Quantcast Multimeter voltmeter, and an ohmmeter, all in one package. Figure 1-37 is a picture of a typical multimeter. Figure 1-37. - A typical multimeter. ">

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A MULTIMETER is the most common measuring device used in the Navy. The name multimeter comes from MULTIple METER, and that is exactly what a multimeter is. It is a dc ammeter, a dc voltmeter, an ac voltmeter, and an ohmmeter, all in one package. Figure 1-37 is a picture of a typical multimeter.

Figure 1-37. - A typical multimeter.

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The multimeter shown in figure 1-37 may look complicated, but it is very easy to use. You have already learned about ammeters, voltmeters, and ohmmeters; the multimeter is simply a combination of these meters.

Most multimeters use a d'Arsonval meter movement and have a built-in rectifier for ac measurement. The lower portion of the meter shown in figure 1-37 contains the function switches and jacks (for the meter leads).

The use of the jacks will be discussed first. The COMMON or -jack is used in all functions is plugged into the COMMON jack. The +jack is used for the second meter lead for any of the functions printed in large letters beside the FUNCTION SWITCH (the large switch in the center). The other jacks have specific functions printed above or below them and are self-explanatory (the output jack is used with the dB scale, which will not be explained in this chapter). To use one of the special function jacks, except +10 amps, one lead is plugged into the COMMON jack, and the FUNCTION SWITCH is positioned to point to the special function (small letters). For example, to measure a very small current (20 microamperes), one meter lead would be plugged into the COMMON jack, the other meter lead would be plugged into the 50A AMPS jack, and the FUNCTION SWITCH would be placed in the 50V/IA AMPS position. To measure currents above 500 milliamperes, the +10A and -10A jacks would be used on the meter with one exception.

One meter lead and the FUNCTION SWITCH would be placed in the 10MA/AMPS position.


As described above, the FUNCTION SWITCH is used to select the function desired; the -DC, +DC, AC switch selects dc or ac (the rectifier), and changes the polarity of the dc functions. To measure resistance, this switch should be in the +DC position.

The ZERO OHMS control is a potentiometer for adjusting the 0 reading on ohmmeter functions. Notice that this is a series ohmmeter. The RESET is a circuit breaker used to protect the meter movement (circuit breakers will be discussed in chapter 2 of this module). Not all multimeters have this protection but most have some sort of protection, such as a fuse. When the multimeter is not in use, it should have the leads disconnected and be switched to the highest voltage scale and AC. These switch positions are the ones most likely to prevent damage if the next person using the meter plugs in the meter leads and connects the meter leads to a circuit without checking the function switch and the dc/ac selector.


The numbers above the uppermost scale in figure 1-38 are used for resistance measurement. If the multimeter was set to the R x 1 function, the meter reading would be approximately 12.7 ohms.

Figure 1-38. - A multimeter scale and reading.

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The numbers below the uppermost scale are used with the uppermost scale for dc voltage and direct current, and the same numbers are used with the scale just below the numbers for ac voltage and alternating current. Notice the difference in the dc and ac scales. This is because the ac scale must indicate effective ac voltage and current. The third scale from the top and the numbers just below the scale are used for the 2.5-volt ac function only.

The lowest scale (labeled DB) will not be discussed. The manufacturer's technical manual will explain the use of this scale.

The table in figure 1-38 shows how the given needle position should be interpreted with various functions selected.

As you can see, a multimeter is a very versatile measuring device and is much easier to use than several separate meters.

Q.53 What is a multimeter? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.54 Why is a multimeter preferred over separate meters?answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.55 How is a multimeter changed from a voltage measuring device to a resistance measuring device? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.56 Why is the dc scale on a multimeter different than the ac scale? answer.gif (214 bytes)

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