Voltmeter Usage

A digital voltmeter is ideal for home and shop use and aids in troubleshooting and locate faulty wiring.  A digital voltmeter can also check and test electrical components such as a control relay or an ignition coil to help pinpoint a problem area and determine which components need repair or replacement. A digital voltmeter checks AC/DC voltage, amps, resistance, transistors and diodes and has a large digital display for easy viewing. Most digital voltmeters are battery operated (batteries not included) and have detachable color-coded test leads. 

Warranties can vary on digital voltmeters but most have a 1 year guarantee with free replacement. A digital voltmeter can be used to check for continuity of an electrical circuit. A digital voltmeter utilizes two test leads to probe wiring using a sharply pointed rod which is optimal for piercing a wire, or testing a fuse and checking the surface charge of a battery. A digital voltmeter is easy to use, first connect the ground clip to a ground source to test power related issues, and to the positive battery terminal to test ground related issues.

Digital Voltmeter Function Range

  • DC Voltage 200mV to 1000V
  • AC Voltage 200V to 750V
  • DC Current 200?A to 10A
  • Ohms200 to 2M
  • Diode Check
  • Transistor Check
 Battery Testing

Using a Digital Voltmeter to Test a Battery Surface Voltage

To check a battery surface voltage remove the positive terminal protective cover. Connect the + positive side meter lead (red) to the positive side battery terminal. Connect the - negative (black) side meter lead to the negative battery terminal. With the vehicle not running and the car sitting over night the battery voltage should be between 12.5 and 12.8 volts.

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Written by
Co-Founder and CEO of
35 years in the automotive repair field, ASE Master Technician, Advanced Electrical and Mechanical Theory.


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Article first published (Updated 2013-08-18)