Author Topic: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment  (Read 106763 times)

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Offline Fraser

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Just a heads-up to those in the market for a decent looking LCR meter  :)

I have LCR meters already, including the AVO Megger B131, Wayne Kerr 4210 and Uni-Trend UT-203. From these units I have established the pros and cons of the different models and one glaring omission annoys me royally. None of these meters can measure ESR  >:(

I bought the Bob Parker ESR meter kit from Dick Smith Electronics (works well) and a 'cottage industry' built desktop model from Hungary (works well for the money).  The Hungarian unit may be found on ebay here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ESR-Meter-Electrolytic-Capacitor-Meter-DC2-1x5-5-Blue-LCD-/140686944681?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20c19869a9

It costs a reasonable $70 + $15 shipping.

I was still looking for an 'all in one' solution to capacitor testing from a known meter manufacturer and considered the ATLAS offerings that I believe are quite good, if a little funky looking  ;D The ESR 70+ is the top model and would cost me around GBP100 delivered.

Now to the title of this message (AT LAST you may say ....  but I am setting the scene for you  :) )

I found the Mastech MS5308 listed on ebay this evening and from a company that I have had good experiences with, "aidetech_us"  have the MS5308 on 15% discount at the moment for $211.65 inc delivery. That is the best price that I have found for the whole kit and some are listed for considerably more.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300611462699?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649

I took an interest in the meter and noted that it uses the same chip set that is believed to inhabit the IET DE-5000 that Dave tore down in Blog Video #229. The chipset impressed me , especially the ESR capability.

I already own a Tektronix THS720 DSO and I like the similar styling of the MS5308. The 4" screen is nice and large for displaying the required information and to top it off....you get the full set of accessories including PC interface kit included in the price  :) Be careful of cheaper quotes for this meter...many are for the meter alone with no accessories.

After some thought, I purchased the MS5308 and shall report on it when I have it in my paws  :)

The odd thing is that I can't find the MS5308 listed on the "Precision Mastech" website. One reseller lists it as a new Mastech model so maybe the site is just out of date ?

I am attaching pictures of the kit, plus an internal picture that I have stolen from the DE-5000 thread (thanks BravoV). I also attach the chipset datasheet. I also include a picture of the THS720 DSO for interest. They will look good together  ;D

Update:

There is an interesting discussion about the MS5308 and the DE-5000 on this Chinese site:

In Chinese:

http://www.crystalradio.cn/bbs/thread-217337-1-1.html

Translation url:

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&u=http://www.crystalradio.cn/bbs/thread-217337-1-1.html&ei=2Uk0T7TtIqar0QW6x8S6Ag&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCUQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.crystalradio.cn/%2Bms5308%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1523%26bih%3D734%26prmd%3Dimvns

They compare the MS5308 with readings from an Agilent E4980A .... it comes through the comparison of readings pretty well  :)

There is also comment on the chipset used in the MS5308 and the DE-5000

Interestingly the internal picture shows what appear to be standard 4mm sockets available on the side of the MS5308 (under the pimpled side cover ?). I see no mention of such in the manual or sales literature. No 4mm leads are supplied either. It will be interesting to see if the sockets are usable on my unit or just an unused option built into the case moulding. The downloadable manual is crap though so it may just have been missed out.

Manual is here:

http://www.aidetek.com/New_products_info/Datasheet/huayi/MS5308_english_manual.pdf

I just found the Mastech alibaba web site. As opposed to the one that had no reference to the MS5308 this site has it proudly shown on the front page  :)

http://mastech.en.alibaba.com/

Watch the Mastech video for a laugh ...they employ a robot for the voice over  ;D

The main Mastech site only has details of the MS5308 in Chinese and not on the English version of the site. Most odd !

 http://www.mastech.cn/Productdetail.aspx?id=10675

English translation:

http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?sl=zh-CN&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mastech.cn%2FProductdetail.aspx%3Fid%3D10675

The model was released on 13 May 2011 so is quite recent to the market place.

