Safety issues when using a multimeter

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Rollingstone, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. Rollingstone

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    2
    0
    Hey all,

    Noob here, and totally green at continuity measurement, etc. Sorry.

    Anyways, I just bought a digi multimeter, and would appreciate safety guidance on its use.

    1) If I were to test continuity, amps, whatever, with the multimeter, for instance under a car hood context, is it safe to start the car and then check measurements, or is there any safety prob here?

    2) Or should only the battery be connected, and the ignition turned to the right, but no ignition?

    3) Or should the ignition always be on "OFF" position?

    4) Should I wear some sort of anti-static gloves/kit in some form? -- I seem to attract static, lol.

    5) Any nOOb site/link you can recommend for me, where I can learn, in simple English, how to use a multimeter, and practice the skill with some exercises?



    Excuse the qs. I don't wanna get any nasty shocks, electrical or static, by incorrectly using my new toy. All tips, tricks, and links will be much appreciated!

    Cheers,
    /RS
     
  2. EEMajor

    Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    67
    4
    Hi. Welcome!

    1.) When working on automotive electronics, the biggest safety risk in my mind is the moving parts, such as the fan and belts. Also, be cautious of the hot manifolds, etc. Unless your meter specifically says so, do not use it on the high voltage side of the ignition (spark plug side).

    Many automotive measurements will need to be taken with the engine running, just be carefull and be sure you follow the manual for your meter on how to correctly hook it up!

    2 - 3.) As mentioned above, most measurements should be taken with the engine running to get a good idea of what is really happening...You don't drive the car down the road with the engine off too often, although I have.....thats another story :D

    I suggest you get a Chiltons manual to guide you through the steps for different tests.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Dave

    Retired Moderator

    Nov 17, 2003
    6,960
    144
    Hi Rollingstone and welcome to All About Circuits,

    As a starter you may wish to look at our section on Test Equipment here at AAC. Each of the 3 core DMM functions are covered in seperate chapters so making ot easier to get a grip of.

    Dave
     
  4. EEMajor

    Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    67
    4
    Just for clarification, the Chiltons manual is a DIY repair guide specific to your make/model of vehicle that you can purchase at an autoparts store. It will tell you how to perform various electrical tests on your car as well as other common repairs. A worthwhile investment, in my opinion.

    Also, most automotive components under the hood are not static sensitive devices, so don't worry too much about static protection until you decide to rip into your cars various computers! (I don't suggest that, though!)
     
  5. Rollingstone

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    2
    0
    Hey folks, many thanks for the welcome notes and very good links. The forum looks very good.

    I have another qu., if I may pose it here, even though it's not strictly :eek: as per the original topic -- it's about grounding. I'm about to do some modding practice work on a PCB:

    1) If I buy an anti-static wrist-band, what would I attach the clip to? (What kind of material, or object?)

    2) And what if I buy a whole anti-static service kit, inc. mat? What's the situation then?


    Cheers once again...
    /RS
     
  6. Chris Wright

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 26, 2006
    62
    0
    If you are working on the electric's on your car, then by all means get a manual, but check to see if it has a wiring diagram for your year car. But under no circumstances buy a Chiltons for anything! They can be so generalized, vague and riddled with errors as to render them virtuously useless. They are truly awful. The Haynes is much better and is an acceptable inexpensive manual, but can also be a little general. The Bentley series is outstanding and can be as good or better then some of the factory manuals, but has a limited selection.

    For the meter, if you are in the states, RadioShack has a book "Using Your Meter" that is not bad.

    Check your library for Auto and Electronics books, you never know what you will find.
     
Loading...