Author Topic: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search  (Read 2284 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« on: February 26, 2019, 09:34:25 am »
Dave shows how to search for cheap 6.5 digit bench multimeters on Ebay and other auction locations
Would you believe less than $200?

Equipnet auction: https://bit.ly/2TcNukt

The multimeter spreadsheet: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/multimeter-spreadsheet/

 
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Online gslick

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 12:54:24 pm »
You have to be careful with EquipNet auctions. On top of the final item price and nominal handling fee, you have to add sales tax if that applies, and then a buyer premium of 18% on top of that total. Then if you are not local or close enough to pick up in person, you have to coordinate with a 3rd party packing and shipping service to pick up and ship for you.

For something as small as a lot of 2 HP 34401A DMMs you could easily pay around another $200 to have them picked up, packed, and shipped to you in the US. Fine if you are near San Jose to pick up in person (or have a friend there that can do so for you), otherwise fuhgeddaboudit:
https://www.equipnet.com/auctions/lot-of-2-agilent-technologies-34401a-65-digit-multimeter_listid_693405/

When I have bought items from EquipNet auctions in the past it was when they were valuable enough that it was worth driving a few hundred miles each way to pick up in person. That was cheaper than paying someone else to pick up, pack, and ship, and then worry that they would be packed insufficiently well to arrive undamaged.
 
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2019, 01:57:32 pm »
Yeah, most liquidation auctions like EquipNet that I've encountered have 15-25% buyer's premiums. Definitely important to factor that into your bidding. EquipNet is interesting in that they have a handling fee in addition, which I've seen get rather high in some cases. Some places also charge fees depending on your payment method. All things to be aware of.

With regard to meter choices, the HPAK 34401A have been going up in price over the past few years. Lots of HPAK gear tends to demand premium prices on eBay.

If budget is really tight, the HP 3456A can be had for $100-200, but be aware of the reduced feature set as compared to more modern devices. Nevertheless, like the 3457A, it's a good piece of kit (and easier to read than non-backlit LCD).

Keithley stuff tends to demand a premium on eBay, too, but you can get those Keithley 196 DMMs at pretty good prices with patience. If 5.5 digits is OK, you can also consider the 199, which supports a scanner card, too.

If you get a good deal on the Keithley 2000 or its similar-looking relatives, be sure to look up the threads here on replacing the electrolytic capacitors as they're notorious for leaking.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 04:30:52 pm by bitseeker »
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Offline johnlsenchak

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 02:02:41 pm »
Now  here's one of Dave's  video's  that  I real enjoyed 8)


I bought a  Fluke  45  Digit Meter   on Ebay  last  year  after  watching one of Dave's  video's  doing a tear down on one.   Awesome  multi-meter   for  doing testing  work  on computers . The  multi-meter  worked  great   on start up and  seemed to be very accurate .

I even took  it apart  to check out the build quality !

I  found  a lot of  test  equipment  calibration  companies  in the United  States also  sell used   equipment



https://www.ebay.com/itm/Keithley-192-Programmable-DMM-Digital-MultiMeter-6-5-Digit-DC-Voltage-Ohms/153394454800?hash=item23b705a110:g:7dQAAOSwXINcWGBf
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 03:42:47 pm by johnlsenchak »
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Online beanflying

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 03:39:34 pm »
Well this should scare some from buying 6 1/2 digit meters out of Cal. From the Youtube comments re Calibration costs.

From Keysight today. This includes pre and post Calibration results as one of the units has never been Calibrated and the other is out of current Cal. This will then form a new baseline for ongoing Calibrations.

This would be higher if I went to the local NATA (NIST) traceable calibration but I didn't require it for what I am doing.

Manufacturer:                         Model:                  Service:                        Cost:

Keysight Technologies           34401A                 Keysight Cal                $499.00ex GST AUD (circa $350 USD)

Keysight Technologies           34461A                 Keysight Cal                $499.00ex GST AUD (circa $350 USD)

Maybe not needed for most as the improvement is base accuracy over say a 4 1/2 digit meter will cover a chunk of any long term drift in particular with a basic known DC reference (DMM check or similar). I have a bunch of other gear to get toward known certainty/accuracy and the costs of Calibrating all of them with a Cal LAB would break me so I will use this pair for some DIY Cal from here when they get home.

