Which multimeter to get

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So im an EE student and getting a bit more involve in electronics... Im currently using a http://www.elexp.com/tst_s830.htm but it kinda sucks.. So i wanted to get a better one and hopefully the one i get will be with me for the rest of my career so i need something that i wont need to replace in few months when i get into upper engineering classes...

I know few people recommend this one : http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs... but for a bit more i can get a used Fluke 73 from ebay (http://cgi.ebay.com/Fluke-73-Ser...) even the Fluke 77 IV are going for less than $100 used on ebay....

Also i saw this ones:
http://www.testequipmentandmore.... , http://www.testequipmentandmore.... , http://www.testequipmentandmore....
Comparison chart:(http://extech.com/instruments/re...)

What do you guys think i should get? (it doesnt have to be one of those im open to suggestions... but i dont want to spend $200 on one :/ )

pst: remember that this will be my multimeter for Electrical engineering classes as well so it needs to fit those needs :) Thanks again

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buy the best one you can afford! I had a Fluke 75 until I replaced it with a Fluke 189. The Fluke75 served me well for nearly 20 years and I only replaced the rotary switch in it once. They're a nice compact meter for general use and you will most likely be satisfied with it. The battery lasts for ages.

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Kartman wrote:
buy the best one you can afford! I had a Fluke 75 until I replaced it with a Fluke 189. The Fluke75 served me well for nearly 20 years and I only replaced the rotary switch in it once. They're a nice compact meter for general use and you will most likely be satisfied with it. The battery lasts for ages.

whats the best multimeter around $120?

this one doesnt seem that bad: http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-115-...

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I'm a fan of Fluke. The 73 or 75 are both good units. But something that will last for the "rest of my career" may be asking too much. There's no doubt that a Fluke will last many many years, but your requirements in the future may exceed those of the 73 or 75. Get the best you can afford now and expect at some point you may need to upgrade. I own the 189 and it serves all my needs quite well. I'm more of a hobbyist though.

Jim M., Rank amateur AVR guy.

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Agreed on the Fluke recommendation. My personal meter is a 189 (no longer made, replaced with the 289) and my work meter is a 179. Both great meters. If you can't afford one like that, figure out what features you need and find a Fluke with those.

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all i need right now is Resistance, connectivity and voltage measurements, mine $4 one does this fine but some times the reading as not accurate... and because my requirement are kinda low im between this one: http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs... and the fluke 115 (http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-115-...)

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I would get the fluke. It will last long and is robust. In addition it can measure capacitance, can come in handy.

All multi-feature, low cost meters tend to break sooner or later.

Markus

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so http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-115-... final answer? (cant afford the 179s :( )

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I just had a look at the differences: The 115 is a nice multimeter, but the 179 is a formidable multimeter. While they look the almost the same the electronics in the 179 seen a lot better (0.09% precision vs 2% precision of the 115). Also there is a lifetime warranty on the 179, vs standard warranty for the 115.

All this good stuff in not free, unfortunately.

Markus

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markus_b wrote:
I just had a look at the differences: The 115 is a nice multimeter, but the 179 is a formidable multimeter. While they look the almost the same the electronics in the 179 seen a lot better (0.09% precision vs 2% precision of the 115). Also there is a lifetime warranty on the 179, vs standard warranty for the 115.

All this good stuff in not free, unfortunately.

ya but 179 is around $500 and 115 around $100 :P the other one im considering is http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs... which has a 0.5% acurracy source: http://download.siliconexpert.co...

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The 179 is around $220 on amazon. That twice what the 115 is, but not $500. Where are you getting your prices ?

Markus

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markus_b wrote:
The 179 is around $220 on amazon. That twice what the 115 is, but not $500. Where are you getting your prices ?

UPSss you are 100% right i tought you were taking about the 189 which is around $400+

So the 179 is alot better than the 115?

you taking about this one: http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-ESFP... right?

