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Old 02-18-2015, 11:09 PM   #1
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Multi Meter

I have seen a few post lately with electrical questions. Being a electrician by trade, I have the skills and tools to troubleshoot and repairs most electrical problems that can occur on my rig. However, I am getting a since that a lot of people may not have a basic and important tool.. A multi meter. With this you can check 120VAC, 12VDC, and resistance.

Amazon.com: INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter: Automotive

I found this at amazon, I have never used this brand or meter, but for the price and based on reviews, I think it would be money well spent. It's under $20!

Using a meter is very simple. You don't have to be a master electrician to use one. The directions should help you out and I would bet that there are some good youtube videos as well.

Having this in your tool box can save a lot time and headaches.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:39 AM   #2
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That looks like a pretty decent little meter for the money. But somehow I don't think I will trade my Fluke or Klein in on it.

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Old 02-19-2015, 01:25 AM   #3
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Great advice. Mine has been indispensable!
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Old 02-19-2015, 02:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
That looks like a pretty decent little meter for the money. But somehow I don't think I will trade my Fluke or Klein in on it.

Aaron
LOL me either... I just wanted to point that it is a good tool and not expensive for some who might not have realized it.
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:43 PM   #5
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Most of the time you just need a good test light to find the problem.
I have a meter too but use the test light more.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:12 AM   #6
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I've seen many electrical questions on this and other, automotive boards. Yes, a multimeter (or even a test light) is a valuable tool in the hands of those who understand basic electricity. Many do not. Those would be better served by a book such as this. There are many available. I like this because of the high reviews, and that it explains both AC and DC circuits. Basic Electricity: Complete Course, Volumes 1-5 in 1: Van Valkenburgh, Nooger, Neville: 9780790610412: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:57 PM   #7
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A multimeter combined with a basic overview of the DC electrical system in an RV.

The 12volt Side of Life (Part 1)
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:11 PM   #8
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It was worth it to me just to check battery voltages. I do admit to not knowing how to use it to it's full potential. I bought a cheapie from WalMart for under $20, and my dad who's a licensed electrician was somewhat impressed by it.
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:12 PM   #9
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ewarnerusa, that is indeed a great reference for all. Somehow that should be made into a "sticky" (I don't know how) to be kept at the top of the board for future questions. Now, if we can find a similar reference to basic AC questions, everything between pole and RV circuit breaker box, i.e. 20amp, 30 amp, 50 amp, hookups, "cheaters/adapters" and generator hookups; then we would have a reference for the other half of the electrical questions here!
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricNSTL View Post
I have seen a few post lately with electrical questions. Being a electrician by trade, I have the skills and tools to troubleshoot and repairs most electrical problems that can occur on my rig. However, I am getting a since that a lot of people may not have a basic and important tool.. A multi meter. With this you can check 120VAC, 12VDC, and resistance.

Amazon.com: INNOVA 3320 Auto-Ranging Digital Multimeter: Automotive

I found this at amazon, I have never used this brand or meter, but for the price and based on reviews, I think it would be money well spent. It's under $20!

Using a meter is very simple. You don't have to be a master electrician to use one. The directions should help you out and I would bet that there are some good youtube videos as well.

Having this in your tool box can save a lot time and headaches.
Eric.....how and where should I connect to measure the amperage draw on the system and any given time? Does a multi-meter do the job or should I get an ammeter??
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:31 PM   #11
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With that meter you will have to measure Amperage in series with any circuit that you want to test. I would suggest that you get an Volt/Amp clamp on meter similar to this so you can measure both AC/& DC amps.


http://www.amazon.com/Greenlee-CM-90.../dp/B00125FAGG
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retired Mountie View Post
Eric.....how and where should I connect to measure the amperage draw on the system and any given time? Does a multi-meter do the job or should I get an ammeter??
An ammeter and Volt/Ohm (VOM) also called a multi-meter are two different devices. Most ammeters that I have used have a loop to clamp over the wire so you can see how many amps you are drawing. They do make some that can be put inline but those require some wiring and other odds and ends.

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Old 04-27-2015, 12:58 AM   #13
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Great guys...thanks for the advice. I was aware of the type that you clamp around a wire but was hoping to use my multi-meter to get it done. I guess I ill need to invest in a more expensive ammeter!
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:06 AM   #14
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You need a battery monitor to do that.
I have this one and it works great.
TM-2030-RV Battery Monitor - We Go Solar Canada
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:51 AM   #15
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Mountie,

You will need to have a Multi Meter that has an "amp clamp" that you can clamp around the conductor and read the current flowing in the conductor.

On its face, dial, or whatever...it will have a setting for reading AC or DC amps.

Mine is a Craftsman that I bought years ago, and works great!

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Old 04-27-2015, 03:08 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retired Mountie View Post
Great guys...thanks for the advice. I was aware of the type that you clamp around a wire but was hoping to use my multi-meter to get it done. I guess I ill need to invest in a more expensive ammeter!
You can do it with you multi meter! This all depends what your purpose is. If you want to see what you load is on your battery, like I did with everything off (.3amps), disconnect the + lead on you battery and hook it to one lead of your meter, then put the other lead of your meter on your + battery terminal. This will give you your current. and the meter ends up in series on the DC circuit.
Word of caution. Most multi meters can only hand 10 amps. So you wouldn't want to operate your slides or anything that has a large load. Also you usually have to move the leads on the meter to the amp ports..

Most clamp on meters are A/C only, but they do sale D/C clamp on meters.

If this is something you want to continually monitor, they do sale amp meters that are typically wired in series just like a explained with the meter.

Hope this helps.

For me I have only done this once to see what the load was on the trailer with everything off. I have not had a need to do it for anything else.
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:26 PM   #17
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I can attest to the battery monitor that Wanderer has posted, I've had mine since 2012 and it has been the best addition that I've installed in my trailer. I works like a capacity gauge for your battery and once setup it will continuously tell you the draw, how much has been removed or added and if something was is out of sort and drawing too much power. Below is a link to the manufacturer webpage:
TriMetric Model Descriptions, Present and Past | Bogart Engineering

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Old 04-29-2015, 03:54 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dawniewest View Post
It was worth it to me just to check battery voltages. I do admit to not knowing how to use it to it's full potential. I bought a cheapie from WalMart for under $20, and my dad who's a licensed electrician was somewhat impressed by it.
I've got a top of the line fluke meter but I also have an old analog meter from Radio Shack that I use for "field work". It still works great.

My opinion is if you know very little about electricity you should leave this work to someone who knows a lot more until you've learned enough to do things safely.

Ken
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