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Old 26-01-2012, 13:18   #46
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Fluke 87. The best there is.

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Old 26-01-2012, 13:18   #47
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I recently bought a Sinometer true RMS clamp meter stencil branded by Radio Shack for I think $60. Sinometer branded I think it costs about $100. It is a very beautiful, quality piece of kit with the same (claimed at least) accuracy and resolution as the Fluke, plus a much wider range of functions. Comes with quality test leads and a nice case. Highly recommended; an outstanding bargain.
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Old 26-01-2012, 13:37   #48
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Re: Multimeters

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
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.
HelloSailor, I disagree with you on most of that

First, you do not know how wealthy I am. For all you know, the boat is the only thing on Earth I own while 30' boat owners have houses, cars, wives with diamonds, memberships in golf clubs etc. etc. For most of us here it is about putting your priorities in the right place.

Second, you are insisting on a $350.- price tag while I accurately wrote $125.-

Third, 30' avg. boat length??!! for the average cruiser??!! You better wake up, it sure is 42' or something today. You are mixing up cruisers with day/weekend sailors. Also, many of those 42' boats cost more than my boat.

Fourth, No, I do not agree with your $50 multimeter. You should study the least significant digit specification and how that relates to the number of digits after the decimal point the meter in question displays for that specific range. The Sperry you mention I have myself.. it's resolution is 0.1 so 2 digits become 0.2V which is ten times worse than the 0.02V of the Fluke.

So I repeat: if you can't afford a $125.- Fluke, or don't see the need for a good meter, you have no business working on the boat's power systems. It's harsh, I know.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 26-01-2012, 13:57   #49
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Re: Multimeters

I actually have one of these:



PentaMetric Battery System | Bogart Engineering

as the central "meter" to see what part of my charging devices are putting how much where. So to speak.

But if I am tracing shorts or more likely resistance in a circuit, I do need something sensitive to see if voltage drop v. distance makes sense, or if maybe the dreaded green is spreading due to some issue I can't immediate find.

The other thing I would want to measure on the amp side are various draws off sub-panels. It's all just maintenance and problem-solving. I'm not going to be building Heathkit ham sets underway.

I will look at the $125 Fluke and that RS clamp meter. Thanks.
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Old 26-01-2012, 14:32   #50
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Re: Multimeters

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
So I repeat: if you can't afford a $125.- Fluke, or don't see the need for a good meter, you have no business working on the boat's power systems. It's harsh, I know.
I hope you're just being dramatic.

Look, I have the expensive boat, and way more test instruments then most of you (multiple oscilloscopes, a spectrum analyzer, microwave signal generators, audio gear, a box full of portable meters, and I can't remember what else). Some of these tools are pricey, and I appreciate having them.

But most of the power system problems I've seen could be troubleshot using a lightbulb and some clipleads. For a while I had a $12 DVM in my toolbox and it told me most everything I needed to know.

Sure, there are times when you really need to use the good stuff, but not all that often. I suppose the trick is to know when.
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Old 26-01-2012, 14:50   #51
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Re: Multimeters

Quote:
Sure, there are times when you really need to use the good stuff, but not all that often. I suppose the trick is to know when.
Right, and if you don't have it you can launch your long range helicopter to fly to the nearest West Marine and get the tool you need...

Or, you could just buy it and have it available when you need it...
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Old 26-01-2012, 16:21   #52
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Re: Multimeters

Things i can't remember quite how much they cost but don't regret buying

One of these - How to use a Clamp meter?

One gets a little obsessed with power when it's so easy to measure.

And one of these - ARM Dso201 Portable Pocket-sized Mini Nano Handheld Digital Storage Oscilloscope | eBay

Hours of nmea tracking fun And oh my invertor is soooo dirty....
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Old 26-01-2012, 16:35   #53
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Re: Multimeters

I've never had more than some cheapo no-name multimeters since forever and I've never had any problems other than they eventually break and I get another cheapo no-name, And, I do work on my electrical system, but I believe in keeping it simple. What does the $125 Fluke give you that the $20 WalMart meter doesn't?
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Old 26-01-2012, 16:59   #54
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Re: Multimeters

I love my Fluke 376, for what I use if for. It captures DC in-rush to 1000A which I find to be useful.. This is not my only meter but one I use quite often.

Can capture min, max or avg. dips highs etc...


Can be used to capture in-rush...


Great meter but only has resolution to the tenth for DC.. I use a different meter when I need more digits to the right of the decimal...

Probably a lot more than most want to spend.. I tried the Exctech and other clamp meters, like the Mastech, and none work as well as this one for how I use it..
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Old 26-01-2012, 19:38   #55
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Re: Multimeters

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What does the $125 Fluke give you that the $20 WalMart meter doesn't?
My regular-use meter is a Fluke that I've had for well over 25 years. It's been through hell and back and it's still ticking.

Quote:
Right, and if you don't have it you can launch your long range helicopter to fly to the nearest West Marine and get the tool you need...
I'm not saying you shouldn't have good and appropriate tools. You should. Good tools are a pleasure to use and are less likely to let you down.

All I'm saying is this: Don't let the lack of gold-plated tools keep you from doing what you need to do.

I might be sounding like one of those guys who complains about people staring at the AIS screen instead of using the old eyeballs: "Hell, in my day I used a screwdriver and the tip of my tongue to troubleshoot 12V systems!" Trust me, I'm not that guy.
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Old 26-01-2012, 20:05   #56
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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.
If you could see the state of some of my screwdrivers I'm sure I would flunk out of the screwdriver thread. I do try to devote just one or two for chisel work and save the others.

On the other hand, instead of screwdrivers how about a nice Mojito.
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Old 26-01-2012, 20:24   #57
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Re: Multimeters

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I hope you're just being dramatic.

But most of the power system problems I've seen could be troubleshot using a lightbulb and some clipleads.
A lightbulb? Most of the problems aboard boats that you've seen? Sure. Must see a lot of really tough problems then. The kind of diagnose you can do with that is "battery broken" or "no power". Please... don't go to the brightness of bulb tells you voltage to the tenth of a volt or something

cheers,
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Old 26-01-2012, 21:34   #58
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Re: Multimeters

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
A lightbulb? Most of the problems aboard boats that you've seen? Sure. Must see a lot of really tough problems then. The kind of diagnose you can do with that is "battery broken" or "no power". Please... don't go to the brightness of bulb tells you voltage to the tenth of a volt or something

cheers,
Nick.

Alot of diagnostic can be done with a test light(light bulb) if testing for voltage (existence not value). Continuity, amps etc... not so much.
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Old 26-01-2012, 22:10   #59
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Re: Multimeters

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Alot of diagnostic can be done with a test light(light bulb) if testing for voltage (existence not value). Continuity, amps etc... not so much.
Ah right, I see!

ciao!
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Old 26-01-2012, 22:28   #60
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Re: Multimeters

60 post on multimeters? This must be the multimeter war thread.

I know it's winter but only up here in the North.
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