Troubleshooting Your Analog Multimeter

An analog multimeter is a tool that a lot of electricians and mechanics use on a daily basis. It is a simple device that registers the amount of electric current with the use of a needle. Today, there are many people who are using digital readers because of the accuracy. However, an analog multimeter is great for checking your home outlets, or troubleshooting simple fixes with your car's electrical components. After you use your analog multimeter for awhile you may notice that the device itself needs some troubleshooting. Here are some common problems associated with analog multimeters to help you solve any you might be having now.

Needle Sticking

One of the problem of an analog multimeter is that the needle will stick. This results in either inaccurate readings, or the needle just will not move. A cause of this is usually that there has been condensation build up which led to some rusting of the needle. You will need to take the dust cover off of the unit and clean off the rust around the needle. 

Check Connections

If you find that you are not having accurate readings, or they are fluctuating wildly, the cause can be found in the connecting leads. Whether they are clamps, or they are just prodding leads, there will be some build up of dirt, dust, and grease on them. This build up will interfere with the conductivity of the leads so that there is a disconnect between the lead and the reader. Keeping your clamps, of the lead ends, clean is something you should do each time you use the device. Use an emery cloth to clean off the ends for more accurate results.

Leads Not in Right Connections

When the analog multimeter malfunctions most of the time it is because of something very easy. The leads on the multimeter must be connected into the right areas  for it to work correctly. The red connection goes into the port that calls for "volts". Usually this will be marked with a red dot, or ring around the port. The black lead wire goes into the section that is called "com". Again, this will usually be marked with a black dot or a black ring. If the wires are crossed into the wrong ports on the device, you will not get a reading.

Intermittent Readings

Some of the more advanced analog multimeters will work with small AA batteries. If you are having some intermittent readings, or they do not seem to be right, the batteries are failing. Replace the old batteries with a new pair and you should have no more problems.

Selector Is not on Correct Setting

Using an analog multimeter does take some getting use to. Many people get the wrong readings because they do not have the selector on the right setting. A multimeter can read DC currents, AC currents, and the resistance in ohms. If you are trying to read an AC current, but have the selection set to DC, the needle will not register a reading. Before using the multimeter you should read the manual and make sure that you check the settings before using it to test an electrical current.