Update +1

I have found the Russian instructions ! They clearly show 4mm sockets in the side of the MS5308 unit  :) So hopefully I can use whatever 4mm test leads I desire  :D

Russian manual attached.


UPDATE 4 March 2012.... Aidetech price has returned to $249  :(

Aurora
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 08:37:32 am by Aurora »
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2012, 11:54:49 pm »
Thanks for the detailed analysis!  Looking forward to your review.  Sounds like a bang for buck and with your brood of LCR meters you can make some good comparisons.  For comparison, an equivalent 100kHz LCR meter from Agilent is ~$400.

Folks should realize LCR meters are designed to measure LCR of components, and they may not be same values when used at much higher frequencies due to parasitics in those components. 

« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 11:57:23 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline bsgd

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2012, 01:07:56 am »
I bought the Bob Parker ESR meter kit from Dick Smith Electronics (works well) and a 'cottage industry' built desktop model from Hungary (works well for the money).  The Hungarian unit may be found on ebay here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ESR-Meter-Electrolytic-Capacitor-Meter-DC2-1x5-5-Blue-LCD-/140686944681?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20c19869a9

It costs a reasonable $70 + $15 shipping.

Does this unit feel solid? Im interested in getting one but Im not sure how good it is...
Does it really only measures capacitances above 1uF?
 

Offline muvideo

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2012, 01:28:02 am »
Aurora this is interesting! I'll wait impatiently your opinion and review.
I was searching around for a rcl meter,
I opened also a topic recently about another similar device.
This mastech seem very good considering the price, accessories
and the fact that someone compared it to professional equipment.

Fabio.

Fabio Eboli.
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2012, 06:35:49 am »
bsgd,

The Hungarian ESR meter that I bought is very much a small production item made by an individual rather than a company. As such it is built in a standard hobby project case that isn't that wonderfully moulded and could not be regarded as rigid. The front and rear panels are plastic with the panel labels made using photocopied images on paper. Its a novel idea that works but is not likely to be durable,. the seller is very friendly and sent me the images of the labels so that I can make my own and laminate them.

The internal electronics is well made but you cannot get away from the fact that this is a hobby quality build and the well made PCB's are held in pace by PCB stand-offs that have been superglued to the case. The glue does fail on early versions and has now been changed to an epoxy. The LCD is superglued to the front panel so I expect it to break free with regular use and bumps etc. The actual ESD measurement circuit is, I believe, digital in technique rather than the simpler analogue types driving an 7106 A to D chip and display. Sadly the schematic is not available and the seller declined to supply it to me. I have my suspicions that it may be an open source or electronics magazine design but I have yet to find it.

The unit performs well but there is room for improvement with the case and physical build. The price reflects this. It IS good value for money when someones time is taken into consideration.   

Would I buy it again ?....yes. For the money, it works well  :) Is it a posh professional looking meter with resilience ? ....no, but I can forgive it that.

With regard to it not testing capacitors below 1uF, that is correct. Such a lower limit is not unusual on ESR meters as ESR is of most concern to many when Electrolytic capacitors are involved as these have a known likelihood of failure with age or poor quality manufacture. This is the market that is being targetted by most designs since the dreaded 'BadCap' outbreak in computers and domestic equipment some years ago.

I attach the manual for the Hungarian meter.

Hope this helps

Aurora
« Last Edit: February 11, 2012, 06:54:09 am by Aurora »
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 07:54:48 am »
Looking forward to the review.  :)
 

Offline kripton2035

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 08:15:26 am »
@Aurora: can you open the case and take picture(s) inside
may be I can help to find an open source equivalent...
thanks.

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 08:28:34 am »
Pictures of the inside is no problem at all. I'll sort it out over the weekend.

Aurora
 

Offline bsgd

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2012, 10:31:50 am »
Aurora,

Thank you very much, that was very helpful.

I guess I will buy one too. I can make some improvements to it and I wont have to spend thousands on a brand name bench ESR.

