Author Topic: Power multimeter from wall  (Read 12880 times)

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Offline eventhorizon

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Power multimeter from wall
« on: September 23, 2016, 05:36:35 pm »
I have a Protek d-488 DMM that I got years ago and has always been my go to meter for what I do.  I until recently never did much with hobby electronics so usually I used it to test power supplies, computer connectors and car batteries and what not but never did much more than volts.  Now as I am measuring ohms and amps as much as I am doing volts I just spent my 3rd and last battery 9v battery that I have without making a trip to the store for more in less than a month.  While these batteries are not pricy really ~2.5$ per battery I am just tired of having to take them out and replacing them left and right and to make it more of a pain its one that I have to take the back cover off to get to the battery replacement.

So my thought was that I have lots of things that generate and manipulate power around me.  I have bucks, lm317s a box full of power supplies and also lots of protected 18650s.  So if I say use a buck converter with a 12v and have the buck set to 9v then I can work this as long as I want but what I really wonder is if the ripple in the converter will have an effect on the accuracy of the meter.
 

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2016, 05:39:21 pm »
Not sure. You could heavily filter it with lots of LC low pass filters
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Online rstofer

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2016, 05:47:25 pm »
You can get the batteries for about $1.20 from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/9V-Batteries/b?ie=UTF8&node=389576011

I doubt very much that your meter will be satisfactory after bashing it up to replace the need for a battery.

Buy the handy 8 pack (I would buy a couple of them) and call it good.   Free 2 day shipping, I could have them on Sunday (given that today is Friday).
 

Offline eventhorizon

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2016, 05:55:00 pm »
You can get the batteries for about $1.20 from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/9V-Batteries/b?ie=UTF8&node=389576011

I doubt very much that your meter will be satisfactory after bashing it up to replace the need for a battery.

Buy the handy 8 pack (I would buy a couple of them) and call it good.   Free 2 day shipping, I could have them on Sunday (given that today is Friday).

I wasnt planning on drilling a large hole onto it and putting a connector on it or making it look nasty or anything.  Something small enough for to wires put a circuit board where the 9v would go and connecting it to the same connection as the 9v battery would use so when the time came and it needed to me a portable one again I just remove the circuit and pop in a battery and off I go.
 

Offline joseph nicholas

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2016, 06:06:42 pm »
My suggestion would be to build a capacitor dropper.  You could put this tiny circuit inside the multimeter and you would then have just a small wire coming out to a mains plug.  Just measure the current draw of the meter and use the correct zener voltage.  Simple and cheap, plus you would essentially have a linear power supply.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2016, 06:08:00 pm »
a pack of 6 D cells would last.
 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2016, 06:13:18 pm »
Adding an external DC adapter usually has the adapter connected to the measured circuit. This can be a safety issue when measuring more than 50 V. Also the adapter could add capacitive coupled hum of RF noise. So usually this is not a good idea, unless you know what you ar doing.

One might go for a cheaper source of batteries or maybe rechargeable ones. However the  rechargeable ones are not without problems as NiMH can have poor performance and the voltage is often lower (e.g. 8.4 or even 7.2 V nominal).
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2016, 06:19:35 pm »
Hand held meters are powered by batteries so they are floating and isolated from the device under test. Powering them from the mains is a potential safety issue that is best avoided. Try to find a cheaper source of batteries, perhaps by buying online in bulk. If the meter really eats batteries, maybe you could consider a new meter?
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Online Gyro

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2016, 07:14:14 pm »
My suggestion would be to build a capacitor dropper.  You could put this tiny circuit inside the multimeter and you would then have just a small wire coming out to a mains plug.  Just measure the current draw of the meter and use the correct zener voltage.  Simple and cheap, plus you would essentially have a linear power supply.

Sorry Joseph but that's the most dangerous idea ever. You would have no galvanic isolation between the mains nd your meter probes. Don't even think about it!  :scared:
Chris

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Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2016, 07:28:24 pm »
A quick search for a manual for your meter yields nothing.  What does your manual say in terms of expected battery life?

