I wasn’t sure if I should get a multimeter until I really needed it when my entire household grid was overloaded by a lightning strike so I needed to check each circuit in the circuit box to see which one, if any, blew.
Luckily, my father is an electrician so I picked up a few tricks of the trade.
It’s very tough to find yourself in this type of situation, especially if it is Sunday and you have nowhere to go in order to buy the multimeter.
You will now discover how can the multimeter help you if you really need it and hopefully, you will go and get one if you already didn’t as soon as possible.
It is fun
Guess what was the favourite piece of my father’s equipment that I liked to play with when I was a little boy.
I believe that I am not alone when I say that I have an impression that every little boy is fascinated by multimeters.
For some reason I was always very interested in it and I loved watching my father use it to test various appliances and cables while conducting some of his work at our home.
Although I am not so fascinated by multimeters anymore they are still my favorite piece of our DIY home equipment.
Using a multimeter now is a dream come true for me.
And it is as fun as I imagined it to be when I was a kid.
Check the batteries
You are not sure if the computer mouse broke down or if it just has empty batteries?
When you have a multimeter, all you need to do is turn the multimeter on and check the batteries.
The same goes for every other household appliance that has batteries in it.
Turn the multimeter on and have some fun.
Plus, it is also a great and safe opportunity to bond with your kid if he too is fascinated by multimeters like I was.
Fix a broken remote
Do you want to fix that remote that keeps breaking down when you are trying to turn the volume up while watching the game?
To do that you first need to be able to tell what is wrong.
Sometimes the batteries just went out of juice, but if the remote is non responsive even after you changed the batteries, why not test it with a multimeter?
Most oftenly, you don’t need to open up the remote and test each individual circuit on the board.
You just need a multimeter and standard two probes for the battery holder.
Now you just need to place the probes on the positive and negative charge sides on the holder like always and turn the multimeter on.
If you see that normal amounts of electric charge are coming through the remote it means that everything is ok.
Making sure that the power is off
There is nothing more dangerous than working somewhere on the household electric grid without being sure, or sometimes, without being able to check if the power is off.
Use a multimeter and find out.
You can test the wall sockets, lightbulb sockets and even wires.
But there’s a catch for this one.
To make sure that you are safe you will need to get a more expensive multimeter that has built in durable fuses that are able to handle very high amounts of juice.
The fuses will protect you in case something goes wrong.
Such multimeters are more expensive than your ordinary fifty dollars buy, but they are also more precise and are factory tested and guaranteed to take the punch for you if needed.
Checking if you have isolated the wires properly
Here’s the deal:
You have finished repairing that broken lamp and you have taped the wires around with isolation tape, but you are not sure if the isolation is strong enough to prevent electric discharge.
You probably shouldn’t touch that wire.
Use a multimeter.
Don’t plug the probes on the ends of the wires, instead place each probe on the isolated part. Just make sure that you are not piercing the probe with the multimeter.
No need to plug the lamp back on, just turn the multimeter on and check.
Checking the cable before installing it into a wall
For those of us who don’t want to need to break the wall after discovering that the installed cable is not working, multimeter is a perfect choice.
Attach the probes to each end of the cable and you can save yourself a lot of trouble.
If the cable needs to go through the conduit pipe some people will check the cable after running it through the pipe, because cables that came right from the factory are obviously in good order.
Then why does this matter?
Because the isolation rubber on the outside of the cable can be ruptured easily if the cable is transported unprotected and with other equipment.
Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be a lot of it.
It is enough that the ladders are on the cable during the transport and you hit a bump on the road.
It is highly likely that the ladder will erode the rubber and possibly parts of the cable during bumpy rides because of the ladders weight.
It’s very important to check it out because the damage on some part of the cable will be visible in the reduced amount of output on the multimeter.
The bottom line:
Luckily, I was able to call my father and he brought his professional, five hundred bucks worth multimeter.
If he didn’t have one I would have to wait an entire day to get a multimeter in order to check the fuse box and make sure that everything is safe for use.
This article lists the most unique reasons for owning and using a multimeter, but it’s application is a lot wider than that.
Multimeter is a must have for anyone who is the master of his own home and who is able, or who wishes to be able to repair and construct all sorts of things all by himself.