Poll

Are you interested in seeing more handheld meters tested?

This testing is pointless! Please STOP damaging these meters!
3 (6.5%)
 Yes, I would like to more meters tested.
43 (93.5%)

Total Members Voted: 46

Author Topic: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.  (Read 494334 times)

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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2575 on: July 04, 2018, 06:25:28 am »
Woah :o
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2576 on: July 04, 2018, 09:02:14 am »
Well, it's starting to look bad.  I had my old HP spectrum analyzer apart for service and went to set it back up only to discover that I have some major problems with the test equipment.   Most of this is very old and for insurance, it's a bit of a question what to even do about it.  As it stands, I can't even access the level of damage because the equipment I need to use is dead. 

Everything was off at the equipment as well as the bus strips were all off.   

On the Ethernet side of things, the modem goes to the VOIP.  The only other thing I normally would have tied into it is a laptop.  With Windows 10 phoning home non-stop and disrupting anything I do with the laptop,  I had it unplugged and it survived! That's right, Windows 10's performance is so bad it saved that hardware.   :-DD :-DD 

The modem talks wireless to another router that I have all my Windows 10 blocking on.  This then runs all of the test equipment and PCs.   

I recently posted about changing one of my UPSs to use super caps rather than lead acid.   This UPS has a fair bit of protection.  I had just put it on-line a few days prior.  It was running at the time of the strike and continues to run.  It appears to have no signs of any damage.  There is no damage to anything that was running from it.   

The test equipment is my biggest concern at the moment.   Several years to accumulate and repair.  At least my old HP 3589A is in perfect working order again so take that mother nature!  :box:
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline IanB

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2577 on: July 04, 2018, 09:19:46 am »
Well, it's starting to look bad.  I had my old HP spectrum analyzer apart for service and went to set it back up only to discover that I have some major problems with the test equipment.   Most of this is very old and for insurance, it's a bit of a question what to even do about it.  As it stands, I can't even access the level of damage because the equipment I need to use is dead.

Well, shit, that's bad  :(
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Online 2N3055

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2578 on: July 04, 2018, 09:30:01 am »
Sorry to hear that Joe...

With a hit that close, at least some damage will come from induced (EMP style) pulse, in addition to any conducted overvoltage...

Hope there is not much more damage, and good that nobody got hurt.

Regards,

Sinisa
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2579 on: July 04, 2018, 09:38:08 am »
Well, it's starting to look bad.  I had my old HP spectrum analyzer apart for service and went to set it back up only to discover that I have some major problems with the test equipment.   Most of this is very old and for insurance, it's a bit of a question what to even do about it.  As it stands, I can't even access the level of damage because the equipment I need to use is dead.

Well, shit, that's bad  :(

It's not that bad.  The house was not damaged and no one was injured.   And the HP3589A was being serviced at the time and in parts.  No where near an outlet. Also on the plus side, my trusty PACE soldering iron survived. 

Looking at my two Ethernet GPIB controllers, they were built roughly the same time.  One has a heat shrink around what appears to be a couple of large MOVs.  The other does not.  One has a plastic sheet isolating the power supply from the digital section, the other does not.   Both were turned off, both no longer pass the basic diagnostics.  Expecting to see some chips blown apart, there really is nothing exciting.  Nothing even running all that hot.  Custom ASICs, so not going to be able to do anything with them.   Time to drag out an old GPIB controller...
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online Cliff Matthews

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2580 on: July 04, 2018, 09:48:17 am »
..Also on the plus side, my trusty PACE soldering iron survived.
Maybe Aaron could send out a new one (I mean, just in case..), you've been though a lot! Hope the camera wasn't charging..
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2581 on: July 04, 2018, 10:31:07 am »
It's not that bad.  The house was not damaged and no one was injured.

Yeah, thank goodness. :phew: Keeping my fingers crossed for your T&M gear that there aren't any more casualties.
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2582 on: July 04, 2018, 12:03:03 pm »
..Also on the plus side, my trusty PACE soldering iron survived.
Maybe Aaron could send out a new one (I mean, just in case..), you've been though a lot! Hope the camera wasn't charging..

I think my Canon SX150 would be worth about a dollar now. 

It's not that bad.  The house was not damaged and no one was injured.

Yeah, thank goodness. :phew: Keeping my fingers crossed for your T&M gear that there aren't any more casualties.

