Author Topic: First DMM?  (Read 2077 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
First DMM?
« on: July 11, 2018, 10:58:53 pm »
Good Morning!

I’m sure this may be a fairly common question, but I’ve been researching for a few days now, and can’t come to a conclusion.

I find myself looking for a multimeter from time to time for oddball home projects.  I’m by no means an electronics Guru, but it’s one of those tools that seems nice to have.

I’m hoping somebody can help me choose a DMM based on what I do...


First of all: I’m the “buy it right and buy it once” kind of guy. I know there are plenty of cheap meters to be had, but I want one that is safe, fairly well featured, and long lasting.

Also, though, I have budgets. I know fluke is one of the gold standard brands, but at the same time the 87 is just not in the cards.

I’ve seen the Chinese market flukes touted around, but I know they lack some features (I’m not sure I even need!). Plus I’m not sure if there are even knock-off Fluke Chinese market items out there... so I’m wary as to what to look for.

I also understand that EEV has their own option around, which seems decent, and it’s approaching the higher end of what I want to spend.... but if it’s worth it...


Anyways I’m just a home tinkerer.  I don’t necessarily repair TV’s at the moment, but if I do need to work on a board, I dont want to be fried.   For the most part I find myself wanting a meter to check continuity, voltage (car audio, home electronics), and resistance (again, for home electronics).  Where should I start looking and what features are musts? (True RMS? Graph? Etc)
 

Offline drussell

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 972
  • Country: ca
  • Hardcore Geek
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2018, 11:16:26 pm »
Seriously consider getting a used Fluke 27/FM.  They are the military-spec version and come up surplus from various armed forces all the time.  They are readily available on places like eBay at very reasonable prices.  You can even get them with the little hard plastic carrying case and accessory kit.
 

Online mtdoc

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3524
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 11:17:43 pm »
Get a Brymen 257 or the EEVblog Brymen 235.

Both are safe meters, with more features than you're likely to need.

 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2018, 11:21:38 pm »
Seriously consider getting a used Fluke 27/FM.  They are the military-spec version and come up surplus from various armed forces all the time.  They are readily available on places like eBay at very reasonable prices.  You can even get them with the little hard plastic carrying case and accessory kit.

Any concern with accuracy?  I’ve heard that after a year they need to be recalibrated? Will a used one with unknown history pose any issue?
 

Online Muttley Snickers

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1812
  • Country: au
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2018, 11:25:20 pm »
Welcome to the forum.   :)

It would probably help those offering assistance and guidance if you were able to declare your location and budget so that people don't have to assume anything, your location may also determine which brands/ models and pricing is the best option for your requirements.
One smart cookie, better make that two for good measure.
 

Offline drussell

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 972
  • Country: ca
  • Hardcore Geek
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2018, 11:34:51 pm »
Any concern with accuracy?  I’ve heard that after a year they need to be recalibrated? Will a used one with unknown history pose any issue?

No.  Unless you need traceable, certified tracking of your instruments' calibration, you do not need to get any meter regularly calibrated.  They will generally hold their calibration well within spec for decades.

The 27/FM doesn't do things like capacitance, inductance or frequency measurement but you're unlikely to beat the price-performance ratio of these for a Fluke.  :)  A 27/FM makes a great main meter.  You can then have any simple Chinese meter or component tester or LCR meter, etc. for a second meter, component identifier or accurate measurements of reactances, etc. depending on your needs.
 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 11:36:27 pm »
Welcome to the forum.   :)

It would probably help those offering assistance and guidance if you were able to declare your location and budget so that people don't have to assume anything, your location may also determine which brands/ models and pricing is the best option for your requirements.

I’d say my upper limit is $150 comfortably. If there’s reason to bump that up, I can.

I live in the US (Rhode Island)
 

Online Muttley Snickers

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1812
  • Country: au
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 11:42:39 pm »
Get a Brymen 257 or the EEVblog Brymen 235.

Both are safe meters, with more features than you're likely to need.

This is good advice and certainly worth consideration.   :-DMM
One smart cookie, better make that two for good measure.
 

Offline drussell

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 972
  • Country: ca
  • Hardcore Geek
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 11:52:31 pm »
Yeah, those Brymen like the 235 are a great meter and well within your budget.
 

