Your favorite multimeter?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by 2cool2hear, Dec 4, 2014.

  1. 2cool2hear

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 1, 2014
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    What's your favorite and why? What can it or can't do?

    I'm looking for a reliable multimeter that will last me years, trying to avoid buying a junk.

    Right now I'm experimenting with Make: Electronics book, learning about electronic components, then I'm going to need a multimeter to be able to use it on things such as cars, house appliances, electronics, high-power equipments such as welders, etc. Suggestions are welcome!

    Many thanks :)
     
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    The group wisdom around here is Fluke.
    My Fluke 27 cost $300 in 1977, it has never needed a repair, and it is still my every day meter.
    On the other hand, you can get a lousy meter at Harbor Freight for $0 to $10, depending on what days they are on sale. You won't cry if you blow that one up. :D
    I keep one in my tool box in case my real meter breaks or I forget it one day.
     
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  3. 2cool2hear

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 1, 2014
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    There's an overwhelming number of different fluke multimeters, what's the best way to find out which one will fit my needs?
     
  4. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    The cheapest one.
     
  5. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    This is my multimeter. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

    I had two until recently. A Fluke 111 I picked up for free when no one was looking (it was destined for the same warehouse seen at the end of "Indiana Jones") and an old Radio Shack something. The RS did good work until this summer when it went seriously out of calibration (+20% on AC) but my best leads have always been on the Fluke.

    Having two meters is a blessing. I would use the cheapie when say working on the car or Christmas lights or any harsh environment. Sad to see it go.

    One thing I will add never mentioned in specing these things is get one with a little heft to it, least you pull it off the workbench every time you streach the test leads.
     
  6. MikeML

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 2, 2009
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    I have several Flukes (75 and 77). I have one of the HF cheapies in each airplane, the motor home, the jeep, the truck, tool kit.
     
  7. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
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    This is my all-around favorite for low voltage / current work... I won't hook it into an uncertain circuit, since I " retarded " it once many long years ago
    Fluke was kind enough to correct my snafu, and re-certify the unit, even though out of warranty
    The contraption on the side, is a means to avoid lead-switching for the current functions, and changing the 300 mA fuse.
     
  8. BReeves

    Member

    Nov 24, 2012
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    I have a 30 year old Beckman 310 and a Radio Shack something that is 20 years old. Both still working fine. I usually just grab which ever one is closest. If I were looking to buy new it would likely be a Fluke as Beckman is no longer making meters.
     
  9. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    If you bought a reliable meter it's a Fluke.
     
  10. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    First, inventory yourself. Decide what you already know how to do and what you intend to do in the future.
    Next, inventory the meters. Will any of them do everything you thought of? Not likely, but 6 or 7 will do almost everything you can think of. Throw out any choice that is missing a critical, must have, ability. Then pick the cheapest of what's left.

    It isn't perfect? Too bad. There isn't a pro anywhere that doesn't have two or more meters, and you can buy the second meter after you get familiar with the first one. You might be surprised at what you can do with a good meter, after you get to be friends with it.
     
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  11. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
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    This has been my favorite meter for the last twenty years. I bought it broken for $10 and repaired it. It has never failed me. I like the manual zero feature on the ohms scale. The portable DMMs I buy are the No-name $50 variety.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    You can still buy those!
    Is that LEDs on a battery or is it a plug-in?
     
  13. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    Looks like a trim pot and resistor.Dave did a video on that multimeter.
     
  14. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    One irksome thing with some of the Fluke series including my 77 is before the low battery indicator comes on, you start getting very weird, explainable readings.!
    Max.
     
  15. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    I've always wanted a Fluke (the one I'm familiar with from my time at NIST is the Fluke 77) but have never had the money and inclination together at the same time and place. My first meter was a Micronta (Radio Shack) that I bought in 1983 and it is still my favorite meter and still works great, despite some serious abuse. My next meter was a Craftsman analog VOM that I got in 1985 (part of a took kit I had to buy when I was going to A&P school) and it still works great -- used it just this past weekend. My other main meter is another Micronta bought in 1989 because I needed capacitance measurement which the other one didn't have (also got BJT hfe and diode check). I haven't liked that one as well because it doesn't have auto off and so tends to chew up batteries because I tend to forget to shut it off. But having multiple meters is very nice because there are LOTS of times when it is handy to be able to make multiple measurements at the same time. I've sense bought a handful of really cheap meters and I really can't say that any of them have been duds.
     
  16. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    For me it hasn't been much about brand, but about capabilities. I own two of these and they've never failed me. Also, they actually perform better than promised, ie: I can accurately measure frequencies of up to 15 Mhz instead of the 10 Mhz limit listed in the specs.
    From what you said in your post, you need it for general purpose things, so maybe you'll never need to measure frequency, capacitance or inductance. So I'll go with ISB123 on this one, and recommend you buy the cheapest one, for now... you'll be spending 10 bucks on something that you will probably replace later with a better one. But when you do, you will have a much better understanding of what you actually need it for.
     
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  17. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    I have Fluke 87 series 5. Bought used with broken switch and very dirty. The craigslist seller dug it out of the trash bin at work. A $12 switch and a spray of oven cleaner on the yellow bumper case - good as new.

    I have the Mil-Spec Fluke 8025 with the field case (indestructible). Dated 1983 - works perfectly. No capacitance or temp mode. One of the first meters with auto-range (a feature I wouldn't live without - can be changed to manual any time).

    Easily accessible spare parts on fluke.

    I have an old Digital LCD Keithly that I rebuilt / cleaned up. Corroded board from batteries. Dated 1977. Unfortunately, only a 200 count display but how often does one really looks at the rest of the digits? I have it connected to my power supply - the analog meter on the power supply is iffy.

    I have two kids with their own tools (they got meters for Christmas one year). - Kline from Home Depot. Essentially the same meter as the Fluke 83 but the price was $99 new with test leads and thermocouple. Marketed to the HVAC crowd (Kline's main market in hand tools too) but also perfect for the electronics bench too. MM2000 is the model I think. Look for the best one at Home Depot if in the US.

    I have an old radio shack Micronta analog meter from 1980 but out of adjustment and no recovery in sight - and no motivation to recover/rebuild it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  18. snav

    Active Member

    Aug 1, 2011
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    I have a fluke 27 in a case but for most everything in the field I use a fluke 117. The 117 isn't as accurate but a great knockabout and still reliable/decent accuracy. I would not use the 27 where the 117 goes servicing control circuits, hvac contactors, current loops etc.
     
  19. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    For these applications and your presumed experience level, I find it hard to recommend spending any more than $0. I have a half dozen of the Harbor Freight meters spread all over the house, garage and cars and even at family and friends. I would not hesitate to use one of them for most of these applications. They will last years and years just by shear numbers.

    If your needs advance to where the meter is standing in your way, then go buy a Fluke. Or watch garage sales and Craigslist for the next year and see if you can score a deal.
     
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  20. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
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    I am quite happy with my uni-t UT70A, it didnt cost much but is pretty rugged and accurate enough for almost any job.
     
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