What Is a Multimeter? Types of Multimeters and Their Functions

Multimeter, also known as avometer, is a tester used to measure electrical voltage, current, resistance and so on. Multimeters are mainly of two types, analog and digital. Both are used for measuring and fault detection in electrical circuits.

Friday, September 18, 2020 - 07:10

Multimeter, also known as avometer, is a tester used to measure electrical voltage, current, resistance and so on. Multimeters are mainly of two types, analog and digital. Both are used for measuring and fault detection in electrical circuits.

Multimeters have many different reading capabilities depending on the model. Basic testers measure voltage, current, and resistance and can be used to check continuity, which is sufficient to verify a complete electronic circuit.

More advanced multimeters can test all of the following values.

  • AC (alternating current) voltage and current
  • DC (direct current) voltage and current
  • Resistance (Ohm)
  • Capacity (Farad)
  • Conductivity (Siemens)
  • Decibel
  • Duty cycle
  • Frequency (Hz)
  • Inductance (Henry)
  • Temperature (Celsius or Fahrenheit)

Some multimeters can be combined with different accessories and special sensors to make different measurements such as light level, wind speed, relative humidity.

Analog Multimeter

The analog multimeter measures the current with the help of the micro ammeter inside and moves the needle on the indicator in a graduated scale. Although analog multimeters are not as sensitive as digital ones in volt measurement, they can measure with high sensitivity up to 50 µA (50 microamps) thanks to their low resistance in current measurement.

Analog multimeters are less expensive than their digital counterparts. Analog multimeters are very sensitive due to their internal structure. For this reason, it should be transported carefully.

Digital Multimeter

Digital multimeter consists of digital counter and LCD display instead of moving needle and ruler. Digital multimeters, which are slightly more expensive than analog multimeters, have become a widely used multimeter type thanks to their easy reading and high accuracy measurement.

There are three or four connection ports in black and red colors and black and red probes connected to these ports on the multimeter. The black probe connects to the black port and is used as a common port. The red probe is attached to one of the other connection points according to the desired function (such as current or voltage measurement).

After the tips are attached, the test function is selected by turning the button in the middle of the multimeter. For example, when the switch is set to 200 V DC, the tester can detect DC (direct current) voltage up to 200 V. To measure smaller voltages, the switch should be pulled to 20 V DC.

The voltage (or other value) will be read on the multimeter display when the probes are touched on the points to be tested.

Emre Yılmaz
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Emre Yılmaz, the founder of Lighting Portal, graduated from Atılım University Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2013, and since then has been involved in the management and product development activities of state-supported projects in the lighting industry. He completed his master's degree at Gazi University Industrial Design Engineering Department and continues his education in the doctorate program of the same department.

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