How to Measure AC Current Using Multimeter?

What is an alternating current?

Current is a flow of electrons through any medium. Most of the power line is AC (alternating current). An alternating current is an electric current that alternates its direction periodically and it also changes magnitude with respect to time. However, we get two types of current AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). If we consider the direct current then DC does not change its direction and it always flows in the same direction. It is noted that the high voltage transmission system is AC in the modern electrical power system. However, we are going to see how to measure AC current using multimeter and we will see how to measure current using an analog multimeter.

How to measure AC current using a multimeter?

There are two types of multimeter analog multimeter (AMM) and digital multimeter DMM. Nowadays digital multimeter is more popular due to so many advantages. But there are some places where an analog multimeter is also required. However, let’s see how to measure amps with a multimeter (analog and digital). In this case, there are some steps, you have to follow and you must know how to use a multimeter. However, let’s see how to measure AC current using a multimeter.

how to measure current with voltage

We know electron flow is called current. Whenever an electron flows in a circuit or through a medium then we get electric current and if we turn on the equipment then it is considered a load in that circuit. We know a good load is any electrical component, such as a heating element, induction motor, lamp, and some other component. How much current is there or how much current needs we don’t know before testing? For this reason, we use a multimeter to measure current, voltage, and some other quantities.

  • Set up your multimeter nob and circuit
  • Set up the multimeter leads
  • Use multimeter probes to measure AC current
  • Write down the multimeter reading that you get

Set up your multimeter nob and circuit

First of all, select the current position of your multimeter. We can measure three values of current µA, mA, and A. For this reason, you have to select your multimeter dial at the suitable point for how much current you want to measure. To measure current using a multimeter you must open a circuit and you have to decide a point before flowing current through the load. It is noted that you have to connect in series with your multimeter and selected circuit.

Set up the multimeter leads

Now you must connect the leads properly. Connect red lead with V/Ω /mA port and black lead with common (COM) port. It is noted that those are the modern digital multimeter has two portions to measure high current and low current. If you need to measure high current like more than step down transformers 220v to 110v or high voltage step-up transformer. However, if you want to measure residential voltage 220 or 230 volts then you may use a V/Ω /mA port and get ready to measure AC current using a multimeter.

Use multimeter probes to measure AC current

If everything is completed then it is the right time to measure the AC current by using a multimeter. So take a look at which step we follow to measure AC current.

  • Turn on your power supply and turn your multimeter
  • Turn the dial and set the actual value you must select the largest expected value, and you can use an unknown current maximum range
  • You must break the circuit before that load and you should measure the current before the load
  • Now connect the black probe to one of the break portions
  • Connect the red probe to another break portion
  • If you need maximum ampere then you can select your multimeter dial to the maximum current portion.

Write down the multimeter reading that you get

If you check the circuit with a multimeter probe then you will get the reading on your multimeter screen. Now record it or take a reading of what value you get. You can change the probe on both sides of the pointer take another reading and write it down. Now assess whether that is its actual value or not. So, you can find the current by following this checking current with the multimeter process.

Can multimeter measure AC current?

how to measure ac current with multimeter

Yes, the multimeter can measure the alternating current. Not only for AC current multimeter is used to measure current, voltage, resistance, capacitance, continuity, and many more. An Analog multimeter (AMM) and a digital multimeter (DMM) both are used to measure such quantity. It is noted that the digital multimeter is superior to the analog multimeter. For this reason, most people use DMM to measure such quantity. However, we have shown above how to check current with a multimeter which may give you a clear concept of how to test current with a multimeter.

Why do we connect the multimeter in series with the circuit?

Indeed AC and DC both are measured by using a multimeter. We know a multimeter is a low-resistance device and the impedance is lower than 0.1 ohms. It is noted that the multimeter is connected in series with the circuit if it is connected in parallel then the low resistance would limit the current flow through the meter and it may cause the destruction of the meter. For this reason, a user needs to connect the multimeter in series with the circuit in which the current is measured provided the current in that circuit is controlled by the exact resistance value or load.

What does a digital multimeter measure DMM?

The multimeter is an electronic device that is used to measure something and it is also called a measuring instrument. Sometimes a question comes to mind what does a digital multimeter measure DMM? A digital multimeter measures some electrical quantities (voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, continuity, wire testing, etc.) and gives the actual value. It is used more before and after installation something to measure. However, we have shown how to check 220 voltage with a multimeter that may give you the to measure high voltage by using a multimeter.

Final thought

The multimeter is a crucial device used to measure electrical quantity conveniently. We have given above how to check amps in a multimeter or how to measure AC current using a multimeter, and we also discussed some other things that can help you to find current, voltage, resistance, and others. It is noted that nowadays clamp multimeter is an innovative invention to measure such quantities and is easier to digital multimeter. However, we hope you are clear about measuring something and that you are ready to apply it whenever you need it. So, stay with openread to know more about innovative things.  

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