How to use a Fluke Multimeter-Basic learning

If you are not a certified electrician then you should not use multimeters before getting complete training and knowledge about the basic functions and safety of multi meters. Otherwise, either your or your meter’s safety would be at risk.

Using a fluke digital multimeter is not much different from using other company multimeters except for some extra features that are specifically included in fluke meters. Also, its unique design, function buttons on the interface require some learning before doing a test. In this guide, we’ll tell you how to use a fluke multimeter, its functionalities, and other important factors.

As an electrician you need to work frequently on electronic equipment, you have to perform calibration testing, fault finding for electric loops and panel circuits. In order to correctly perform all these technical tasks, one should be an expert at basic multimeter usages like voltage, current, resistance, and continuity testing.

In fluke multimeter, we got several buttons that are specific for a task depending on mode selection and range. First of all, we should learn about primary function buttons on meter’s interface marked as hold, min/max, range, rel, etc.

Here we took fluke 117 as an example to tell you fluke multimeter basic operations and functions. Because fluke 117 is no doubt a most reliable and common industrial multimeter.

Hold

It’s the most common button we found in digital multimeters. Its basic purpose is to freeze meter’s screen to show you a static reading. For example, while working alone you can freeze readings to note them down somewhere like a notepad or a paper.

Min/max

Signal behavior is an important thing for analyzing faults and setbacks in a circuit or machinery. You’ll need to know peak current, torque load, locked rotor current, average load and voltage while troubleshooting a problem.

Min/max feature of fluke multimeters will record highest, lowest and average reading since you turned it on.

Range

Range button shows the flexibility of a fluke multimeter range options, you’ll get benefit of both auto and manual ranging options while using it. In most cases auto range is better as it will automatically set range for you, also it is good for multimeter safety.

Yellow button

In most fluke multimeters a prominent yellow button is placed with other functions buttons. It’s for alternative functionality. If you see at selector dial you’ll notice some of symbols are in yellow colors like dc voltage, frequency this button is for utilizing these alternative functions.

Test lead port selection

In fluke multimeters like other meters, there is a total of three sockets, two red colored sockets are dedicated to different functions and one is black which is for the common or black probe. One of red sockets is for voltage, resistance, continuity, and capacitance checking while another one is dedicated only for amperes testing.

How to do basic tasks

Voltage test

To check ac or dc voltage with a fluke multimeter first analyze the physical condition of multimeter, either test leads are in good condition and insulation is fine? Now turn the meter dial to V function, if there is a range button in your multimeter you can select range as per your choice between auto and manual ranging.

After that insert black lead into comm socket and red one socket having VΩ indications. Now if you want to check ac voltage or dc volts set mode and range according to it, connect red test lead to phase and black to neutral or earth. For testing three phase voltage you may connect red and black probes with any of two phases in any order. There’s another option to check phase to neutral voltage in 3 phase, in that case, a black probe will be attached to neutral.

Note results and turn off the multimeter carefully.

Current test

Digital fluke multimeter normally comes with ac/dc amp testing range between 10 to 20 amps. For checking higher current value clamp meters are a best and safer option. In order to check loads of supply circuits with fluke digital multimeter, we’ll have to isolate the circuit first to connect the multimeter with it in series.

For that cut of circuit from somewhere but we’ll recommend do not let conductors be exposed freely to avoid any shock and misfortune. You can use a connector block for this purpose and reconnect the circuit once the test is done.

For dc current switch the yellow button to turn it to dc amp mode. Another process is same for ac amps, isolating the loop and going in series with circuit.

Don’t ever try to test a circuit with more load than multimeter capacity, otherwise meter fuse will be blown or an arc flash could be produced.

Resistance test

Resistance is actually opposition of current, as resistance highers, current will be lowered and vice versa. For checking resistance with fluke multimeter turn of the circuit first and discharge capacitors if present in the circuit. For resistance and other parameters always use a calibrated multimeter.

Now turn the meter dial to resistance or ohm point. Best practice is to remove components to be tested from the circuit entirely, otherwise, other components of the circuit may affect readings. Be sure that leads are inserted at the right jack, for resistance red probe should be at Volt-ohm jack and black probe at comm jack.

Connect multimeter’s lead to component or circuit endpoints to check ohms value. Make sure that contact between leads and components is intact.

How to measure duty cycles with a Fluke Multimeter

Duty cycle is actually a ratio of time a signal or load is on to the time it was off. We have many circuits like actuators in industrial automation circuits like a programable logic controller or dcs that receive impulse signals on and off several times in a minute. For these types of applications electricians often need to count duty cycle.

Almost all fluke meters are equipped with a duty cycle measurement function. Usually, it’s operated by dc volt point on meter dial switch when Hz button is pressed. After switching to dc v and pressing hz button a % sign will appear on screen, which indicates that now fluke multimeter is ready to measure duty cycles.

First step is to insert black probe into comm jack and red one into volt-ohm jack. Now connect meter leads to the circuit that has to be tested and read results. If a positive symbol appears it shows a positive time-percent measurement, similarly negative means a negative time-percent value.

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