Third Hand for Your Multimeter





Introduction: Third Hand for Your Multimeter

About: For now see me at:

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.

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 and Make your own breadboard by ratgod }

Step 4: Add Some Additional Parts & Wire It Up

Solder some wires to the alligator clips ( note in the photos where the wires are connected ). Then hot glue the the clips into the holes in the base. Take the bit of sheet metal and screw it to the base. One of the lugs is under one of these screws. Screw the second lug to the board. Hot glue the mini protoboard board to the base with the wire side down, the hole side up. The black binding post is negative. Using the lug on the sheet metal piece connect on alligator clip and one side of the mini protoboard as negative. The red binding post is positive. Using the second lug connect the other side of the binding post and the other side of the mini protoboard as positive. The binding posts, mini protoboard, and gator clips are all in parallel, the sheet metal is connected to ground. Refer to the pictures.

Step 5: Use It

The whole point here is that you can connect the meter to your component with no hands ( of your own ). There are different connectors for different approaches, the pictures illustrate this.

  • Plug the component into the mini protoboard ( particularly good for components used on protoboards ).
  • Grab one or more leads with the alligator clip ( particularly good for components with “fat” leads ).
  • Press a component up against the metal sheet, use you hand for the other end of the component ( particularly good for batteries ). For batteries you can add a dummy load - a resistor in the mini protoboard, 150 ohms is about a 10 ma load for a 1.5 volt battery.




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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.

1 reply

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: ) 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.

Awesome, Looks like a really good idea!

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

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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.

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.

Great idea, do the wires come out of both sides of the protoboard?

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.

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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.

At last! A solution for my wobbly hands and prongs :D

<3 your ible

very slick I think I'll make a few for my classroom

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.

2 replies

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.

Good idea, thanks for sharing.

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.