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HP 3456A Digital Multimeter

The HP 3456A is a rack-mountable digital multimeter (DMM). Our HP 3456A is owned by a Hacksburg member but has no restrictions on use. This a 6.5 digit meter; which means that there are six working digits of resolution (although the last one may jump around a bit). This is much more accurate than a typical handheld meter. Note that our HP 3456A has not been calibrated in a long time and may not be correct.


This article has some basic usage instructions. The manual for this machine is available here.

The power button on our meter is kinda sticky. You may have to pull the power button out a little bit when you turn it off.

Taking a Measurement

The front panel has symbols for DC Volts, AC Volts, 2-Wire Ohms, and 4-Wire Ohms, along with some more advanced combined functions which are specific to this multimeter. This multimeter does not do current measurements. The right side of the unit has banana plugs for connecting the device under test (DUT). If you're not used to so many terminals, this is because this instrument can do 4-wire resistance, which a normal handheld meter cannot do. The two connectors in the middle column are used if you're used to a normal handheld multimeter.

Make sure that the button the right side of the unit is set to front terminals. There is nothing connected to the rear terminals.

Changing Settings

In order to change a setting, type the number you want the setting to be on the keypad. Then, press the "STORE" button, then press the keypad button with the white text that corresponds to the setting you want to change. Here are some common settings:

  • N CYC INT: Number of powerline integration cycles. This unit supports up to 100 powerline integration cycles. The higher the number, the more accurate the measurement but the longer the measurement time. The default is 10. The unit only supports values of 1, 10, or 100, unless there's something I can't figure out.
  • N DIG DISP: Number of visible digits. This DMM supports 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 visible digits. You can change this setting to account for the uncertainty of the measurement you are performing. The default is 5.