I am using a different GPIB controller and have Labview working with it now.   There is a lot more testing to go.   Looks like a few other bits were damaged.  The big one so far if my beloved HP34401A that I bought brand new when they first came out.   That's been a great meter.  It's never given me any trouble in all these years.  I'm not sure I could find parts outside of getting a used one off ebay.   It going to be interesting to see how this plays out with the insurance company.  Take my advice, think about this before you have a problem.

On the plus side, my LeCroy DSOs have all survived. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2583 on: July 04, 2018, 12:56:32 pm »
I just took a look and Keysight still stocks quite a few parts for the 34401A. You can search their inventory by part number (for something specific) or the model (to see everything that can still be ordered).

Note: Their parts search system is very unfriendly for use on mobile devices.
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2584 on: July 04, 2018, 01:38:13 pm »
My old HP VNA appears to have survived for the most part.

Went to check the Signal Hound and other USB devices, knowing full well what a poorly designed that bus is.    Sure enough, everything was dead.  After checking the PC port (I had to add a board in the PC to get that Signal Hound stable), the cables, then the hub, it turns out the hub was dead.  I have two of these Anker hubs.  Made a swap and everything fired up.  :phew:   

Picture showing my secret to automating many of the tests I have shown.
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline MacMeter

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2585 on: July 04, 2018, 02:22:39 pm »
Joe, I’m sorry to hear the news. Perhaps the ghosts of tortured meters past, got together for their own revenge.....

Glad everyone is ok.
 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2586 on: July 04, 2018, 02:44:46 pm »
My old HP VNA appears to have survived for the most part.

 :phew:

Quote
Went to check the Signal Hound and other USB devices, knowing full well what a poorly designed that bus is.    Sure enough, everything was dead.  After checking the PC port (I had to add a board in the PC to get that Signal Hound stable), the cables, then the hub, it turns out the hub was dead.  I have two of these Anker hubs.  Made a swap and everything fired up.  :phew:   

Hubs as surge protectors. Noted.
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Online rsjsouza

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2587 on: July 04, 2018, 08:17:13 pm »
In the early days of USB, nobody cared for transient supression, thus peripherals fell like files. Unless it is a crappy product, nowadays they should have suppressors all around, especially if it is a higher quality product as Anker.
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Offline HoracioDos

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2588 on: July 04, 2018, 10:24:01 pm »
Hello Joe. I'm sorry to hear that. When these things happen you start thinking like a prepper. I'm sure that once you have repaired or replaced your equipment you will be thinking about how to avoid lightning strikes again.
Luckily we only lost a TV set many years ago. Here the insurance companies pay up to a predefined amount of money for electronic equipment according to your contract.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2589 on: July 04, 2018, 11:08:15 pm »
Here the insurance companies pay up to a predefined amount of money for electronic equipment according to your contract.

I think that's universal.

Also: If stuff isn't individually itemized on the policy then you'll get a percentage of the total value of the policy, as determined by them. Usually a pittance.
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2590 on: July 04, 2018, 11:37:57 pm »
We look forward to a new series of videos with joe adding extra MOVs and gas discharge tubes to his house.

(and painting the roof with corona dope)

 :popcorn:
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2591 on: July 05, 2018, 01:48:21 am »
Hello Joe. I'm sorry to hear that. When these things happen you start thinking like a prepper. I'm sure that once you have repaired or replaced your equipment you will be thinking about how to avoid lightning strikes again.
Luckily we only lost a TV set many years ago. Here the insurance companies pay up to a predefined amount of money for electronic equipment according to your contract.

I'm not too concerned. Chances of it happening again in my lifetime would be rare.  I may need to adjust my insurance for the lab.


How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2592 on: July 05, 2018, 05:28:00 am »
Remember the days when you could actually repair your own equipment?   If we really wanted to limit the amount of ewaste, we should mandate companies to produce service manuals and spare parts for anything electronic related....   

Pushing ahead with no schematics....
They used 7438s which I did not have on hand.  I did have some 7403s to allow me to troubleshoot the rest of it.  I was out of LS14s and used some LS04s.   No cracks in any of the ICs. 

Next...
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2593 on: July 05, 2018, 06:56:12 am »
I believe I have identified all of the bad parts required to repair my equipment, including my old HP meter.  Everything is in stock and on order.   There were no signs of an arc any anything.  Even the surge protectors all look fine.  It's very strange.

Now to more pressing problems.  The garage door...  Note the spark gaps in the upper right.   To the left there is an exposed copper trace.  Follow that to the top ground plane the the spark gaps return to.  Note, there is no copper.  You can just see to the right of the plastic mounting bracket where it stopped.  A few other traces are gone as well.   


