Date: 28 January 2020. Multimeter
In my opinion every boater should have a multimeter onboard. If
memory serves me, mine came from Radio Shack. It was the bottom of
the line/least expensive model sold at the time. All these years
later I was still happy with my meter until last November. That is
when it quit. Fortunately I was able to make the unit go again, for
$1. Here is how I did it.
The multimeter started to give me odd readings. It would say a
battery was at 14.5 volts. A 12-volt battery sitting on the deck not
attached to a charging source would never read 14.5. Thus I knew
there was a problem somewhere.
Because I cannot
make something that is broken
any worse than it already is, I attempted to fix the meter.
The inexpensive multimeters I am familiar with all have an internal
9-volt battery. I suspected that the battery in mine was due for a
replacement. The unit is about ten years old. It was a simple matter to flip over the
multimeter to access the screws.
There are two Phillips head screws on the bottom of my multimeter. I removed the screws.
for a 9-volt battery were at one end of the unit.
Prying apart the case was not easy.
I went to the
Dollar Tree to buy 9-volt batteries. Unfortunately between the time
I had last bought 9-volt batteries and today, there has been a
change. Formerly I was able to buy two batteries for $1. They now cost
a dollar each.
Because of a limited budget I did
not opt for a better quality battery. Although I keep a
few batteries set aside for portable items, mostly I simply purchase
these as needed.
After replacing the 9-volt battery
I put my multimeter back together.
When you first buy a multi-meter you attach the two probes. There are three holes in every multimeter. You want to put
the black one into the hole labeled COMMON. The red one is inserted
into the one with the fancy symbol that looks like headphones.
picture on this website can be clicked.
The photo will get larger when clicked.
Do that a second time and the picture should be full size.
on the two photos above, you should be able to more clearly see
the plug with a headphones symbol that is used for testing
voltage on 12-volt systems.
The red probe goes into it. Black fits
into the COM hole.
To check the voltage on 12-volt batteries I turn the dial three to
the left of center. That puts the meter at 20. From there it will
register the voltage of said batts. Some meters have an on/off
switch. Others have a place to shut off the unit on the dial. OFF
is generally located at top dead center.
Though my yellow multimeter did give out on me in November after about ten years, I
am still pleased with the unit. After replacing the battery it
once again provides me with accurate readings.
Please note that I am not an expert. The expert in all things boat is no doubt Nigel
Calder. His tome
Calder's Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual
4th Edition is my most frequently
referenced and valued how-to book aboard Seaweed. I paid retail for
This article is a simple fix-it.
Although some may chose to replace an item, the first choice for
budget boaters is to attempt a repair. Until someone told me, I was not aware
that a multimeter could be fixed. Now you too know, so there you
Thanks for reading. More shortly, on
how I actually improved a free Harbor Freight multimeter.
I'd love to hear what criteria you find Absolutely
And, have you picked out one particular brand and size that suits you?
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In the Bilges,
Inexpensive Draft Stopper ~
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