How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter

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How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter
Ohm Meter w/Leads (Mary K. Lynch)

This article discusses how to test a switch with an ohm meter. Photos show how to connect the ohm meter to the switch for testing.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Multi-function meter, with ohm meter function
  • Two wire leads with alligator clips

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Verify ohm meter operation.

    Turn on the multimeter.

    Select the ohm meter function.

    Set the resistance range to 'x1.' Skip this step if the ohm meter has 'autorange' capability.

    How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter
    Familiarise Ohm Meter Functions
  2. 2

    Insert the leads into the meter

    Touch the probe tips together to verify that ohm meter is functioning.

    With the probes touching, the meter should display 1 ohm or less.

    A high reading or no reading means that is something wrong with

    the meter. Go back and check the set-up or get another meter.

    How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter
  3. 3

    Connect the red lead to one of the terminals on the switch.

    Connect the black lead to the other terminal on the switch.

    Put the switch into the ON position.

    The meter should display 1 ohm or less, meaning the switch is 'ON.'

    How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter
    Connect Ohm Meter to Switch
  4. 4

    Put the switch into the 'OFF' position.

    The meter should display 'OL' or a very high resistance, meaning the switch is 'OFF.'

    How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter
    Ohm Meter with Switch in OFF Position
  5. 5

    Operate the switch on and off for a few more times.

    If the meter display changes from 'ON' condition to 'OFF" condition, the switch operates normally.

    If the display does not change from 'ON' to 'OFF' condition, then the switch is defective.

    Purchase a new switch to replace the defective switch, then throw the defective switch away.

    How to Test a Switch With an Ohm Meter
    Operate Switch to Verify Function

Tips and warnings

  • When removing wires from the switch, use masking tape to label which wire connects to which terminal of the switch. This is especially important when the switch has more than 2 terminals.
  • Avoid possible electric shock by turning off the circuit breaker feeding electrical power to the switch.
  • Replace the defective switch with the same type and size.

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