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Old 17-06-2018, 15:11   #31
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Note that inserting Anderson connectors in strategic locations, also use them for load devices or charge source gear, enables you to easily remove or relocate them.

This gives you the ability to use a battery monitor's shunt (also so equipped) for ad hoc troubleshooting.

Or even use the cheap inline AH counting if high resolution accuracy isn't required.

Measuring total AH usage or charging contribution over time can be very useful, and

a clamp ammeter does not give you that.

But the AH counters also measure Amps and Volts as needed.

Many people could get by without a clamp ammeter with this approach.
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Old 22-06-2018, 11:45   #32
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I bought a Fluke model 325 http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/fl...nt=Fluke%20325
and have been happy with it except for one thing. It only displays 1 decimal point by design. Many of the Flukes seem to only display 1 decimal. My concern is that the single decimal means it is rounding (either up or down). For example, if I use another DMM with 2 positions and it reads 12.44 volts, the Fluke will read 12.4, however if the volts was 12.46 then the Fluke would display 12.5
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Old 22-06-2018, 12:18   #33
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

mikeo-
As you note, it appears that you got a meter which is designed for use on AC or HVAC systems, not for general use. That's why it covers up to "400.0" amps--something you'd never find on a twelve volt system. And their specs for that meter do say "600.0" volts, which could also be a clue. Fluke make all sorts of other products with different specs, including some that do five digits, with floating decimal points.
Your Fluke is rounding correctly. The good news is that if you did want to sell it and get something different, used Fluke's sell for top dollar. Still, having the voltage *accurately* displayed to 1/10th of a volt puts you ahead of many other meters that would just show you a mythological fourth digit floating around.
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Old 22-06-2018, 14:38   #34
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Except that it isn't that accurate - it is not rounding to the nearest 0.1 based on a 0.05 split with anything like that accuracy. As I noted above, add the percent error to the "count" error and you will see that the hundredths have little or nothing to do with it. This meter is unsuited for measurement of 12VDC battery state and other 12V uses aboard.


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Old 22-06-2018, 17:43   #35
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

For me the ones that are available at Harbor Freight for under $10 are all most people will ever need. Sometimes they are free with a coupon. Sure the fancy ones have all types of uses that most people cant use properly, they are expensive, and its on a boat.
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Old 22-06-2018, 19:12   #36
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

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I have been in electronics, computers and general electrical support for the past 55 years and probably have used most electrical analysis equipment.

IMO I would purchase a middle range model from FLUKE, they were once a major company in the electrical/electronics test equipment industry. Today they are just a shell of what they once were but so far as I know they still have the quality, performance and features for reliable test and measurement. They still make temperature, vibration, and other equipment that most non-techs probably do not require BUT a basic VOM should be on everyone's vessel.

So why would I spend $100. or more for something that looks similar and is for sale at Harbor Freight or Amazon for $10.

1. The equipment is designed for reliable operation for YEARS not weeks or days so the switches, indicators, and test leads are are good quality.
The failure I have had with every cheap meter I have owned is the liquid crystal display will fail because of the cheap way the liquid crystal glass is connected to the controller. The switches are made for 100 cycles or so and then become iffy. The test lead connectors and test leads are about like the switches. Whatever connects the battery to the controller will erode away.

2. Flukes are very rugged and very weather resistant
3. Flukes meet or exceed OSHA requirements for portable test equipment.

My current FLUKE VOM model 83 is a 1998 model. It has been used 100's of times in every environment that supports animal life and except for a fuse and batteries it has been trouble free, exception was I caught the positive lead in the alternator belt and the test leads had to be replaced. It is ready for testing now.
Buy a good test tool once, be confident that what it indicates is what is there and that when you require it's use it will be ready.
What he said. And if you are using that $10 meter at home, never ever ever use it for measuring your 120V AC if there is even a chance of a lightning strike within 5 miles. Fluke meters are built with safety in mind, I would not risk my life with a cheap piece of test equipment.

http://content.fluke.com/promotions/...guidelines.pdf
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Old 22-06-2018, 19:33   #37
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

