Author Topic: Agilent U1253B Multimeter  (Read 15927 times)

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Offline Bryan

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Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« on: June 15, 2013, 02:49:00 PM »
All:

Watched the video review of the U1253A meter and Davey was quite critical of the speed of the continuity tester on the ohms range. Has this been improved in the U1253B model.

Cheers and thanks
-=Bryan=-
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 09:57:05 PM »
The wear out of OLED and burn in would be a bigger concern if one kept the meter for a few years:





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 Saturation
 

Offline M. András

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 11:10:35 PM »
hmm the oled technology is not in the teenage years i assume :)
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 11:13:53 PM »
From the Agilent forum, that photo was from a DMM barely a year old.

hmm the oled technology is not in the teenage years i assume :)
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Offline M. András

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 11:28:06 PM »
thats not a good sign on the usability side if you wont see anything from the burned in parts of the oled screen
 

Offline Bryan

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 09:18:23 PM »
Not a good sign, but perhaps there was a issue with the particular DMM, I am sure if it was significant problem there would be reports all over forums. But back to the original post, how is the response on the "B" version with regards to the continuity test.

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Online nanofrog

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 04:59:44 AM »
Not a good sign, but perhaps there was a issue with the particular DMM, I am sure if it was significant problem there would be reports all over forums. But back to the original post, how is the response on the "B" version with regards to the continuity test.

Cheers
FWIW, I have a U1252B, and the continuity is still on the slow side. Usable if you slow down a bit (say ~1 second at a probe location or better), but nothing to rain praise down over, that's for sure.

If I'll be doing a fair bit of continuity testing, I switch over to a different meter. Not that big of a deal to me, but I do have more than one meter to use when issues come up.
 

Offline Andrusca

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 06:51:35 AM »
Hello,
Regarding the OLED wear out, I have a U1253A bought in 2009 that now has a completely fade display. It last less than 5 years. But the best of all is that the Customer Service Representative told me (quote) " I have looked up the model information and it states if the unit is no longer in warranty then it is cheaper to purchase a new unit.  We have no repair option on this unit.  I see the warranty expired June 16, 2012" So It is supposed that I have to spend USD 500 each 5 years for a new DMM?
Beware of Agilent DMM...

 

Offline jpb

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 07:03:01 AM »
Hello,
Regarding the OLED wear out, I have a U1253A bought in 2009 that now has a completely fade display. It last less than 5 years. But the best of all is that the Customer Service Representative told me (quote) " I have looked up the model information and it states if the unit is no longer in warranty then it is cheaper to purchase a new unit.  We have no repair option on this unit.  I see the warranty expired June 16, 2012" So It is supposed that I have to spend USD 500 each 5 years for a new DMM?
Beware of Agilent DMM...
perhaps you should review this thread, Agilent's response seems to vary depending on whom you approach

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/failed-firmware-update-on-u1273a-and-agilent%27s-response/
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 07:17:19 AM »
It can't hurt to complain and see if they give you a new DMM.  Firmware upgrade glitch is one issue as it will only affect a small number of owners who choose to try an upgrade.  But a failed OLED screen is a different class of problem: it puts all devices with that OLED module at risk and its likely to happen past its 3 years warranty.  Can you post pics of that faded screen?



Hello,
Regarding the OLED wear out, I have a U1253A bought in 2009 that now has a completely fade display. It last less than 5 years. But the best of all is that the Customer Service Representative told me (quote) " I have looked up the model information and it states if the unit is no longer in warranty then it is cheaper to purchase a new unit.  We have no repair option on this unit.  I see the warranty expired June 16, 2012" So It is supposed that I have to spend USD 500 each 5 years for a new DMM?
Beware of Agilent DMM...
perhaps you should review this thread, Agilent's response seems to vary depending on whom you approach

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/failed-firmware-update-on-u1273a-and-agilent%27s-response/
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline VK5RC

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 10:21:26 AM »
I have a ~3-4yr old U1253b, used about 4-6hrs/wk, continuity still a bit slow compared with fluke but oled is fine,  note Yaesu also had a problem with some oled screens I think on ftdx 30000,
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.
 

Online nanofrog

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 10:37:26 AM »
Hello,
Regarding the OLED wear out, I have a U1253A bought in 2009 that now has a completely fade display. It last less than 5 years. But the best of all is that the Customer Service Representative told me (quote) " I have looked up the model information and it states if the unit is no longer in warranty then it is cheaper to purchase a new unit.  We have no repair option on this unit.  I see the warranty expired June 16, 2012" So It is supposed that I have to spend USD 500 each 5 years for a new DMM?
Beware of Agilent DMM...
I'd only be aware of the OLED models (not just Agilent; short lifespan is one of OLED's major issues yet). The LCD versions seem to be holding up just fine. Haven't seen a firmware update made available either (U125xB series' LCD screen models), so that eliminates any temptation to run one and end up with a bricked unit (happenstance perhaps, but I'll take it). There's also the users' choice to skip an update if it exists.

