Author Topic: How many multi-meters do I need to start?  (Read 6017 times)

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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2018, 12:42:11 am »
(...)
OK so you'd like 4 channels, fine.
Are you happy with hacking a unit to 100 MHz ?
Have you carefully compared specs to discover the vast differences in capabilities between the two brands ?

There's a heap of info on the forum about each model's capabilities, strengths and weaknesses so take some good time to really study it. Will a bit more time to do so matter ?
Yes, I can just say buy this one but it's your money and after doing some homework YOU make the choice and NOT me !

Please don't be angry at me :(
Sorry if I sounded somehow challenging, I didn't want to. I am just super confused about the billion specs a scope has and which ones I will miss.

So:

- "OK so you'd like 4 channels, fine."
-> I don't know if I need 4 channels, that is one of the things I am asking...

- "Are you happy with hacking a unit to 100 MHz ?"
-> Yes, I am fine hacking it.

- "Have you carefully compared specs to discover the vast differences in capabilities between the two brands ?"
-> Yes, I am reading everything you guys pointed to me, specially this really detailed comparison on the forum (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-sds1204x-e-released-for-domestic-markets-in-china/1) but, it is A LOT of specs and terms that I don't know what they mean, and that is why I am asking.

- "There's a heap of info on the forum about each model's capabilities, strengths and weaknesses so take some good time to really study it. Will a bit more time to do so matter ?
Yes, I can just say buy this one but it's your money and after doing some homework YOU make the choice and NOT me !"

-> I know that (and that is the part I am worried if somehow I made you angry with me). But, again, I am kind of lost on all the specs and I am not sure what I really need...

I kind of decided to go with (based on my price range):
- 2x EEVBlog BM235;
- 1x µCurrent™ GOLD;
(both purchases are also aimed to help David and the EEVBlog)

- 1x scope that will be the Rigol 1054Z or the Siglent SDS1202X-E
(still undecided here, that is why I am poking the forum...)

Again, thanks! All your replies are being super useful to finalize my decision! :D

 

Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2018, 12:54:21 am »
bsas
I'm trying to help but please understand as a Siglent distributor I have to temper my replies and not seem totally one eyed. All I can do is point you to the heap of info here and hope you take some good time to study it. You will get some other opinions, both for and against.
Just take your time to drill into threads and links within.

Another recent thread on DSO questions/selection:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/hobby-oscilloscopes-what-additional-features-do-you-want/

I'll bow out now and only come back if you've been given some wrong info.
Best of luck.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2018, 12:54:56 am »
I bought a couple of the EEVblog meters.  They are excellent.  They don't match my Fluke 189 but they are good enough for the bench.  I have several other meters but I would suggest the EEVblog meter as better than most of them.

I haven't been impressed with the FFT on the DS1054Z.  OTOH, I don't foresee using the FFT as my interests are digital.  There is also the possibility that my issues are operator related.

If I want a good FFT I will use my Analog Discovery 2.  There are reviews elsewhere but it is quite handy, particularly if your interest is in the audio range.  Make sure you use 10:1 probes and the probe adapter kit.  The allowed input voltage for the AD2 isn't all that high and it's important to pay attention to that and all the other specs.  I don't want to let the magic smoke get out!

The new Siglent SDS1104Z-E will match up with the DS1054Z (unlocked) and it costs an additional $150.  It would be nice to have the improved features of the Siglent and if I were buying new about a year from now, the Siglent would be at the top of the list.  The one year wait is to give them time to upgrade the firmware a couple of times and if they don't have the bugs out by then, I would look at something else.  Sure, delaying is easy for me, I have the Rigol and I still have my Tek 485.  I haven't been following the Siglent threads so I really don't know much about the current situation.

By now, the DS1054Z is about bug free.  It took a couple of years but Rigol kept after it.  The remaining issues are design related and they're not the kind of things that can be fixed.  What we have is what we're going to get.

I want the 200 MHz version of the Siglent but it seems terribly expensive.  I probably won't buy it.  If I didn't already have the Rigol I might.  200 MHz is a lot better for my needs.  Of course, I can always use my 350 MHz Tek 485 is I don't need the DSO features.  It's a very good scope!

