Got a multimeter?

All good experimenters should have one. $5 at parts express thru the end of the year. http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=390-500

Also don't forget the free (normally $24.95) DMM deal from Circuit Specialists:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/level.itml/icOid/190

Order at least $50 worth of stuff and it's yours free, even shipping is free on it. I've ordered enough stuff from these guys over the years that I've got one of each of their free things plus two unopened DMM's :)

-- The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, light sensor, potentiometers, pushbuttons

The below Harbor Freight multimeters are a good deal. Currently the basic one is on sale for $3.49, and shipping appears to be reasonable. In years past I've bought several so I can measure values at various points in a circuit at the same time.

http://www.harborfreight.com/7-function-multimeter-98025.html http://www.harborfreight.com/7-function-digital-multimeter-92020.html

@zoomkat,

I have a DT832 multimeter just like the one you mentioned. I had it for a few years and it is still working. But the original test leads broke after the first year and the contacts for measuring Hfe never worked well... but given the price, can't complain...