Introduction: Interchangeable Multimeter Ends

Picture of Interchangeable Multimeter Ends
These are some adapters I made to get more use out of my cheap multimeter. I have a hard time holding the leads on wires and pin headers while I am trying to use my multimeter, so I made these adapters to clip onto various conductors. I know they make separate wires with various types of ends, but who needs extra wires when you can just make a little adapter and get the same result?

I found these 2mm jacks the last time I was in Skycraft (their website doesn't show 1/10 of what they have in the store so don't let their website fool you). I was actually looking for banana plug jacks, but I thought these might be just the right size to connect to my multimeter leads and sure enough they were. I have since tried finding them on Jameco and Sparkfun, but have not had any luck. Unfortunately, I only bought 2 red and 2 black, so these are the only adapters I have made so far. Please note, there is a small nut on these that I did not insulate. Do NOT use these on high voltage circuits.

Update: I widened my search and was able to find 2mm jacks available only in bulk from a distributor's website here. You have to buy multiples of 10, but the price is still pretty cheap.

The other pieces are just 2 standard alligator clips with rubber insulating jackets and 2 mini-grabber connectors. The alligator clips I had to bend the wire stays out and solder the whole thing to the threads of the 2mm jack. For the mini-grabbers I had to drill holes in the back end of the spring base to have a place to mount the 2mm jack. When working with the grabbers, you may find it's easier to depress the spring button to extend the lead and unbend the end of the lead. This way you can pull the whole thing out to make it easier to solder everything. When you are ready to put it all back together, just line up the guides and rebend the end of the lead.

Lately, I have been tracing circuits in an air conditioner controller board and these ends have been helpful to clip the leads onto a  small jumper wires or leads. In this case, I clipped the black lead to ground and used the bare point lead to test voltages going out to the relay card for various states. I cycled the air conditioner through high and low fan modes, and with the compressor off and on. I was able to isolate the separate wires for the fan speeds, compressor control and the beeper so I can replicate this functionality on a replacement controller board.


rlarios (author)2012-09-04

This is very helpful. However, what if you need longer wires? This type of wire looks special. Any idea what this kind of wire is or how to and where to order them from?

Good Job and thanks for the -able-

sodiumcanine (author)2012-08-13

Thank You for this Idea.

I had a set of thread on type on my good meter but swapped them to use
on my cheapy meter when a bilge gremlin ate it, I did not want to shell
out 15 to 20$ for a new set just to replace 1 gator clip. I am also going
to make a set with 1-2 foot leads with 2mm/gator clips for those hard to
reach places, plus it being somewhat insulated helps too. Have had a few
times while testing something with gator clips on and jostled or bump
and "Crossed the streams" No fun while being in a tight area on boats!

Thanks and Cheers! Mike-

jschumaker (author)2012-08-12

Interesting. What parts did you use and where did you get them? Knowing that would be a big help in building my own.

JmsDwh (author)jschumaker2012-08-12

Thanks jschumaker, I added some more information about the jacks. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like they are sold most places. These are 2mm jacks, usually listed as "banana plug" jacks even though I don't think they make banana plugs that small.

rimar2000 (author)2012-08-12

Very good idea!