In the specific case of Agilent, their customer service seems rather variable outside of the US (based on the "U1253B firmware update fail" thread).  :'( But I'm not sure this issue will be limited to just one company, especially for multinational entities.

In your situation, $500 definitely doesn't qualify as disposable IMHO, so I'm with saturation. May not get satisfaction, but you've nothing to lose but a little bit of your time at this point.  :box:
 

Offline Andrusca

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2014, 10:44:40 AM »
Hello,
I have just sent an email to KayLee Ritchie, Customer Service Representative saying:

"I did not expected that the DMM could not be repaired, since the only thing that has to be done is to exchange the OLED Module for a new one, as it is a separate module. Apart from the display issue, the DMM is measuring well according to the specifications. It had a light use and was always well treated.
So if I understand your answer correctly, should I have to spend USD 500 each 5 years for a new DMM? I think this is not acceptable, considering that the U1253A is Agilent´s top-of-the-line handheld DMM and I would expect it were made with high quality parts to last quite similar to my other Fluke multimeter, that has lifetime warranty and never got an issue in far more than 5 years.
I would want you reconsider the possibility of repairing the OLED display alone or at least exchange my DMM for a new one at an important discount price. If that is not possible, I would prefer to purchase a new Fluke DMM."

If I don´t receive any reasonable response, I´d consider to send a complaint letter to a higher representative person.
By the way, I am posting pics showing the OLED display; one is at full and the other at minimum brightness.
I´ll keep you updated about my megotiation.
Regards

 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2014, 09:33:24 PM »
Thanks @andrusca, and from the look of the knob, you have been using this DMM quite a bit.  I have the 1252a LCD version, its the same way, the rubber coating is flaking off.  Please keep us updated on this thread.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 09:59:57 PM by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2014, 09:43:43 PM »
My LCD versions are doing well and I updated the firmware on the 1272a some years ago due to functional defects during the v1.0 release, there has been another firmware update since, but given the 72a works well as is, I'm not updating unless I find a functional problem.  My 1252a has been functionally well since purchase but the rubberized coat on the chassis is falling all off.  Not something you'd expect in a $400 DMM, but I bought it as a close out for $140.

One thing definitely annoying about Agilent's choice of LCD on any model I have, is the contrast is not very high on reflected light whereas on the Fluke 80 series excel on it.

Given some reports of Agilent's response to warranty and support on this forum, I hope they realize competition is very keen in the DMM market and for the cost of these meters, every nation should expect premier service and if not, there are other competitors worth considering.  There isn't enough unique functionality in Agilent HH DMMs line to warrant spending much more except on the hope of quality assembly and aftermarket support.


I'd only be aware of the OLED models (not just Agilent; short lifespan is one of OLED's major issues yet). The LCD versions seem to be holding up just fine. Haven't seen a firmware update made available either (U125xB series' LCD screen models), so that eliminates any temptation to run one and end up with a bricked unit (happenstance perhaps, but I'll take it). There's also the users' choice to skip an update if it exists.

In the specific case of Agilent, their customer service seems rather variable outside of the US (based on the "U1253B firmware update fail" thread).  :'( But I'm not sure this issue will be limited to just one company, especially for multinational entities.

In your situation, $500 definitely doesn't qualify as disposable IMHO, so I'm with saturation. May not get satisfaction, but you've nothing to lose but a little bit of your time at this point.  :box:
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline linux-works

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2014, 01:05:11 AM »
man, agilent is really becoming the company to avoid, if you don't have bottomless pockets and infinite wallet.

I was tempted to buy this oled meter; but now, I would not touch one with a 10 foot pole.

I expect 10's of years from my test gear!!!  geeze.  might as well just keep buying older used gear instead of paying agilent to produce disposable crap.

one of the reasons we would choose an agilent is that we don't want to keep rebuying chinese 'landfill fodder'; but if agilent is offering us the same options, uhm, why even consider agilent anymore?

sure, its 'only' a $500 meter and not the big boys that agilent also makes; but this shows a side of the company that I'm sad to see and it makes me think that the real test gear company of yesteryear is really no more and the agilent of today is yet another mass producer of crap with no responsibility for long-term tool investment.

maybe agilent should just fold up and die, as a company.   they've had a really long run, but it sounds like they are changing for the worse and its often a one-way trip once you start acting this way toward your products and customers ;(

 

Offline Orange

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2014, 01:34:26 AM »
When I first saw this OLED meter from Agilent, I already had second thoughts.