Last Edited: Thu. Apr 29, 2010 - 05:39 PM
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Here is one for $60 from Spark Fun. It does the usual stuff, plus capacitance and frequency up to 10 MHz. Auto-ranging.

I don't think a student needs a Fluke.

I would by a decent meter like the one I linked to above, and put the "extra" money towards an O'scope.

I have yet to see a student project that needed the greater accuracy of the Fluke, or tracable standards accuracy.

Buy your Fluke when you have a job, and you will eventually want several meters anyways, or a cheap one to work on your car, etc.

JC

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Don't get the 115. Its intended market is electricians, not engineers. It doesn't even have a milliamp current range.

You would be much better served by the 179.

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Yes, the 179 is a lot better than the 115.

In part this also a question of personal choice and personality. Getting the 179 is getting a good tool. You'll love it and care for it and it will reward you with a long loyal service. Yup in a couple years there will be younger and better models, but your179 will a trusty friend you know its strong and weak points.

There are many cheaper alternatives out there, most of them will not last long enough to develop the same relationship. You'll replace them in regular intervals because une has the mV range broken, the other the Ohm range, etc.

Markus

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I used a $35 RadioScrap meter in school. The uni. should have better ones, should you need it, as well as 'scopes.

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I have tried various short-lived brands of meters. Only, when I need something to calibrate against, or the readings are unbelievable, the Flukes come out. The question really comes down to: Is OP buying just one more meter, or is OP buying what will be considered the lab reference?
There will be a price difference, and a different willingness to dig into the leather.

I have one retired fluke meter, and one youngling. The youngling is verified yearly against a HP 34401A when it returns from the calibration lab.
But the point is: Look at the 8022A. This is a 30 year old instrument. And it has never been recalibrated.

/Kasper
(the depicted probes are HP bench probes and not Fluke portable probes, which is why they are not bent.)

Edit: And one can't count on schools or universities to keep their instruments in calibration. Don't blindly calibrate against some fancy meter unless is has a traceable calibration sticker.

Attachment(s): 

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bah also this guy..: Amprobe-37/38XR (xr-a) I hate having to many options...

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DocJC wrote:

Buy your Fluke when you have a job, and you will eventually want several meters anyways, or a cheap one to work on your car, etc.

JC


I like DocJC's recommendation. Spend a little on a decent meter that will work for school. When you get a job, then get a Fluke.

Jim M., Rank amateur AVR guy.

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Well, I'd suggest a Simpson 260. With a 50 microamp analog meter you can figure out what effect your measurement is having on the circuit, e.g. an ATTiny in sleep mode. No worries about battery life, leave it on all the time to monitor voltage or current. Don't know about the current models, but mine is working perfectly after 40 years.

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An upmarket spec... at a lower price

http://gsmserver.com/shop/equipm...

Any experiences in dealing with this mob abd their gear?

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When you go for a Fluke or other well known brand, check their warranty policy. Many only stick to their extended, lifetime, or however they call it, warranty promises if you are the first owner and bought through an authorized dealer.

This pretty much rules out eBay and other cheap sources, if you care about the manufacturer's warranty.

Oh, and watch http://www.eevblog.com/2010/04/1...

Stealing Proteus doesn't make you an engineer.

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Hi,

Do yourself a favor and get a Fluke meter. I have a pair of 189's that are my workhorses. I use them all the time for everything. Watch ebay for some good deals, I think one of my 189's ended up costing me $125 and the other one less than $50 by time I sold all the accessories they came with that I did not need.

Be aware that Fluke, like many companies has an authorized network of where they sell products so their warranty is only technically honored through that network, but I've always heard good things about how they take care of their customers and all my dealings have been superb with them.

If you can swing a 189, do it. If you can't, look at 175/177/179. These are industrial models and very nicely featured.

I am not a fan of the 11x series, look closely at the datasheets, some of the AC ranges are actually AC+DC.

If you are going to spend any amount of money on a meter, go Fluke.

Good luck,

Alan

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how is the 189 compared with the 179?

