A multimeter, also called as multitester, volt-ohm meter, or simply VOM is a device used for measuring electrical properties, such as current, resistance, or AC and DC voltages. Unlike other types of meters, this device is designed with a combination of ammeter, voltmeter, and ohmmeter functions, so it’s able to test many types of electrical problems in a wide range of devices, including batteries, electric motors, power supplies, wiring systems, and household devices.
Applications and Functions
Multimeters are essential for engineers, electricians, and technicians as they cannot perform their jobs well without an accurate measuring device. In fact, they are now being useful for homeowners, car owners, and amateur electronic hobbyists. In today’s age, when everything is relied on technology, understanding how electronic circuits work is crucial to easily repair items that are necessary in our everyday living, such as cars, radios, mobile phones, and even simple household appliances.
As mentioned, multimeters have three common features combined in a single instrument, and these are voltmeter, ammeter, and ohmmeter. Each of these functions has its own particular uses, and the user should select the one that is most compatible with what he or she measures when using this device. The user can select between these functions by turning the switch.
As a voltmeter, the device can measure the voltage level that flows through an electronic circuit. As an ammeter, the tool can measure the amount of electric current that flows through a closed circuit. And as an ohmmeter, the multitester can show the amount of electrical resistance that is present in an object.
Some multimeters are also designed with additional functions, such as diode check to verify the nature of the diode, and continuity check to determine whether a circuit is open or closed. Some advanced models have other functions, such as the ability to measure temperatures, to determine the number of rotations per minute, and to identify other electrical components, such as capacitors and transistors.
Types of Multimeters
There is a wide selection of multimeters in the market, but they commonly fall into two major types – the analog and digital units. The type of multimeter that you should use depends upon your preference and your electronics need. The following will give you a basic understanding of what analog and digital multimeters are. But you might also want to read the best multimeter reviews 2015 online to see if which type is best for you.
- Analog Multitester. This type of meter is the first type of multimeters to be developed. It has a moving needle and pointed scale to indicate readings. Many engineers and electricians prefer the use of analog multitesters because they are more sensitive to changes than their digital counterparts. Analog models continuously test values during use. Even when there’s a slight change in readings, the tool can track and show it, which is crucial when tracking electrical components.
- Digital Multitester. This type of meter is a special modern type of multitester that usually has the same functions as the analog models but displays and measures readings in a different way. Digital multitesters are typically designed with LCD and LED screens to display readings numerically. Electricians who are looking for much accurate readings can find digital multitesters more useful as they are found to be more accurate compared to analog units. A digital unit can display a quantity from 0 to 19999, or 0.0001 to 1 percent, depending on the model and manufacturer.