Sometimes it’s easy to identify what part needs to replaced on your appliance because you can see the damage: a torn gasket, a broken hinge, a cracked drawer.
But when it comes to electrical components like fuses, thermostats, switches, heating elements, and circuit boards it can be a bit trickier because you can’t just look at the part and see that it needs to be replaced.
The best thing to do is to test them with a volt-ohm, or multimeter. Multimeters can be found in both digital and analog formats and allow you to quickly and easily check that the part is operating at the right resistance or has continuity.
When a part has continuity, it’s a good sign that it’s working properly. Continuity is when electricity can easily pass through the part without meeting any (or very little) resistance. If the resistance is too high, the current can’t flow through the circuit leaving the part unable to function.
Acceptable resistance will vary from part to part, so you should always check the information from the manufacturer to verify before you start testing.
We’ll be focusing on how to test a part with a digital multimeter today. If you don’t have a multimeter already, you can purchase one on our website here: Tools | Meters.
WARNING: Before attempting to work on any appliance, make sure that all power and utilities have been turned off or are completely disconnected from the appliance.
Preparing to test your part:
Find a good pair of safety gloves. When working with any type of circuitry or electrical components, we highly recommend that you wear safety or work gloves.
Disconnect the power and wiring to the part. The part must be out of circuit in order to test it. If left connected not only is there a risk of shock, but it can also blow the fuse in the multimeter.
Only handle the insulated portion of the multimeter’s leads. The uninsulated portion of the leads is live and should never be touched, especially while in use.
Using your Multimeter:
If this is your first time using the multimeter, you’ll have to set up the test leads. Plug the red lead into the ohms jack and the black lead into the common or neutral jack. These are usually color coded.
To set your mulitmeter to test for resistance, turn the knob to the quadrant labeled Ohms (Ω) and adjust it to the appropriate range. For lower levels of resistance the 200 setting will usually be fine. If you have an auto-adjust multimeter you can skip this step.
Once you’re all set up, touch one lead to one terminal on the part and the other to the opposite terminal. If there are no terminals, find a contact point (metal, bare wire ends, etc) on either side and do the same.
A reading of zero means that the part has good continuity. If the reading is higher than recommended or the screen displays “OL” that means there is a problem and the part should be replaced.
If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to like and share it with a friend! You can find multimeters as well as over 5 million replacement parts for your appliances on our website at 1stSourceServall.com.
Written by: Sarah Walker