My money?  Two of the EEVblog meters (primarily to help the cause) and the DS1054Z (unlocked).  BTW, most of the features come unlocked under the new reduced pricing plan.  Check TEquipment for details.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2018, 12:58:55 am »
Network analysis (Bode' Plots) are really easy to do with the Analog Discovery 2.  It is one of my favorite features as I try to describe simple filters to my grandson.  One graph shows it all!

Down the road, you might want to pick up one of these gadgets.  It will do a lot of stuff that won't happen on any scope I can afford.  There is also the benefit of a 27" screen (on my PC).
 
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2018, 01:03:35 am »
bsas
I'm trying to help but please understand as a Siglent distributor I have to temper my replies and not seem totally one eyed. All I can do is point you to the heap of info here and hope you take some good time to study it. You will get some other opinions, both for and against.
Just take your time to drill into threads and links within.

Another recent thread on DSO questions/selection:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/hobby-oscilloscopes-what-additional-features-do-you-want/

I'll bow out now and only come back if you've been given some wrong info.
Best of luck.

Totally understand, and thanks a lot for all the info! :D
 
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Offline imidis

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2018, 01:10:38 am »
To some, it's an addiction, to others it's a way of life.  :)
Gone for good
 

Online GreyWoolfe

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2018, 01:24:18 pm »
12
:-DD  :-+

I need a few more then as I can only count ~10.  :)

I am quite behind the bell curve it seems, I only have 8. 8)
That which doesn't kill you still requires a co-pay.
 

Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2018, 02:37:15 pm »
Network analysis (Bode' Plots) are really easy to do with the Analog Discovery 2.  It is one of my favorite features as I try to describe simple filters to my grandson.  One graph shows it all!

Down the road, you might want to pick up one of these gadgets.  It will do a lot of stuff that won't happen on any scope I can afford.  There is also the benefit of a 27" screen (on my PC).

Noob question: so, to measure for example an EQ curve from 0Hz-20kHz, do you use the network analysis feature? If so, what would be similar with a regular scope? Thanks!!!
 

Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2018, 02:53:52 pm »
Network analysis (Bode' Plots) are really easy to do with the Analog Discovery 2.  It is one of my favorite features as I try to describe simple filters to my grandson.  One graph shows it all!

Down the road, you might want to pick up one of these gadgets.  It will do a lot of stuff that won't happen on any scope I can afford.  There is also the benefit of a 27" screen (on my PC).

Noob question: so, to measure for example an EQ curve from 0Hz-20kHz, do you use the network analysis feature? If so, what would be similar with a regular scope? Thanks!!!

I know exactly diddly about audio;  I have no idea what an EQ curve looks like.

The conventional Bode' Plot displays attenuation and phase shift versus frequency.  The 'attenuation' can also be 'gain' so basically it is Vout for a constant Vin over some frequency range.

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Control_Systems/Bode_Plots

Just think of an RC low pass filter.  We apply a known voltage to the resistor input and measure the voltage across the capacitor as well as the phase shift.

This is trivial on the Analog Discovery 2 and is, in fact, automated with the Network Analysis tool.  It is certainly possible to do the same thing with any similar network even if, internally, it is an amplifier.  The output magnitude and phase shift is measured over frequency.

Dave did a video on making a Bode' Plot on an oscilloscope.  I don't remember the details but it wasn't anywhere near as full-featured as the AD 2.


https://hackaday.com/2013/08/19/bode-plots-on-an-oscilloscope/
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2018, 02:56:45 pm »
Of course, it is also possible to just stuff in a signal at some frequency and measure the output with a DMM.  A spreadsheet will produce the graph.  Phase might require a scope.

AD2 approach:


« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 03:04:11 pm by rstofer »
 
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Offline trevers

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2018, 03:12:05 pm »
I see lots of people recommending the Brymen meters. Don't bother looking because you cannot easily buy them in the states.  :palm:
 

Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2018, 03:17:33 pm »
AD2 approach:
SDS1*04X-E approach:



Posted by rf-loop in previously linked thread.