Online NivagSwerdna

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1493
  • Country: gb
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2018, 11:56:10 pm »
AN8008

Put the spare cash towards a scope.
 

Offline iainwhite

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 302
  • Country: us
  • Measure twice...
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2018, 11:58:19 pm »
EEV (Brymen) 235 is a nice meter for about $125

Fluke 17B (international version) is $150     (the imported chinese version is $135 on eBay)    These are real Flukes made in China, not knockoffs.

Both of the above are Cat rated for home mains use, and also have Capacitance and mA / uA ranges (handy for electronics work).

Check this forum thread: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/multimeter-spreadsheet/

Also look for Joe Smith's youtube videos on Handheld Multimeter Life Cycle Testing

If you want a fairly decent cheapo meter, the Aneng 8008 is a common choice, (great for low voltage... I would hesitate to do much mains-rated work with it.)
Check out Dave's video EEVblog #1007 to get his opinion.

 
 

Offline HoracioDos

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 295
  • Country: ar
  • Just an IT monkey with a DSO
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2018, 11:58:39 pm »
Get a Brymen 257 or the EEVblog Brymen 235.
Both are safe meters, with more features than you're likely to need.
I own both. They were a little bit expense for me but I don't regret. I'm very happy with them and I learnt a lot. I was scared the first time because good quality equipment behaves different than cheap ones. As it was said before, there is always a new function to discover that I didn't use before.
 

Offline malagas_on_fire

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 277
  • Country: pt
  • This is a madness....
    • Malagas Lair
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2018, 12:44:25 am »
Hi .

If you are from Europe, you can get the uni-t  61e GS / Intertek model, even in local stores, which is supposed to have better input protection, but as joeqsmith tested, he found during it's tests, that they were very fragile to ESD.

The Brymen seems to be have a good relation between price / functions.
If one can make knowledge flow than it will go from negative to positve , for real
 

Offline bitseeker

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6119
  • Country: us
  • Lots of engineer-tweakable parts inside!
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2018, 09:41:28 am »
Get a Brymen 257 or the EEVblog Brymen 235.

Both are safe meters, with more features than you're likely to need.

I’d say my upper limit is $150 comfortably. If there’s reason to bump that up, I can.

I live in the US (Rhode Island)

Welcome, Gizzygone. If you opt for the Brymen 257 (a good choice for many uses), since you're in the US, the Greenlee DM-510A is the same meter (IIRC) and comes with a lifetime limited warranty (they officially rebrand Brymen DMM for the US market). I see that it's currently $147 at Amazon with free shipping.

I have a Greelee DM-820A, essentially a dual-display and higher CAT-rated version of that meter, that I use a lot on my bench and around the house.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 09:44:47 am by bitseeker »
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2018, 10:02:08 am »
Get a Brymen 257 or the EEVblog Brymen 235.

Both are safe meters, with more features than you're likely to need.

I’d say my upper limit is $150 comfortably. If there’s reason to bump that up, I can.

I live in the US (Rhode Island)

Welcome, Gizzygone. If you opt for the Brymen 257 (a good choice for many uses), since you're in the US, the Greenlee DM-510A is the same meter (IIRC) and comes with a lifetime limited warranty (they officially rebrand Brymen DMM for the US market). I see that it's currently $147 at Amazon with free shipping.

I have a Greelee DM-820A, essentially a dual-display and higher CAT-rated version of that meter, that I use a lot on my bench and around the house.

Thanks, I’ll take a look!

That may just be the ticket if it’s as reliable as a fluke!
 

Offline xani

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 348
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2018, 12:28:23 pm »
First of all: I’m the “buy it right and buy it once” kind of guy. I know there are plenty of cheap meters to be had, but I want one that is safe, fairly well featured, and long lasting.

Me too, but what I've noticed is that you will rarely know what *exactly* you need from a given piece of equipment till you actually use it for some time.

Like I bought my first meter with PC cable to do datalogging. After playing around a bit I ended up never using it and a bunch of budget went to waste. And for first few years of my dabbling in electronics, something like $25 meter[url] would be entirely okay.

