How to measure duty cycle with a digital multimeter

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Steps for measuring duty cycle.

How to measure duty cycle

  1. Set the digital multimeter (DMM) to measure frequency. The steps can vary by meter. Usually a multimeter’s dial will be turned to dc V (dc V) and the Hz button is pressed. The DMM is ready to measure duty cycle when a percent sign (%) appears in the right side of the multimeter’s display.
  2. First insert the black test lead into the COM jack.
  3. Then insert the red lead into the V Ω jack. When finished, remove the leads in reverse order: red first, then black.
  4. Connect the test leads to the circuit to be tested.
  5. Read the measurement in the display. A positive symbol (+) indicates POSITIVE time percent voltage measurement. A negative symbol (-) indicates NEGATIVE time percent voltage measurement.

    Note: A positive reading typically indicates a circuit’s ON time and a negative reading its OFF time. On occasion a negative portion of the signal can create an ON signal.

  6. Press the beeper button (beeper button) to toggle between POSITIVE time and NEGATIVE time percent voltage measurement. Note: The button used varies by digital multimeter. Refer to you model’s user manual for specific instructions.

Duty cycle basics


Reference: Digital Multimeter Principles by Glen A. Mazur, American Technical Publishers.

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