Author Topic: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment  (Read 7896 times)

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Offline Achilles

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Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« on: September 28, 2011, 11:00:44 am »
Hey all around. I think thanks to graigner some own a U1253A and have already played a bit with it.
I am considering the U1253B because of it's high resolution for some Sensor Calibration.

Can anyone tell some experience about the built quality after a while...still like a brick or were there some problems?!
How about high humidity. Has anyone experienced sth. there?!

I know the U1252B would be a better outdoor option, but there is an offer for the 1253B for about 280Eur plus VAT, which is a bit less then the 1252B (In Germany)

I want it to replace my old Voltcraft (VC 670....dave would hate it ;)), so it still should be an Progress on the display. Anyone uses it on Field measurements?!

Salut, Sebastian

PS: If you are interested I may take the old Voltcraft apart to have a look for you. Made in Korea, but I have no clue who may have built it for them....
 

Offline gamozo

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 06:11:34 pm »
I reviewed the U1252B recently, if that helps at all...

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=4810.0
Brandon Falk, Systems Software Engineer
http://gamozo.org/ - http://gamozolabs.com/
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Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 06:34:26 pm »
Yeah Thanks for the review!
I had already a look on that one :).....


Hmmmm......quite not sure yet, but if I get it I may answer that question myself here one day ;)
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 07:20:03 pm »
I think you can trust Agilent's statement regarding their specs.  You'd have to define the meaning of 'tough' to know it meets the specs.

I don't own the 1253 but do have a 1252a. They are very similar.  It does not have a specific IP code rating but the spec sheets say :

Operating temperature Full accuracy from –20 °C to 55 °C
Operating humidity Full accuracy up to 80% R.H. (relative
humidity) for temperature up to 35 °C,
decreasing linearly to 50% R.H. at 55 °C
Storage temperature –40 °C to 70 °C (with battery removed)
Altitude Up to 2000 m
Pollution degree Pollution Degree 2

and shock/vibration Tested to IEC/EN 60068- 2.


To test it, I put the 1252a in a refrigerator and freezer, then in a summer sunlit patio to 80+F RH 80% then tested the accuracy.  1252a meets them all well.  Taking the meter out of a cold environment causes a lot of condensation, enough for droplets of water to fall off the input jack.

Now, there is no specific mention of drop test, and shock/vibration can be equivalent to a drop test but its not clearly defined.  I haven't dropped mine yet, fortunately.

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=http%3A%2F%2Fieeexplore.ieee.org%2Fiel5%2F7770%2F21355%2F00990367.pdf%3Farnumber%3D990367&authDecision=-203

Its a good meter, made to take use in a lab and maybe spills from a bench to the floor, some field work, but its not a built like the Fluke 87V [ which has only IP 30?? IIRC] but has been proven in the field, or the 1272a, which is rated 54.

In my use tough means drop from 3' to a concrete floor, exposure to fulll sunlight, 100% RH to 100F ambient temp, and sea spray, as its used on boats.  No specific exposure to sand and mud to foul the input jacks, but they have been, and cleaned with compressed air.  So far the 1272a and the Fluke 87V do well.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 08:45:34 pm »
Well,
tough mostly means if it drops down and so on. I expect a multimeter above 100USD to survive a normal drop.....

My question was more about Humidity and Temperature. I work in French Guyana from time to time and so humidity and fog is a common issue. I had once a problem with my old voltcraft, with drifting readings, but after a while it went normal again....

Any suggestions on scratches or so on the display? A protective shield should be fine then.....

If I drop it on work there it may break, but a fluke may break, too....... (working in the trees down there). If anyone around has an old non-working Industrial-Fluke I could make a drop-test...:D
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2011, 07:10:54 am »
I think your conditions are similar to mine, in the central Pacific its 100% RH and 120F and the meters still run true to spec.  I drop it all the time, but mostly its to earth or sand, which is softer than concrete.  it takes it well.  But, whenever I travel its hard to beat the Fluke 87, since I know it works taking it back and forth for 20+ years and it still works.

I've been give a 1272a for testing, and its clearly holding up.  Also, the 1252a has no problems.

If I had once concern, its the OLED screen. I just don't know how well it will hold up over time particularly in these 'desert island' locations and no replacement parts easily available, someone has to take the risk and find out.  LED survive very well, time tested, and the Fluke is very easy to service DIY and find parts.

In toto, if you truly have a need in a tough location, you don't want to experiment with an unknown and take a model that is tried and tested.


Well,
tough mostly means if it drops down and so on. I expect a multimeter above 100USD to survive a normal drop.....

My question was more about Humidity and Temperature. I work in French Guyana from time to time and so humidity and fog is a common issue. I had once a problem with my old voltcraft, with drifting readings, but after a while it went normal again....

Any suggestions on scratches or so on the display? A protective shield should be fine then.....

If I drop it on work there it may break, but a fluke may break, too....... (working in the trees down there). If anyone around has an old non-working Industrial-Fluke I could make a drop-test...:D
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2011, 01:57:19 pm »
Hey Saturation,
thank you for your words. Well, the 87 is known and used a lot, for sure ;) As an industrial meter it should keep with you under tough conditions.
The biggest plus of the Agilent is it's high resolution in my eyes, that's why I have an eye on it (even with its price....a bit over what i would like to spend). We have some sensors which give their output in a milivolt range when you calibrate them, so microvolts would be a big advantage.
Maybe a used 87V should find it's way to me too as an backup and secondary meter.

