Instructables

Third Hand for Your Multimeter

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You often need more hands for jobs with your multimeter than the normal body is equipped with, if you are an insect or octopus, or do not use a meter much, then this instructable will be unneeded by you, if you are human and do much electronics work, I think it will help you out.

 

 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

  • Scraps of hardwood
  • Bit of metal sheet ( copper or brass is particularly nice ) or piece of un-etched circuit board
  • Set of binding posts
  • 2 alligator clips
  • Ribbon cable connector from an old computer
  • Bits of wire
 
  • Hot glue gun
  • Saw and drill
  • Soldering iron

 


Step 2: Building the Base

I used 2 small pieces of oak for the main base and body of this gadget. None of the measurements are critical, plan it out yourself. Two holes are drilled for the binding posts, and 2 for the alligator clips. These are both in the upper part of the base, the lower part has 2 holes to get at the back side of the binding posts. Make some grooves to let the wires pass between the upper and lower part of the base,solder 2 wires ( I used red and green ) one to each of the binding posts, After assembly the two parts are glued ( or screwed might be better ) together.


Step 3: Building the Mini ProtoBoard

The mini protoboard is simply the plug end from a computer ribbon cable. Pull the top off the cap of the ribbon cable connector. Underneath you will see two rows of pins sticking up. Using fine wire ( I used wire stripped from a Ethernet cable ) connect all the pins on one side together and all the pins on the other side together. Have some of the wire hang out to the side of the connector to connect to the rest of the circuit. { There are a couple of instructables using this technique to make bread boards or protoboards see:  Diy breadboard from old IDE cables by 1001progetti   http://www.instructables.com/id/Diy-breadboard-from-old-IDE-cables/    and  Make your own breadboard by ratgod   http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-your-own-breadboard/   }  

Very cool, I will try to make something like this! It would be even better if the clips could pivot like a classic 3rd hand so you could measure weird-sized components, and still solder with it and stuff.
russ_hensel (author)  AwesomeUsernameHere7 months ago
Standard clips will plug into a banana plug so you could mount then and then plug into them with the clips. If the clips were mounted on stiff copper wire ( as in my instructable here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Precision-LED-Task-Light/ ) they would be fully flexible. You could, of course have both types on the board. I wanted the clips to be firmly mounted so I could just press on one side to open them.
mlukyanov made it!10 days ago

Great Hand! I like!

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LastDanz1 month ago

Hey guys, does this "third hand" measure capacitors & coils? Thank u so much in advance for your help =)

BGreenHVAC1 month ago
Thanks for the concept. I made one (slightly different) and it is very handy for the workbench. I used a small project box and didn't include the flat copper part. Just didn't think I would ever utilize that.
russ_hensel (author) 5 months ago

The "front" is where you press in your components, the back has small pins conneecting to the front, this is where you solder the connections together.

dvscanlan5 months ago
Great idea, do the wires come out of both sides of the protoboard?
gada8887 months ago
great idea,but don't use'computer ribbon cable'.use mini breadboard instead,the computer ribbon cable pins is extremely difficult to do soldering,you may also hammer flat the crocodile clip's long legs then screw them on the wooden board to make them fixed there.
russ_hensel (author)  gada8886 months ago
I lightly sanded with 600 grit wet or dry paper and used extra flux. Soldering went well, might be good luck on the cable I happened to pick up.
Goodwin77 months ago
At last! A solution for my wobbly hands and prongs :D

<3 your ible
oakironworker7 months ago
very slick I think I'll make a few for my classroom
anasdad7 months ago
Nicely done. I'll be making one, but I think that I'll just cut off the ends of the multimeter's wires, and attach the alligator clamps.
Thanks
russ_hensel (author)  anasdad7 months ago
you can add a small metal tube or pin jack to the clips and then just plug into the clips
I find it useful to have a variety of different test leads. I actually use probe point leads the least in fact. I have the alligator clips that plug onto the ends of probe leads but they're pretty clumsy compared to just alligator clips at the end of leads. Mini grabbers and micro-clips are handy to have too. I put light whip ends on probes with micro-clips though. Because regular probe lead wire is too thick.
rimar20007 months ago
Good idea, thanks for sharing.
pfred27 months ago
I've put a test lead into my third hand device myself. I'll do that if I'm testing a lot of components to sort them.
Great idea, might have to make one like it.