Electronic – Why do some multimeters have discrete ranges for measurable values and some just measure based on signal type


I have a multimeter in my toolbox that has ranges of values it measures in dc voltage, a lot like the one below which can read DC but reads it by orders of magnitude. In order to get a proper reading I have to select the correct range, otherwise my meter reads 0.00L.

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I was browsing some tools on amazon and found this meter which, excepting amperage, does not need to have a range selected discretely. I was curious, it's obviously possible to do as this meter exists — so why do your regular off-the-shelf wal-meters require you to select the value range?

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Best Answer

The ones that don't require you to set a range have a feature called "auto-ranging". It's a feature that makes the meter easier to use — especially in the field — but sometimes slower to settle on a reading. It adds a bit of complexity to the meter logic (and the user interface), which is why the cheapest meters don't have it.