If it is nowhere close to the expected battery life, you could have excessive current draw despite your meter working.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2016, 07:36:54 pm »
When you get tired of farting around, look at the Multimeter spreadsheet for meters that use AA or AAA batteries (you can use rechargeable ones).  My only 9v meters are cheap Harborfreight meters that I use only to measure current (and will not feel bad if I blow it up).

If you can spring for $125 start with this one (a lot of happy users) :

https://www.amazon.com/EEVblog-BM235-Brymen-Multimeter/dp/B01JZ1ADCO/ref=sr_1_1?s=industrial&ie=UTF8&qid=1474659132&sr=1-1&keywords=eevblog

But anyway stay away from 9v meters, they discourage use.  (if you are a Costco member - 9v are cheaper there)

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Offline Audioguru

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2016, 07:43:24 pm »
Doesn't your multimeter have some smarts in it so it turns itself off if it is not used for a few minutes? My Fluke multimeter does and its Name-Brand 9V alkaline battery lasts for many years.
My multimeter has a low current LCD display with no high current backlight. I hope your multimeter does not have a current-hungry LED display or backlight?
 

Online Seekonk

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2016, 07:58:19 pm »
I have one that runs on a supercap and recharges from 120 AC or up to 24V DC.  You could always recharge it in a minute, but it seemed it always needed to be recharged.  Supercap died.  Waiting for a free one to show up.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2016, 08:02:12 pm »
This is neither a good nor safe idea at all.

Bench meters implement high voltage galvanic isolation internally so *all* meter inputs are isolated from the power line including any common inputs.  Handheld meters rely on isolated battery power and good insulation.
 

Offline eventhorizon

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2016, 08:10:02 pm »
Man you guys are fast.

Adding an external DC adapter usually has the adapter connected to the measured circuit. This can be a safety issue when measuring more than 50 V. Also the adapter could add capacitive coupled hum of RF noise. So usually this is not a good idea, unless you know what you ar doing.

One might go for a cheaper source of batteries or maybe rechargeable ones. However the  rechargeable ones are not without problems as NiMH can have poor performance and the voltage is often lower (e.g. 8.4 or even 7.2 V nominal).

Hand held meters are powered by batteries so they are floating and isolated from the device under test. Powering them from the mains is a potential safety issue that is best avoided. Try to find a cheaper source of batteries, perhaps by buying online in bulk. If the meter really eats batteries, maybe you could consider a new meter?
Thats a good point that did pop into my head last night when I started thinking about the "I wonder if I could ..."  I feel myself leaning more towards rechargeable 18650 if I do end up doing the modification to her to move away from 9v batteries.  I think I have a ton of them laying about and depending on the drop out voltage of the meter (I will see when I test the bad battery) I may be able to get away with 2 in series (8.4v to 6v or so).  A new good quality meter is not really feasible or justifiable at the moment.  I would rather get the best use out of the stuff that I have and put my money for this hobby into other things.  If this means that I get batteries in bulk or what not then thats fine too.

Doesn't your multimeter have some smarts in it so it turns itself off if it is not used for a few minutes? My Fluke multimeter does and its Name-Brand 9V alkaline battery lasts for many years.
My multimeter has a low current LCD display with no high current backlight. I hope your multimeter does not have a current-hungry LED display or backlight?

Ya no fancy like that.  No backlight or auto-off but it does give me a "don't forget to turn off" beep if I do forget so at least it has that. :)  I wish I could find the manual for this and the googles have failed me so I don't know what the draw is on it or average battery life. 

This is neither a good nor safe idea at all.

Bench meters implement high voltage galvanic isolation internally so *all* meter inputs are isolated from the power line including any common inputs.  Handheld meters rely on isolated battery power and good insulation.


Thank you.  I was wondering after the replies how the big boys do it I am going to look into that for learning and such. 
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2016, 08:18:42 pm »
Here are some things you can do with your 9v battery

over 10 million views !



For more help on hooking up AC, look at this guy's videos for ideas




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Offline gnavigator1007

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2016, 08:34:08 pm »
Wasn't joeqsmith joking on the forum about doing something like this with the bm235 just the other day?
 