I am sure Calibration can be done for less than at Keysight but I don't have any plans to look at that but others might like to weigh in on costs from other reputable Labs.
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Offline bitseeker

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 04:29:13 pm »
It really depends on your requirements and location. For businesses, there will likely be specific guidelines for the instruments that must be calibrated, how often, the type of calibration/adjustment, and who is authorized to do the work.

For hobby use, lower-cost labs, DIY calibration with various grades of reference standard devices, and even calibration/alignment relative to a self-selected "source of truth" instrument are possibilities.

In the US, it's possible to get a 34401A calibrated by a lab for around $100. However, such a calibration may or may not meet your particular requirements (or comfort level as to the quality of work).
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 05:22:06 pm »
You have to be careful with EquipNet auctions. On top of the final item price and nominal handling fee, you have to add sales tax if that applies, and then a buyer premium of 18% on top of that total. Then if you are not local or close enough to pick up in person, you have to coordinate with a 3rd party packing and shipping service to pick up and ship for you.

Yep, almost every auction house is the same.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2019, 05:23:58 pm »
Well this should scare some from buying 6 1/2 digit meters out of Cal. From the Youtube comments re Calibration costs.
From Keysight today. This includes pre and post Calibration results as one of the units has never been Calibrated and the other is out of current Cal. This will then form a new baseline for ongoing Calibrations.
This would be higher if I went to the local NATA (NIST) traceable calibration but I didn't require it for what I am doing.
Manufacturer:                         Model:                  Service:                        Cost:
Keysight Technologies           34401A                 Keysight Cal                $499.00ex GST AUD (circa $350 USD)

Cheaper to buy another used 6.5 digit meter. And if they both agree (or are very close (i.e. well within spec) then you can be almost 100% certain that both are within spec.
 

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2019, 05:35:08 pm »
Well this should scare some from buying 6 1/2 digit meters out of Cal. From the Youtube comments re Calibration costs.
From Keysight today. This includes pre and post Calibration results as one of the units has never been Calibrated and the other is out of current Cal. This will then form a new baseline for ongoing Calibrations.
This would be higher if I went to the local NATA (NIST) traceable calibration but I didn't require it for what I am doing.
Manufacturer:                         Model:                  Service:                        Cost:
Keysight Technologies           34401A                 Keysight Cal                $499.00ex GST AUD (circa $350 USD)

Cheaper to buy another used 6.5 digit meter. And if they both agree (or are very close (i.e. well within spec) then you can be almost 100% certain that both are within spec.

They are currently a touch under 60ppm away from each other at 1Vdc which is still within their 1 year spec and about the same at 10Vdc. If it was just bench use I would most likely live with that and split the difference for critical measurements.

On my list of gear on top of those two meters I need to test is a pair of 34970A's (with 6 1/2 DMM cards), Advantest 6871E-DC, Fluke 335D DC Calibrator, Valhalla 2703 AC Calibrator, my growing Vref collection and a bunch of slightly less accurate gear below that including a few measurement based products I am playing with.

They alternate choice for me is really buying an even higher spec meter at 7 or 8 1/2 digits but then still being in the conundrum of is it actually correct unless it too was Calibrated to traceable standards?

From off the Video chatter NIST traceable Cal of 34401A in the USA for under $100 sounds just a little to good to be true ::)

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 06:25:54 pm »
I bought a  Fluke  45  Digit Meter   on Ebay  last  year  after  watching one of Dave's  video's  doing a tear down on one.   Awesome  multi-meter   for  doing testing  work  on computers . The  multi-meter  worked  great   on start up and  seemed to be very accurate .

The Fluke 45 is definitively an awesome multi-meter;  one of my favorites!  The reason I like it so much is that communicating with it through the serial port using python scripts is extremely easy.
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Offline johnlsenchak

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2019, 11:19:06 pm »

Winner  Winner   Chicken  Dinner  !