And you will at some point need more than one meter, even just to see current and voltage of the circuit at same time, so it's not like cheapie will go to waste after you get a better one.

So I'd advise to not go crazy and buy something cheap and reasonable *first*, then, once you start hitting limits of what you can do you will know what to buy

I generally for stuff I know I will use I tend to get "good enough and cheap" option and splurge only if I think it will get some use.

But for stuff I'm not sure and I have no clue about I just get a cheapie option and upgrade when I need it. Like getting pack of cheap chinese screwdrivers then buy a nice versions of ones used most.
 

Offline rhb

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1752
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2018, 01:14:01 pm »
Not sure where you live.  But if you're in the US I suggest you buy a pack of gum at Harbor Freight and get a free DMM.  With a cal they are good to better than 0.1%.   And you can do the cal with some fresh batteries.  All you need is the right coupon.

I now have two 6.5 digit HP 34401As in addition to the 3478A, but the DMM I use the most is a bottom line HF unit from before they gave them away for which I paid $3 on sale.  Why? It's convenient and good enough 99% of the time.

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/habor-freight-giveaway-dmm-test/msg1473132/#msg1473132

I'm going to test them all against the 34401As and and a DMMCheck Plus and then calibrate them some time soon.

If you buy a $3 Chinese AD584JH based voltage reference you'll be all set and have money left over for more exotic toys  when the occasion arises.

I have no idea how many of the bottom end HF DMMs I have.  Between the ones I bought, my dad bought and the ones HF gave me it is well over 2 dozen.  I've had one fail.  I have one in every toolbox in which they might be relevant.

The test probes are fragile, but a bit of hot melt glue where the wire goes into the probe is supposed to solve that.
 

Offline _ar_

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 22
  • Country: hu
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2018, 01:30:12 pm »
As beginner I bought a Brymen BM235 and I can say that I am _very_ pleased with this DMM. Quality built, tons of features and I know that as long as I'm holding the probes I'm safe. Or take a look at the Extechs, they are basically budged Brymens (?) and Dave also commended them before.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2018, 01:35:11 pm by _ar_ »
 

Offline larsdenmark

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 78
  • Country: dk
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2018, 05:58:38 pm »
There is no such thing as buying only one meter. If you start doing more of this electronics stuff you'll need more meters. If nothing else then just to be able to measure voltage and current at the same time.

Hence I would propose that you get the cheapest you can live with. This will give you an idea of what to buy next time (and by then the prices will have dropped).

A Brymen 235 (or better) will suit you well, but you could also consider a UNI-T - e.g. the 61 or 139 series.
 

Offline xani

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 348
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2018, 09:24:58 pm »
Not sure where you live.  But if you're in the US I suggest you buy a pack of gum at Harbor Freight and get a free DMM.  With a cal they are good to better than 0.1%.   And you can do the cal with some fresh batteries.  All you need is the right coupon.
Life is too short for non-autoranging DMM ^-^. Also non-fused 10A range is something I'd avoid for someone that's just starting. If I got one for free sure I'd toss it in a toolbox as spare, but I woudn't want to pay for one

Quote
The test probes are fragile, but a bit of hot melt glue where the wire goes into the probe is supposed to solve that.
I think that's all cheapish meters, good probes cost more than them for the most part
 

Online mtdoc

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3524
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2018, 01:54:31 am »
Not sure where you live.  But if you're in the US I suggest you buy a pack of gum at Harbor Freight and get a free DMM. 

I've got several of the HF freebies around. They're fine for throwing in the glove box of your car, checking battery voltages, etc.  And yes, you can use them on an electronics bench if speed and high resolution/ accuracy is not important but they have several short comings.  No continuity buzzer for one.  And they should be kept far away from anything high energy.

Besides, the OP specifically stated:

Quote
First of all: I’m the “buy it right and buy it once” kind of guy. I know there are plenty of cheap meters to be had, but I want one that is safe, fairly well featured, and long lasting.

The HF meters are as far away from that as you can get.
 

