Author Topic: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters  (Read 7734 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« on: March 26, 2018, 07:49:24 am »
Are analog multimeters still of any practical value compared to digital?
Only Dave can ponder that question for a half hour video...

 
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Online hamster_nz

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2018, 08:30:59 am »
Much like how doing math without a calculator allowed people to develop better numeracy - like being able to estimate that 2345*4567 should be about 10,000,000 - maybe analog meters helped you learn how to measure and put that in context.

After all, you had to know what you expected to see before you measured it, allowing you to set the meter's range correctly (and avoid damaging your meter).

These days you can just poke and prod with no worries.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 08:33:05 am »
The AVO analogue meter I have is accurate to 1% fs DC and 2.24% fs AC  and requires a 1.5 volt battery to measure AC this is to correct for internal losses. I don't use it all that often these days but as you say they do have some uses.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 08:35:42 am »
Is Dave referring to "Dave" in the third person an early sign of insanity?
 

Offline glarsson

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 08:38:30 am »
The AVO analogue meter I have is accurate to 1% fs DC ...
But with 10kohm/V (or close to it) it distorts the circuit more than that, especially with todays low power designs, probably causing some malfunction.  :-BROKE
 

Offline joseph nicholas

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2018, 08:55:30 am »
A few things I like about my old analog meter (MF-47) is in the off position it can do a quick continuity test.  You just pick up the probes and it beeps, no need to turn it on.  The other thing is it never needs to be turned off.  If you leave it in any other position (ohms) it only draws battery voltage when you are measuring something.  The last cool thing is it can measure up to 2.5kv dc or ac (uses a different input jack on the front panel) but of course people will say its just not safe to do this but I've never had any trouble.
 

Offline MartinX

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 08:59:18 am »
The best indicator of what is best for me is that I have a collection of classic analogue multimeters on my shelf and they all work fine, but I never use them. At work we have some analogue multimeters and I have used them on the rare occasion when you want to monitor a voltage during fast burst transient testing  or something like that, having no electronics can sometimes be an advantage.
 

Offline mdijkens

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 09:41:17 am »
For my hobby I have a 100k, 60k and 10k DMM, but in my boat I still have this 60 year old AMM from my dad which is perfect there:
- Never empty battery (biggest advantage for a meter hardly used)
- Excellent to see if there's a voltage or if the battery is full or empty
- Very short touch to see if there are big amps without blowing a fuse

It is so convenient if you just need basic functions and no precision  :-+
 

Offline Grapsus

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 10:39:10 am »
I was definitely born after digital meters took over, so I don't have any emotional attachment to them.

However I can see one advantage that Dave didn't mention: it's exactly like reading an analog watch, it's more intuitive and less distracting. When you don't need a huge precision, having to watch 3 or more digits puts strain on the brain which cannot stop from focusing on them because we're attracted to text. On the other hand, the position of the needle is a smooth and more direct, non verbal input of information.
 
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Offline wilfred

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2018, 10:59:51 am »
Even with 100Kohms/V the analogue meters could easily cause an incorrect reading due to loading the circuit. As circuits moved from high voltage valve to discrete solid state to integrated circuit and voltages lowered the digital meters became too appealing. Between fashion at the time (of digital watches too) and manufacturing cost the digital meters had a big attraction.

I sometimes think the biggest advantage analogue has today is to remove meaningless significant figures from measurements. So many seem to obsess over the 3 and above significant figures which almost no-one needs 99% of the time.
 
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Online hamster_nz

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2018, 11:50:28 am »
The analog meters reminded me fully manual SLR film camera bodies.

When I use to go climb mountains I always took my Pentax K1000 SLR body. It was fully manual except for the light meter, so you could use in very cold temperatures and even if the batteries were completely flat. If it a Sunny day? f/16, 1/100th sec for 100 ISO slide film...

My other Pentax body would chew through the 3xLR44 cells and then be completely useless after a few days, but the K1000 soldiered on. It was also great for astrophotography with long exposures not running out of battery juice too.
 

Offline SteveK

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2018, 12:31:43 pm »
You cannot beat an analog multimeter for checking small DC motors. Using the ohm Rx1 scale, you can immediately see if the motor has dead spots (shorts and opens) at various angles by how much the meter jumps around. Shoot, you don't even need to turn the motor shaft by hand to check it too as most analog VOMs will spin the motor. It will even tell you if the bearings are binding. To a less extent, peaking or adjusting for a null is a little better on an analog meter. But yes, for every thing else, you cannot beat modern DVM.?

And yes I am a gray beard -- that is if I didn't shave everyday.
 

Online digsys

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2018, 12:58:50 pm »
Agreed. I still use one for checking proper operation of ground loop RFID aerials / transmitters. I can instantly see the 10Hz power cycle pulses
and the higher frequency data carrier pulses plus their strength. Only an oscilloscope could do better.
Hello <tap> <tap> .. is this thing on?
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2018, 03:19:55 pm »
The analog meters reminded me fully manual SLR film camera bodies.

When I use to go climb mountains I always took my Pentax K1000 SLR body. It was fully manual except for the light meter, so you could use in very cold temperatures and even if the batteries were completely flat. If it a Sunny day? f/16, 1/100th sec for 100 ISO slide film...

My other Pentax body would chew through the 3xLR44 cells and then be completely useless after a few days, but the K1000 soldiered on. It was also great for astrophotography with long exposures not running out of battery juice too.

