Author Topic: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome  (Read 19231 times)

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Offline DrunkenNinja

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UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« on: May 05, 2013, 06:29:39 pm »
I have been browsing reviews for some months now trying to find a decent entry level DMM, It will mainly be used for electronics (Circuit boards, Ohms, Resistance, Continuity and some voltage)

I am pretty much restricted to flea bay as I live in what might be considered an expensive shipping location and I prefer to use Paypal.

Initially I nearly went out and bought a VC99 but there seem to be a lot of haters for this DMM so I delved back into the reviews to find something everyone could agree was a great sub $100 DMM.

Unfortunately none of the DMM's in the Shootout are available to me so that leaves me with the UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B as the most interesting prospects.

I have external temp sensors I use so thats not a concern for me and I also don't need PC data login (Not even sure what that is anyway) so that's two features I'm not fussed about.

Any other models, suggestions are mst welcome if not I would really like to know peoples preference over the two mentioned DMM's

I am not an electrician but more a hobbyist learning quickly how to repair circuits, trace repairs, replacing SMD's, Reflows and Reballs, a decent DMM is very useful in this pass time and I want a DMM I can grow into also, hence the $100 mark and not the $1.oo  ^-^

Hoping this thread can help others needing similar advice, once again all suggestions welcome, thanks.
 

Offline Fsck

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 06:37:50 pm »
ut61e all the way. fluke 17b is seriously stripped down and not cost effective.
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Offline G7PSK

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 01:00:30 am »
UT61E is very good for the money and will do for most hobby work, not really recommended for high energy circuits, like the mains etc. Amprobe are available on ebay and they are very good too.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 02:33:37 am »
At $90 plus shipping, the Amprobe AM-270......
 

Offline DrunkenNinja

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 04:48:37 am »
At $90 plus shipping, the Amprobe AM-270......

Shipping will hit me for $50 and that's just too much for me, I did consider the Amprobe but it's just out of reach.

So its:

(+1) AM-270 - but shipping is too expensive
(+2) UNI-T UT61E
(-1)  Fluke 17b
(??) V99 - No comments - yet

Sounds like I may be on the right track though as I can get the UNI-T UT61E for $56.oo inc. shipping from China.
 

Offline Rick Law

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 05:22:02 am »

Unfortunately none of the DMM's in the Shootout are available to me so that leaves me with the UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B as the most interesting prospects.


MJ Lorton did a very good 4 part review of the UT61E (link to part 1 below)


His review gives you an idea of how the UT-61E works, its strengths and its weaknesses.  I recently (Feb 2013) purchased the 61E and I am rather happy with it.  I am not an EE guy, I am not sure I am even good enough to call myself a hobbyist.  I am doing "baby play" only - following the spec sheets, make a few refinements here or there, so forth.

What swung my decision are the reviews plus the hacks to the 61E I found.  It is not that I want to do a particular hack, it is a display of enthusiasm by those who knows electronic well enough to do a hack.  If those guys know enough about electronics to create such complicate hacks, and they are interested enough with the 61E to hack it, that is a positive statement to the 61E's worth.

Following the link below,
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/brand-new-uni-t-ut61e-for-sale/
Franky is a known figure here on this blog.  I purchased it from him and his is responsive.

I am pleased with my 61E and my dealings with Franky.  I recommend the DMM and Franky.

Rick
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 05:33:44 am »
VC99, my comment, total shit, waste of money.

Seeing as we have no idea where you are it is hard to consider shipping when trying to recommend anything.

From our friend iloveelectronics here on the forums, his ebay store:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digitek-DT-4000ZC-TekPower-TP4000ZC-Data-Logging-Multimeter-Temperature-/200912705694?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item747377a9ac
Is one option, and he will soon have the Digitek DT-2843R at $46 shipped, which I just did a review for. He is also getting more Brymen BM257 (highly recommended but out of you price range I think) which he sells for $135 shipped worldwide. He also has UT61Es too.

or from www.dx.com you have these free shipped options:
http://dx.com/p/ut61e-2-6-lcd-digital-multimeter-red-black-1-x-9v-6f22-battery-113306
they also had this but it is sold out right now
http://dx.com/p/fluke-17b-2-6-lcd-digital-multimeter-meter-2-aa-included-28659
 

Offline DrunkenNinja

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 06:21:45 am »
@ lightages, sorry my apologies, I am in Cyprus (EU) a small island in the Mediterranean which is subject to ludicrous shipping costs.