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Hi,

Check out this comparison:

http://us.fluke.com/Fluke/usen/P...

Sadly, the 189 isn't on the list, but you can look at the 289 which is the upgraded version of the 189. Don't get me wrong, the 289 does have more features (and is a whole different design), but they do share many specs.

Good luck,

Alan

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Hi SuperMiguel,

The 189 is superior to a 179, and worth paying more for. The 179 is a great meter as well.

Spent a little time with each one's manual (from the Fluke site) and you will see the many differences. 189 is a 50,000 count accuracy meter and the 179 is a 6,000 count accuracy meter. The 189 also has tons more ranges, etc., and can record measurements over time.

Here is my 177 next to a 189:

Good luck,

Alan

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gotcha how about the 87? is that a better meter than the 179? price seems to be similar seems like 20k counts

the 189 seems very expensive.. $500+ new.. not sure if i should risk my self a get a ebay one..

Last Edited: Fri. Apr 30, 2010 - 01:49 AM
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Hi,

I think the 87 is on par with the 189 so much so that is has a lot of great features, but I think the 87 is perhaps targeted to more of an automotive troubleshooting and the 189 is more industrial. You might check out www.flukecommunity.com and search for 87 vs 189 for example. Between the two, I like the 189 better.

Good luck,

Alan

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i dont think ill be using it that much.. so ill do what others recommended buy a cheap multimeter and save up for an O'scope... Trying to find the best multimeter in the $30-$60 range..

So im kinda between http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce... and http://www.amazon.com/Extech-EX3...

Last Edited: Fri. Apr 30, 2010 - 05:31 AM
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For a cheap meter, try and make sure it has an auto power off feature. Otherwise it gets expensive replacing the batteries after a while.

I love my cheap meters, always got plenty lying around. 2 meters is better then one.

oddbudman

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For the prices of a Fluke you get 2 of these:
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9625
A measurement picture tells more than a 1000 words (or numbers) :idea:

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gdhospers: And when your concern is whether your lithium polymer charger is putting out 4.20 or 4.25V, it is useless.

SuperMiguel: when you pick a cheap instrument, you pay in initial calibration accuracy, and drift. If you look at the EX330 manual, you will see that for voltage, this is actually a 1% meter. For current it is a ~2A (continuous) 1,5% meter. This is an electrician's meter, and it does not need to be good.
The reason for this is that the meter is a 200mV 0,5% meter with a divider. In this meter you will likely find a single trimpot for the 200mV range, and that has been trimmed to 0,5% initially. Trimming it better than that may require some modification. The additional 1% error comes from the resistors in the dividers. On the expensive meter, these are calibrated. Here, the uncalibrated resistors add 1%. The same goes the shunt for current measurement, there will be no individual calibration.
This meter would not be sufficient if you want to verify/build a Li+ charger. It is slightly worse than the UT60A.

Both of these meters will only measure 'AC' for sinusoidal inputs. Which means that if you measure the current into a swtch mode power supply, these meters will give you funny numbers.

/Kasper

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The Battery measurement example by KKP is a very good one.

Just last week I did want to verify the voltages of the battery banks on my sailboat. In this case I did want to have a decent precision measurement (ca 1%), but did want to use a low-cost $5 junk meter to be able to leave it on board. My solution was to calibrate it with my bench-top 0.01% meter (Prema 5000) and a 12V power supply.

On thing: You can pick up older, high-end equipment at low cost on Ebay. My Prema was built 20 years ago and is still an excellent tool. In your school you have access to good and calibrated meters, so you can verify and calibrate yourself, if necessary.

Markus

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markus_b wrote:
In your school you have access to good and calibrated meters, so you can verify and calibrate yourself, if necessary.
As KKP mentioned, though, make sure it has a recent (this decade!) calibration sticker on it...

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Yes, calibration is an advantage of new meters. The last official calibration of my Prema is about ten years old, so it may be off. I'm still certain that it is the best reference I've got.

