# Multimeter Ohms

• posted on September 5, 2008, 7:26 pm

I have here a Chinee-Sears digital MM (maybe \$15 on sale) and a circuit that should measure 450-550 ohms. I set the MM to 2k ohms, the MM reads say .500.
Is it telling me it measures .5 x 2000 = 1000 ohms? If not, what?
Being as it's digital, shouldn't it report actual integer ohms? More expensive MM's do this?
Thx, Peetie
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 8:46 pm
On Fri, 05 Sep 2008 14:26:13 -0500, Peetie Wheatstraw

Would that be .5K ohms?
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 9:36 pm

When you set the MM scale to the 2K position, that is the full scale. It will not read a resistance of a higher value than 2000 ohms and should show an OL, OR or some other indication you have exceeded the range, just as an open circuit will show. You could have a 4000 ohm resistor hooked up to the leads and on the 2 K range it will show as an open circuit. Some meters may have a slight overange and not top out at exectally 2000 ohms on that scale.
When it shows .500 it is actually telling you that you have a 500 ohm resistance between the leads. In other words, the number is the actual resistance in numbers and you have to place the decimal point in the correct place.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 9:55 pm
wrote:

I'm well aware of that.

Good. Means my devices meet my ohms spec. Now, for my MM ...

If I have to place the decimal point, the reported number is -not- the "actual resistance in numbers".
The reported # is a scaled #. Scaled by 1000. When the scale setting on the MM device is 2000.
The next highest setting is 200k ohms. If I measured resistance on the same circuit, precisely what would it report? I'd test it but the circuits are now installed where I can't get to 'em.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 10:31 pm
On Fri, 05 Sep 2008 16:55:54 -0500, Peetie Wheatstraw
<snip>

You only have to place the decimal point in the sense of knowing if it is reading ohms or K-Ohms. I bet is says that somewhere like on the dial or maybe a K lit up on the display.

2K is the max reading on that setting. It will display somewhere between 0K and 2K. In your case, it displayed 0.5K (or 500 ohms).

I will guess that it still will display 0.5, but who knows.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 11:36 pm
Peetie Wheatstraw wrote:

It would be less accurate at the 200k setting for what you are measuring. You set the setting at the lowest available but higher than you expect. What you have is a math problem, not a meter problem.
--
Blattus Slafaly ? 3 :) 7/8

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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 4:26 pm
Peetie Dot Wheatstraw at Gmail Dot Com writes:

The scale setting and display are completely consistent. You have the meter set to the 2k ohms scale, and the largest (non-overrange) displayed value will be 1.999 k ohms. If you want the result in ohms, and not k ohms, you need to do the conversion by yourself.
Similarly, if it had a 200 ohm scale, the decimal place would be one from the right, so the largest display would be 199.9, and the result is read as ohms directly. If it had a 2 Mohm scale, the decimal place would be one in from the left, and the largest reading is 1.999 M ohms. Again, you have to convert from Mohms to ohms if you want that.
The only difference with really expensive meters is they may have a scale indicator in the display, so you can read whether the units are ohms or K ohms or M ohms on the display. That's necessary for an auto-ranging meter, but for a manual meter you ought to know what range you set it to.

The reported number is in k ohms - as you'd expect from the scale you chose.

Now the decimal place has moved 2 positions to the right to make the largest display 199.9 kohms. 500 ohms is still 0.5 kohms, so your meter would display 0.5 on this range - correct, but not much precision.
Dave
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 11:01 pm
Ralph Mowery wrote:

I don't think that's right for an analog meter. If you set the meter to the 1 Megohm range and place a 100-ohm resistor across the terminals, the meter will read 100 ohms - you just won't be able to tell it. The setting is for the SENSITIVITY not the allowable range.
Conversely, the setting for reading voltage does imply a maximum range.
It's pretty much the same for a digital meter. The readings will be accurate, just not precise.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 1:26 am

