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Damage caused by digital multimeter?

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by Albm&ctd, Jul 21, 2004.

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  1. Albm&ctd

    Albm&ctd Guest

    Heard a strange tale today. When a friend of mine went to buy a
    digital multimeter, he was told that the cheap digital ones would
    damage the computer in his vehicle. According to friend, salesmans
    words were 'blow the computer'.
    I'd never heard anything like that before and I figured this was
    bullshit and the guy only wanted to sell their $125 one.

    We were told in '84 that analogue was not to be used as it *may* harm
    the new electronics, yet they supplied as a "special tool" a crude
    test lamp consisting of a led and a resistor, a greater load than a
    good analogue meter.
    I thought most of the reason was to avoid odd readings with analogue
    loading the circuit rather than cause damage?
    Could be wrong...

    2004 insult page awaits your contribution
  2. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    The only thing that comes to mind in regard to automotive computers is
    the EGO sensor. Apparently these devices can be damaged when using a
    multimeter to measure their resistance. I don't know if this
    disclaimer only applies to the multimeter's diode range.

    Will testing the O2 sensor hurt it?

    Almost always, the answer is no. You must be careful to not *apply*
    voltage to the sensor, but measuring it's output voltage is not
    harmful. As noted by other posters, a cheap voltmeter will not be
    accurate, but will cause no damage. This is *not* true if you try to
    measure the resistance of the sensor. Resistance measurements send
    voltage into a circuit and check the amount returning (sic).

    - Franc Zabkar
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