A multimeter, also known as a volt-ohm-milliammeter or VOM, is an electronic device that can help you measure a variety of appliances and materials and it can also combine several other functions for increased versatility. Whether you need to test some batteries or perform some electrical repairs, a multimeter can help you get the task done.
You get to measure voltage, resistance, and current, as well as other parameters such as TDS, pH, and temperature with a quality multimeter that you can use in a wide range of applications.
Test your batteries
If you want to check out your rechargeable batteries and see how much their total capacity has decreased, then a multimeter is the right tool for the job. This handy device can measure both alternative current or AC and direct current voltage or DC.
You can also check out your car battery to ensure that it doesn’t let you down when you really need to get going as fast as possible. You can measure the voltage and see if you need to recharge the battery to keep it ready to start your car anytime.
You can also spot a battery when it is reaching the end of its service life. If the readings show 9 volts or less even after you’ve just fully charged it, then you might need to get a replacement. The bad part is that you’ll need to spend some money on a new car battery.
The good part is that an inexpensive multimeter just saved you from a possible scenario where you’re just leaving on a long trip around the country and the car decides to break down right in the middle of nowhere.
Test the lights in your home
You can also use a VOM to test light bulbs and lamps. If you’re experiencing problems with your lights, then you could spot the problem so you know how to fix it. You can check the bulbs and see if they’re causing the flickering, or check the sockets and lamps. In some cases, the switch might be the culprit, and the good part is that you can use a multimeter to test it.
With a VOM, you can easily save yourself from hours of work or from buying a replacement you don’t need for your lighting system. You also get to repair the light switches that your wife has been nagging you about for months and get more brownie points for being a handyman.
However, if this is your first multimeter, you should take the time to learn how to use it properly. Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand how to use it properly, and just as important, what you should never do, such as touching the metal parts of the probes and not the well-insulated plastic handles.
Before you perform any measurements on electrical circuits and devices, you should always remember to shut off the circuits and to unplug appliances. If you’re unsure of what you’re doing, it would probably be a better idea to get a certified electrician to help you out.
Check and fix appliances in your home
If you learn to use a multimeter properly and are skilled with your hands, there is no reason why you could not improve your knowledge and techniques that would allow you to test a wide range of appliances and even fix some of them. There are lots of do-it-yourself guides online that you could read and learn from.
While a VOM won’t instantly turn you into an expert, with enough practice and perseverance, you could become quite good with fixing electrical circuits, power outlets or some appliances and get to save a lot of money by not having to pay a load of money on hiring a professional.
You could easily troubleshoot a basic device such as a food blender and see if the switches need to be replaced, inspect your vacuum cleaner, or check the fuses on your air conditioning unit. Don’t forget the basic safety rule that requires you to unplug the appliance first before working on it.
Measure light and create the perfect atmosphere
You can find multimeters that also come with built-in light meters. These are not suited to photography, but to measuring ambient light in different environments. You get a lux meter that can help you find the right illumination appliances for your home.
You can also use this instrument to ensure that each room gets the right amount of light for its intended use. You can set up a set of bright lights in your working office or kitchen while choosing some soft lamps do create a special atmosphere in the living room or even the bedroom.
There’s also the possibility of getting a multimeter which also features a sound measuring device so that you get to optimize your stereo system’s output to normal sounds levels.
Measure pH, temperature, salinity, and TDS
If you decide to compare some of the best multimeters, you will most likely be surprised to find out that some models come with many more built-in instruments and functions.
You can get one of the specialized multimeters which aren’t built for measuring electrical devices and circuitry, but liquid and semisolid solutions. You can find a model that can measure TDS or total dissolved solids, temperature, pH, as well as water salinity.
The higher the TDS level, the more minerals are dissolved in the water, which would indicate that the quality of the water isn’t great. High TDS levels could also harm your plumbing elements due to deposits or corrosion.
These specialized multimeters also come with pH meters which allow you to check the pH of water and other solutions, but soil as well. You can see if your tap water is too acidic, or measure the pH of your garden soil and see if you need to add some compost to reduce or increase alkalinity.
You can use this highly versatile multimeter for both home and field work and get to enjoy reliable measurements that are accurate every time.