DMM tips, anyone?

Now that I’ve published the No-Nonsense Extra Class License Study Guide, I’ve been thinking about what my next book should be. At this point I’m leaning towards The No-Nonsense Guide to Digital Multimeters. I have even started outlining the book:

  • What is a digital multimeter?
    • Compare to analog multimeter
  • Digital multimeter basics
    • Measurement types
    • Inputs
    • Range
    • Zero
    • Safety
  • Making measurements with a DMM
    • Simple DC circuit
      • voltage
      • current
    • AC measurements
      • true RMS
    • Resistance
  • Tips for Choosing a DMM
  • Hints and Kinks

I’d love to get your feedback on this.

What else should I add to this outline?

What would you like to know about DMMs?

Do you have any tips for using DMMs that you’d like to share with others? (If I use your tip in the book, I’ll send you a free copy when it’s finished.)

Take a look at these related posts:


  1. What about a chapter which goes through how to approach testing in real circuits e.g. when building a kit? It can be very hard for beginners to remember that they can easily get misleading readings because the component or point they are measuring is part of a larger and possibly complex circuit.

  2. Make sure to touch on input impedance! Hams are likely to be sticking their DMMs on high-impedance circuits like oscillators feeding tubes or FETs, where even high-impedance DMMs are likely to affect things substantially.

  3. should definitely cover the differences between resolution and accuracy, this is a trap for some younger players.

    avoid the $5 meters, there is no protection for the user, have seen a few blow up in use.

  4. All great suggestions. Thanks, guys. Keep them coming!

  5. Rob W2RCT says:

    I didn’t appreciate how much there was to know about multi-meters until I caught a couple of episodes of David Jones EEVBlog, ( There is a ton of material there, too much to wade through and at times a bit of ranting. However he’s got
    - Tear downs,
    - comparisons / bake offs that cover durability and safety.
    - explanations of burden voltage, it’s affects and how much it varies between meters.

    You might want to touch on the subjects and give pointers to his video blogs for more depth.

    Hope This Helps,

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      I’ve seen some of those EEVblog episodes, and they are really good. I was planning to include links to them.

      • Rob W2RCT says:

        One of the things was lacking in the EEVBlog posts was any kind of summary. There were lots of good nuggets of information, but they are hard to find if you need to go back and don’t want to watch the whole thing again.

        Some of the tips I would highlight are:
        - having more than one meter available to you.
        - reading & understanding each of your meter’s specs
        - observing the different readings & effects on the circuit under test that occurs with different meters.

  6. DMM Tip: When doing DIY meters and instruments you can use your DMM instead of buying some 50mA needle meters . They are cheaper (you already have one…) You can use the same meter with many instruments (grid dip, SWR meter, field strenght meter, PWR meter…) (some measures you do from time to time…)… Hope this can help…

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