multimeter for general home use under $50

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Almany, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. Almany

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    11
    1
    Hello! I posted new thread because 2010 was last entry I saw on this issue. I need a multimeter to do some checks on my car. One thats will read 12vdc and other common voltages/resistance etc. on automobiles. I general buy at home depot unless I am willing to buy online.Home Depot is around the corner-and has 90 day return on virtually everything they sell. They carry Klein and other brands. Also, if its okay, I have to do some troubleshooting on electronics of my car-2005 Chrysler 330c with 5.7L. The brake lights including center lamp inside by rear windshield dont work. I have been advised to check some relays,thats why I need the multimeter.If anyone has knowledge of fuse panels on this car,and fuses, relays and troublshooting of these components and circuitry, I would truly appreciated your help and advice! Thank you in advance!
     
  2. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    harbor freight has one for under $5.00 (US) avoid the meter kind, go digital, they dont break as easily.
     
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  3. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
    1,190
    156
    Uni-t
     
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  4. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
    13,052
    3,244
    If you want to go cheap, Harbor Freight has one for about $5 (free with the occasional coupon) which should do want you want. Otherwise any inexpensive one from Home Depot should be fine.

    You use the DC voltmeter setting to check for voltages at points of interest. For example you look for voltage on both sides of a fuse to see whether it's blown on not. You can also look the the terminals of a relay to determine if it is working by measuring the various voltages to the chassis.

    The resistance mode is to look for continuity on an unpowered circuit (never powered).

    The current mode is seldom used in automotive troubleshooting. To measure current you need to break the circuit and place the multimeter current terminals in series with the circuit. Never connect the current terminals from a voltage to ground or you will blow its internal fuse or zap the meter.
     
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  5. Almany

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    11
    1
    Thank you all for your comments! I will probably get a digital Kein at Home Depot.
    Thank you for all this information! When I check the fuse terminals,I simply contact each side, right? When I check a relay socket,the red probe goes to the contact,and what about the ground- to chassis- or to say the metal bolt that sticks out on both sides in trunk where wing nut is used to keep the cover over the tailights intact? Thank you!
     
  6. Almany

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    11
    1
    I will probably get one from Home Depot. Thanks!
     
  7. Almany

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    11
    1
    I am going to looke at the Uni-T online 1st, then the Klein. Thanks!
     
  8. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,153
    3,059
    This is the Harbor Freight model. I have a half dozen of them, all free.
     
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  9. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    7,394
    1,606
    While I have never used them I suspect the Kein meters will give you a lifetime of good service. They seem to be a "knock off" of the Fluke meters, meaning they have a sturdy case that resists damage from dropping them.

    When checking a fuse yes just check across them on the ohms scale and look for a very low reading.

    You can find a ground in many places, basically anything that contacts to the metal of the chassis. I have been fooled on dashboards thinking plastic was metal, so do perform reality checks if you suspect something is wrong. (Reality check is using the ohms function to see if what you think is ground really connects to ground at a place you can see must be ground.)

    Eventually you will touch a voltage when on the ohms scale. We're all done it. While the reading will not be valid this usually does no harm to the meter itself, especially in a 12V system like a car.
     
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  10. Almany

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    11
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    Thank you for your answer! I am trying to keep cost down-I may get a INNOVA 3320,as alot of mech.s who work on cars say its a good sturdy multimeter( can get one for around$20). I appreciate the testing advice,I havent used a meter in along time. Thank you again.
     
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  11. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,449
    3,365
    I would not check a fuse while in-circuit using the ohmmeter scale. I would remove the fuse first and then check its resistance.

    While the fuse is in-circuit, I would use the voltmeter range and check for 12V between chassis ground and both sides of the fuse.

    I keep an inexpensive meter ($10) in the car. You never know when it will come in handy.
     
  12. Almany

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    11
    1
    Thank you for this information!
     
  13. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
    3,574
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    Well, I've always thought it best to spend a little bit more than you had in mind, so as to get the maximum quality and better specs... I own one of these, and it's turned out to be a pretty darn good piece of instrumentation for me...
     
  14. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,153
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    Did you notice the OP's title, "general home use", and his need for automotive testing? No need to bring a bazooka to a pillow fight. You can do a lot with a lightbulb on two wires.
     
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