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Testing Continuity With Multi-testers

How to Test for Continuity

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Multi-tester Ohm Setting

Multi-tester Ohm Setting

Photo: Timothy Thiele

One of the easiest ways to check for faulty devices and parts, is to use a multi-tester, sometimes called a multi-meter. Testing continuity by using the ohm setting will tell you if the connection through the device is complete or if it has opened and is no longer usable. For instance, if you place one of the test leads on one side of a fuse and the other lead on the other side of the fuse, you should show a short circuit or 0 ohms. If your meter shows infinite resistance, the fuse is bad and should be replaced.

To test something, turn the dial of the tester to the ohm setting. This portion of the dial has markings like X1, X10, XK1, etc... This simply means that on the X1 setting, the value of ohms shown on the dial is taken times 1 and that is the amount of ohms. Let's say it shows 50 ohms. That means 50x1=50 ohms. With the dial set at X10, if the dial shows 50, 50x10=500 ohms. You can see the theory here. By adjusting the dial to another setting the multiples increase.

With the test leads apart and not touching, the meter needle should be all the way to the right, showing maximum ohms. On a digital meter, the screen will show infinite resistance.

By touching the two test leads together, either tester should show a 0 ohms reading. The digital will likely show a 0.00 reading. Sometimes meters have an audible continuity setting that looks like a diode. With this setting, when the test leads are touched together, the meter will show the reading and an audible alarm will sound. My tester has a constant beep sound.

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