For voltage and resistance where high accuracy is needed, it is hard to beat the Fluke 177 for the price. My boat is electric and my bank is eight 6v golf cart batteries in series for nominal 48v though actual voltage is considerably higher at full charge and no load. I rely on accurate voltage readings for my state of charge, and the fluke gives it to me. At 48v, .5v is 1%. A half volt is a LOT when measuring voltage for state of charge! So obviously typical 1% or .5% accuracy is insufficient for this purpose. A cheap meter freshly calibrated could sorta maybe do the job, but I would rather rely on a quality meter. Most good meters cost a lot more than this particular model.



When high accuracy is not particularly needed, any cheapie meter will do just fine. Usually you just need to be in the ballpark, for basic troubleshooting. Sometimes a simple lightbulb and two wires will gitter done. Depends on exactly what you are checking and checking for. I would budget around $70, half that if you are of modest means and income. Most of the $9.95 Autozone type meters are a PITA so dont go there.
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Old 22-06-2018, 20:00   #38
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I think when people talk about super cheap meters, they must mean plain DMM voltage resistance etc units,

**not** clamp-style ammeters **with DC capability**, which is not a common feature

Pretty sure the Uni-t ut-203 is the cheapest decent one

Sinometer UT207 is better, Maine Sail mentioned it

https://www.amazon.com/Craftsman-Dig.../dp/B003TXUZDM no longer sold new

Mastech and Fluke much better but much pricier.
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Old 23-06-2018, 09:54   #39
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I think it is time to give some commerce to Rod https://shop.marinehowto.com/product...amp-volt-meter
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Old 23-06-2018, 11:04   #40
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

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For me the ones that are available at Harbor Freight for under $10 are all most people will ever need. Sometimes they are free with a coupon. Sure the fancy ones have all types of uses that most people cant use properly, they are expensive, and its on a boat.
Absolutely, most things on a boat don't require a Fluke, maybe for bragging rights. I might pay a little more than $10 but not much.
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Old 23-06-2018, 12:38   #41
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

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I think it is time to give some commerce to Rod https://shop.marinehowto.com/product...amp-volt-meter
Wow great find, did not know that exists, nor that he sold it!

I bet excellent value. . .
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Old 23-06-2018, 16:34   #42
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

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Wow great find, did not know that exists, nor that he sold it!

I bet excellent value. . .

I'm not so sure - it could be but it is not possible to tell from that web page. The "specifications" don't include proper accuracy specs, or even list the features. For that much money that info should be right up front. For 40% less you could buy the UT-210E from Amazon and view all of the features and specs in the listing. This Sterling might actually be more accurate (not particularly hard to do) and have lots of features but if so they don't seem too proud of it. I don't buy pigs in a poke, nor recommend same to others.


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Old 23-06-2018, 16:51   #43
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
I'm not so sure - it could be but it is not possible to tell from that web page. The "specifications" don't include proper accuracy specs, or even list the features. For that much money that info should be right up front. For 40% less you could buy the UT-210E from Amazon and view all of the features and specs in the listing. This Sterling might actually be more accurate (not particularly hard to do) and have lots of features but if so they don't seem too proud of it. I don't buy pigs in a poke, nor recommend same to others.


Greg
You do realize this is Mainesails website right? He would never carry a product he doesn't believe is worth it.
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Old 23-06-2018, 17:00   #44
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I've always got by with a cheap $10 one. But I got stuck recently diagnosing a faulty bit of marine sceince gear and we needed an old school analog meter, as even the decent quality digital ones onboard weren't fast enough to detect a short trigger pulse. Have to add one to my tool kit.
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Old 23-06-2018, 17:21   #45
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Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Again, there are no **DC ammeters** that cheap.

And yes I'm happy to recommend that meter, between Charles Sterling's DC engineering skills and my respect for Maine Sail's knowledge and integrity.

$100 is dead cheap if you want a decent tool.

The difference between that and the cheapest possible Chinese eBay one is less than taking the kids to McD's after a game.
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