EEVblog #344 – Fluke 17B Multimeter Teardown

Forum Topic HERE

Teardown Tuesday
What’s inside the cheap Made-in-China Fluke 17B Mulitmeter
NOTE: This meter is only available in the China and Indian markets. But you can get it from Chinese dealers on Ebay.
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  1. Hi Dave.

    I love your videos! Is there anyway you could provide an RSS feed with 720p videos? The 480 ones look a little blurry on my TV.

    • Not sure if there was some sort of limitation on your TV, but there is a RSS button on the top right cornner, and videos are available from 240p to 1080p, just click on the gear icon on the bottom of the video window, options are there 🙂

      • Those are still YouTube links. If you look at the XML RSS feed there are .m4v files, but they are only in 480p. I have an app that automatically downloads those to my HTPC. I’d really like those to be in at least 720p so they look nice and sharp on the big screen. Maybe Dave can comment on the real reason they are not available in 720p, but I’m guessing it’s bandwidth issues. 🙂

        • The podcast was (and still is I guess) designed for people who view it on a phone. In which case I think 480×270 is enough? The files sizes are already pretty big. 720p would be crazy big.
          I get no complaints about it not being available in a higher res format, so have not bothered changing it.

    • The 480×270 is only designed for video podcasting on phones. Sorry, higher res only available on Youtube.

  2. Dave,

    Smashing great teardown! This is hands down the best multimeter teardown to date. I really like how you went into all the detail comparing it to the 87v. The compare really added a level of knowledge that would have been missing with just a standalone teardown.

    I learn so much from your teardowns and reviews. I sure hope we don’t have to wait long for the 17B review. I might buy another 17B for my son if the review shows its better than any of the other $50 and $100 meters in your past multimeter shootouts.

    Thanks again.

    Todd Harrison

    • Thanks for the meter, much appreciated by many I’m sure. Review will happen as soon as possible… (which in Dave speak means I have no real idea, it “just happens” one day! :->)

  3. Awesome review… Two thumbs up


    • Hey ! this means it should have RS 232 available !!

      • According to web site, there is also a non-RS-232 version available of this chip, it may have same pinout. Have not checked though.

      • However, the pin 64 (9:57) is connected and goes to a what looks like an oversized via called TP1 (4:27), which could mean that the RS232 output is used for testing and calibration during the manufacturing?

  4. Hi Dave,
    Those V shaped springs inside the 17b are rubbish.
    They break or lose tension after a few years.
    I even had to make a new V shaped spring out of a piece of beryllium copper to replace one.
    Also – we work with hydraulic oil & even the smallest amount can find it’s
    way into that type of cheap range switch &
    cause intermitent contacts.
    I also found that the AC ranges were very inaccurate.

    Conclusion – don’t buy one.

    • All good points to think about, but I think you may have missed Dave’s point @Alpal. What I got was that if you are in the market for a cheap $50 -$100 meter to toss around, there’s no reason to rule this one out.

      • Hi Vernon,
        OK – but what I am saying is that test equipment is so important that you shouldn’t buy cheap multimeters.
        (I think the one I fixed which had the same
        range switch was in a Fluke 19 )

        There is nothing worse than when a machine breaks down & you’re under pressure to repair it – then you go on a wild goose chase because
        your meter is faulty.
        In that case you are just introducing an extra fault into the fault finding process.

        If you’re just a hobbyist making up a Jaycar kit who uses a meter very rarely then maybe a cheap meter is ok.

        • 2 points.

          1) Dave always says you need to have more than one multimeter.

          2) If your work depends on your tools, why are you being a cheakskate and buying cheap tools? For a $80 shipped meter, it’s obviously there to fill a market niche (perhaps to fill point #1). Obviously for your work you should be investing in better multimeter than a $80 cheapy.

          If all multimeters were the same, then the first $20 one on th emarket would’ve destroyed the Flukes/Teks/Agilents out there.

          I think there’s a market for a cheap Fluke – perhaps an electronics student can now afford a decent quality multimeter for his starting toolkit – something that will serve him well through highschool, and then post secondary education – be it trade schools, university or college.

          Once he gets a job, he can afford better tools.

          Given the limited marketing on this, it’s probably for that reason why it’s only available in China and India – better to have decent multimeters for everyone than good ones for few.

          • Good point there! and I agree, this “low end” Fluke 17B is very good made. So there are not excuses for people saying that they can not afford a Fluke multimeter. This fluke 17b for $80 is way better build than all other brands in their price range. again if people complaint about this Fluke 17B…get an used Fluke like 170 or 80 series or if you can afford…get the father of all multimeters, The Fluke 87v.

    • Are all V shaped springs created the same though?

      • Hi Dave

        Nice analyses, btw would like to see a review on the Fluke 289.
        Is it just me or is it not possible to 0 Ohm / Null the leads on a digital multimeter or obviously I have missed something in the docs.?

        Keep up the good work

  5. I think we are all in agreement.

    By the way – how can I unsubscribe to the emails I get into my email account from this site? EEV blog.

    I’d like to have a look when I feel like it but not be reminded all the time from emails.
    I already too many emails.

  6. I thought Dave might have chimed in by now –
    I’ll have to write him an email
    in order to get noticed.

  7. What is Dave’s email address so that I can unsubscribe?

    There is no contact info that I can find.

  8. I like this video so much! You have pointed out a lot of secrets in a Fluke DMM!


    – FLUKE M-17B

    MOB NO. 9742176714,9739583753

  10. Hey Dave. I bought 17B today and I watched your video and I opened the multimeter. Guess what! My 400mA fuse was replaced by an even cheaper one without any mark on it. The 10A fuse seems ok though. That’s ridiculous! Isn’t it? It’s funny that the online seller even specifically stated that the multimeter came with two imported genuine fuses and promised no replacement of the genuine test leads. 😉

  11. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts aslong as I provide credit and sources back to your website?My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would really benefit from some of theinformation you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you.Regards!

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