You can investigate and address different electrical problems with a multimeter, which is the go-to tool for diagnosing electrical problems. At the very least, learning how to read a multimeter will help you better diagnose the problem and take the right steps towards a solution. In order to test an outlet, we at Peterkin Electric would like to list how you can read a multimeter with this in mind. You can still learn to use the multimeter to give you better idea of what is going on with the electronic dilemma even if you are not electronically savvy. Properly reading a multimeter can help you determine the following:
– The outlet wiring is reversed.
– The outlet is effectively grounded.
– If there is power getting to the outlet.
How Do I Test an Outlet with a Multimeter?
1) Safety basics for outlet testing. You have to practice caution and ensure both meter probes are held in the same hand since the outlet is live, with power running through it. This technique prevents electric shock from passing through your body. By allowing the metal portion of the probes to brush each other or touch, you can create a hazardous short circuit.
2) Know type of outlet. There are 3 slots in outlets; one for ground (which is the half circle), one for hot (which is the shorter slot on the right), and one for neutral (which is the longer slot on the left).
3) Adjust multimeter. Select the alternating current (AC) function on the multimeter, which is often depicted with a wavy line. Make sure to set the meter to measure voltage.
4) Leads need to be connected. Referenced as the banana plug, push the short, thick connector of the black lead into the connector labeled “COM,” there may be a minus symbol beside it. A positive symbol or a horseshoe symbol, which is the Greek letter Omega is the label.
5) Measure the voltage to confirm the outlet has power. Using the same hand, insert a probe into each vertical slot on the outlet. The red goes in the smaller slot and black into the larger slot. For a properly functioning outlet, a reading of 110-120 volts is given. If there isn’t a reading, check the wiring on the outlet.
6) Determine that outlet is efficiently grounded. In the u-shaped slot, or the ground outlet, remove and place the black lead. If it is not the same, the outlet is improperly grounded, or the wiring is reversed.
7) Assess if the outlet wiring is reversed. Place the red lead and in the into the ground into the left-hand slot. If there isn’t a reading, the outlet is not grounded. If you get a reading, the wiring is reversed. Though it shouldn’t affect simple electronic devices such as lamps, this can be an issue for sophisticated appliances.
Do not attempt any electronic repairs on your own, though this will help you understand if the electronic outlet and devices are getting power.
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