Author Topic: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A  (Read 13365 times)

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Offline mjlorton

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Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« on: February 23, 2012, 04:34:28 PM »
Here is my initial review of the U1272A.

A quick summary of my findings:

* Look and feel: Good to very good
* Test leads / probes: Not good
* Accuracy: Excellent
* Resolution: Very good
* Continuity tester: Very good
* Features: Excellent
* Robustness as an industrial multimeter: Good

I need more time to play with the extended features and to do a comparison with the Fluke87-V.

Multimeter review / buyers guide: Agilent U1272A


Review Index:
Introduction - 00:00:05 to 00:01:17
General look and feel - 00:01:19 to 00:06:03
Auto range, display resolution and update speed - 00:06:05 to 00:09:32
Accuracy, calibration and voltage reference test - 00:09:33 to 00:11:44
Current and resistance reference tests - 00:11:46 to 00:15:27
Continuity tester - 00:15:30 to 00:16:39
Min, Max, Average feature - 00:16:41 to 00:17:57
Trig Hold and Auto Hold Feature - 00:17:59 to 00:18:59
Multimeter teardown - 00:19:01 to 00:24:00
Low battery warning test - 00:24:02 to 00:26:26
Final Conclusion - 00:26:28 to 00:28:37


Cheers,
Martin
www.YouTube.com/mjlorton
Solar Power and Electronic Measurement Equipment

Offline ron

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2012, 05:48:33 PM »
Well done!  Good tempo and concise.  Great review.  :)

The lead compensation feature is interesting and might bear further investigation.

One question--why did the battery test start at ~9v instead of 6v ?

Offline mjlorton

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 11:53:09 PM »
Well done!  Good tempo and concise.  Great review.  :)

The lead compensation feature is interesting and might bear further investigation.

One question--why did the battery test start at ~9v instead of 6v ?
Thanks Ron...I hope to continue improving with you kind guidance ;-)

Yes...that 9v!!! Very silly me...I was in a rush and forgot it should have been 6v...I have added an annotation to the video...thankfully the 1272A survived.

The lead compensation certainly is interesting, I will post a little more on it in the video on the extended features.

Thanks again for your input.

Cheers,
Martin.
www.YouTube.com/mjlorton
Solar Power and Electronic Measurement Equipment

Offline saturation

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 12:26:30 AM »
Most excellent. Thanks for doing it.  Its been ?~ 1 year since I did mine, there were some significant v1.x bugs, what firmware version is shipped with the new 1272a?

Early models have a defective nub on the stand, it wears out very fast. 

The cal certificate is great if you need such; its fully automated so the cost to do it is fairly small done the Agilent way.  However,  one 1272a I received with a certificate was out of cal, and the values the meter provided on some ranges and the certificate did not match.  Agilent sent me another test meter thereafter.

On an 1252a DMM, same thing on the 5V range, and both meters still had valid cal certificates.

So always good to performance test your new DMMs to insure it meets specs.




Best Wishes,


Saturation

Online TerminalJack505

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 12:45:20 AM »
Good timing as I'm in the market for another meter.  I was looking at this one just yesterday.  Thanks for the review.

Offline mjlorton

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 01:25:56 AM »
Most excellent. Thanks for doing it.  Its been ?~ 1 year since I did mine, there were some significant v1.x bugs, what firmware version is shipped with the new 1272a?

Thanks for the feedback. Mine came with firmware version 2.00

The cal certificate is great if you need such; its fully automated so the cost to do it is fairly small done the Agilent way.  However,  one 1272a I received with a certificate was out of cal, and the values the meter provided on some ranges and the certificate did not match.  Agilent sent me another test meter thereafter.

On an 1252a DMM, same thing on the 5V range, and both meters still had valid cal certificates.

So always good to performance test your new DMMs to insure it meets specs.
Interesting info on the calibration service...looking at the print out I figured it must be automated but good to know the cost should be reasonable as well.
It's a little concerning that a valid cert is not reflecting what the meter should be....and I guess most folks are never going to realise that...

Cheers,
Martin.
www.YouTube.com/mjlorton
Solar Power and Electronic Measurement Equipment

Offline mjlorton

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 01:28:11 AM »
Good timing as I'm in the market for another meter.  I was looking at this one just yesterday.  Thanks for the review.

My pleasure and thanks for the feedback.

Cheers,
Martin.
www.YouTube.com/mjlorton
Solar Power and Electronic Measurement Equipment

Offline Richard W.

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 01:53:47 AM »
Hello Martin,

nice review, but 9V is a little bit to much for a circuit which is designed for 4 AAA batteries  ;D
I'd not dare on my 289 to try this experiment.
but the meter obviously survived (due to it's swichmode voltage regulators?!) that's nice.