Offline eventhorizon

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2016, 08:51:45 pm »
Well I went and replace the battery and hmm something seems off.  The "dead" battery shows 9.43v so when it shutoff and would not come back on I thought it was a bad battery but it was something else.  Its running now with its new battery and I have not tried to put the old one back in but it does make me wonder what happened to it.
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2016, 09:04:24 pm »
Here are some things you can do with your 9v battery
over 10 million views !
yeah that is what the youtube for, go back to stone age, dont use a lighter. my heat glue gun is missing again, my heat glue stick are dissapearing fast because the kids were watching youtube :palm: and before i know it, all the effort made is gone to the trash, duh...
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Offline eventhorizon

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2016, 09:18:37 pm »
Here are some things you can do with your 9v battery
over 10 million views !
yeah that is what the youtube for, go back to stone age, dont use a lighter. my heat glue gun is missing again, my heat glue stick are dissapearing fast because the kids were watching youtube :palm: and before i know it, all the effort made is gone to the trash, duh...

You can also save a lot of cost and time by just touching the battery to a bit of steel wool.  Did that all the time as a kid to start fires.
 

Online mariush

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2016, 09:48:24 pm »
I have an UT61E multimeter, which uses 9v batteries but works perfectly fine with as little as 3v, though it shows low voltage at around 5v.
So I bought a 25F 2.7v super capacitor and built a small circuit using LT1307 to boost the 1v .. 2.7v to 5.5v to keep the multimeter happy.

To charge the supercapacitor, I use a simple 1117 linear regulator which charges the supercapacitor from USB (5v) with 2.65v (to keep the voltage below the supercapacitor's maximum 2.7v and the linear regulator has an internal current limit of around 1.2A so the USB ports aren't overloaded. 

It takes about 1 minute, maybe a bit more to charge the supercapacitor and then I can disconnect the multimeter from usb and it will run just fine for more than 30 minutes.

This could work for you but with my solution, you'd have to remember to always disconnect the meter from usb when you want to do measurements with mains voltages (as the ground of the meter would be connected to the ground of the usb). There are power isolator chips like Adum5000 for example which would fully isolate the meter but add to the price.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2016, 09:52:27 pm »
This is neither a good nor safe idea at all.

Bench meters implement high voltage galvanic isolation internally so *all* meter inputs are isolated from the power line including any common inputs.  Handheld meters rely on isolated battery power and good insulation.

Thank you.  I was wondering after the replies how the big boys do it I am going to look into that for learning and such.

You can learn a lot from older meters by studying their full documentation.  Units like the Tektronix DM501 and DM502 have internal high isolation inverters which supply a floating power supply for the front end circuits despite having a pair of floating power supply windings available from a 60 Hz power transformer.  It is not difficult to design and build a high isolation DC to DC inverter using transformers designed for this specific application or pulse transformers intended for driving transistors across an isolation barrier like in an off-line switching power supply but I still would not recommend this course of action for a handheld meter.  It would be better to invest in some low discharge NiMH batteries and a charger.
 

Offline ez24

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2016, 10:03:58 pm »
You can also save a lot of cost and time by just touching the battery to a bit of steel wool.  Did that all the time as a kid to start fires.

Yeah, I remember doing that - make a video - maybe you will get 10 million views.  That is what is hard to understand, I just cannot imagine how much money they are making off the video.
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2016, 10:46:11 pm »
Why not just use a rechargeable 9V-style NiMH battery? No need to go through modifications or having bulky battery packs hanging off the meter, unless you want to do so as a hobby project.

Although the nominal voltage for NiMH batteries is 7.2V (6-cell) or 8.4V (7-cell), they start off at 9-10.5V and drop very slowly until they're depleted at 6-7.5V. So, they work just fine for things like DMMs.

Be sure to get low self-discharge batteries. These are most easily identified by purchasing "pre-charged" batteries.
I TEA.
 

Offline David Hess

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2016, 11:59:42 pm »
They also make rechargeable 9 volt lithium chemistry batteries.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2016, 12:50:46 am »
So I bought a 25F 2.7v super capacitor and built a small circuit using LT1307 to boost the 1v .. 2.7v to 5.5v to keep the multimeter happy.

To charge the supercapacitor, I use a simple 1117 linear regulator which charges the supercapacitor from USB (5v) with 2.65v (to keep the voltage below the supercapacitor's maximum 2.7v and the linear regulator has an internal current limit of around 1.2A so the USB ports aren't overloaded. 

