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How Does a Multimeter Measure Voltage? (Answered)

To measure voltage with a multimeter, you’ll need to connect the probes to the right ports. Set the range to AC or DC volts and place the probes on the terminals on which you wish to measure voltage.

Here’s an easy step-by-step process on how to measure voltage with an analog multimeter and digital multimeter.

Measuring voltage using a digital multimeter

A digital multimeter is considered one of the easiest devices to test voltage. To test voltage using a digital multimeter, you’ll need to:

Connect the probes in the right ports

Plug the black lead into the COM slot, and the red lead into the V marked slot. Keep in mind that reversing the wires can destroy the circuitry of the multimeter.

Set the range on the multimeter

Most digital multimeters, DMM, are auto-ranging, meaning they adjust range automatically. But if you have to do it yourself, set the multimeter dial to the highest setting.

Set the multimeter dial to DC or AC mode

If you’re using a manual range setting dial meter, turn the dial to select DC or AC volts. And keep in mind that if you try to test voltage with the incorrect setting, you could damage your multimeter.

Connect the probes to the circuit you want to measure

Place the black probe on the negative terminal and the red probe on the positive terminal. If you connect the probes on the wrong terminals, then the multimeter will display a negative measurement version.

Read the results on your LCD display

If you’ve set the multimeter to correct voltage range and setting, and connected the probes on the right terminals, it should display the correct voltage reading.

If you set the voltage too low, your multimeter will display 1. That means you need to either reverse the probe connections or adjust the range.

Measuring voltage using an analog multimeter

An analog multimeter is also extremely easy to use. However, the device may need to be handled with more care to prevent damage since it doesn’t have the protection of a digital one. To measure the voltage, you’ll need to:

Select the DC or AC voltage mode on the multimeter

The DC set is often indicated by a label such as DCV or a series of dots and the AC option by a label like ACV or a straight line.

Use the DC setting to measure low-voltage power sources like batteries. AC is for most electronic devices and wall outlets.

Choose a high range on the dial for the device you wish to measure

If you are unsure what setting to use, begin at the highest range and lower it until the needle reads accurately.

For example, most home outlets usually maintain a 120-volt current, so choose a much higher range, in this case, 200v.

Plug the leads into multimeter specific ports

The black probe should be in the COM socket, and the red probe on the V marked socket.

Place the ends of the leads on the device you wish to measure

Touch the black lead to the negative terminal and the red one to the positive terminal. Remember to handle the leads one at a time to avoid touching those tips.

Check the needle and make adjustments if needed

An analog multimeter has a needle that moves to test voltage.
If the needle moves to the right, break the circuit and choose a higher range.

If it barely moves or doesn’t move much, choose a lower range in order to get an accurate reading.

What to avoid when using a multimeter to measure voltage

  • Don’t use damaged leads.
  • Always double-check that the leads are in the right ports to avoid blowing your meter.
  • If you are testing high voltages or main voltages, power off the circuit you wish to test.
  • Insert the lead of the meter in the neutral terminal first. That is because if you put the lead into a live wire first and your multimeter is faulty, then the current could flow via the multimeter to the neutral lead of the meter in your hands. In case you touch the lead, there’s a possibility of shock.

How Does a Multimeter Measure Voltage? (Answered)

To measure voltage with a multimeter, you’ll need to connect the leads (black and red) in the right ports. Choose a range on the dial for the device you wish to measure and connect the leads on the terminals on which you are testing voltage.

Here are steps you can follow to test voltage using a multimeter:

  • First, plug the leads in the right ports.
  • For manual range type, choose a high range on the dial for the device you wish to measure
  • Connect the leads to the points you wish to test the voltage across.
  • Check the readings on the LCD display.