Author Topic: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review  (Read 15806 times)

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Offline ModernRonin

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EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« on: February 29, 2012, 12:30:14 pm »
US$370? For a meter? **Really?**

Don't think I need to remind anyone here that you can get a whole scope for that.

I understand that if you're a pro EE and this meter is something you're going to keep and use for decades, the cost may be worth it. And with the cal certificate, if you're in a business where you need to have proof of cal, maybe then also.

But for most people and most purposes? I think this is the "more money than brains" club! Guess I shouldn't be too surprised, since most Agilent gear is...
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 04:05:06 pm »
Dave commented on the switch protruding such that when it fell on its face it would hit the switch knob, If like me the leads once plugged in are left in, they will stop the switch hitting the floor first and as that is most likely way that it does fall, your testing something and pull the probe leads. I cannot see that it is a big an issue and having a higher profile to the switch eases use when wearing gloves which are not just worn out side but in cold-stores and clean rooms.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 04:52:53 pm »
You're also paying for the reliability and toughness expected of an industrial meter, and is a reason such meters cost more. 

For toughness, the 1272a is equal to the 28II in terms of IP rating while the 87V is a DMM proven tough except when there is a risk of submersion in water or penetration from fine sand, like in the desert.  All 3 have have similar shock and vibration ratings for surviving drops and bumpy rides.

Reliability requires a history of knowing it survives harsh locations its taken too, and reads true afterwards.  Accelerated testing can help, but real field exposure is a better test.  The 87V is part of a series designed  ~1989, and many meters so made are still like new today, and in calibration: it was built to last and take a level of abuse.  The 1272a has to live up to this legacy, as its its main competition.

Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline sacherjj

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 05:56:09 pm »
With tools that you know you will use for a long time.  Buy once, cry once.   That being said, I'm using a very decent BK Precision Multimeter that was vastly lower than the Fluke or Agilent price levels.  :)
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 06:50:49 pm »
With a rebate of $ 100 the cost is now down to $ 270, that is quite a good price for this quality meter, here the link for the rebate:

http://www.home.agilent.com/agilent/editorial.jspx?cc=US&lc=eng&ckey=2060152&id=2060152&cmpid=zzfindhhcashback

Valid to 30th. April, 2012 (Only for Canada, though, I just found out).

I am in a really split between buying this meter or a brand new 87V, what should I do??

Rutger
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 07:54:29 pm by Rutger »
 

Offline saturation

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 07:30:16 pm »
The Fluke at Amazon is $325, the Agilent is cheaper and you get more features, but do you need all those features over proven reliability? IMHO Agilent hasn't proven itself to be as bullet proof as a Fluke but it looks very promising.  During the tests we did last year, we found all those horrid bugs, and now V2.0 is far better, but what if another bug happens if you are on an aircraft carrier, or working on aircrafts, nuclear power station?  But if you're not doing such work, such meters are overkill, there is no need for that kind of robustness,  then I'd go with the Agilent. 

Some service photos aboard USN ships, you decide what type of DMMs these are:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_100520-N-8913A-096_Interior_Communications_Electricians_3rd_Class_Rory_J._Shisler,_left,_and_Larry_O._Hughes_perform_maintenance_on_the_internal_phone_system_aboard_USS_George_H.W._Bush_%28CVN_77%29.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_091004-N-8960W-014_Interior_Communications_Electrician_3rd_Class_Karla_Martinez_inspects_wiring_aboard_the_aircraft_carrier_USS_Nimitz_%28CVN_68%29.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_100308-N-4997L-001_Electrician%27s_Mate_2nd_Class_Corey_Hartley_checks_voltage_with_a_multi-meter_aboard_the_aircraft_carrier_USS_Abraham_Lincoln_%28CVN_72%29.jpg

F16 maintenance, what could be in that yellow holster?

Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline cybergibbons

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 07:38:18 pm »
With a rebate of $ 100 the cost is now down to $ 270, that is quite a good price for this quality meter, here the link for the rebate:

http://www.home.agilent.com/agilent/editorial.jspx?cc=US&lc=eng&ckey=2060152&id=2060152&cmpid=zzfindhhcashback

Valid to 30th. April, 2012

I am in a really split between buying this meter or a brand new 87V, what should I do??

Rutger

Only in Canada though...
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 07:51:42 pm »
Oh, yes I didn't see that 'little' detail  :'(, I guess that make the choice a little easier...

