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How to Test a Battery with a Voltmeter

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Written by Lifeengineer   

Testing a battery with a voltmeter

A voltmeter is very useful for testing household batteries.  Some voltmeters have battery tests in mind when they are designed since labeling for a battery test is included on the dial settings.  A voltmeter can be purchased for less than $5 at most hardware stores so it very be a very inexpensive device for testing batteries, but they are much more accurate than using the test strips built into some of the battery packaging.  Follow these easy steps to use a voltmeter to test a battery.

STEP 1: Find all the old batteries you need to test.  One you test a single battery, testing a bunch more takes no time at all.

STEP 2:  Plug in the + Red probe and -Black probe, if needed into the voltmeter.  Some voltmeters have the probes permanently attached.


 STEP 3:  Set the voltmeter dial setting to battery test if there is one on the meter.  If not, set the meter to DC voltage and use the lowest setting, such as 10.

 voltmeter battery test setting

STEP 4:  Hold the +Red probe to the positive side of the battery.  The positive side will be marked on the battery with a "+".  Hold the -Black probe to the negative side of the battery.  The negative side of the battery will be marked "-".

test a battery with a voltmeter

STEP 5:  Read the voltmeter.  For AA, AAA, C, and D batteries a result of anything less than 1.5 volts means the battery is bad.  For 9V batteries, you will be looking for a 9 volt reading.  These values will be slightly lower if you are testing rechargable batteries.  Using the voltmeter to test batteries is an easy task and can be performed quickly.

Other Resources:

How to test a battery with a multimeter



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