Digital multimeter

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On Wed, 11 Dec 2013 09:15:31 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

One thing to consider is a lot of companies have a flat rate repare/replace policy. I got the HVAC oriented UEI clamp on meter at a garage sale for $5 but it was toast. They gave me a new one for about $40 on the repair deal.
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On 12/11/13 10:01 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Is there a digital equivalent of a Wiggy? Is induced voltage any concern for most household use?
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Something close is the Fluke T2. It has 2 leads attached. Just hook it up; and some leds will light up. It will indicate from 6 volts to 600. Indicate a short/or low ohms between the leads. I don't think they make it any more, but there may be an equal tester.
Very seldom is the induced voltage any problem around the house, but it can be.
Where I worked we had thousands of wires in conduits and it was a very great problem. The company would buy any meter I wanted and I had several Flukes, but often carried the old Simpson 260 analog due to the induced voltage problem. It would often show something, but only about half of what I expected to see if I was getting a true voltage.
There are some meters out that have a button or special position to help on the induced voltage problem now. Sometimes I made my own by placing a resistor across the meter leads.
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On 12/11/2013 6:04 PM, Ralph Mowery wrote:

For a Fluke, there is http://en-us.fluke.com/products/accessories/fluke-sv225.html which plugs in between the meter and leads and provides a lower resistance. Probably works with other meters with the same lead spacing and plugs.
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On Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:56:24 -0600, Dean Hoffman

I think the problem lies in someone thinking the voltage is really there, and wasting an hour (hours) trying to find out why it's there and get rid of it. Well, the voltage is tthere, but the charge in coulombs is very small. Because there is no load connected to it, it can be high voltage like that. The meter is a load but it 11megohms per volt, so high the charge doesn't get used up. If you were using an analog meter at 20 kilohms per volt, the meter itself would drain away the charge and make the voltage drop to zero.
I didn't realize, never saw any before yesterday, that not only does Amazon have ratings, they have comments on the rating comments. If you look at this conversation about the Fluke 114, that someone recommended, (Amazon.com product link shortened) you'll see "3. I believe he mentions the Fluke 115 model, but the 115 lacks the low impedance (Lo-Z) voltage measurement feature which is nice for two reasons: It eliminates weird induced/stray voltages by actually making the source do a little work,[and it automatically selects AC or DC]. This is the best and safest mode to use to verify absence or presence of live power."
This is the first reference I've seen to a digital meter that can do this.
Another guy goes on to cite his meter, that displays the AC and DC voltages at the same time. (Don't worry Jennifer, you'll almost surely never come across this.)
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On Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:22:12 -0800, Jennifer Murphy

I woudlnt' buy the cheapest digital meter, but one step up from that, which a couple years ago sold for about 19 dollars, at radio shack.
It will have autopolarity, don't have to connect black to negative.
Harbor Frieight has meters good enough for what you're going to do. and they are as low as $4 without being on sale Well maybe they are on sale but the sale seems to be on all the time. If there is no store in your town, the shipping charges might be high, I don't know. I ordered once or twice by mail before there was a store here, but I got several things each time and the shipping was a small fraction.
The only thing the $4 dollar meter is missing is an audible tone for checking continuity. Like to find out if one end of the extension cord is really connected to the other end. You can look at the meter and it should say 0 to 4 ohms, but it's easier if it just squeals, which many other meters do below 10 ohms or so. I have a couple meters that squeal, but I usually use use the 4 dollar HF meter and look at the number. Cheap is cheap and if I leave it on the engine of my car and drive away, I only lose 4 dollars.
I don't know why anyone would recommend you get a Fluke, for 105 no less. No one needs that kind of quality for home use, unless he fixes tvs at home.
The one known problem with digital meters is that they were sometimes show 20 or 30 VAC or maybe more on a wire that should be dead. And if it's live, it should have 117 VAC. So if you ever get a voltage in between 5 and 110, it's probably the fault of the meter, and the voltage is really zero. If you're not convinced it's really zero and it's important to you to know, you can get an analog meter, one with a needle that moves across and arc, for as little as $10 or 12 and that will NOT show the phantom voltage. But you dont' want to get that meter now and if an analog meter were to be your first and only meter, you'd want to spend about 25 not 12.
Remember to turn it off when you're not using it, though a feature of a few meters over 30 is tht they turn off themselves after a while.
If you're not sure the voltage, start with a high range like 200 volts, and then rotate the switch to lower voltages.
AND above all, never measure resistance until AFTER you have measured voltage, between the same two points. There should be zero voltage or you can't get a good resistance measurement, and if there is more than that, you might burn out part of your meter.
http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=multimeter just the first 3.
Estimated shipping for me for one meter was Standard Ground $6.99 Second Day $13.83 Next Day $26.66
That's 7 dollar more you can spend if you shop locally .
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While the $ 105 Fluke is high, it will often withstand a few things such as a drop to the floor or maybe hooking it to a voltage when set for ohms or current.
For most that seldom use a meter, the ones in the $ 20 to $ 30 range seem to be good enough. Many of the HF meters are not that accurate and may not hold up very well. But for $ 4 it may be worth trying one.
Just as most home owners should have a hammer and a few screwdrivers they should have a meter and have a fair idea on how to do a few simple tests.
I have a couple of the $ 300 or so Flukes, and an old Simpson 260 analog meter. Another handy tester for the house is a Fluke T5. It is just over $ 100. While it will not check voltages to the decimal place , for house wiring it is great. The thing is almost indistructable in the voltages found in most homes. I have used one at work and have it on the ohms scale and put it across some 480 volt circuits on pupose to check fuses. I would not recommend that with any of the inexpensive meters. I have seen saftey films where that was done with inexpensive meters and the meter arced over and the leads went up in flames. It also allows you to check the current drawn on a wire as it has a long slot in one end to put the wire.
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Yep. I've got a Fluke meter that's at least 30 yrs old. I gave a friend one that was 40 yrs old. Both work like new. Some ppl buy quality, others crap.
nb
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On Wed, 11 Dec 2013 05:22:12 -0800, Jennifer Murphy

