Author Topic: Test hooks  (Read 1643 times)

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Offline SkipMorrow

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Test hooks
« on: August 02, 2017, 01:07:15 am »
I absolutely hate my test hook probes for my DMM and variable power supply. The little metal hooks are just too wimpy and I always have to try and bend them at a sharper angle, but alas the spring is too strong and they snap off with even the slightest bump to the wire. After reading here, it seems that a lot of folks like the e-z hook probes. Some of the probes on this page look like what I would need:
http://catalog.e-z-hook.com/viewitems/test-hooks/e-z-micro-hooks-single-hook-style

But these look like they don't come with a cable/banana plug to connect to my DMM/power supply. How do you use these hooks? Does a regular test probe fit into the "handle" end after you connect the hook to whatever it is that I am measuring? Or do I need some special cable to use those?
 

Offline alm

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 01:21:11 am »
I agree, those are much nicer for today's PCBs than most of the clips shipped with DMM probes that still seem to be designed for tube-era components (try to clip one of them to a DIP IC).

They usually offer a 0.025" square pin. I have some leads with a banana plug on one end and a square pin connector on the other, but they are kind of rare and relatively expensive (I think they were about $5/ea, do not remember where). You could easily make them yourself by cutting a square pin header leads (called Dupont wires by the cheap Chinese sellers on eBay/AliExpress) and mounting a banana plug on the end. If you want something nicer, look at these connectors.

One thing I would suggest is minimize the weight directly attached to the hook. So do not clip an alligator clip directly to the clip (for the ones with an exposed pin), but attach a thin wire.
 

Offline tautech

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Offline B-Skunktail

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2017, 02:20:25 am »
The hooks in your link are designed for making up your own leads.

There are adapters, but I've just made up a couple of sets of leads to suit. (ez-hooks also have a range of test leads already made up if you don't want to make your own)

I use hooks all the time (albeit exclusively in low voltage circuits) and I find the ez-hooks mush better quality than the cheaper knock-offs that you see elsewhere.
 

Offline alm

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2017, 02:22:41 am »
Standard grabber/pincer clips are not very suitable for high current, I agree. But while I like Parrot clips, there is fairly little they can grab on to on a modern surface-mount PCB, or even a DIP IC, due to their size (even the smallest size that is supposedly suitable for SMD). The double hook EZ-hooks (e.g. XKM) can comfortably grab DIP and SOIC, but are too small for 0.025" square pins or other larger pins. So basically you need a mix of hooks/grabbers.

By the way, if you have very cheap grabber hooks, that might be part of the solution. In my opinion most the cheap stuff from AliExpress is crap. Real Pomona (or EZ-hook) hooks are much nicer.
 

Offline tautech

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Offline nanofrog

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2017, 02:55:53 am »
I have some leads with a banana plug on one end and a square pin connector on the other, but they are kind of rare and relatively expensive (I think they were about $5/ea, do not remember where).
Probemaster carries them (9168), and they're just shy of $5 per. At least the wire is silicone. BTW, they offer free shipping in the continental US, so it's viable to make small orders.

They ship internationally, but it may be worth looking into a reshipping company if the shipping fees are high (an email to Probemaster has helped some EU/UK members get better shipping rates as well).

FWIW, I'm also fond of the modular probe products as they're less likely to slip off vs. accessories that attach to the probes due to less weight hanging from the test point.  :-+
 
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Offline SkipMorrow

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 11:27:24 am »
(Sorry if double posted)
I had not ever even thought of making my own probes. Is that very common among hobbyists? Do you usually make a set of probes and use them most of the time, or do you make probes on-the-spot to fit what you are doing at the time?
Anyway, my power supply has regular banana plugs. No problem finding them. But my DMM has a different kind of shrouded plug, which I have not seen for sale anywhere. How do you make probes with that kind of plug?
 

Offline alm

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2017, 01:13:27 pm »
I assume your DMM has standard shrouded banana jacks. Unshrouded plugs fit these jacks just fine. Obviously they are not very safe for use above ~42 V, but neither are those clips, so no point using plugs designed for 1000 V with them.

Shrouded banana plugs are easily available from brands like Pomona. Probably also from cheaper brands.
 

Offline alm

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2017, 02:01:20 pm »
Oh, and to answer your first question. I have no information on what fraction of hobbyists makes their own leads. In my personal opinion, making basic banana to banana leads is not really worth it if you need to buy the wire and plugs at full price. But I have replaced banana plugs or made leads that I could not buy off the shelf easily.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2017, 05:11:35 pm »
FWIW, some of mine are from commercial sources (Probemaster, Fluke/Pomona, and even some no-name stuff). But I also made some and have supplies on hand to make more; specifically with silicone insulated wire (some ready-made stuff only comes in PVC insulation it seems  :--).
 

Offline TheUnnamedNewbie

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Re: Test hooks
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 05:55:54 am »
I had not ever even thought of making my own probes. Is that very common among hobbyists? Do you usually make a set of probes and use them most of the time, or do you make probes on-the-spot to fit what you are doing at the time?

It depends. I use a mix of bought and home-built. Home-built will often actually end up more expensive if you are building very basic banana-to-banana leads with plugs/jacks from brands like Hirschmann/Pomona. However, I have yet to find grabber probes that are better than the Hirschmann ones I use http://be.farnell.com/hirschmann-testmeasurement/931467101/hook-test-miniature-red-kun/dp/523525. So I like to make a lot of those leads myself, using silicon wire that is very flexible. I believe they fit 1mm^2 wires, but don't quote me on that.
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