Have you noticed the bargraph at 25:30? It goes up and up..


regards

Offline saturation

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 01:58:54 AM »
Thanks.  Yes, whenever I receive a new instrument, its best to do a performance test to check it meets the specs.  Most folks simply assume its factory perfect and begin using it.  Most of your video tests are akin to select samples of performance tests, but there are detailed sets somewhere in most service manuals.  Some of the higher levels of the tests require more equipment, but just try to get as many done as possible.  In the 1272a service manual, it begins at page 10.  It opens:

"The performance verification tests are recommended as
acceptance tests when you first receive the instrument. The
acceptance test results should be compared against the one
year test limits. After acceptance, you should repeat the
performance verification tests at every calibration interval.
If the multimeter fails the performance verification tests,
adjustment or repair is required."

In the case of a new DMM, it just gets shipped back to the seller.



Most excellent. Thanks for doing it.  Its been ?~ 1 year since I did mine, there were some significant v1.x bugs, what firmware version is shipped with the new 1272a?

Thanks for the feedback. Mine came with firmware version 2.00

The cal certificate is great if you need such; its fully automated so the cost to do it is fairly small done the Agilent way.  However,  one 1272a I received with a certificate was out of cal, and the values the meter provided on some ranges and the certificate did not match.  Agilent sent me another test meter thereafter.

On an 1252a DMM, same thing on the 5V range, and both meters still had valid cal certificates.

So always good to performance test your new DMMs to insure it meets specs.
Interesting info on the calibration service...looking at the print out I figured it must be automated but good to know the cost should be reasonable as well.
It's a little concerning that a valid cert is not reflecting what the meter should be....and I guess most folks are never going to realise that...

Cheers,
Martin.
Best Wishes,


Saturation

alm

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 02:26:06 AM »
Shifting the burden of QA to the consumer is a very lame excuse, and should result in the customer black-listing that manufacturer for some period of time. It's good to trust AND verify, but that doesn't mean the manufacturer isn't 100% responsible for screwing up.

What does the list of recommended equipment for a performance test look like, and what percentage of the price of the DMM does it represent? Assume you buy a DMM calibrator and its manual contains a similar notice, now what?

Should one just discard the Agilent cal certificate and budget for third-party calibration? That's going to make Fluke pricing look very attractive.

Offline lavo-1

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 04:07:41 AM »
Excellent review as ever ;) I have watched your Youtube channel for some time now and I always look forward to your reviews.
This does look a nice meter, but I will always stick with Fluke 87 series as it has stood up to my job working off shore in the oil industry which I think is possibly one of the harshest environments any test equipment could ever take.
Look forward to more vid's :)

Offline mjlorton

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 06:20:43 PM »
Excellent review as ever ;) I have watched your Youtube channel for some time now and I always look forward to your reviews.
This does look a nice meter, but I will always stick with Fluke 87 series as it has stood up to my job working off shore in the oil industry which I think is possibly one of the harshest environments any test equipment could ever take.
Look forward to more vid's :)

Thanks for your feedback. I concur with your view of the Fluke 87 being more robust in harsh environments. This should come out in a side by side review.
Thanks for your support.
Martin.
www.YouTube.com/mjlorton
Solar Power and Electronic Measurement Equipment

Offline benemorius

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2012, 10:31:50 AM »
It didn't seem to do so well on the supply voltage test after considering that there are 4 cells instead of 6. It started demanding new batteries at a very healthy 1.05V per cell and the bar graph started acting up immediately thereafter. By the time you actually reached  a dead state of 0.8V per cell, the display was pretty much gone entirely and the bar graph had long since become useless. That isn't very acceptable, and it's certainly nothing to be proud of. Perhaps in your extended review you can shed some light on the situation and hopefully Agilent will step up their game a bit. Assuming it withstands the test of time, it looks like they're very close to having a damn good meter here.

Offline samgab

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 10:39:51 AM »
The battery life isn't as bad as it seems. Due to hysteresis in Alkaline and NiMH cells, when the current draw is very low, such as in this device, the (essentially "resting") voltage remains above ~1.2V until the cells are almost spent. It only dips below that substantially (with capacity still remaining in the cells) when there is a high current load, which doesn't happen even with the backlight on in this meter. I'd be comfortable running this meter on eneloops.

Online IanB

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Re: Multimeter Review: Agilent U1272A
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2012, 01:56:56 PM »
Just making comments as I watch. At 7m30s, with that fast update speed: how would you read a fluctuating or rapidly changing signal? The digits would become blurred and hard to read. Is there a "slow it down" mode so you get a chance to read the (average) value?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?


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