Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 14-06-2018, 07:49   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Toledo
Boat: Pearson 30
Posts: 57
Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

What brand or model would you recommend for general trouble shooting?

From the little I know at this point, investing in a digital clamp-on type
meter makes sense.

Thanks in advance for your responses.
__________________

__________________
Sailon1

I was born on the boat that I built.
Sailon1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 07:57   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 259
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

For 95%+ of any work a cheapo $10 digital one will do just fine. They will only read up to 10 amps DC, which is not near enough to test starting or charging functions however.
__________________

Dymaxion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 08:03   #3
Registered User
 
Hartleyg's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Atlantic Ocean
Boat: Tayana 48DS 48'
Posts: 77
Images: 4
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Sailon1,


In multimeters, Fluke is the 900-pound gorilla, to which everyone else compares .


I'm not sure you would find a clamp-on meter useful unless you intend to maintain a lot of 120V AC stuff. Most clamp-on meters measure only AC amps, so they don't help much with DC issues, which are the most common on boats. [yes, they do make DC clamp-on meters, but they are very spendy and not as useful as they seem]


My personal recommendation is to buy two regular multimeters, one nice one with a couple good sets of leads (including clips along with pointed probes) and a cheap one to loan out when folks find out you have a meter.
If troubleshooting AC stuff (like in your house) is a need, then by all means get a clamp-on.

For the good one, a Fluke 175 or 177 is really nice, they also make smaller ones that are cheaper like the 115/117 - but I have found that the models that don't have a positive clip to the 9v battery powering them tend to be intermittent on the boat. For the cheap one, the $8 one Harbor Freight sells (sometimes free with a coupon) is good - keep both of them in plastic bags.
There are, of course, other good brands besides Fluke - just remember you get what you pay for.


Hartley
S/V Atsa
Hartleyg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 08:28   #4
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Albany Ga.
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 21,706
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

The cheap one to loan out is a good idea, cause I donít like lending tools, Iíll help, but I donít like lending tools.
a64pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 09:45   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,055
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I love this one and I have three different ones. This is the one I always grab first . . . .
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20180614_124321.jpeg
Views:	295
Size:	41.8 KB
ID:	171707
__________________
Keth

Boat Vinyl Lettering and Graphics
Bleemus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 09:45   #6
Moderator
 
Paul Elliott's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,488
Images: 4
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

While I love my various Fluke meters, I also have this inexpensive meter with the DC current clamp. It tracks the Fluke meters reasonably well on DCV and DCA. I have no problem using it for general work.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O1Q2HOQ/

__________________
Paul Elliott, S/V VALIS - Pacific Seacraft 44 #16 - Friday Harbor, WA
www.sailvalis.com
Paul Elliott is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 10:08   #7
Registered User
 
Colin A's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: East of the river CT
Boat: Oday Mariner 19 , Four Winns Marquis 16 OB, Kingfisher III
Posts: 650
Send a message via Skype™ to Colin A
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Elliott View Post
While I love my various Fluke meters, I also have this inexpensive meter with the DC current clamp. It tracks the Fluke meters reasonably well on DCV and DCA. I have no problem using it for general work.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O1Q2HOQ/

I have one as well I keep in my electronics bag. I have tested it against the really pricey flukes at work (re calibrated regularly), for most things it's close enough to work well. I actually find the DC clamp meter to be fairly useful.
__________________
mysite: Colinism.com
Colin A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-06-2018, 10:59   #8
Registered User

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Toronto
Boat: Sandpiper 565
Posts: 3,016
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I bought one of these a year ago and I'm quite happy with it.





It's built quite well and has most of the multimeter features I like, including autoranging.


Note that inexpensive clamp-on meters usually only measure AC current. I chose this one because it also measures DC current with its clamp - a 60A range and a 600A range.



(btw, I have like 5 or 6 multimeters around . This one's my "marine" meter)
Lake-Effect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 08:35   #9
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: California
Boat: Alerion Express 38 Yawl
Posts: 350
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bleemus View Post
I love this one and I have three different ones. This is the one I always grab first . . . .
Attachment 171707
Totally, emphatically agree. Go with a reasonably priced, clamp-on, autoranging meter. Blue Sea Systems sells a nice one, and they are very common on Amazon. If you have to give anything up, I'd give up AC amps, but I would not give up DC amps (with the clamp.)

Chuck
Chuck Hawley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 08:49   #10
Registered User
 
mvmojo's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2018
Boat: Robt Beebe Passagemaker 49-10 in steel
Posts: 105
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

If you're going to spend money on a clamp meter, I'd strongly suggest you get one that measures DC current as well as AC. They cost a little more but since most boats have significant DC circuits, you'll find you're using the DC side of the meter more often than you can imagine right now. I like meters that have a fairly small clamp size since it makes them easier to get into tight wiring bundles, breaker boxes, etc. I like Extech, but they're a little pricey. Here's one from Uni-T that will serve most needs and the price is very reasonable:
https://www.amazon.com/UT210E-Digita...p+dc+amp+meter
mvmojo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 09:02   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: East shore Mobile Bay AL
Boat: ODAY 28
Posts: 425
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

I have a fluke meter that I have been using over 30 years, very good tool, in this case you get what you pay for,
boeing1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 09:25   #12
Registered User
 
captmikem's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Pacific NW.
Boat: KP 46
Posts: 426
Images: 2
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

Fluke is a good meter, but at $150 for a low end, $550 for a high end they are pricey.

90% of your use will be measuring DC voltage, AC voltage and continuity.

For 20 bucks you can buy a fairly good meter from harbor freight. You can buy two in case you lose one, lend it out or soak it in seawater. For a couple of bucks more you can get an extra set of leads with alligator clips on them that are handy. Yes, they may not be accurate to .00001 volts but that is not what people on boats use meters for.

I keep a couple on board and use them more than my Fluke.

M
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	aa met.JPG
Views:	96
Size:	45.7 KB
ID:	171776  
captmikem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 10:27   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 167
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

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.
oleman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 10:36   #14
Registered User
 
Cadence's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: SC
Boat: None,build the one shown of glass, had many from 6' to 48'.
Posts: 7,393
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

For general trouble shooting, if you need to ask the cheapest VOM you can find.
That was not meant to be demeaning. A Fluke is top of the line but the need for one questionable.
Cadence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-06-2018, 10:39   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 7,246
Re: Recommendations for AC/DC voltmeter purchase

You need a DC ammeter, not just voltage

Maine Sail has suggested this
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ol/B005VUBGZW/

in the past as a cheapie.

Also have heard the Uni-T one is OK.

But Fluke is best if you can afford it, 376FC with the iFlex is handy maybe $250 on eBay
__________________

john61ct is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
men, purchase

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
voltmeter reading 13.25 down from just under 14 when motoring cmyk.br Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 4 03-09-2011 13:34
How to Install Voltmeter crashkahuna Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 13 28-04-2011 10:17
My Cheap Temporary Voltmeter troppo Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 9 31-12-2010 06:18
Voltmeter ? Shorty Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 6 27-04-2010 20:06



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:34.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.