Good value for a bench multimeter?

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
576
This owon model is only about 150 bucks, but none of the Amazon sellers has any reviews, thought? is this not bad for hobby use? (I want two which is why I'm looking for lower cost, lower spec).
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
28,474
Your are paying for features and resolution.
Do you need all that the OWON model has?
Do you need a bench type meter.

For example, most hobby work doesn't require more than 3 1/2 digits of accuracy/resolution, do you?

The resistance range has a 0.01Ω of resolution but you cannot get near that accuracy with a two-wire measurement.
If you want very low resistance measurements, you need an ohmmeter with a Kelvin (4-terminal) connection, but they are probably more expensive.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,483
Here are some actual reviews of the bench meter
OWON meter review


It needs better fuses and perhaps a better power supply. I don’t mind doing a little modification. The HY3131 is a 50,000 count chip.

HY3131 datasheet

Amazon listing is not clear whether you get the USB or RS232 port. It wouldn’t be hard to convert either way but would rather just get the USB port. That would need clarification. It looks like the latest units have USB.

I’m wondering if I have room on my bench for another piece of gear.

Ive put my order in, it says 4 week delivery through AliExpress, it was $126 delivered including tax.
 
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Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
576
Seems to me that these are inexpensive enough to be worth any risk. This is really hobby/recreation use too. I want two bench meters so I can simultaneously see current and voltage.
I have some old units but the feeble non-illuminated display is a real pain.

1638465455535.png

Having said all this I'm generally not drawn to el-cheapo products, so I'm now thinking two Siglents, an SDM3055 and an SDM3045.

These are identical sizes, case, layout etc and I'd have my two meters and one of them would be available for any serious stuff I might sometimes need to use it for.

This is more money of course but might be the more prudent choice.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,483
Here’s another review. It’s not a Fluke or Agilent but it seems that it’s within specs for what I will be using it for. I like how small it is and will most likely convert it to internal battery option with a rechargeable cell. There’s no reason our gear need to be 15” deep and weigh a ton. I will solder in fuse clips for the 6x30 fuses and put in real bussman ceramic fuses.

I won’t do a review since it appears that there are plenty online

 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
3,807
I have the VICI VC8145 and a Fluke 8050A. The only thing I wish is that the Flukes LCD was backlit (I guess it could be changed). I use the Fluke all the time as it settles a whole lot faster than the VICI although the VICI does a few things the Fluke can't like measuring in Farads and C°. VICI also has a digit or two more then the Fluke if you really must have it. The old Fluke is just much handier and was only ~$40 on eBay.
 

tautech

Joined Oct 8, 2019
233
Be careful with the Siglent SDM3055, the continuity test is at about 6 or 7V.
Diode and Continuity values from the datasheet:
Continuity Test: Range is fixed at 2 kΩ
Diode Test: Adjustable range is 0 - 4V
Continuity/Diode Test
Measurement Method 1 mA ±5% constant-current source or open-circuit voltage
Beeper yes
Continuity Threshold Adjustable
Input Protection 1000 V

Using it wisely is the key by setting the appropriate thresholds.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
576
Well I finally decided to just splash out, if I'm going to spend serious time I should not waste it fiddling with out of date or sub standard stuff, my bench PSU is feeble too so I just went whole hog and got these.

1 * Siglent Technologies SPD3303X-E Triple Output Power Supply
2 * Siglent Technologies SDM3055 5.5 Digit Digital Multimeter
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,483
Well I finally decided to just splash out, if I'm going to spend serious time I should not waste it fiddling with out of date or sub standard stuff, my bench PSU is feeble too so I just went whole hog and got these.

1 * Siglent Technologies SPD3303X-E Triple Output Power Supply
2 * Siglent Technologies SDM3055 5.5 Digit Digital Multimeter
good choice, one day I will get 6 1/2 or 7 1/2 digit Keithly but bench scopes can be handy just to keep things moving. Always on and in the right place. I have 8 DMMs and find it a pain to go find one when I need one on the bench. 50k count is reasonable. As the ADC gets higher, they get slower. I believe the data logging might be useful. It seems very accurate for what it is. I like the size because I make a huge mess and need all the bench space I have.

My next purchase will be a good LCR
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
576
good choice, one day I will get 6 1/2 or 7 1/2 digit Keithly but bench scopes can be handy just to keep things moving. Always on and in the right place. I have 8 DMMs and find it a pain to go find one when I need one on the bench. 50k count is reasonable. As the ADC gets higher, they get slower. I believe the data logging might be useful. It seems very accurate for what it is. I like the size because I make a huge mess and need all the bench space I have.

My next purchase will be a good LCR
I'm just a hobbyist (but did study electronics for two years full time before I ended up in software so I'm not really a novice) but always like to have something a bit better than I might actually need. I've been idle with this subject for a long time and only the past year or so begin to spend more serious time.

