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Multimeter Test Leads

No matter how much practice you have with electric circuit meters and multimeters, everything always comes down to the test leads. Usually fitted with probes, your leads are the components that actually make the connection you're testing. It's all about getting a good connection with the right terminal. Used properly, the right multimeter leads can make a huge difference; they are the most important accessories for any meter.

Probes

The majority of multimeter test leads come with a banana plug on one end and a test probe on the other. Coming in various sizes, a standard probe is nothing more than a thin, slightly pointed, metal rod that extends from the end of the lead. Probes are perfect when you just need to touch the connectors to check the circuit and have both hands free to use them. You can use both probes in one hand, but it's often more work than it's worth.

Alligator Clips

Alligator clips are used everywhere, from jumper cables to hair ties. The advantage of alligator clips is that you can attach them to terminals so you only have to manipulate one probe at a time. Most test clips come with a rubber sheath to prevent cross-connections and short circuits. They don't provide the strongest grip, but are very useful for debugging.

IC Hooks

Also called IC clips, these connectors test integrated circuits. These feature a bent probe that fits against an insulated back. You press the bottom of the probe and the hook extends away from the back, just slide it in beside the leg on the IC and it hooks into place. These connectors are very useful for delicate work.

Tweezers

As with the majority of probes, tweezers feature banana plugs on one end, but this time have a set of tweezers on the other. They are great for working with surface-mount connections as you can hold the tweezers with one hand and make your test connections with the probes on the end of each arm.

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