Regarding the Mastech, I am also very interested. I finnaly came to the conslusion that I just cant have too many test instruments  ;D
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 02:53:46 am »
For anyone interested in the Hungarian ESR meter I purchased, I have started a new thread here:

http://www.eevblog.com/forum/product-reviews-photos-and-discussion/esr-meter-teardown-hungarian-cottage-industry-unit-from-ebay/msg90428/

Pictures of the internals supplied, as requested.

Aurora
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2012, 05:22:26 am »
Well the MS5308 has arrived  :)

I bought it from AideTech US but it came via DHL from a UK source (Impact Express) so delivery was fast and no duties payable  :) I presume they have a UK agent working for them.

I have only just opened the package and its...well....... gorgeous !  ;D

The unit is very well built and looks like you could drive a car over it without killing it. A real 'quality' look as well. The kit that comes with it is equally nice  :)

I can't wait to test it.

The only negative is that there are not any 4mm sockets on the side as per the Russian instructions....maybe they caused a problem with pickup or something ?

For now I attach the picture of the kit as it arrived...... all shiny and new   :)

Aurora
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 06:43:11 am by Aurora »
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2012, 06:23:49 am »
Brothers in Arms.......

The Mastech MS5308 along side my Tektronix THS720 ....they look made for eachother  ;D
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2012, 06:27:46 am »
Some quick pics of the display.

Its well backlit and very easy to read with good contrast and viewing angle.

Any colour aberrations are due to the photography, its a nice cool blue/white backlight.

The last picture shows the ESR mode.


Next installment will be some tests  :)
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2012, 06:39:23 am »
I may have the answer to why the 4mm sockets have been removed from the MS5308.

I just checked the Kelvin clip lead and it is wired in 4-Wire configuration. The adapter blades that plug into the meter are double sided FR4 PCB with each side connected to one of the Kelvin clip tips. I'm impressed, none of your common old 2-Wire stuff here  :)

The SMD tweezers have their 4-Wire configuration changed to 2-Wire to suit the 2 contact tweezer tips

Aurora
 

Offline Fraser

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2012, 09:11:47 am »
Well I have just completed my first quick checks on the unit and all appears to be working correctly. I used the Kelvin clips to test a pile of capacitors, resistors and inductors then compared the readings with my Wayne Kerr meter that is lab standard but hasn't been calibrated in years. All readings tally and the error on close tolerance Mica capacitors shows that the LCR meter is well withon its specification tolerances. The same applies to Resistance. All well withing the specifications.

I threw some known suspect, New old stock, and new Electrolytic capacitors at the the meter to see how the ESR readings stood up. It identified every known faulty capacitor plus a few NOS ones that I would now throw away. The readings on the new capacitors were all within the manufacturers acceptable tolerances. 

The readings are taken pretty quickly and are very stable. I really like this LCR meter already.

I'll do some more tests in slower time but I am now happy that my unit is fully operational.

It was interesting to see the Q reading on a 10mH inductor change as I stepped through the frequencies that the meter can generate. It was also interesting to see that the meter refuses to measure a large value (2200uF) capacitor at the 100kHz test frequency  ;) 
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Mastech MS5308 LCR meter with ESR measurement - on discount at the moment
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2012, 12:34:48 am »
This is good news, Aurora.  Before tossing your electrolytics, trying reforming them then retesting them.  Its always interesting to see how many you can revitalize.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Lo_tse

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Hi, Aurora

Any further comements on your MS5308?  I am trying to decide whether I should get the TH2822A or this Mastech MS5308. 

Regards,
 

Offline Fraser

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I have not used the Mastech LCR meter a great deal since getting it,due to other commitments. The checks that I have carried out using known faulty components and accurate known component values have shown it to be both accurate and reliable when taking readings in and out of circuit. I do wish Mastech had left the 4mm sockets fitted though. On several occasions meter probes would have been more useful than clips or tweezers. I may make up another plug in unit with 4mm sockets for just such a requirement.

