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Thread: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

  1. #31

    Lightbulb Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by HKJ View Post
    They are a subset of a multimeter, i.e. with a multimeter (DMM) you got a voltmeter and a lot more.
    Right, and the voltage measuring part is often the most reliable.

    A cheapie that is often suggested is the Harbor Freight - item #98025 (Cen-Tech)
    it goes on sale often and can be as low as $3.99 -
    or even better, look for their specials flyers/coupons
    when it can be had for Free with any purchase.....

  2. #32
    Flashaholic* Sub_Umbra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    Mrs Umbra and I have both used cheap multi-meters from Radio Shack for years and they work well for us. I also use a Doc Wattson DC Power Analyzer for doping out loads over time when comparing power consumption between various battery powered devices.

    I mention the analyzer because it continuously reports on seven parameters in the circuit under load and at ~$60 it is cheap when compared to a many multi-meters. I also find it easier to use than a MM.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    Quote Originally Posted by UnknownVT View Post

    A cheapie that is often suggested is the Harbor Freight - item #98025 (Cen-Tech)
    it goes on sale often and can be as low as $3.99 -
    or even better, look for their specials flyers/coupons
    when it can be had for Free with any purchase.....
    +1
    For general purpose measurements they will work fine. For precision work get a fluke.

  4. #34

    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    ^ They're not worth messing with in my experience.

    The ones I've seen that work don't work for long. The leads break very easily. They chew batteries because someone always forgets to turn them off when they are done.

    I've bought two in a row that didn't work out of the box.

    I use a meter a fair amount and I want it to WORK. So I bought a Fluke. I'll have it for probably 20 years. So what's $125 for something I can always rely upon that I'll have for an incredible amount of time? Totally worth it IMHO. But I work with electricity in my job and some hobbies so perhaps I have more invested than others.

    brian.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    I've got a Fluke 177. Excellent all around multi meter!

  6. #36
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    I think there's something to be said for having a cheap meter even as an addition to a good one - I find it's often useful to be able to measure two things at the same time, and also to have a meter that's effectively disposable in terms of cost for use in places where it might get dropped or stood on.

    For cheap meters, the 'mas-tech' ones I have (similar-looking to the cen-tech ones in layout, but no separate power switch, yellow case and blue rubber holster) have been fine - I think I got them something like 10 years ago, possibly rather longer.

    I have a couple kicking around (they were on a BOGOF offer for £5), one left in the car for use away from home, one as a secondary meter on my workbench and haven't had any issues, though both get a decent amount of handling.
    Even with fairly regular use of the workbench one, batteries seem to last a long time, and they compare decently in terms of accuracy with my rather more expensive main meter.

  7. #37

    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    I have not had a problem with the 3 HF DMM's I purchased 2 years ago. The only thing I have done is calibrate them with a known good meter. One meter was out by .03v one .01v and the other was spot on. I keep one in the garage, one in the auto and the other in the shop. If I was to loose or damage one of them I would not sweat 4 bucks. The fluke would be a different story. The one in the auto, I use most often and is more susceptible to loss, damage or theft. The cheap meters have their purpose and for general purpose measuring they will work fine with out loosing some major bucks if something goes wrong.

    I agree that if you need a DMM to be reliable or accurate then go for a higher end meter like a Fluke. In addition to a good meter, its still nice to have a disposable meter to throw around without worries.

  8. #38
    Flashaholic* hopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    I have 4 DMM's. Two of them are the low cost $6 Harbor Freight models, which if lost, stolen, squished, or vaporized due to a mistake ain't going to hurt the way the loss of 'The Fluke' will.

    Note: for accurate current measuring some people keep a dedicated 0.1 ohm resistor with alligator clips to place into the current path and just measure the voltage across it with any type of cheap meter... I= E/R ...easy to just move the decimal point to know the current instantly. There is always more than 0.1 ohms of resistance in the leads + meter so its a good technique to know when you need to be accurate and the resistor only costs a $1.

  9. #39
    Flashaholic* uk_caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    I just tried my cheap and midrange meters on their decent current ranges (10A and 2A/20A respectively).
    Measuring the voltage across the probe tips of one with the other, with a 1A load I measured 95mV drop on the cheap meter, and 40mV drop on the mid-range one.

    That said, even with meters with low-ish resistance on decent current ranges, there's still an argument for having an external resistor (or two) for current sensing, since they're cheap and can be left in circuit while measuring something else.
    With a couple of resistors, someone could measure the input and output voltages and currents of a driver with a single meter without changing anything in the circuit, which would be handy if they were trying to measure driver efficiently as accurately as possible.

  10. #40

    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Quote Originally Posted by uk_caver View Post
    I just tried my cheap and midrange meters on their decent current ranges (10A and 2A/20A respectively).
    Measuring the voltage across the probe tips of one with the other, with a 1A load I measured 95mV drop on the cheap meter, and 40mV drop on the mid-range one.
    This could be the cheap supplied leads/cables.

    Since the plugs are the same try the leads from another (more expensive?) meter on the cheap meter, and see if it makes any difference.

    I did, and stopped using the supplied leads.

