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Multimeter Advice

Discussion in 'Burnt Fingers DIY Effects' started by FosterF, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. FosterF

    FosterF Tele-Meister

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    I've recently gotten really into DIY pedals and I'm looking to get a multimeter specifically for that. What functions do I need to look for? I heard about some that give you diode readings so you can match them perfectly. Which ones come with this?
    Thanks in advance,
    -Foster
     
  2. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you're on a budget, you're in luck. I just went to eBay and there quite a few under $20. Luckily, the diode test is now pretty much a basic function these days. Many also read temp, frequency, and capacitance if you loosen the purse strings al little. I like my Fluke 77. I also have a couple of bench type meters.
    The market is really flooded with high end equipment if you look a little. Many companies (including mine) auctioned off semi truck loads of electronic equipment to get assets off of the books during the downturn.
    Happy hunting.
     
  3. BelairPlayer

    BelairPlayer Tele-Afflicted

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    Not sure what you mean by "match them perfectly" when referring to the diode test settings. The diode setting on a DMM allows you to check forward/reverse bias of diodes to test that the diode is functional. It's basically a go/no-go test. Look for a DMM that can do AC voltage and current as well as DC voltage and current. Diode tests are great. DC resistance is of course mandatory. A continuity tester feature is handy. Auto ranging and manual ranging are nice features. An analog style meter in addition to the digital readout can be hand for some analysis. Frequency testers can be handy although their usefulness is limited in most handheld DMM.

    You could do a lot worse than a Fluke.
     
  4. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    The diode test is a little more than go-no-go. It will give you the forward voltage drop in the forward bias position - useful for matching or comparing components. Maybe they're not all the same but our lab has a million of them and that's what they all do.
     
  5. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

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    One with AC and Dc voltage and current reading.If you can find a Fluke you won´t regret it.Bought my first in the ´80s.Hope my Granddaughter will like it.Not automatic range or hold function.Otherwise in fine condition.Buy quality and treat it right.
     
  6. FosterF

    FosterF Tele-Meister

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    That's exactly what I was talking about.
    If it juat says it has a "Diode Test" does this mean it will give me the forward voltage drop or will it most likely be a "go-no-go"?

    Thanks so much guys! It sounds like everybody loves Fluke. I'm taking a look at them and they look nice but a bit pricey too. Maybe I can find one on the cheaper side.
    Keep it coming guys!
     
  7. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Fluke
     
  8. Crawfish

    Crawfish Tele-Afflicted

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    Get a Fluke. New ones are pricey but worth it.

    If a new one is just too much, look for a used one. Tons on ebay.
     
  9. Big John Studd

    Big John Studd Friend of Leo's

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    I have the 29-Range Digital Multimeter from Radio Shack. Got it about ten years ago when they had it on sale one day for twenty bucks. It recently found it on the floor next to my workbench and one of the input jacks was cracked...darned kids! Anyways, it worked great up until that point and did everything you'd need for stomp boxes, amps, as well as replacing an electrical outlet or whatever. Fluke is definitely the gold standard if you can afford it though.
     
  10. FosterF

    FosterF Tele-Meister

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    I ended up buying a 46-Range DMM from radioshack. It has the diode and transistor test, auto-ranging, measures AC and DC voltage, resistance, capacitance, and frequency and has a PC interface to use with my computer! It seems like it's going to be perfect for what I'm doing! Thanks for your advice everybody!
    -Foster
     
  11. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

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    You scared me for a minute,by not writing that it measures AC and DC current.That´s the weak pöint on the cheapest meters.Luckily I could find Radio Schacks pdf-file for the meter and saw that it did measure both AC and DC current up to 10 A.Hope the quality of the meter is fine!(My heart started up again after reading the pdf-file.)
     
  12. FosterF

    FosterF Tele-Meister

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    Oops I accidentally left that out! Haha it looks like it's pretty good quality and should hold up pretty well. At some point I'll probably buy a Fluke but I just didn't have the money at this point. Thanks for your tips in helping me decide what I needed!
     
  13. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    Can be a false economy. I went through half a dozen cheap and mid-price meters before getting the Fluke. I shall never need to buy another.


    If you really need to measure AC voltage or current at anything other than mains frequency, then you need a moving-coil meter like an olde AVO-8. None of them do HF well, you need an oscilloscope then.
     
  14. limbe

    limbe Tele-Afflicted

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    Sometimes I find it useful to see how much current is going through the different windings on a transformer.I agree that for setting a precise value,an AV-8 or a similar meter like a Simpson,with a needle ,is best.What made me convert to a DMM,was partly that you didn´t have to worry about polarity when measuring DC.
    (I am a lazy sod!)
     
  15. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    And the Avo has a reverse button for that reason :D

    But we can't get the reference voltage battery cell for them so we can't measure ohms any more, but they are good for AC volts and amps (which btw doesn't have a polarity).
     
  16. Big John Studd

    Big John Studd Friend of Leo's

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    Great news! Although the input jack is sure enough cracked, it turns out the fuse must've somehow coincidentally opened at/around he same time because I just replaced the fuse (there was one conveniently stored in the housing that I never even knew was there!?!) and it's working like a champ...cracked input jack and all. The el cheapo Radio Shack meter rides again!! LOL.
     
  17. PennyCentury

    PennyCentury Poster Extraordinaire

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    Failed advertising slogans # 35:

    "If it's a good meter, it's a Fluke!"

    All kidding aside, I bought an Equus 3320 autoranging dmm from Amazon for under $20, along with a pair of Fluke test leads with "bed of nails".
     
  18. rolling56

    rolling56 Friend of Leo's

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    I still use my 25-30 year old Radio Shack. My older one got miss placed i guess............
     
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