Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Battery Tester

A few days ago at work one of my co-workers was nice enough to give me a multimeter. He apparently was buying a whole bunch of super cheap ones from a local Chinese junk store to give to his kids (who have moved out), use around the house, etc. He thought of me and so got one for me too.

That was pretty cool, since I didn't have a multimeter. And actually I've run across a couple situations recently where I thought that I might be able to use a multimeter to help figure things out.

So when I got it home that night, I opened the package up ready to test it out. Except when I turned it on, nothing. Then I was thinking that maybe it wouldn't come on until I hooked up the testing wires, but still nothing.

At that point I decided the battery was probably just dead, and flipped it over to replace it. There I was greeted by a big warning:

CAUTION

This instrument contains no operator serviceable parts. Screw removal by qualified persons only.


And lo-and-behold, there was no battery compartment, just some screws to remove (by qualified professionals only) to open the whole thing up. Brazenly labeling myself 'qualified' to remove two screws, I cracked the thing open.

Despite their claims to the contrary, the battery was just a normal 9 volt connected to a standard plug. So I scavenged our last available smoke detector replacement battery to replace it with. After reassembly, the multimeter came right on.

And so what did I test with it? Why, the battery it came with to confirm that it was in fact dead-as-a-doornail.

The most amusing part was that Don had specifically mentioned "Yeah, they were only 4 bucks, and came with a battery too!" What we both failed to ask apparently was whether it came with a working battery.

[ I should mention, this is not meant to be a slam on the gift, it was really nice of him to get one for me. I just thought it was amusing that we had specifically been talking about it including a battery, and that the first thing I ended up using it for was to test that battery. ]

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