OLED technology is pretty unreliable, and I honestly don't understand why a company as Agilent went for an OLED display. Sure it looks stunning, but you expect more as good looks from Agilent.

The have another bench DMM with an OLED display, I think its the 34250A, looks pretty nice (when its working)

Yaesu has the same problems with their $4000,- tranceiver the FT-5000 with two or three of these displays.....

I avoid OLEDS in any durable stuff.
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #17 on: May 24, 2014, 01:50:08 AM »
The Agilent handheld DMM's have a few other quirky annoyances too. But in my opinion, OLED is dead. I don't think it's going to last much longer, but's that's just my opinion!  ;)
Eric Haney, MCSE, EE, DMC-D
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Online nanofrog

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2014, 05:31:06 AM »
My 1252a has been functionally well since purchase but the rubberized coat on the chassis is falling all off.  Not something you'd expect in a $400 DMM, but I bought it as a close out for $140.
The flaking rubber coating issue hasn't happened with mine thus far, but I do see your point, particularly when purchased at full price.

Unfortunately due to the general trend of reduced quality, I've become conditioned to reduce my expectations to some extent.  :'( Doesn't mean I won't nitpick though (genuinely in hopes that enough similar comments could help turn things around).  >:D

But like you, I didn't pay full price for mine either (got a U1252B with a $100 rebate). Not as good a deal, but it was still cheaper than a Fluke 287, which was the other model I was looking at (wasn't all that aware of/confident in Brymen at the time). So I'm a bit more willing to accept it, should it happen.

Worst case, Agilent does sell the case parts for reasonable prices, and are actually the cheapest source I've found for fuses should you need them (in your case, I'm not sure the blue case parts are still available).

One thing definitely annoying about Agilent's choice of LCD on any model I have, is the contrast is not very high on reflected light whereas on the Fluke 80 series excel on it.
I've not really noticed this an issue on my bench. Outdoors in direct sunlight, I have (need to view it pretty much dead on). Can you reconfigure your lighting by chance (maybe use hoods or white nylon as a diffuser like you would for photography)?

IIRC, mjlorton did something like this on his bench, and stated it helped.  :-//

Given some reports of Agilent's response to warranty and support on this forum, I hope they realize competition is very keen in the DMM market and for the cost of these meters, every nation should expect premier service and if not, there are other competitors worth considering.  There isn't enough unique functionality in Agilent HH DMMs line to warrant spending much more except on the hope of quality assembly and aftermarket support.
I definitely agree. Without such comments (or willingness to pay attention to them), nothing will ever improve, and likely continue to get worse IMHO.

Regarding unique(ish) functionality, FWIW the U127x and U125x models are capable of 4 wire measurements (not sure about any of the others).

man, agilent is really becoming the company to avoid, if you don't have bottomless pockets and infinite wallet.
Thus far, it's just a couple of people with issues, so though we need to be vigilant with purchases (as per usual IMHO), I wouldn't go so far as to conclude the company has truly gone down the shitter. Users should be vocal about such things to help prevent this from actually occurring though, so I'm not saying ignore issues and blindly give them a pass.

I'd also say we need them to keep other companies competitive (not get complacent and churn out warmed over crap each release cycle), as there's not that many players remaining in the general scheme of things (genuinely make their gear, not rebrand).

As per OLED, just skip it. LCD works just fine, and has a good track record.  ;)

OLED technology is pretty unreliable, and I honestly don't understand why a company as Agilent went for an OLED display.
Pretty simple really, the Marketing folks love flashy stuff, and got their way.  |O

The Agilent handheld DMM's have a few other quirky annoyances too. But in my opinion, OLED is dead. I don't think it's going to last much longer, but's that's just my opinion!  ;)
I'd like to see it go away in it's current state on T&M gear, but that's me.

As per OLED being dead, I'm not so sure. For big screens, it certainly looks that way, but for small screens (i.e. cell phones), it has a larger market that can pay for the R&D (seem to recall that some large OLED plants are being closed, while small screen plants will be expanded). Users are also less likely to notice it's current flaws due to how frequently they upgrade their phones (every couple of years or so?).
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2014, 06:13:59 AM »
Regarding unique(ish) functionality, FWIW the U127x and U125x models are capable of 4 wire measurements (not sure about any of the others).

