Just got a Sperry Digital Multimeter - the Pocket-Pro, and I am trying
to figure out how to test a wall receptacle with it. There is only a
positive and a negative probe, no ground.
What do I do to test it? What voltage do I look for? The instruction
manual was totally unhelpful.
Complete newbie into electrical matters, so any advice is appreciated.
That is not likely your best tool for checking wall receptacles. A
small one use plug in tool is likely to be better.
In any case. be careful. It would not be difficult to injure yourself
You need to set the meter to AC and if it has ranges make sure the range
includes 100 - 250V. Next make contact with the leads to each side of the
spades (the two long skinny sockets) you should get about 120V. You still
will not know if there are any poor connections however. Next check each
spade to the ground connection (the small round one) You should get one 0V
and one about 120V.
With most modern meters you are likely to get a reading where you would
think it would be 0V because they are very sensitive. You may also get a
reading, often 10-40V where you would expect 120 when you don't have any
connection. These , safety and other reasons are why I suggest a standard
outlet tester may be better, unless you really understand what is going on.
What are you trying to test the outlet for? Voltage?
It measures the voltage between two points. Between hot and neutral, hot
and ground, ground and neutral.
A normal outlet has 120v H-G or H-N and 0v G-N.
Well, we really haven't eliminated anything from the list because the meter in
the "proper hands" can test all that and more. Your best bet might be to get a
good book or take a course at a local tech school if you really want to get
comfortable using that meter.
Meters don't care about ground. They have two leads. They
tell you the voltage difference between two points. Any two
points. Stove and sink. AC plug and light fixture. Black
wire and green wire. Meter simply tells voltage between each
pair of points.
You have two options. To read AC voltage difference or DC
voltage difference. Which one? An AC outlet would measure
some AC voltage and no DC voltage. A battery would measure a
DC voltage and show no AC voltage. Simply tell the meter
which voltage to measure. Then touch leads to two different
wires or whatever. Meter will simply report the voltage
difference between those wires (or two whatevers).
That meter is, by far, the best device to test an outlet.
Simply put meter to AC voltage mode, set range to Auto, and
let the meter tell you the voltage difference between any two
wires in that outlet. The thing even auto ranges so that you
don't even have to tell it what voltage you are expecting.
Meter is smart. As long as the measured voltage does not
exceed 450 volts, then you cannot even destroy the voltmeter
section. IOW just don't try to measure voltages inside a TV.
Measure voltages anywhere else.
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