I appreciate the input especially about the Digitek which appears to be great value, how would you compare that with the UT-61E, the Fluke looks lovely but it's a bit under powered for the price I feel and not too quick off the mark, I also hard the probes are slightly problematic.

I just mentioned the V99 just to be inflammatory really as a joke, I had no intention of purchasing one, I can see how people would buy them without doing the proper research first though given it's feature set.

@ Rick, many thanks for the input, I am swaying toward this DMM myself at the moment but really want to tap into professional opinions before making a final decision.

 

Offline Lightages

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2013, 06:33:55 am »
Digitek DT-2843R review with comparison to UT61E
http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/review-digitek-dt-2843r-trms-for-less/

If you can spend the $135 USD, the Brymen BM257 is a really nice meter, it will be shipped free by iloveelectronics on this forum, or for $2 more for tracked shipping.

The UT61E is a nice meter but it is missing temperature, back light, and the TRMS is not DC coupled so technically it is not really TRMS. iloveeletronics also sells this for $55 to eevblog forum members shipped. Maybe $2 more for tracked shipping.

If you are willing to spend $100 only, and you are doing electronics only and no power distribution things, then I would like to suggest you get two meters from iloveelectronics. Get one of the Digitek DT-2843R for the TRMS, and this http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digitek-DT-4000ZC-TekPower-TP4000ZC-Data-Logging-Multimeter-Temperature-/200912705694?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item747377a9ac#shId for a PC connection for logging. Then you have two meters when you need them for current and voltage at the same time for example.

If you want to stick the probes into wall sockets all the time and want to measure power distribution then consider the Fluke 17B or the Brymen BM257 if you can spend the money.
 

Offline mariush

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2013, 07:09:49 am »
UT61E  has 22000 counts, which can be very useful if you measure the voltage of a battery or super capacitor charging up or discharging, voltage coming from solar cells etc.
It has quite good accuracy for the price, 0.1% for dc , 0.5% for AC or something like that.
It has quite decent capacitance measurement function, which is also relatively fast and with about 2-3% accuracy. Granted, you don't usually measure capacitance, but it's there.
It has good to very good continuity function, and it also autoranges quite fast when measuring resistance.

It has ceramic fuses, which even though are only rated for 250v only, are probably better than the glass fuses that the Digitek comes with.
It has data logging by default and will run basically as low as 3 volts without showing false readings, so it will work until the battery is completely dead if you let it (it shows low battery at about 5.5v but works reliably down to less than 3v)

Other than the True RMS being DC coupled and the fact that the display only updates twice a second, it's quite a good multimeter with huge thread here on this forum and also thoroughly reviewed by Martin (someone posted part 1 of the meter review)

For a hobbyist and even to measure occasionally sockets around the house, it's a good meter. People knock it for having the fuses for only 250v and say it's not good for power distribution and stuff and i partially agree, but I don't think you should take this meter off the list just because of this especially if you don't plan to work often with mains electricity.

In comparison, the Digitek Lightages talks about has only 4000 count and lower accuracy, something like +/- 0.5% + 5 counts for DC compared to 0.1%+2 digits ... for example, that's a big difference when measuring something like  1.265 v .. the ut61e may show 1.267v  and digitek may show you 1.275v and still be within it's accuracy specification (0.5%+5 digits)

Franky can mail you one for about 55$, that's a very good price.

later edit.

Oh yeah... ut61e doesn't have temperature. Franky has a proper digital thermometer for $8.5 ... of you can spend an afternoon making your own thermometer with a k thermocouple and a temperature reading chip for about 5$.
There's also no backlight . If you feel adventurous, the ut61e threads here have a backlight hack/mod for the meter, the IC has backlight support so you can solder some wires and add a couple of leds for backlight.
Otherwise, the Uni-T displays have quite nice contrast, they're sharp, so  i personally didn't miss the backlight feature.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 07:16:37 am by mariush »
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2013, 08:40:50 am »
I am not arguing against the UT61E. I am only providing alternative information. Yes it is a very good meter if you are not worried about its other drawbacks. There are always tradeoffs.
 

