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Thread: Electrical ?

  1. #1
    I need help with the use of a multi meter. I have one and im a rookie when it comes to using it. What i want to know is how do you set and use it when you are trying to test to see if a circuit is complete. Example, i have a key switch that has 4 terminals on the back. I want to see what terminals on the back of the switch get power with the key in the on and off position. How do i do this with a multi meter? Thanks.

  2. #2
    i don't know what type of mete you have but the easiest way to do it is set the meter for reading ohms. this may look like an omega symbol. touch the two leads together and the meter should read zero. this means it is a complete cucuit. now just do the same thing for the leads you want to test

  3. #3
    Havasu Hangin'
    But don't set the meter on "ohms" (measures resistance) when you are looking for 12+ volts.
    Set the meter on volts, ground one side, and touch the terminals- the live ones should read 12 + volts.

  4. #4
    Allright set the multimeter ( aka d.v.o.m. digital volt ohm meter ) to the voltage setting closest to but above what you are testing example: 12 volt system set the dvom to 20 volts ( a common setting on most dvom's) connect the ground lead from the dvom to a known good ground, directly to the battery if you have to! just run a piece of wire from the ground or black lead from the battery to the dvom (black) lead. Then connect the other (red) terminal from the dvom to the terminal you would like to test and turn the switch to the on position: this will tell you what terminals have power when the ignition is in the "on" positon. you can recheck any of the terminals the same way, simply by moving the red lead of the dvom to the next terminal. you can also check to see what terminals have power when the key is in the accessory position. by turning the igniton key back ( if your ignition has that option).
    electricians lingo
    "HOT" means to have power.
    ground means the negative side of the battery
    dvom means digital volt ohm meter. or multimeter
    red = positive
    black = negative
    Hope this helps! any other questions you can email me at

  5. #5
    They're both right. But with the ohm's meter you can test it without any 12V having to go through the switch. Might save ya a shock if yer not careful. Look at your meter for the ohm's "section" (Omega symbol). Set it at the arrow pointing to a vertical line. The newer meters will beep when you touch the leads together.

  6. #6
    What type of meter is it (brand,model) ? Some are auto ranging some are not. Some beep some dont. If you could tell us the model we can provide detailed instructions.

  7. #7
    Got it figured out. Its a Greenlee meter. I used ohms and figured out how to test the switch.

  8. #8
    If you set your meter to voltage rather than ohms you can verify that you have a full 12 volts (or not) as well. By tne way that's the DC volts setting. Most VOM's have AC & DC volt settings.

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