Anyone use this multimeter ? Equus 3320 Innova Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter

Astroscanner

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I'm on a tight budget but still wanted to get a multimeter that was reasonably accurate.

Walmart has the following one for about $20, also saw it on Amazon for about the same price, it had mostly good reviews on those sites, but many of those reviewers may not use the same standards of needed precision as those on the forum here feel is needed for testing batteries accurately, especially Li-ion batteries.

[h=1]Equus 3320 Innova Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter[/h]
Any thoughts on if the above is ok to use for testing both Li-ion or NiMH batteries ?

Not ready to buy immediately right now, but wanted to do some research first.

Thanks !
 

IonicBond

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I don't get it - why we go to great lengths to get great batteries and chargers, yet cheap out when it comes to one of the primary tools used to test them. Budget is an issue of course, but perhaps saving up for something that will last you a lifetime and provide a bit of confidence is better in the long run. Maybe this will help:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cNc5An0DLw

There are a lot of meters out there, but man save up a little to get above the bottom of the line.
 

Astroscanner

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Well, before posting this thread I had did a search on the forum and saw an older thread where someone said something like - a $20 multimeter from Walmart would be fine - but didn't mention a specific model, so I just wanted to know if anyone had any experience with this particular model. I think the general thought he was trying to convey was you don't have to pay a whole lot to get an acceptable multimeter that is worth having.
 

zebraa

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I use this one for checking the voltage of Li-Ions, but remember that the voltage of a Ni-MH will be pretty consistent regardless of the level of charge in it.
 

thedoc007

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This is the exact model I have. I have had no issues with it, and simple voltage testing is about the most basic thing you can do. Even $5 meters like Harbor Freight gives out for free on occasion are good enough for this purpose.

I haven't done any official calibration or anything, but the measurements on mine are very repeatable, and certainly accurate enough. I have compared to another meter (a Fluke) that a family member has, and it is quite close.

In the video IonicBond linked, he is making claims...but he didn't do ANY actual testing in that particular video, nor did he directly compare two multimeters so we could make our own decisions. On one hand he claims that cheap multimeters fail without being abused, but then he talks about using a dozen of them in a factory environment where they do get dropped and abused. He is all over the map...I'm not saying he isn't an expert, but that video didn't really convey anything except his opinion.

The point is, there certainly are major advantages to spending more. I have no doubt they will be more reliable...but if all you want to do is test voltage of batteries in your home, you do NOT have to spend a lot of money. Now if you plan to do a lot of electrical projects, or also use this for wiring around your home, or know you will abuse it, then sure, save up and get a Fluke or something similar. But getting a $100 (or more) meter for testing the voltage of batteries is definitely not necessary.
 
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Astroscanner

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I use this one for checking the voltage of Li-Ions, but remember that the voltage of a Ni-MH will be pretty consistent regardless of the level of charge in it.

Thanks, I didn't realize that about the Ni-MH voltage, the description page for that multimeter includes "Features large digital display and color coded LED's for battery quick check" - so does that "battery quick check" function check for other than just the voltage, perhaps the amps ?

This is the exact model I have. I have had no issues with it, and simple voltage testing is about the most basic thing you can do. Even $5 meters like Harbor Freight gives out for free on occasion are good enough for this purpose.

I haven't done any official calibration or anything, but the measurements on mine are very repeatable, and certainly accurate enough. I have compared to another meter (a Fluke) that a family member has, and it is quite close.

In the video IonicBond linked, he is making claims...but he didn't do ANY actual testing in that particular video, nor did he directly compare two multimeters so we could make our own decisions. On one hand he claims that cheap multimeters fail without being abused, but then he takes about using a dozen of them in a factory environment where they do get dropped and abused. He is all over the map...I'm not saying he isn't an expert, but that video didn't really convey anything except his opinion.

The point is, there certainly are major advantages to spending more. I have no doubt they will be more reliable...but if all you want to do is test voltage of batteries in your home, you do NOT have to spend a lot of money. Now if you plan to do a lot of electrical projects, or also use this for wiring around your home, or know you will abuse it, then sure, save up and get a Fluke or something similar. But getting a $100 (or more) meter for testing the voltage of batteries is definitely not necessary.

Thanks for the insights, being on a tight budget right now I research if a particular model of something is worth getting, I don't want to buy something just because it is inexpensive if it is not worth getting.

Besides testing the voltage itself using the multimeter digital readout, if you use that model's "......color coded LED's for battery quick check" does that check more than or other than just the voltage and is it a reliable function for both Ni-MH and Li-ion batteries ?
 

zebraa

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Thanks, I didn't realize that about the Ni-MH voltage, the description page for that multimeter includes "Features large digital display and color coded LED's for battery quick check" - so does that "battery quick check" function check for other than just the voltage, perhaps the amps ?

