Multimeter advice

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#1
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It is time to upgrade my multimeter. The $10 POS that I have just isn't cutting it anymore. I have three that I am looking at and would like hear some recommendations.

First the requirements:
- Will be used to support my newly growing hobby.
- < $150
- Capacitance
- mV
- mA
- uF

So far, I have looked at:
- Fluke 115 <http://us.fluke.com/usen/products/Fluke+115.htm>
- Amprobe 37XR-A <http://www.amprobe.com/cgi-bin/pdc/viewprod.cgi?&pid=2146>
- Amprobe 35XP-A <http://www.amprobe.com/cgi-bin/pdc/viewprod.cgi?pid=2149>

I am leaning toward the 35XP-A because it seems to have what I want and only costs $80 from Digikey but I have NO expirence with Amprobe. The last REAL multimeter I had was a Fluke (180 I think), but the Fluke-115 is $142.

So, it the Fluke really worth x2 the price of the Amprobe or is there a better meter I should look at?

Thanks.

You can have my mac when you pry my cold dead fingers off of it.

Kevin McEnhill -- mcenhillk@gmail.com

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The Fluke has true-RMS for AC readings. Sometimes that can be really useful, but I've only needed it once in the last 10 years - not enough to pay extra for. The Amprobe seems rather expensive, compared to for example the Mastech 8222 which has more features for $20 less (I have one of these). Multimeter Warehouse has a really good selection.

(edit) actually of the three you listed above, the Amprobe 37XR-A is the best by a long way. It's 4-1/2 digits (10,000 counts in the slope), compare the Fluke at 6000 counts, the 35Xp at 4000 and the Mastech at 2000.

Last Edited: Sat. Oct 20, 2007 - 10:02 PM
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Go with the Fluke.

Remember you get what you pay for in certain things.

Your investment now will save you later.

Jim

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Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

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Last week I bought two of these

http://www.altronics.com.au/inde...

It includes a frequency counter. Prices in Australian Dollars.

Cheers,

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

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IMO the only difference between multimeters is in the conductivity beeper. It must not be derived from the meter reading since this results in huge delay. It should be joined with the diode range as well. Apart from this, all meters (except maybe the cheapest $10 models with crappy range selector) are pretty much equal. I'd recommend buying a handheld RLC meter instead of insisting on a capacitance range. Much more useful.
My best meter so far was MY64 (like this one: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm).

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gizmo wrote:

My best meter so far was MY64 (like this one: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm).

The page you have requested is no longer available.
Please use one of the following links to continue your visit.

I wonder what you are trying to say....really?

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

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I use Fluke extensively and exclusively.

I can't say that it is true anymore but, back when digital multi-meters first made their entry into the instrumentation arena, Fluke was by far the best in terms of accuracy, reliability an safety.

Amprobe has a good reputation for their older analog instrumentation, as does Simpson and Tripplite. But I just don't know about their digital multi-meters as, I have never used them - It's always been Fluke for me.

But these days, I don't think you can't go wrong with any of the manufacturers that I have mentioned.

As to True RMS, if you can let the extra cash go, True RMS is much more accurate when measuring AC waveforms that possess a lot of distortion. Being heavily involved in the industrial aspects of things, a True RMS meter is far more useful for measuring voltages from say, Variable Frequency motor drives.

But too, if you are wanting to measure say, the current of a small PWM controlled DC or BLDC motor on your bench, you just won't get accurate measurements, without True RMS. Same goes for even measuring the current in a PWM LED circuit. With a non-True RMS meter what you will get is an average reading. But the accuracy of this average reading is based on a very low distortion sine wave and, that accuracy will be in error by some amount because of the distortion in the PWM waveform.

Any meter that you purchase should be at least CAT III rated, for your personal safety. Don't settle for anything less.

Any other extras, I.E., capacitance meter, temperature meter, frequency counter, etc. is a plus. But don't let your desire for these convenience type things override your need for safety.

