Author Topic: How many multi-meters do I need to start?  (Read 2078 times)

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Offline bsas

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How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« on: February 14, 2018, 07:44:12 AM »
Hi,

I am starting on the "self-learning" path on electronics. But, I really want to focus on basic analog stuff first since I am a Sotware Developer and I don't want to go directly to digital electronics since they are "too close to home" for now :D

My first goal is to learn enough to satisfy my other main hobby: electric guitars.

I want to be able to build, understand and mod pedals, amps (specially tube ones), etc.

So, I think I need at least two multi-meters right? Do I need more than 2?

And what is the preferable ones to get (any combination, cheapest the better, so I can buy right away):
- EEVblog Brymen BM235;
- Fluke 17B+;
- Fluke 87V;
- Fluke 117;
- Other...???

Also, what do you guys recommend for a oscilloscope (I honestly think I will learn a lot from FFT and 0-20khz sweeps)?
- Rigol 1054Z;
- Analog Discovery 2;
- Other...???

Thanks!!!
 

Offline cowasaki

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2018, 07:55:05 AM »
If you are like me you will end up with lots!  I have 2 PM2525, a UNI-T 61E and maybe 4-5 others plus I'm buying a Keithley 2100 on Sunday :-)  Realistically two allows you to see a before and after value or current and voltage at the same time.  I would get one decent multimeter and 1 or 2 cheapish ones to be going on with.  You can see how accurate the cheap ones are by comparing them with the better one and what you CAN do is open up the cheaper one and calibrate it to the better one by adjusting the adjustment pots if they have any.  I quite rate the 61E and if you are getting a really decent main meter then that would make a great second one.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 07:58:17 AM by cowasaki »
 
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Offline Paul Rose

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2018, 08:00:36 AM »
You will get a wide variety of answers to this.

I like to have at least two meters: a good one like any of the 4 from your list ( I have the 87V ).  The second can just be a cheap one until you feel like you need a second good one.

I prefer a standalone scope, especially if I can only have one.  Rigol 1054Z or Siglent SDS1202X is a reasonable choice here
 
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2018, 08:06:11 AM »
So, do you suggest to have at least one really good one like the 87V? I was thinking about using the current good price/deal on the EEVblog BM235 and just get two of them.

What do you prefer and why? The Rigol 1054Z or Siglent SDS1202X?

Thanks!!!
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2018, 08:06:46 AM »
You NEED one multimeter. Two is better. Four is really good. I would recommend two. This gives you a way to measure current and voltage at the same time and also have a sanity check of one against the other. Get a good quality meter or two that won't let you down. There are so many to choose from that you will get many recommendations. Seeing as you want to reliably measure tube circuits, then get something that s better rated for those voltages, and actually has a real verified rating.

Suggestions:
Uni-T UT139C, Amprobe AM-5x0 series, Brymen BM235 or BM257S or BM319S, and some others. Don't buy the cheap crap. Nobody ever cried over buying quality.

If you can't afford two multimeters and an oscilloscope, then get the oscilloscope over a second meter. The DS1054Z is still the king of the cheap scope pile.

I would personally recommend the BM257S (or two) and a DS1054Z. This is a hard to beat measurement set and when you need something better you will know.

There is also no substitute for education and caution. If you are sure how to measure something ask, before you blow soemthing up, or you.
I am NOT a distributor for Brymen.
 
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Online paulca

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2018, 08:10:37 AM »
You had to ask, didn't you.

The answer is "Some more"
"What could possibly go wrong?"
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 08:13:39 AM »
So, do you suggest to have at least one really good one like the 87V? I was thinking about using the current good price/deal on the EEVblog BM235 and just get two of them.

What do you prefer and why? The Rigol 1054Z or Siglent SDS1202X?

Thanks!!!

The Fluke 87V is an industry standard for electricians and general electronics. It has a good reputation and deservedly so. It is not the best buy for most people. Many other meters surpass its features and capabilities for a lower price. The BM869S is lower priced but beats it in almost every specification. Brymen also has a great reputation for reliability and construction and also has a higher CAT rating than the 87V.

The BM257S will do everything you need and at a much lower price. So much lower you can buy two for a lower price of the 87V. Don't buy the hype of the Fluke fanboys. Two Amprobe AM-510, or AM-530 would also serve you better than one 87V. I even believe you would be better served by one BM235 and one UT139C than one 87V.
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Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 08:14:31 AM »
The Rigol 1054Z or Siglent SDS1202X?
The 1054Z is 50 MHz whereas 1202X-E is 200 MHz !

The Rigol can be hacked to 100 MHz but still the Siglent outperforms it on several specs.
There's a table in the first post of this thread that you can better compare specs:
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 08:20:39 AM »
The problem is that the 1202X-E looks like it is discontinued (at least in https://www.tequipment.net/) and the "Suggested Replacement: DS2202A" is $1,205.10! Am I going to feel that much worse with the 1054Z? Remember that guitars (and audio in general) is more important anything in the 0-20khz range...

