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Old 26-01-2012, 09:25   #31
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Re: Multimeters

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Has the price of vodka and orange juice gone up that much?
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Old 26-01-2012, 09:33   #32
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Re: Multimeters

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I'm going to go start my own thread on the joys of owning a nice screwdriver, and a few of you are not invited.
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Old 26-01-2012, 10:06   #33
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Re: Multimeters

So the Fluke 77 and a decent DC "amp clamper". That should do me. I have several cheap and less-cheap models kicking around, mainly because forgetting to bring the right tool has led to duplicate tool kits aboard and in the garage (sigh). But offshore, I'll need reliable and I don't mind paying for it.

After all, you can just Velcro a simple multi to a bulkhead and touch the nearest terminal strip to get all sorts of "post-battery" information. It's not like functional cheapies get chucked. Just "repurposed".
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Old 26-01-2012, 10:45   #34
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Re: Multimeters

My 2 cents. Please consider meters by Simpson especially the 260 models. Simpson Electric is a Native American owned company on the Lac du Flambeau reservation in WI. I've had excellent experience with their meters as a HVAC technican and yard rat. For me, their product support was very good. As an aside, perhaps I'll buy a digital meter once digital compasses become the standard; until then, I prefer analog.
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Old 26-01-2012, 10:58   #35
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Re: Multimeters

"So the Fluke 77 and a decent DC "amp clamper". That should do me"
Can't argue with that if it suits you. For general boatwork and 12VDC systems, you can find cheaper meters ($50 new or used) that claim 1/2% accuracy on the 20 VDC scale, I expect the Fluke does that or better. The price of DC amp clamp meters has really plummetted in the last couple of years and while I wouldn't expect anywhere near the same accuracy from those, for dc amp measurements they should also be "good enough" since last-amp accuracy is usually not what you're using them for.
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:03   #36
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Re: Multimeters

I have one from Radio Shack. For my needs, and expertise, it suits.
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:17   #37
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Re: Multimeters

What about the diode testing capability. Is that a nice thing to have?
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:27   #38
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Re: Multimeters

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"So the Fluke 77 and a decent DC "amp clamper". That should do me"
Can't argue with that if it suits you. For general boatwork and 12VDC systems, you can find cheaper meters ($50 new or used) that claim 1/2% accuracy on the 20 VDC scale, I expect the Fluke does that or better. The price of DC amp clamp meters has really plummetted in the last couple of years and while I wouldn't expect anywhere near the same accuracy from those, for dc amp measurements they should also be "good enough" since last-amp accuracy is usually not what you're using them for.
Let's see... 0.5% on 20VDC scale is an error of 0.1V This means that you can't check if your charger is charging your batteries with 14.4 or 14.5 V. There are times when 0.1V does not matter much, but that time is not on boats with DC wiring. Other projects where you need better resolution is finding voltage drop on wiring, terminals etc. These are often occurring measurements.

ciao!
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:29   #39
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Re: Multimeters

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I'm going to go start my own thread on the joys of owning a nice screwdriver, and a few of you are not invited.
I'm with you. Over the years I've collected three rollaway tool boxes full of tools and still have them all, and in excellent shape. Because I don't loan out tools w/o collateral of twice the value.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be.................
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:48   #40
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Re: Multimeters

Nick, going from 1-2% error ($15 meters) to 1/2% error isn't expensive, but the next step up to 0.1% or better, may require a $300-400 meter. I agree with that for a professional, but for the individual user it pushes the limits. Especially if you want 0.1% plus-or-minus 1 least significant digit.

And then once you have the $350 meter, you're still going to send it out for calibration every year for another, what $50? On a Sundeer 64, you're in what, the top 1% of private boat owners? Ain't gonna happen for the average boater, for the other 99%.

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The odds are you'll never use the diode function, the ohmmeter functions are probably all you'll ever need, and alternator diodes the only diodes you'll ever encounter on a practical basis on most boats.
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Old 26-01-2012, 11:57   #41
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Re: Multimeters

I use the diode function on speaker (beep mode) to check for continuity, so I don't have to look at the meter while doing multiple tests.
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Old 26-01-2012, 12:21   #42
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Re: Multimeters

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Nick, going from 1-2% error ($15 meters) to 1/2% error isn't expensive, but the next step up to 0.1% or better, may require a $300-400 meter. I agree with that for a professional, but for the individual user it pushes the limits. Especially if you want 0.1% plus-or-minus 1 least significant digit.

And then once you have the $350 meter, you're still going to send it out for calibration every year for another, what $50? On a Sundeer 64, you're in what, the top 1% of private boat owners? Ain't gonna happen for the average boater, for the other 99%.
Thanks, but I really think my battery charger and my voltage drop on cabling is very much the same as for smaller boats. No idea what the size of the boat has to do with it?

cheers,
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Old 26-01-2012, 12:44   #43
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Re: Multimeters

Okay, I'll do the math. If you buy a Fluke 115 DMM which will cost you $125.- at Amazon.com, then you get

For 12VDC a 0-60V range with

- resolution of 0.01 V
- precision of 0.5% of reading + 2 digits.

Let's say you are checking the absorption voltage of the battery charger and using this meter you measure 14.42V. The question is how accurate is that?!

Start by taking 0.5% of the measure value: 0.007221V
Now we must add 2 (least significant) digits. The resolution shows that LSD as 0.01 so two of them becomes 0.02V

Now we add them up: 0.007221 + 0.02 = 0.027221V

This means that the real voltage we measured is between 14.392779V and 14.447221V and let's write that as 14.39 - 14.45 V. This is accurate enough.

The meter I referenced here is also a True RMS AC voltmeter, plus it is actually calibrated when you buy it. Even if another meter costs $1.- I can't think of any good reason to buy that over at least a Fluke 115. Money is certainly not a reason because the dollar-store meters will cost you much more in the end.

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Old 26-01-2012, 12:50   #44
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Re: Multimeters

del, yours beeps on diode mode--but not on the other ohm ranges?? My beeping meter beeps on all ohm ranges.

Nick-
The size of the boat indicates that you are a relatively wealthy boater, and that what you can afford is out of reach of most boaters. Something like 90% of all recreational sailboats in the US market are something like <28' OAL. By the time you get into the mid-30's, the numbers are something like less than 5% own a boat over 36' OAL.
So a 64' Sundeer? No offense, but that says your budget is way beyond what more than 95% of recreational boaters in the US can afford.

And of course, you'll need to spend much more money on much longer test leads, to measure voltage drop in the cables that go all the way from here to there.<VBG>

The 90-95% market is going to look at a $350 meter and say that's the entire season's worth of fuel, or month(s) worth of mooring/dockage fees. "Not economically feasible" to spend it on a multimeter, no matter how useful the extra precision might be.

"- precision of 0.5% of reading + 2 digits.... This is accurate enough."
So, now you're agreeing with me, a $50 meter from a lesser name offering the same accuracy is good enough? Sperry, BK, many companies can do that. Of course, that's still assuming the illusion of precision means accuracy.
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Old 26-01-2012, 13:08   #45
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Re: Multimeters

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del, yours beeps on diode mode--but not on the other ohm ranges?? My beeping meter beeps on all ohm ranges.
Mine's the old 23 series. Didn't get that luxury.
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