I believe it is designed for alkalines. I don't think the algorithm is applicable to Ni-MH.
If I had to guess, I would say it places a small load on the battery (via a circuit with some resistance), which for alkalines will cause the voltage to sag. It then sees what that voltage is, and compared to the state of charge for various voltages on an alkaline battery, lights up one of the colored LEDs. I don't have the equipment to do more than speculate, however. It might just check the open-circuit voltage.

However, the nominal voltage for a Ni-MH and an Alkaline are different, and also the voltage delivery from a NiMH is consistent as the battery is depleted, whereas an Alkaline constantly delivers less and less voltage as it is depleted.

For NiMH, if it is 1.20 volt or less, then you need to charge. "Empty" is considered anywhere from 0.90 volts (really empty, further discharge is regarded to lessen the battery's lifetime) to 1.20 volts. An open-circuit (resting) voltage of anywhere between 1.21-1.5 volts could be either a fully charged cell, or a partially charged cell. I don't believe there is a way to tell the state of charge on NiMH without actually discharging it and seeing how much energy you get. But then the battery would be empty, and you would have to charge it again. However, there are chargers that can do this for you. This is the best way to measure NiMH capacity.

Alternatively, if you have LSD NiMH cells, just charge them. They should stay full for years. If the manufacturer rates them to hold 70% charge for 5 years, then just keep them full and charge them again after five years.


Besides testing the voltage itself using the multimeter digital readout, if you use that model's "......color coded LED's for battery quick check" does that check more than or other than just the voltage and is it a reliable function for both Ni-MH and Li-ion batteries ?

On the other hand, checking voltage is actually a completely valid and standard way of checking state of charge on Li-Ion batteries. It will take some time for you to remember the numbers, but here is a good article by HKJ:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...timating-remaning-capacity-in-LiIon-batteries
 

Astroscanner

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I believe it is designed for alkalines. I don't think the algorithm is applicable to Ni-MH.
If I had to guess, I would say it places a small load on the battery (via a circuit with some resistance), which for alkalines will cause the voltage to sag. It then sees what that voltage is, and compared to the state of charge for various voltages on an alkaline battery, lights up one of the colored LEDs. I don't have the equipment to do more than speculate, however. It might just check the open-circuit voltage.

However, the nominal voltage for a Ni-MH and an Alkaline are different, and also the voltage delivery from a NiMH is consistent as the battery is depleted, whereas an Alkaline constantly delivers less and less voltage as it is depleted.

For NiMH, if it is 1.20 volt or less, then you need to charge. "Empty" is considered anywhere from 0.90 volts (really empty, further discharge is regarded to lessen the battery's lifetime) to 1.20 volts. An open-circuit (resting) voltage of anywhere between 1.21-1.5 volts could be either a fully charged cell, or a partially charged cell. I don't believe there is a way to tell the state of charge on NiMH without actually discharging it and seeing how much energy you get. But then the battery would be empty, and you would have to charge it again. However, there are chargers that can do this for you. This is the best way to measure NiMH capacity.

Alternatively, if you have LSD NiMH cells, just charge them. They should stay full for years. If the manufacturer rates them to hold 70% charge for 5 years, then just keep them full and charge them again after five years.




On the other hand, checking voltage is actually a completely valid and standard way of checking state of charge on Li-Ion batteries. It will take some time for you to remember the numbers, but here is a good article by HKJ:
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...timating-remaning-capacity-in-LiIon-batteries


Thanks for all the info, I very recently got a "NITECORE i2 (New 2014 version)" charger (so recently I haven't even used it yet), since that is considered a "smart" charger can I rely on that to only charge Li-ion and NiMH batteries if they are really in need of charging ?

Would the led lights on that charger actually effectively work as a battery tester ?

(as far as NiMH I have been using Rayovac rechargeable AA and AAA, and I also use a 14500 battery in my Coast HP1 flashlight which can use either NiMH, alkaline, or 14500s, my other flashlights don't use 14500s just NiMH or alkalines)
 

thedoc007

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...can I rely on that to only charge Li-ion and NiMH batteries if they are really in need of charging ?

It will try to charge any batteries you put in it, that aren't completely full. It won't read a charge as "good enough" and not try to charge it to max capacity. It doesn't overcharge li-ion, but it might mildly overcharge NiMH...the i2/i4 are not known for a great termination with that particular chemistry. It works well enough for my purposes (mostly li-ion, every once in a while NiMH), but if you are charging NiMH all the time, you should probably look at a different charger.

Would the led lights on that charger actually effectively work as a battery tester ?

No, definitely not. The range for the middle light in particular is very broad - for example, it might read display two lights from 3.6 to 4.1 volts. Useful as a very general indicator of how much time is left, but that is all.

The Equus 3320 battery tester does put a load on the battery...so it is better than one that just checks the open-circuit voltage. But to me, it has real value only for alkalines, and perhaps lithium primaries. Settings are for 1.5, 6, 9, and 12 volts. So although you can use it for lithium ion, you get much more information from just the basic voltage than you do from the battery test feature.
 

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