Types of Multimeters Available Online
A multimeter also known as VOM is a device used to measure voltage, current, resistance and a bunch of other electrical values. These are extensively used by electricians for measuring and diagnosing electrical flaws. These are not only useful for electricians but are a valuable addition even to the household inventory and can help a regular person in troubleshooting small problems at home.
Multimeters subscribing to various technologies are available in India, that one can choose from for measuring electrical properties. This article will discuss the basics of multimeters and the options available to help you make a sound decision regarding which multimeter will be suitable to assist your purpose. So let's jump right into them-
Multimeters can be divided into two broad categories based on the technology used:
This is the most primitive type of multimeter that is available in the markets. It is aligned with the analog technology i.e., it uses a coil meter to measure various electrical values. This uses a needle, whose degree of deflection represents the electrical value.
These can be often seen in school laboratories and factories, but are slowly being taken over by digital technology. An analog multimeter consists of a single meter and movement, needle and a parallel resistor; a rotary switch is used to select the range which is placed right under the meter.
The downside of using an analog multimeter is that these are bulky and cannot measure frequency beyond 50 Hz. These also get affected by the Earth's magnetic field, thus leading to errors. Although more advanced variants of multimeters are now available, an analog multimeter is still the best choice when it comes to measuring small changes swiftly.
In sync with the current technology is the digital multimeter. The replacement for analog multimeter, a digital multimeter, is much more accurate, reliable and easy to use. A digital multimeter consists of a display, input jacks, dials and buttons. It also has its own inbuilt power supply. These are used to assess various electronic and electrical devices.
Any device which is to be checked is plugged in to the digital multimeter through the ports provided via wires, while the circuits are examined by the usage of probe tips at the end of each lead. Most digital multimeters take in automatic ranges. A technician can determine the sensitivity of a multimeter by looking at the counts and digits representing the resolution.
A digital multimeter comes in various sizes. Mobile digital multimeters are what most technicians use these days as they are easy to carry. A digital multimeter is a great investment as these come at reasonable prices, use modern technology and combine the purpose of various measuring equipment in one.
On the basis of size and portability, multimeters can be divided into two again:
Regular Multimeter Vs Pocket Multimeter
A regular multimeter is a stationary device that is supposed to be kept at one place, it may or may not require electrical connectivity but due to their bulky size these cannot be carried around. These are used in laboratories and shops. These are available in both analog and digital technology.
Pocket multimeter also known as mobile multimeter on the other hand, is smaller in size, can fit in one's palm and is easy to travel with. These were invented to do away with multimeters' shortcoming of mobility. These are highly recommended for technicians who have to take their equipment with them and have to travel to their sites for work. Albeit being available in analog technology, most of the pocket multimeters conform to digital technology.
Oscilloscope: An alternative to Multimeter
Oscilloscope multimeters are devices that are used to measure fluctuations in voltage and represent these fluctuations graphically as waveforms. The name is a testament to the fact that they enable testers to see the wave oscillations, which a multimeter does not allow.
Originally cathode ray tubes were used for this purpose, nowadays LCDs and plasma displays are used instead. An oscilloscope does not simply provide readings but also a visual representation thus setting a bar high for multimeters.
A visual representation helps technicians catch hold of distortions easily. But, where the oscilloscope lacks is, at accuracy, as a multimeter provides upto 8 digits of precision. An oscilloscope also confines to only measuring voltage. So, if your purpose is to only measure voltage fluctuations, an oscilloscope proves to be a great alternative.
Best Multimeter Brands Available in India:
Fluke has been the leading brand in the arena of electronic devices. Their digital multimeters provide accuracy, precision and reliability like no other brand. They are also known for their great customer service.
Their digital multimeters come in two variants one with 600V measurement and the other with 1000V measurement. The current measurement options are 400 mA, 10A, 4-20 mA (dc), 1A (dc) and AC Current. They also provide two safety choices i.e., the resistance capacity towards energy transients- CAT III 600 V and CAT IV 600 V / CAT III 1000 V.
Some other features that Fluke multimeters present you with that make their multimeters unique are backlighting, waterproofing and dust proofing.
Uni-T multimeters are known to be the best in the budget multimeter section. They provide many features at feasible prices. They have multimeters that measure various combinations of electrical properties like resistance, voltage, capacitance, temperature, inductance, frequency, true RMS and so on.
Uni-T also takes care of the safety measures and their products are usually rated CAT III/CATIV. However, the only downside is that these may not last as long and are susceptible to quick damages. Uni-T multimeters are a fine option for self proclaimed household electricians who like to do everything themselves.
If you are looking for a multimeter that is on the extreme lower end on the pricing spectrum and does the job just about fine, then Unity multimeters can serve as a great choice. Unity makes pocket digital multimeters and are slowly creeping up the ladder. Their multimeters provide many features and a count upto 2000.
These are ideal for small electricians as they measure every electrical property possible from voltage, current, resistance to live wires. Their multimeters have LCDs and come with overload protections as well as battery indication.
These are resourceful for someone who does not intend to invest much but wants the job done. It is advised to only go for branded multimeters as they ensure better safety and long life. Hopefully this article would have provided you with the right inputs to make the best use of the resources available with you!