I think this a bit misleading, they don't put this detail on the main page.

PS: I have just send the Agilent Rebate department an email asking them to extend the rebate program and include other countries as well.
Who knows if they respond, but if they are a smart company this would be the right time to market this product.
I mentioned the review Dave did and maybe they will follow my suggestions, I would recommend other people to do the same thing if they want to buy this product. Here is the email for the Agilent rebate deparment: hhcashback@agilent.com

Rutger
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 08:10:35 pm by Rutger »
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 08:14:55 pm »
Some service photos aboard USN ships, you decide what type of DMMs these are:

They look like Flukes, but are they a 'special' edition of the 87 or are they a different model?
They don't seem to have all the buttons?

Thanks, Rutger

 

Offline grenert

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 04:04:01 am »
With a rebate of $ 100 the cost is now down to $ 270, that is quite a good price for this quality meter, here the link for the rebate:

http://www.home.agilent.com/agilent/editorial.jspx?cc=US&lc=eng&ckey=2060152&id=2060152&cmpid=zzfindhhcashback

Valid to 30th. April, 2012 (Only for Canada, though, I just found out).

I am in a really split between buying this meter or a brand new 87V, what should I do??

Don't forget that you can get the U1272A as a freebie if you buy an Agilent E36XX series power supply (not really that expensive; start at about $400):

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/test-equity-sale-for-an-e3600-agilent-basic-bench-powersupply-with-multimeter/msg89044/#msg89044
 

Offline grenert

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 04:07:42 am »
They look like Flukes, but are they a 'special' edition of the 87 or are they a different model?
They don't seem to have all the buttons?

They're not all 87's,  but they're all Flukes.  I see some 17X or 70 series in the bunch.
The point is that for some critical users, the expected reliability of Fluke makes them the choice, rather than features/price.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 04:38:10 am »
But for most people and most purposes? I think this is the "more money than brains" club! Guess I shouldn't be too surprised, since most Agilent gear is...

You are buying a professional meter from the worlds biggest T&M company.
The Fluke is (was) more expensive, so I do wonder how it became the worlds most popular selling multimeter?  ::)

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 04:39:31 am »
You're also paying for the reliability and toughness expected of an industrial meter, and is a reason such meters cost more. 

For toughness, the 1272a is equal to the 28II in terms of IP rating

No it's not, not even close.
The Fluke 28 is IP68, the U1272A is IP54, there is a massive difference.

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 04:42:50 am »
I am in a really split between buying this meter or a brand new 87V, what should I do??

Unless you lust after a Fluke, or want it for a specific reason (lifetime warranty, spares, proven etc), then get the U1272A, better bang-per-buck.

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 04:46:17 am »
Some service photos aboard USN ships, you decide what type of DMMs these are:
They look like Flukes, but are they a 'special' edition of the 87 or are they a different model?
They don't seem to have all the buttons?

They are the 170 series Flukes. Very tough reliable meters designed for electrical work. Tougher than an 80 series, but not as tough as the 28II
The 80 series was designed for "electronics" use, not really field electrical stuff like that shown.

Dave.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2012, 04:51:48 am »
Don't forget that you can get the U1272A as a freebie if you buy an Agilent E36XX series power supply (not really that expensive; start at about $400):

$400 for both?
Bargain.
You could even resell the PSU on ebay and get the U1272A cheap!

Dave.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2012, 01:48:29 pm »
You're right Dave, my bad.  For clarification, the 87V is officially IP 30.

Great review as always, given several other reviews for the same meter in the past year, its again very clear you do the best ones.  Not stroking your ego, but its hard to beat such continuous consistency, akin to Fluke's reputation in DMM.

@genert: yes, my point exactly.

Just checking the website, Agilent seems to have raised the list price by $7, its now $377, likewise the Amazon price for the Fluke 87V, inflation with gas prices no doubt.


You're also paying for the reliability and toughness expected of an industrial meter, and is a reason such meters cost more. 

For toughness, the 1272a is equal to the 28II in terms of IP rating

No it's not, not even close.
The Fluke 28 is IP68, the U1272A is IP54, there is a massive difference.

Dave.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Rutger

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2012, 05:28:33 pm »

Don't forget that you can get the U1272A as a freebie if you buy an Agilent E36XX series power supply (not really that expensive; start at about $400):

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/buysellwanted/test-equity-sale-for-an-e3600-agilent-basic-bench-powersupply-with-multimeter/msg89044/#msg89044

Where have you seen the PSU for $ 400, the lowest price I have seen is $ 461.
 

