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I’m not an electrician by any means, but I have had some experience with home renovations, and that has meant the need for something to check for live wires. Up until now, I have been using a basic voltage tester that will tell me if there is power between two contact points. I have used that to test live wires, outlets, and light fixtures.
But, there is only so much that it can do. I now have the chance to try out the Kaiweets KM601 Smart Digital Multimeter, and it comes with so much functionality that I was a little intimidated to use it.
But, I needn’t have worried. That functionality is packed into a palm-sized device that is easy to use and accurate too.
What’s in the Box?
The Kaiweets multimeter was shipped in a box, but you can recycle that pretty much immediately because there is a case included for your multimeter that will hold everything.
The multimeter came with a flexible hardshell case that is zipped closed to keep everything together, and there is a loop for easier carrying or to attach it to a tool belt or hook. Inside, one half holds the multimeter with an elasticated band, and the other half holds the cables in a mesh pocket. I really like the inclusion of a case, and I don’t like to store my tools loose or in the cardboard box that they come in. Thumbs up so far.
There is, of course, the multimeter and a protective case that shields the back and sides and ensures that the screen won’t take direct impact if it is dropped on a flat surface. You have test leads and a thermocouple, along with the instruction manual, and six AAA batteries. The device uses three AAA batteries, so it is a nice touch to include six.
Overall, you have everything that you need without being bogged down with a lot of extras.
Functionality of the Kaiweets KM601 Multimeter
There is a lot that you can do with this multimeter, and here is a rundown of the main options:
The device defaults to smart mode when you first turn it on, and this allows you to connect the terminals and lets the device decide if you are measuring voltage, resistance, or continuity.
Press the AUTO/FUNC button to switch to manual mode and the same button to scroll through your options.
In manual mode, you can choose from the following functions:
- Voltage (DC & AC)
- Diode Test
- AC/DC mV
- Non-Contact AC Voltage
- Live Wire
- mA Current
Functionality For The Common Man
That’s all fine and well to list the functionality of the device, but what does that all mean? What can I actually use this device for?
Testing Live Wires And More
One of the things that I know from doing renovations at home is that you always want to know where the power is.
The NCV live wire testing function is great for this.
Place the device close to an outlet without having to insert any wires, and it will let you know if the outlet is live. The indicator light will come on when there is voltage.
You can also attach the test lead and touch the red probe to a wire. If there is a voltage, the alarm will sound.
If you are anything like me, then you probably have a bunch of batteries lying around and have no idea if they are live or dead. You can use the voltage setting to test if there is any voltage in the battery and check how much there is.
If you can test the voltage of a battery, you can also test the voltage of an outlet. Stick the red probe in the left slot and the black in the right. Most homes should have 120V.
You can also use the multimeter to check the voltage of your car battery.
Checking Your Extension Cords
You can easily use a multimeter set to the resistance function to check that your extension cord works, and I will show you how in the next section.
You can attach the thermocouple to check the ambient temperature of a room or place it in a liquid or on a solid to check the temperature.
I already mentioned the case surrounding the multimeter, and that is going to help keep it safe when in use, and prevent any damage from drops, bumps, and impacts.
On the back of the device, there is a light. Simply press the flashlight button on the side of the device to turn it on, and press it again to turn it off. This is extremely useful if you are working in the dark or in any areas where there is low light.
When you are using the device (in most function settings), the multimeter will display the ambient temperature of the room.
The LED screen is large, clear, and easy to read. The screen has been upgraded from the previous model to make the device easier to use.
There are 4 ports on the bottom of the device, and while you will mainly use 2 of them, you will not always. When you choose a function, the lights above the ports will indicate which ones you need to use (if any).
If you are measuring something and the leads are connected incorrectly, the screen will display ‘LEAD’ to let you know. This helps to protect the device from damage.
- Power (top): turns the device on and off.
- Flashlight (side): turns the flashlight on and off.
- APO (side): initiates ‘auto power off’ function.
- AUTO/FUNC (front): switches between auto and manual and selects function.
- SEL (front): selects functionality within functions.
- RANGE (front): selects range for measurements.
- MAX/MIN (front): captures maximum and minimum values.
- REL/HOLD (front): turns ‘data holding’ on and off.
The Kaiweets KM601 Smart Digital Multimeter In Action
Checking For Normal
The manual recommends that you touch the black and red test leads together to ensure that the device is working normally. So, I started there, and the buzzer buzzed, and the light lit up. That meant that the device was working, and I could move into my real tests.
Checking The Batteries That Came With The Device
The black lead goes to the negative end, and the red lead goes to the positive end. A AAA battery should be around 1.5V when fully charged.
My result: 1.6V
Checking A Standard Outlet Two Ways
I started by checking the outlet without having to insert any test cables. I placed the device close to the outlet, making sure that the NVC sensor on top was close to where the power is. The device should beep, and the light should light up if the outlet is live.
My result: Light indicates that the outlet is live.
Next, I went a step farther and switched the device back to auto. I placed the black and red leads in the correct slots and read the voltage. Most homes should run on 120V.
My result: 121.9V
Checking My Extension Cord
Does the extension cord that I haven’t used since last winter work still? Let’s check the capacitance. To start, I pushed the red tester into the hot hole on the female end and the black tester to the prong on the male end. It should read 0.8 Ohms or less.
My result: 0.0 Ohms (though it did fluctuate up to 0.2 at one point)
Checking My Car Battery
I opened up the hood of my car and pressed the red probe to the red/positive terminal and the black probe to the black/negative terminal. Anything above 12.5V is generally good, 12.3V means a 75% charge, and 11.8V or less means a 25% charge.
Related: How Long Do Car Batteries Last & How To Extend Their Life
My result: 12.4V
Checking Temperature Of Boiled Water
I boiled up some water and put it in a container. I attached the thermocouple to the device and placed the end in the water. Boiling water should have a temperature of 100 °C, so I expected something toward this temperature.
My result: 84 °C
Who Is This For?
This is a powerful tool, so I could see it being used by professional electricians, but it is easy enough to use (even with the advanced functionality) for the common homeowner.
There is a lot that you can do with it, and I only touched on a small fraction of that above. This is a useful tool to have around the home and one that you will find yourself using more than you expect.
I like the Kaiweets Smart Digital Multimeter, and it is a tool that I know I will use as we continue renovations here and there.
I’m impressed with the easily readable screen that gives me all of the information that I need at a glance. There are also a bunch of safety features that are going to protect me (I have caused some sparks with my basic voltage tester before).
This is a tool for specific jobs. If you don’t need it, you don’t need it. But, if you are looking for a multimeter that does it all, then I would recommend Kaiweets.
Get 10% off your purchase on Kaiweets.com by using “DM10” discount code.