Sweep source is either a standalone SDG**** or DSO's optional USB 25 MHz SAG1021 AWG
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Offline bsas

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2018, 04:23:48 pm »
By the way, is there any other main feature difference between the SDS1204X-E and the SDS1104X-E (besides the 100MHz vs 200MHz obviously)?

Because looks like the SDS1202X-E doesn’t support bode plots but the *04X-E supports.
 

Offline Maxlor

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2018, 04:49:50 pm »
While these capabilities in the Siglent scopes are fairly exciting, I'd like to point out that the Analog Discovery 2 is rather capable when it comes to FFT/Spectrum/Network Analyzers, as long as you can live with the 10MHz limitation. The 14bit ADC gives you useful vertical resolution (noise floor is around -80dB when just playing around on a breadboard). Horizontal resolution is selectable in 1-2-5 intervals from 10 to 10000 points, so that's nice too.

I suggest you download and try their Waveforms software. It has simulated demo devices, so you see what the capabilities are before you buy the hardware.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2018, 05:16:37 pm »
In addition to requiring the more expensive scope model, there are two options required: an external signal generator ($159) and firmware ($109) which means, if you have to buy the firmware, adding the Bode' Plot feature costs as much as an AD2 complete (more or less).

https://store.siglentamerica.com/product/sds1204x-e-200-mhz/

That SDS1204X-E is looking better all the time.

In the image linked above, I can't really see the phase trace.

If I add up all the options for the SDS1204X-E, the price gets pretty high ($1583).

I already have a really nice Siglent SDG2082X Arbitrary Waveform Generator that I bought at exactly this time last year.

This is the kind of project that justifies a LOT of test equipment:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/a-valentine's-day-activity-for-your-scope-and-function-generator/msg1136847/#msg1136847
 
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Offline Kalvin

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2018, 05:28:31 pm »
Typically you need two more than you have currently available. So, buy two cheap ones for those situations your better ones are already in use and you need to check something fast without disconnecting the test probes or you just need to make some simple measurement outside your lab. Those DMMs around $20 and 9999 count are pretty good. You might want to get a version with a temperature measurement capability, too.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2018, 05:35:39 pm »
I see lots of people recommending the Brymen meters. Don't bother looking because you cannot easily buy them in the states.  :palm:

I bought mine directly from the EEVblog Shop - there are 18 in stock at the moment.

https://www.eevblog.com/product/bm235-multimeter/

 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2018, 05:53:21 pm »
I see lots of people recommending the Brymen meters. Don't bother looking because you cannot easily buy them in the states.  :palm:

I bought mine directly from the EEVblog Shop - there are 18 in stock at the moment.

https://www.eevblog.com/product/bm235-multimeter/

I bought my first one from TME
https://www.tme.eu/gb/ 
Fast shipping and no problems.  Several others have also purchased from them as well. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Vtile

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2018, 05:53:24 pm »
bsas get 2nd hand Simpson 260 as you live in the US. It is really solid passive analog meter from the days long gone, but I will promise you will learn more about measurements with it that any DMM.
 
Pair it with decent DMM, the bonus is that old US tube equipment and their repair manuals often were written Simpson in mind. (..in Europe the AVO8 had similar status).
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2018, 06:04:58 pm »
bsas get 2nd hand Simpson 260 as you live in the US..

Absolutely!  An analog meter shows variations a lot better than a DMM.  You don't need 5 digits just to see if the signal is moving around a bit.

I bought 3 of these when they became surplus at a company I worked for.  I paid the exorbitant price of $25 each.

Personally, I like the recessed knob arrangement of the Triplett meter but either will do.

Try to get one with the anti-parallax mirror on the scale.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Simpson-260-7-series-multimeter-Works/183066144059
 

Online tautech

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2018, 07:51:08 pm »
By the way, is there any other main feature difference between the SDS1204X-E and the SDS1104X-E (besides the 100MHz vs 200MHz obviously)?
No, only BW.

Quote
Because looks like the SDS1202X-E doesn’t support bode plots but the *04X-E supports.
Correct, 2 channel X-E's don't do bode plot.