Offline DrunkenNinja

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2013, 04:19:54 pm »
Many thanks for the input everyone!!!

I believe others will find this thread most usful and interesting reading.

I have decided to go with the UNI-T UT61E, I use external Temp sensors with my BGA work anyway and the function is of no importance to me.

I have contacted Franky so see if he can sort me a package.
 

Offline mrkva

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 10:06:01 pm »
 

Offline DrunkenNinja

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 12:01:54 am »
I had bad experience with UT61C, just saying: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/beginners/broken-uni-t-ut61c-or-am-i-missing-something/

Never considered the (C) version, it seems vastly inferior by all accounts compared with the (E) version, it may not have the bells and whistles of the (C) version, but the things it does do, it does very well for the price...

The architecture of the (C) ad (E) versions are very different, strange given they are the same model no. but true...

Just ordered one from Franky...
 

Offline ivan747

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 08:44:50 am »

MJ Lorton did a very good 4 part review of the UT61E (link to part 1 below)




It seems to me that MJ Lorton is trying to compete face to face against Dave. He even got Kiriakos on his forum.  ::)

I jumped in this thread late but for others, take a look at the Amprobe AM-520 and AM-530. I got a AM-530 for review and I have found that it is quite good. Far better than the AM-240, which is about $10 less. Good features of the AM-530 include:
-A bargraph (a bit slow)
-High safety (CAT IV) -great for poking around the fusebox.
-A flashlight, handier than I thought
-mA and µA ranges, despite being branded as an "electrical contractor multimeter". These are in separate jacks
-True-RMS (530 only)
-0.1ºC resolution on the temperature range (very veeery handy for me, allows you to see small changes in temperature on heatsinks, etc.)
-Great construction, decent accessories, good probes, good manual and a cheapie carry case. It feels like a brick and weights like it's got useful things on the inside.

The bad?
-Average resolution for its price
-Not a good basic DC accuracy (0.8% vs. Fluke's 0.5% or UNI-T's 0.1%!) On AC it is more on-par: 1% vs. 3% vs. 0.8%.
-The screen has a bad viewing angle. It should be better considering it should be an electricians multimeter in theory. It has affected me when using the included velcro hanger.
-It has range switch positions for ºC and ºF but combines AC and DC volts. What sort of retarded logic is this? If ºF requires some sort of analog circuitry to adjust gain or something, it can be probably be enabled with a JFET or a 4066 like it's probably being done with the TRMS converter. If it is just changing a software lookup table, then this is even more retarded!
-No duty cycle. I find this function useful for PWM, but its limited bandwidth counting frequency (10MHz) explains why they didn't bother. But it's OK it only goes to 10MHz. Multimeters are not frequency counters. If you have to use a coax to banana adapter to measure frequency on your handheld DMM, you are doing it wrong!
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 08:46:37 am by ivan747 »
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Offline Lightages

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2013, 09:01:32 am »
Quote
It seems to me that MJ Lorton is trying to compete face to face against Dave. He even got Kiriakos on his forum.  ::)

Not really. Martin has developed a curiosity, or obsession, like some of us to try different multimeters. His original need was for working with his solar power experiments and I believe he got side tracked to multimeters as an interesting subject. His main focus is really alternative power IMHO.

Dave is an engineer with an interest in all subjects electronic and Dave deals more towards the electronics nerd and engineer.

I would hardly accuse Martin of trying to compete against Dave. And Martin did solicit the membership of Kiriakos, Kiriakos joined on his on volition. Not Martin's fault he is there.
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2013, 10:59:21 am »
I would hardly accuse Martin of trying to compete against Dave. And Martin did solicit the membership of Kiriakos, Kiriakos joined on his on volition. Not Martin's fault he is there.

