How to Use a Multimeter to Test an Outlet
Set your meter to measure voltage. Select the alternating current (AC) function on the multimeter, which is often depicted with a wavy line. The DC function will have a solid and a dashed line. May 08, · The first step when testing an electrical outlet is to locate the multimeter’s connector labeled “volts” and insert the red lead into it. Next, you will need to connect the black lead, this is done by connecting it to the “com” label. Note – The red lead may have a red ring around the connector and the black lead may have a black ring.
Last Updated: September 2, References. This article was co-authored by Ricardo Mitchell. Ricardo has over 10 years of electrical and construction experience and his partners have over 30 years of relevant experience.
There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 28, times. Electricians and engineers regularly use multimeters to check the voltage of circuits.
However, these handy tools are now widely available and affordable enough for anyone to buy one. You might want to use a multimeter to check the voltage of an outlet and ensure that the casing is safe.
To test an outlet with a multimeter, read the instructions that came with your device first and be careful not to touch the metal prongs. If you do, you could be electrocuted. Warning : Hold the prongs by the insulated parts only. Do not touch the metal parts or you may electrocute yourself!
Tip : If you want, you can also check the left side of the socket while pressing the black prong against a screw. No electricity should come out of the left slot of your socket either. Only the right side of the socket should have an electrical current. Log in Social login does not work in incognito and private browsers.
Read the instructions that came with your multimeter and check for specific information on how to safely test an outlet with the device. If the voltage is too high for the multimeter to measure, you may break it by trying to measure it. Turn on the multimeter and switch the dial to the AC setting. Then, turn the dial on the front of the multimeter to the AC setting. The dial may be clearly marked to indicate what the AC setting is, or you might need to check the manual if it uses symbols.
Insert 1 prong into the left side and 1 into the right side of the outlet. The multimeter should have 2 prongs, one red and one black. Insert 1 of them into the left side of the outlet and the other into the right side of the outlet.
The colors only matter for testing circuits and other types of electrical currents. Once the prongs are in place, look at the front of the multimeter. Method 2 of Switch on the multimeter and turn the dial to the AC setting. AC stands for alternating current and this setting measures the volts that an outlet is putting out. Find the power switch on your multimeter and switch it on.
Then, locate the dial on the front of the multimeter and turn it to the AC setting. The dial may be marked to indicate the AC setting, such as with an A followed by a squiggly line.
Press the black prong against a screw or other metal part of the fixture. To ensure that no electricity is reaching the outside of your outlet, hold the black prong by the insulated part. Then, press the metal tip of the prong against a screw or another piece of metal on the outlet fixture.
Insert the red prong into the bottom hole of the outlet. Next, hold the red prong by the insulated part and insert the metal prong into the bottom hole of the outlet. This hole is round with 1 flat edge.
If the hole is grounded as it should be, no electricity should come out of it. Look for a reading of 0. Once the red prong and the black prong are in place, look at the screen or analog dial on your multimeter. The reading should be 0 or 0. This indicates that no electricity is reaching the outside of the outlet and it is well grounded. If the number is higher than this, the casing is a potential how to restore iphone contacts from itunes backup hazard.
Call an electrician for assistance. How to write an application for a job sample letters you know you can read expert answers for this article?
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Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. If a fuse is broken, the circuit will read as an open line on a multimeter. Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0. Hold the prongs on the multimeter by the insulated parts only. Using it improperly may lead to injury or damage the multimeter. Related wikiHows How to. How to. More References 5. Expert Interview. About This Article. Co-authored by:. Co-authors: 5. Updated: September 2, Categories: Electrical Wiring and Safety Switches.
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Aug 04, · Look at the reading listed on the multimeter. For a wall outlet, this reading should be about or volts. A reading of or volts indicates the wall outlet is working properly. If the multimeter has no reading, this is an indication that the wall outlet is not properly connected to an electrical source. How To Use A Multimeter To Test Wall Outlet? A faulty wall outlet could be a reason that your appliances aren’t working the way they used to be. It is a good idea to test the wall outlet voltage in such a case. To make sure that the wrong polarity on your wall outlets does not create a problem during tests, the multimeters have been. Oct 23, · How to Test the Outlet Before you begin, turn off the power. Then disconnect the outlet from the wiring. Set your multimeter to ohms and put a probe into one of the outlet slots and the other probe on the nearest terminal screw.
These diagnostic steps are used to help locate electrical problems in a number of different sources. A digital multimeter gives automatic, quick readings that display VAC volts alternating currents , VDC volts direct current , and ohms. Testing an electrical outlet using a digital multimeter in your home, you will need to use the VAC reading available on the device because you are looking for a measurement of Alternating Current Voltage.
DC Power , from the Department of Energy. Note — The red lead may have a red ring around the connector and the black lead may have a black ring. So make sure the digital multimeter is in this setting. Each multimeter is different which means yours may read 0. Once this is set, you are ready to begin testing.
The black lead will be inserted into the left vertical slot of the wall outlet. Now it will be time to check to see what reading you are receiving. Typically, you should receive a reading between and VAC.
This all depends on the power levels the utility companies are supplying. If your multimeter continues to show 0. If this does not help you may have an electrical problem with your outlet.
This section of the electrical outlet is the ground and you will soon see a voltage reading. If no reading is displayed you may have a blown fuse or the circuit breaker may be tripped. Here we explain how to locate a buried cable fault with a digital multimeter. And, for a deeper dive, try this tutorial on measuring resistance with a DMM. George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.
Skip to content. DIY Multimeters. May 8, February 15, George. Need a new one? Check out our multimeter page. Note: the maximum voltage for each set, household current is approximately volts, set the dial accordingly. After that, connect the probes to the proper inputs: COM for the black lead and Volts for the red lead. Next, insert the red probe into the right slot of the outlet.
Then, carefully insert the black probe into the left slot of the outlet. Finally, examine the readout on your meter, this should show your household voltage. A digital multimeter is an extremely useful tool to have around the house, here are some tutorials covering other things you can do with one: Here we explain how to locate a buried cable fault with a digital multimeter.
October 7, October 7, Roy Schahrer 0.