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which multimeter to buy?

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' started by roundabout, May 18, 2005.

  1. if it is just for minor testing of bikes and around the house items , the basic model is all you need . ($20 one)
    Unless you are an electrician , or into fixing appliances etc for a living you dont need anything better than that .
  2. thanks heaps. don't know what continuity testing is, do i need it? will just be doing very basic fault finding
  3. continuity testing is testing for broken wires. Yes you need it.

    You place the wire on each end of the tester and it sends a small current down the wire, if it beeps then their is "continuity".
  4. Continuity testing is for checking if a wire is connected at both ends. I used to have to explain this sort of stuff to R&D software guys, but I left my hand puppets at work, so I will have to give you a quick overview of the various functions:

    Voltmeter - measures the volts available for something to be able to work. On a bike, this is generally 12V nominally, but you will probably see 13.8V on a good battery.
    Note, just because volts (power) is available, doesn't mean it is working. If you can have 12V on a relay coil or headlight, but the reading will be the same if the coil or globe is working or open circuit.

    Ohmmeter - measures the resistance of something to getting power through. Handy for checking globes and relay coils with no power on.

    Continuity - checks if there is a path available for the electricity to flow. Can use low ohms reading for this, but continuity has a beep function which is easier to use.

    Ammeter - checks the current being drawn by a device. Don't connect the meter up for this unless you know what you are doing. There is a fuse which will protect the meter most of the time, but all to often, the dial is turned from current to voltage reading without the leads being swapped, and BANG!

    Bring it along to coffee night. Someone will be able to give you a quick rundown.

  5. We use multimetres at work all the time for electrical testing, the expensive ones work no better than the cheap ones although they are better built and sometimes offer more functions.

    Drop and cheap one and often the case cracks or the display breaks, the cheap ones the leads fray and the plastic lead coating hardens over time.

    The more expensive ones come with soft rubber impact covers and the leads have thick but very flexible covers.

    It depends upon how often you will use it :)
  6. excellent, thanks everyone, very helpful, will get the cheapy continuity testing model

    thanks for the links as well, would have like to see you explain that with pupets though
  7. Ignoring the price comparisons of different quality metres, the main choice is digital or analog. Analogs are cheaper and generally not suitable for fault finding in integrated circuits because of the amount of current they draw from the tap point.

    The basic analog is fine for finding electrical breaks, ground shorts and voltage checks. Sounds like a simple analog is your best bet.
    A digital metre would make sense if you have competancy in dealing with advanced electrical components, but many people buy them because of this strange affliction for all things digital. - must be reading too much Douglas Adams.....
  8. I've got a real good one at home you could borrow if yah dont really want to buy one ?

    but yeah there all as good as one another, just have more features and more robust etc