And reminded me the "joy" of 36 shots/exposures limit on each film roll, and painstakingly protect/shade/hide the camera if its raining or really wet when replacing the film rolls. Also have to wait maybe for days/weeks to see the results as you're far from civilization.  :P

For me, what a great riddance.
 

Online hamster_nz

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2018, 03:44:47 pm »
The analog meters reminded me fully manual SLR film camera bodies.

When I use to go climb mountains I always took my Pentax K1000 SLR body. It was fully manual except for the light meter, so you could use in very cold temperatures and even if the batteries were completely flat. If it a Sunny day? f/16, 1/100th sec for 100 ISO slide film...

My other Pentax body would chew through the 3xLR44 cells and then be completely useless after a few days, but the K1000 soldiered on. It was also great for astrophotography with long exposures not running out of battery juice too.

And reminded me the "joy" of 36 shots/exposures limit on each film roll, and painstakingly protect/shade/hide the camera if its raining or really wet when replacing the film rolls. Also have to wait maybe for days/weeks to see the results as you're far from civilization.  :P

For me, what a great riddance.

..and welcome to world of a single dead 64GB SD card destroying all your holiday / trip / expedition / wedding photos. :P
 
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Offline BravoV

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2018, 03:59:29 pm »
..and welcome to world of a single dead 64GB SD card destroying all your holiday / trip / expedition / wedding photos. :P

No argument about that, shit happened to the stored media, so does film rolls.

Maybe not for you, but for me its worth the troubles to carry few spares branded good SD cards.  ::)
Or if you want go fancy, a portable gadget that can do SD to HD transfer for redundancy at the field, if the event are so important.
 

Online JPortici

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2018, 05:04:22 pm »
You cannot beat an analog multimeter for checking small DC motors. Using the ohm Rx1 scale, you can immediately see if the motor has dead spots (shorts and opens) at various angles by how much the meter jumps around. Shoot, you don't even need to turn the motor shaft by hand to check it too as most analog VOMs will spin the motor. It will even tell you if the bearings are binding. To a less extent, peaking or adjusting for a null is a little better on an analog meter. But yes, for every thing else, you cannot beat modern DVM.?

And yes I am a gray beard -- that is if I didn't shave everyday.

there was a thread somewhere in the forum regarding analog (gauge) vs digital (numeric) meters
i also was born long after the digital meters revolution, however in high school we only used analog meters for measurements labs.

it gave us a better understanding on how to perform measurements, where are the errors, how to take account for them.

plus, as you say an analog meter WILL give you an indication of the ""scability"" of the parameter to be measured. That's why we still use analog pressure gauges at work, it's immediate to see if there is oscillation due to pressure too high, not so easy with only a readout.
 

Offline BravoV

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2018, 05:11:52 pm »
I guess visually the small bars read out display at the digital meter is not that "eye catchy" enough compared to a really contrasted view of long red needle swinging and swiping at quite large area with white background.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2018, 06:44:44 pm »
The AVO analogue meter I have is accurate to 1% fs DC ...
But with 10kohm/V (or close to it) it distorts the circuit more than that, especially with todays low power designs, probably causing some malfunction.  :-BROKE
Sometimes that is an advantage especially on power circuits, It also has a 10 and 40 meg ohm range not mant digital meters have that it is also water and vapour proof never seen a digital one of those. 
 

Offline Marvo

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2018, 07:17:08 pm »
.......I sometimes think the biggest advantage analogue has today is to remove meaningless significant figures from measurements.
Especially true for electrical installation (as opposed to electronic) voltage measurements. I often use analogue voltmeter because you don't get sidetracked by coupled voltages or 'ghost voltages' on circuits that are otherwise effectively isolasted. IMHO both analogue and digital testers have their place depending on the tests being performed.
 

Offline oldway

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2018, 08:22:50 pm »
It seems to me that Dave forgot to mention an important point.

The voltages shown on older vacuum tube equipment diagrams are generally those measured with a 20K/ V voltmeter and values measured with a digital multimeter  may not correspond to those shown in the diagram.

So, an analog multimeter still has an utility for repairing old vacuum tubes devices.

Apart from that, there is no dispute possible, the digital multimeter is the best on all points.

I bought my first Fluke 73 in 1993 (still using it !!!!) and never came back to the analog multimeter.
 

Offline Cnoob

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2018, 08:50:25 pm »
Where I use to work, the company purchased some fluke 77's and the AVO model 8 was relegated to being the door stop.
Going further back down memory lane, the AVO model 8 with it's dodgy cut out was standard military issue, while they were ok! to use on a bench. Try using it to measure voltages in helicopter avionics bays, it was the most unsuitable meter to use because of it's size and positioning requirements.

Even on a work bench it tends to dominate your work area unlike a hand held DVM.
 

 
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2018, 09:06:36 pm »
This post gets my vote:

For my hobby I have a 100k, 60k and 10k DMM, but in my boat I still have this 60 year old AMM from my dad which is perfect there:
- Never empty battery (biggest advantage for a meter hardly used)
- Excellent to see if there's a voltage or if the battery is full or empty
- Very short touch to see if there are big amps without blowing a fuse

It is so convenient if you just need basic functions and no precision  :-+
 

Offline oldway

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2018, 09:14:57 pm »
Analog multimeters are not safe at all, never use them on high energy circuits..... :scared:
 

Offline mikerj

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Re: EEVblog #1067 - Analog vs Digital Multimeters
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2018, 11:03:45 pm »
I still use my ancient Micronta FET input analog meter fairly regularly.  Sometimes seeing how a value is moving is more important than measuring it to 3 D.P.s.
 


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