Buy a high quality CAT III rated meter! That should be your first consideration - all else is secondary...

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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valusoft wrote:
gizmo wrote:

My best meter so far was MY64 (like this one: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm).

The page you have requested is no longer available.
Please use one of the following links to continue your visit.

I wonder what you are trying to say....really?

no need to get paranoid :-). clicking on the link doesn't work properly because of the closing bracket. if you copy only the valid part of the url to your browser you will get the page.

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gizmo wrote:

My best meter so far was MY64 (like this one: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm).

You could have simply put the link as:

My best meter so far was MY64, like this one: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm

and saved us all a little bit of trouble... :wink:

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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I've got a Metex M-3860D. It has been working fine for some time, but I've blown the Resistance (Ohm) circuit somehow, now some parts (mV, Ohm, Inductance) don't work anymore. It come with a serial interface, allowing it to be used as data logger.

After unsuccessfully trying to get support from where I bought it (Conrad in Germany) I've sent a email to the Taiwanese manufacturer and they sent me the schematics. I found that the not-working stuff all depends on the same chip.

I'm very tempted to go for a Fluke now, hoping that it is more solidly built than the Metex. But I'm very happy with Metex for the schematics they sent me, showing the support is not an empty word, even for a far-eastern company with low-cost products.

Markus

Markus

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markus_b wrote:
I've got a Metex M-3860D. It has been working fine for some time, but I've blown the Resistance (Ohm) circuit somehow, now some parts (mV, Ohm, Inductance) don't work anymore. It come with a serial interface, allowing it to be used as data logger.

I'm very tempted to go for a Fluke now, hoping that it is more solidly built than the Metex

My experience with the lesser expensive digital multi-meters is exactly this...

You are in a rush or not really paying attention. Your meter is in the Ohms function from a previous resistance measurement and, you decide you now want to measure voltage. You grab the meter leads and????

In the lesser expensive meters, if you didn't put the meter in the voltage measuring mode, you just blew the resistance measuring circuit - and probably other functions, as well.

I can't speak for Simpson and Triplet but, with a Fluke DMM, the Ohms range is protected up to 600VAC. In fact, on many Fluke meters, the Ohms function is also an AC transition detector - by design - protected to 600 VAC.

I have owned at least 8 to 10 Fluke DMMs over the years. I still have all but two and they are all fully functional and work as good as the day that I bought them. As for the two that I don't have anymore, one was a fully functional Fluke 8023A that I sold to someone who was into high end audio and needed the decibel function. The second DMM was a fully functional Fluke 87, that I gave to my son, while he was in school - he still uses it.

You will pay more for a Fluke digital multi-meter, to be sure! But, you'll also be giving it to your grand kids when you are so old and decrepit that you just can't use it anymore.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Thanks Carl,

thats sort of the response I thought I get... :-)

Markus

Markus

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I bought a $36 or $40 B&K unit from Digikey, and have been throughly pleased. It doesn't have freq or capacitance, but it does do RMS measurements, and has in every other way been a pleasure to use.

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Here's another vote for Fluke.

I've had a Fluke 87 for many years and love it. Last week I pre-ordered the new Fluke 289 (see this link). It's not expected to ship until late November.

Don

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FLuke just keeps out doing them selves! A great product, and worth every penny

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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microcarl wrote:
FLuke just keeps out doing them selves! A great product, and worth every penny

I agree completely. If you plan on using your meter for a long time, you absolutely should get a Fluke.

If this is more of a temporary thing and you won't need it a year from now - a cheap meter like those other two you linked to would be fine.

I have a Fluke 189 at home and it is worth every penny that I paid for it. Pity that Fluke no longer can produce them (due to some shortage of obsolete or custom parts, or something like that). The new 289 looks gorgeous though - here's to praying I can convince my employer to get me one (probably will end up with a 179 instead).

