Using a Multimeter
A multimeter is used to make various electrical measurements,
such as AC and DC voltage, AC and DC current, and resistance.
It is called a multimeter because it combines the functions
of a voltmeter, ammeter, and ohmmeter.
Multimeters may also have other functions, such as diode and
continuity tests. The descriptions and pictures that follow
are specific to the Fluke 73 Series III Multimeter, but
other multimeters are similar.
- The most common error when using a multimeter
is not switching the test leads when switching between current
sensing and any other type of sensing (voltage, resistance). It
is critical that the test leads be in the proper jacks for the
measurement you are making.
- The second most commom error: When measuring current the meter must be in series with the load.
- The third most common error: Be certain that the correct range is selected before connecting the test leads to the voltage source to be measured. When in doubt about which range to use start measuring with the highest possible range.
- Be sure the test leads and rotary switch are in the correct
position for the desired measurement.
- Never use the meter if the meter or the test leads look damaged.
- Never measure resistance in a circuit when power is applied.
- Never touch the probes to a voltage source when a test lead
is plugged into the 10 A or 300 mA input jack.
- To avoid damage or injury, never use the meter on circuits that
exceed 4800 watts.
- Never apply more than the rated voltage between any input jack
and earth ground (600 V for the Fluke 73).
- Be careful when working with voltages above 60 V DC or 30 V AC rms.
Such voltages pose a shock hazard.
- Keep your fingers behind the finger guards on the test probes when
- To avoid false readings, which could lead to possible electric
shock or personal injury, replace the battery as soon as the battery
The black lead is always plugged into the common terminal.
The red lead is plugged into the 10 A jack when measuring
currents greater than 300 mA, the 300 mA jack when
measuring currents less than 300 mA, and the remaining
jack (V-ohms-diode) for all other measurements.
The meter defaults to autorange when first turned on.
You can choose a manual range in V AC, V DC, A AC, and
A DC by pressing the button in the middle of the rotary
dial. To return to autorange, press the button for
Automatic Touch Hold Mode
The Touch Hold mode automatically captures and displays stable
readings. Press the button in the center of the dial for 2 seconds
while turning the meter on. When the meter captures a new input,
it beeps and a new reading is displayed. To manually force a new
measurement to be held, press the center button. To exit the
Touch Hold mode, turn the meter off.
Note: stray voltages can produce a new reading.
Warning: To avoid electric shock, do not use the Touch Hold to determine
if a circuit with high voltage is dead. The Touch Hold mode will not
capture unstable or noisy readings.
AC and DC Voltage
Turn off the power and discharge all capacitors. An external
voltage across a component will give invalid resistance readings.
This mode is used to check if two points are electrically
connected. It is often used to verify connectors. If continuity
exists (resistance less than 210 ohms), the beeper sounds continuously.
The meter beeps twice if it is in the Touch Hold mode.
Warning: To avoid injury, do not attempt a current measurement
if the open circuit voltage is above the rated voltage of the
To avoid blowing an input fuse, use the 10 A jack until you are
sure that the current is less than 300 mA.
Turn off power to the circuit. Break the circuit. (For circuits
of more than 10 amps, use a current clamp.) Put the meter in series
with the circuit as shown and turn power on.