You may note Kiriakos hasn't logged in since January 16th. There's a reason for that..
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2013, 03:28:23 am »

It seems to me that MJ Lorton is trying to compete face to face against Dave. He even got Kiriakos on his forum.  ::)

He is not there any more.................

Just saying....;)

 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2013, 03:54:00 am »

It seems to me that MJ Lorton is trying to compete face to face against Dave. He even got Kiriakos on his forum.  ::)

He is not there any more.................

Just saying....;)

I'm entirely innocent in it, I swear! ;)
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2013, 04:08:05 am »
Don't play in the yellow snow..........

But again we are like a train on a spur at high speed.....
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 11:16:53 pm »
I would hardly accuse Martin of trying to compete against Dave. And Martin did solicit the membership of Kiriakos, Kiriakos joined on his on volition. Not Martin's fault he is there.

You may note Kiriakos hasn't logged in since January 16th. There's a reason for that..

If you don't mind me asking, who is Kiriakos and why is it important?
 

Offline Monkeh

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 11:18:35 pm »
I would hardly accuse Martin of trying to compete against Dave. And Martin did solicit the membership of Kiriakos, Kiriakos joined on his on volition. Not Martin's fault he is there.

You may note Kiriakos hasn't logged in since January 16th. There's a reason for that..

If you don't mind me asking, who is Kiriakos and why is it important?

Nobody worth knowing and it isn't.
 

Offline M0BSW

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #22 on: May 09, 2013, 12:42:43 am »
VC99, my comment, total shit, waste of money.

Seeing as we have no idea where you are it is hard to consider shipping when trying to recommend anything.

From our friend iloveelectronics here on the forums, his ebay store:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digitek-DT-4000ZC-TekPower-TP4000ZC-Data-Logging-Multimeter-Temperature-/200912705694?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var=&hash=item747377a9ac
Is one option, and he will soon have the Digitek DT-2843R at $46 shipped, which I just did a review for. He is also getting more Brymen BM257 (highly recommended but out of you price range I think) which he sells for $135 shipped worldwide. He also has UT61Es too.

or from www.dx.com you have these free shipped options:
http://dx.com/p/ut61e-2-6-lcd-digital-multimeter-red-black-1-x-9v-6f22-battery-113306
they also had this but it is sold out right now
http://dx.com/p/fluke-17b-2-6-lcd-digital-multimeter-meter-2-aa-included-28659
I totally agree Franky is on here, really good guy, you order from him and you will never have any worries, I got a UT61E from him , from China to UK 5 days, Now the  VC99y yep got one of them to because I couldn't believe , all the bad reports, well, When I bought mine, I used my voltage standard of 5 Volts calibrated, measure the VC99y 5.02 volts I thought ok, left it for a couple of months then tested it again, now reads 3.02 volts, put in a fresh  battery, still 3.02 volts,but on my Fluke 75 & ut61E 5Volts dead on, so as Dave would say "Go Figure".
no one would or will tell me how to delete this account
 

Offline iloveelectronics

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2013, 01:54:08 am »
I totally agree Franky is on here, really good guy, you order from him and you will never have any worries, I got a UT61E from him , from China to UK 5 days

Thanks for the very kind words! But just a bit of clarification - it's from Hong Kong, not China, we have separate postal systems :) Also, I must say that 5 days to the UK isn't exactly the usual speed. A lot of the times it depends very much on how quickly the package goes through your customs. All I can guarantee to my customers is that I will dispatch within 24 hours of payment under normal circumstances.
My email address: franky @ 99centHobbies . com
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Offline SeanB

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Re: UNI-T UT61E or FLUKE 17B? Suggestions Welcome
« Reply #24 on: May 09, 2013, 04:29:50 am »
It is 3 weeks from ordering from Frankie to me. 2 days from order till the parcel drops off the HK post tracking radar, the rest is occupied by the Byzantine system our SAPO uses ( still on strike, just adds a day) to do the delivery. Frankie packs well, handles the parcels properly paperwork wise ( true declared values for customs helps a lot) and does a prompt reply of the tracking number for you, along with a quick invoicing turnaround. Had nothing but good service from him.
 


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