How to Test a Motherboard with a Multimeter: A Simple Guide

How to Test a Motherboard with a Multimeter: A Simple Guide
How to Test a Motherboard with a Multimeter: A Simple Guide

There’s no doubt that the Motherboard is the most important part of any computer. It hosts all the major parts of a PC. There might be some instances where your motherboard may not work properly due to some circuit issues. If you are in that situation, then you don’t need to worry at all. You just need to learn How to test a motherboard with a multimeter because it is the easiest way to find what problem your motherboard has.

A multimeter is a very good tool to deal with in this situation and even If you don’t have one, it isn’t a very expensive thing to buy. It won’t cost you more than $50 on Amazon.

There are many reasons why your motherboard is troubling and in my experience, I can tell you one major reason for that i.e not maintaining it properly. You need to regularly clean your motherboard to avoid such issues. If you have any issues with the motherboard even after maintaining properly, then I’m sure this article is going to help you.

Okay. Now let’s dive into the topic and find exactly what issues your motherboard has. Shall we?


  • 1.1  1. For Short Circuit:
  • 1.2 2. For DC voltage:
  • 1.3 How to Test the PSU and Motherboard for Short/Open Circuits

How To Test a Motherboard With a Multimeter in 2 Easy Ways:

1. For Short Circuit:

First, we are going to talk about Short Circuit because it is one of the common issues everyone has with their motherboard.

Here’s the step-by-step process for you.

Step No. 1: Turn off the computer completely and unplug all the power switches which are connected to your PC.

Step No. 2: Wait for a couple of minutes after turning off the computer so that it gets cool and make sure it has no charge. Don’t be in a hurry to move to the next step. Have some patience and give it some time.

Step No. 3: Take your multimeter and adjust it to the lowest setting which is usually 200 Ohm. To bring down the meter to zero, you have to touch both the leads together. After doing that, test it with chassis to confirm that it has come down to zero. This is just for safety precaution.

Note: If you are using the multimeter for the very first time,

Video by: SparkFun Electronics

Step No. 4: After that, disassemble your computer to find the motherboard. Now, remove the ATX connector from the motherboard.

Step No. 5: The red lead goes to the PSU’s AC ground pin while the black lead stays on the chassis. The black wire pins should be on the DC connector. Even at this point, all the readings should be zero.

Step No. 6: Now, ensure that the black lead stays in its place and use the red lead to check all the colored wires. 50 or more is quite normal. If it is below 50, then you have to be a little concerned about it.

Step No. 7: If you are not satisfied with the above methods, then you can also find faults with other techniques. Remove the motherboard from your PC completely. Refer to the ATX 20-pin chart to find the PINs on your motherboard. You can use the red lead to test each of the GND PINs. 3, 5, 7, 13, 15, 16, and 17 must be zero. If you see any other reading, there’s an issue.

This is one way to test a motherboard with a multimeter. Let’s move on to the other way.

2. For DC voltage:

Here are the steps to check If the DC voltages are slightly different.

Step No. 1: Make sure the 20-pin ATX is connected and you have to turn on the computer on this instance.

Step No. 2: After that, set the multimeter setting 20V DC.

Step No. 3: Now, by using the black multimeter test, test the rear side of the connector, and you should set the black test in contact with pin 15, 16, or 17 (GND PINs).

Step No. 4: The red test, on the other hand, should be tested with 9 and 14. PIN 9 should read 5V, and PIN 14 Should read between 3 and 5V.

Step No. 5: After doing that, turn on the computer. If the readings drop to zero, everything is fine. If not, there may be some issues you have to fix.

Step No. 6: Now, you have to do the red test again. Use it to check pin 8. It should ideally be more than 2.5 V. Press the reset button and see if the reading goes down to zero and then goes back up. Even if it doesn’t, don’t worry at all. A professional specialist is surely going to help you in this case. You can easily hire them for a couple of bucks in your locality.

Here are some additional ways to find any fault in your motherboard by testing it from a multimeter.

How to Test the PSU and Motherboard for Short/Open Circuits

Step No. 1: First, you must unplug the computer from the power connector and allow several minutes for any excess charge to drain. Because safety is first and must. Now, set the multimeter to the most minimal Ohm setting (i.e around 200) and contact the leads of the tests together to zero the meter. After that, touch the two leads to the bare metal of the PC’s chassis; the zero reading ought to be the same.

Step No. 2: Now, carefully remove the ATX connector from the motherboard. Keep the black test on the metal of the chassis and use the red lead to check the PSU’s A/C ground pin and the black wire pins on the D/C connector; all these should all read zero. Make sure of that by yourself.

Step No. 3: After doing that, keep the black lead on the chassis and use the red test to check the values of the shaded wire pins on the D/C connector. All shaded wires should give a reading of 50 or greater.

Step No. 4: Remove the CPU from the motherboard socket. Use the ATX 20-pin chart to refer to nail numbers to the board’s connector.

Final Words:

The process of testing a motherboard may seem too big but it is surely not. You have to be a little patient and careful while doing it. I hope you may have now learned How To Test a Motherboard With a Multimeter properly with this simple and straightforward guide. If you have learned something new from here, please do let me know that in the comments. Thank You.

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