In addition to requiring the more expensive scope model, there are two options required: an external signal generator ($159) and firmware ($109) which means, if you have to buy the firmware, adding the Bode' Plot feature costs as much as an AD2 complete (more or less).
That's not correct.
Bode plot is standard fare and if you already have a Siglent AWG it works without further cost. If just the USB AWG is added, the scope instructs it to sweep for the plots. The SW option to control the AWG is ONLY needed to use the USB AWG as a standalone AWG and use all its waveforms. The SW option is not required for bode plots.
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Online rsjsouza

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #46 on: February 14, 2018, 08:36:12 pm »
I see lots of people recommending the Brymen meters. Don't bother looking because you cannot easily buy them in the states.  :palm:

I bought mine directly from the EEVblog Shop - there are 18 in stock at the moment.

https://www.eevblog.com/product/bm235-multimeter/

I bought my first one from TME
https://www.tme.eu/gb/ 
Fast shipping and no problems.  Several others have also purchased from them as well.
One more happy customer from TME. Their service was great and their shipping was quite quick.
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #47 on: February 14, 2018, 08:36:35 pm »
bsas,

Since you're just getting started, focusing initially on analog electronics, and concentrating on audio in particular, I'd recommend the following based on your comments, questions, and reactions to the posts thus far:

DMM: Get the BM235 as you already plan to do. However, unless you're in a hurry, I'd recommend getting just one to start. Once you've used it in projects, you'll better understand if a second one of the same model is the best choice or if a different DMM would provide other functionality or capability that you need. I have a lot of DMMs and they're all different. Although they offer the same basic functionality, some are better than others for particular measurements or situations. Of course, if you don't mind having more than two DMMs, then you can certainly start off with two BM235.

Note that in the US, many Brymen DMMs are sold under the Greenlee brand (e.g., DM-820A, DM-830A, DM-860A). If you decide in the future that you want one of the fancier Brymen meters and US warranty coverage, that's an option.

Scope: You may want to start off with the Analog Discovery 2 and wait on buying a standalone oscilloscope. This will enable you to save some cash initially, learn about a lot of the functionality and specs that are currently overwhelming you, and allow Siglent to further mature their current models. The AD2 has plenty of functionality for analog and digital electronics with more than enough bandwidth for audio (I have both DS1054Z and AD2).

P.S. You may want to check out JohnAudioTech's YouTube channel. He has some clever methods of working on audio gear with modest tools, including an even older Rigol scope than has been discussed in this thread.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 08:53:55 pm by bitseeker »
I TEA.
 
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Online rstofer

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #48 on: February 14, 2018, 09:19:08 pm »
In addition to requiring the more expensive scope model, there are two options required: an external signal generator ($159) and firmware ($109) which means, if you have to buy the firmware, adding the Bode' Plot feature costs as much as an AD2 complete (more or less).
That's not correct.
Bode plot is standard fare and if you already have a Siglent AWG it works without further cost. If just the USB AWG is added, the scope instructs it to sweep for the plots. The SW option to control the AWG is ONLY needed to use the USB AWG as a standalone AWG and use all its waveforms. The SW option is not required for bode plots.

So, if I want to use the USB AWG for anything other than as an attachment to the scope, I need to buy the software, right?  Like driving it from a PC or something?

The fact that I already have the SDG2082X means I wouldn't need the software or any other extra cost if I want to drive it from the scope?

When they listed it as firmware on the web page, I was anticipating unlocking firmware inside the scope itself.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: How many multi-meters do I need to start?
« Reply #49 on: February 14, 2018, 10:00:23 pm »
bsas get 2nd hand Simpson 260 as you live in the US. It is really solid passive analog meter from the days long gone, but I will promise you will learn more about measurements with it that any DMM.
 
Pair it with decent DMM, the bonus is that old US tube equipment and their repair manuals often were written Simpson in mind. (..in Europe the AVO8 had similar status).

I had one, it was a beautiful classic instrument. Eventually though I gave it to someone else, I found I just never used it. The analog bargraph on my Fluke is sufficient for my needs in that respect. If you can get an analog multimeter for free or very cheap go for it, but expect it will likely become a shelf ornament unless you grew up using them and feel nostalgic, or have very specific needs.
 


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