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Offline GigaJoe

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2019, 03:17:39 am »
that me who bought CAD99 Phillips PM2534 meter ... suppose 6.5;  it absolute disaster,  a huge tempco ( really a lot, maybe 20-30 ppm\C ),  last digit shows temperature on Mars, produce by statistical dithering ( someone knowledge of matter, told me that it actually 4.5 and last 2 digits - dither)
So i may sell it again or try to stick my dirty hands in,  changing voltage reference to AD586 first , and play with something else

so far ... HP 3456A, if space allow to do so the most stable units, i have 3 of them ... as a reference, I love it
HP 3478a - would be a second one, with crazy accurate for a very long term..
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 03:24:49 am by GigaJoe »
 

Offline imo

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2019, 05:53:17 am »
Why the EU is so different when talking "used test gear market"?
There is almost none existent second hand market in EU, imho..
 

Offline 0xdeadbeef

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2019, 06:17:05 am »
At least here in Germany, old gear is destroyed instead of sold at least in larger companies. Usually old gear is declared defective to be replaced with new gear as it's far easier to tell the management that something to be replaced than to explain them that new(er) equipment is needed. Obviously gear that is supposed to be defective can't be sold or repurposed. Also selling things on eBay is a total no-go for major companies. Actually there is usually no way for a development department to sell stuff. There just is no process, nobody is responsible, trying to do so would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Even giving gear away for free is problematic. If at all, then maybe as act of charity but certainly not to employees for fiscal (tax related) reasons ("non-cash benefit").
So the only way for used gear to leave a major company other than as junk is that someone takes it from the dumpster. However, this is treated as theft which is one of the few things in Germany which quickly results in instant dismissal. So yeah, sometimes my heart is bleeding when I see vintage equipment in a dumpster and I actually talked to a guy from middle management about it but it's somewhat impossible to legally save that gear from the dumpster.
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Offline nctnico

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2019, 06:45:32 am »
Why the EU is so different when talking "used test gear market"?
There is almost none existent second hand market in EU, imho..
Actually there are quite a few used equipment dealers in the EU but they don't tend to use Ebay. The problem is that they usually are quite expensive but some have good deals every now and then.
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Offline imo

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2019, 08:33:15 am »
I think in EU there is depreciation period of 4 years for equipment which was purchased for more than 1.6kE. It seems the gear is then taken over by the local employees for 1E or something like that. The companies in EU do not want to sell it publicly because they have to provide some warranty on everything they sell, even for an old depreciated 1Euro gear.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 08:38:30 am by imo »
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2019, 08:49:01 am »
Why the EU is so different when talking "used test gear market"?
There is almost none existent second hand market in EU, imho..
It is because of the tax law that we have here. So if you buy a multimeter for 1000 USD in the USA, you can write off 200 USD each year from the income of the company, as depreciation of the equipment. Then you sell it, buy a new one, because then you don't have to pay taxes, and have a shiny new equipment. And keeping old equipment alive doesn't make sense, when calibration cost more than the price of the tool.
 

Offline nixfu

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2019, 05:33:02 am »
Where there goes the prices through the roof on HP's for the next year.
 

Offline HalFET

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Re: EEVblog #1184 - Ebay $200 6.5 Digit Meter Search
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2019, 01:16:14 pm »
Cheaper to buy another used 6.5 digit meter. And if they both agree (or are very close (i.e. well within spec) then you can be almost 100% certain that both are within spec.
Another fun one for verification is to pick up an old weston cell (30-40 USD). You have to do some math and occasionally hook them up to a calibrated meter (at work) to verify they're still within spec, but you can do worse than a deprecated voltage standard from the seventies I think? Additionally, you get to open it up and feel like a mad scientist once in a while.  >:D

But yeah, I can second the opinions on the Philips meters; knock a digit off those dreaded things. I have a PM2535 here, and while it performs reasonably well, it's anything but a 6.5 digit. I'd say the specifications on the datasheet are more of an aspiration than anything else. Also, if you put them in 6.5 digit mode they become painfully slow, the update rate is less than once a second. And overall the user interface is quite terrible. It'd actually be interesting to run a noise measurement on a few Philips meters and to compare it with the equivalent HPAK and Keithley equipment.
 


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