Voltage drop testing

Voltage drop can only be checked when current is running through the circuit, such as by operating the starter motor or turning on the headlights. A digital multimeter should be used to ensure accurate readings.

— Connect digital multimeter positive lead to positive end of cable or switch being tested.

Connect digital multimeter negative lead to other end of cable or switch being tested.

— With power on and circuit working, meter shows voltage drop (difference between two points). This value should not exceed 1 volt.

The maximum voltage drop in an automotive circuit, as recommended by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), is as follows: 0 volts for small wire connections; 0.1 Volts for high current connections; 0.2 volts for high current cables; and 0.3 volts for switch or solenoid contacts. On longer wires or cables, the drop may be slightly higher. In any case, a voltage drop of more than 1.0 volt usually indicates a problem.

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Battery voltage

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Battery voltage

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