It takes about 1 minute, maybe a bit more to charge the supercapacitor and then I can disconnect the multimeter from usb and it will run just fine for more than 30 minutes.

you may want to read the datasheet for that "super"cap,
all the ones i'v seen state the lifespan in charge/discharge cycles at something like 500 - no better than a LiPo battery except the battery will last more than 30min's per cycle!
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2016, 01:03:49 am »
But anyway stay away from 9v meters, they discourage use.
Why such a blanket statement?  Some models of the Fluke 70 series I, II and III can run 2,000 (two thousand) hours on a 9V battery.  The popular Fluke 87V can run 400 hours on a 9V battery.

Some advantages of a 9V battery are potentially more voltage on diode test to light up a led and any possible leakage might be contained inside the 9V case.

Having said that, I prefer AA/AAA batteries in my meters only because I have a large stash of Eneloops.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2016, 01:05:49 am »
Well I went and replace the battery and hmm something seems off.  The "dead" battery shows 9.43v so when it shutoff and would not come back on I thought it was a bad battery but it was something else.
Time to measure how much current your meter consumes if you can't find a manual and the above is happening.

My guess is that normal current consumption should be 5mA or less.  Assuming a 500mAh 9V battery, that gives you about 100 hours.
 

Online mariush

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2016, 01:46:31 am »
So I bought a 25F 2.7v super capacitor and built a small circuit using LT1307 to boost the 1v .. 2.7v to 5.5v to keep the multimeter happy.
[..]

you may want to read the datasheet for that "super"cap,
all the ones i'v seen state the lifespan in charge/discharge cycles at something like 500 - no better than a LiPo battery except the battery will last more than 30min's per cycle!

It was a Cooper Bussman HV series supercapacitor, 25F 2.7v : http://www.cooperindustries.com/content/dam/public/bussmann/Electronics/Resources/product-datasheets/Bus_Elx_DS_4376_HV_Series.pdf

The only reference to lifespan in datasheets is where it says  Cycle Life :  <=30% capacitance change after 500k charge-discharge cycles , where cycle is "cycling between rated voltage and half voltage, 3 seconds rest at +20 °C"

A number that low (at 500) would really surprise me. Eve something like 10k would surprise me. I think that value was more or less something about how the supercapacitor would tolerate instant peak discharge, like shorting it's leads on something - i could understand the internals could be damaged with repeated abuse like that.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2016, 01:53:43 am »
If it was me, I'd consider getting an SLA and put a linear voltage regulator on it.  Have it connected to the meter and charging circuit via a DPDT switch and you will have full isolation - plus zero ripple to the meter.

Yes, the losses in the regulator won't be ideal - but it's a bench setup, so no biggie.
 

Offline joseph nicholas

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2016, 02:25:09 am »
My suggestion would be to build a capacitor dropper.  You could put this tiny circuit inside the multimeter and you would then have just a small wire coming out to a mains plug.  Just measure the current draw of the meter and use the correct zener voltage.  Simple and cheap, plus you would essentially have a linear power supply.

Sorry Joseph but that's the most dangerous idea ever. You would have no galvanic isolation between the mains nd your meter probes. Don't even think about it!  :scared:

I've built on of these already to power my cheap function generator.  It works great.  I put in a case and tested it for hours.  It gives just enough power to make the thing work.  It is such a cheap, fast and easy way to get dc from mains I plan to use it for all my micro controller projects.  I will use a rewound MOT if I need more amps in my projects.  Give it a try, you wont be disappointed.

nico
 

Offline Jay_Diddy_B

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2016, 02:52:48 am »
Hi group,

My advice to the OP would be find a used Fluke 8010A (3.5 Digits), 8012A(3.5 Digits with low resistance ranges) or 8050A (4.5 digits). Preferably one without the rechargeable battery options. The NiCad batteries in these are a PITA. These are quite cheap.

Use this when on the bench and save the Protek for portable use.

Fluke had wall warts for there 8020 and 8060 series hand held DMMs, but these were special wall adapters with high isolation.

I would not modify a DMM. The battery is probably connected directly to the common input terminal and could create a safety hazard.

