Meter check of a diode

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Being able to determine the polarity (cathode versus anode) and basic functionality of a diode is a very important skill for the electronics hobbyist or technician to have. Since we know that a diode is essentially nothing more than a one-way valve for electricity, it makes sense we should be able to verify its one-way nature using a DC (battery-p

Meter check of a diode
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owered) ohmmeter as in Figure below. Connected one way across the diode, the meter should show a very low resistance at (a). Connected the other way across the diode, it should show a very high resistance at (b) (OL  on some digital meter models). Determination of diode polarity: (a) Low resistance indicates forward bias, black lead is cathode and red lead anode (for most meters) (b) Reversing leads shows high resistance indicating reverse bias. Of course, to determine which end of the diode is the cathode and which is the anode, you must know with certainty which test lead of the meter is positive (+) and which is negative (-) when set to the resistance  or ©  function. With most digital multimeters I`ve seen, the red lead becomes positive and the black lead negative when set to measure resistance, in accordance with standard electronics color-code convention. However, this is not guaranteed for all meters. Many analog multimeters, for example, actually make their black leads positive (+) and their red leads negative (-) when switched to the resistance  function, because it is easier to manufacture it that way! One problem with using an ohmmeter to check a diode is that the readings obtained only have qualitative value, not quantitative. In other words, an ohmmeter only tells you which way the diode conducts; the low-value resistance indication obtained while conducting is useless. If an ohmmeter shows a value of 1. 73...

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