EEVblog #489 – Agilent 34461A Multimeter Review


Who else but Dave can take an hour and a half to review a multimeter!
Agilent’s new 34461A/34460A 6.5 digit bench multimeter. A replacement for the venerable 34401A
Quick links:
Startup
Labels
Ratio
ProbeHold
Continuity
Probes
Statistics
Overshoot
Overload
Diode
Current
Trend Plot
Histogram
Res Standard
Bargraph
Cal Check
Cal Drift
Wrapup
Fan Noise
Comparison
AC Testing
Specs
Competition
Software
Conclusion

Forum: http://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-489-agilent-34461a-multimeter-review/

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18 comments

  1. I must be the Agilent salesman’s worst nightmare! I watched the full video, and still prefer my Fluke 8010A and 8012A, manufactured in the 1970s!

    I love some of what I saw in the video, but not implemented like that, all running on a tiny screen, with so many limitations. Dave’s the best test equipment salesman in the world, but that’s what I kept thinking, all the way through the video.

    I think this meter is far too complicated, and very different that what I would ever want. But maybe it’s just not for me, and I need to look for another kind of product design …. or maybe it’s because I watched the video and wrote this while having a migraine! To be fair, maybe I will try again later.

    • it’s just not for you.

    • Not everyone is going to like the way a companies implements its user interface.
      It’s not fair to compare a basic push button multimeter interface with a bench multimeter capable of doing a ton more stuff. It’s only fair to compare similar featured bench multimeters, like the Fluke 8846A.

    • The 34461a like the 34401a before it is really designed to be a system voltmeter. Sure, it can display all those cool things on the display but these system meters come into their true element harnessed to a computer in an ATE rack-and-stack system. Fast readings, go/no-go testing, histograms of binned readings, etc. These sorts of tests are not really everyday bench tests. They are everyday production tests. And oh, by the way, it looks like a really nice 6.5 digit bench meter with some great extended features at the same time. As Dave points out, it’s not a Cat 3 or 4 meter. It’s also not as rugged as some of these yellow and orange molded, handheld meters Dave is accumulating by the tens (which aren’t 6.5-digit meters, by the way). It’s a different sort of tool.

    • “Tiny screen”? For a voltmeter, this screen is massive. We’re compating it against numeric LED, LCD, and vacuum-fluorescent displays, right?

  2. Wouldn’t it be better to have a precision rectifier that didn’t saturate the output to the negative rail?

  3. oops, wrong video!

  4. My first system voltmeter was a 3455A. About the same number of buttons. Somewhere around 3x-5x more expensive, as I recall. Now $299 on Amazon (used, of course):

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0064SFOA8

  5. Hello Dave,

    if I didn’t get it wrong in the video, during the DCV-comparison with other 6,5digit multimeters (e.g. HP3457A) you asked yourself, which one of the 6,5digit multimeters you can trust most.

    For this question I have an interesting contribution.

    I am feeding an excel sheet with several interesting multimeters and calibrator spec data since a couple of time.

    Look picture:

    http://www.bymm.de/documents/DCV_spec_V1_8.jpg

    In general, you can say, that ALL 6,5 digit multimeters are very similar to each other and no one is so “surperior”, that you can use it as “reference” for another 6,5digit DMM.

    The next big “step” to better and reliable accuracy is the well known HP3458A, the Fluke5700 (calibrator) or the quite unknown Prema 6048 (and some few others). These play in the same fieldyard and are *really* surperior to all the 6,5digit multimeters so that you could use them as calibration reference 🙂

    Thanks for the nice review and greetings from germany,
    Marc

  6. That’s quite an informative video and what a great sales pitch. I am still a Fluke fan myself, although this did put agilent on the radar for my future purchases.

  7. Hi David,

    Just wanted to let you know that I really like the EEVBlog. I have watched all 545 Episodes :-). Episodes 489 Review & 485 Teardown of the Agilent 34461A was excellent! I’ve purchase the Agilent 34461A multimeter and I will find it exceptionally useful in my electronic repair shop and for building electronic projects.

    Thank you David L. Jones

    From: David Cressy

    USA, Estes Park, Colorado 80517

    http://www.lastchanceelectronics.com

  8. I have not even heard about this Agilent multimeter before but after watching this thorough review i feel like an expert on it, this is how video reviews should be done.

  9. Hi Dave,
    Great review!. I have the 34410a, had the 34401a before it, both are superb meters. I do a lot of micro-power work and these guys really shine in that area.
    I like the new display and at the price it’s a hard to beat meter, if I didn’t already have the 34410a I’d pick one up, may get one anyway.
    Rob

  10. nice article…is a pleasure to read about this!

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