Analong meters are not much differant. YOu get a number where the meter pointer stops. To this number you usually add the number of zeros from the range switch. That is if the meter stops at the number 5 and the meter is on the RX1 range , you have 5 ohms. If on the RX100 then it will be 500 ohms and on the RX10000 range it will be 50,000 ohms.
There have been a few analog meters made that seem to work backwards. It has been so long ago that I saw one of these I don't recall how they work. I think they are manily for low resistance (under 1000 ohms) and the zero is on the left side of the meter instead of the more usual right side.
If you place a 100 ohm resistor across the analog meter and it is set on the rx10000 range, the meter will be so far to the right (toward zero ohms) that it will look like a short circuit.
If you place a 1 meg resistor across the analog meter and it is on the RX1 scale, the meter will move so slightly that you will still think the circuit is open, just as the digital meter would show.
When the resistance is way out of the expected range, then the meter (either one) will seem to show an open circuit or a short circuit.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 5, 2008, 9:42 pm
Measuring a 470 ohm resistor on my \$4 digital multi-meter with the following scales shows: 200 shows 1 . 2000 shows 487 20k shows 0.48 200k shows 00.4 2000k shows 0.00
The self ranging meter doesn't make sense when it puts the 00 up but I know what it means.
On Fri, 05 Sep 2008 14:26:13 -0500, Peetie Wheatstraw

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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 2:47 am

...

Thats accurate to within 5% -and- properly scaled.
Cheers, Peetie
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 3:53 am
Peetie Wheatstraw wrote:

You're comparing apples and oranges. Resistors commonly are sold with 5% or 10% markings and can vary that much, plus or minus. A better test would for you two to measure the *same* resistor. <g>
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 4:37 pm
Peetie Dot Wheatstraw at Gmail Dot Com writes:

They are *both* properly scaled. His meter calls that range "2000 ohms", and displays the result properly as ohms. Your meter calls that range "2 kohms", and displays the result properly as kohms.
The only "problem" is you failing to apply the scale factor implied by the knob setting to the displayed result.
But even if the knob was marked incorrectly (e.g. the scale is labelled 2000 but the display decimal is placed so the largest reading is 1.999), you really ought to be able to figure out how to scale the result yourself. You know what the largest reading is; everything else is proportional. You don't even need the decimal point; it's just a convenience.
Dave
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 2:09 am
Peetie Wheatstraw wrote:

What are you measuring? Remember that with things such as light bulb or heating elements the 'cold' resistance reading is much lower than the 'hot' resistance. For example A 90 Watt bulb I have here should be 160 ohms at 120V however measuring the bulb 'cold' with an ohm meter reads 11.5 ohms. The resistance increases at the temp goes up.
Kevin
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 4:14 am

More expensive units (such as those made by Fluke) are auto-ranging and thus show exact values. They are \$150+ though.
Take a resistor of known value and hook it up to your meter, then find out what it shows. You have just trained yourself.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 3:29 pm

...

Thanks. I thought as much.

Aside from simple continuity, I need to test resistance maybe once a year in my little DIY world. The MM has maybe 5 ranges. I dunno I have resistors of known value.
Peetie
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 4:11 pm
Peetie Wheatstraw wrote:

Hi, El cheapo DVMs are not as accurate (uncalibrated when it left factory). I bought a good used Fluke and it'll last my life time with reliable service. I still have old Simpson 260 which I am taking with me to our cabin to trouble shoot electric hot water tank problem. There are times analog meter is more useful. Oh, I am taking digital clamp amprobe as well with built in temperature probe. No matter what tool one uses, s/he has to know how to use it and what s/he is doing with it. Anyone remember old RCA Ohmyst VTVM? I got one of that too in perfect working order. Good for RF measurement. I have some tektronic scopes as well. But digital Fluke scope is fine for most works.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 6, 2008, 10:24 pm

You can get packets of 5 of whatever ohms you want at Radio Shack for about \$2. Likely they are 10% tolerance, if it matters this much you can look for 5% or maybe even <2% tolerance, but you'll pay more.
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<%-name%>
• posted on September 7, 2008, 7:37 pm
Bottom line, folks.
Duff has a \$4 digital multi-meter which, with the range properly set to 2k ohms, reads the actual integer ohms. Such behavior is not "unknown".
I got a Chinee Crapsman MM that, in the same circumstance, reports a fraction that needs to be applied to a scale factor of 1k.
My manual sez "the display will indicate the proper decimal point and value".
It lies. There is no mention of the scale factor of 1k. I do not find that it is implied by the upper limit of the range (2k).
Some guys *like* esoteric crypticity in measurement devices. I got no use for it.
This is Chinee BS. I've got a broken analog meter on the workbench. If I can't fix it, I'll likely buy another analog MM. Best to have one of each.
Thx, Peetie
On Fri, 05 Sep 2008 14:26:13 -0500, Peetie Wheatstraw

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<%-name%>
• posted on September 7, 2008, 8:17 pm
On Sun, 07 Sep 2008 14:37:08 -0500, Peetie Wheatstraw

Buy as many as you like. They are worthless if you don't know how to use them.
What were you needing a 500 ohm resistor for? What project could you be working on that is more complicated than reading a digital meter?