Multimeter Advice.......

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by amp boy, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. amp boy

    amp boy Tele-Meister

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    Hey Folks,

    I am looking to get a multimeter, and would appreciate some recommendations of what to look for.
    I have never used on before, and am looking to get into working and understanding guitar and amp electronics.
    So far i have picked up a Hakko soldering iron, and will be picking up hand tools as needed. I have some of the basics already.
    I believe investing in a quality iron was a good choice, and am now looking to do the same with a multimeter.

    What do i need in a multimeter for guitar and amp/speaker cab work ??

    Any recomendations, and why ??
    I'll most likely be buying used off ebay, since i cannot find anything in Toronto......damn box stores and knock off markets !!!!
    There is one pro tool place i know of...the only place that knew what a hand reamer was for wood working. I'll check there sometime, but the price would be over me most likely.

    hope yer all having a fine day, thank you kindly for your time.

    - Amp Boy, ........ahhhh superman is no match for this wall of sound !!!
     
  2. OhioJohn

    OhioJohn TDPRI Member

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    Multimeter Advice

    Go to Harbor Freight, you can get a DMM for less than five bucks. It won't have all the features of an industrial quality meter, but its accuracy will be quite good, and, if you've never used one before, odds are you'll burn out your first one trying to measure the resistance of the power plant that powers your home or some such. (Don't ask me how I know this!)

    I've got a high dollar B&K, but find myself using my Harbor Freight meter all the time.
     
  3. f69tele

    f69tele Tele-Holic

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    I had one of these and loved it - until I stupidly tried to check an electric fence voltage and burned it up.

    Leviton Multimeter

    Be sure and get one that has continuity check.
     
  4. Lost_N_Austin

    Lost_N_Austin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Plus 1 on Harbor Freight for a neat little $4.00 Multi-meter. They also have a cool little lighted soldering stand for about $4.00.

    [​IMG]

    L_N_A
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  5. FartherAlong

    FartherAlong TDPRI Member

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    Well okay, I feel better now.
     
  6. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well, of course you'd want a Fluke for the quality, durability and accuracy but those are over $100 for their lowest model.
    I have a Goldstar that I bought about 10 years ago for about $49 that is still going strong. It also measures capacitance which is pretty important in guitar work.
     
  7. amp boy

    amp boy Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Rodeo,

    Ya I'm looking more for why, and what to look for in a meter, than cheap meters being named off.
    I had Capacitance noted in my head for a option to have on the meter.
    I've actually given some thought to getting a used Fluke, though i still would need to figure out which one. Ya....$100.00 is my limit. I'm more about getting something to last and work when i need it.....i can't stand buying things multiple times.
     
  8. Cleeve

    Cleeve Tele-Holic

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    I've got flukes, bench vtvm, and some of those cheap harbor freight ones too to use on motorcycles.
    My go-to electronics meter is the fluke 12, which can be found on ebay probably for around 35-40 dollars depending on how beat up it is. I see they don't make it any more, but there's gotta be one like it.

    The great thing about the 12, it's auto ranging and has capacitor check on it.

    I see it's been replaced with the 114.

    One of the main things you want is 'beep' diode/continuity check, so you can look for shorts or verify connections without having to look at the meter. That beep is probably 90 percent of what I use a meter for.. seeking smoked semiconductors or open connections.

    The other ten percent of the time is spent checking values, looking for drifted resistors or shorted caps, and looking at voltages to see if they make sense or are about to shock me.

    The cheap harbor freight meters are great to have around, but they are not true RMS and will give odd numbers if the ac is not a 60 cycle sine wave, or if there is both DC and AC present, for example when checking the unfiltered output of a rectifier. If 4 dollars gets a fair meter at Harbor Freight, I wonder if the 20 dollar meters from the discount store are actually pretty good.

    This one looks ok-
    http://www.allelectronics.com/make-.../2-DIGIT-LCD-MULTIMETER-W/-BACKLIGHT/-/1.html
     
  9. 6x47

    6x47 Tele-Holic

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    Crappy Tire has meters on sale for less than 10 bucks on a regular basis and they are all you need for guitar work unless you feel the need for reading inductance in which case Ted Weber has a meter worth considering.
    https://amptechtools.powweb.com/meter.htm
    $60 9805A

    "The 9805A by Victor is a really good, moderately priced meter. I like it particularly well because it will not only do the standard voltage, resistance, and current measurements, it will also do inductance, capacitance, and frequency. And, the value ranges provided are in the ballpark for what we see in PTP guitar amps. It also has a temperature probe which is great for monitoring transformers and other devices for problems. At this price, if you blow one up it's cheap enough to just toss it and buy a new one. Incidentally, I've had a 9805A for almost two years and I haven't blown it. "
     
  10. amp boy

    amp boy Tele-Meister

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    "And, the value ranges provided are in the ballpark for what we see in PTP guitar amps"
    that doesn't sound reassuring.