Regards,

Jay_Diddy_B
 

Offline eventhorizon

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2016, 04:16:06 am »
First I wish to that you all for the replies.  Very helpful and I went down more than one rabbit hole on this thread reading and learning so I got my money's worth out of this crazy idea that I had.  Unfortunately I think what ever happened to my meter to make it shutdown did something worse to it because now I can't measure amps with it.  When this shutdown happened I did I was measuring about 1.2 amps on it using the 15a fuse setting so I don't think I popped a fuse and looking at the fuse it looked fine (only visual checks at this time).  Now when hitting the same load I am seeing it spike up to 3amps then drop to 600ma then go to 2.3a so its all over the place on the reading and it should show a steady 1.2a.  If only for the learning I am going to troubleshoot this and see if I can find out what happened but even if I can fix this I am still going to be looking for a new one.
 

Offline Brumby

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2016, 04:39:47 am »
 

Offline BMack

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2016, 04:43:11 am »
First I wish to that you all for the replies.  Very helpful and I went down more than one rabbit hole on this thread reading and learning so I got my money's worth out of this crazy idea that I had.  Unfortunately I think what ever happened to my meter to make it shutdown did something worse to it because now I can't measure amps with it.  When this shutdown happened I did I was measuring about 1.2 amps on it using the 15a fuse setting so I don't think I popped a fuse and looking at the fuse it looked fine (only visual checks at this time).  Now when hitting the same load I am seeing it spike up to 3amps then drop to 600ma then go to 2.3a so its all over the place on the reading and it should show a steady 1.2a.  If only for the learning I am going to troubleshoot this and see if I can find out what happened but even if I can fix this I am still going to be looking for a new one.

Good choice to start looking for a new one. It's worth it to have a really good meter if you're going to use it a lot. I'm a huge fan of Fluke and every single one of ours at the shop lasts a LONG time with a 9V battery. Then you can fix your current meter and have a backup but remember your backup is only good if you can trust it to work EVERY TIME, it needs to work when your good meter doesn't. This is why I have two Fluke 87Vs, can't really explain why I have an 87III, a 115 and a 12 but I can count on every one of them working every time I grab it. The non-Fluke DMMs I have at one point have given me a false reading, all name brand $50-130 retail(none were Brymen or Agilent/Keysight, which are highly regarded).

The Fluke continuity beeper is great too. It's the only brand I've tried that I can put one probe somewhere in a circuit and zip across one side of a chip and quickly hear if I have a connection or not, this saves a lot of time.

 

Online Kleinstein

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2016, 09:37:04 am »
Well I went and replace the battery and hmm something seems off.  The "dead" battery shows 9.43v so when it shutoff and would not come back on I thought it was a bad battery but it was something else.  Its running now with its new battery and I have not tried to put the old one back in but it does make me wonder what happened to it.

If an "empty" battery still ready 9.x V this indicates a cheap old style "dry" cell (not alkaline). It is normal for these cells to have nearly full voltage till the end, but the internal resistance goes up. Alkaline cells are different: the open voltage goes down but internal resistance stays relatively low until below 1 V per cell.

I would look for better alkaline cells. They don't leak as often ( :-DD anyway only once per cell), leakage is not that corrosive and have considerably higher capacity (e.g. 2-4 times). So maybe all that happened was that you got a few of those bad dry cell batteries.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2016, 05:58:09 pm »
Doesn't your multimeter have some smarts in it so it turns itself off if it is not used for a few minutes? My Fluke multimeter does and its Name-Brand 9V alkaline battery lasts for many years.
My multimeter has a low current LCD display with no high current backlight. I hope your multimeter does not have a current-hungry LED display or backlight?

Ya no fancy like that.  No backlight or auto-off but it does give me a "don't forget to turn off" beep if I do forget so at least it has that. :)  I wish I could find the manual for this and the googles have failed me so I don't know what the draw is on it or average battery life. 

Quote
If you forget to turn off after a period of time it will automatically shut down.
https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=zh-CN&u=http://www.0211718.cpooo.com/product/3193123.html&prev=search

I have a small generic wall power supply that you can select the voltage and it has several ends on the output.  It is a linear type.  I am not sure what the isolation would be.  Personally, I would never consider going this route.  If there is a problem with the meter, have it repaired or replace it. 

