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Put your multimeter to work at home

Here's how to put that multimeter gathering dust to work around the house.

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Brian Bennett
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
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Put your multimeter to work at home

Don't let your digital multimeter gather more dust in your toolbox. Put that useful gadget to work around the house.

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What are these?

Does this look like Greek to you? You're not alone. Multimeter function dials are often labeled in electrical symbols and pictographs. 

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Insulated probes

Your multimeter comes with two insulated probes. You'll need to connect them to the right ports (terminals) on the device depending on what you'd like to measure.

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Is the battery still good?

Use your multimeter to test old batteries for signs of life. The black probe goes on the negative side (flat end) while the red probe touches the positive (raised bump) end.

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The battery's good!

With a confirmed 1.5 volts of direct current, my multimeter proclaims this AA battery alive!

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Check if the switch works

Use your multimeter to verify if a suspect switch is working or has failed.

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A good switch

An operational light switch will have a low resistance when in the on (closed circuit) position.

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A multimeter can solve this

When your "simple" home improvement project starts to look like this, the precise measurements of a multimeter might be your only salvation.

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