Safety precautions when using digital multimeters

When using digital multimeters, we should be careful and observe few safety precautions in order to keep ourselves safe. This is also necessary for safety of the instrument. This article provides important tips on safety precautions digital multimeters like Fluke1587.

When using digital multimeters, we should be careful and observe few safety precautions in order to keep ourselves safe.

1. General precautions

• When not in use, keep the digital multimeter knob in OFF position or the highest voltage position.

• If you want to check presence of hazardous voltage in a circuit with a digital multimeter, it is important to check for both AC and DC voltage.

2. Continuity Check

• Before starting any measurement activity, you should check the multimeter for continuity. For this, connect its leads and confirm that it reads zero. When performing continuity check for a circuit, switch off the power supply to the circuit.

• If there is a capacitor in the circuit, you will hear a beep sound until the capacitor drains. Always confirm the presence of capacitor to avoid any confusion.

• If you change the leads (between red and black), the readings should not change.

3. Voltage Measurement

• While measuring voltage, never touch the bare probe tips together as it will lead to a short circuit.

• Many digital multimeters have auto ranging facility so that you need not worry about overloading but it makes them work slower and it increases their cost also.

• If auto ranging is not available, appropriate range should be selected so that multimeter reading is near midway on the scale.

• You should check for DC voltage and AC voltage modes in your digital multimeter whether these are separate. Check the user manual to confirm.

• If lower range is selected, the multimeter shows 1 which means that the actual reading is out of selected range. If required voltage for a DC circuit is not known, start from the highest value and go down until correct range is identified.

• If you forget to put the red lead into appropriate socket for voltage measurement and the red lead is connected to current socket in the multimeter, a voltage measurement in this situation may lead to a short circuit through the multimeter.

4. Current Measurement

• For current measurement, the multimeter should be connected in series while it should be connected in parallel for voltage measurements.

• When the multimeter knob is set to current measuring mode and you forget to change it to voltage measuring mode before taking voltage measurements, it may be a cause of potential hazard.

• Set the right current range before measuring higher current otherwise it will blow the digital multimeter fuse.

• Don't try to measure the current in household AC mains as it is dangerous.

5. Resistance Measurement

• Power should be tuned off before taking any measurement.

• A resister should be measured stand alone otherwise connected comonents in the circuit may affect the reading.

• If you still need to measure a connected resister, ensure that any capacitors in circuit are drained off.

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