A test probe is a physical product that connects electronic test equipment to a device that is being tested (DUT). Test probes range in complexity from simple, reliable devices to complicated, sophisticated, costly, and fragile probes. Test probes, oscilloscope probes, and current probes are examples of specific types. A test probe, which includes the probe, cable, and terminating connector, is frequently supplied as part of a test lead.
Test leads are more than just a way to link your digital multimeters (DMMs) to the tested device; they are also an essential aspect of the whole system. If you touch live wires that the metre has read as being de-energised, poor-quality, old, or under-rated test leads can cause inaccurate readings, which will constitute a severe shock or electrocution threat.
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How to use test leads
Before beginning any test, double-check that the DMM and test leads are suitable for the category and the voltage level utilised in the electrical environment.
Perform a visual inspection of the test leads before utilising them. Do this to ensure that they are safe to use and to conduct electrical signals accurately. The condition of the test leads is the most relevant element affecting your measurements in most cases.
Also, ensure that there are no cracks at the junction between the insulated wire and the moulded banana plugs or probes at each end. Though the visual inspection cannot guarantee that the test leads are safe, it can reveal apparent faults that can lead to injury.
Conduct a simple ohm's measurement to check that the test probes are electrically reliable and able to transport a signal within acceptable loss constraints. Place your DMM in the resistance (ohms) function, plug the leads into the DMM, and touch the probe tips together—red to black—to "ohm-out" your leads. For good quality test leads, the metre should read about 0.5 ohms or fewer.
Before taking any measurements, double-check that the leads are plugged into the correct DMM connectors and that the metre is set to the correct function.