How To Check 3 Phase Motor With Multimeter

Do you have a three-phase motor and want to know the condition of its components? Keeping the 3 phase motor in optimal working order is essential to ensure your machinery will function without fail. The best way to ensure your motor is in good shape is through periodic maintenance using a multimeter. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through step by step how to check 3-phase motors with a multimeter— so keep reading if you want to learn more about proper maintenance procedures!

How To Check 3 Phase Motor With Multimeter

What is a Three Phase Motor?

A three-phase motor is an electric motor that operates on three phases of power. It is made up of three windings arranged in a star or delta pattern, with each winding connected to one of the power supply’s phases. Three-phase motors can produce more torque than single-phase motors of the same size and have better speed regulation, making them ideal for high-power applications. Also more efficient than single-phase motors because no capacitor is required to create an imbalance in the current flow. Because of these benefits, three-phase motors are popular in many industrial and commercial settings.

The induction motor is the most common type of three-phase motor, which works by inducing magnetic fields in the rotor from the electric currents flowing through the stator windings. The induced magnetic fields interact and cause the rotor to rotate, generating mechanical energy output. Other three-phase motors include synchronous motors (which use permanent magnets to control the motor speed) and brushless DC motors (which are electronically commutated).

Three-phase motors can be used for various applications, ranging from small household appliances to large industrial machinery. They offer reliable performance and durability, making them one of the most popular motor types in the world.

Common Problems With Three-Phase Motors:

Incorrect Voltage:

Incorrect voltage is the most common problem faced with three-phase motors and can lead to motor failure if not properly addressed. Check all wiring connections, as faulty wiring may be causing the issue.

Poor Insulation:

Poor insulation on a three-phase motor can cause overheating due to high-temperature fluctuation, leading to possible motor damage or destruction. Inspect the insulation regularly and replace any defective components as soon as possible.

Faulty Overload Relay:

The overload relay in a three-phase motor helps protect it from overloading or misoperations caused by large loads or electrical spikes. If this component fails, the motor will eventually shut down or overheat and require repair or replacement.

Incorrect Frequency:

Three-phase motors require the proper frequency input to function correctly. If the frequency is too high or too low, it can cause excessive heating or motor burnout. Check and adjust the frequency setting as needed to avoid potential damage to the motor.

Dirty Coils:

Dirt, dust, and other debris can accumulate in a three-phase motor’s coils and create an electrical resistance that will reduce efficiency and lead to overheating and failure of the motor windings. To prevent this issue, ensure coils are cleaned regularly with compressed air or vacuumed out with a specialized attachment designed for coil cleaning.

Motor Unbalance:

Unbalanced loads on a three-phase motor will cause it to vibrate excessively, leading to increased wear and tear on the components and ultimately resulting in motor failure. Check the load balance periodically and adjust it as needed to maintain proper operation.

Voltage Drops:

Voltage drops can occur when an inductive motor, such as a three-phase motor, operates at less than full load. This causes a voltage drop, resulting in poor performance and power losses that may lead to motor damage. To prevent this issue, use Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) when running motors with varying loads.

Bearing Problems:

Bearing problems are one of the most common issues encountered in three-phase motors due to their moving parts and rotating shafts. Check the bearings regularly and replace any worn or damaged components as soon as possible to avoid potential motor failure.


Dirt, dust, and other contaminants can enter a three-phase motor and cause excessive wear on its internal components, leading to premature failure. Ensure that the motors are kept in clean, dry environments and regularly inspected for signs of contamination.


Overheating is one of the main causes of three-phase motor damage and should be avoided at all costs. It commonly occurs when the motor is operating at too high of an RPM or if there is insufficient ventilation around it. Ensure that fans and cooling systems are installed near the motor to keep temperatures safe.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure your three-phase motor operates at peak performance and avoids many common problems that could lead to costly repairs or replacements. Regular maintenance and inspections are key to catching potential issues before they become serious concerns. Keeping a close watch on your three-phase motor’s operating temperature and load balance will help keep it running in top condition for years to come.

How To Check 3 Phase Motor With Multimeter?

A multimeter can test a three-phase motor, saving you time and money in the long run. Wear safety equipment such as protective gloves and eyewear before beginning the test, and unplug all power sources from the motor:

  • Set your multimeter to the resistance mode and check the windings of each phase, starting with phase one.
  • Touch the positive lead of the multimeter to an exposed part of the winding (not at the ground) and then touch the negative lead on another exposed part of that same phase winding.
  • Take note of the resistance reading on your meter’s display screen – this should not be higher than 0.05 ohms. Otherwise, depending on its height, you may need to replace or clean it.
  • Repeat steps 1-3 for all three phases, taking notes if needed for reference later in your analysis process.
  • Check for short turns by touching the positive and negative leads of the multimeter on different parts of the same winding. If you get a reading lower than 0.05 ohms, there are short turns in one or more phases, and you should check for any external damage to the motor’s windings.
  • If all readings have been within the acceptable range, then your three-phase motor has passed its multimeter test. Now you can safely power it up and begin using it as intended. Always wear protective gloves and eyewear while performing tests on electrical motors, even if they are unplugged!

We hope this guide has helped you understand how to test a three-phase motor with a multimeter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We wish you success with your electrical troubleshooting!

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I check a 3-phase motor with a multimeter?

To check a 3-phase motor with a multimeter, turn off the power supply and disconnect any wiring. Set the multimeter to resistance mode, and touch one of the motor’s leads with one probe and another lead with a second probe. If there is continuity (low-resistance reading on your multimeter) between these two points, you can conclude that the windings are in the correct order.

How do I check for open circuits in 3-phase motors?

To check for an open circuit in a 3-phase motor, set your multimeter to resistance mode and touch each of the three pairs of cords or wires coming from the motor – typically labelled U1, V1, W1 etc. – with two probes. A reading above a few hundred ohms indicates an open circuit.

How do I check for short circuits in a 3-phase motor?

To check for short circuits in a 3-phase motor, set your multimeter to resistance mode and touch the three pairs of cords or wires coming from the motor with two probes. A reading below a few ohms indicates a short circuit is present.

What should I look out for when testing a 3-phase motor?

When testing a 3-phase motor, you should ensure that all power sources – such as mains voltage or other external supplies – are disconnected before proceeding with any tests. Also, examining all wiring connections thoroughly before taking any readings using your multimeter is essential.

Can I measure current with a multimeter on a 3-phase motor?

Yes, you can measure current with a multimeter on a 3-phase motor. To do so, set the multimeter to Current mode and connect it to any two of the three phases of your motor. The reading should indicate the approximate current passing through that particular phase.

What are the most common problems with 3-phase motors?

The most common issue with 3-phase motors is incorrect wiring or open and short circuits in the windings. Other issues include bearing wear and tear, inadequate lubrication, and loose connections. Overloading a motor or using an incorrect power supply voltage can cause it to overheat. Inspecting three-phase motors regularly for signs of damage or deterioration is critical. If any suspicious readings are detected, professional maintenance should be performed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.


Finally, using a multimeter to test a three-phase motor is a simple and effective way to assess the motor’s electrical performance. It can provide helpful information about the motor’s power consumption and potential wiring or insulation issues. To ensure accurate results, take all safety precautions when working with electrical equipment, such as turning off the power to the system before testing. You can quickly identify problems and potentially save time and money on repairs if you use and understand this tool correctly.

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