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Multimeter backlight

2014
16
August

Go ahead, laugh at me and my $10 multimeter. Not everyone is fortunate enough to own a fancy Fluke, so I've been working with this BEST DT9205A multimeter for the past two years or so. By all means, it does a decent job, despite its low retail price, but it has always lacked one thing. I'll let you have one guess what.

(Yes, the multimeter is there)

That's right, backlight, or more correctly: the lack of it. This mod is simply a toggle switch and 9 SMD LEDs (taken from a 5M LED strip), incredibly simple and only about half an hour worth of work.

I decided to place the toggle switch right next to the display, since there's plenty of empty space behind it.

The LED strip is made from chunks of 3 LEDs in each segment, and can easily be cut anywhere. One length fitted perfectly, and thanks to the adhesive back it was easy to attach on the inside of the rear panel.

The LED strip has resistors designed for 12V operation, but I'm running it at 7-9V. I could replace the 150 ohm resistors with smaller ones, but I don't think it's worth the effort. This is fine.

The LEDs can be switched on/off regardless of the state of the multimeter.

As you can see from the image below, the LEDs shine directly towards the back of the display. The back is somewhat translucent and acts like a nice diffuser.

I can now finally use my multimeter in the dark! Autumn is coming, so this will definitely come in handy pretty soon.

Here it is in action. I'm also demonstrating the parallax effect which I've been playing with for about an hour now. Note to self: buy more batteries.


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