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 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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    7 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

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

    eric m

    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

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


    11 years ago on Introduction

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