Tip & How-To about Hammering
You can buy a reliable, two probe voltage meter at most building supply stores for around $30. They typically have two testing probes and a dial to select the function. The four major functions are AC voltage, (a V with a wiggly line), DC voltage (a V with a straight line), resistance or continuity (the symbol omega), and amps(A). To use the meter you decide what value you are testing for and estimate what range the result would be in. For example, testing a receptacle, you would use AC Volts on a 200 range, expecting a 120 volt reading. For continuity or resistance, select a mid range to start with. Hold one probe to each side of the circuit or item to be tested. If the reading is infinite then there is no internal connection between the parts tested. If the reading is zero then there is a connection or a short between the parts being tested. For example, if you put the probes on the terminal screws of a switch, one position would give you a zero reading, and flip the switch and you would get an infinite reading. For a light bulb an infinite reading means it is burned out, a zero or close to it reading means the lamp is good.
You would use the DC Voltage function to check circuits in your car, or to check batteries. The car is 12volts DC and a battery is 1.5 volts DC.
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