Test Meter Recommendation

Hi all,
Back in my day when we wanted to test household cable insulation we got out a Megger and cranked its little handle up to 500V to check for leaks. But they don't seem to make these nifty little gadgets any more. :( Anyway, I guess they were a bit limited in some respects to be honest. So what's the thing to go for nowadays for the serious DIYer? Be nice to ha ve some functionality for testing how good an Earth is and such like simila r stuff 'n all. Any suggestions which won't break the bank? I want quality gear but don't want to pay for it. Preferably.
cheers.
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On Sun, 4 Aug 2013 15:00:48 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net wrote:

What do you want to do?
I bought a £19-00 DMM from Wickes that will test earth bonding, and could easily test leakage through insulation if I needed the facility.
You could go out and buy a mutifunction tester for a couple of hundred, but if you know the parameters you want to measure then producing the correct test Voltage and currents shouldn't be too difficult.
My wickes meter is a little out on the 0 to 20mA range (around 5% of the value read), but apart from this I couldn't complain. It's been soaked and Zapped with mains when left set to mA more than once. Apart from a few fuses it still chugs on.
A cheapo meter is more than adequate for my work, but I only work on my own property and I know exactly where the feeds come from and what they pass through protection wise.
I never actually got around to any high Voltage testing, for the simple reason that after wiring with new cable and components there seemed little point. In fact the most likely cause of such leakage would be water on an old installation and by the time the stuff had trickled into a JB it would probably show up on the Ohms range anyway. AB
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On Sunday, 4 August 2013 23:00:48 UTC+1, snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net wrote:

I bought a UNI-T electrical tester, and didn't expect too much from an unknown brand. I was pleasantly surprised by their quality, and it's done everything I want of it.
http://www.uni-trend.com/UT526.html
Bought mine through an ebay supplier:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_trksid=p3984.m570.l1313&_nkw=uni-t+526&_sacat=0&_from=R40
It's not Fluke/Megger/Other-tap-brand, and if I was doing work on a commercial basis I would certainly want something with a calibration certificate.
However for checking cables are undamaged after plasterboarding etc, I'd recommend it.
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On Mon, 05 Aug 2013 02:09:28 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gglz.com wrote:

I got this one:
http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Test_Meters_Index/Test_Meters_2/ index.html
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On Sun, 4 Aug 2013 15:00:48 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net wrote:

Find a thick electrical apprentice, get an accomplice to distract him with a mobile phone, a picture of tits, or idle talk about the x factor. Permanently borrow the test gear he was supposed to be looking after.
Maybe see report of another apprentice getting bollocked in here.
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On Monday, August 5, 2013 11:53:53 AM UTC+2, The Other Mike wrote:

I know just the chap. Only qualified a couple of months ago and ticks all the above boxes. This is the kid who told me (just before qualifying) that "even a couple of Megaohms can kill you" and he even reads Nuts and Zoo, too. Perfect!!
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They do, but not hand cranked. Electronics now.

Depends what you want to do. If you want to check an actual earth correctly, you'll need the correct unit which isn't cheap. Same for insulation. They cost so much it would probably be cheaper getting a pro in.
If you just need a general purpose DVM, prices start from a couple of quid. 30 or so will buy a decent enough quality one.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 05/08/2013 12:25, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

A nice description of why you never want to go poking about in a CU with a cheap meter:
http://www.myflukestore.com/crm_uploads/fluke_multimeters_-_abcs_of_multimeter_safety_multimeter_safety_and_you_application_note.pdf
or
http://preview.tinyurl.com/np96f4m
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My non too cheap Maplin Gold went bang on mains. And it was correctly set for 240v AC. What appeared to have happened was brass dust from the switch tracks causing it to arc over - after many years of use. But pretty well never on mains.
So I now only use a proper dedicated mains tester. One of these:-
http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Test_Meters_Index/Dilog_TM6741/index.html
I no longer trust the normal rotary switch type DVM at high voltage. Even my Fluke.
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On 05/08/2013 14:25, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

