All Categories


How To Measure Resistance With An Analog Multimeter

How To Measure Resistance

Measure resistors with an analog multimeter

It is very easy to read resistance with an analog multimeter or ohmmeter. You can read the resistance of variable resisistors (also known as potentiometers or POTS) and standard resistors. A variable resistor can be tuned from zero Ohms all the way up to its maximum rated resistance. For example a 10k Ohm POT can be dialed from 0 Ohms up to 10,000 Ohms.

First, set your multimeter to the resistance setting. Start with the highest setting and work your way down when measuring resistance.

How to read resistance with an analog meter


Read resistance of a standard resistor

It is much easier to use aligator clips and wires to read a resistor. You need a solid connection between the Ohm meter leads and the resistor leads. Clip one lead of an aligator clip to one lead of the meter and the other end of the aligator clip to one lead of the resistor. Then use another aligator wire to connect the other lead of the meter to the other lead of the resistor.


Reading an unknown resistance


Your meter should register a resistance. Look at the range you have selected on the meter. For example, if you set the meter to read 100k, then you will look on the meter display for the 100k range. The resistance will be shown on the meter display. If the meter needle is way too low on the scale for a precise reading then you can select a lower meter range until you can get an accurate readout.

Take a look at the photo below. The meter selector is on the 1K Ohm setting. This means that any reading on the display should be multiplied by 1,000. The needle on the display is pointing between 2 and 2.5 and it is closer to 2.5 so you could say it is sitting at about 2.4 which gives us 2,400 Ohms.

2.4 times 1,000 equals 2,400 Ohms.


Reading an analog Ohm meter




Read resistance of a variable resistor

To read the resistance of a variable resistor the process is almost exactly the same. The only difference with a variable resistor is that there are three leads. The two outside leads give the full rated resistance of the potentiometer. For example a 10K Ohm POT will show 10,000 Ohms when measured across the outside leads. The middle lead is known as the wiper. This is the adjustable lead. When you turn the POT, the resistance of the middle lead changes up or down accordingly. As it gets closer to one of the outside leads, the resistance between the wiper and that lead decreases, while the resistance between the wiper and the other outside lead increases

Hook up the potentiometer to the Ohm meter using aligator clamps. See the first photo on the top of this page. You can see the white and green leads on the variable resistor, connected between the wiper and one of the outside leads.

As you turn the dial on the variable resistor, the resistance will change accordingly.

You can see an instructional video showing both types of resistor here:

Watch the video now  How to read resistance with an analog multimeter - ohmmeter



While you are over there please subscribe to my YouTube channel and follow our daily videos as we strive to become self sufficient and off the grid on a budget.

Feel free to ask any questions or get help with your project on our Discussion and support forum

View some of our other articles:

About the Author

Troy Reid


No comments yet! Be the first:

Your Response

Creation Crate

Most Viewed - All Categories