There are two types of multimeters: analog and digital. In electronic circuits, the fundamental parameters are voltage, current and resistance. In an electronic circuit, voltage can be applied in many ways. You can use a generator, solar panel or battery to apply voltage.
As a result you get the flow of current. Resistance is what causes an obstruction to the flow. The units of voltage, current and resistance are respectively volts, amps and ohms. The power sources can be of two types: alternative current and direct current.
In an analog multimeter, the measurement of parameters is indicated by a needle. By reading an analog multimeter, you can know AC or DC values. At respective terminals, probes are connected.
If you want to measure current, you need to connect an analog multimeter in series. And if you want to measure voltage, you have to connect the multimeter in parallel. While an analog multimeter is helpful, it has some drawbacks. In this post, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of analog multimeter.
Advantages of analog multimeter
First we are going to focus on the advantages. If you want to use an analog multimeter, you will have these advantages:
Cheaper than digital meters
When we discuss the benefits of analog multimeters, we must start with the price. An analog multimeter is cheaper than a digital multimeter, and is perhaps the main reason why people still use analog multimeters.
If you are looking for a digital multimeter, a digital multimeter should be your ideal choice. But that does not mean that a budget multimeter must be analog. An analog multimeter is not as fancy as a digital one, and you have to spend less if you purchase the former.
The responsiveness of an analog multimeter is pretty quick. Analog multimeters have been around for quite a long time, and during this time the device has undergone a lot of changes and upgradations. When we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of analog multimeters, may be there are more disadvantages. But response time is never an issue.
Although you have to read the parameters manually, you do not need to wait for the results to appear. There are many users who are more comfortable with analog multimeters.
No batteries required
Another good thing about an analog multimeter is that it does not require any battery, except when you need to measure resistance. Perhaps there is no digital multimeter that works without batteries. But that is not the case with an analog multimeter. This is one of the most obvious advantages of this device.
Disadvantages of analog multimeters
For measurement, an analog multimeter has a swinging needle. On the other hand, you can enjoy the privilege of digital readouts if you use a digital multimeter. Volts, ohms and amps can be measured with both analog and digital multimeters.
When discussing the advantages and disadvantages of analog multimeter, we must not skip the disadvantages. Here are some of the main disadvantages of analog multimeters:
The main disadvantage of these multimeters is that they are not very accurate. Errors may occur in three different ways.
The mechanics of this device is responsible for its inaccuracy. Even if you set the scale precisely, there will be about 1 or 2 percent of inaccuracy. As you move left, the inaccuracy will increase.
In absence of an observation angle, you may make mistakes when the marked graduations are counted. When the needle is between the graduations, the last digit must be interpolated.
There can be insidious inaccuracies due to faults in the scales. If you confuse AC scale with DC, the results will be inaccurate. You also need to do some mental arithmetic when you are taking measurements.
In an analog multimeter, a magnetic field activates the needle. The magnetic field causes the needle to rotate. This delicate mechanism can get damaged if you accidentally drop the multimeter. It can also stop working if you use the multimeter for years. The needle can be misleading if you have bad guesses or make scaling mistakes.
The multimeter can be inaccurate or the mechanism can get damaged if you repeatedly peg the meter. However, there are some things you can do to stop pegging the meter. A rule of thumb is to start on the highest scale. If you really want to know the advantages and disadvantages of analog multimeter, you must know that these devices are not very robust.
Lack of advanced features
When it comes to responding to the electrical phenomena, analog multimeters work pretty well. However, unlike digital multimeters, analog multimeters lack analytical power. That means analog multimeters do not have advanced features.
If you want to do waveform analysis or frequency measurements, you will have to use a digital multimeter. If you choose an analog multimeter, you should not expect these advanced features. And that is perfectly understandable, because analog multimeters were invented way before digital ones.
Making a decision
Digital multimeters are usually considered better than analog multimeters, and there are some reasons for that consideration. A digital multimeter has a liquid crystal display, which makes it easier to read the meter. If you take a close look at the advantages and disadvantages of analog multimeter, you will find that there are more disadvantages than advantages.
However, in some situations an analog multimeter can be a better choice. If you want to measure electrical current, an analog multimeter can be more reliable, because a digital meter can show inaccurate result due to the fluctuation of current. On the other hand, an analog meter has a moving needle that provides a clearer picture of the fluctuations of current.
You may find an analog multimeter adorable, but you will obviously find it a bit difficult to use. If you are not an experienced user of analog multimeters, reading the resistance scale will be a bit hard for you. High sensitivity and low resistance make an analog meter a more complicated.
Making a decision will be easier for you now, because we have already discussed the advantages and disadvantages of analog multimeter. If you are simply going to check a diode, you will do well with an analog meter. But if you are going to use the meter professionally, getting a digital meter is a better idea.
However, the display is the main difference between these two types of multimeters. Measurements are usually more accurate when the meter has an LCD or LED screen. Digital multimeters are more popular because they are easier to read. Hopefully the discussion above will help you make an informed decision.