How to Measure Battery Capacity with a Multimeter

Battery capacity refers to the maximum amount of charge that can be extracted from it, given specific conditions. Electrical technicians use milliamp-hours, denoted as mAh, to measure a battery’s operational lifetime. A battery’s lifetime can be measured by a multimeter, including a stopwatch and a resistor.

The resistor acts as the load, the stopwatch measures time and the multimeter measures the charge remaining. The measurement of the capacity of a battery is crucial to any household. People use batteries for different purposes, but mostly in cars. With these measurements, you can easily come up with a working plan.

measuring a car battery with multimeterMultimeters can enable you to check your rechargeable batteries to find out the amount of charge remaining. You can also use it to check whether you need to recharge your car battery to avoid regrettable scenarios such as your car failing to start.

Such inconveniences are not favorable, especially if you’re in hurry or traveling long distances. A multimeter, for example, Fluke 117 that you can buy on Amazon.com, can help you spot a battery when its lifetime is almost over. You can also be able to know by measuring. If you find that even after charging it still reads less than 9 volts, you need to purchase another battery.

The advantage is that even if you buy a new battery, it saves you from a scenario of your vehicle breaking down in the middle of nowhere. In the end, it is even cheaper.

Steps to Measure Battery Capacity Using a Multimeter

How to Measure Battery Capacity with a Multimeter

Multimeters can enable you to check your rechargeable batteries to find out the amount of charge remaining. You can also use it to check whether you need to recharge your car battery to avoid regrettable scenarios such as your car failing to start.

  1. Check the Meter’s Battery

Check the meters’ battery by turning the knob to battery-check. If your internal battery is depleted, replace it with another one.

  1. Place Battery in the Holder

Place batteries in the holder for the ones that can fit. For larger ones, use clips to connect them.

  1. Clip the Alligator onto Meters Probe Tips

Select the appropriate resistor, ensuring it matches your battery’s voltage and drain current from it. For example, a 9 volt battery drains up to 10 mA. Calculate the resistance by getting the quotient of the voltage to the current drained in amperes.

  1. Reset the Stopwatch

A stopwatch functions to record time. Rest it to zero. Suppose you have a faulty stopwatch source for another one.

  1. Connect the Battery’s Positive Terminal to the Resistor Leads
  2. Set the Multimeter’s Control Knob to Read Direct Current

Clip the red lead to the unconnected end of the resistor. Clip the black lead to the negative terminal of the battery. It will give a positive reading. Start the stop watch.

Read the stop watch after every hour until the current is 70 percent. Compute your battery’s milli-ampere-hour rating by multiplying the number of hours with the initial reading of your multimeter.

Conclusion

Owning multimeters comes with a lot of advantages, especially if you need to monitor your battery level. Keep safety precautions in mind when dealing with electrical appliances and you’ll be happy.

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