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Best multimeter recommendation ...and I mean THE best.

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by The Guy, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. milocj

    milocj Friend of Leo's

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    One other thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is a meter with a separate fuse for the amperage measurements. One tiny slip if you ever try to read bias using the transformer shunt method and the fuse or the meter is done for. If your meter has the amp portion fused you're only out a few bucks and the meter will be up and running again in two minutes.
     
  2. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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    Very nice. What's the advantage of analog over digital? And vice versa.
     
  3. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I like the Fluke 87 V
     
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  4. Flyinlow

    Flyinlow Tele-Meister

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    The standard issue for industrial maintenance, at least per my experience, is the Fluke 177. They generally can take anything. (Not that you still couldn't burn one up.)
     
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  5. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The speed of a meter is most important to me. The Fluke 77 was the first autoranging meter I used that actually worked fast and accurately. I have never used another brand of meter that provided a reading as fast as a Fluke. I use a 115 these days because I can hear the continuity tester better than the 77. I use my Wavetech 2020 when I need to measure voltages over 600V. The Wavetech is a wonderful 4.5 digit meter but it is so slow comparede to the two Flukes. For testing capacitors I am fortunate to have a Sencore LC-53 which will test any cap in an amplifier at its rated voltage up tp 600V.
     
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  6. clintj

    clintj Friend of Leo's

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    Analog has an edge in watching variable readings, like trying to troubleshoot a tremolo circuit. A digital display would just display a rapidly changing set of random numbers.
     
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  7. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Can't go wrong with the Flukes, I have 2, an 87, and an 88, both over 25 yrs old! I have had to do minor maintenance to both, but not enough to justify a new meter!
     
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  8. paparoof

    paparoof Tele-Holic

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    After a night of binge-watching Uncle Doug videos, I went to search out what that cool meter was that he was using and that was the one. Looks like they still make 'em - but they're at Fluke prices too. Lots of used ones on 'bay though.

    I'm happy with my relatively cheap units. I've got a digital (Tenma) and an analog (GB). One is usually more suited to the task at hand than the other.
     
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I bought a clean used Fluke 179, which lacks the ability to check capacitance.
    It's made in USA and there are Fluke models that do the same for less but are made in China, since the OP asked.
    I already had a Radio Shack multi meter I paid under ten bucks for in the '80s, darn thing won't stop working.
    So I spent some cash on a nice meter because I like nice stuff. Also bought some alligator clip probes. Like buying upgrade parts for guitars, it could get out of hand.
    AFAIK there is no perfect Fluke or other model for tube amp repair.
    And having two might be a good idea as well.

    Ha Ha @bparnell57 suggested a VTVM!
    (a useful tool but nobody else mentioned it)
    I bought one of those but it's really dead, they're bigger than a six pack, cost a bit to ship, need new tubes and caps to get running, and probably need new probes.
    But it seems there are things to measure in tube amps that don't stay constant, and an analog meter shows you the range of the needle swing instead of flickering numbers on the LCD.
    VTVM use is specific and old school, maybe more valuable than a scope.
    You could probably find a nice fist fight over the comparative values of those two pieces of kit.
    Other kinds of analog meter might be worth picking up, and who knows, one day vintage analog meters might be high dollar collectors items...
     
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  10. watercaster

    watercaster Tele-Meister

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    I am still using my Fluke 27 dmm from 1982. This was the most rugged model sold for field work. Rain, snow, even dropped it into a bucket of diesel fuel once...nothing hurt it. Replaced a fuse inside once. Min/Max/Hold,etc...Great meter
     
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  11. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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    So... DMM + oscilloscope = NAMN (no analog meter needed) right?
     
  12. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd still say even a cheap analog meter is a very good thing to have around. A scope won't give you a value readout like a needle can. Only real use in amps is seeing power supply sag, the charging and discharging of large electrolytic capacitors, and tremolo circuits. A scope could show you the waveform of a trem circuit though.
     
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  13. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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  14. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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    I LOVE Uncle Doug's videos! He's been off for a while though... Hope he's ok. Such a nice guy and great teacher!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  15. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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  16. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    What kind of maintenance did you have to do?

    I ask because I've got an 83 that I've had since about 1990. At some point it got to where it wouldn't take resistance readings unless I took it apart and wiggled the fuse. After a time it got to where it would only work for a few minutes after I did this, and now I can't bring it back at all. But this only affects the resistance range, all voltage and current settings still seem to function normally.

    I asked Fluke about getting it repaired, and apparently they don't do component-level repairs anymore, they just do a shotgun rebuild, replacing the entire board, at a price which costs more than buying a whole new meter from an "unauthorized" dealer on eBay. It seems odd to me to have to pay almost $300 to repair a meter that cost me less than $100 when new.
     
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  17. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I picked up a mastercraft ,Canadian tire , for 40.00 canuck Model 52-0052-2
    it had everthing good that was in the video, autorange,range, backlight the only thing it came back as a cat2, 1000v DC /750V AC ceramic fuses (500MA 250V, 10A 250V) and enclosed fuse department, temp F & C, caps, freq., 3 range currentand multiple inputs, data hold,etc. not a bad meter , how ever after watching the video I may keep this for a second meter and get another high end unit, for the bench, 2 meters canot be bad!
     
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  18. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I had several Fluke multimeters back in the day, and all of them returned to the factory numerous times for repair, calibration, whatever. My engineering coworkers and I used to say: If it works today, it's a Fluke.

    On the other hand, I've had this B & K 388HD for nearly 30 years, and have only had to replace the 9-volt battery occassionally. You can still find these on Ebay for like $15, and they work just as well as when new. Be sure to get something with single board construction. Meters with daughter boards always screw up.

    B&K388HD.jpg
     
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  19. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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    You need to read this thread:

    http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/fluke-187-reads-2-ohms-high/

    Hope it helps.

    Cheers.
     
  20. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    David, I had to replace the flexible connector from the board to the display on both, (digits start dropping out of the display). I did both in the late 90's, no problems since.
    The 87 started running the battery down even when not in use, I also noticed that the backlight would light if I squeezed the meter, (even with the meter off). I found that the function switch had carbon tracked between connections. I cleaned all I could, and then lightly lubed with dielectric grease, that was several years ago.
    My 88 is an automotive meter, and gets daily use, although I'm the only user any more. I still have a supply of fuses that I often needed when I had "help"!
    Watercaster, I agree on the 27, I used one for most of the 80's, but it didn't survive a fall from a 40' pole. (I loaned it to a lineman to check a transformer connection), that's when the company bought me the 87.
     
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