Offline grenert

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2012, 05:56:46 pm »
Sorry, that's the "about" $400.  The best published price I've seen is starting at $441:
http://www.hensleytech.com/DC-Power-Supplies?order=sell_price&sort=asc&title=agilent

Many places can do better than the published price if you ask for a quote.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2012, 10:15:38 pm »
Great review as always, given several other reviews for the same meter in the past year, its again very clear you do the best ones.  Not stroking your ego, but its hard to beat such continuous consistency, akin to Fluke's reputation in DMM.

Thanks.
I'm actually thinking of having a proper check-list for reviews, so I don't forget anything, and to give every review as a consistent feel as possible.
With this one I was at home editing and then realised I forgot a few important tests, so had to go back shoot the scenes later that night.
I need to do one for different types of instruments, multimeters, LCR meters, scopes etc.
I might also help keep the times down, if I limit myself to X seconds/minutes for each point on the checklist.

Dave.
 

Offline Vredstein

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2012, 10:51:50 pm »
"I might also help keep the times down, if I limit myself to X seconds/minutes for each point on the checklist."
This would adversely affect the character of your reviews. It's the "off-the-cuff" aspect that was the initial appeal for so many, and that same approach is what keeps people coming back.
If a certain point on the checklist inspires you to elaborate, so be it.
Intentionally leaving flaws in is a show of respect and submission to the gods.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 12:55:25 am »
"I might also help keep the times down, if I limit myself to X seconds/minutes for each point on the checklist."
This would adversely affect the character of your reviews. It's the "off-the-cuff" aspect that was the initial appeal for so many, and that same approach is what keeps people coming back.
If a certain point on the checklist inspires you to elaborate, so be it.

Oh, for sure, I'd still elaborate where appropriate. But some sort of formal checklist might help stop adding unnecessary mumble to the points that should be quick and sharp, thus leaving room for the points that need longer commentary. e.g. does it light up white LED on diode range should only be a 10 second clip, as per the current video.

Dave.
 

Offline ToddFun

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2012, 05:50:16 pm »
I posted this on the blog comment but I thought I would add it to this thread too:
Dave,
I noticed you touched on the smoothing mode and when you did it didn’t look like it was working AT ALL! I found this video by a guy in South Africa that ran a compare between the Same Agilent and 87v for just smoothing feature and it was clear the Agilent U1272A was not working. Maybe another bug in the software?
 
Todd
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2012, 06:21:58 pm »
I noticed you touched on the smoothing mode and when you did it didn’t look like it was working AT ALL! I found this video by a guy in South Africa that ran a compare between the Same Agilent and 87v for just smoothing feature and it was clear the Agilent U1272A was not working. Maybe another bug in the software?

You can't really tell if or how the smoothing is working by looking at the display since the human eye can't follow the numbers that fast. You would have to plot a graph of the measurement and look at the peak to peak range and maximum rate of change to see the effect of any smoothing.

Now of course from a human point of view it may be that smoothing is a useless feature and what we need is display damping. But that's a different thing.

Also the smoothing may be more visibly effective with a less crazily changing input signal. If the input signal was only fluctuating mildly the smoothing algorithm might iron it out a lot better.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #249 - Agilent U1272A Multimeter Review
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2012, 06:00:06 am »
US$370? For a meter? **Really?**

Don't think I need to remind anyone here that you can get a whole scope for that.

won't be much of a scope for 370$ ... maybe a toybox machine with 4k deep memory and barely 20Mhz ... or an old analog clunker.

It ain't worth the label 'scope' unless it does 1 Gs/s realtime ( not equivalent time. that is just nonsense ) and has at least a meg of memory at full throttle, and pull 7 effective bits out of their a/d . Lower spec machines can, at best, give you an indication of what you are looking at. But you can not use those to make accurate measurements. Oh, and don;t foregt soe real quality probes. A good scope probe can easily cost 200 or more $ .

Keep your eyes peeld on fleabay... once in a while something zooms by and you have to strike fast. It is better to hold off and save some more money and buy a scope that will last you for a long time.

It all depends on what you do with it. if you only use a scope once a year: fine go with the 300$ one .
if you use a scope almost daily : it pays to save some money and buy a decent machine.
If your business is hardware development : pull out the big guns


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