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10 Cool Tools

Fluke Multimeter
This Fluke multimeter is used by the cast of Discovery's new show "Prototype This!"
This Fluke multimeter is used by the cast of Discovery's new show "Prototype This!"
Copyright Discovery Communications, LLC

If you work with electronics and electrical systems, chances are very good you've heard about -- and likely own -- a multimeter. But to give the rest of us a little background, a multimeter is a handy device that's able to measure a wide range of parameters in the world of all things electrical. For example, they can usually measure connectivity, frequency, current, resistance, volts, amps, ohms, temperature and more.

This can be handy in numerous situations: testing whether an electrical current exists, discovering the value of a resistor or checking the charge in a battery. Actions like these can help determine malfunctions, solve a number of problems and be very important as safety precautions.

Let's look a little closer at one popular brand of multimeter -- Fluke. Fluke makes several multimeters with a range of capabilities suitable for a variety of users. Advanced ones have large, well-lit digital displays which can be used to view data trends through graphs and charts. This can be particularly useful if you're having trouble tracking down an intermittent electrical problem. Other models are more straightforward for simpler applications. Newer Fluke multimeters often have large memory capacities and longer running battery time, making them a good choice for situations that call for ongoing monitoring. Many are beefed up to be safe under heavy industrial conditions, and they can be essential for troubleshooting and problem-solving in hazardous environments such as plants, factories and other engineering facilities.

Whether fixing a conveyor system, building a robot or testing a fuse, a multimeter might be just what you need to get the job done safely and effectively. On the next page, we'll examine a similar tool with other important functions.