Testing our outlet socket using a multimeter is among the DIY project we all should know how to do. This is because most of the troubleshooting on the home always involves checking the sockets to know if there is a voltage there.
Most of the time the outlets can develop faults and if we can’t test the circuit, there is no way we can know where the fault is coming from and how we can clear it as well. Testing outlet socket using a multimeter is one of the simplest DIY projects one can carry out. But to my surprise, some people still find it confusing how to carry out the task. But well, there shouldn’t be a cost for alarm as this post is specifically made to guide and show us how to test the outlets using a digital multimeter.
A digital multimeter is an electrical measuring device that uses in measuring so many electrical parameters. That is why it is addressed as multi-meter. But in testing our outlets, there are only two parameters that we need to test before we can interpret what the fault is all about. So continue reading to get the whole knowledge on that.
Basic knowledge to know before proceeding with the test.
Make sure to know the operating voltage of your home country. It differs from country to country as Americans use 110V – 120V, 50Hz while places like England use 220V – 240V, 60Hz So knowing exactly the operating voltage will help a long way when carrying out this task.
Again, knowing and mastering how to use two multimeter probes on one hand to test, and test safety without hazards.
Continue reading as I will be talking about all the basic knowledge in details and how to set the meter right for the testing. Even when you are a novice in the electrical field.
Important things to note when testing the socket outlet.
- Do not touch the live wire to avoid electricity shock. But you can use the testing probe to touch make sure you are holding the insulated part of the probe.
- Make sure to set the meter right before testing.
- Throughout your testing, do not play with electricity.
- Put on your safety kits during the test and observe the safety measures.
Different types of tests that can be carried out on outlets using multimeter.
There are about three types of tests that are always carried out on the outlets using a multimeter. When these tests are ascertained, then the cause of the outlet failures can be easily obtained
These types of tests are as follows;
- Line to earth test.
- Earth/Grounding test
- Continuity test.
The line to neutral test.
This is the type of test we carried out to know the supplying voltage on outlets. With this test, we can determine if an outlet is live or dead, and the actual voltage It is supplying.
This line-to-neutral test is the most common type of test that is always carried out on the outlets.
The voltage expectations when testing for this are 110V, 120V, and 230V 240V. Depending on the country you are testing from, the voltage level of some countries differs.
How to test socket Outlet voltage using a digital multimeter.
The following are the ways we can use to test our outlets
Set the meter ON and Connect the multimeter probes, black(-) to COM and red(+) to ohms of the multimeter.
Position the meter knob to the VOlTAGE side. Set to voltages side only for meters with auto ranges. But set it to the voltage level you are measuring when using meters that don’t have auto range specifications.
Note: always set the multimeter knob on a higher range of voltage measuring.
Hold the meter on the left hand and the two probes on the other hand. Insert the red probes into the live (hot) port of the outlets and the black to the neutral point of the outlet.
Immediately, the voltage value of the outlet will display on the meter screen.
Note: the voltage on the meter maybe not exactly the expected voltage, as it might be fluctuating. But when we got a voltage at a close range to expecting voltage. Then it is ok.
When the meter doesn’t read any value at all. Check the socket fitting to know if is faulty.
Loose out the sockets from the wall using a screwdriver and test the connecting wires from the back of the socket. If the meter reads then know that the socket fittings need to be replaced with a new one.
But when it doesn’t read still, then the fault my be from another side.
Go to the distribution board and check if the MCB of the line is still ok. Most time the fault might be that the circuit breaker of the line is tripped off. Check the breaker and replace it with a new one if is faulty to restore the line.
How to test socket outlet Earth a using multimeter.
The main excess of this type of test is to make sure the socket is properly grounded. Proper earthing of socket outlets reduces the risk of electrical hazards when a body mistakenly touches a live wire of the socket.
Sometimes the live wire can short circuit with the earth wire leaving the metallic parts of the sockets to carry electrical current. This type of fault is common in our electrical installation. But here in this post, how to find the fault and what to do to prevent the fault will be explained.
Here are how to test with a multimeter to know if the outlet socket earthing is effective.
- Set the digital multimeter to AC voltage reading.
- Place the red millimeter probe to the neutral point of the socket and the black to the earth/ground point.
- Then what the multimeter to see the value it will display.
- Theoretical, when the grounding is good. It suppose to displace 0V on the meter. But when we get 1-5 VAC it’s still good.
- But in a situation where we get values higher than that, then it is a call for concern. It means the earthen is faulty.
The possible cause of the earth’s fault is live wire short-circuiting to the earth/grounding cable. When you detect earth fault on a socket outlet, check the outlet wires to make sure they are correctly connected.
Testing for a continuity test for outlet cables using a multimeter.
The continuity test is a means of troubleshooting the outlet fault to know where the fault of really coming from. The type of test is used to determine if two cables are short-circuited along the line. So on how sockets outlet, the live cable might have come together with the earth leaving the circuit to be testing faulty when testing for earth fault. This continuity test will tell you which wire is short-circuited with another wire. And makes it easy for us to fix the fault without much testing and assumption.
NOTE: To carry out this test on your outlet, turn down the supply to the outlet from the distribution Board or the cutout fuse.
How to carry out a continuity test on the socket outlets using a multimeter.
- Set the multimeter on a continuity mode. This can be done by moving the meter knob to a diode mode.
- Turn ON the multimeter.
- Touch the two-meter probe to know if the meter makes noises. If it does, then you are good to test.
- Insert one of the problem to the natural port and the second probe to the earth port and what the metter. If it makes noise with some reading then the earth and the neutral line is touching. But if it does make noise then it is ok.
- Test for live and neutral and earth to live. The whole test doesn’t suppose to make noise on the meter.