Did I get a dud I thought to myself?
Tested the supplied power adapter and found it was as noisy as alluded to so cut the cord and mated it with a 12V wall wart. Scrounged some batteries (until I could go to the store to purchase fresh primaries), loaded them in and observed 3 bars on the battery indicator of the unit, seems reasonable.
Tried out the unit back and forth with AC and batteries, same result, frustration. The meter in auto LCR just would not settle on the type of component, let alone a proper value for L, C or R. Switching to L, C, or R modes stopped the incessant dancing around from L, to C, to R in auto LCR mode, but still would not settle, or would settle on a completely bogus value.
Not knowing what was going on, I tested the wall wart's voltage and it fluctuated from 12.5V down to 12V depending on the load MS5308 drew. So I tried a CV power supply (12v, 10A, switching), adjusted it to 12.00V and as MS5308 operated, the voltage remained constant, but this time MS5308 operated as you'd expect, homing in on the component mode then the correct value in auto LCR and the individual modes.
Afterwards checked the voltage on the supplied power adapter to see what it was adjusted to, 12.45V.
So for the unit to function properly, it requires fresh primary cells or a constant voltage power supply. The unit is not a dud.
1V/div, 100khz repeat (2 micro sec/div)