Replacing Multimeter Test Lead





Introduction: Replacing Multimeter Test Lead

This is my first Instructable...Be kind or not

(Disclaimer: I didn't check every Instructable to determine if this has already been presented (there's just too darn many). If this is a repeat, I apologize.)

Some time ago a test lead on my el cheapo multimeter came off and was subsequently lost. Using the frayed ends of the lead wire worked, but not worth a hoot.

I visited our local Radio Shack and a couple of other shops to find a replacement lead but the cheapest I could find was $6.95 (US) for a pair; I could have replaced the whole thing for that.


Step 1: Step One

This is a pretty basic job requiring minimal skills, materials and tools.

A 6 penny finish nail, an old pen barrel sans ink "tube," soldering iron and solder (not shown), a bit of heat-shrink tubing, an X-Acto knife (or substitute) (not shown either) and our favorite, a hot glue gun and glue (also not shown).

I measured the ink barrel against the non-broken test lead for length then cut the barrel to length (measured from the tip). Save the cut-off end of the barrel as this will make good filler in your extra parts box.

Step 2: Step Two

After exposing about an inch (2.5 cm) of the wire I made a quick wrap around the head end of the finish nail and soldered them together.

Step 3: Step C

After the new lead tip cooled, (its now graduated from being a simple nail to an integral part of a precision instrument), I slid on the heat-shrink tubing that will cover the to-be-glued end and then popped the newly tipped wire lead down into the pen barrel letting about 3/4" (1.75 cm) of the once lowly nail protrude through the pen barrel tip.

I then hot glued around the wire end, filling up some of the ink barrel. I also shot a small dab of hot glue around where the lead protruded

Step 4: Step Last

And that's it.

If I had them, I would have used a red pen and red heat-shrink tubing. But since I had neither I'll just have to live with it.

Total cost: $0.00 (US) as I had everything already...I'll bet you do too.

Thanks for reading this far...



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    Please be positive and constructive.




    i tried this with a pen (i used the writing end as the tip) but it came off. i might try this

    This is great. i made one before but it was ghetto and crap. Just wrapped wire around a nail. Radio shack charging that price for a bit of copper and steel is crap. They have us by the balls since few stores sell them. It's all about competition and demand.

    Awesome! I've got a broken test probe and a lot of cheap pens - I fully intend to test this. Is Radioshack honestly charging $7 for test leads?! That's ridiculous!

    3 replies

    I hate radio shack. No good alternative out there yet.

    Just got back from an on-line visit to American Science and Surplus ( to find three-lead multimeter test leads for $1.95...And once again, its the shipping that gets you...After the minimum $5.95 the leads aren't so cheap at $7.90.

    But with some other "necessities" the shipping isn't too big of a load ($5.95 for a $15.00 order; then it jumps to $6.95 for up to a $30.00 order).

    Still, "free" is a good price.

    Yup...A nickel shy (minus tax)...I thought it was pretty ridiculous too...Thanks for the kind words (to all y'all)...

    Great job! Pretty smart, I might try this, +1 rating. (added to favorites)