Measuring voltage is one of the most common tests a tractor mechanic will conduct as he troubleshoots a system. The presence of the correct voltage will determine if a component is functioning correctly or not. A common voltage test will be of the battery. A healthy battery should read about 12.5 volts, and a battery that is being charged should measure between 13 and 14.5 volts.
You can determine the amount of current being used and charged on your tractor’s system by placing the meter in-series with the circuits of the tractor. To do this: first remove your red probe and plug it into the 10 amp Max port on your DMM. Then set your DMM to DC Current with the range of 10 amps. Now you unplug the wire going to your ignition switch’s “B” terminal. By clipping alligator clips to your DMM probes you can now connect one probe to the “B” terminal of your ignition switch, and your other DMM probe to the wire that normally goes to “B” terminal on the ignition switch. Now when you run your tractor the current will flow through the meter and your DMM can give you a reading. It will tell you how many amps are flowing through your system.
In order to turn a shaft with combustion, we need to convert not only chemical energy, but we need to convert a reciprocating motion into a rotational motion. The reciprocating motion is the engine’s piston moving up and down, and the rotational motion is the crankshaft turning. As you can imagine there is a lot of things moving all at once with drastic changes in direction and speed. This process generates a lot of unwanted vibration and movement as a by-product.
Digital Multi-Meters come in two common varieties: Auto- Ranging, and Non Auto-Ranging. A non auto-ranging meter requires you to select a range of “sensitivity” for the given function you are using. For example if you want to measure resistance, you would need to select a range of up to 200 ohms, up to 20Kohms (20,000 ohms), 200Kohms, etc. An auto-ranging meter will automatically figure out the range and give you a measurement.