Although making use of a multimeter can appear to be a simple and straightforward task, there are a number of things that need to be taken into account, particularly for those who have little to no experience with the device.
Anything that involves working with electrical currents should be seen as a potential danger. Low amperage or voltages make the majority of people assume there is no danger, but there are still risks particularly if the unit is being improperly used.
The good news is there are a number of tips that can be easily followed to ensure you are using multimeters in a safe manner. You can find a great range of multimeters at RS Components.
Inspecting the unit
Before a particular unit is used, time should be taken to check it out. Users should look for any indications of cracks, leaks, physical damage of any kind, or anything else that could cause either safety issues or inaccurate readings.
Users should never just automatically assume that a unit is in perfect working order. Therefore all multimeters should be checked prior to use on high current circuits on a source with a known voltage to ensure it is working as it should be.
It is also a good idea to ensure multimeters are kept in their protective case when they are not being used.
Inspecting the probes
It is just as important for the leads to be fully functional as it is the multimeter itself. If either or both probes are faulty, then there is a serious risk of injury particularly when high voltages are involved. This makes it crucial for users to ensure they have tested the probes prior to their use on an unknown source.
To begin the inspection, the probes should be unplugged and then examined for any physical damage, and that the probes are shrouded will also need to be verified. After the leads have been replaced back in the ports, the connection between the ports and jacks should feel solid and reliable.
No exposed metal parts should be touched when making use of test probes. Many of today’s units feature shrouded that only come with a small metal exposure rather than looking like a large needle as was once the case, and it is important to ensure the leads have suffered no damage and remain properly insulated.
No attempt should be made to repair damaged test leads, and they should simply be thrown away and replaced.
How to avoid electric shocks
There are a few guidelines that should be followed in order to avoid experiencing an electric shock when using a digital multimeter.
All electrical components inside circuits are energised, and it only takes a minor mistake to result in erroneous readings. It is therefore crucial for users to retain their focus and consider all aspects of their project to avoid such mistakes.
A shock can take place in the event that the human body inadvertently becomes part of the electrical circuit. To avoid them, safety equipment such as protective gloves, insulated mats and headwear should always be worn. It is also important to always work with a partner so that help is at hand in the event anything does go wrong.
Taking basic safety precautions will go a long way to ensuring nothing will go wrong when using a multimeter.