Please help me decide on a Multimeter

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

  1. Mechanic

    Mechanic Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Location:
    Over the hill and far awa
    I’ve used Flukes for high voltage testing, 750 dc and 320v a/c 3 phase. Doing roof top testing it got away from me and dropped 20’ onto a concrete floor. The rubber housing protected it and it still functions quite nicely. Kid that inherited it from me when I retired uses it 5 years later. Still meets calibration.
    Tough meter.
     
  2. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,633
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Funny you ask that as I am sitting next to 4 of them that I just replaced the batteries on. Everything from craftsman, greenlee, extech, flukes...a variety. For guitar stuff, I like analog devices rather than digital and would be my suggestion. The actual brand doesn't really matter as they all will be accurrate enough for our needs and very cheap. The key is good insulated electrodes.
     
    awasson likes this.
  3. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Age:
    55
    Posts:
    5,095
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Vancouver
    I’ve got close to a dozen meters. I use my Fluke mostly. I bought it nearly 30 years ago when I ran an electronics shop. The rotary switch is nearly worn out but it’s still the one I grab most of the time. I’ve got a radio shack meter with capacitance and transistor testing I use from time to time as well and for really accurate tube stuff, I use my FET Radio Shack analogue meters. I’ve got a few of those as well. Somewhere around I’ve also got my dad’s old Vacuum Tube VOM. I’ll have to dig that out one of these days and recalibrate it. He probably bought it when he was a teenager.

    If I were buying one for guitars and effect pedals, I’d get something like the Radio Shack digital meters. Cheap and effective.

    If I was interested in matching transistors, I’d get one of those purpose built units. As it is, I’ve got a little rig I knocked together for measuring leakage but one of those purpose built units would be much quicker and easier to use.
     
  4. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    226
    Joined:
    May 29, 2019
    Location:
    Drambuie, Africa
    The 117 is overkill with the voltage proximity sensor.

    The 115 (and 117) will measure capacitance, and frequency too. Seem just about right for this old man. I worn out (broke) my first fluke, a 112 after about 20 years of daily service in the worst conditions possible (golf course irrigation troubleshooting). My "new" 117 has been going strong for 10 years. And yah... I been doing this job for about 38 years. Before the Fluke's, Simpson 260-7 and 260-8 meters, which are good for some things (especially where you have long wires picking up lots of stray RF), but not the best for guitar, amp and effect work.

    For my own personal meter, a 115. I expect it to last the rest of my life, and be passed along, still working fine, to the lucky basstidd that gets my crap when I cash out.
     
  5. Urshurak776

    Urshurak776 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    714
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Location:
    Charlotte
  6. Bill Moore

    Bill Moore Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,084
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Location:
    Silver City, New Mexico
    zippofan likes this.
  7. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,633
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    I had to revist this thread because I just picked up a new meter after spending the last week going crazy doing research on what is out there today. I went into this looking at mid-priced quality meters and poured over spec sheets, videos, blogs, etc. trying to identify the good ones....and there are several out there. The trouble came when I zeroed in on a meter and saw someone open them up to peak inside...not very impressive much of the time. There was a nice Mastech meter that I was considering after reading praise all over the web, but when it was opened up, the fuses were crappy unbranded banded ends sort of a deal. That was not a good thing to see.

    I found a few others (Greenlee, Brymen, Ampro, Uni-T) that all looked pretty good, but the leads looked like junk and they were now in the $100 range or more. There was even the EEVBlog version of the Brymen meter that looked great and checked all the boxes, but we were now in the $200 territory and at that price you might be able land a used Fluke meter with little wear....and that is what I did.

    You can still find some really nice 87iii, 177, 179 meters out there for sale that saw little usage and some of the 177 meters could even be found new out of box around $200. That isn't cheap and over-kill really, but a far better meter than the $100 mid-priced ones with poor leads and God-knows what inside the case. You might even get really lucky and find a deal on the 87V which looks to be a great meter, but it is also very popular so the prices remain high.

    Since most of these Fluke meters are over-kill for our needs, I thought I would look for a less popular meter that still met all my needs in hopes of finding a better deal. After reading up on the Fluke specs sheet, I looked to the model 187 which was essentially the 87iv before being renamed. It isn't as popular nor as ergonomic as the other 87-series meters (has the integrated rubber shell instead of the removeable holster, etc.) but it looks to be a very accurrate and well built meter. In fact, unlike the others, you don't have to open up the case to replace the battery and fuses as it has a seperate access door which I really love to see. It also used AA batteries instead of the 9 volt which I prefer....don't really like the push on connector of a 9 volt all that much. So, yeah, seemed like a good option to look into.

    There weren't that many out there for sale, but what was out there ran about the same price as a used 87V series so it wasn't looking to be a bargain at first, but sometimes you get lucky. I asked the electricians that I used to work with at the local nuclear power plant for their input and the plant often used the data loggers like the 289 and above series, but they did give me the number of a place that did their calibrations and also leased meters. They told me that the 187 was discontinued by Fluke and so they are no longer leasing that model....BUT they did happen to have one left that they were planning on selling off at their annual auction in October.

    And so it went, the 187 looked mint and had been used only for rentals. Calibrations were maintained each year and they even agreed to include a new calibration as part of the deal. Soft case, meter, fluke leads, and owner's manual on a thumb drive out the door for $135! Still more than I planned on spending or really needed to spend for this hobby, but I am actually pretty happy to upgrade to a quality meter. So, my advice is to consider those 187 units as well as the 177, 179, 87iii, 87iv, 87v meters if you want a professional quality Fluke meter at a good price. There are some good deals to be had if you look.
     
  8. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    2,232
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Independence, MO
    Looks like you got a really good deal on a really nice meter! (Fluke, True RMS, 4 1/2 Digits, Nice!)

    Congrats!
     
    Milspec likes this.
  9. kingofdogs1950

    kingofdogs1950 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    69
    Posts:
    602
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Franklin, Texas
    I had a Fluke 179 that I gave to my nephew. He is a heavy equipment mechanic and tells me he uses it every day. I thought my spare meter, an el-cheapo, would be ok. Welll.... I guess technically it would do the job for the usual guitar and tube amp work but I've been spoiled and pined for another Fluke. I looked on ebay and ran across a new listing for an used 87v complete with a huge set of probe/leads for $150. This was last year. Looked unused. I replaced the batteries just to be sure. Some times you get lucky.

    Mark
     
    Milspec likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.