Computers & Electronics

Can I use this cheap multimeter for household and auto?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 11th, 2019 7:12 pm
[OP]
Member
Jun 4, 2013
401 posts
25 upvotes
Oakville

Can I use this cheap multimeter for household and auto?

So on Wednesday my washer breaks. I was going to use a multimeter on the motor or something. Was going through process of elimination and lid switch and pump don't appear to be the problem. Was about to watch the youtube tutorial on this when my main water shutoff valve started leaking on Saturday and that turned into a four hour ordeal because pavers hired by previous homeowner buried the city watermain valve under the driveway.

Now today my oven breaks. No matter what I set it to, it just preheats forever and definitely won't reach the temp it is set to. I will check the bottom element for problems and one of those could be continuity as I have seen on youtube so far.

I have never used a multimeter before, and since this is $20 and my bro in law has a much more serious one for his work and I can always borrow his, I thought I'd get a cheap one for myself in case I need to test something quickly. Would this do the job for a noob like me for simple household things?


https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01ISA ... _qh_dp_hza

Thanks.
35 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 2, 2005
1117 posts
154 upvotes
Yes it will be fine around the house and if you blow it up by connecting it wrong you're only out 20$.
Deal Addict
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Feb 14, 2009
1191 posts
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metaman wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 7:25 pm
So on Wednesday my washer breaks. I was going to use a multimeter on the motor or something. Was going through process of elimination and lid switch and pump don't appear to be the problem. Was about to watch the youtube tutorial on this when my main water shutoff valve started leaking on Saturday and that turned into a four hour ordeal because pavers hired by previous homeowner buried the city watermain valve under the driveway.

Now today my oven breaks. No matter what I set it to, it just preheats forever and definitely won't reach the temp it is set to. I will check the bottom element for problems and one of those could be continuity as I have seen on youtube so far.

I have never used a multimeter before, and since this is $20 and my bro in law has a much more serious one for his work and I can always borrow his, I thought I'd get a cheap one for myself in case I need to test something quickly. Would this do the job for a noob like me for simple household things?


https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01ISA ... _qh_dp_hza

Thanks.
It looks fine.
On arrival -- check it on :
* OMEGA short -- zero resistance -- for example on lowest (6-oclock) position OMEGA-2000
* V= constant voltage with AA/AAA battery 1.25 - 1.50V -- 3rd or 4th to the left from OFF.
* V~ alternate voltage 110-130V in wall outlet -- be sure use right dial -- first or second from OFF to the right -- V~500 or V~200.

Cheers!
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3395 posts
2293 upvotes
The only problem I've found with the cheap multimeters is that they may give inaccurate voltage readings when their own internal batteries start to weaken. That doesn't happen with better-quality meters.
Deal Expert
Mar 25, 2005
21224 posts
2074 upvotes
My problem with cheap DMM is you're relying on them for a reading - voltage, impedance, whatever. If you can't trust the reading you are potentially at risk and may be led down the wrong path. Spend the $200 for a basic Fluke and keep it for life.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
9572 posts
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Vancouver, BC
Accuracy is one thing... I would be more concerned about safety if you are using it around A/C voltages.
Member
Oct 1, 2009
266 posts
68 upvotes
Basic things yes. I have an even cheaper one but of course it helps if you have a background in electrical and electronics. The one I have it's from princess auto with a clamp on ammeter.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
29687 posts
4517 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
Exp315 wrote:
Jan 6th, 2019 7:55 pm
The only problem I've found with the cheap multimeters is that they may give inaccurate voltage readings when their own internal batteries start to weaken. That doesn't happen with better-quality meters.
Short of buying a FLUKE, I agree, you need to invest in a better unit

@metaman

Try this one

https://www.amazon.ca/Etekcity-Multimet ... 8PR8GQ4P0R
Member
Oct 1, 2009
266 posts
68 upvotes
I disagree on having to buy a more expensive product. Unless you have the background knowledge then I think it's a waste of money. How many non techie would know how a diode works in a circuit? Sure wiki the answer but betcha you still won't understand it during troubleshooting.
Member
Jun 10, 2006
356 posts
61 upvotes
Certainly 'good enough' for basic around-the-house tests. I used even simpler analog scale multimeters and cheap digital ones for many years. Every once in a while I wanted a bit more functionality, so about a year ago I purchased a much fancier unit on Aliexpress for about $40 -- but of course I had to be patient for the long shipping time :)
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
9572 posts
3532 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
doradxplorer wrote:
Jan 8th, 2019 2:02 am
I disagree on having to buy a more expensive product. Unless you have the background knowledge then I think it's a waste of money. How many non techie would know how a diode works in a circuit? Sure wiki the answer but betcha you still won't understand it during troubleshooting.
Buying a more expensive product is not necessarily about more bells and whistles (ie things like true RMS values) but how well the product is built safety wise. For basic resistance, DC voltages, and continuity testing, almost any cheapo multi-meter will do. However, if you are talking about measuring AC especially 220V, the better quality meters will have better protection for the user which is extremely important with live 220V circuits.
Member
Oct 1, 2009
266 posts
68 upvotes
You mentioned exactly my point where a lot of people will not understand the value that they see in the multimeter's reading is a true rms voltage or not.

For the average joes and diy-ers, a simple meter will suffice. Heck, I fixed my stove's panel with an el cheapo meter but I know my way around a circuit even without a schematic.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 27, 2006
9572 posts
3532 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
doradxplorer wrote:
Jan 9th, 2019 1:20 am
You mentioned exactly my point where a lot of people will not understand the value that they see in the multimeter's reading is a true rms voltage or not.

For the average joes and diy-ers, a simple meter will suffice. Heck, I fixed my stove's panel with an el cheapo meter but I know my way around a circuit even without a schematic.
Yes, but a simple meter isn't necessarily a good cheapo meter and a cheapo meter isn't necessarily a safe meter especially for 220.

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