Offline rhb

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1752
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2018, 02:22:02 am »
Not sure where you live.  But if you're in the US I suggest you buy a pack of gum at Harbor Freight and get a free DMM.  With a cal they are good to better than 0.1%.   And you can do the cal with some fresh batteries.  All you need is the right coupon.
Life is too short for non-autoranging DMM ^-^. Also non-fused 10A range is something I'd avoid for someone that's just starting. If I got one for free sure I'd toss it in a toolbox as spare, but I woudn't want to pay for one

Quote
The test probes are fragile, but a bit of hot melt glue where the wire goes into the probe is supposed to solve that.
I think that's all cheapish meters, good probes cost more than them for the most part

The 10 A range is fused.  These are the modern equivalent of a Fluke 8000A except for not being rated to 1200 V.  Beginners should not be playing with high voltages, so that hardly matters.

A beginner should be conscious at *all* times of what they expect the meter to read.  A manual ranging meter encourages developing safe work habits.  Autoranging meters tend to encourage just poking the probes in.  That can get very spectacular if it's a CRT or microwave oven  HV section no matter what DMM you're using.

A well equipped electronics test bench is not cheap.  I've got more of the HF units that I can count (or find).  I've had only one fail.  A 34401A certainly meets the OP's requirements, but I think all would agree it's rather overkill for a beginner.

The HF DMMs are one of the few Chinese T&M devices I don't dislike.

By the time you add up a DMM, DSO, AWG and PSU it's not cheap.  You can fix a lot of things with just a DMM, but you *really* need to know what you're doing to be able to do that.

I just thought I should point out that a DMM is like your first shot of heroin.  After that you want more.  The TEA thread is testimony to that problem.  So buying more than you need at any stage is questionable.  And it's pretty hard to beat free.
 

Offline innkeeper

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 434
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2018, 02:26:43 am »
The HF meters are as far away from that as you can get.
not that I am recommending this meter .. just showing that some harbor fright stuff is less crappier then other harbor fright items.

https://www.harborfreight.com/electricians-hvac-contractor-trms-multimeter-64019.html
« Last Edit: July 13, 2018, 02:33:07 am by innkeeper »
Hobbyist and retired engeneer.
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6496
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2018, 02:58:36 am »
The free HF meters are great for keeping in the car in case you need to do a little roadside troubleshooting, at least if you drive old/high mileage cars like I do. I wouldn't get one as a first or only meter though, they are not what I would consider safe for use on mains voltage. While it's hard to go wrong with a Fluke, there are lots of other options. Just make sure you get something that is safely designed, especially as a beginner it's easy to do something like try to measure 120V with the meter set up to measure current.
 

Offline ttelectronic

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 36
  • Country: ca
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2018, 03:17:32 am »
Been quite happy with the BM235
 

Offline GigaJoe

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 189
  • Country: ca
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2018, 05:07:19 am »
Something $20 cheap, thing is .... later on you will figure-out needs , like better precision, or need a bench one with 5.5 or so or need autohold, need min/max or math , need bar graph, transistor measure , need something else ....

as a second moment: by mistake you may measure current in the wall plug, (had happens with me when I measure transformer parameters ... 2 DMM dead , cant fix it ...)

So i have a few disposable for $10-$20 it works well for 95% , the rest 5% covers by 5 or 6 digits bench one ... Another positive and some fun thing, change a quartz till it stable ,  some of them going up to 4-5 times faster,  arranging range in eye blink :) - I HATE slow multi-meter, unless it 6-7D ...
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 149
  • Country: nl
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2018, 10:02:52 am »
The Brymen meters have about the highest performance / quality you can get for 1/2 or 1/3 the price of a Fluke.
The Aneng meters are a very nice addition for electronics.
You always want more than 1 multimeter.
For example for measuring input and output voltages / currents fo a circuit.
Use one to keep track of the temperature of a transistor, while using another meter for who knows what.
If you are in doubt of the quality / accuracy of your DMM, you can use the second meter as a check.
You can use 1 DMM to check if the other has blown a fuse.
You can use 1 DMM to check input impedance etc. of another DMM.

The Aneng AN8009 (EUR 23 From Ali / Ebay) has a very generous amount of ranges.
The GreenLee meter mentioned earlier in this thread are rebranded Brymen's.
Some of the "Voltcraft" meters are also rebranded Brymens, (or UTi).

