Author Topic: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?  (Read 647 times)

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Online windsmurf

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Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« on: June 20, 2019, 07:27:47 am »
So I've wondered about this...
Is it ok to keep test leads plugged in to the multimeter at all times?  Perhaps it is better than unplugging/replugging multiple times a day?
Is it ok to wrap the test leads around the multimeter?  It seems a lot of folks do this... yet some discussions indicate its not good practice and could break the conductor.

Sorry if this had already been discussed... I couldn't find it using search (too many hits to unrelated topics).
 

Offline aix

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2019, 07:36:47 am »
Personally, I do all of the above.  Some of my meters have leads attached at all times for convenience.  Most of my leads, however, live on a 3D printed rack built around a DIN rail.

Never had any leads break, though I am by no means the heaviest of users.
 
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Offline CDaniel

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2019, 08:49:16 am »
For long time storage you can buy something like this https://www.welectron.com/Probe-Master-9182-Test-Lead-Storage-Holder
But it would be too cumbersome to do that every day ... or maybe I am lazy  :-//
 
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Offline bd139

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2019, 09:06:18 am »
I'm only posting this because I know it'll annoy people :-DD

My answer is "wherever they will fit".

 
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Online windsmurf

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2019, 07:04:12 pm »
I found this info at ECMWEB:
https://www.ecmweb.com/electrical-testing/tip-week-take-proper-care-your-test-and-measurement-equipment

"To avoid damaging a DMM, steer clear of these mistakes:
...
• Storing it for “immediate access” rather than keeping it in a meter case. Most DMM cases have a pouch for the test leads, and you should use that. Wrapping the test leads around the meter and tossing it into a gang box (or shoving it into a tool pouch) is a sure way to degrade the integrity of those leads. If someone borrows your meter and returns it with the leads wrapped around it, replace the leads before using the meter."


The "feel" I've gotten so far is that test leads are consumables, take good care of them to make them last longer; avoid kinks, don't use them as bumper guards for your meter by wrapping the leads around the meter.... 

So how about keeping leads plugged into the meter? Am I "stretching out" the female receptacle jack by keeping leads or banana plugs plugged into the meter?  Am I risking getting poor contact eventually by keeping it plugged in by stretching the input jack and compressing the male banana plug on the leads?   

Or am I helping them last longer by keeping dust/debris out, keeping them plugged? 

Or am I just overthinking it and I should just be doing what's most utilitarian?  If leads go bad, replace! If meter input gets loose... sell on EBay?   :-DD 

 

Offline orion242

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2019, 07:28:27 pm »
If someone borrows your meter and returns it with the leads wrapped around it, replace the leads before using the meter."

Would have spent about $10K in leads if I followed that advice.  20+ yrs now wrapping my leads around the meter and tossing in a tool bag.  Maybe have replaced leads a dozen times in that time.  From what I have seen the vast majority of professional electricians do the same.

Think the author needs a reality check.  If your going to work were high fault currents are present, maybe you shouldn't be using a $5 harbor freight DMM.
 
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Offline HKJ

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2019, 07:30:48 pm »
For my the used hand help meters the test leads stays in them, for bench meters and a lot of other equipment I have drilled lot of ø4mm holes in a 20mm thick plastic sheet and mounted it on the wall.



I use many different specialized test leads in addition to general  banana-banana types, due to all my testing.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 07:39:59 pm by HKJ »
 
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Offline orion242

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2019, 07:36:56 pm »
He accomplished this job-ending feat by measuring from a 480V bus to ground while having his test leads plugged into the current jacks.

...and here in NA, its 277v phase to ground on "480v" system.

That 2A fuse isn’t designed to protect against this sort of abuse.

Isn't this why HRC fuses are installed on industrial DMMs?
 
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Online tkamiya

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2019, 07:37:30 pm »
I have so many and so many different kinds, it is impossible to keep them organized.  So often used ones are hanging from rack and not often used ones are in boxes.  Occasionally used ones are somewhere in the room.
 
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Offline GregDunn

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2019, 08:07:11 pm »
Personally, I do all of the above.  Some of my meters have leads attached at all times for convenience.  Most of my leads, however, live on a 3D printed rack built around a DIN rail.

Never had any leads break, though I am by no means the heaviest of users.

As someone who has a couple of discarded Pomona lead hangers on the wall and is appalled at the cost of new ones - could you share the 3D file for these?  DIN rails are ever so much cheaper and they could be cut to length to fit small spaces on my bench or wall...
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2019, 08:36:23 pm »
I use the plastic containers from Chinese food take out.  Free storage after consuming contents.  Keeps my leads, scope probes and BNC cables neat and organized.
That which doesn't kill you still requires a co-pay.
 
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Online windsmurf

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2019, 12:55:04 am »
I use the plastic containers from Chinese food take out.  Free storage after consuming contents.  Keeps my leads, scope probes and BNC cables neat and organized.

Yes good way to keep the silicon or PVC cable greased up so they get tangled less.   ;D

Thanks all for the input on cable storage.

But how about keeping leads plugged into the meter on the bench or storage?  Or keeping probe connected to your scope... bad practice?

« Last Edit: June 21, 2019, 02:56:14 am by windsmurf »
 

Online maginnovision

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2019, 01:45:38 am »
Probes/leads for meters... If you use it often enough no harm in keeping it plugged in. Scopes I always disconnect when done since both probe and scope are at higher risk for damage.
 
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Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2019, 03:56:26 am »
We regularly use slotted cable duct when running cables under desks and counters so I have saved a few off-cuts and fixed them to the walls in the garage just to hang various cables and leads, this type of duct is reasonably cheap and very versatile for a number of applications.   :)

 
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Offline aix

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2019, 04:17:27 am »
We regularly use slotted cable duct when running cables under desks and counters so I have saved a few off-cuts and fixed them to the walls in the garage just to hang various cables and leads, this type of duct is reasonably cheap and very versatile for a number of applications.   :)

What a great idea.
 

Offline tautech

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2019, 04:43:41 am »
I use the plastic containers from Chinese food take out.  Free storage after consuming contents.  Keeps my leads, scope probes and BNC cables neat and organized.

Yes good way to keep the silicon or PVC cable greased up so they get tangled less.   ;D

Thanks all for the input on cable storage.

But how about keeping leads plugged into the meter on the bench or storage?  Or keeping probe connected to your scope... bad practice?
If instruments are shelved and leads are then off the bench leave them connected and coiled on top or hanging on a hook or nail.
Leads and connectors have a finite life so basic care can prolong their usefulness.
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 
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Offline Fungus

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Re: Test Leads on Multimeters, proper way to store them?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2019, 08:38:41 pm »
So I've wondered about this...
Is it ok to keep test leads plugged in to the multimeter at all times?  Perhaps it is better than unplugging/replugging multiple times a day?
Is it ok to wrap the test leads around the multimeter?  It seems a lot of folks do this... yet some discussions indicate its not good practice and could break the conductor.

I wrap leads around meters but I prefer meters with probe holders on the back so the probes aren't flopping around and pulling on the cables.
 
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