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  • EEVblog #6 – Part 2 of 2 – Why cheap Chinese Multimeters suck

    Posted on April 29th, 2009 EEVblog 17 comments

    Why cheap Chinese Multimeters suck.

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    • http://eggyknap.blogspot.com eggyknap

      I enjoy the vids; can the irritating background hum be reduced?

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        Not easily I’m afraid, that’s the DV tape noise.
        At the moment I’m spending as little time and effort as possible filming and editing this! :->

    • ino

      I really like your vids.
      Those are good advices !

      Keep them coming :)

    • http://hackedgadgets.com Alan Parekh

      LOL, I was trying to figure out what the noise was. I was thinking that it was a bunch of crickets for a second.

      • http://www.alternatezone.com/eevblog admin

        You could very well hear crickets too, plenty of them around my place!
        You can tell if I film it in the morning as you’ll typically hear all the birds chirping away outside!

    • Rick L

      I stumbled across your vids while searching for reviews on the Rigol scope. Great vids, brw.

      I have a comment on cheap Chinese DMMs. The cheap ones are truly crap. We have some around the lab and they are useless. However, I purchased a Protek D620 Datalogging DMM ($170 USD) and it comes quite close in performance to DMMs costing twice as much. The build quality is great (SMD parts and sheilding in the case). The only negative on the build quality is some flux residue on one of the boards.

      The issue I have with Fluke, Tektronix and other American manufacturers is that their prices tend to be much too high. This prevents people like me from being able to buy decent test equipment. Now, to Tek’s credit they have started to lower prices on their lower end units which is good. LeCroy, another American manufacturer appears to have entered the lower priced space, too. The Chinese are going to give the high priced manufacturers a run for the money. I think that Chinese test equipment can be decent but one must spend some money to get the higher quality products. The Rigol MSO scopes are a good example of this.

      Keep on doing the awesome videos and equipment reviews!

      Thanks

      RL

    • Neil

      I have just found your blog site – it was referred to in a magazine I read.

      I would like to add one point you haven’t covered in this blog that can be a real problem for cheap meters

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        What magazine was that?
        Yeah, safety is another huge aspect, and that’s on my list to talk about, perhaps with some experiments if I can organise a suitable surge source :->

        • Neil

          The magazine is called Made by Monkeys – it produced by Electronics Weekly – it linked to episode 12 on the USB hub.

    • http://soasystem@yahoo.com shafri

      ok, sorry for interupting, but to be honest with you, i have to disagree with you on cheap DMM. mostly but not totally. you have a good points of safety, accurancy n durability. BUT, its a big but, you render this cheap multimeter as a total useless, but its not in my case. i bought 1 or 2 DMM that failed after quite sometime, yes those are crap in durability, but during their lifetime, they helped me alot. got the lesson of that, i buy more expensive DMM, more expensive is really the term that u used as cheap, even less than 20 dollar equivalent to your currency. the previous DMM was alot-lot cheaper than that. in your video, you hold DMM that alot-lot better than mine :). until now (2 years or so) my DMM still running and have helped me alot in my projects, even testing the main 240V etc. well ok, i’m not professional and only doing hobby project that is not really stringent on the accuracy, so the DMM do its job. even if its fail now, i’ll buy another one and hopefully for the next 2 years, its up and running just as my current DMM. if i buy 10, thats 20 years and only cost me less than 200 dollars.

      so to summarize, i will agree with you if you specifically quote the cheap DMM is total useless for PROFFESSIONAL, for NOT professional it maybe got some use somewhere. but the way you speak, you really hit my beloved “cheapoo” DMM.

      its SUNWA brand, i bet you never heard. yes its probe broke several time, but hey! i’m DIY person, i fixed it myself! just the damned probe “passive wire”. i even modify its tips, soldered a very small sewing pin so i can test very small electronic component. no worry, if it broke unrepairable, i sure can buy another one easily.

      anyway, i love your video blog, really is, most of your videos have helped me alot except this particular cheap DMM issue and you really an example of commited, professional expert and funny engineer. the time you spent just to share with us is priceless. thanx alot.

