# How do you read numbers+decimal in voltmeter/multimeter

#### Lightfire

Joined Oct 5, 2010
690
Hello,

I am viewing videos at Youtube about electronics and the guy reads the readings in voltmeter (the numbers) let's say 3.58, he reads it three decimal five eight.

Eh? I read it three point fifty eight.

#### beenthere

Joined Apr 20, 2004
15,819
Different people/shops have their own jargons. If I were still at the Instrument Lab, I might read off "about three and a half jolts".

Obviously though, "three point five eight volts" is very correct and easy to understand.

#### Georacer

Joined Nov 25, 2009
5,182
It's really up to what you want to pass across: If you are talking to a friend you might even say "three and a half". If, on the other hand, you want to communicate some very crucial information, saying "three poing five eight" might not stress the importance of the measurement enough.

#### Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,937
Round these parts it would be three point five eight. The newer generation that grew up with the internet (I didn't) might say three dot five eight.

As for the displays, I've always heard them referred to as three and a half digits.

#### JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,184
It depends. I would would say three point five eight volts. If I were communicating it over the radio, say SSB, I would use the phonetic ... three symbol for decimal point five eight volts, and if necessary, spell it out ... tango hotel romeo echo echo, symbol for decimal point, foxtrot india victor echo, echo india golf hotel tango, volts.

In writing, could be spelled out, but more commonly I'd simply put 3.58 V for dc and 3.58 Vac for AC.

#### Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,937
I was reading Georacer's response about writing a decimal number. I'm not sure of the application, but they seem to use a comma where a period is. Since GeoR has responded in this thread maybe he can give us a better view why some European's go that route, to me it seems silly and change for the sake of change.

#### Lightfire

Joined Oct 5, 2010
690
Here, in the Philippines, we frequently (almost always) pronounce it as three point fifty eight.

#### Georacer

Joined Nov 25, 2009
5,182
I can't find an SI specification for the decimal mark and the thousand separator, so I guess you can't blame the Europeans for breaking a habit.

In the meantime here's an interesting article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator
Notice the two groups of countries that use different systems of notation.
Apart from the group where USA belongs being outnumbered, consider also that most of the countries in your group belong to the english and american sphere of influence. China is a major exception, though.

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#### t06afre

Joined May 11, 2009
5,934
I was reading Georacer's response about writing a decimal number. I'm not sure of the application, but they seem to use a comma where a period is. Since GeoR has responded in this thread maybe he can give us a better view why some European's go that route, to me it seems silly and change for the sake of change.
Bill I will tell you why the day the Americans start to use proper metric measurements units. Maybe you can give us a better view why America go that stubborn route
For my own part I stopped using comma as decimal point. A long time ago. It caused to much trouble with my software. But then talking I would still say three comma fifty eight. Then talking casual I would most probably say. The voltage was about 3 and a half volt. Unless needed. I do not pay much attention to some hundredth volts

#### Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,937
Heh, it is why American English measurements are still in use today, we wrote the original software (now I know why the EU is always after M/S!) and we made the first chips. It is hard to break a standard once it is cast in concrete. America just got to set some standards first.

Makes you wonder what an archeologist will say several thousand years from now. Bet neither system will exist by then (any takers?).

As much stuff as we buy from China (again, America started it, the rest of the world followed later) I'm not too surprised.

Those 3½ digit displays use decimal points. Got there 1st again.

#### Georacer

Joined Nov 25, 2009
5,182
So much for well-founded and justified explanations Bill...

#### Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
21,937
What can I say,

I am a prisoner of low humor and no social skills.

#### DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
I generally read 3.58 as "Three point five eight." The reason for this is that if I say "three point fifty-eight", one may hear it wrong and think I said "three point sixty-eight" or something like that. I have found that it reduces this risk if you read the individual digits. If you are just by yourself, though, and not reading off important information to anyone else (especially over radio communication), it really does not matter how you read it.
Der Strom

#### atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
3,769
I would read "tres coma cincuenta y ocho" or "three point fifty eight". After all we speak Spanish, here in Argentina.

In the local settings in my PCs I use the comma as a decimal separator but I am conscious of the use of the point as a decimal separator in English speaking countries. After working with foreigners for more than 30++ years it is logical!!

What in my opinion made for this to become a common use everywhere is the use of calculators with the point (never a comma).

#### K7GUH

Joined Jan 28, 2011
190
FWIW, an air traffic controller would say "Three decimal five eight". I suspect they adopted that form of speech so as to avoid misunderstandings by pilots whose first language wasn't English. And to standardize on-the-air procedures.

#### JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,184
And to standardize on-the-air procedures.
Radiotelephone proceedures were part of the FCC Rules and Regulations. I can remember taking the element one test in 1969-1970 for a job at a commercial broadcast station (radio).
Also element 9, then titled broadcast endorsement, was also required. No license, no work.

I knew the rules and proceedures before I ever stood a radio watch on 2182 kHz or 156.8 MHz.

#### beenthere

Joined Apr 20, 2004
15,819
Bill I will tell you why the day the Americans start to use proper metric measurements units. Maybe you can give us a better view why America go that stubborn route
That one is simple. There will always be SAE units around for as long as every camera tripod uses a 1/4-20 screw to attach the camera.

#### retched

Joined Dec 5, 2009
5,208
Operas Text to Speech feature says "Three Point Five Eight"

#### HallMark

Joined Apr 3, 2011
89
I too read it as Three Point Fifty Eight.