Author Topic: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?  (Read 5186 times)

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Offline Mike-Extech

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What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« on: October 28, 2011, 04:33:42 am »
What's your application? (Electronics, Facilities/Maintenance, HVAC, automotive?)
What features do you like?
How could it be improved?

Mike
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 05:02:57 am »
Hello Mike.

My quick suggestion would be only AC/DC clamps ...
The new needs about reusable energy makes the AC only products, to become tools of the past century (2000) .
 

Offline nzkgb

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 09:43:06 pm »
I have a fluke 289 DMM, 1000amp clamp meter cant remember the brand of that one. also a fluke 105B II & fluke123 with 600amp clamp probe. I fix CAT machines & have found the 289 to be an awesome tool, the other day I had a back up genset that would trip out on overspeed at start up only one time then would run, after doing a data log of the Hz at start up I could clearly see that the engine was not even getting up to 50Hz.....only 38Hz then shut down & overspeed alarm. found a faulty electronic controller to be the cause. I would love to have a two Chanel 289 so i could log two inputs. the long term plan is to get a Fluke 190-204 Series II ScopeMeter 200 MHz 4 channel unit. But i reckon there would be a market out there for a DMM like Dave put out there in his blog #184 – Open Hardware Multimeter Concept. machines have lots of electronics now days so guys like me have to know like three trades diesel/auto electrical/IT & what ever else a I have for gotten.
I know just enough to be dangerous
 

Offline Zad

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2011, 04:27:41 am »
Can I choose a meter that's not digital?



AVO Mk 8, not so much bullet proof as nuclear bomb proof. We get so hung up on precision and resolution now that we forget that electricity is an analogue thing. Analogue AVOs were huge buggers but are fantastic at what they do.


Offline Lawsen

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 05:23:31 am »
I like the hall effect clamp on Amp probe for high voltage power like a fork lift battery in a ware house or quartz heater during the winter at home.  It feels sci. fi. to have non conduction, but inductive methods to measure current.  Electronics circuit boards are done with direct contact measurements.  My favorite digital multimeters are Philips PM 2518, powered by four C sized cells and the Fluke 187 that was bought from Fluke by trading in the broken Fluke 8060A.  I use a Fluke brand clamp on meter.  The Fluke 12 buttons are often non responsive and needs cleaning.  I am happy Fluke discontinued the Fluke 12. 
 

Offline Mike-Extech

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 08:24:21 am »
The "rugged" theme comes up a lot.  So you guys would rather have an ultra rugged, IP67, basic meter with all the details done right, than one with more features and a fancy display?
 

Offline IanB

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 01:04:03 pm »
The "rugged" theme comes up a lot.  So you guys would rather have an ultra rugged, IP67, basic meter with all the details done right, than one with more features and a fancy display?
No. I could not care less about rugged, as long as the overall quality of design and construction is good. Rugged meters are needed by electricians; accurate, high quality meters are needed by hobbyists and design engineers. I will describe one of my favorite meters feature by feature when I have a chance to put a photo gallery together.
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Offline kek

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 02:51:01 pm »
Working at my day job as a maintenance electrician my favorite meter would be the fluke t5-1000. I can check for voltage present, fuse continuity, and current draw with a meter that easily fits in my coverall's pocket. I have a fluke 289 sitting in my locker, but it is too big to carry around all the time - need to have a good reason to haul it with me (comes in handy for my electronics hobby however!).

My favorite meter at home are the pair of fluke 8050a's that I bought off of ebay. After I cleaned them up, they are super accurate and for a little bit more than the price of a fluke 17B, I can measure voltage and current at the same time to 20,000 counts! Don't have to worry about any batteries either.

...now if you could make a meter that feels better than a fluke, faster than an agilent, measure more than one thing at a time like gossen metrawatt, and sexier than an OLED agilent, then I'd consider asking my boss to buy one.

Ken
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 06:15:13 pm »
The "rugged" theme comes up a lot.  So you guys would rather have an ultra rugged, IP67, basic meter with all the details done right, than one with more features and a fancy display?

As Ian said, there is a particular market for rugged meters, and that generally doesn't include the general use hobbyist and professional market that want a general everyday use lab meter.

For instance, the Fluke 28 is awesome, but it's too big and unwieldy to use as an everyday use lab meter.

What is missing in the market is a SMALL high quality precision lab grade meter.
No fancy stuff, as you said, but just get the basics right and make it fast, well protected, with a super long battery life. Around the ill-served $200 mark would be nice.
A lab meter only needs to be rugged enough to survive a 1m drop onto concrete.

Dave.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2011, 03:56:15 am »
What is missing in the market is a SMALL high quality precision lab grade meter.
No fancy stuff, as you said, but just get the basics right and make it fast, well protected, with a super long battery life. Around the ill-served $200 mark would be nice.

