You should also be using clips on the probes will enable you to connect the probes safely onto the device.
  7. If you decide to change the quantity that you are testing, you must first ensure that you switch the test leads. Always remember that the red lead must be placed in the correct port in order to prevent any damage when you are doing the testing.
  8. Another thing that you must do is to inspect the leads for any damage or faulty before you start to use the meter. Damage or faulty leads which are broken or scuffed must be replaced immediately.
  9. It is also recommended that you have someone to assist you every time you are working with electricity. If the area you are working on is wet or damp, do not test any of the electricity within the area and also do not attempt to do any testing if you think that the electricity involved is related to high voltage or dangerous circuits.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

Electrical Test Equipment

Electronic Test Instruments: Analog and Digital Measurements (2nd Edition)