Replacing Multimeter Test Lead

Picture of 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.

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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 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
beehard443 years ago
i tried this with a pen (i used the writing end as the tip) but it came off. i might try this
eric m5 years ago
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.
worldgnat6 years ago
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!
I hate radio shack. No good alternative out there yet.
hassi (author)  worldgnat6 years ago
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.
hassi (author)  worldgnat6 years ago
Yup...A nickel shy (minus tax)...I thought it was pretty ridiculous too...Thanks for the kind words (to all y'all)...
kruser4956 years ago
nice, good idea.
Great job! Pretty smart, I might try this, +1 rating. (added to favorites)

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