Maplin Multimeter: how to use?

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I recently purchased a cheap digital multimeter from Maplin:
<http://www.mapli.co.uk/
(search for the product reference, "QT18U")
Picture:
<
http://www.maplin.co.uk/media/largeimages/30055i0.jpg
The instruction manual is not helpful :-(
Obviously translated from another language, by someone whose first language is not English, it also assumes a level of knowledge beyond mine.
Can anyone recommend a web page which explains the basics, including the meanings of the various symbols?
Thank you.
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Andy Mabbett Reply to [my first name] [at] pigsonthewing.org.uk
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Might be easier if you asked specifically what you don't understand?
Think Maplin do a book called 'Getting the most from your multi-meter' or somesuch, but it may not cover the very basic basics.
Two simple things to remember - always start on the highest range if you're not sure what you're measuring. Never measure resistance or continuity on a 'live' component.
And the most common gotcha is trying to measure voltage after you've measured current. When measuring current, the meter goes in series with the source and load, and has a very low resistance. As such, it usually has a different terminal for current measurement. Leave the leads in this state and try to measure voltage where the device goes in parallel, and that low resistance either blows the meter fuse - hopefully - or the meter itself. So get into the habit of always putting the leads back to the normal socket(s) after measuring current, as trying to measure current with the leads in the wrong sockets will do no damage.
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 12:32:55 +0000, Andy Mabbett wrote:

ok working clockwise
1st 2 to are AC volt ranges - use the 600V range for UK mains
next we have DC (current)ampere ranges from 200 microamps to 200 milliamps - probably not useful for a DIYer
the next one is a 10A DC curreent range agin probaly not to much use to the DIYer
next one hFE is for measuring transistor gain - I'm a 4th year electronics student and have never felt the need to use that, make of that what you will
Next we have didode test - agian never used my self
Next 5 are resistance ranges - used to test continuity in a circuit if the display reads '1' on the left then you have an open circuit (ie a broken wire) if it reads a low value or 0 it means there is a path for current to flow.
next 5 are DC voltage ranges - from 200 millivolt to 600V most useful range here is the 20V range,this is useful to test batteries and battery powered appliances.
the connectors on bottom right are from bottom
COM - common - plug the black lead into this one V OHM ma - use this if you are measuring Volts,Resistance or DC current (200ua -200ma) 10ADC - use this when you are using the 10A range as described above
some definitions AC -alternating current - mains voltage as always AC as are the inputs or outputs of transformer(unless DC is stated on casing)
DC - Direct Current - This is the type of power you get from batteries or some wall warts
OHM(the symbol which looks like haedphones) - unit of resistance
Resistance - how difficult it is to pass current through something.
hope this is some help any probs just ask
Martin Warby snipped-for-privacy@mwarby.clara.co.uk
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Martin Warby wrote:
snip

Snipped due to just replying to this point;
The diode test feature (on my model) is actually very useful, it uses a constant voltage, current-limted supply of 1mA to measure the diode's forward voltage drop. I use it mainly to check transisitor junctions for quick go/no go fault finding.
Lee
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My diode function is also good as a continuity tester, you could use a low resistance range to see if a circuit is broken, or shorting to another, or if a fuse is good.
However the diode range has a buzzer to give an an audio indication of continuity - very handy if yours does
mike r
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mike ring wrote:

The 400 Ohm resistance range on mine has a buzzer, but what would be really useful is an ESR test function ;)
Lee
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 13:15:03 +0000, Martin Warby

Christ. Next we'll have engineers who've never used a spanner.
What; we already have?
Bugger me.
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Many engineers never have to leave their keyboards although a basic grounding in the 'hands dirty' part of the appropriate industry does help a lot in design
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On Sat, 6 Dec 2003 19:18:32 +0000, Alan

Agreed. I've got a lot of respect for those hardy souls who've done a bit of graft then got the degree afterwards.
I have no respect for engineers who've never used tools in their appropriate discipline.
The rot started with the Americans, imo.
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Fdisk is your friend
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 18:47:03 +0000, Grimly Curmudgeon

Scarcely good enough for monodes, in fact ;-).

Hey c'mon many an engineer has never used a yeller plastic 5 quid "Diode tester".

Real engineers would use an AVO and you wouldn't like that!
Trust me!
DG
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On Sat, 06 Dec 2003 18:47:03 +0000, Grimly Curmudgeon wrote:

There are plently of other ways to test a diode apart from a 5 multimeter.
As for hFE this varys from transistor to transistor (even the same type/model).We are taught to design amplifiers based on feedback which makes the amplifier less dependant of hFE.To find the value of hFE we consult the data sheet for that particular transistor
Martin Warby
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99 times out of 100 someone testing a transistor doesn't give an IMM about the hFE, they're jut looking to see if the diode junction is IMM'd
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To Martin and Geoff,
The real value of a "transistor tester" would have been in the days when transistors in the UK were germanium, "alloy diffused" types, with a wide spread of gain, which was low anyway and cost 2 weeks pay as a paper boy, but a bagfull of out of spec. devices could be bought relatively cheaply.
Sadly, 2 points arise. In 1961/2 the Maplin 5 Quid Multimeter wasn't available and if it had been I wouldn't have had the 5 Quid to buy it.
DG
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Isn't this how Sir Clive made his first fortune? Buying a bulk load of "failed" transistors from <a_major_manufacturer> for next to nothing and then paying people to test them and sort them into matched pairs for use in his amplifiers?

It was people like Sir Clive who gave the public a taste for cheap high technology. Shame he couldn't follow through with the reliability!
Hwyl!
M.
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wrote:

IMM'd
As my Fluke has gone belly up, does anyone know of a good and cheap digital multimeter that read temperature as well complete with temp probe?
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IMM wrote:

CPC do one. I got this one a while back discounted in a flyer. Described under IN0222266 25.71 + vat but order it as code IN0222203 for 23.65 + v instead. The thermocouple is 1000mm long and everything appears to work OK. YMMV
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Thanks. Is the temp probe a metal rod? I need to insert into ducts to take the temp.
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IMM wrote:

No it's a solid core wire covered in braid. It will extend horizontally about 300mm unsupported, but is flexible enough to be coiled or even to go in a jacket potato with the oven door shut properly with the meter on the worktop. (Yes I know, but it was new, I was curious)
If it is important that it should not touch the sides of the duct, it would be very easy to stick some cardboard or some such thing over the end. Or tape it to a stick.
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And I'll bet the oven temperature was nowhere near what the probe said.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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