Is there any other scope on the $500ish range that is "better" than the "hacked" 1054Z (I have no issue hacking it to 100MHz).
 

Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 08:21:36 AM »
How much "better" the BM257S is compared to the BM235 from the EEVBlog? Thanks!!!
 

Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 08:37:59 AM »
The problem is that the 1202X-E looks like it is discontinued (at least in https://www.tequipment.net/) and the "Suggested Replacement: DS2202A" is $1,205.10! Am I going to feel that much worse with the 1054Z? Remember that guitars (and audio in general) is more important anything in the 0-20khz range...

Is there any other scope on the $500ish range that is "better" than the "hacked" 1054Z (I have no issue hacking it to 100MHz).

Ah! Found in Amazon the Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 mhz: https://www.amazon.com/Siglent-Technologies-SDS1202X-Oscilloscope-Channels/dp/B06XZML6RD/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518557527&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=siglent+sds1204xe

- Is that the one you are referencing?

- If so, am I going to "miss" the 4 channels of the 1054Z for my application?

- How much better the FFT of that scope is compared to the 1054Z?

Thanks!
 

Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 08:42:00 AM »
The problem is that the 1202X-E looks like it is discontinued (at least in https://www.tequipment.net/) and the "Suggested Replacement: DS2202A" is $1,205.10!
TE is not the only provider !
It's only been discontinued in their range as they lost Siglent distribution.
Look for it at Saelig and there's a thread here where you can ask and get the same 6% discount as an EEVblog member.
The problem is that the 1202X-E looks like it is discontinued (at least in https://www.tequipment.net/) and the "Suggested Replacement: DS2202A" is $1,205.10! Am I going to feel that much worse with the 1054Z? Remember that guitars (and audio in general) is more important anything in the 0-20khz range...

Is there any other scope on the $500ish range that is "better" than the "hacked" 1054Z (I have no issue hacking it to 100MHz).

Ah! Found in Amazon the Siglent Technologies SDS1202X-E 200 mhz: https://www.amazon.com/Siglent-Technologies-SDS1202X-Oscilloscope-Channels/dp/B06XZML6RD/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518557527&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=siglent+sds1204xe

- Is that the one you are referencing?

- If so, am I going to "miss" the 4 channels of the 1054Z for my application?

- How much better the FFT of that scope is compared to the 1054Z?

Thanks!
Yep, but look at SDS1104X-E also if 4ch is a must have. I've already linked the thread.  ;)
The FFT of X-E models is far better.
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Offline rsjsouza

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 08:44:47 AM »
The problem is that the 1202X-E looks like it is discontinued (at least in https://www.tequipment.net/) and the "Suggested Replacement: DS2202A" is $1,205.10! Am I going to feel that much worse with the 1054Z? Remember that guitars (and audio in general) is more important anything in the 0-20khz range...

Is there any other scope on the $500ish range that is "better" than the "hacked" 1054Z (I have no issue hacking it to 100MHz).
No, it is not. It is a dick move that Tequipment is doing to mark these items as discontinued when they are simply not selling Siglent gear anymore.

http://www.saelig.com/product/sds1202x-e.htm
https://www.amazon.com/Siglent-Technologies-SDS1202X-Oscilloscope-Channels/dp/B06XZML6RD

If you are interested in analog audio, I would be very biased towards the Siglent, given it is a more modern platform and has better FFT. Being a newer oscilloscope, it may have bugs to be fixed, though. There are some threads around here with discussions about this oscilloscope.
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Offline Lightages

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 09:34:00 AM »
It seems we have a general consensus about the number of multimeters, but not he brand of an oscilloscope. It is arguable if a higher bandwidth or more channels are better. IMHO, for audio use as the OP has specified, more channels are king. A hacked DS1054Z will have much more than adequate bandwidth, 4 channels, and have all the other added extras for other work for less than the Siglent. 100MHz isnot really that much less than 200Mhz in real world use, but 2 channels more is a huge benefit.
I am NOT a distributor for Brymen.
 
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 09:35:13 AM »
...
Look for it at Saelig and there's a thread here where you can ask and get the same 6% discount as an EEVblog member.
...

How can I get the discount? I can't find the code in the thread...
 

Offline ez24

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2018, 09:36:09 AM »
12
YouTube and Website Electronic Resources ------>  http://www.eevblog.com/forum/other-blog-specific/a/msg1341166/#msg1341166
 
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 09:38:17 AM »
It seems we have a general consensus about the number of multimeters, but not he brand of an oscilloscope. It is arguable if a higher bandwidth or more channels are better. IMHO, for audio use as the OP has specified, more channels are king. A hacked DS1054Z will have much more than adequate bandwidth, 4 channels, and have all the other added extras for other work for less than the Siglent. 100MHz isnot really that much less than 200Mhz in real world use, but 2 channels more is a huge benefit.

But does the FFT and other evaluation functions are so much better in the Siglent that it gets over the lack of 2 channels?

rsjsouza states that "If you are interested in analog audio, I would be very biased towards the Siglent, given it is a more modern platform and has better FFT". Why? How much better? Is the FFT in the Rigol useless (toy feature) compared to the Siglent one? Why the "modern platform" matters?