Now that makes perfect sense to me. I have been thinking for a couple of days what is the reason I keep reaching for my UNI-T 33C even thought it is not the most accurate or rugged meter I have. It is just enough of both and the right size for really portable work.

So if I had a meter in the same form factor with the same functions and in addition with a basic accuracy of better 0.1% or better, 4-1/2 digits display, fast auto-ranging, a relative function instead of hold, TRMS, current measurement on AC, 4-1/2 digits, and rugged or even IP rated for dust and shock, and current jacks isolated from other measurements, it would be my goto meter every time. Of course as Dave said, price would be a consideration too.

Additional "nice to have" features would be an ESR function, and a non-contact voltage probe.

I know a tall order, but I am sure that it is possible. It might even be possible that such a beast exists somewhere in the market right now, but I have not found it yet.

But in the end, Dave hit the nail on the head. No one is doing a small rugged accurate meter. They are huge and accurate, or they are small and 1%.
 

Offline zaoka

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2011, 09:39:49 am »
I have several meter and I use HIOKI 3801-50 as main meter and Triplett 630.

For some subjective reason I love this combination.  ;D
 

Offline ErikTheNorwegian

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 06:56:33 am »
I`m deeply in love with my Fluke 8846A and all my Fluke 87-5.. and specially my Fluke 289 if its heavy duty with logging outside workshop. And my Fluke 88 for car service..  if i divorce, my wife can have the children as long i get the meters.  8)
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 08:14:51 am »
All up the Fluke 87 has to be the favorite, most comfortable. It feel right with every function easy to select.
For knockabout field use, the Extech 520 comes close to the Fluke, if it wasn't for the PITA backlight timeout.

There is a real art in making things simply work in all required circumstances. The current meter wars are bringing on feature creep.
I don't want or need a cheapo torch in my meters, I have much better quality LED torches and worklights already!
I don't want or need a volt stick in my meter when I have a meter in my hands, I have all that's needed to verify potential! A volt stick is for when I don't have a meter in my hands!

The thinks that make a good professional/serious enthusiast meter
  • The obvious accuracy, repeatability and resolution.
  • good ergonomics, less switches and crypic selection sequences the better
  • large high  contrast display with useable backlight and minimal of extraneous because we could screen clutter.
  • CAT III or better, Electrical and Mechanically rugged. A good meter will flash "dumb guy" or pop a fuse rather than let out all the measurement smoke upon inadvertent  wrong range selection
  • Generous test lead length with quality flexible cable and shrouded banana plugs and interchangeable tips.
  • AA or AAA battery power, or flexible recharge options. (you cannot faff about on the job charging batteries - a quick change 2nd battery option perhaps)
  • A strong and well padded protective pouch, with space for a few extras or hand tools, notepad, pen, etc. (included is a plus point)
  • Quality plastics with a solid (not heavy) feel
  • Legible and non wearing markings and labelling.
  • 10 year from withdrawal of sale availability of service spares such as battery covers, cases and lens, etc.

Some will argue but I'd say my list covers most items for those who'd rather use a tool than stand around doing bragging rights comparisons.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 08:16:24 am by Uncle Vernon »
 

Uncle Vernon

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Re: What's your favorite DMM or Clamp Meter? Why?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2011, 08:51:48 am »
The "rugged" theme comes up a lot.  So you guys would rather have an ultra rugged, IP67, basic meter with all the details done right, than one with more features and a fancy display?

As Ian said, there is a particular market for rugged meters, and that generally doesn't include the general use hobbyist and professional market that want a general everyday use lab meter.

For instance, the Fluke 28 is awesome, but it's too big and unwieldy to use as an everyday use lab meter.

What is missing in the market is a SMALL high quality precision lab grade meter.
No fancy stuff, as you said, but just get the basics right and make it fast, well protected, with a super long battery life. Around the observed $200 mark would be nice.
A lab meter only needs to be rugged enough to survive a 1m drop onto concrete.

Dave.
Small has its advantages but too small can be equally as bad. While I wouldn't use a 28 for bench work an 87 is a good fit. If an 87 is too big then likely you bench is too small!  Too small meters are pain when every movement of the test leads induces another topple.

I disagree that rugged is a seldom desired feature for professionals. While IP68 may be unnecessary overkill it's a fair way up the rugged scale. A good professional meter has to cope with the inevitable bumps and drops even in those safe air conditioned labs.
I've seen plenty of Flukes go to meet their maker in those environments from just the daily bump and grind.

Professional electronics covers a wide range of environments right up to and including industrial electronics.
There are lots of times instruments need to be used up poles, in engine bays,  up ladders etc.

Rugged is good and desirable at all levels, but not when rugged must necessarily involve too much increase in size, weight, and reduction of display size!  Rugged equals "Not Fragile"!
 


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