Please help me decide on a Multimeter

Discussion in 'Burnt Fingers DIY Effects' started by jddub440, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My daily driver is a $10 Harbor Freight digital multimeter. I'm careful, but if I smoke that thing it's not a real loss. I have a Simpon 260 that I use almost as much. In troubleshooting things the Simpson is essential. If you have a situation where the value (V, mA, etc.) is "bouncing," all you can see on an inexpensive DVM is a chaotic mess of ever-changing numbers. An analog meter like the Simpson responds more slowly to the bounce and you can readily see the high and low values.
     
  2. rogb

    rogb Tele-Holic

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    The cheap meters are generally fine for low power, non-critical testing and checking - but I use and trust an old LCD Wavetek USA (ex British Telecom issue) -Cat II 1000v. I've tested transformers putting out 750+vAC with it, not sure if I'd trust a $5 Chinese with life-threatening volts, go Fluke or equivalent if your life depends on it.
    I got one of these - very useful for sorting through geraniums. Way better than using your MM!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
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  3. rogb

    rogb Tele-Holic

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    These seem well regarded for non mains-HV work? Under £15 lol!


    [​IMG]
     
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  4. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I've been using a Fluke 87 V for the past seven years at work without an issue.
     
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  5. teleteej

    teleteej TDPRI Member

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    Nothing but a Fluke for me.
     
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  6. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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  7. magicfingers99

    magicfingers99 Tele-Afflicted

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    most folks have no clue what true root mean square evens means, let alone whether they need it. For a 1st meter, unless you are working in an electronics lab, a fluke is overkill and now overpriced as well.

    Fluke has been buying up a lot of the test equipment manufacturers. Dale is now owned by fluke among others, they are cornering the market and raising prices and discontiuing service on older meters.

    if you are buying your 1st meter, you probably don't know what all the features are, and what they do. My brother borrowed my fluke and burned it out testing his battery/alternator on his car. I bought him a 10$ meter, its all he really needed.
    I replaced the fluke, I get them free when they can't be calibrated anymore and for what I do, I don't need a cal sticker.

    if you know you need RMS and the rest of the things a good several hundred dollar meter brings, it is a great investment.

    for just simple continuity and polarity testing, a 10$ meter is fine.
     
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  8. brokenbones

    brokenbones Tele-Meister

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    If you're building effects pedals and testing batteries, I would recommend looking in the dirt cheap to good budget categories of multimeters. That will put you in the $10-$60, new, range. In the good budget category I would suggest brand names such as Extech, Triplett, BK Precision, and Mastech.

    Features you're going to want or need:
    1.600V/10A
    2. Resistance rating of at least 10Megs. This shouldn't be any issue with any meter.
    3. Diode/Continuity setting.
    4. Backlight. -this is subjective to some but I would recommend it.

    Features I wouldn't worry about in your situation.
    1. True RMS
    2. Auto-Ranging
    3. Frequency Counter

    Now, the one feature I left out of both categories is a capacitance checker. Some meters have them built in and some people will buy a stand alone ESR meter. I think you'll need one eventually and I wouldn't buy one unless it has "in-circuit" testing capability. That capability and the range of capacitance it's able to test are the two important factors when choosing a capacitance meter.
     
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  9. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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  10. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

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    frequency counter ... the feature I wasn't expecting to use that I ended up using for analog delay based effects
     
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  11. zippofan

    zippofan Tele-Holic

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    The cheapo I picked up on Amazon has the freq counter too. I have a standalone counter that I used back when I did a lot of RF work, and I wouldn't trust a $20 DMM from Amazon when calibrating a transmitter oscillator, but for checking the clock on my Aquaboy build it was very handy. I didn't have to drag out the big counter and plug it in, just used the DMM.

    I also couldn't believe how useful the little 30 buck handheld scope was too, bought it on a whim with some Amazon gift cards and used it more than once on builds with a cheapo 10x probe. I have a usable analog scope I built in 1985 and a good Tek probe, the handheld worked just as well, plus I could store traces which isn't possible with the analog scope.

    I have the Peak DCA on my wishlist, can't have enough tools or test equipment :D
     
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  12. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Why is a good quality meter overkill? A meter that is reliable, consistant, and you only have to buy it once. I've used Fluke meterr ever since the Fluke 77 was new. Never had a problem with any of them.
     
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  13. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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  14. radiocaster

    radiocaster Friend of Leo's

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    Pick shown for size. multimet.png
     
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  15. thegreatshocka

    thegreatshocka Tele-Meister

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  16. Ziggy587

    Ziggy587 Tele-Meister

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    I got that Innova meter just to keep around the house (since I keep my main multimeter in my workshop). Since I mainly wanted it just to check batteries and quick continuity checks, I didn't really care about quality. I guess that's why I was impressed how good it is. I would definitely recommend this one as a budget meter.
     
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  17. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    I had a DT-9505A for several months, then it just quit working. But for the price it was a great meter while it lasted. Maybe I just had bad luck. I'd buy another but I also have an old Fluke that I've used for over 35 years without fail, albeit with less functionality than the DT-9205A.
     
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  18. jddub440

    jddub440 Tele-Holic

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    Thank you all for your replies, I'm definately gonna go over this thread from time to time to refresh myself on some of these tools....I'm gonna start cheap with that DT-9205A and figure out what features I use most or use at all. You all Rock!!!:cool:
     
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  19. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's

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    Please don't spend $10 for a Harbor Freight DMM. Wait for a "Free with any purchase" coupon (Or at least a $5 coupon!)

    (I have about 3 of them!)

    They are a decent starter meter and will be OK for a lot of users.
     
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  20. Monkey_Relish

    Monkey_Relish TDPRI Member

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