    • Ni-Hao and How

      As some folks mention above, when moneys tight, in this economy, you have to get the best you can find for the dough in your wallet.

      I did some digging around and found there are actually some quality meters coming out of China these days as well, like it or not.

      I’ll prove it: Go ask your Fluke salesman to show you the “Made in…” label of all his meters. You’ll be surprised to find how many are made in China. Probably 80% nowadays and increasing. And Fluke’s little brother brand, Amprobe is all Chinese, coming from the same factories as other brands that are easier to knock.

      They, and a few other brands, use standards like ISO, TUV inspections, and US quality inspections to make sure they don’t fall in the _cheap_ Chinese category.

      Bottom line I guess is, not everything from China is crap, and Fluke (maybe it’s Fruke in China?) themselves prove that. So what’s their excuse for the high prices?

    • foxus

      The biggest problem here is not about the quality, durability, or reliability of these _cheap_ _Chinese_ products. The PROBLEM is MISREPRESENTATION.

      Too many Chinese exaggerate (exceedingly and unethically) about the quality and performance of their products.

      They could say their product is limited but they are affordable. But they choose to say their products are “accurate”, “durable”, “high performance”, etc.

      Too many of them default to misrepresentation. Or in other words, too many of them choose to be LIARS.

      It causes others to form certain generalizations and opinions towards them and their products.

      To me, this video perfectly demonstrates the consequence of their (unethical) actions. And I agree with everything said in the video.

      WE SHOULD NOT SUPPORT LIARS.

    • Ni-Hao and How

      I agree with Foxus: Misrepresentation is not a good thing.

      Another example of misrepresentation is when they let everyone think ALL their products are Made in the USA, because they all USED to be YEARS ago.

      But more n more Flukes are made in China and Thailand. I call those the Frukes. their big recall last year was for amp-clamps that were, drum roll please, made in China!

      I agree they’re among the hi-quality chinese products that i mentioned above. But, maybe they shouldnt go around and misrepresent to all the union workers who buy that brand cuz they think it’s made in the usa. just like everyone else, it’s all about cutting costs to them… stockholders vs. customers (& employees!)

      Like the man says, don’t support liars. maybe americans deceiving americans is even worse.

      Check the label, your fluke may be more yellow than you think. OMG! ROFLMAO.

      Maybe it’s a Fruke instead. LOL.

      I couldn’t resist, i googled it: http://www.tinyurl.com/fruke

    • sparky

      Yeah…chinese multimeters. I constantly kept overcharging a battery pack and blamed god knows what. Then I bought a decent (ok, more decent) multimeter and discovered that the cheapy showed 0,3V less in the 20V range. That’s 0,3V!! I compared the result with my friends Fluke…and sure enough, 0,3V it was. The chinameter flew to the dumpster. So there you have it.

      By the way Dave, perfect vblog. Thumbs up!

    • Bud Taylor

      Dave…stumbled across you while looking for a site that confirms that chinese components (contacts) are crap.
      Would you generalize to all contacts/switches in any application from your discussion of multimeters. (Yep. I’ve got one of them, too.)
      In two weeks a space heater, a Cd recorder and a corded telephone have been rendered useless because the switches/contacts stopped working.
      I just couldn’t get past the on-off, or dial-up or eject buttons to make the instrument do its thing.
      Could you share your experience?

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Connectors and contacts are one area where it is easy to skimp on component quality and lower production cost.
        Gold and other platings on PCB and switch contacts et.al are prime candidates for this. Nothing worse than cheap-arse gold plating!
        Plastics are another area that gets skimped on, and one area where that “generic” replacement component might appear identical to the name brand one, but it falls over at the first opportunity. Be it being too brittle or can’t survive high temps or whatever.

    • BobL

      I’d be more convinced if instead of just waving the chinese meter around and saying they’re crap you actually took some macro shots of failed components and demonstrated something like drift or non-linearity.