    "'beep' diode/continuity check"
    that makes sense....i like that.

    i dig the soldering stand idea as well !!!!
     
  11. bosstone

    bosstone Tele-Afflicted

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    I went with a Fluke 179 because they are bulletproof, carry a good warranty, are fused to protect themselves from user errors, have a back light and in addition to all the standard VOM features, it reads true RMS, hertz, temperature and capacitance. If you want to measure capacitors you might as well have that feature included in one meter. Oh yah, it is auto ranging in every mode. The last hand held Fluke meter I had cost twice as much and had fewer features. It did take nearly 20 years that included being dropped (once in the wet bilge of a boat) and knocked over many times. When it finally broke they wanted $100.00 to fix it and found an electronics store that was moving out of state and got it for $100.00 cash, out the door. I have forgotten how much they go for normally. It can measure just about anything you would normally run into and is a long term investment.
     
  12. backalleyblues

    backalleyblues Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Flukes are really nice, but as noted, pricey...

    +1 on the Harbor Freight meter, good for around the house (and guitar) metering without breaking the bank. I've had mine for probably 3-4 years now, it's in my soldering kit that goes with me to gigs (and yes, I've actually used it on gigs-rare, but it does happen).

    Franc Robert
     
  13. wnorcott

    wnorcott Tele-Holic

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    I will add my 2c on the subject I realize we all have different opinions and I respect yours

    I won't use anything as cheap as a $5-10 meter and I don't use the $4 8-piece screwdriver sets to work on my guitars or a $8 soldering iron to build effects, and I do not use $5 headphones to mix down recordings either. :lol:

    I am not saying you can't or that I never did in the past, rather I learned my lesson.

    As with most things you get what you pay for and as with most things especially tools (which this is) there is a price point where you start to get true value for a not a lot of money which is different to me at least than the cheapest you can get. I like a full size meter too unless you plan to tuck it in a tool box.

    Because what is your time worth ? I want the meter to last. I want to to stay accurate, I want it to still work if it falls of the workbench. Those you start to get a capacitance meter, transistor test and diode test and backlit display, a Hold button, auto shutoff etc.. Backlit is very useful thing to have.

    I am using a Mastech MS8229 which is a full sized $90 unit from the manufacturer I think it list for $150 or so which is full size. That has all the bells and whistles measure light, sound (decibel meter) , humidity plus every electrical measurement. And they have LARGE readable digits that can be read from a distance. No it is not a Fluke but it is 1/4 the price.

    I also have an old BK as a backup to the MS8229 or if I want to measure two things at once (!) in a circuit which I actually do sometimes.

    For a handy size like for the garage or to keep on my desk at the office I use the smaller size Mastech MS8221A which are $15 + shipping off of ebay but those smaller ones do not do capacitance although surprisingly it has a diode tester and transistor hFE tester built in and a temperature probe (!)

    I think capacitance reading is a must for working on audio gear though. I can't imagine not having that because the "true" capacitance and what is printed on the component are two different things. +/-20% tolerance a lot of caps


    Bill
     
  14. <jbc>

    <jbc> Tele-Holic

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    +1 MASTECH

    I've got a MS8218 meter. For ~150CHf its got all the bells and whistles. Calibrated and 49999 counts. Its even got an opto-isolated rs232c uplink!

    I've also got an MS5300 LCR meter, 5999 counts, that measures to 60H/6mF. No more fiddling around with bridges.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  15. Brendan

    Brendan Tele-Holic

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  16. RocketshipChair

    RocketshipChair Tele-Meister

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    The $4 harbor freight DMMs aren't bad at all for the price. Still, I prefer something at least over $20. I wouldn't spend a large amount on your first multimeter though, just in case you drop it or fry it. Not saying that you will, but ya never know.
     
  17. 6942

    6942 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sears, Lowes, & Home Depot.....all have decent DVM's for under $50.

    Just my opinion mind you........................
    But I used an ANALOG Simpson 260 for almost 35 years.....inside & out......in all kinds of weather & temp. conditions......covered in oil & grease, while repairing trains.
    Accurate & bullet-proof.

    Steve
     
  18. <jbc>

    <jbc> Tele-Holic

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    I had a Simpson 270 with the mirrored scale. Accuracy and ruggedness are generally incompatible attributes, especially for galvinometer movements.

    My serious recommendation for a DVM is that is should have at least a CAT II safety rating, and preferably CAT III. The hi-tension supply found in valve equipement makes no apologies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2009
  19. Jerry J

    Jerry J Tele-Afflicted

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    Don't forget Radio Shack - my DMM cost $39, is accurate and fused. I thought I ruined it a couple of times but luckily the fuses blew. Just make sure you have a couple of spare ceramic fuses.
     
  20. Slow Reflexes

    Slow Reflexes Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dunno about the shipping, but the first result I came up with on a Google search shows a $45 listing.

    Mastech MS8229
     
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