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Old 05-04-2013, 11:53   #46
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

This is really great info. Keep the thoughts coming. all are received and appreciated. thanks, pete

I wondered about klein as they have a following but nothing near fluke.

The battery type comment is very true. Rare or proprietary batteries are a pet peeve of mine.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:23   #47
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
Plus it's the same as the Radio Shack one I posted, just some cosmetic change:
Which is exactly the same as mine. They are all stencil brands, made by the company Sinometer in China.

I am very pleased with mine, and what you don't see from the photo is that feels and handles like a quality bit of kit . I'm sure it's very far from Fluke territory, however.
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Old 05-04-2013, 13:34   #48
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

I used to work for a company that made DMM's, sold em at retail and professional outlets, etc. Prices ranged anywhere from $10 to $119, ranging on the features and functions you wanted. In QA testing at our warehouse, the ranges fluctuated all over the place, its really a crap shoot which one you get, sometimes you get lucky and get one that is spot on. We always calibrated ours with a fluke which we sent out once a year to get calibrated. As mentioned in an earlier post, get one with True RMS, more accurate readings but they cost a little more.
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Old 05-04-2013, 20:31   #49
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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Originally Posted by cadmus View Post
This is really great info. Keep the thoughts coming. all are received and appreciated. thanks, pete

I wondered about klein as they have a following but nothing near fluke.

The battery type comment is very true. Rare or proprietary batteries are a pet peeve of mine.
Don't have it in front of me at the moment, but as I recall my MasTech uses standard AA or AAA. Thus so should the RS, and Klein versions I assume.
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Old 05-04-2013, 22:01   #50
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

Disclaimer: I'm an EE and I use these things almost daily.

I've been bit by inexpensive meters before. I won't tell you that they are all junk. I have one of the Sinoply clamp meters mentioned above, and it seems not terrible. The current measurements are somewhat inconsistent and drift around a bit. I have found that one of the most frustrating things in the world is to spend time chasing ghosts. I have spent literally hours chasing down a wiring problem, only to find my test gear was lying to me. Good test gear is worth a lot. If you buy one of the value line meters (Sinoply, Extech, etc.), be sure to check it out thoroughly. Be sure of all ranges and functions. Double check the continuity function as that is one you use a lot. A *really* good continuity function will make buzzing out connections or faults a lot easier. I have a Fluke that I use most often for stuff on the boat and I never curse at it. Be careful though as the cheaper Flukes are now made in China as well, and I don't think the quality is up to old Fluke standards for these. My 87 is US made and runs well. Anyone who claims they can do anything with their $15 Harbor Fright special as I with my meter is perhaps technically correct (mostly), but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts they have not had to use that POS for any real work. Get good tools -- they're worth it.
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Old 22-04-2013, 09:53   #51
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Ive been using an ExTech 730 aboard for a few years now and am pleased w it.
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Old 22-04-2013, 13:13   #52
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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I assume, like everything these days, they are all make by the same small children in the same asian sweatshop.
Those children are a few years older now, and have gotten much better at making these meters!
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Old 22-04-2013, 13:16   #53
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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Ive been using an ExTech 730 aboard for a few years now and am pleased w it.
Thats a good meter, I can tell just by looking at it. It has fewer buttons too, which is a good thing IMO.
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Old 22-04-2013, 13:40   #54
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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Thats a good meter, I can tell just by looking at it. It has fewer buttons too, which is a good thing IMO.
It is the same one again Look past the colors and print: display, number and position of buttons and receptacles.
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Old 22-04-2013, 14:41   #55
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It is the same one again Look past the colors and print: display, number and position of buttons and receptacles.
Yes, I expect it is just yet another "stencil" brand (YASB) with minor variations. I bet if you crack them open the board/chipsets are all the same.

It is similar to my MasTech at home, but slightly diff functionality. MasTech has in-rush and duty-cycle functions that ExTech does not, but it would not surprise me to discover they are made by Quan and Chang at adjacent benches in the same factory.
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Old 22-04-2013, 15:51   #56
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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Plus it's the same as the Radio Shack one I posted, just some cosmetic change:
I have this unit too. I find the clamp-on to not be very accurate. The rest of the functions seem reasonable, but current measurement is what I was really looking to add to my toolbox. I am going to try out a friend's Fluke and compare to be sure it isn't operator error.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:06   #57
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

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I have this unit too. I find the clamp-on to not be very accurate. The rest of the functions seem reasonable, but current measurement is what I was really looking to add to my toolbox. I am going to try out a friend's Fluke and compare to be sure it isn't operator error.
This unit is available under more than one brand name. Extech is one brand but there are others with differences only in the color and labeling.

If you are referring to the DC function I may be able to shed some light on it as I have an Extech 730 800A AC/DC meter. The DC current function relies on a Hall Effect device. The AC mode uses the same device. It is possible to magnetize the probe so that it has a permanent fixed magnetic offset. Usually it is small on the order of 1-5ADC. Some users think this offset error means the unit is not accurate. That is not the case. The Hall Effect device can measure residual magnetism in the clamp jaws left there from a previous DC measurement. It is possible to demagnetize the jaws and reduce the built in DC offset but the procedure is a bit complicated for the typical user who just wants to measure something. So they included a DC ZERO button to do just what it says. Using this button does not decrease the accuracy much unless the DC offset is a lot of amps (say >100).

On my unit the AC function has a bit of offset too (about 1A out of 800). But I don't think it means the unit is not accurate. I have checked it several times and found it to be correct within about 0.5A at 50A. If I want to use an 800A meter to measure milliamperes of current accurately then I would have to spend a lot more money than these little units cost. For what they are they are a pretty good deal and accurate enough for working on most boat electrical systems.
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Old 22-04-2013, 16:08   #58
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I have this unit too. I find the clamp-on to not be very accurate. The rest of the functions seem reasonable, but current measurement is what I was really looking to add to my toolbox. I am going to try out a friend's Fluke and compare to be sure it isn't operator error.
If you have access to a known accurate reference signal then calibrating these units is easy.
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Old 22-04-2013, 18:39   #59
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Re: Multimeters - What Features To Look For.

I use my Fluke 375 for all electrical diagnostics. Does everything I need.
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Old 22-04-2013, 19:04   #60
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I prefer Fluke meters and use one at home and at work. Must have feature for me is the min/max. Indispensable tool for diagnosing and tracing intermittent shorts/opens. Remember, the ohm meter is for testing components, the volt meter is for testing circuits. For the nay sayers, an isolated circuit is now a component.
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