how hard is it to calibrate a fluke meter?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by strantor, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    This discussion came up from a topic I started in the flea market forum. I moved it here because it is a new discussion and I don't think anyone but #12 will ever see it if it stays in the flea market...

    oh I know too well the quality of fluke; I have punished them hard and they take it like a lumberjack. I use them at work, but work has more money to spend on a meter than I do. Even used, they evade my price range. I monitor ebay so I'm sure I'll find one sooner or later. The ones with incorrect readings or sold as parts go for cheap,
    like this one:
    Have you ever calibrated a fluke? Assuming the seller is full of hot hair about fluke calibrating for free, how hard do you think it would be to correct a problem as described above?
     
  2. SgtWookie

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    Calibration is not "free". They have to pay the calibration technician, the shipping department folks, the parts people, the supervisors and managers.

    Buy a meter that is still within calibration dates and has a warranty.

    In the electronics industry, test equipment needs to be calibrated on at most an annual basis.
     
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  3. ErnieM

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    30 to 40 volts out? I would not buy a meter that far out of "calibration."

    I suspect it's true condition is "broken."
     
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  4. strantor

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    Yeah, that's why I suspected the seller to full of hot air. I don't know how much Fluke charges for calibration, but I suspect it's not cheap. At work, we have a calibration company come calibrate all our stuff in house and they walk off with tens of thousands of dollars.

    I know that companies do this to conform with ISO standards and what not, but this is for my own personal use at home. Just an occasional check against known values would satisfy me; or at least I think it would.


    EDIT: I found an old qoute in my inbox from when I broke the banana jack on my Fluke 189 at work.

    Standard Price Repair and Calibration Traceable w/o Data .................................................................
    $ 174
    Standard Price Repair and Calibration Z540 Traceable w/ Data .................................................................
    $ 210
    Standard Price Repair and Calibration Z540 Traceable w/o Data .................................................................
    $ 180
    Standard Price Repair and Calibration, Accredited .................................................................
    $ 261
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  5. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

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    You also need to hope the sticker is meaningful. I had a Gersch Complex Ratio Bridge that was vital to maintaining the fire control interface of my cruiser. It had a bad tube.

    I removed the tube (left the shield loose in the case) and sent it to the base calibration facility. It came back in a few days with a calibration sticker and an empty tube socket, meaning an emergency trip out to Radio Shack for an Archer lifetime tube (we pulled out on a 6 month cruise the next day).
     
  6. SgtWookie

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    An excellent example of "pencil whipping" gone bad. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Adjuster

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    Dec 26, 2010
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    The vendor is essentially telling you that this meter is faulty. You don't even know that his description of the fault is accurate.

    You would do better to save you pennies for a good instrument than gamble your money on a piece of junk that will just waste your time, and then probably go to the dump.
     
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  8. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    Were you an FC? I was an FT (or what used to be called an FTG) - basically a Submarine FC
     
  9. #12

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    Those prices for calibration seem familiar. I think they came with mine in the original packing.

    One last kick in the head for strantor...normal people don't calibrate Flukes because the Fluke is usually better than anything else they have. I use the Fluke to calibrate the rest of my stuff!

    My favorite parts are the built in accuracy and dependability, followed by autorange, the ability to lock out autorange, and Max Hold. I can measure from 10pa to 10A, a tenth of an ohm to nanoseimens, a tenth of a millivolt to nearly a Kv, and it beeps if I tell it to (continuity check). I can buy adapters for temperature, Kv, and an amp clamp.

    Worst part? The $6 fuses.
    Don't worry too much, they only blow when it's your fault.

    Pick yours out carefully, cringe at the price, and get used to expecting the readings to be correct. Best wishes at having it last as well as mine has!
     
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  10. strantor

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    Have you used a fluke 289? The older flukes I loved the continuity check beep. The 289 I use at work is supposed to be designed for "the industrial professional" - with low pass filter for measuring frequency output for measuring VFD outputs and stuff. It was born for the factory - except for the beeper. I couldn't hear it from 2 feet away in the bathroom (yes I take it to the bathroom). My only complaint with any fluke to date.
     
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  11. #12

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    Now that's a hoot! I never used mine in the bathroom. My imagination is searching wildly for what you could do with a Fluke in a bathroom!
     
