Checking a fuse?

The other day my dvd player broke - was watching a movie, and it suddenly shuts off after a short buzz, and starts to smell like burned chinese food… so, in hopes of scavenging it, I want to check if it was just the fuse burning out (or whatever a fuse does when it breaks). Is there any way to do that (check if a fuse is broken, that is) with a multimeter?

There are several types of fuses. Most are designed to easily show if they’re burnt. So you should see just by looking at it.
Otherwise, unplug it and check the resistance. It should be close to or 0 ohm. If it’s burnt the resistance is infinite.


In general if a fuse goes then there is something wrong that makes it go. Replacing a blown fuse without investigating what it has blown is likely to lead to further burning.

Bad news: usually, you don’t smell the fuse when it blows.* The smell was almost certainly something else failing: the odds favor it being either a motor or a power supply capacitor.


  • I did hear of one exception: a guy who decided to replace the tubular-style fuse in his old pickup truck with a .22 round, without fixing the short. Allegedly, the brass heated up, set off the powder, and he got shot in the leg. This may be an urban myth, but, even if true, I’m sure it wasn’t Chinese food he smelled ;D