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Multimeter Info

 

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Bosworth Instrument                              How to Use a Digital Multimeter
                TECH TIPS

What is a Digital MultiMeter
A Digital MultiMeter (or DMM) is an instrument capable of performing a number of measurement functions and displaying the results digitally. The basic functions that most meters offer are Voltage, Current, Resistance, Diode, and Continuity.  Some DMMs offer more advanced functions such as Capacitance, Frequency, Power, and Temperature.
How are Digital MultiMeters used
To perform tests, meters are connected to circuits, components, and other devices via 'test leads'. Test leads are insulated wire probes that plug directly into the meter. Dials or switches on the meter allow the user to select the measurement function and other modes of operation.  Display icons inform the user as to the unit of measure, range, solution and other useful information.
Auto Range and Manual Range Meters
On a Manual Range meter, the user must select the measurement range using a selector switch or rotary dial.  An Auto Range instrument automatically selects the optimum range and display resolution. Auto Range meters have the added benefit of allowing Manual Range operation if and when desired.
Measurement Range
For a given measurement function, the range refers to the span between the highest and lowest possible meter readings. For example, in the AC voltage mode, a range of 0 to 240VAC means that a measurement of 120 VAC is possible because it falls in the “range” of the meters capability.
Measurement Resolution
For a given measurement function, the resolution refers to how finely a meter reading can be expressed. For example, when measuring AC voltage, if the meter’s resolution is 1 volt, a measurement of 120 VAC would display as 120VAC. However, for a resolution of 0.1 the reading would be expressed as 120.0 VAC providing a tenth of a volt resolution.
·         120 V = 1 volt resolution
·         120.0 V = 0.1 (tenth of a volt) resolution
True RMS vs. Average Responding Meters
An Average Responding meter measures AC signals by averaging the peaks and valleys of a waveform; This is perfectly acceptable for periodic, distortion-free sinusoidal signals. However, for non-periodic, noisy, & distorted waveforms a True RMS meter is needed if high accuracy is required. True RMS is a ROOT MEAN SQUARE function that maps instantaneous points along a waveform leading to an accurate measurement value. signwave.jpg
 
 
 
Safety Ratings Category
Hazardous transients and spikes can occur during measurements. In order to shield the user, meters are outfitted with one of four protection levels known as Category Ratings (CAT I, II, III, IV). The higher the CAT number, the higher the transient protection.
The user selects a Category of meter that is appropriate for the area where the testing is to be performed. For example, working with 3 phase motors, variable speed drives, 277V lighting circuits, or distribution panels requires Cat III meters.
·         Cat IV- 3 Phase at utility connection,  outdoor conductors.     CAT_Categories.jpg
·         Cat III- 3 Phase Distribution,  commercial lighting
·         Cat II- Single Phase receptacle connected loads
·         Cat I- Electronic Circuits
 
Voltage Safety Ratings
In addition to Category Ratings, MultiMeters have Voltage ratings. For example, CAT II – 600V or CAT III - 1000V Confusion can arise from these safety conventions. A CAT II – 1000V does not offer more protection than a CAT III – 600V meter. Always refer to the CAT rating first and then the voltage rating.

 
 
 
 
 

Bosworth Instrument 1995 E. 55th St.  Cleveland, OH 44103  |  800-804-6216  |  info@bosworthsupply.com

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