Digital Multimeters?.

Discussion in 'Amp Tech Center' started by saltyseadog, Apr 9, 2020.

  1. saltyseadog

    saltyseadog Tele-Meister

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    In the course of a recent amp problem I had which was solved by some of the amazing techs at this forum I realised that my years old analogue multimeter was not really up to the job anymore and perhaps I should invest in a more modern digital version. I am more of the carpentry/fitter fabricator type of person with moderate soldering skills, a bit of common sense, but electronics is not my forte.
    Normally I only have need of a multimeter for checking guitar leads etc so really not interested in top of the range amp tech models as I couldn't justify the price. Looking through Ebay there are loads of pretty cheap versions but of course you also get what you pay for so so could any of you recommend me a halfway decent budget version digital multimeter or tell me what to look for considering I will seldom use it?.
     
  2. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    Extech EX330 is $50-60. Fluke 107 ESP can be had these days for about $100.

    I love Fluke. I have some other multimeters that work great for the house and HVAC, but for electronics I would think the Fluke or Extech would be a bit better. I haven’t used a big box store $30 meter for electronics. Again, a great meter for the house diagnosing problems with the major components in appliances, but I personally would buy a bit better for diagnosing pedals or amps. That is me.

    Amazon is a source. I have had good luck with TEquipment for these kinds of supplies. You could call them and they will help you with your options. You might be able to get down to $30 based on what I see on their website.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
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  3. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Pretty much any meter (GB, Klein, Craftsman, General, etc.) you can get at a local DIY or electronics shop will serve you well. The features you most need are AC/DC voltage, resistance, capacitance, diode forward voltage test, and audible continuity beeper or buzzer.

    Current (amperes) test capability is handy to have; some meters have the ability to accept a plug-in clamp probe. Some meters have the clamp built in.

    ESR test capability for capacitors is handy if you do heavy amp repair work; it does add substantial cost to the DMM though. I have a meter that only tests ESR, and I use it perhaps five times a year.

    There's a small meter that's pretty good and really inexpensive for the features it has, and that's the little Uni-T model UT210E clamp meter. I have one one in my gig bag and it has come in handy on numerous occasions. This little meter runs less than $50 from all the usual vendors. It comes with probes and a carry case.

    A big plus with the clamp-type meter is it keeps you from blowing up your meter; with a non-clamp meter, if you forget to swap the probes from the current jacks to the voltage/Ohms/etc., jacks and you test AC voltage or big DC voltage, you can blow up the meter.

    I also have a slightly larger version of this meter made by Fluke (model 375), which I use for electrical work around the house. These are much more expensive than the Uni-T and similar units.

    My benchtop meter is a Fluke 75 from many years ago. It's the gray one (before they went yellow) and it holds perfect calibration.

    You can get pro-level meters 2nd hand for dimes on the dollar at places like a boot sale. How beat up they appear is a good indicator of how they were treated during their lifetime.
     
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  4. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Don't discount Fluke as being too high end for you, they can be had used for a pretty good price. Mine was freshly calibrated with case and spare leads for about $150 and it was a pretty high end model with data logging ability. You can find more basic ones for around $100.

    Otherwise, the good brands to look at are the following: Bryman, Greenlee (actually made by Bryman), Extech (made by Fluke I believe), Klein, and General (basic models only)
     
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  5. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fluke is probably the best standard, but I bought a highend Wavetek that is like a Squier CV compared to an MIM and it has served me for well over 20 years and I do some weird stuff outside with mine, so it takes and beating and keeps on ticking.
     
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  6. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    Modern current-production Flukes are not what they once were. The company changed hands a year or three ago and they're really cheaping out on quality, and reliability is suffering. Find a used one about five years old or more.
     
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  7. esseff

    esseff Tele-Afflicted

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    Used military surplus Model 25 Flukes can be had for around £40 - £50 ($50 - $62). Top quality, I wouldn't be without mine.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Jon Snell

    Jon Snell Tele-Meister

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    I still use my Fluke 27 but for more accurate stuff my O LED display Keysight U1253B is wonderful.
    For the average tech in a non professional situation but a good hobbyist I would recommend a Fluke 101. They are sold for around £36 from a trusted UK seller on fleabay. The reference is
    283778616700
    They were produced in China for Fluke and perform very well. Diode test is good for checking semiconductors and diode junctions plus good for continuity testing of leads etc.
     
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  9. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Tele-Holic

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    Having a meter that is auto-ranging is nice. That way you don't have to manually choose between 10V, 250V, 1000V for example. You don't need an expensive meter.

    Quality leads are important to keep you safe with high voltage. Cheap meters do not have quality leads.

    Do not get rid of your analog meter. You will use both in some circumstances and the analog can be beneficial when measuring bouncing type measurements. Your analog meter is a quality meter, although older, it looks like a keeper.
     
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  10. saltyseadog

    saltyseadog Tele-Meister

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    I had bookmarked a used Fluke 25 but decided to buy the one in your link instead. I read below that Lowerleftcoast reckons that my ancient analogue one is a keeper so with the Fluke 101 also I should be good to go now.
     
  11. Jon Snell

    Jon Snell Tele-Meister

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    I have still got my AVO 8 Mk2 (Ex GPO) 20k/volt invaluable for testing mains transformer primaries for shorted turns.
     
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  12. Bendyha

    Bendyha Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    For the 18 months, I have been growing to love this cheapy ax-160ip Axiomet from the electronic component shop TME (which has a huge selection of others to choose from).
    No knobs to turn, touch screen to choose function, then it does automatic ranging .01V - 1000V (neede for tube amps) true RMS, + all the standard Amps and Ohms etc, and screen lights up when in darker conditions..and...and..
    €60...whats not to love? -the 2 x 1.5V AA batteries don't last long, but I always have a supply of rechargables full and waiting.
     
  13. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

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    yep. couple years ago Fluke moved to China. I wanted to by a new Fluke to replace my old one (25+ years) but there were no American made ones on the shelf... only Chinese. the guy in the shop said he had to send all his old stock back to Fluke & everything comes from China now. this was just after New Years time 2018. I passed on spending 300 for the current pile they make
     
  14. saltyseadog

    saltyseadog Tele-Meister

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    Mine is a TMK VF-8 I can't even remember where I got it from. Last night I thought I would google it to see if I could find a user manual for it but came up empty. I did find this link though to the company which made it though the one mentioned is the VF-5 from 1988. https://www.radiomuseum.org/m/tmk_j_en_1.html
     
  15. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    Fluke FL87-III and FL87-V for me.
    These are the one I have for years. Old Faithfull Reliable Partners... you can see them at right. In the background, the Wavetek DM27XL is just able to monitor the AC mains, in comparison !
    I should buy some more Flukes !

    [​IMG]

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    -tbln
     
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  16. jimytheassassin

    jimytheassassin TDPRI Member

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    The fluke 87-iii is the same as the 26-iii. Both models are ideal for tube amp work and affordable used. Stalk ebay and you can find them around $50 for the 26-iii and $75 for the 87-iii

    I purchased a fluke 87-iii and a 287 both from eBay recently

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
  17. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    The Fluke 87-iii (used) will likely last you 15 years or more. A New Extech maybe 5-10
     
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