A DMM that beeps at me when the switch is in Volt position and the probes are in an Amp bananabus has saved me multiple times from blowing up my DMM.
 

Offline xani

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 348
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2018, 12:24:42 pm »
Not sure where you live.  But if you're in the US I suggest you buy a pack of gum at Harbor Freight and get a free DMM.  With a cal they are good to better than 0.1%.   And you can do the cal with some fresh batteries.  All you need is the right coupon.
Life is too short for non-autoranging DMM ^-^. Also non-fused 10A range is something I'd avoid for someone that's just starting. If I got one for free sure I'd toss it in a toolbox as spare, but I woudn't want to pay for one

Quote
The test probes are fragile, but a bit of hot melt glue where the wire goes into the probe is supposed to solve that.
I think that's all cheapish meters, good probes cost more than them for the most part

The 10 A range is fused.  These are the modern equivalent of a Fluke 8000A except for not being rated to 1200 V.  Beginners should not be playing with high voltages, so that hardly matters.
Is it ? On picture you attached shunt seems to go directly from COM to 10A., just like on  other types of it. I did saw some other teardown that did seem to have it separate, so it might depend on model.

Quote
These are the modern equivalent of a Fluke 8000A except for not being rated to 1200 V.

They look like same kind of meter I've used 20 years ago when I was a kid (well ones like that[/url;] ). Those didn't had 10 A range fused either.

Quote
A beginner should be conscious at *all* times of what they expect the meter to read.  A manual ranging meter encourages developing safe work habits.  Autoranging meters tend to encourage just poking the probes in.  That can get very spectacular if it's a CRT or microwave oven  HV section no matter what DMM you're using.

If someone sets manual ranging meter to highest range and poke microwave or CRT, result will be as bad.

I don't really see a value in manual ranging (and you can do that on auto meter anyway if you really need), just adds to annoyance when probing unknown circuit. Fine for a cheapie (for price of HF meter you get amazing deal all things considered) but IMO getting anything above $30 with manual ranging is pointless.

Quote
A well equipped electronics test bench is not cheap.  I've got more of the HF units that I can count (or find).  I've had only one fail.  A 34401A certainly meets the OP's requirements, but I think all would agree it's rather overkill for a beginner.

The HF DMMs are one of the few Chinese T&M devices I don't dislike.

By the time you add up a DMM, DSO, AWG and PSU it's not cheap.  You can fix a lot of things with just a DMM, but you *really* need to know what you're doing to be able to do that.

I just thought I should point out that a DMM is like your first shot of heroin.  After that you want more.  The TEA thread is testimony to that problem.  So buying more than you need at any stage is questionable.  And it's pretty hard to beat free.

Agreed. If I had $150 to spend on beginner's T&M I'd definitely not burn it on meter. Just cheap meter + used analog scope (or, in case of digital, cheapo logic analyzer) would be WAY more useful than $150 meter
 

Offline Mr. Scram

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5084
  • Country: 00
  • Display aficionado
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2018, 12:29:51 pm »
I'd argue going for the BM257 rather than the BM235. The bar graph is a good feature to have and the extra connectivity could be useful is that tickles your fancy. The latter could be considered superfluous, but a bar graph is a very useful tool and helps understanding what's going on more easily.
 

Offline Lightages

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 4295
  • Country: ca
  • Canadian po
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2018, 12:41:41 pm »
I will repeat the recommendation for a BM257S. You are unlikely to need anything better for a long time and unlikely to find anything better for the price.
 
The following users thanked this post: Gizzygone

Offline GigaJoe

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 189
  • Country: ca
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2018, 01:29:39 am »
when I look at 257S, that what i don't like:     AC voltage   60mV / 1000V   ±(1.0%+5) @ 50-400Hz;   400Hz - really low , it more like electrician meter ...
seems only 860, 820 running to 20Khz ..   869 - to 100Khz

https://www.welectron.com/Brymen-BM867s-Multimeter_3  150 euro -  consider , 5.5D ; precision, wide AC freq, bargraph, logging to PC,   ...



