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Author Topic: Voltage Meter  (Read 760 times)
MikeH
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« on: January 03, 2011, 01:39:14 PM »

I need to get a voltage meter to check a solenoid on my diesel van. It is a 12 volt system, and has one start battery and one house battery, and the house battery is supposed to be available to help with starting if needed. Anyhow, since I have to get one of these now, I would like to get one that I can also use on a bus when we get one. So assuming I need 24V for the bus and 12V for the van, can I get one unit that will be usable on both? Will I be able to also use this to check voltage on the other side of the inverter (i.e. 110V)?

Not sure what I am looking for, so if someone can point me in the right direction, I appreciate it.

Mike
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Jeremy
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2011, 02:29:58 PM »

Any cheap and basic multimeter will measure AC & DC across the sort of voltage ranges you need - this kind of thing:



Jeremy
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MikeH
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2011, 02:48:32 PM »

Thanks for the pic Jeremy.

I hate to admit it in public, but I don't know how to set this. The picture you showed has no setting for 12V or 24V or 110V, etc. So would I set it at 20V (upper left corner of your pic) and it will be somewhere in that vicinity (i.e. 12V or 24V or both closer to there than anything else)?

Someone said that once this bug has bitten you (the Busnut bug), then you are never cured of it. I guess I have been bit and now will have to learn how to cope with it by learning to do stuff I have never done.

Thanks for your (hopefully kind) help.

Mike
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Sean
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2011, 03:30:11 PM »

The voltmeter pictured is a "manual range" variety.  It shows five DC scales and two AC scales.  Each scale is intended to read values from zero volts to the maximum number of the range.  In the case of the pictured item, the DC ranges are 0.2V (200 millivolts, mV), 2V (2000 mV), 20V, 200V, and 1,000V.  The AC ranges are 200V and 750V.

To use this meter to measure a 12-volt system you would set it on the 20V DC range.  To measure a 24V system you would need to use the 200V DC range.  And to measure your 120-volt system you would use the 200V AC range.

All that said, if you are asking questions this basic, I would recommend you get a book on basic electrical concepts before you go much further.  Home Depot and Lowes carry some books targeted to the amateur home electrician, and basic electrical texts are also available in the library.

You need to have a thorough understanding of the difference between DC and AC current, the importance of polarity, what grounding means, and the relationship between voltage, current, resistance, and power before you can really grasp how to use a multimeter such as the one pictured.  Remember, electricity can kill you, or just let the magic smoke out of some very expensive parts.

-Sean
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Lin
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2011, 04:25:02 PM »

I have two meters just like the one Jeremy pictured.  One is at least ten years old and costed $5. back then.  It still works except for the ammeter that I burned out myself.  The second one I bought a couple of weeks ago at a flea market--still cheap.  This may be the best thing to ever come out of China.
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Sean
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 04:27:13 PM »

...  It still works except for the ammeter that I burned out myself.  ...

Lin, there should be a small fuse inside the unit for the ammeter.  You probably just blew the fuse -- open the meter up and it should be obvious ...

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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