All the flukes I have seen the inside of, had proper input protection - probe sockets in shuttered off bits of case work, air gaps in the PCB, MOVs a plenty, and proper HRC fusing. A far cry from my Maplin "Precision Gold" jobbie.
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On Monday, 5 August 2013 18:17:53 UTC+2, John Rumm wrote:

th

ltimeter_safety_multimeter_safety_and_you_application_note.pdf

et

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That's the same one as mine that's just packed up: Maplin White Gold/Precis ion Gold model WG020. Had a good innings; really can't remember exactly whe n I bought it but it must have been well over 20 years ago. I've been havin g to use a cheap backup Draper pocket analogue multimeter instead. It claim s to be good for measuring up to 500V, but if I want to measure mains level s with it I hold both probes with one hand so if the insulation goes tits u p, I may get a belt but at least the current wont flow across my chest!
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On 05/08/2013 19:00, snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net wrote:

Mine is a M125 - probably also 20 years old. As a general purpose meter its not bad, but I keep it way from anything "high energy"

As the links illustrate, if an arc flash gets you, shock is the least of your worries!
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wrote:

Can't find a link but there are some stills around online with the result of a multimeter explosion. Cheap meters should be binned or confined to use on low voltage dc on the bench.
Interesting video of the indestructability of Flukes.... if you can stand the accent!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlA7-fh5nDQ

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Bizarre!.. Still I'd not using anything less than one of they for high power field work:)..
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Tony Sayer


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wrote:

There is no cause to be concerned with the engineering of Fluke meters.
Use fused leads if you are paranoid.
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On Mon, 05 Aug 2013 13:18:43 +0100, John Rumm wrote:

_abcs_of_multimeter_safety_multimeter_safety_and_you_application_note.pdf

And then there was:
http://ecmweb.com/arc-flash/case-deadly-arc-flash
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On 04/08/2013 23:00, snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net wrote:

ebay ;-)
(or £50 will get you a decent second hand battery driven equal of what you had before with the Megger name on it)

Well you have a few options...
Basically you need "proper"[1] test equipment designed for the job, and not a multimeter. This could either be up to three separate boxes (Insulation resistance and continuity tester, Earth Loop Tester, and RCD Tester) or an integrated box of tricks with all the features in one box.
Separate boxes - usually to 16th edition standard (i.e. Earth loop tester may lack a "no trip" test capability), are often around the £50 each for decent branded kit (Megger, Robin etc)
Integrated boxes can be had new for mid 300s normally. Dialog do quite a neat one.
[1] This is one of those occasions (where you may be routinely making connections to live circuits) where you *must* get something that is properly designed to do the job safely - that means decent input protection, arc protection, and a HRC fuse and not a piddly little 20mm glass one. There is some cheap kit on ebay, but I would be wary until you have seen exactly how its constructed.
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Cheers,

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On Mon, 05 Aug 2013 12:56:12 +0100, John Rumm

I think you'll find that those fuses are actually semiconductor rated devices. Designed to protect the electronics. It's an easy trap for the unwary to fall into though as they do look like a bog standard ceramic in some cases.
A DIY system is hardly going to be certified by the person dealing with it, so I would suggest anyone having a solid idea of what they are testing, could do the job with a cheap multimeter and a few ancilliary bits & bobs. I would have serious doubts that any DIY practicioner would "routinely" make test connections to live circuits incidentally. so wear & tear shouldn't be a major factor to contend with.
Personally now for the most part I use a none contact device, and although the thing, like any instrument "needs interpreting", it gives a good indication and has saved me getting a meter out on many, many occasions.
Whatever way it's dressed up, testing wiring is just an application and understanding of Ohm's law. In my experience even some of the cheapest junk on the market will provide measurements of more than adequate accuracy.
Now if you want something that's still useable after trying to find out how many Amps can come out of your 13A socket, a different level of instrument would probably be needed. I still wouldn't be too surprised if it failed to function after the fuse replacement though.
AB
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On Wed, 07 Aug 2013 11:37:05 +0100, Archibald wrote:

So how do you propose to test the insulation at 500V?
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Out of interest, I wonder just how often such a high voltage is needed when testing household wiring for poor insulation - especially with new or recent wiring. I'd say a simple resistance test with a decent DVM would be more than ok in the vast majority of cases. Might be different when checking ancient wiring.
I haven't the experience of the likes of Adam, but have yet to come across a fault like this that a DVM doesn't show up. And yes, I do have a high voltage insulation tester.
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