  11. #41

    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    I'm a calibration technician by trade and have tested/calibrated thousands and thousands of multimeters over the years. The only meter to purchase is a FLUKE! The percentage that test out of tolerances is so low that I cannot begin to estimate. Either they work or don't. Most Flukes today come with a lifetime warranty...that is Fluke may not state it but they will replace/repair any meter sent back to them at no charge. Just choose a model that fulfills your requirements. With the exception of a high end Agilent at high cost, buy handheld fluke.

  12. #42

    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Quote Originally Posted by amham View Post
    I'm a calibration technician by trade and have tested/calibrated thousands and thousands of multimeters over the years. The only meter to purchase is a FLUKE! The percentage that test out of tolerances is so low that I cannot begin to estimate. Either they work or don't. Most Flukes today come with a lifetime warranty...that is Fluke may not state it but they will replace/repair any meter sent back to them at no charge. Just choose a model that fulfills your requirements. With the exception of a high end Agilent at high cost, buy handheld fluke.
    I'm an ancient electronics test engineer, still using lab DVMs and handhelds 8hrs a day. I use Fluke handhelds all the time but perfect they're not. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to resolder the pcb mounted 4mm sockets, they go intermittent every few months with heavy use. Apart from that problem they will put up with dropping and a bit of abuse and stay in calibration. Not that I'm saying any other make is better. I've never had a problem with recent Uni-T or even a 20yr old Rapid Electronics cheap DVM but they don't get used as much as the Flukes. I prefer the Uni-T 50C for high current as it goes to 20A and can measure temperature, but the high resistance range is way out of calibration.

  13. #43

    Question Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    I have AA Eneloop batteries and 123 and 18650 li ion batteries.

    I don't have a voltmeter to check the voltages. (I'm pretty sure that is what people call them). I don't know how to tell what is a good one, but I don't want to spend much money on something like this. What features do I want in one and how do I tell if one is good or not?
    Last edited by Norm; 09-18-2013 at 10:39 PM.

  14. #44

    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Quote Originally Posted by amham View Post
    I'm a calibration technician by trade and have tested/calibrated thousands and thousands of multimeters over the years. The only meter to purchase is a FLUKE! The percentage that test out of tolerances is so low that I cannot begin to estimate. Either they work or don't. Most Flukes today come with a lifetime warranty...that is Fluke may not state it but they will replace/repair any meter sent back to them at no charge. Just choose a model that fulfills your requirements. With the exception of a high end Agilent at high cost, buy handheld fluke.
    I would agree that Fluke is generally the industry standard for EEs and techs--their 8X series is probably used by more professional labs than any other DMM. However, I would also suggest that most of the models Fluke sells will be way overkill (and more expensive) for most functions required by someone asking here. There are a number of brands out there that are not Fluke, but are still much higher in quality than your standard RS handheld or pocket multimeter. Wavetek comes to mind.

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Quote Originally Posted by jasonck08 View Post
    Fluke is definitely makes a good DMM. I own a Fluke 179, and an Agilent U1253A (which has datalogging). I really like them both.

    Also UNI-T has some darn cheap sub $100 datalogging DMM's out, which are pretty solid from what I hear.
    I used one of their re-branded ones at work for a while and they are pretty nice. I checked them against a Keithly 2110 bench DMM and they are accurate.

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    If you are seriously considering a Fluke 289 consider getting a bench model instead of a hand held. You can get a really nice Keithly benchtop for about the same amount that has a few more features.

  17. #47
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    Default Re: Good cheap volt meter?

    I bought one on ebay that I really like (Klein) and it has awesome features including a huge, lit screen and it's very simple to use.
    Around $50 or so.

    If anyone's interested, I'll put some links up.

    George

  18. #48

    Default Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    I have a Fluke I have had for many years . Use to build a lot of equipment for ham radio. Health kit had a lot of kits . Today things are so small and integrated the Fluke is tough

  19. #49
    Flashaholic cdrake261's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Rebooting an old thread....

    I just purchased a fluke 116, I'm all happy with it until I thought I saw some people say you can't measure more then 1 amps of current...now I'm wondering if I had purchased the right meter for my led crave...

  20. #50
    Enlightened Joe Kidd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    I've still got my Beckman HD110 from ages past, but graduated to a Fluke 26 about 12 years ago after a trashed fluke 12.
    Last edited by Joe Kidd; 03-05-2016 at 06:10 PM.
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  21. #51
    Flashaholic cdrake261's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    I ended up getting the fluke 179 and sending the 116 back.

  22. #52
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Russel View Post
    When set to the 6A scale, the Fluke 115 measures to a resolution of 0.001A
    Yes, I know this is an old thread, but how can a Fluke 115 be set to a 6A scale. I have a fairly new 115. Thanks.

    Bill

  23. #53
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullzeyebill View Post
    Yes, I know this is an old thread, but how can a Fluke 115 be set to a 6A scale. I have a fairly new 115. Thanks.
    It is automatic, when measuring below 6A the range will be 0.000A to 6.000A when above 6A it will be 0.00A to 10.00A (20.00A for a short time). You can also use the range button to change between the two ranges.
    My website with battery, charger, usb reviews, comparisons & information: https://lygte-info.dk/
    Latest addition is multimeter reviews

  24. #54
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    Default Re: Recommend me a multi-meter please?

    Thanks HKJ.

    Bill

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