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How to Use a Solderless Breadboard
Written By: John R. Sewell

In this discussion, we will cover Manual & Auto ranging portable, general use Digital Multimeters. In the electrical and electronics field Digital Multimeter, 7 Function with LCD Display there is nothing more universally used than the Digital Multi Meter; also known as a DMM, DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter), or DVM (Digital Voltmeter). The digital meters available, run the gamut from cheap pocket units to very sophisticated Lab Models costing more than $1000. To most of us, the common 3-1/2 digit, battery powered Digital Multimeter meets almost all our needs.

PLEASE NOTE: that meters are classified for safety as Category I, II, III, IV
For information on Category I-IV see our Educational Listing
For Indoor, Dry Locations Only, unless specifically designed & Marked for Wet Locations
Hazardous conditions exist with all Electrical/Electronic Circuits.
Any test equipment Used in an unsafe manner can result injury or death.
Always follow safety instructions and Assume all circuits are energized & dangerous.

With the manual meter, operation is quite straight forward. The simplest ones have a couple of leads attached to unit with a large knob & a display while others will have plug in jacks where you attach the wire leads (Probes or Clip Leads). The "Com" is black and is where the "Black" or - probe connects, The other Jack is labeled "V", Ohms, + and Digital Multimeter, 3-3/4 Digit, True RMS is used for the Voltage and resistance and is the Red probe connection. The 3rd & 4th Jack, if present, are respectively labeled "uA,mA, and "10A" (or 20A) for current tests. The knob is used to select the type of measurement & max value to be measured. For instance; Legends usually show "V -_-_-" or "VDC" for DC Volts, "V~" or "VAC" for AC Volts. Ranges are 0.2/2/20/200/500. So to read a 12V battery, you would set the range to VDC 20V, attach the lead (Black) and then the + (Red) lead to the battery terminals and read the display. To check a wall outlet for AC Volts; since we are not sure of the voltage here (120 or 220) we set the range to AC Volts 500 and connect leads (Black) to 1 blade & the + (Red) lead to the other. To check the output of a 12VAC bell transformer you would use the VAC 20V range.

Remember that With Voltage the test leads go across the source to measure. The best thing to remember here is if you don't know the voltage range then always start at the max and work down.

Meters with "Resistance" operate much the same way but here YOU must be sure that there is NO POWER IN THE CIRCUIT. You set the knob to "R" or "OHMS" and work back down the ranges until you get a value reading. Here the meter supplies a small current to the part and reads the voltage across the part.

Some meters may have DC Current settings showing "A -_-_-" or "ADC" for DC Amps. In this case you must "break" the circuit and put the Digital Meter in series with the load. NEVER BREAK THE CIRCUIT WHILE ENERGIZED! With a auto ranging Digital Multimeter the operator actions in the connections are the same. The major difference is in the "Knob". On the meter you will see the major legends; VDC, Ohms, VAC etc. but there are no ranges (.2,2,20 etc). This Digital Multimeter has internal circuits that allow it to select the proper range. Connections of the meter to the device under test are the same as the manual meter and all cautions apply.
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