It's an interesting meter with the tachometer feature.  How did you like (before it became damaged)?   Did you use the tach?  Curious how well it worked with various engines (wasted spark, coil over plug....)?
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online Gyro

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2016, 08:23:17 pm »
I would not modify a DMM. The battery is probably connected directly to the common input terminal and could create a safety hazard.

Actually it is probably slightly worse than that, many meters using 7106 type ICs generate their own common input reference based on a weak regulator / reference at some fixed offset from one of the battery terminals. Injecting noise and spikes between the input common terminal and an external 'battery' supply would throw off the reference or kill the IC even before it became a user safety hazard.

As Davd Hess said a while back, handheld meters simply aren't designed to have their battery terminals exposed when they are in operation, it's just not safe.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 08:26:32 pm by Gyro »
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Offline David Hess

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2016, 09:33:38 pm »
As Davd Hess said a while back, handheld meters simply aren't designed to have their battery terminals exposed when they are in operation, it's just not safe.

I have occasionally read stories where someone used a handheld meter to measure its own battery voltage.  This is safe to attempt *if* the common lead is not connected to anything but if common is connected even to the negative side of the battery, bad things™ may occur like destruction of the meter depending on the design.

Bench meters have galvanically isolated input circuits for safety and performance reasons so they can get away with measuring their own internal voltages *except* for those of the galvanically isolated input circuits themselves.  Tektronix designed the 7D13 DMM plug-in for their 7000 series oscilloscopes with galvanically isolated inputs so the 7D13 DMM can be used for troubleshooting and calibrating the oscilloscope that is is plugged into assuming that the CRT readout works; as I recall, some of their service manuals even do this but normally you would have some other meter available.

Some bench power supplies have floating outputs allowing either the positive or negative output to be tied or not tied to ground or any other reasonable potential as required; a Tektronix PS503 for instance allows up to 350 volts between ground and the floating outputs.  One of these could be used to power a handheld meter but performance would likely suffer and safety certainly would.  They sometimes do not support more than a few tens of volts of isolation so powering a handheld meter and then connecting the ground lead of the handheld meter to the 370 volt DC bus of an off-line switching power supply could be momentarily exciting.  The same issue comes up if you remove the chassis ground connection between an oscilloscope and power outlet allowing the oscilloscope to make floating measurements.

Somewhere I have a "small" modular high isolation power supply which uses an air gapped transformer for 1000s of volts of AC line to regulated DC output isolation (and like 30pF of capacitive coupling) but it is not much smaller than most handheld meters and larger than some.

An issue which will matter in some applications is the common mode capacitive coupling.  With a handheld meter in your hand, this will be about 200pF between common and earth ground.  The high isolation power supply I mention above adds 30pF to this.  A Tektronix PS503 which supports 350 volts of isolation adds 2000pF which will affect measurements of some circuits.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2016, 09:38:45 pm by David Hess »
 

Offline eventhorizon

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2016, 03:40:51 am »
I did manage to open it up and have a look see.  I could not find any thing obvious that was wrong.  Actually for a old multimeter it looked really good that has been covered in oil and sitting in a tool box for years.






It's an interesting meter with the tachometer feature.  How did you like (before it became damaged)?   Did you use the tach?  Curious how well it worked with various engines (wasted spark, coil over plug....)?

Thanks for the link man that does give me more information about this little guy than I ever had before.  I never did get to use the tach or really anything but volt, amp and ohm functions.  I always wanted to just never had the opportunity or the instructions/special probes if needed to do it.  Years ago this was given to me by my stepfather when I said I needed to measure something and since then I have always had it with me but he no longer had the temp or any other probes, manuals, case etc so he got a new one and this was his spare.


 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2016, 03:46:42 pm »
I like the test lead connectors.  Crimped and soldered.    Brass standoffs.  Then there is that thermocouple connector.  Looks really well made for it's age.   Being your first meter and a gift at that, may be worth repairing just to have it.  Then again, I'm a bit of a packrat.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline grifftech

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Re: Power multimeter from wall
« Reply #41 on: September 27, 2016, 06:51:34 pm »
a pack of 6 D cells would last.
why not F cells from a lantern battery?
 


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