Multi-meter

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My ancient multi meter bought the farm. Any recommendations for a decent replacement. Bought a cheapie at Harbor Freight last year while out of town and that had a faulty connection and blew on first use.
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You can probably find a used on on Ebay. Simpson, Triplet, etc. Or, go back to HF, and buy another. HF also often has free cheapies with coupon. I've got assortment of thier cheapies. They work well enough for most tasks. They also have clamp on ammeters, which are useful.
Radio Shack used to have good meters. After they refused to send me my $40 rebate on my cell phone, I don't shop there any more. Real shame, they used to have good products. Honor and trustworthiness is important to me. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
My ancient multi meter bought the farm. Any recommendations for a decent replacement. Bought a cheapie at Harbor Freight last year while out of town and that had a faulty connection and blew on first use.
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On 7/1/2013 4:49 PM, Stormin Mormon wrote:

Interesting. My old Radio Shack one must be 40 years old and still works. Googling up a new analog one there shows it costs only $25.
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On Tue, 02 Jul 2013 09:03:37 -0400, Frank

About 35 years ago, I bought a Lafayette FET-meter. FET meters were around only for a short while. They were analog and had the input impedance of a VTVM but didn't require house current.
I measured a voltage when the rotating swich was in the Off position and burned some part out. It was a bad design, that connected the printed circuit traces even when the meter was Off. Took it to Lafayette and it took them 6 or 10 months to replace it. I almost went out to Long Island to demonstrate at their main store and HQ (although maybe that was for the settings book for the tube tester they sold me. That also took 10 months, but when it came, it was the factory book, complete with plastic binding, not a photocopy.)
I've also had several Harbor Freigh meters, including several that cost $3, when on sale, and they've all worked fine for years. If maybe they're off by !0 or 20% I don't know and I really don't care. Most of what I do doesn't require much accuracy. And if it did, I'd use the Triplett meter or one of the others.
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On 7/3/2013 3:02 AM, micky wrote:

I've never used it on house current or high voltage items. Just use on batteries or transformers and the like. Don't know how it would behave otherwise.
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On Wed, 03 Jul 2013 08:41:27 -0400, Frank

I've used one or more to see if there IS house current, and iirc they always said 117. Certainly between 115 and 120. My willingtness to accept one that was 10 or 20% off was never needed.
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Please don't buy it, if there is a Radio Shack rebate to send in. You probably won't get your money back. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
Interesting. My old Radio Shack one must be 40 years old and still works. Googling up a new analog one there shows it costs only $25.
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Pointer wrote:

I still have old work horse Simpson 260 and a modern digital meter with amprobe and temp. sensor. I use either meter depending on work at hand.
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It all depends on what you want to do with one. While not cheap at $ 100 a Fluke T5-600 is almost impossiable to dammage electrically with anything under 600 volts. It is good for general testing around the house. One 'problem' for home use is that it will not read low voltages to decimal places that you may need to check out a battery or car charging system.
They also make other kinds that are usually around $ 125.
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On Monday, July 1, 2013 6:30:58 PM UTC-4, Ralph Mowery wrote:

