Important Safety Information

Before getting started there are some important things you should consider to ensure your safety:

  • When working with the electrical system always assume anything you touch could be potentially energized
  • Disconnect the battery and check for voltage using your multimeter before you start any work
  • Be aware of the position of your battery and its terminals - an accidental short between the positive and negative terminals could cause damage or injury (especially if you short it with a limb)
  • When working in the engine bay with the motor running, watch out for potential pinch/crush points, stay clear of:
    • belts & pulleys
    • radiator fans
      important: rotating equipment may start/stop without warning
  • Stay clear of coolant hoses, the exhaust manifold, and any other potential sources of heat

Measuring Dwell

  1. Configure the multimeter for dwell mode
  2. Connect the black lead to the negative terminal of the battery, or any other good ground. If you can't reach/access the battery you can use most bare metal surfaces or look for a wire that is bolted to the body/frame somewhere - this is likely a dedicated ground point.
  3. Connect the red lead to either the negative (-) terminal/lead of the ignition coil, or the  contact breaker terminal.
    Note: On older vehicles with positive grounds lead connections should be reversed
  4. Press the range button to select the number of cylinders