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I broke distress strobe light with my multimeter when testing amps? (diagram)

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by timrocket, Nov 15, 2014.

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  1. timrocket

    timrocket

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    Nov 15, 2014
    [​IMG]

    Hello, could someone with more knowledge than me in electronics, help me what I have done wrong?

    I have a acr ms2000 strobe light. It is the size of a cigerette packet and runs on 2 AA batteries. I think it works by filling and up a capacitor and then releasing the charge into the bulb producing a flash every 1-2 seconds, its quite a simple device i'd say.

    I tested my strobe light to see much current it uses, by connecting the two probes to the AA battery terminals as shown above. As far as I know the tailcap connects the two battery terminals when in use so I didn't see a problem with connecting them with the multimeter. The multimeter was on the 5a setting. The display showed about 1 amp then i removed the multimeter.

    I then tested the strobe light again by switching it on, but it was varying in frequency of the flashes by the angle I held it at, then I turned it on again shortly later and it stopped working altogether as it doesn't flash anymore.

    I have somehow electronically broken something inside by doing this but i dont understand how could someone let me know?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  2. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Nov 28, 2011
    It sounds like you did the right thing making your measurement.

    It's common to have two cells facing in opposite directions, with the tailcap connecting the positive end of one to the negative end of the other, with contacts at the head end taking the sum of the voltage (3V) to the circuitry.

    And it's right to remove the tailcap and connect an ammeter between the two cells to measure the current flowing in the battery circuit.

    Many multimeters require that you move the red probe lead to a different socket on the front when you're measuring currents greater than about an amp. Did you do that?

    I doubt that you did any damage to the circuitry by measuring the current. Perhaps there's some dirt or corrosion on the cells or the springs or contacts?
     
  3. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    1 Amp from 2 AA cells....don't think they will last long at that.
    Any sort of current drain marking on that rear panel id plate??
     
  4. timrocket

    timrocket

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    Nov 15, 2014
    Hi

    In reply to krisbluenz yes I moved the red probe to the right socket

    I have tried different batteries so batteries are not the problem either


    In reply to bluejets, There is no electronic information on the device

    I measured a few led torches as 1-5 amps

    If 1 amp is high for 2 aa cells i need to get a more efficient torch

    thanks for the replies
     
  5. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    Oct 5, 2014
    I read a review on this particular unit where it was quoted as "ran for several hours on alkaline cells".
    Now an AA alkaline cell at 1 Amp discharge has an amp/hour rating of 0.98Ah.
    The deduction is, either this reviewer was telling porkies or your measurements were incorrect or the unit is faulty.
    As it is an emergency unit, the innards should be sealed so one cannot tamper, thankfully.
    BTW, this is a strobe light, not an LED light.
     
  6. DeWe

    DeWe

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    Nov 16, 2014
    Does you've still the Amp-meter in the circuit ( in the case, that the flash doesn't work)?
    Maybe the fuse in the Multimeter has released ....
    Remove the Multimeter, close the open connetion for the A-Meter and replace the batterie with fresh one ... try again
     
    hevans1944 likes this.
  7. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    I would suspect that the ammeter is actually connected across the batteries rather than in series with them. I know the explanation is that they're not, but it does fit the symptoms and the observed readings.
     
  8. timrocket

    timrocket

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    Nov 15, 2014
    I have said I have tried new batteries etc, the multimeter is fine

    what does across the batteries mean
     
  9. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    It means you shorted the batteries using the multimeter on the current range rather than placing it in series with the load.
     
  10. debe

    debe

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    Oct 15, 2011
    I have a diferent type of Strobe distress light that uses 2 x C cells, it draws 1Amp aprox for less than 1 second just after it flashes. This flashes about every 2 seconds & lasts about 12Hrs with Alcaline cells. So yes they can draw 1Amp but in pulses. This is a Xenon type Strobe.
     
  11. timrocket

    timrocket

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    Nov 15, 2014
    Oh well i put it on ebay for 2 pounds as its faulty now
     
  12. timrocket

    timrocket

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    Nov 15, 2014
    I have a question

    On the multimeter, on a 5amp setting, does 0.1 mean 0.1 amps or 1 amp? ive been reading it as 1 amp
     
  13. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    On the 5A range the meter will display the number of amps. An "A" symbol should appear on the display to make this clear. So a reading of 0.1 on the 5A range means 0.1A.
     
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