I have a digital Fluke that's 30 years old now. Accurate, solid as a rock. I've bought cheap Radio Shack, HF ones a couple times. Kept them on the boat, where if it got lost, stolen, fell in the water, etc, for $15 it was no big deal. They serve a purpose, but you only get what you pay for. The HF one for example, quickly lost it's accuracy and went off course by about 15%
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Yes, the cheap meters can come in handy as they are cheap enough to leave in differant places and if lost it is not that much of an expense.
I have a Simpson 260 that my dad had .. It is hard telling how old it is. I also have one that is over 25 years old that I owned. They both seem to be in good calibration as compaired to my much higher priced Fluke meters that have been sent off and the calibration checked against lab quality standards.
The old Simpson was hard to beat for the analog meters. You could damage the meter if you do not pay attention to how it is hooked and what scale is used. That is why I mentioned the Fluke T5. I used one at work along with about 20 other people that had them. They were used from low voltage up to some 480 volt 3 phase and I don't recall any going bad that were not dropped from a great height. One thing we used them for was checking to see if fuses were blown on live circuits. Even on the ohms scale with some 250 volts across them and they never went bad.
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I have a harbor freight that also has built in temp, humidity, light, sound level. It's cool. I bought a couple old Amprobes on EBay. I've gone through many meters over the years. When I left work, I also left an expensive Fluke, what $400 ? I got a bench Tripplet I need to fix. I have Tripplet old analog, good for HV. I got a Heathkit VTVM. I might also have an RCA Senior Voltohmist. Couple broken HF cheapie. The best meter, is one you have and works.
Greg
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gregz wrote:

Right. I have one of that RCA thing still working. As long as one knows what s/he is doing with the meter on what kinda circuits. i.e. I won't even think about using Simpson 260 trouble-shooting digital logic. Like wise I'd use Simpson 260 working on appliances, house power wiring, things like that. On cars I use laptop with OBD II interface box I built. Even checking accuracy of speedometer is possible with it.
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On Monday, July 1, 2013 4:23:44 PM UTC-4, Pointer wrote:

I got a sears multi-meter with clamp on amp meter. Looks a whole lot like a fluke. But less money. The trick is figuring out who made the stuff. I still have a 40 year old montgomery wards chain saw. It's really a mac.
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I don't think Sears makes anything, they just rebrand.
My Homelite chainsaw is an IBM clone / PC. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
I got a sears multi-meter with clamp on amp meter. Looks a whole lot like a fluke. But less money. The trick is figuring out who made the stuff. I still have a 40 year old montgomery wards chain saw. It's really a mac.
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On Tuesday, July 2, 2013 8:23:54 AM UTC-4, Stormin Mormon wrote:

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Sorry, I missed that. . Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org . .
I assumed everyone knew that when I made the comment "The trick is figuring out who made the stuff."
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On Monday, July 1, 2013 1:23:44 PM UTC-7, Pointer wrote:

A lot of Sears Craftsman meters are from ExTech, a company that was bought by Flir (they make infrared cameras and sensors, including for military fighter jets) a couple of years ago. If you want to see the widest assortment of meters, check the MCM and Contact East catalogs. A lot of MCM and Newark Tenma brand meters are ExTech.
I have lots of those super-cheap Harbor Freight digital meters. They're accurate enough, except on low ohms, and the LCD is better than that of my ancient Fluke 73, but I'd rather not use them on high voltage. I think Harbor Freight has all the user manuals for its products available online, and some of their meter manuals include schematics and calibration information.
Most meters are rated for a maximum of 500-600V, or at least have scales that go that high, but their fuses may be rated for only 250V, and fuses can explode violently. So even if you're not planning on measuring high voltage, maybe you should check for the presense of a 500V fuse because it may indicate higher quality construction in general.
A meter with tons of functions is the Uni-T UT-61E, about $60. I think it's reviewed at EEVblog.com, along with many other meters.
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On 7/1/2013 9:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

As others have said, it depends upon what you need to measure. I got an Extech MN35 digital multimeter from Amazon for $25.28 back in January. No complaints so far.
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On 07/01/2013 06:40 PM, snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com wrote:

I have noticed on my HF meter (one of the bigger ones with the rubber slip-on shell) that the banana plug interface between the leads and the unit are the cause of high resistance readings when shorting the leads (upwards of 10 to 15 ohms at times, and it is inconsistent). My guess is that whatever coating they use develops a skin, which messes with the readings.
The solution is to *gently* stick a jewlers screwdriver into the banana plug end to slightly bulge out the banana, causing it to make a more positive contact with the jack it goes into; this will return the shorted lead resistance back down to the 0.4 or so Ohms that I usually expect.
Jon
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