I want to do a ton of basic experiments with passive and active components, very keen to get more insight into op-amps too, got some excellent books and find this kind of self study very stimulating but not if my tools are feeble.

I have the Siglent 4chan 200MHz scope already so I think I'm well placed now to get my a** moving.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,483
Nice, I suggest for reading: electronic fundamentals by Floyd, many of us love the Floyd stuff. It’s written for techs and engineers alike with a nice foundation. After that electronic devices by same author.

The “feeble” tools of today would have been an amazing godsend when I started. Much of this “hobby” grade stuff is actually very good. I take my Flukes out to impress clients but when I’m working I have $20 meters that work just as well. Who needs 7 digits to check for bridging and basic troubleshooting? The nice stuff comes out only when I’m doing a particularly challenging analog issue(s). I also like to keep my nice stuff nice. The dings and iron burns end up on the daily drivers. Most times it’s continuity, diodes, voltage, current and resistance... Digital circuits are especially easy in that sense. I don’t trust even LCRs to measure correctly parasitic inductance in things or other critical problems.

I remember starting with a giant analog multimeter which was really bad. But it allowed me to “see” something which was important.
 
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Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
576
Nice, I suggest for reading: electronic fundamentals by Floyd, many of us love the Floyd stuff. It’s written for techs and engineers alike with a nice foundation. After that electronic devices by same author.

The “feeble” tools of today would have been an amazing godsend when I started. Much of this “hobby” grade stuff is actually very good. I take my Flukes out to impress clients but when I’m working I have $20 meters that work just as well. Who needs 7 digits to check for bridging and basic troubleshooting? The nice stuff comes out only when I’m doing a particularly challenging analog issue(s). Most times it’s continuity, diodes, voltage, current and resistance... Digital circuits are especially easy in that sense. I don’t trust even LCRs to measure correctly parasitic inductance in things or other critical problems.

I remember starting with a giant analog multimeter which was really bad.
I'll look for that book, thanks.

These two are also excellent books:

Practical Electronics for Inventors

Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits

The title of the first book almost led me to dismiss it from consideration, I'm glad I did not, it is a first rate book and does not shy away from mathematics or basic differential equations, I guess they use the term "inventor" in a serious sense, not simply a dabbler stringing stuff together.

I also have (and enjoy) the Art of Electronics but some here are unimpressed with that book, but as I said I'm a hobbyist.

When I was a kid and later when studying electronics, I had insanely poor equipment, a basic analog meter, later and "AVO 8" but again analog. No scope, no signal generator.

Yet I was able to get some good stuff working, if I'd has the kind of stuff I see today, even basic level stuff, I could have really dived deep into the subject.
 

Wolframore

Joined Jan 21, 2019
2,483
I’ve enjoyed both of those books, although I can’t say I’ve read them cover to cover. AoE has a lot of interesting insights that may seem like tangents to some.
 

tautech

Joined Oct 8, 2019
233
Well I finally decided to just splash out, if I'm going to spend serious time I should not waste it fiddling with out of date or sub standard stuff, my bench PSU is feeble too so I just went whole hog and got these.

1 * Siglent Technologies SPD3303X-E Triple Output Power Supply
2 * Siglent Technologies SDM3055 5.5 Digit Digital Multimeter
Good units and popular here in NZ where we are the distributor.
For the bench meter, when you get it check the firmware version and update to the latest from here:
https://int.siglent.com/download/firmwares/?ProId=26

For the PSU be careful with any regenerative loads and when necessary use a beefy series diode on the output ....that's about their only weakness but little different to most other PSU's.

If you have the 4ch X-E DSO there's a recent FW update for these too, an OS update and a firmware. Install both to enable the new features:
https://int.siglent.com/upload_file/zip/firmware/Oscilloscope/SDS1xx4X-E_OSV2_EN.zip
https://int.siglent.com/upload_file/zip/firmware/Oscilloscope/SDS1xx4X-E_V6.1.37R6_EN.zip
Check the instructions in the ZIP packages. ;)
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
576
Good units and popular here in NZ where we are the distributor.
For the bench meter, when you get it check the firmware version and update to the latest from here:
https://int.siglent.com/download/firmwares/?ProId=26

For the PSU be careful with any regenerative loads and when necessary use a beefy series diode on the output ....that's about their only weakness but little different to most other PSU's.

If you have the 4ch X-E DSO there's a recent FW update for these too, an OS update and a firmware. Install both to enable the new features:
https://int.siglent.com/upload_file/zip/firmware/Oscilloscope/SDS1xx4X-E_OSV2_EN.zip
https://int.siglent.com/upload_file/zip/firmware/Oscilloscope/SDS1xx4X-E_V6.1.37R6_EN.zip
Check the instructions in the ZIP packages. ;)
Well many thanks for this info, I will check the firmware and I think the scope also has slightly old firmware, I got about two years ago and just tinkered with it really, I'm always cautious about firmware updates that I don't "need" yet too, but I guess these are pretty safe to do.
 
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