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Old 05-06-2011, 05:39   #1
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Simple Test Equipment

Here are a few testers that while not good enough for serious troubleshooting, will give you a good idea if you do have a problem then you can dig deeper into any problem you might have.


LtoR Meter I bought at radio shack, as accurate as my Fluke and a lot cheaper, tester for 120vac (US) circuits, indicates with leds if any problems, this one also checks GFCI for proper operation, next two are for checking 120 vac but do not have GFCI test, Next one is for checking battery charge level, alternator working or not and shows voltage on digital meter, Last one is homemade version of next pix, this is an adapter for any clamp on amp meter, the coils in the black lead are ten turns and they will multiple your reading by 10, good for measuring low ac currents, you can make it cheaper that the one you buy.



This is the commercial adapter for reading low ac current and is available for most clamp on meters. mine (homemade) is as good and cheaper.



This is a heavy plug in adapter for 12 volt stuff, heavy and fused may be used for several elect items at same time if needed, from radio shack. I use this for my mobile ham radio 2 meter xceiver.



Closeup of digital/led tester for 12 volt dc lighter plug, this is great for a quick check of alternator output and battery condition.

These are not expensive and easily obtained and will give you an instant idea if you really have a serious problem so you can troubleshoot more if needed.
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Old 05-06-2011, 05:56   #2
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

Addition to digital multimeter. This meter is from radio shack and you can find them at many elect suppliers shops. I did make up a set of test leads that are about 12 feet long for working on autos boats etc. They give you a bit more range and also get aligator clip adapters. I used these meters (analog and digital) for some 30 years and as i said this one is very accurate and it was about 35 bucks on sale. There are even cheaper meters avail if you look around but this one will check about anything you need to check. One advantage with a Fluke is that I've never seen one blow up from improper use.

Good luck and be careful working with electrics, remember that more people are killed working on 120 vac stuff I guess because they don't think it is that dangerous.
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Old 05-06-2011, 06:45   #3
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

Thanks for those. I like the heavy duty cigarette plug. 12v appliances come with the cheapest plugs in the world.
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Old 05-06-2011, 16:37   #4
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

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Thanks for those. I like the heavy duty cigarette plug. 12v appliances come with the cheapest plugs in the world.

You are right and some of them will not stay in the lighter/power socket and this one works great I may get another one or two just to have them. I have another led tester for 12 vdc that has three led's but not sure what I did with it.
I'm sure I put it where I could always find it when needed
I'm also sure I will find in the last place I look for it.......right.
These are great for a quick check if you think there MIGHT BE A PROBLEM
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Old 05-06-2011, 22:33   #5
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

Dont forget the Fluke NON contact volt alert. Please only a Fluke! These things can be life saver. I would not work on anybody elses boat nor trust them when they say everything is off without checking with the Fluke. Amazon.com: Fluke 1AC-A1-II Volt-Alert AC Non-Contact Voltage Tester: Home Improvement Jurgen
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:25   #6
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A boat owner might go a step further and get the Fluke 117 multimeter. Though rather expensive, it has the non contact VoltAlert built in, but it also has a separate low impedance voltmeter input (in addition to the high impedance setting). When testing 12v circuits, the high impedance setting can pick up 'stray' voltages leading you to believe a circuit is powered up when it really isn't. The low impedance input setting will knock those stray voltages down, so you aren't deceived. I find it to be extremely helpful.
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:28   #7
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I should add that the same low impedance function works for AC voltages.
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:32   #8
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

What you say makes sense, however not everyone understands the intricacies of reading multimeter as well as you do, especially a digital one. I have a Fluke Scope meter and rarely turn on my multimeter, its just so versatile. I even have a RF probe for it and I can sniff out all sorts of RF faults right up to 1ghz. Anyway for the price VoltAlert is bargain and a simpleton can understand and use it, KISS! I have just seen too many accidents waiting to happen scenarios on boats that makes the hair stand up on my neck, and especially so on boats with AC. Jurgen
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A boat owner might go a step further and get the Fluke 117 multimeter. Though rather expensive, it has the non contact VoltAlert built in, but it also has a separate low impedance voltmeter input (in addition to the high impedance setting). When testing 12v circuits, the high impedance setting can pick up 'stray' voltages leading you to believe a circuit is powered up when it really isn't. The low impedance input setting will knock those stray voltages down, so you aren't deceived. I find it to be extremely helpful.
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Old 06-06-2011, 14:21   #9
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

nice post mate
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Old 06-06-2011, 15:36   #10
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

A clamp ammeter with the 120 volt splitter and a high quality multimeter will cover 99% of what you need. A 120 volt inductive tester is also good for detecting hot AC circuits.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:51   #11
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

In addition to this, I carry a 50' length of awg18 with alligator clips on both ends. I unrolled the length off the original spool, installed the clips, and rerolled it leaving 2' on the inside end, so I could unroll out just what I need. I also have a 12v test light. It makes troubleshooting a snap. When you buy a meter, however, buy a good Fluke or Fieldpiece. Trusting crap meters is like trusting crap charts.
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Old 11-07-2011, 15:54   #12
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

good idea and when you buy a meter, always get the aligator clips and others that plug onto the test leads. They make troubleshooting a lot easier. I mentioned before that I always make up a pair of test leads that are a lot longer for TS'n. mine are about 12 or 15 feet.

PS hot here is southeast us been high 90's last two months except for maybe two days in HIGH 80's those days too. looking forward to ANY cooling
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Old 11-07-2011, 16:14   #13
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

I just got one of these_
!2Msps sampling rate.ARM DSO Nano.Pocket Oscilloscope | eBay UK

V useful, both for AC stuff and nmea/data
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Old 11-07-2011, 21:23   #14
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

Pretty neat I will check it out. always could use a good scope.

Great to look at that output from your inverter. That AC may not be what it is supposed to be.
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Old 12-07-2011, 00:41   #15
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Re: Simple Test Equipment

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Originally Posted by sea_goin_dude View Post
Pretty neat I will check it out. always could use a good scope.

Great to look at that output from your inverter. That AC may not be what it is supposed to be.
With a micro sd card plugged in the slot you can save the screen as well. Playing around with the new toy i just found lots of ac up the earth of an extension lead.

Click image for larger version

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Solved by buying a new lead

Click image for larger version

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Good clamp meter next to plug into the multi meter and scope.

Oh the pleasure of measuring
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