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Old 22-05-2017, 14:23   #16
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
I just two days ago purchased a brand new Fluke 374 clamp on meter on ebay for $185 delivered. Looks like it will do everything on a boat including reading low d/c amps. Hope it works out, it looks easy to understand.
I need a new one, would be nice to get one at that price...

Fluke 374 Clamp Meter Leads Case Kit 600 Amps AC DC Replaces Models 334 335 336 | eBay
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Old 22-05-2017, 15:43   #17
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

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I have the model 325 Fluke but am regretting that it only measures to once decimal place. For DC Volts, there is a big difference between 12.51 and 12.59. It actually rounds, so 12.51 would display as 12.5 and 12.59 would display as 12.6
When buying a DMM, it pays to understand what the specifications mean and to check them carefully.

According to Fluke's specifications, the 325 only has one DC voltage range "600V".

Here's a good, but quite technical, article which explains what the specifications mean and identifies your specific problem.

Digital Multimeter Accuracy Explained | brianhoskins.uk

See the Section "Always use the most appropriate range!".

To get that fourth digit, you would need a meter that has a DC Voltage range of "60/600"


My "cheapo" Mastech specs:

DC Voltage 60mV/600mV/6V/60V/600V±(0.7% +3) 1000V±(0.8% +2)
AC Voltage 60mV / 600mV / 6V / 60V / 600V±(0.8% +3) 750V±(1% +4)
DC Current 60A / 600A / 1000A ± (2.5% + 6)
AC Current 60A / 600A / 1000A ± (2.5% + 6)
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Old 22-05-2017, 16:37   #18
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

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DC Voltage 60mV/600mV/6V/60V/600V±(0.7% +3)
I think "cheap" multimeters are a great option. Probably the best option for most boat owners, but be aware of the limitations.

With the above specifications 12.00v could be reported as 12.08v or 11.92v and still be within specification when new. Cheap multimeters tend drift with age much more than the better models. DC voltage specification are often quoted because this is where multimeters are most accurate, so other measurements will be worse. These are "best case" results and assume the manufacturers specifications are accurate, not always a valid assumption with the less expensive meters.

Multimeters with errors less than one tenth of the above specifications are available (at more cost). These are not justified for most boat owners, but sometimes boat owners attribute more accuracy to their multimeter than the instrument is capable of recording, especially when it has been bashed about at the bottom of a toolbox.

Be especially careful of a low voltage for the multimeters built in battery. The better models will refuse to give a reading if the internal battery is low, but many cheaper multimeters simply display a very wrong result.
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Old 22-05-2017, 16:37   #19
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

Just cause it displays to two or four digits, does not mean it is accurate to those numbers.
That is a peev of mine, cheap "digital" micrometers , multimeters etc that give the impression of fantastic accuracy, however when you check a standard with them, you find that are in fact not even accurate to one digit past the decimal.
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Old 22-05-2017, 19:03   #20
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

If you are going to need a good shunt-based coulomb-counting Batt Monitor anyway, they can serve as decent DMM as well for some purposes anyway.

Usually pretty accurate for realtime measurements, it's just the SoC guesstimates that need reset/calibrating.
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Old 22-05-2017, 20:54   #21
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

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This ain't a fluke but I used it before I went to the boat and 6 months on the boat in the heat and humidity of the Caribbean.. about daily. Really like it. Better than my high end one in the shop at home.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I agree with buying this one, it is a no brainer. I have a Fluke as well but grab this one.
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Old 22-05-2017, 21:27   #22
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

Most tech's use two meters (or more); one clamp on (I like the Fluke 337 and it's successors) for DC current and something like an 87 (or the newer 112, etc) for everything else. If you need to measure electrical leakage in decimals of milliamps I'd recommend a Yokogawa (not cheap but one of the best).
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Old 23-05-2017, 03:26   #23
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

I have a Fluke 87. Way overkill for boat use. I use it in my work and have had it for better than 20 years. Still get it NIST calibrated every once in a while. Fluke makes some good and some not so good products.
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Old 23-05-2017, 03:56   #24
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

I have a 30 year old Fluke 77 in my tool box at home that still works great, and a modern Fluke 87V that it's my daily carry. For dc current I use a Blue Sea clamp ammeter that I won as a door prize at a trade show .

Bottom line is most anything will do, but if you are going to use it frequently, spend more for something nicer.
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Old 23-05-2017, 03:59   #25
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

I have a few Flukes, my 179 is my favorite but overkill for the boat. So I bought a 79 Fluke and that is the boat meter. I also got some alligator clip leads in case I don't have four hands ready.

I bought the 79 used on eBay for $50 shipped. Was almost new.

I tried the cheap meters onboard. Same with cheap tools. Nothing on my boat is cheap and the last place I want to round off a bolt head or wire something wrong is on my boat. Having nice tools makes a job easier and isn't hard to keep them in good shape.
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Old 23-05-2017, 04:13   #26
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Re: Which Fluke multimeter?

We have 6-8 "calibrated" Fluke 87's at work also.

Sometimes I'll borrow one to use at the boat, but usually I just use the $25.00 Multimeter I bought a few years ago to measure and/or troubleshoot with

Ballpark readings are usually good enough to know what's going on with most systems.........

As far as battery SOC, I usually just check the voltage level on the Panel side of the controller for that........
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