When you are working with electricity, a voltmeter is an invaluable tool to have in your workshop. A voltmeter is a great way to test out the different circuits of items to make sure they are working correctly. If you have a problem with a wall outlet, want to see why your car radio doesn't work, need to locate a short in your dishwasher, or any other electrical problems, the voltmeter can help you with those troubleshooting projects. Voltmeters are available in different types and styles. You can find multimeters that perform several different functions. They can also either be digital or analog in the way that they work. With all the different variations in voltmeters, they still work the same.
Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Voltmeter
When you first attempt to set up your voltmeter you should take some time to look it over and familiarize yourself with the different settings and parts. There are two basic parts. The body of the voltmeter itself and the two lead wires.
Step 2: Separate Lead Wires
A voltmeter is going to have two lead wires that are used in doing the testing of the different circuits. One of the lead wires will be red, while the other one will be black. The red wire is the positive lead wire and the black is the negative lead. Each of the wires will have an end that plugs into the body of the voltmeter and an end that looks like a probe.
Step 3: Plug Leads in Voltmeter
In order to use your voltmeter the lead wires must be connected to the unit. They also have to be plugged into the correct ports to make sure that the unit displays the correct settings. Typically the only port that will have any indication of which wire goes into it is the negative one. It will have a "-" on the unit beside the port hole. If not, it will be a black color. The red lead wire will be plugged into the other ports depending on the desired action.
Step 4: Turn Meter On
After you have everything set on the meter you can turn it on and see if it is going to work properly. Once you turn it on you should see the needle jump a little bit, or the LED screen (on a digital voltmeter) light up and show either "0" or "0.0" on the screen. Set the dial to the appropriate setting by simply turning it until the indicator lines up with the desired application.
Step 5: Test Voltmeter
Once the leads are connected to the voltmeter you can test it to make sure it is working correctly. Take the red lead wire and connect it to a power wire that you know is working. Set the black wire onto the same wire about 12 inches away from the red lead. Make sure that you slightly pierce the protective insulation cover to make contact with the wire.
Step 6: Read Voltmeter
Now that you have made the connections with the lead wires you can see how much current there is in the wire.