Thanks guys!!! :D
 

Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 09:39:18 AM »
12

42?... What 12 suppose to mean? :D
 

Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2018, 09:45:17 AM »
It seems we have a general consensus about the number of multimeters, but not he brand of an oscilloscope. It is arguable if a higher bandwidth or more channels are better. IMHO, for audio use as the OP has specified, more channels are king. A hacked DS1054Z will have much more than adequate bandwidth, 4 channels, and have all the other added extras for other work for less than the Siglent. 100MHz isnot really that much less than 200Mhz in real world use, but 2 channels more is a huge benefit.

But does the FFT and other evaluation functions are so much better in the Siglent that it gets over the lack of 2 channels?
You're missing the fact that there's 2 and 4ch X-E's.
Look here, grab the datasheets and take your time to have a good study.
https://www.siglentamerica.com/digital-oscilloscopes/sds1000x-e-series-super-phosphor-oscilloscopes/


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Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 09:47:25 AM »
12
:-DD  :-+

I need a few more then as I can only count ~10.  :)
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2018, 09:50:56 AM »
It seems we have a general consensus about the number of multimeters, but not he brand of an oscilloscope. It is arguable if a higher bandwidth or more channels are better. IMHO, for audio use as the OP has specified, more channels are king. A hacked DS1054Z will have much more than adequate bandwidth, 4 channels, and have all the other added extras for other work for less than the Siglent. 100MHz isnot really that much less than 200Mhz in real world use, but 2 channels more is a huge benefit.

But does the FFT and other evaluation functions are so much better in the Siglent that it gets over the lack of 2 channels?
You're missing the fact that there's 2 and 4ch X-E's.
Look here, grab the datasheets and take your time to have a good study.
https://www.siglentamerica.com/digital-oscilloscopes/sds1000x-e-series-super-phosphor-oscilloscopes/

I am not, but:
1) The "cheaper" SDS1104X-E 4 channel one is 100MHz instead of 200MHz, so, what is the benefit over the Rigol 1054Z hacked (it is a $150 price difference)?
2) The SDS1204X-E 200MHz is double the price of the 2 channel one (or the Rigol one), so, it is far off my price range unfortunately.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 09:52:27 AM by bsas »
 

Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2018, 10:00:05 AM »
It seems we have a general consensus about the number of multimeters, but not he brand of an oscilloscope. It is arguable if a higher bandwidth or more channels are better. IMHO, for audio use as the OP has specified, more channels are king. A hacked DS1054Z will have much more than adequate bandwidth, 4 channels, and have all the other added extras for other work for less than the Siglent. 100MHz isnot really that much less than 200Mhz in real world use, but 2 channels more is a huge benefit.

But does the FFT and other evaluation functions are so much better in the Siglent that it gets over the lack of 2 channels?
You're missing the fact that there's 2 and 4ch X-E's.
Look here, grab the datasheets and take your time to have a good study.
https://www.siglentamerica.com/digital-oscilloscopes/sds1000x-e-series-super-phosphor-oscilloscopes/

I am not, but:
1) The "cheaper" SDS1104X-E 4 channel one is 100MHz instead of 200MHz, so, what is the benefit over the Rigol 1054Z hacked (it is a $150 price difference)?
2) The SDS1204X-E 200MHz is double the price of the 2 channel one (or the Rigol one), so, it is far off my price range unfortunately.
OK so you'd like 4 channels, fine.
Are you happy with hacking a unit to 100 MHz ?
Have you carefully compared specs to discover the vast differences in capabilities between the two brands ?

There's a heap of info on the forum about each model's capabilities, strengths and weaknesses so take some good time to really study it. Will a bit more time to do so matter ?
Yes, I can just say buy this one but it's your money and after doing some homework YOU make the choice and NOT me !
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Offline james_s

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2018, 10:16:01 AM »
99% of the time I only need one multimeter, occasionally it's handy to have two. You'll know if/when you need more than that.

Get one decent meter and focus on learning how to use it properly rather than trying to amass a whole collection of them.
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2018, 10:32:44 AM »
My first brand new meter was an analog one from Radio Shack.  I used it for many years into my adult life and did a fair amount of tube work with it. 

Wait until you actually need more or better equipment before you buy it.  You may learn enough by then to know what you need. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline tggzzz

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2018, 11:33:47 AM »
So, I think I need at least two multi-meters right? Do I need more than 2?

You need two multimeters if and only if you need to make two measurements at the same time.

So far you haven't specified measurements you need to make, let alone more than one at once.

As to how "good" a meter you need, for many measurements you only need 1% accuracy, so even an analogue meter would do. And, as somebody interested in audio, you already realise that sometimes analogue displays are better than digital displays.

So, buy something cheap but safe, and when you know you can't use that you will automatically know what you need to buy.

Read my .sig, and remember that buying expensive equipment doesn't buy skill nor does it buy useful results.
There are lies, damned lies, statistics - and ADC/DAC specs.
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