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Old 09-14-2019, 12:39 PM   #1
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Voltage Meter usage

I bought a digital multimeter to monitor my travel trailer battery. Works great.

Just wondering.. if I use the meter to check the voltage coming from the outlets, inside the camper,.. do I use the AC setting on the meter.. or is this a DC current?
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Here's a picture of my meter.Click image for larger version

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Old 09-14-2019, 12:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck9997 View Post
I bought a digital multimeter to monitor my travel trailer battery. Works great.

Just wondering.. if I use the meter to check the voltage coming from the outlets, inside the camper,.. do I use the AC setting on the meter.. or is this a DC current?
2017 Salem Hemisphere 23rbhl

Here's a picture of my meter.Attachment 214943
You use the AC setting to check 110vAC current coming through outlets.



That won't tell the voltage of your battery which is a 12vDC system.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:04 PM   #3
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If you used current measuring your outlets, expect a nice big pop when the fuse blows inside.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:10 PM   #4
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That won't tell the voltage of your battery which is a 12vDC system.
Are u saying this meter can't be used to check the battery? There's a 12v DC setting on it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:11 PM   #5
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Not sure what u mean?
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If you used current measuring your outlets, expect a nice big pop when the fuse blows inside.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:12 PM   #6
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Are u saying this meter can't be used to check the battery? There's a 12v DC setting on it.
No... I'm saying you can't check the battery by plugging your meter probes in electrical outlets.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:14 PM   #7
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Ok.. sure.. I use the DC setting and connect the probes to neg and pos battery posts.
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No... I'm saying you can't check the battery by plugging your meter probes in electrical outlets.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:18 PM   #8
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In current measuring mode it completes a circuit. If you put it in current measuring mode and put it across any voltage source, you create a dead short with your meter.
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Not sure what u mean?
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:20 PM   #9
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In current measuring mode it completes a circuit. If you put it in current measuring mode and put it across any voltage source, you create a dead short with your meter.
Right.. I wouldn't put the meter in the current measure setting.. to check the voltage level of the outlets.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:22 PM   #10
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If you are measuring your battery ( VDC ) as you say then use the 12V in the Bat section in the lower right side at about 4:30.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:49 PM   #11
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If you are measuring your battery ( VDC ) as you say then use the 12V in the Bat section in the lower right side at about 4:30.
And put the meter in DC mode. Switch on the bottom left of the display.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck9997 View Post
I bought a digital multimeter to monitor my travel trailer battery. Works great.

Just wondering.. if I use the meter to check the voltage coming from the outlets, inside the camper,.. do I use the AC setting on the meter.. or is this a DC current?
2017 Salem Hemisphere 23rbhl

Here's a picture of my meter.Attachment 214943
If you are actually serious...to check the voltage of your 115 volt outlets, turn your meter to about the 11:00 position to the "200" setting. Note that above that setting there appears to be a button selector for ac/dc volts.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck9997 View Post
I bought a digital multimeter to monitor my travel trailer battery. Works great.

Just wondering.. if I use the meter to check the voltage coming from the outlets, inside the camper,.. do I use the AC setting on the meter.. or is this a DC current?
2017 Salem Hemisphere 23rbhl

Here's a picture of my meter.Attachment 214943
My dad taught me a verrrrrrrrry long time ago when I was just a youngin’ how to remember which one is which.

“AC” stands for voltages you “ATTACH a CORD” to....television, radios, indoor lamps, anything you need to plug in, and usually found in a house. Normal outlets between 110-120volts AC.

“DC” stands for power sources from something “DETACHED”, so that would be anything that gets its power from a battery. Usually in a boat, car or motorcycle. Normally around 12volts DC, give or take.

Just sayin’
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Old 09-14-2019, 09:07 PM   #14
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I attach a USB connector? That's not AC.
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My dad taught me a verrrrrrrrry long time ago when I was just a youngin’ how to remember which one is which.