Markus

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I do also agree with KKP, but one has to be aware of the exponential costs of wanting the last bit of accuracy.
I have a 4.5 digit for that, and use it not very often.

Most measurements in every day use do require reliability even at maltreatment conditions. Accuracy comes second. If you give that up then you can also measure hFE, frequency, capacity, temperature, all for a reasonable price.
A multimeter for every day use should have a robust overcurrent protection.
I would like if it has a component like this: http://www.conrad.de/ce/de/product/447315/PRAeZISIONS-WIDERSTAND-PBV-0001-OHM/0241460

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Hi,

I'm not a fan of small pocket scopes either. You can get a Rigol scope off ebay pretty cheap (for scopes anyway) and I have had very good luck with the two I have. Agilent uses a Rigol in thier product lineup. I think you can get a 50mhz 1/4 vga one for around $450 last time I checked.

Good luck,

Alan

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And here's his review of the Fluke 117, which is very similar to the 115 you mentioned:

http://www.eevblog.com/2010/02/08/eevblog-60-fluke-117-multimeter-review-and-teardown/

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I can strongly recommend Fluke. My personal 87 series III is still working perfectly even though it is 10 years old. My dads 8022A is also going strong even though it is 30 years old.

Just something to think about: I can not EVER remember being disappointed that I bought too good a tool or even that I spent too much on a GOOD tool. On the other hand, there are several cases where I went cheap and regretted it. Plus, I usually ended up buying the good tool later anyway, so going cheap just cost me more money in the long run.

How many pizzas do you have to give up to make up the difference between the cheap meter and the Fluke?

 

Clint

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RRRoamer wrote:
I can strongly recommend Fluke. My personal 87 series III is still working perfectly even though it is 10 years old. My dads 8022A is also going strong even though it is 30 years old.

Just something to think about: I can not EVER remember being disappointed that I bought too good a tool or even that I spent too much on a GOOD tool. On the other hand, there are several cases where I went cheap and regretted it. Plus, I usually ended up buying the good tool later anyway, so going cheap just cost me more money in the long run.

How many pizzas do you have to give up to make up the difference between the cheap meter and the Fluke?

The pizza is not the problem :) the beer is :P i guess i have to save a bit money to get the 115

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SalAmmoniac wrote:
Miguel,

Check out this video blog:

http://www.eevblog.com/2010/04/14/eevblog-75-digital-multimeter-buying-guide/

Watch out, if you are a religious AVR folower! This man compares them with PICs :twisted:

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I just love the green glow as (most likely) board and shunt is vaporized inside the meter
http://gossenmetrawatt.com/english/seiten/cautiondangerousmultimeters.htm

/Kasper

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any of you guys seems/used the Fluke 17B? what do you think about it? and how is it compared with the extech ex430

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After buying several cheapies - $50 or so, from China, Inc., this time I bought a modest Fluke 115. What a difference.

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SuperMiguel wrote:
any of you guys seems/used the Fluke 17B? what do you think about it? and how is it compared with the extech ex430

I also saw the news of the Fluke 15B and 17B series. These are pretty low cost. I would want one of those.
Any feedback on these models?

-Deven

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AFAIK "made in China" for or by Fluke, targeting the Chinese market. The rest of the world just gets grey imports. With at least one exception, there is some information that the Sear's Craftsman 81437 is based on a 17B Fluke in disguise.

Stealing Proteus doesn't make you an engineer.

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Hi,

Some of Fluke's lower end models here in the US are made in China as well such as the 110x series. The 15B/17B are meant for sale IN China...

Good luck,

Alan

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alank2 wrote:
Hi,

Some of Fluke's lower end models here in the US are made in China as well such as the 110x series. The 15B/17B are meant for sale IN China...

Good luck,

Alan

Not sure about other countries, but we do get the 15B/17B here in India.

-Deven

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I have a Fluke 110 for general use and I do not think I have ever replaced the battery. I know I have had it for at least 4 years. It turns itself off after a while so that saves the batt.