Monday, June 10, 2024

Discovering Precision on a Budget: Milliohm Meter with Kelvin Clips

When it comes to precise measurements of low resistance, having the right tools is essential. For electronics enthusiasts, hobbyists, and professionals, a milliohm meter is an invaluable addition to the toolkit. The good news is, you don't have to break the bank to get your hands on one. Today, we're diving into the world of affordable milliohm meters, specifically those that come with Kelvin clips and can be found for around 20 euros online.

What is a Milliohm Meter?

A milliohm meter is a specialized device used to measure very low resistance values, typically in the milliohm range (1 milliohm = 0.001 ohms [ Ω ]). These measurements are crucial in applications where even slight resistance variations can impact performance, such as in high-precision circuits, power electronics, and battery testing.

Why You Can't Use a Standard Multimeter and Need a Milliohm Meter

Standard multimeters, while versatile and useful for many applications, fall short when it comes to measuring very low resistances accurately. This limitation arises primarily because multimeters typically use a two-wire measurement method, which includes the resistance of the test leads and contact resistance in the reading. This added resistance can introduce significant errors, especially when measuring resistances in the milliohm range. Additionally, standard multimeters often lack the sensitivity and resolution needed to detect small changes in low resistance values. In contrast, a milliohm meter, equipped with Kelvin clips, eliminates the influence of lead and contact resistance, providing precise and reliable low-resistance measurements. This accuracy is essential for applications like testing fuses, where even slight variations in resistance can be critical.

The Role of Kelvin Clips

Kelvin clips, also known as four-wire probes, are essential for accurate low-resistance measurements. They use a four-terminal sensing method that eliminates the influence of lead and contact resistance. This is achieved by using separate pairs of leads for current supply and voltage measurement, ensuring that the voltage drop is measured directly across the component under test, free from extraneous resistance.

Why Shop Online?

Online marketplaces like AliExpress, offer a wide range of affordable electronics and tools, including milliohm meters equipped with Kelvin clips. These devices, often available for about 20 euros, might not match the high-end precision instruments in terms of build quality or advanced features but offer impressive accuracy and functionality for their price point.

Features to Look For

When shopping for a milliohm meter with Kelvin clips, consider the following features:

1. Measurement Range:

 Ensure the meter can measure the range of resistances you anticipate working with. Most budget meters will cover a range from milliohms to a few ohms.

2. Display:

 Look for a clear, easy-to-read display. Digital displays with backlighting can be particularly useful.

3. Accuracy:

 Check the accuracy specifications. While budget meters may not match laboratory-grade instruments, look for models with tolerances within 1% for general use.

4. Build Quality:

 While it’s hard to gauge build quality from pictures, look for customer reviews and ratings. This can provide insights into the durability and reliability of the meter.

5. Ease of Use:

 Features like auto-ranging, hold functions, and zeroing capabilities can make the device much more user-friendly.

Getting Started with Your New Meter

Once your milliohm meter arrives, here’s a quick guide to get you started:

1. Calibration:

 Before making any measurements, it's good practice to calibrate your meter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This often involves zeroing the meter using the included shorting clip.

2. Connecting Kelvin Clips:

 Attach the Kelvin clips to the component you're measuring. Ensure a solid, clean connection to avoid any contact resistance that could skew your results.

3. Taking Measurements:

 Power on the meter and take your reading. The four-wire method employed by Kelvin clips will provide a direct measurement of the resistance, minimizing external influences.

4. Interpreting Results:

 Compare your readings with expected values. If you're testing components, ensure they fall within their specified tolerance ranges.

Pros and Cons


- Affordability:

 For around 20 euros, these meters provide exceptional value for money.

- Functionality:

 Despite their low cost, they offer the essential features needed for accurate low-resistance measurements.

- Portability:

 Compact and lightweight, these meters are easy to carry and store.


- Build Quality: 

Lower-cost meters may not be as durable or robust as higher-end models.

- Accuracy: 

While generally good, they might not match the precision of professional-grade instruments.

- Support and Documentation: 

Sometimes, the instructions and support can be lacking, requiring a bit of trial and error to master the device.

My Milliohm Meter

On Aliexpress i found two versions of the YMC01 milliohm meter.
The 2R model for the 1-1999 mΩ range and the 20R model for the 0.01-19.99 mΩ range.
I decided to go for the 2R, Ordering details will come in my mailbag post, Below is a screenshot of the manual. This is a A4 with on one side the Chinese manual and on the other side the English version.

On this meter there is no special button or something for calibration. I only found in the manual "Inserted 3196 potentiometer, user can do self-calibration." and "Automatically reset to 0". When connecting the two wires the meter displays indeed 0.000. (I expect the potentiometer is inside the housing, i did not yet opened it.)

One of the experiments i want to do with this meter is measure resistance of fuses. I want to make some separate blogposts about the results.

When reading the manual i found an important parameter for this measurement; the testing current: about 100 mA for the 2R and about 10 mA for the 20R. As i have 2R with testing current of 100 mA i will not be able to measure fuses of 100 mA or below as the fuse will blow.


A milliohm meter with Kelvin clips offers an affordable entry point into precise resistance measurement. While they may come with some limitations, these budget-friendly tools are perfect for hobbyists and those looking to add a useful device to their toolbox without spending a fortune. With careful use and proper handling, these meters can provide accurate measurements that meet the needs of various applications. Happy measuring!

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