How to Use a Voltmeter

There are lots of times when you would need to measure the voltage in a circuit and a voltmeter is the instrument that can do this. Although there are several types of voltmeters, most of them simply come with a main body and two probes. If you are planning to use one, it is very important to know how to use it because anything with voltage should be handled with care and precaution.

Below are some of the general steps in using a voltmeter.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the voltmeter and its dials. DCV is for direct current like in batteries while ACV is for alternating current like in wall outlets. Choose between the two and then select the range setting.
  2. Attach the probes into the voltmeter correctly. A few voltmeters though come with probes that are permanently attached to it. The probes often come in two colors – black for the negative probe and red for the positive probe.
  3. Make sure you hold the probes on the insulated portions.
  4. Turn on the voltmeter.
  5. If you are measuring direct current, then the red probe should touch the positive side of the circuit while the black probe should touch the negative side. If you are measuring alternating current, simply attach one of the probes on either side and the other probe on the other side.
  6. Read the analog dial or digital display.

Voltmeters are essentially standard test instruments for electrical works and electronic testing, and knowing how to use them is a must.  Make sure the voltmeter you purchase comes with an appropriate user manual.