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Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 11:10 am
by Sparky Williams
Can anyone out there give me some tips on buying a multimeter in terms of features to look for, brand, type, etc. I'm a beginner and am building two electronic circuits (DC) for the first time. One circuit will run on a 3 volt battery and the other will run on 12 volts DC. The instructions recommend I test it with a mutimeter. I don't want to spend more than about $35.00-$40.00. Can I get a decent one at this price, if so, could I get some recommendations? Any thoughts on Radio Shack meters?<p>Thanks.

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 1:15 pm
by Chris Foley
Hi. This topic was covered several months back under the heading<p>Buying a digital multimeter<p>Good luck.
Chris<p>[ January 06, 2004: Message edited by: Chris Foley ]</p>

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 3:04 pm
by josmith
If you're interested in the low end HF has there meter on sale for $2.99 again. I have several and they work great. The same meter sells for around $20 in most places(sears,wal mart etc)
Item 30756-4JKA go to the website and use the order from print calalog link.

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2004 7:59 pm
by Timothy Rasch
Radio Shack has #22-810 on sale for $15 and a True rms #22-816 for $69.99 . I own the true rms one and it works good.Rms,dc Accuracy comparable side by side to my Fluke 87-3 $400 but the diode test of 22-816 won't test two diodes in series or darlington transistors. I also own the Radio Shack 22-812 pc interface meter with software included for XP. You can wait for this meter to go on sale for $69.99. Right now it's 79.99.I use this meter almost everyday at work for troubleshooting Tv,Radio,Cd and it works good. It does test two diodes in series and darlington transistors.This is a good meter choice for a 4000 count meter.It also counts frequency to 4mhz, and duty cycle,but no rms on ac.

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 2:54 am
by cato
Fluke is a reliable name in multimeters, but they are out of your price range. <p>Right now I am using a multimeter that I bought at a hamfest for under $5. Its made in China. Its yellow, and a rather large handfull (compared to a Fluke). The diodes check buzzer is a bit erratic, but other than that, the meter is fine and is more than enough meter for your purpose. I don't know where you can get one. But I'm guessing its the same as the "HF" unit mentioned a few posts ago. <p>Basically, if it looks like a multimeter, and measures AC/DC Volts, Amps and resistance its gonna be good enough for your immediate needs. Diode checking is also a handy feature. Capacitance measurement is icing on the cake. The only other major issues I can think of right now are range, accuracy and fusing. Look at the specs for the Flukes and compare them to your needs and the specs for what ever $5 meter you can find (if you can find the specs on the $5 meter) <p>My recommendation is get the cheapest one you can find. Even if the $5 is a complete waste, it wont really matter in the long run. Use it as a learning tool, you will discover what features are important to you.<p>Oo ...one feature that is real nice that you prolly wont find on the cheap units is automatic hold...sometimes its difficult to get the probes on the right points AND read the meter at the same time, cause you cant look in two places at once. The fancy meters can grab the highest reading they see and hold it there so you can take the reading and then look over at the meter.<p>[ January 07, 2004: Message edited by: cato ]<p>[ January 09, 2004: Message edited by: cato ]</p>

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 12:14 pm
by Will
JoSmith - $2.99 looks great - what is the web site address for HF ? Thanks

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 1:11 pm
by MicroRem
hf = www.harborfreight.com<p>I have a couple of their cheapo meters and they work just fine when you don't need a lot of accuracy. Especially nice in field service where things are easily lost or damaged.<p>Tom

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 1:54 pm
by John Paul
HI,<p>I got this DIGITAL MULTIMETER from Habor Freight about a year ago for $20.00 and it seems to work well.<p>John Paul.<p>[ January 07, 2004: Message edited by: John Paul ]</p>

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 4:15 pm
by Timothy Rasch
My best advice is buy the best meter you can afford rather than a piece of junk [The $2.99 meter]. You will be disatisfied with it. Radio Shack's meters work good even for the Cheep $20 meters. Their accurate.

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 07, 2004 9:07 pm
by Sparky Williams
Thanks fellas for the good advice. That $2.99 special sounds awfully tempting.

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:41 pm
by josmith
I can't let that stand Tim. I've seen two rat shak meters blow up for no reason other than poor quality. <p>score rs2 hf0

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2004 4:04 am
by cato
By the way, the meter I have has model number DMT7 on it but it looks very much like this one:<p>
http://www.multimeterwarehouse.com/dt830bf.htm<p>The only other difference that I can see is that on mine the outline around the OFF mark is black and not red.<p>Like I said, I paid less the $5 for it (I think it was 3) and it had a battery in it. These guys want $10. <p>I think the same meter is being sold under a zillion model numbers....if you do a google on multimeter china you will find a zillion outfits like this one:<p>http://www.hebeiltd.com.cn/?p=multimeter<p>trying to sell the same or similar meters in large volumes.

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:01 pm
by i_myself_matthew
how about one of these?<p>http://www.simpsonelectric.com/270-5.htm<p> :D
my current meter is a fluke 111

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:52 pm
by amuron
Thats Simpson is good one. I've got a couple Simpson 260's and a Radio Shack FETVOM from the 70's. Besides the handle its been pretty much bullet proof. Analog meters are much better than digital in some cases. However some of the higher end DVM's have useable bargraphs for trend and pulse analysis.<p>I used to use Flukes in the early eighties, but had too many failures. They were about 5 steps below Radio Shack for reliablity. That changed in the early 90's. I've had 3 Fluke 87's and they are really nice and I've only had to send them back to Fluke a couple times. However they are a little spendy for out in the field.<p>Then I got a Sperry True RMS unit. It was ok, but it only lasted 2 years before the LCD died.<p>Next I got a Tektronix TX-3. The dual display and the pc interface really outshined the Fluke. I never had a problem with it, but my tech's died after 3 years. It had a 50,000 count mode which was really nice too. They don't make them anymore however.<p>I have the Radio Shack 22-801 and its proven to be excellent. However like many good Radio Shack meters they obsoleted it. I also have the pc interface DVM, and it works really well too, however I've only had it for 6 months. Sure wish it was true RMS.<p>One of my coworkers had a $30 HF unit. He was quite pleased with it.<p>One thing to note on any meter. Make sure it is rated for safe operation in the voltage range you wish to measure. There should be a class rating on the meter for safety purposes. You don't want to be working on 480V and have your meter short out and kill you...<p>Sure wish I could get another TX-3, but the low price of the Radio Shack units as well as the HF make for ease of field service. I've only lost 2 meters in 26 years, but I know if I took an 87 out, it would get lost or stolen....<p>Good luck
Ron

Re: Need Advice on Multimeter purchase

Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:46 pm
by Edd
AMURON:
If ? you still have the Sperry unit. A VERY common failure of them was for the plastic pressure plate behind the LCD display fracturing and leaving the contacts to the units not being made.Some times whole display would go bad or at other times digits/segments would drop out.Check it out.
73's de Edd
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