Also, you should make or buy some wires with alligator clips on both ends. RAdio shack has a bag of 10, in 5 colors, for 4 or 5 dollars. You use one to clip one test wires in place, and then you only have to worry about the other test lead. There are 100 uses for these things. Once when a wire in my car's wiring harness broke, I used a 3 foot jumper wire to get home. I didnt' bother replacing it, and used it until the car died 3 years later. Then I took it off.
I've never had a harbor frieight meter break or any probelm with insulation up to 117 vac house current. I havent' measured higher than that lately.
Some meters have a separate place to test batteries, which provides a load and is better than using the regular 20 volt scale but not that much better. All you need to know is that batteries retain most o ftheir voltage until they're almost dead. So if a 1.5 volt cell reads 1.3 volts, it's worthless, 1.4 almost worthless, 1.45 not worth much.
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First of all, if you ever buy a Set of crimped alligator leads, take time and solder each FIRST. They will fail passing current otherwise at some time.
I have used many meters, and have many meters. Some are broke. Some need fuses. I like $400 fluke meters. My current grab and go is this".....
http://www.harborfreight.com/5-in-1-digital-multimeter-98674.html
Greg
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On 12/11/2013 6:32 PM, gregz wrote:

specs. The accuracy spec has a rider of 2x for 10C ambient change. And the sound level is +/- 3.5dB for an ear splitting 1kHz. sine wave and completely unspecified everywhere else.
Yep, it's Harbor Freight. I still think it's all cool and useful, just not enough to buy yet another meter.
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On 12/11/2013 8:32 PM, gregz wrote:

I just gave a customer a cheap Harbor Freight DMM and showed him how to use it to check the polarity of the power supply splice/links to the wireless IP cameras he wanted to install himself. $5.00 to avoid damage to equipment is a good investment. ^_^
TDD
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On Thu, 12 Dec 2013 01:47:14 -0600, The Daring Dufas

At that price you can give them away and the customer probably feels important, even better than having his first power tool, especially a power saw. A very good way to please customers, I'll bet.
I think a lot of people think meters are beyond them, so if they learn how, that puts them way ahead of those still out there who don't know what to do with them.
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On 12/12/2013 4:01 AM, micky wrote:

The nice fellow works as a millwright on industrial shutdowns so he winds up working nights and when people came on his property and stole his stuff, he decided to put up some wireless IP cameras. I can't climb ladders anymore so he wanted to install the cameras himself and to do so required splicing more wire into the feed from the wall plug mounted power supplies so I showed him how to test the DC power at the small power plug before plugging it into the camera. Anyway, I worked on his computer and DVR setting it up while he did the monkey work. ^_^
TDD
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For complicated things and even high voltages, I still have analog, VTVM. ESR meter for caps. Right, vacuum tube. Good for measuring leakage resistance over 100 M.
My triplet goes a few KV.
Autorange is good if you can put it on manual.
I used to use the fluke snap on adaptors. Spike points, they really dug into the metal. handy most always for resistance.
Greg
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You can do 90% or more of typical DIY work requiring a DM with the cheap ones available from Harbor Freight, often for free with a coupon and another purchase. Normal price is about $5 or so.
--
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.

Larry W. - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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On 12/11/2013 5:42 PM, Larry W wrote:

I do essentitaly all my VOM work with the free HF units. This includes home, and I've got several in my two vehicles. I use them for repairs of electric alarm locks. And a couple Sundays ago, used one to help fix a 300,000 BTU (think it was about that size) furnace at church. Recently gave one to a friend who was in town, and didn't have a VOM with him.
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Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Maybe for your type of work. Ever had one calibrated? I always maintain one meter calibrated. I don't send it to lab. I take it to where I uised to work where calibrated referwnce unit is maintained. I check mine against.
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On 12/11/2013 9:47 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

Never had one calibrated. Most of what I do, close is good enough. Fuse open, or not, that kind of thing. Have power, or not.
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I agree with the advice that's telling Jennifer to buy a cheap multimeter.
As DIY'ers, we seldom really measure anything other than voltage, and most times we're only concerned about whether it's there or not, and whether it's 24 VAC, 120 VAC or 240 VAC we're measuring.
I would tell Jennifer to buy a cheap multimeter than has a beeper to indicate continuity.
All of this other stuff, like measuring capacitance, is something a person rarely needs to do, and in those few cases, they can always take the capacitor to a trade school electronics instructor or any electronics repair shop to get them to measure it.
Fluke meters are great, but a lot of what you're paying for is the fact that they read true RMS voltage, which takes a little bit of electronic circuitry that a $10 meter doesn't have. But, the number of times where I've actually needed to measure true RMS voltage I can count on one finger. 99.9 % of the time we just want to know if there's voltage there, and if so, whether it's 24 VAC, 120 VAC or 240 VAC. You don't need the electronic wizardry that a Fluke meter would provide for that.
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nestork


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