Is the new model a decent multimeter or should I stay away from it?
Its going to be on sale this weekend and I am thinking of getting one.
I don't own this Canadian Tire(CT) multimeter so I can't comment first hand, but based on the photos and some other factors, I would say it would be difficult to find something else in the $27 CDN + taxes ($59.99 CDN MSRP at 55% off discount).
Here are some comments on why $27 CDN + taxes could be a good deal for potential Canadian buyers. Those not living in Canada will see a snapshot of the current environment.
On the plus side.
1) With the Canadian dollar at 79 cents on April 9, 2015 (compared to $1 USD), you will be paying more buying multimeters off ebay which is usually priced in USD dollars.
2) Buying a multimeter from ebay with free shipping from China takes 30 days or more to arrive and you may receive a bad/DOA one. Who pays return shipping? What happens if the multimeter is faulty after 30 days? Is there warranty? Remember free shipping from China to Canada does not mean Canada to China will be free or even economically feasible if the seller insists on a tracking number and signature.
3) Buying a bad/DOA multimeter from CT means going back to the store and getting a refund/replacement. The multimeter according to the website states "This product carries a 1 year exchange warranty redeemable at any Canadian Tire store." Check your local CT for terms and conditions as they may vary in different stores or provinces.
4) As for the multimeter itself, there is a PTC, MOV and possibly a small power resistor for input protection on the volts/ohms input jack. For the current jacks, there are two ceramic fuses. It probably meets it CAT II rating, except for the fuses, given what I observed wrt to protection.
5) Compared to the older model, it looks like they reduced the number of components and calibration pots. This could result in better reliability and long term accuracy and precision?
6) The leds are useful to remind newbies where to put in the probes.
7) For $27 CDN + tax, you get a lot of features like capacitance, temperature and frequency.
8] You are highly unlikely to find a name brand multimeter like Fluke, Agilent, etc for $30 used in working
condition. After 5 years of looking on kijiji, I have only seen 3 used Fluke multimeters sell for under $30 (Fluke 75, Fluke 23 and Fluke 12).
On the negative side.
1) The fonts are tiny due to bilingual requirements for Canada.
2) I think the older black on white text/lettering is easier to read than the newer white on black, but some would disagree.
3) The probes are likely to be crappy and highly unlike to survive 20A going through it without melting or catching fire?
4) The temperature functionality requires one probe in the uA/mA jack.
Note to NON Canadians. There is very little choice in terms of brick and mortor/online for multimeters. The big stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc carry multimeters but usually at full retail CDN price and rarely go on sale. In addition, they are overpriced compared to the USA counterparts even when the CDN $ was at parity with the USD $. For example, the cheap 830 sells for $15 CDN at Wal-Mart. At Harbor Freight USA, you can usually get if free or on sale for $2.99 USD.
Buying multimeters from USA sellers (either ebay or online stores) yields more selection, but priority shipping + tracking number + signature can exceed $30 not including any customs taxes/fees. In addition, FedEx and UPS may charge a "brokerage" fee of $35 or more for doing the customs clearance/paperwork.
Anything over $20 CDN via postal/courier is subject to customs fees/duties in Canada. An excerpt.https://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/manual/pgcustoms-e.asp#1382719
Customs duties and taxes
The CBSA collects provincial sales taxes (PST) on most taxable imports valued at over $20CDN
entering Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The CBSA also collects Harmonized Sales Taxes (HST) on most taxable imports entering Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Ontario.A handling fee of $9.95CDN
per dutiable or taxable mail item is applied. This fee is in line with the government’s efforts to help recover costs from those who benefit from services, and is similar to arrangements in the United States and other countries.