Could you please explain what you mean by 4 wire measurements, because AFAIK those meters don't do 4 wire resistance Kelvin measurements.
The only meter I'm aware of with that feature is the Gossen 30M, which also does 4 wire temperature measurements.
 

Online nanofrog

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2014, 06:47:54 AM »
Regarding unique(ish) functionality, FWIW the U127x and U125x models are capable of 4 wire measurements (not sure about any of the others).

Could you please explain what you mean by 4 wire measurements, because AFAIK those meters don't do 4 wire resistance Kelvin measurements.
The only meter I'm aware of with that feature is the Gossen 30M, which also does 4 wire temperature measurements.
According to a data sheet I've seen, it does do Kelvin.

From Agilent (DMM Datasheet):
Quote
Measurement functions:
DCV, ACV, DCI,
ACI, 2-wire
and 4-wire
resistance
,
frequency,
capacitance,
temperature,
diode, continuity
tests
Source (.pdf, pg. 17 & look to the upper right).

It's also listed in the Product Compare page.

What is strange, is that it's not mentioned in the manuals I've downloaded from what I can see (certainly not indicated under Resistance Measurements).  :wtf:
« Last Edit: May 24, 2014, 06:49:52 AM by nanofrog »
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2014, 07:11:43 AM »
Someone got carried away with the specs for the 1250 series. The manuals are probably more reliable. There is no range selector position for a 4W feature and the jacks are not marked for sense anyway. The 1272A has a smart Ohm feature, but that's not 4 wire measurement.
 

Online nanofrog

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2014, 07:33:29 AM »
Someone got carried away with the specs for the 1250 series. The manuals are probably more reliable. There is no range selector position for a 4W feature and the jacks are not marked for sense anyway. The 1272A has a smart Ohm feature, but that's not 4 wire measurement.
I could see that on the compare page, but would think a bit more oversight with the datasheets.  :-//

In the case of my U1252B, I don't recall anything in it's settings, and oddly enough, still haven't ever tried it (just don't usually think of an HH DMM for 4 wire measurements). Only caught my notice a couple of months ago, when checking/verifying something for a post.

Might give it a proper try once I get my mess sorted out (meter's easily available, parts are not as the bench is ripped apart and everything scattered in misc. boxes).  |O Went to try a quick test of what would happen just plugging hot leads into both the V and either current locations (thinking about the probe sense feature), but the battery is flat.  :palm: Will get it on a charge, as I'd at least like to give that a go and see if the audible alarm sounds or not when set to resistance mode.
 

Offline electr_peter

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2014, 07:33:50 AM »
Regarding unique(ish) functionality, FWIW the U127x and U125x models are capable of 4 wire measurements (not sure about any of the others).

Could you please explain what you mean by 4 wire measurements, because AFAIK those meters don't do 4 wire resistance Kelvin measurements.
The only meter I'm aware of with that feature is the Gossen 30M, which also does 4 wire temperature measurements.
According to a data sheet I've seen, it does do Kelvin.

From Agilent (DMM Datasheet):
Quote
Measurement functions:
DCV, ACV, DCI,
ACI, 2-wire
and 4-wire
resistance
,
frequency,
capacitance,
temperature,
diode, continuity
tests
Source (.pdf, pg. 17 & look to the upper right).

It's also listed in the Product Compare page.

What is strange, is that it's not mentioned in the manuals I've downloaded from what I can see (certainly not indicated under Resistance Measurements).  :wtf:
According to that comparison, even 123x series has 4-wire measurent - clearly that is a mistake on the page. I'm not sure about 125x series, but 127x series do not have 4 wire measurement. 127x has typical input layout which does not allow 4 wire measurement.
 

Offline Andrusca

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Re: Agilent U1253B Multimeter
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2014, 12:42:07 AM »
I have good news!!
Finally afer sending several emails to the Sales Rep. asking for buying them the OLED module ALONE as a spare part, he kindly phoned me and explaind me that Agilent's policy is not to sell electronic modules of its instruments as spare parts and that my case was a very rare one. As a compensation he offered me a NEW U1252A (the one with standard LCD display) FREE of any charge. Of course I accepted it (I don't have a precision DMM working properly at this moment!) and he will send it to Argentina via a Courier service from USA in these days. Well, we both agree that when we are talking about Agilent of Fluke you expect a customer service far better than what you get buying cheap chinese stuff. So now, I think I have recovered my faith in Agilent and this shows that when you are asking for some common sense, it finally shows up...
You will hear about me when I receive del DMM!
Thanks to all of you for your comments and support
Andrés
 


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