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Still on my old Fluke 77 :D

Every five or ten years it needs a new battery, been all around the world with it!

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SteveN wrote:
Another vote for Fluke 87...but I guess everyone votes for what they have themselves :-) .

Steve,

You've got the cart before the horse, I think... :)

I don't vote for Fluke simply because I own Fluke meters

But I do own Fluke meters because they are the safest and most reliable meter out there! That's why I vote for Fluke! :wink:

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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SteveN wrote:
You are correct. I did buy Fluke because I felt they were the best :-) . That is also why I use AVR's :-) :-) .

Long live the AVR!!! :wink: :lol:

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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FROM: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm:

Quote:
Temperature: -20 degrees C - 1,000 degrees C

Wow, I wanna see this thing work at 1,000 degrees C....

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Psychlow wrote:
FROM: http://elexp.biz/tst_my64.htm:
Quote:
Temperature: -20 degrees C - 1,000 degrees C

Wow, I wanna see this thing work at 1,000 degrees C....

It all depends on the temperature sensor being used.

1000 degrees Celsius is only 1832 Degrees Fahrenheit. I'm sure the meter will be using a K type thermocouple - good to about 1260 degrees Celsius or 2300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beyond 1000 degrees Celsius, you'd need to use one of the more exotic thermocouples like T or R.

You can avoid reality, for a while.  But you can't avoid the consequences of reality! - C.W. Livingston

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Yeah - the way it's listed on that page, I was taking it as meaning that the device can operate under those conditions (the multimeter itself being exposed to 1800+*F) rather than it being able to measure up to 1000*C with a thermocouple. You'd think it would list that below, under 'specifications' with the rest of the rated maximums....

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barnacle wrote:
Still on my old Fluke 77
I bought my Fluke 87 used about 10-years ago for $100 from a friend. One of fuses was blown when I got it - I couldn't find replacement fuses anywhere (DigiKey, Mouser, etc.). Called Fluke - ordered replacement fuses at a reasonable price. The DMM still looks and works like new . . .

Don

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I use since several years a Digitek DT 80000. It comes with a lot of nice features: Autorange, TrueRMS, Peak Hold, Max Min Average function, frequency up to 10MHz + duty cycle, capacity up to 100µF, Temperature, 3V sqare wave output (0.5Hz - 5kHz, 1-100% duty cycle).
This multimeter can measure very small signals with its +/- 80mV input range. So you have a resolution of 1µV/1µA. Very usefull when testing sleep current of PicoPower AVRs. I bought this one in germany for 90 Euro. I don't think you'll get more features for this money. Recommend for hobby electronic freaks.

Yes, a fluke might be more robust. But I never had problems with mine and I sometimes had selected the wrong function, too. And with a fluke multimeter I never had recognized it when I forgot to turn off some peripherals of my AVR before entering sleep mode.

Regards
Sebastian

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Ah, the young whippersnappers of today have too much faith in their Flukes. Pass it on to your grandchildren, indeed. Like they'd want your old LCD multimeter when you die?

Now if you had a good ol' Systron-Donner, like one of these, they'd have something worth litigating over .... Nearly 40 years old and still more accurate than any other meter I own, including a Fluke. And it looks pretty damn cool, too.

Attachment(s): 

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I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with 'N' :mrgreen:

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...not 'nother naughty nixie... :twisted:

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

Last Edited: Fri. Oct 26, 2007 - 12:44 AM
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peret wrote:
And it looks pretty damn cool, too.
Ah, that it does. Very nice!

Don

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And the holy glow of Nixie is visible in the darkest nights ....

edit: that will be my new signature :P

A GIF is worth a thousend words   They are called Rosa, Sylvia, Tricia, and Ulyana. You can find them https://www.linuxmint.com/

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Looks pretty similar to the picture Wikipedia has....


Caption: Systron-Donner frequency counter from 1973 with Nixie display - photo by E. Barbour