 

Offline rsjsouza

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2599
  • Country: us
    • Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2018, 02:03:01 am »
In addition to the Brymen/Greenlee (which I love) and since you are in the US, Home Depot has quite decently priced meters from Klein. The MM600 and MM700 are built-to-last meters with many features.
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Online mtdoc

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3524
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2018, 03:04:07 am »
when I look at 257S, that what i don't like:     AC voltage   60mV / 1000V   ±(1.0%+5) @ 50-400Hz;   400Hz - really low , it more like electrician meter ...

Testing my BM257, I get 1% accuracy up to 1kHz with a 1 Vrms sine wave and up to 20kHz at 7 Vrms.

In reality I rarely ever need to measure high frequency AC amplitude and I doubt the OP does either at this point.  Of course there are always trade offs unless you have unlimited funds. 

The BM867 falls outside of his budget.

FWIW, in addition to the BM257 I own a Fluke 87V, Keysight U1252b, EEVBlog 121GW,  3 bench meters and some cheaper handhelds and yet the BM257 is my most used meter. It has all the functions and enough resolution and accuracy for 99% of what I do. Granted I am a hobbyist, not a professional EE, but so is the OP.

« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 04:30:33 am by mtdoc »
 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2018, 03:10:42 am »
In addition to the Brymen/Greenlee (which I love) and since you are in the US, Home Depot has quite decently priced meters from Klein. The MM600 and MM700 are built-to-last meters with many features.

I was curious about the Klein ones.... I have plenty of Klein tools that I love, but I wasn’t sure if their DMM options were anything worth looking into.
 

Offline rsjsouza

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2599
  • Country: us
    • Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2018, 05:44:59 am »
In addition to the Brymen/Greenlee (which I love) and since you are in the US, Home Depot has quite decently priced meters from Klein. The MM600 and MM700 are built-to-last meters with many features.

I was curious about the Klein ones.... I have plenty of Klein tools that I love, but I wasn’t sure if their DMM options were anything worth looking into.
A teardown/review of a MM600:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/58275

Dave did a "Mud Run" with a Klein MM500... it survived!
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 05:50:37 am by rsjsouza »
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline Mr. Scram

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5084
  • Country: 00
  • Display aficionado
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2018, 09:29:26 am »
when I look at 257S, that what i don't like:     AC voltage   60mV / 1000V   ±(1.0%+5) @ 50-400Hz;   400Hz - really low , it more like electrician meter ...
seems only 860, 820 running to 20Khz ..   869 - to 100Khz

https://www.welectron.com/Brymen-BM867s-Multimeter_3  150 euro -  consider , 5.5D ; precision, wide AC freq, bargraph, logging to PC,   ...
A BM867S isn't a 5 1/2 digit model on AC. The BM257S has almost all of the features and advantages you mention for the BM867S. Much better than the cheap Chinese alternatives and barely worse than the more expensive competition.

Don't get me wrong, if you can afford a BM867S it's worthwhile, but a BM257S is a safe, good and more than capable alternative.
 

Offline Deridex

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 153
  • Country: de
  • IMHO
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2018, 03:57:41 pm »
I think you can't do much wrong with the usual brands:
Brymen, Keysight, Fluke, Gossen etc.

At start i would prefer the Brymen because i think you get the most for your bucks. :-+
 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2018, 11:09:29 am »
I’m starting to lean towards a used Fluke 87. Any reason to not go with a 87iii or 87iv?
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6496
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2018, 12:42:26 pm »
Well, mostly the cost. I do like my Fluke 87, but I would only recommend it to someone with money to burn as a first DMM, unless they planned to be an electrician or something.
 

Offline rsjsouza

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2599
  • Country: us
    • Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2018, 01:02:06 pm »
I’m starting to lean towards a used Fluke 87. Any reason to not go with a 87iii or 87iv?
If you can get a 87III or 87V for a reasonable price, that's nothing wrong at all with them. The 87IV is a completely different meter - close to a Fluke 187.
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline Mr. Scram

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5084
  • Country: 00
  • Display aficionado
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2018, 03:27:33 am »
Well, mostly the cost. I do like my Fluke 87, but I would only recommend it to someone with money to burn as a first DMM, unless they planned to be an electrician or something.
Same here. I do like my Fluke for its rugged simplicity, but if I had to pick a first multimeter on a budget I'd look at a BM257S, or BM869S on a slightly bigger budget.
 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2018, 03:43:47 am »
I ended up bidding on, and winning, an 87iii for just Under $100.  The yellow over-mold looks a bit tattered, but the device itself looks to be in decent shape. I guess we’ll see how good it is when it shows up.

