How to use a Southwire Multimeter

Ever wondered what is that peculiar-looking box your electrician carries every time he comes over to fix your broken refrigerator? Well, It’s called a multimeterOpens in a new tab., and it is a very important tool when it comes to electronic work. Keep reading to understand.

What is a Multimeter and Why it is used?


A multimeter is used for various purposes, such as for measuring current, resistance, voltage. In addition to this, some multimeters can also measure other parameters like capacitance, continuity as well as temperature. Hence, the name ‘multimeter’. This tool is especially helpful in diagnosing faulty appliances and other circuits, which is exactly why your handyman brings it along whenever your refrigerator stops cooling.

Components of a Southwire Multimeter.

So how do you operate a Southwire multimeter? Learning about its various parts and symbols is the first step towards learning its operation. A typical Southwire multimeter has the following components:

  1. A display screen where the reading will show up.
  2. A rotatory switch or dial. You may use this to select the correct option for measurement.
  3. Input jacks. These are the three holes you see at the bottom of the multimeter.
  4. Test leads. These are two wires. One is red while the other is black. The black one is usually inserted in the jack labeled COM. At the same time, the red one goes in either of the other two jacks.

Operating a Southwire multimeter

Now that you understand the different parts of a multimeter, we can proceed with learning how to use it. Even though a multimeter can be used to measure various parameters, the measurement of each involves different steps. Let’s begin with learning how to measure voltage.

Measuring voltage:

  1. First, insert the black test lead into the COM.
  2. Now, insert the red test lead into the jack labeled V.
  3. Rotate the switch so that it points to the Voltage symbol. The function that measures AC voltage has a curved line alongside V, while the one measuring DC has a straight line.
  4. Connect the black probe to the negative side of the circuit whose voltage you’re measuring and the red probe to the positive side of the circuit.
  5. Note down the numeric value displayed.

Measuring current:

  1. First, insert the black test lead into the COM.
  2. In case you measure a small amount of current, insert the red test lead in the jack labeled milliampere (mA) and set the dial to milliampere. But if you measure current above 200 mA, insert the test lead into the jack labeled 10A and set the dial to Ampere.
  3. Now remove the power source.
  4. Connect the negative side of the circuit under test to the black probe and the positive side of the circuit to the red probe.
  5. Provide power to the circuit.
  6. Note down the reading.

Note: Make sure you don’t leave the multimeter set for the current measurement. This can result in serious consequences if accidentally connected to a high voltage source. Set it to the maximum voltage before you let it out of your sight.

Now let’s move to the third most common measurement made using a multimeter, which is resistance.

Measuring Resistance:

  1. Again, insert the black lead into the COM.
  2. Insert the red lead into the input jack with the symbol for ohm (Ω) beside it.
  3. Now set the dial for the highest ohm value.
  4. Connect the probes to the circuit.
  5. Note down the reading.

Lesson Over!

You have successfully learned about multimeters and how to use them to measure voltages, current as well as resistance. Now, you are well-equipped to detect the faults in your various home appliances. So the next time your refrigerator refuses to keep your sodas cold or your car’s battery stops working, rather than calling your handyman in his busy schedule, why not try your hand at diagnosis?

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