How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2594 on: July 08, 2018, 03:55:49 am »
Meter testing has gone off the tracks.

If you have watched my videos, you know I do all of my own repairs and have shown where I have modified a few meters to give people a better idea how they work.   One thing I have mentioned is how important it is to keep things clean.   One of the main solvents I use is isopropyl alcohol but I have also mentioned I use a product called ProClean.   Much of the electronics I work on will have plastic which can be attacked by some cleaners.  I have a friend who tried to clean there laptop once and the case disintegrated over the next few weeks.   :-DD  I pretty much settled on ProClean several years ago. 
   
I use a about a can a year and have been trying another MicroCare product called VERICLEAN.    I've attached a few pictures showing the chemicals they use for the two different products.  I never saw a case where the VERICLEAN damaged plastic.  It does a good job cleaning but if you watch, what I normally do is spray a swab then use that to clean the board.  The VERICLEAN drys faster than the ProClean so I seem to use more off it.   If I have to use a bristle brush to help break things up, the ProClean does a better job.    With the ProClean, if I want it to dry fast, I use the heat gun.  Just a few quick passes and instant dry.   

With these latest repairs, I just ran out of the DC1 and decided to go back to the ProClean.    No, I don't work for MicroCare and I am not a distributor for them.  Just thought I would show what I use. 

https://electronics.microcare.com/products/clean-flux-remover-vericlean/
https://electronics.microcare.com/products/rma-flux-remover-proclean/     

How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline IanB

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2595 on: July 08, 2018, 04:44:19 am »
I guess I don't much see the point in buying ProClean, unless it is for the convenience of a spray can. It is just a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and ethyl alcohol with HFC 134a as a propellant. You could buy IPA and "green" denatured alcohol and mix up something similar yourself.

(Evidently, the theory is that pure IPA has some limitations as a solvent. Adding some ethanol helps to dissolve those hard to remove deposits. I suspect adding a little distilled water may also be helpful. Experimentation would be needed.)
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2596 on: July 08, 2018, 05:03:34 am »
The pressurized delivery is useful in tight areas as well as for general degreasing of small parts (not just flux removal). For open board areas I concur that a bottle of the ingredients and brush/swab is more economical. Right tool for the job, etc.
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2597 on: July 08, 2018, 05:23:47 am »
They offer a brush applicator and also the extended trigger like I show.  For the amount I use, I would rather have the sealed can of a known mixture.  But to be clear, I am not suggesting you shouldn't use your WD-40 gasoline break cleaner mixture to work on your $80,000 scope.   :-DD    I'm not getting any sort of kickback and just offering what it is that I have used over the years.   The iso is cheap and again, this is my primary cleaner.  I keep a bottle in the lab and that's all it gets used for.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Kean

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2598 on: July 08, 2018, 09:16:40 pm »
I've not had a good history with pressurised cans of solvent.  For me they regularly seem to end up with no propellant but still plenty of solvent.  Same with cutting fluid for the machine tools.

I switched to 5 litre bulk containers of IPA and now I just buy it in a 20 litre drum (that should last a couple of years!).  I decant from the bulk containers into various dropper and spray bottles around the workshop.  It is so much cheaper in bulk form, and it means you don't hesitate to use a bit more solvent to actually wash away deposits properly.  Also great for filling the ultrasonic cleaner, although I tend to mostly use distilled water and SWAS safewash for that.

I also keep a tin or two of stronger solvents (e.g. Ultrasolve) for those special occasions where you're not worried about damaging plastics.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #2599 on: July 08, 2018, 10:06:18 pm »
I've not ran into low pressure with the ProClean.  I like that nothing gets into the can.  I use new swabs in the  isopropyl and seal it every time but's it's still open to the environment.   

I imagine I go through 470ml of isopropyl every three years or so.  For me, it's not a major expense compared to what I am normally working on.  With swabs, gloves, cleaners, maybe $20/year?       

There was an episode of AmpHour where they had a previous employee from Fluke come on the show.  It was one of the times I wished they had just gave him the mike and let him talk.  One of the things he talked about was cleaning the meters.    I've ran into problems with it making videos where I have shown errors in a reading and have to go back in and do a better job.   Not suggesting the free HF meters need that level of cleaning.   :-DD   
 
Short paper on solvents that may be of interest.   It's only about a page long and easy reading.  It talks about the common chemicals used and why/where  they are used.   
https://www.smta.org/chapters/files/smta-gdl_getting_pcbs_really_clean.pdf
How electrically robust is your meter?? http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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