I guess the biggest question is if it’s caibrated well enough still!
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6496
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2018, 05:51:47 am »
I don't think I've ever seen a Fluke that had drifted out of calibration. A couple years ago I cleaned up a tattered old Fluke 29 a friend got and when I checked the calibration against my voltage standard it was bang on. Unless it has been damaged or molested I don't think that will be an issue.
 

Offline Gizzygone

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 8
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2018, 06:05:54 am »
Any way to tell for sure without bringing it for calibration?

 Maybe just try a fresh 9volt battery to test it against?
 

Offline bitseeker

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6119
  • Country: us
  • Lots of engineer-tweakable parts inside!
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2018, 06:28:27 am »
Well, it depends on your definition of "for sure." If that means to the accuracy stated in the multimeter's specifications, then you'd need appropriate references for voltage and current (AC and DC), resistance, etc. Check out the manual for all the types of measurements supported and their ranges.

A little less demanding might mean having some power supplies and components, the values of which are known (or can be measured with a known-good DMM), and seeing if the 87III displays roughly those known values. How rough depends on how many decimal places of accuracy meet your definition of "for sure."

Using a fresh 9-volt battery would tell you if the meter at least measures something around nine volts. The actual voltage is not known to a high degree of accuracy without measuring it. It may have been on a store shelf for a while or not long at all. Manually change to all the ranges that are high enough to accommodate the battery voltage and see if you still measure around nine volts. That will let you know that at least the DC volts functionality is OK for around nine volts. You'll still need some way to verify everything else that the DMM can do including the millivolts DC range.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2018, 06:33:12 am by bitseeker »
You don't acquire TEA. It acquires you.
 

Offline JS

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 941
  • Country: ar
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2018, 10:24:38 am »
You could get a new meter, even if cheap they come bang on from factory, like a $20 aneng AN8008 with 9999 counts which will be good to check and you end with a really nice meter for the lab, maybe even better than the 87 as the lowest ranges are sweet for electronics.

Some voltage regulators are pretty accurate, easily better than a 9V. You won't get a cheap way to compare to factory specs but much better than not knowing at all.

JS
If I don't know how it works, I prefer not to turn it on.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5084
  • Country: 00
  • Display aficionado
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2018, 11:42:44 am »
Any way to tell for sure without bringing it for calibration?

 Maybe just try a fresh 9volt battery to test it against?
Get a cheap voltage reference from China or a more expensive one from elsewhere. You won't know the exact numbers, but they're accurate enough to at least a ensure it's within a handful of digits. That's plenty accurate for all but the most demanding stuff.

If you could measure your cheap reference on someone's calibrated meter you'll know quite accurately where you are.

A working 87III for under a hundred bucks is a nice score!
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6496
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2018, 03:13:13 pm »
Or find someone else with a known working meter to compare it with.

Really though, if you measure a few things and get reasonable values then the meter is very likely accurate. If something like a 10k resistor or 9V battery read wildly off then the meter is probably damaged in some way, but if it looks close then it's probably spot on. They just don't drift by any appreciable amount, you only need calibration if you need a paper trail for some sort of work where someone is auditing things.
 

Offline drussell

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 972
  • Country: ca
  • Hardcore Geek
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2018, 03:21:29 pm »
Any way to tell for sure without bringing it for calibration?

Maybe just try a fresh 9volt battery to test it against?

I would use a single alkaline cell like a single AA, C or D cell so there is less error instead of a bunch of series cells in the 9v battery.

Just like setting the bias on an old Dynaco tube amplifier...  :)
 

Offline GeoffreyF

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Country: us
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #49 on: October 17, 2018, 07:29:19 am »
I don't have a picture of the one I used, but this is a photo of it
Before that I had a Heatkit VTVM.
 

Offline jose347

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 18
  • Country: pr
Re: First DMM?
« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2018, 08:21:49 am »
at your price point I will go with Dave's BM235, I personally own one and can say it's a nice meter  :bullshit:
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf