# Why does my multimeter always show a value of 1 for resistance?

I have a brand new multimeter, but any time I set it to resistance mode (any setting) according to the user manual, it shows 1 in the leftmost digit, and the decimal point will move around based on which setting I chose (but the remaining digits will never set to 0.

I've connected the positive lead to the VΩmA jack and the negative to COM. The output does not change when I connect the leads to opposite ends of a resistor.

Am I doing it wrong, or is my meter defective?

• I am not sure but left most 1 means "out of range". If you try to measure large resistor in small range, it will end up showing the same 1 in left corner, I suppose. Oct 9, 2015 at 11:53
• What happens when you touch the probes together? Oct 9, 2015 at 11:53
• Have you tried touching the two probe leads together? The meter should read 0, or close to 0 (i.e. 0.12) Oct 9, 2015 at 11:53
• It sounds faulty. It could be the leads. Are they fully pushed into the connectors? what happens if you short the terminals out using a piece of wire instead of the leads?
– Icy
Oct 9, 2015 at 11:58
• Please post a picture of the meter with the settings and the leads visible.
– JRE
Oct 9, 2015 at 11:59

The display with the 1 in the left most digit is normal.

It indicates that the connected resistance is too high to measure on the selected scale.

If you plug in the leads but don't connect them to anything then the resistance is (as far as the meter is concerned) pretty much infinite, which it shows with the 1 in the left most digit.

Connect the leads to the proper jacks (sounds like you have, red to the Volts and Ohms jack and black to the Common) and short the ends of the probes together. You should get a value very near zero.

If you don't get that zero reading then post a picture of your meter as you short the leads together showing the meter (and its settings,) the connections of the leads and how you shorted them. You may be doing something wrong. If everything looks good, you may have a bad lead or a meter with a bad jack. More likely, though, is that you are doing something simple wrong.

From the answer you've now posted, it appears you were doing something simple the wrong way. An incorrectly connected lead is an operator error.

• Ahh, you posted this just before I put up my answer. I was also fairly certain it was me doing something wrong. All good to go now.
– 2mac
Oct 9, 2015 at 12:06

Seems @Icy found the issue. The positive lead wasn't fully connected, yet the other modes were giving some output.

After that, if I put the very bottom of the leads together, I get a reading close to 0. I also tried a 330 ohm resistor, and after a moment it picked it up and read .330 or .327 on the 1 kohm setting.

• Although this was not your problem, it's worth knowing that one cheap DDMs the ohmmeter uses more power than the voltmeter, so when the battery runs low the voltmeter still works fine, but the ohmmeter will display higher [than real] or varying values. Normally it will also flash the battery low symbol when that happens (but only flash it on the ohmmeter scale). On a DMM with no (or broken) battery indicator, it might be hard to figure out when this is happening.
– Fizz
Oct 9, 2015 at 13:46