Multimeter recommendation

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by RdAdr, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. RdAdr

    Thread Starter Member

    May 19, 2013
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    Can you recommend me a good multimeter?


    Some multimeters measure frequency. But what frequency? To any periodic signal or just to a sinusoidal signal?

    Also I see:
    200/2k/20k/200k/2M/20M/200MΩ

    What does it mean? The range is from 200 to 200MΩ or it can also measure resistances below 200?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  2. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    What features do YOU need?
    Voltage levels to measure?
    How much are YOU willing to spend?
     
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  3. Sinus23

    Member

    Sep 7, 2013
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    Most if not all can measure resistances below 200Ω. But if we are talking about milli ohms or less that will depend on the meter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  4. MrSoftware

    Active Member

    Oct 29, 2013
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    As @mcgyvr mentioned, there are oodles of choices, all with different features and specs, and different strengths and weaknesses. Based on the questions you're asking, I think you will benefit from the videos below. My suggestion is get an inexpensive one, maybe around $50, and use it for a while. They you'll have a better idea for what your real needs are and at that point you can splurge for a better one if necessary, but you might be fine with the $50 model. These videos were helpful to me when I was shopping, I think they'll help you too:





     
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  5. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    You can also get them off ebay for $5- $10 with capacitance, transistor- Hfe tester and diode checker (fwd V drop).
    Max.
     
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  6. RdAdr

    Thread Starter Member

    May 19, 2013
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    Thanks for answers. I think I will get a cheap one and go from there. It's my first multimeter.
     
  7. hp1729

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2015
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    Re: Cheap one
    Good choice until you know what your needs are. Use cheap ones first and you will appreciate the features of the better ones if you really need them.
     
  8. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
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    Keep in mind, with multimeters, you can get a lot of features for little money if you shop around. What will cost you big, is accuracy. Not sure your intentions, but for 99.9% of the uses I have for a handheld meter, entry level precision is perfectly suitable.

    As for features (aside from the normal VIR), I often see some low end units leave out Frequency, Duty Cycle, Diode Vf, Continuity, and Capacitance. As always, it depends on your needs.

    As for a recommendation, for a good low cost unit, this one has been an unbelievable bang/buck:

    http://www.amazon.com/Mastech-MS8268-Digital-Manual-Multimeter/dp/B0050LVFS0/
     
  9. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
    12,963
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    While we're talking cheap, I prefer free. Haven't paid for one of these yet, and I have a half dozen.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I tell noobies to get the Harbor Freight $4 meter with the admonition, "You're going to blow up a couple before you get good at this.":D

    Yeah, that's the one wayneh just posted.
    I'ts a POS that won't last a year, but that's long enough for you to get familiar with how meters work. After you know your mind, you can make a wise purchasing choice.
     
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  11. Dodgydave

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 22, 2012
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    Your budget will dictate the quality of your meter, if its no problem with the cash go for Fluke, Uni-t, Avo, otherwise get a cheap autoranging one lots on the Internet or electronic stores.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  12. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    I'm with those who suggest starting off with a cheapie and eventually spend on features found to be needed.

    Even people with plenty of experience have the odd off day and blow up expensive test gear.
     
  13. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    I don't argue with the POS, but I still have all but one of mine - the probe came off the wire. I don't think I've even replaced a battery yet. I did blow the fuse on one a few years ago and was stupid enough to replace it before I realized the fuse cost more than the meter.
     
  14. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I keep a few in the tool box in case I forget the Fluke or something goes wrong with it. A few days ago I dropped one of the cheap meters in the bin because it wouldn't start up.
    Probably the battery died of old age waiting for me to need it.:D
    No problem. They are free on a coupon day.;)
     
  15. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    I tenth (or so) the recommendation to start with a cheap meter.

    I frequently find it useful to use multiple meters at the same time to monitor various test points in a circuit and I do so far, far more frequently than I ever have need of a result that is accurate to more than a few percent. So having many small, cheap meters has far more utility that having one really expensive one.

    Use the cheapy until you encounter something that the cheapy can't do. At that point, get a meter that is just good enough to meet your immediate needs and your KNOWN upcoming needs. Don't start spending extra money to get something that would be NICE to have or that you WANT to have (unless you understand that this is what you are doing and that you are probably pissing your money away -- if it gives you enough pleasure knowing that you own something that can do things that you will probably never need to justify the cost, then go for it).

    Even if you end up buying another meter a bit sooner because the last one didn't have some whistle you didn't foresee, at worst you end up with one more meter in your toolkit, which is almost never a bad thing. Just console yourself with the knowledge that had you bought a more expensive meter it very possible still wouldn't have had the right whistle you later needed precisely because you didn't foresee it in the first place.
     
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  16. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    I faced that choice when buying a calculator. The TI-30 doesn't have any buttons I don't know how to use. Gosh it's convenient to not have to drill down to the third function on a calculator that "does everything". I suggest the same philosophy in a multimeter.

    A super-dooper, "does everything" meter is just annoying. Even if you can afford it, it's a PIB to use on a day-to-day basis.
     
  17. ISB123

    Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2014
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    I'd rather save 300$ for cheap oscilloscope than pay 150$ for good multimeter.
     
  18. WBahn

    Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    Agree. I have three "good" meters. The first digital meter I ever bought, which was a Micronta (Radio Shack) that I bought in the 1984 time frame. It was a basic meter and was about $30 at the time. It is still my primary meter after all these years. This despite doing my best to smoke it shortly after I bought it by checking the voltage on a wall outlet after just having measured a current draw on the unfused 10 A current scale and forgetting to move the lead to the voltage port. Immediately blew the breaker and I thought for sure it had blown the meter -- but it still worked just fine.

    I bought another Micronta a few years later because I needed the capacitance measurement capability. I don't use this meter much because it lacks the auto-off feature that the older one has and, as a result, I tend to chew up batteries with it.

    Then I have a Fluke (87?) that I inherited along with a bin of used parts and equipment that I picked up from a company that agreed to give me everything that was in an old lab in exchange for a couple hours of consulting work -- basically they were cash strapped and also just wanted the junk gone. I'm sure it was a mistake that the meter was in there, but when I took it back to them and offered to return it, they said that no one had opened those drawers for years and so obviously they didn't really need it -- especially not bad enough to welch on a deal.

    Somewhat to my surprise, I hardly ever use the Fluke -- and I really don't know why. Maybe it's just that I am so used to that old Micronta and the fact that it has always treated me well.

    Then I have about seven other meters that start at the basic MasTech and go downhill from there.
     
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  19. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    A meter I got awarded for letter of the month in an electronics magazine got given away still sealed in its original packaging to someone who only wanted the battery.

    In recent years, they've been awarding much more useful instruments, and I haven't given either of those away.
     
  20. ian field

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 27, 2012
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    Most hardware stores stock them these days - there's probably one or two supermarkets doing it too.

    A basic but functional meter can be had for pocket money price - then, that OOPS! doesn't hurt so much.
     
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