Multimeter: Measuring Voltage 


Measuring Voltage 

Volts DC

Use the V with a straight line to measure DC Voltage

Volts AC


Insert the two probes. Insert the Black probe in the “COM” jack. This is the COMmon, or ground, connection. The Red probe should be in the “V” jack. This connection is for measuring voltage. It can also be used to measure resistance in Ohms, or frequency in megaHertz, on the meter shown here.

Photo of the bottom half of a multimeter, showing the holes for the test leads. The left hole, labeled A, is empty. The center hole, labeled COM, has the black lead in it. The right hole, labeled VΩmA, has the red lead in it.


Turn the function knob to the Diode/Continuity Function and switch the meter on. If the word “Hold” appears on the screen, press the hold button once to disable the hold function (not all meters have a clearly labeled Hold function; check your meter’s manual to be sure). This function is used to hold a value onscreen after you remove the probes from a circuit. The “1.” on left picture means the value is out of range now.

Photo of a multimeter's top half, showing the screen and the power button on the left, and the hold button button on the right. Not all meters are arranged in the same way, so check your manual for the location of the buttons on yours.
This multimeter’s hold button is on the right side below the screen.

Touch the tips of the probes together. The meter will beep and the display value should be less than 0.01. If it works, congratulations! you have a usable meter. If not, try to push the plug of the probes to improve the contacts. In many cases the failure is caused by loose contact of the jacks. In other cases, you might have a weak or dead battery.

Photo detail of .a meter measuring continuity. The two probes are touching each other. The meter reads .009. There is a diode symbol and a musical note on the left side of the screen.
Detail of .a meter measuring continuity. The meter is should be making a beeping sound in this case.
Photo detail of the bottom of a multimeter, showing the red lead not plugged in all the way.
If the meter is not working correctly, check to see if the probes are plugged in properly.


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