Multimeter Tutorial: How to Test a Transistor

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This tutorial will detail with testing PNP and NPN configured transistors using a multimeter. After reading this, you will be able to find out configuration of the device as well as find out its collector, emitter and base.1

 Step 1:Transistor Function on Multimeter.

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If the model number is not known, it is impossible to detail about the  type of transistor just by looking at it. To ease the process, multimeters come with a function where one can calculateHfe or small signal Forward Current Gain of a bipolar transistor.

Apart, from detailing with the forward gain value, the Hfe function solves two problems.

  • {C}{C} {C}{C}Type of the transistor can be found.
  • {C}{C} {C}{C}Collector, Base, Emitter terminals can also be known.

 Step 2:Checking Transistor

  1.   a) Testing an  NPN Transistor                                                                             3
  • Place the three legs of the Transistor first in the E-B-C formation. The multimeter will show the reading if this formation is correct, else it will show over range.
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  • If the previous method doesn’t work, place the three legs of the Transistor in the B-C-E formation. If multimeter shows reading then it’s correct. The reading is nothing but thr HFE of that transistor.

{C}

  1.       b)Testing  PNP Transistor .
  2. 5
  • Place the three legs of the transistor in the same manner as discussed above.
  • After placing the transistor in the correct formation, multimeter would show the Hfevalue of the transistor.
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  • How to Test a Transistor using Multimeter

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