The build quality and 'feel' of the unit is excellent and I really like the design but it will not be everyones taste as it is a little bulky. For me the large screen and solid design are perfect. The ability to select 100kHz for the excitation signal is also very welcome.

When I get some free time I will compare its performance with the Uni-Trend and Wayne Kerr LCR meters. The Wayne Kerr has not been calibrated in a long time though so I cannot use it as a true reference. The UT203 UT603 is a cheap LCR meter so I don't expect its performance to be anything exciting.

Thanks to the LCR meter Chipset availability, there are more LCR meters appearing on the market with very similar specifications to the Mastech so I think we will see some very capable meters appearing at affordable prices. For me, the Mastech offered a complete kit (minus 4mm test lead capability) at a reasonable price. Would I recommend it to a friend ? Definitely !

Aurora
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 08:41:51 am by Aurora »
 

Offline robrenz

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I may make up another plug in unit with 4mm sockets for just such a requirement.

Make sure you do it with (4) 4mm sockets so you can maintain 4 lead kelvin style connection to your DUT if you want to maintain the accuracy you are enjoying.

PS. I have the DE5000  (I think the same chipset) and also impressed with its performance. Looking forward to Dave's review of it.

Offline Fraser

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OOOOPs ! Yes I meant UT603  :)

As suggested, I will make up a 4 wire lead set to maintain good accuracy.

Aurora
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 08:15:49 am by Aurora »
 

Offline Fraser

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I have quickly photographed the interior of the MS5308.

The general build quality is excellent but once again I find that the non automated hand soldering is of variable quality. Nothing that will prevent the unit working, but not up to my expected standards.

There are some nice touches such as a nice deep lip on the case that engages into its partner to form a tight dust seal. The lip also adds rigidity to the case when assembled. The battery cover is a nice tight fit and has excellent pressure padding to keep the batteries in place. The battery cover has screws that engage into brass bushes in the units case...nice.

Disassembly was a minor challenge as after the six self tapping screws have been removed you have to disengage the very tight fitting mated male and female tubes that form the screw spindles. No nasty plastic clips to accidentally snap off in the case design  :)

The plastics mouldings are excellent quality with no evidence of warping or poor mould design.

Over all, I am very pleased with this LCR meter and the manner in which it has been built.

Pictures attached.
 

Offline Fraser

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I dismantled the tweezer probe adapter to see if they bothered to use 4 wire configuration to the tips, or just shorted the pairs within the adapter housing.

I am pleased to say they wired the tweezers correctly  :)

They are pretty simple assemblies so I should be able to make my own for custom probes if required. All that is need is plated double sided FR4 PCB.

Picture attached


Aurora
 

Offline Fraser

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I see the price of this unit from AideTech has now returned to $249.

I expect it will be discounted again in the future.

Aurora
 

Offline Lo_tse

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Aurora,

Thank you for the follow up info.

Regards,
 

Offline Lo_tse

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Hi, Aurora

Based on your info and my research, I finally pulled the trigger and bought this LCR meter too. It was physically bigger than I thought, more like a bench/table top gear than a hand held.  Fortunately, it is not heavy at all.  The big screen with the back light feature is really nice though.

Well, the hard plastic case is a little too shiny for my taste, but it is just cosmetic.  The manual was really crappy though.  This meter is reasonably versatile and deserves a better written manual.  I was looking for the compare button mentioned in the manual but there is no such thing, they actually mean the sorting button.  Same goes with the OK button which is actually the enter button.  I was trying to find how to use the tiny calibrate push pin to do the calibration but there is no mention in the manual??  Do you know how to do this?

This is my first LCR meter and I have nothing to compare to.  I found the reading takes a bit long to show (comparing to taking a reading on a digital multimeter).  I check some of my caps and low value resistors (<0.3 ohm) and the number agreed with the specified values.  Overall, I think this meter is a good buy - the price includes the SMD tweezers, kelvin clips, AC power adapter,  RS323 cable, and a decent soft case. 
 


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