How to calibrate a Fluke multimeter

A Fluke multimeter is extremely handy when you are working on your home wiring, appliances, or even your car. It will help you to know if there is electrical flow going through wires or if you need to know the volts, amps, or ohms.

While the Fluke branded multimeters typically do not need calibration for at least a year+ of use, it is still suggested to keep them calibrated for accuracy.  You will need an electrical calibrator for this as well which can be purchased from Fluke.

Note, if you are using a multimeter for extremely precise measurements (medical equipment and electronics) then you may want to calibrate your device at a more regular interval, around 2-3 month timeframes.

How to tell if a multimeter needs calibration?

If you’re not sure if your multimeter is in need of calibration, you can test this on your multimeter easily. Attach the black ground cable to the multimeter via the ground cable attachment slot, and attach the red lead cable to the to the multimeter via the lead cable attachment slot.

Turn the dial of the multimeter to the lowest Ohm setting (usually around 100 Ohms). Touch the black ground metallic point to the red lead metallic point. A perfectly calibrated multimeter will typically read on the screen 0 Ohms.

Usually, all multimeters will not be a perfect 0, but a 0.05 Ohms threshold is a perfectly acceptable limit to have.

Here is the video where you can see an interesting way (the freeze test) that will help to find out if your multimeter needs to be calibrated.

How to Calibrate a Fluke Multimeter

Items Needed:

  • Fluke Multimeter
  • Fluke User Guide
  • Electrical Calibrator

Here are the steps in which you can calibrate your multimeter at home. These steps are generic steps and may be different from each Fluke device to another. Referring to your user manual that came with your multimeter device will help to give a more detailed overview of the process (Although much more complicated verbiage!).

Step1:

Press and hold the “min/max” button on your Fluke multimeter. While the button is pressed, turn the dial to the “VAC” position. This will initiate the calibration mode as you will see “CAL” on the screen. Once you see “CAL” on screen, release the “min/max” button.

Pressing the “Auto/Hold” button once now will show you how many times you have calibrated your multimeter device. It’s important to note how many times you have calibrated the device to determine if it’s getting close to buying a new device.

Step 2:

Press the “Auto/Hold” button once until you see question marks across your screen which is when you can enter the password for the device. This password is needed to proceed with modifying your device for calibration. Once you have entered the buttons for your password, press the “Auto/Hold” button again.

Step 3:

Allow the device to begin the process and wait until the screen shows “C 01”. This will begin the first stage of the calibration process. Insert the outputs from the multimeter into the calibration tool.

Refer to your user guide at this point for your multimeter to determine what position on the calibrator you need to turn the dial to for each of the steps during the calibration process.

If you do not have your user guide, there are a few user guides you can use online

Fluke Manual: http://assets.fluke.com/manuals/287_289_cmeng0000.pdf

Step 4:

Once you have set the calibration tool to the correct setting, press the “Auto/Hold” button again and wait for the multimeter to say “C 02”. You will then refer back to your user manual to determine the next setting to use on the calibration tool and press the “Auto/Hold” button again.

The multimeter will then enter into “C 03” mode and you will repeat this continually until your multimeter hits the “C 31” step. After “C 31” the multimeter will show “END” on the screen. At this point, hit the “Auto/Hold” ‘button again to end the calibration process.

Here is the video where you can see an interesting way (the freeze test) how to calibrate your multimeter.


Wrap Up

calibrated multimeterWhile these steps will allow you to calibrate a multimeter at home, many of you do not have an electrical calibrator. It is possible to continue using your Fluke device and most of them do not require calibration for the first few years.

There are many companies offering calibration services for you which you can find online. These typically do not run very cheap, but it will be much cheaper than purchasing a new multimeter device 😊 But if you think it’s time to buy a new device, consider buying Fluke 179 as it’s a great multimeter that will serve for a long time. You can check it out on Amazon.com

Good luck calibrating your own device and let us know if you have any questions/comments.

 

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