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I'm completely new at electronics, and so I just got my first multimeter - a pretty cheap one, a Draper Digital multimeter. Got my first problem with it as soon as I opened it to place the battery.

The only mention of the battery in the manual was to "insert the appropriate battery taking note of the polarity". There is no immediately obvious marking around the battery slot that would tell me which way to plug the battery. No plus or minus signs can be seen.

So I'm thinking either:

  • There is a way to tell how to place the battery that I'm somehow missing.
  • The placement of the battery doesn't matter for some reason beyond my understanding, and I'm really supposed to just "take note" of it. (In which case, why does this matter?)
  • This is an issue with this specific kind of multimeter, and I should be contacting the manufacturer.

What are your thoughts on this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What's the form factor of your battery (AA, AAA, 9-volt, etc)? A photo of you battery compartment would help with your question too. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Aug 6 '12 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a 12V A23S battery. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrey Aug 6 '12 at 19:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Almost certainly the battery polarity matters. If it's a 9 V type, then the terminals are shaped differently and you can't snap it on backwards. Tell us the battery type and maybe a picture of the battery compartment. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Aug 6 '12 at 19:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ah. Groan-inducing moment of the day. It's printed on the top part of the compartment. Sorry to waste your time, deleting this question in a few minutes. \$\endgroup\$ – Andrey Aug 6 '12 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ If that's the preferred way to handle this, that's what I'll do. Thanks! \$\endgroup\$ – Andrey Aug 6 '12 at 19:40
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This is to serve as a warning to future newbies. I was definitely missing something obvious, polarity does matter, and I didn't really need to contact the manufacturer at all.

The polarities were printed on the lid of the battery compartment.

enter image description here note polarity markings enter image description here drop battery into lid enter image description here place front part onto it

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have the same DMM, you put the battery in the plastic "lid" (actually the back of the meter) and then lower the main part (with the battery contacts) over it. A moulding in the "lid" holds the battery in the correct place to mate with the contacts. As you say, the battery polarity is moulded into the lid. I'll edit a photo ointo your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – RedGrittyBrick Jan 28 '13 at 18:28
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Does the battery holder have a spring at one end? With batteries of that general shape (cylindrical with a bump on one end) the bump is positive, and the flat negative end goes toward the spring.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Turns out the issue was with me and not with the multimeter (see the comments above). Thanks for your help! \$\endgroup\$ – Andrey Aug 6 '12 at 19:46

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