# Table of Contents. The Basics of Electricity 2. Using a Digital Multimeter 4. Testing Voltage 8. Testing Current 10. Testing Resistance 12

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1 Table of Contents The Basics of Electricity 2 Using a Digital Multimeter 4 IDEAL Digital Multimeters An Introduction The Basics of Digital Multimeters is designed to give you a fundamental knowledge of Digital Multimeters (DMMs). It s an easy reference guide that shows you how to use IDEAL DMMs and how to select the right ones. There are three things to remember about IDEAL DMMs. They re rugged, versatile and easy to use. They re also easy to choose. IDEAL offers in-store merchandising, a toll free hot-line number, a technical support line and a comprehensive web site all designed to better inform you about digital multimeters. Just a few of the ways we re committed to the DMM technician. V A Ω H Testing Voltage 8 Testing Current 10 Testing Resistance 12 Testing Continuity 14 Testing Capacitance 14 Testing Frequency 15 True RMS 16 Data Hold/Max Hold 16 Auto Ranging/Manual Ranging 17 Three-Phase Rotation Tester 18 Technical Support Toll Free G Insulation Tester 19 Glossary 20 1

2 The Basics of Electricity To better understand digital multimeters, it s helpful to become clear on the basics of electricity. After all, DMMs always measure some aspect of electricity. Voltage, Current and Resistance Electricity passing through a conductor is similar to water flowing through a pipe. Every pipe has a pump that creates a certain pressure, causing water to flow. In the case of electricity, that pump might be a generator, battery or some other power supply. The pressure created by that power supply is called voltage. Current is the amount of electricity flowing through a conductor. Resistance is anything that impedes the flow of current. The amount of voltage determines how much electricity flows through the conductor. That flow is called current. Anything restricting the flow of current is called resistance. Voltage, current and resistance are the three most fundamental components of electricity. Voltage is measured in volts, current in amps and resistance in ohms. V = Volts (voltage) A = Amps (current) Ω = Ohms (resistance) Ohm s Law Together, voltage, current and resistance comprise Ohm s Law. Ohm s Law is an important equation for electricians. By using a DMM, they can establish values for the three variables of Ohm s Law that help in diagnosing electrical problems. Ohm s Law can be expressed in equation form in this way: V = A x Ω Voltage = Current x Resistance Voltage determines the flow of current. The greater the voltage, the greater the current. Likewise, the greater the resistance the less current will flow, and the lower the resistance the more current will flow. These are the basics of Ohm s Law. 220V = 110A x 2Ω One Example of Ohm s Law. Two Types of Electricity Electricity comes in two types Alternating Current (AC) and Direct Current (DC). ~ AC DC --- Alternating Current is the most common form of electricity, so named because it alternates, or reverses, its flow. AC is produced by a generator and is used for many of the things in our everyday lives. Direct Current flows in one direction only. Most commonly, DC power is the source of electricity found in batteries and used in portable equipment like cars, flashlights and cameras. Electricians need to measure both AC and DC power. IDEAL DMMs measure both. 2 3

7 Testing Resistance Ω Resistance opposes the flow of current. The higher the resistance, the lower the current flow. Insulation used for cables has a very high resistance, impeding current flow. Conversely, the cable s copper conductor has low resistance, facilitating current flow. Resistance opposes the flow of current. Too much or too little may lead to performance and/or safety problems. To test for resistance, first turn the power off in the circuit or component you re testing. Otherwise, you may not get the most accurate reading and may damage the DMM. Resistance must be low to avoid safety and performance problems. Proper resistance is critical. Too much resistance in electric wires and connections can result in overheating and possible fire hazards, while too little resistance may result in a short or performance problems. Components called resistors help maintain proper resistance in equipment. The most common residential test for resistance is performed on a standard outlet where ground resistance should be 1 ohm or less. After ensuring that all power is off, set the dial to the resistance mode. Select the appropriate range on the dial as described on page five. Plug in your test leads as described on page six. Then connect the test leads to the component under test, and take a reading. It is imperative that contact between the test leads and the circuit you re testing is good. Dirt, oil, bodily contact and poor test lead connections can significantly increase resistance readings

9 Advanced Features IDEAL DMMs come in a variety of models that together measure all the functions an electrician needs to effectively troubleshoot any electrical problem. Some IDEAL DMMs also come with additional features that make measuring easier and more accurate. True RMS When taking AC measurements in commercial and industrial environments, you need a DMM with the True RMS feature. DMMs take AC measurements using either an averaging method or a True RMS method. Average responding DMMs take an AC measurement, multiply it by 1.11, then display it in the LCD. This method is accurate when a pure sine wave exists such as in residential environments. But, in commercial and industrial environments, electronic lighting ballasts, variable speed motor drives, computers and other electronic equipment cause harmonics that distort the sine wave. In these cases, a DMM needs True RMS, which measures the wave form using a Root Mean Square (RMS) calculation to provide an accurate reading. Data Hold and Max Hold H Data Hold When taking a measurement using a DMM, an electrician sometimes needs to capture and retain the reading as it appears on the display. If you re taking a measurement in a dimly lit or tight area, the Data Hold button retains the measurement on the LCD until it can be easily read. The Data Hold captures the reading simply by pushing the button. Max Hold It may also be important for an electrician to capture the highest reading of any given measurement. This can be achieved by pushing the Max Hold button. If the reading falls to a lower value, the Max Hold button ensures the highest value remains on the screen. The Max Hold button is especially helpful in capturing the in-rush current flow when equipment is first turned on. Auto Ranging and Manual Ranging IDEAL offers two different types of digital multimeters auto ranging DMMs and manual ranging DMMs. Auto Ranging DMMs An auto ranging DMM does not require you to set the range on the dial. Simply select the function you re measuring and the auto ranging DMM automatically establishes the range that yields the best resolution. Manual Ranging DMMs A manual ranging digital multimeter requires you to set the range yourself. If you know the range of the application you re testing, set the range on the dial that yields the best resolution. If you don t know the range, simply select the highest range possible. If the reading is less refined than what you desire, you may be able to lower the range for better resolution

10 Three-Phase Rotation Tester IDEAL offers a number of specialty test instruments designed to perform functions that the expert electrician may need to execute. Note: The IDEAL indicates three-phase rotation up to 480V. Voltage in excess of 480V requires the IDEAL Three-Phase Rotation Tester (61-520). Insulation Tester Maintaining the integrity of insulation in motors, cables and other devices is critical for a number of reasons. Insulation keeps current flowing safely through the copper conductor. Bad or damaged insulation allows electricity to leak out much like water leaks out of a broken pipe. This could cause shorts, performance problems or safety complications. The Three-Phase Rotation Tester ensures properly wired motors, eliminating possible damage. The IDEAL Three-Phase Rotation Tester ensures that motors are properly connected to the three phases. Incorrect connections result in motors spinning in the wrong direction, which may cause motor damage or improper operation. To test for proper motor rotation, plug the three color-coded leads of the tester to each of the three phases. Turn the power on. The disk on the Three-Phase Rotation Tester should be spinning in the same direction as the rotation of the motor as described in the owner s manual. If the rotation desired is in the opposite direction, the tester is improperly connected to the three phases. Switch any two leads, and the rotation will reverse to the proper direction. Mark the three phases, then hook up your equipment. The Insulation Tester pressurizes electric wire to indicate whether or not insulation is good. To test for proper insulation, IDEAL offers the Insulation Tester. By pressurizing the electric wire under test with a surge of voltage, the Insulation Tester indicates whether or not the insulation is good. A rough rule of thumb for good insulation is 1 megohm of resistance per 1000 volts of rating

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