What is a multimeter?
A multimeter is an electrotechnical measuring instrument which can be used for various measurements as well as for several measuring ranges. A multimeter (also called a multimeter) offers almost universal possibilities for determining a wide variety of values. Multimeters are already part of the basic equipment for electrical engineers, but hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers can also benefit from this professional and precise measuring device!
Multimeters are available in different versions, differing in accessories and functions. There are analogue and digital variants of this device. An analogue multimeter has a scale field that represents different measuring ranges. The measured values are displayed with a pointer on these scales. For digital multimeters, an electronic signal is recorded and the value is displayed on a digital display.
Due to its versatility, a multimeter can be used for a wide variety of measurements of electrical units. Constant variables as well as alternating variables can be measured. In addition to current flows, voltages and resistances, temperatures, capacities of a capacitor or its frequencies can also be determined. Discover the wide selection of satelite finders in our extensive range of modern measurement technology!
How does a multimeter work?
Digital multimeters are the most modern measuring devices. The values are determined with the aid of an electronic analog-to-digital converter that digitizes the recorded measured values. The results are displayed in decimal numbers on an LED display or a liquid crystal display. With some versions, the values can even be transferred to a computer. A digital multimeter also has many other functions:
There is a round, handy selection switch in the center on the front of the device. Various scales, divided into several sections, are placed around the switch. Each section represents the measurement range of a specific electrical quantity, such as volts for voltage, amperes for current, or ohms for resistance. By turning the switch, the desired measuring mode, as well as a precise measuring range, can be set.
Depending on the version, a multimeter has additional pushbuttons that can be used to switch between DC and AC quantities or to temporarily store determined values. In addition, digital multimeters have various connectors for all the necessary connection cables. With their numerous functions, digital multimeters are a universal measuring instrument and the ideal supplement for your environmental monitoring technology!
Multimeter tool stations
Bench multimeters, unlike portable and handheld models, are designed for stationary use. They have a box-like shape and larger dimensions. These devices can be placed on any work surface or be installed in a special equipment rack. Compared to portable versions, the biggest advantage of bench multimeters is the significantly wider range of functions. This makes the devices particularly popular in-service workshops and research laboratories.
Multimeters for tables are available as analogue and digital versions. Digital devices are usually the preferred choice due to their higher accuracy. Via a special interface, bench multimeters can be connected to a computer and be controlled with an associated software. The measured values appear on the digital display. The control panel of the device consists of a whole series of buttons that can be used to accurately set the multimeter.
Benchtop multimeters can be used for various measurements, such as recording voltages, currents or resistances. Some models also allow determining frequencies, pulse and duty cycles, diode functions or capacities. Some bench multimeters can measure sound levels, temperatures or rotational speeds – and are optimal multifunctional devices for professional measurements of all kinds!
Multimeter application examples
Multimeters are easy to operate, but the operation differs depending on the electrical unit. The voltage of a battery, for example, can be recorded as follows: First, the multimeter is switched on and the corresponding measuring range in volts is set. Then you can attach the red test cable to the positive terminal and the black lead to the negative terminal of the battery and get the reading – just like a special battery tester.
Current strengths within a circuit can also be measured in a similar way. However, the circuit must first be opened so that the multimeter can be integrated into the circuit. The two test cables of the device are used to close the circuit again. Before measuring, the appropriate amperage range should be set on the device. Here's a little tip: If you get a negative value during the measurement, the positive and negative poles are probably reversed.
Resistance can be measured just as accurately: The multimeter is first set to measure resistance for the correct ohm value to be displayed. When the instrument is activated, a low DC voltage is generated at the two measuring tips or terminals at the end of the cables. Then the tips can be applied to the respective resistor. By the strength of the now flowing current, the multimeter calculates the value of the resistance – simple, fast and precise!
Pocket and smart multimeters
Pocket multimeters are a particularly mobile solution for any measurements. This model has an ergonomic shape and fits into any pocket. It also has a rotary switch for various settings. Therefore, the device offers the same options as other variants. On the road or when traveling, a pocket multimeter is the perfect equipment – and can also be supplemented with a mobile satellite finder!
Smart multimeters have a similar shape as smartphones and have a large display that can show several values simultaneously. The measurement is carried out either via the usual connection of measuring lines or with the aid of various sensors. In addition, the values can be accompanied by an acoustic signal, which provides further information. Smart multimeters allow for a modern and very convenient measurement process!
The different versions of multimeters may also have different test cables. The reason for this is that the cables are either fitted with alligator clips at their ends or are designed as needles or spikes. Clamps have the advantage that they can be attached directly to a cable and are particularly suitable for larger contacts. This way, you can have both hands free to operate other keys and switches.
Needle tips, on the other hand, can also be used for small contacts, such as on computer chips and circuit boards, due to their filigree shape. In addition, the shaft is usually flexible, so that even hard-to-reach places can be reached with the needles. The choice of a particular test cable always depends on the nature of the contact. You are looking for more measurement technology? In our large range, you can find numerous measuring instruments, such as moisture meters!