  12. nsaspook

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    I've tracked meter calibration records in our dept for almost 10 years, and sent in hundreds of fluke meters for calibration. I can't remember one that worked correctly but needed calibration when returned. Some of these meters are 20+ years old. 30 to 40 volts out is fried.
     
  13. beenthere

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    Nope, a DS (Data Systems technician). I was keeping up the Ford Instrument Fire Control Data Conterter (S/N 7).
     
  14. Thevenin's Planet

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    This Fluke,how is the a.c. current reading.This seem to be a big thing that most cheap meters don't have for some odd reason?
     
  15. #12

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    That question is hard to understand. How is the AC current reading? It's good. Very dependable. Just set the knob to AC current, move the red test lead to the "current" hole, and measure.

    I expect my meter just assumes a sine wave and tells me alleged sine wave RMS current. Other models can do "really" RMS.
     
  16. strantor

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    #12 what model fluke do you have? You mentioned it was 20 yrs+ and still kicking. I was thinking unstead of skimping out on the integrity of the meter I could sacrifice newness and go with an older model so I can stil get the accuracy and dependability of fluke. Only problem I see with the older flukes on ebay is they're bench top large models. I really had my heart set on a handheld.
     
  17. #12

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    I have a Fluke 27. I don't think they make 'em now, but you can't have mine!

    It doesn't have capacitance, temperature, frequency, inductance, or a tiny socket to test transistors, but I love it dearly.

    It does have V, mv, A, ma, ua in AC and DC.
    It has ohms from .1 to nanosiemens and "continuity". 3200 counts max.
    auto range, manual range, min hold, max hold
    and 2 dents in the front where something with a square corner fell on it.
    Still, it works flawlessly.
    I have even set it on voltage, put it in series with a very tiny load current and measured picoamps!
    10pa x 10 megohms = .1 millivolt
     
  18. someonesdad

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    Jul 7, 2009
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    I've got a Fluke 83 I've had for around 20 years. Even my cheapskate wife would let me replace it with another Fluke if it was broken or stolen, as she's seen me fix things (house, cars) hundreds of times (just today I was out in the front fixing a sprinkler solenoid valve). I have two very good bench meters: an HP 3456A and a Fluke 893A differential voltmeter and they agree to within one or two least significant digits to five significant figures. Not bad for instruments that are probably older than a lot of the readers on this forum. I've got three other digital multimeters besides the Fluke 83, but guess which of them is always right on? The Fluke 83.

    Fluke's aren't perfect. My display failed around 10 years ago probably due to a manufacturing defect and Fluke's less-than-stellar recommendation was to buy a new meter at full list price. I found a fix on ebay for $20 that worked perfectly. If you read the "limited lifetime warranty" from Fluke, you'll still see that the displays are reliability problems, as they only warrant them for a fixed amount of time; after that, you buy a new one. But I doubt Fluke manufactures its LCDs; it probably OEMs them from a big manufacturer. Though I wasn't pleased with Fluke's service on this, I'd mostly ignore it and replace the meter with another Fluke if I had to. I want a meter I can trust and Fluke has earned my trust, both on reliability and accuracy.

    BTW, to answer your original question, the meters aren't terribly difficult to calibrate (based on what I've read in the manuals); the trick is in having the calibration equipment. From the calling around I've done, I'd estimate a local cal lab would probably calibrate your equipment for a cost in the $150-$200 range. As a hobbyist, I can't justify this, so I don't bother calibrating my equipment. My lab measurement equipment tells me this is a good strategy with the Fluke.
     
  19. strantor

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    I found this on ebay; buy it now option for 315 bucks; others are selling for ~1000$. looks like it might be the predecessor to the scopemeter. it's such a great deal and I want it so bad that I am having trouble not buying it. i may not sleep tonight thinking about it. if someone would just go buy it that would be great. take it out of the equation for me so i can get back to the task at hand; finding a fluke that is exactly what I need, nothing more.
     
  20. #12

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    Save you from yourself?

    I'll try.

    1) I have never needed a scope for field work and I have a REAL scope on my work bench.
    Do you need a portable scope meter for your work?

    2) Rechargables look so bad compared to my Fluke with a 9 volt battery. I have to put a label on it to make sure I change the battery which can last 3 or 4 years under normal use and costs...what...$2.50 on a bad day?
     
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