Adafruit will not be shipping orders Monday May 30, 2016 for the federal holiday, Memorial Day. Orders placed after 11 AM EST Friday May 27 will go out Tuesday May 31.

Overview

The most important debugging tool in any E.E.'s toolbox is a trusty multimeter. A multimeter can measure continuity, resistance, voltage and sometimes even current, capacitance, temperature, etc. It's a swiss army knife for geeks!

What to look for?

Everyone always asks, "What multimeter should I get?"

Well, since they're rather commodified (there are dozens of manufacturers) it is hard to make everyone use the same model, even though it would make things easier.

These are the necessities:

  • Continuity testing with piezo buzzer
  • Resistance test down to 10 ohm (or lower) and up to 1 Megaohm (or higher)
  • DC voltage test down to 100mV (or lower) and up to 50V
  • AC voltage test down to 1V and up to 400V (or 200V in the US/Canada/Japan)
  • Diode testing

Here are nice things to have in your meter

  • Auto-off - to keep from draining the batteries
  • AC and DC current test, from 10mA to maybe 200mA and then also a 10A one as well
  • Stand - a thing that flips out and keeps it upright on your table
  • Auto-ranging - note: some people don't like auto-ranging because its slower and not as precise
  • Hold - keep the maximum value on the screen so you can probe without looking at the meter.
  • Common battery - such as 9V or AA's, pocket meters use hard-to-replace coin cells

These are things that I rarely (if ever) use, in descending order

  • Frequency counter - before I had a scope this was surprisingly useful!
  • Capacitance testing - usually to check random SMT caps
  • Inductance testing - how often do you really use an inductor?
  • Duty cycle - never used this
  • Transistor beta meter - people don't really work with transistors anymore
  • Temperature probe - I use the "Pease temperature test": a finger
Last updated on 2015-05-04 at 04.27.56 PM Published on 2012-07-29 at 11.58.38 AM