“AC” stands for voltages you “ATTACH a CORD” to....television, radios, indoor lamps, anything you need to plug in, and usually found in a house. Normal outlets between 110-120volts AC.

“DC” stands for power sources from something “DETACHED”, so that would be anything that gets its power from a battery. Usually in a boat, car or motorcycle. Normally around 12volts DC, give or take.

Just sayin’
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Old 09-15-2019, 05:26 AM   #15
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All of the outlets in your trailer are 120 VAC and work when you are connected to a pedestal in a campground. They look like the outlets in your home and they are for household appliances. Many are on GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) for protection near your sinks. Measure them with your meter set for 200 VAC and be sure the meter is set to AC. You may also have 12 VDC outlets that accept a cigarette lighter or similar plug, and you may have USB outlets for charging phones. Measure your battery at the battery box using the 12V Battery setting on the meter and the probes touching the posts (Red on +).
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Old 09-15-2019, 06:16 AM   #16
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If you used current measuring your outlets, expect a nice big pop when the fuse blows inside.
If I forget to switch mine over, all I get is O.L. message on display. Doesn't pop the fuse.
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Old 09-15-2019, 07:35 AM   #17
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If I forget to switch mine over, all I get is O.L. message on display. Doesn't pop the fuse.
Same here. It all depends on the quality of the meter. I learned this early in life when I was testing an electric water heater and I forgot to switch my cheap meter from ohms for testing the elements over to volts when I went to check the thermostats. The thing actually exploded in my hand.

I now only use Fieldpiece testers which allow me to test everything from voltage to Ohms to carbon monoxide to gas line pressure...and more. I can be as stupid as stupid gets and not mess-up my tester now.

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Old 09-15-2019, 08:26 AM   #18
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Update
I tested a couple of outlets inside the camper.
I'm on shore power.. Used the 10 guage (campsite hookup) cord that came with the camper.. attached, with an adapter, to a 12 guage extension cord running to an outside outlet at my house (20 amp circuit).

The outlets tested consistently at 123 volts. I was checking the voltage to see if I felt it would be safe to run my air conditioner while at home. (I have read that low voltage could damage the compressor).

I did notice that the voltage, from the outlet, would drop to around 121.4 when the air conditioner was running.

Thanks for all your comments, help and advice.
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Old 09-15-2019, 08:50 AM   #19
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Update
I tested a couple of outlets inside the camper.

The outlets tested consistently at 123 volts. I was checking the voltage to see if I felt it would be safe to run my air conditioner while at home. (I have read that low voltage could damage the compressor).

I did notice that the voltage, from the outlet, would drop to around 121.4 when the air conditioner was running.

Thanks for all your comments, help and advice.
I'd like to help you visualize volts and amps. Think of an electric circuit, or an electric wire, as your garden hose.
Now voltage is pressure....so the 120 volts you see at your outlets is similar to your garden hose full of water, with the spigot turned on but the spray nozzle on the end is closed. So your hose is full of pressure but no water is flowing out. That is like a wire full of voltage (potential) but no flow.

Now current (amps) is what happens when you open your spray nozzle. Water flows out the hose....amps flow out the wire. The bigger the hose...or wire...the more water (or amperage) can flow. As long as it has a source of pressure (voltage) like your spigot supply.

So this is what happens when you open that nozzle...or start that a/c unit, water flows (amps flow) and pressure drops (voltage drops). So the bigger the hose (or wire) and the more pressure (bigger battery) the more "power" you will have.

I hope that will help you visualize the voltage/amperage relationship.
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:02 AM   #20
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. the question is not about operation of the meter.. but about whether the camper outlets are AC or DC.

Guess what.. There's nothing in the directions about my 2017 Salem Hemisphere 23rbhl.

This thread may help. as it explains what usually operates off of the 120 volt AC or 12 volt DC systems in an RV


Converter or Inverter (they are different)
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