How To Measure Voltage

Voltage is an indicator of the force (electromotive) required by electrons, to move through objects capable of conducting electricity. It is calculated as a product of the current (in amperes) moving through the object, and the resistance (in ohms) offered by the object. There are several ways and instruments, by which voltage can be measured and some of the more common ones are discussed here.

Step 1

Benefits of measuring voltage. In case you're wondering why anyone would want to measure voltage at all, least of all yourself, here are a few benefits, which make it a good idea:

  • Test that the right amount of power is being supplied
  • Sufficient power is running through the circuit and appliances are able to work efficiently
  • Test actual voltage for different types of batteries, power outlets and plugs

Step 2

Important information to check before measuring voltage.

  • DC and AC voltage are not the same, check which one you want to measure before connecting the circuit
  • Make sure the power supply is plugged in, before you measure voltage
  • There should be two points - positive and negative to which the multimeter is connected, to get the right voltage measurement
  • Connect positive with positive and negative with negative for getting a proper reading of the voltage. If not, the reading will show a negative figure

Step 3

Testing with a multimeter. Based on the voltage of the power source, which you are measuring the voltage for, set a range that is over and above the voltage of the power source. For example, if you're measuring the voltage of a 5-volt battery, then set the multimeter range between 10-20 volts, Connect the red (positive) terminal of the multimeter to the negative terminal of the battery and vice versa. Once connected, the voltage reading will show up on the display.

Following the same process, you can test the voltage for any power circuits, electrical outlets, plug points, etc. With a multimeter, measuring voltage is very easy.


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