To the oled Tech. I had an Sony Mp3 player with OLED in 2004, so one of the first OLED devices.... Apart from the battery and the "Itunes-Clone" concept, which I don't like, it still runs great.... I suppose the Display on the 1253B runs on an Serial Interface, so maybe a 1252B display could be used as replacement one day if it is really broken?! May be interesting to investigate and try.....
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2011, 02:34:14 pm »
Hi Achilles,

I know what you mean about the readout, I like the 1252a LCD, readable without backlight most of the time indoors, but the 1272a is a bit small for me, particularly the secondary display on the upper right, and the shadow cast by the DMM makes it unreadable without backlighting in subdued room light.

Both the OLED Agilent and Flukes are available via eBay,  the Agilent you have to catch it, but I track it continuously.  I saw one for sale with a damaged OLED display.  They prices are very good, under $200 for a used Fluke 87V, and $200-300 for a used OLED 125x something.

Note I use SLA LSD NiMH battery, and it has 2x the battery life of the stock Agilent battery, so instead of 8-9 hrs between charge, you could get 16 hrs.


Hey Saturation,
thank you for your words. Well, the 87 is known and used a lot, for sure ;) As an industrial meter it should keep with you under tough conditions.
The biggest plus of the Agilent is it's high resolution in my eyes, that's why I have an eye on it (even with its price....a bit over what i would like to spend). We have some sensors which give their output in a milivolt range when you calibrate them, so microvolts would be a big advantage.
Maybe a used 87V should find it's way to me too as an backup and secondary meter.

To the oled Tech. I had an Sony Mp3 player with OLED in 2004, so one of the first OLED devices.... Apart from the battery and the "Itunes-Clone" concept, which I don't like, it still runs great.... I suppose the Display on the 1253B runs on an Serial Interface, so maybe a 1252B display could be used as replacement one day if it is really broken?! May be interesting to investigate and try.....
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 03:47:55 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2011, 02:56:22 pm »
Yeah,
here in Germany the Fluke 87 is found quite often on ebay.... Well, the Agilent DMM's are quite rare.....
I wanted to buy the 1253B new, because there is an interesting offer right now (sadly no cashback or sth. like that in Germany)....

Normally it would be about 450Euro (about 600USD) including tax, but they sell new 1253B for about 320Euro (about 440USD) including Tax.
Yapp, Europe is a bit expensive in that way, but if I buy it outside it wouldn't be much cheaper because of shipping and tax.....

I also have a look on ebay here around europe ;)

Some Battery testing is on the plan then, too. I would also just put an 9V alkaline in the bag just as precaustion.... I may also try a LSD (low self discharge, not the funny stuff) because I had very good experience with them in my photo equipment (even when the nominal capacity is lower)....
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2011, 01:15:30 am »
The Fluke ones are just True 6000 counts , Not actually comparable with this Agilent.
And about the sensor calibration work, you need a process portable calibrator, and not just a good quality DMM. 
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2011, 08:13:36 am »
Hi Kiriakos, greetings eastwards ;),
I know that the Flukes are 6000 counts. That's why I am so interested in the Agilent (and the low MV Range of course).

To the process portable calibrator:
You may be right, but it would be quite hard to convince them in my lab that we would need/should use one. Actually I am taking my private equipment for that work, because before they used these little yellow cheapy multimeters you get all around for a few bucks....... not that nice for calibration.

So I think a good and high resolution will at least Minimize the error. Not as good as an calibrator but it will be on its way.


.....just ordered an Agilent Yesterday and have a look how it fits......
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2011, 05:17:28 pm »
Hey, my 1253B just arrived today. So far it looks nice, but the housing feels a bit plasticky for that price range.
All in all, I think I will keep it and use it a lot.
The display is brighter than I expected.
Sadly it's quite dark now, but I think I will open a thread tomorrow, open it up, take some pictures for you and we could have a look what has changed since the A-Model.
I will have a look outside, too (Maybe I can have some sun tomorrow or I'll try how the display is affected by a bright lamp and different angles)...otherwise we have outdoor use on an overcats day. ...so not uncommon for work in europe.
I may have a look on the battery runtime, too.....
I want to use my old Voltcraft and put out a square wave signal (yeah it can do that....) and let the U1253B measure it. Let's see who quits first (Battery in the Voltcraft isn't fresh...). That may be ok for some general impression on the battery runtime now.....

....so, read you tomorrow folks!
 

Offline Lawsen

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2011, 05:45:17 pm »
Congratulations on your Agilent U1253B.  The U1253A is the older version in blue and The U1253B is a newer version in orange.  The U1252B is a LCD version of the Organo LED U1253B.  Gamozo video the U1152B said, "that it is like a brick," but more for indoor use to repair or test things and some outdoor use, but it is not water proof like the U1272A or Fluke 27 or 28 (a tad more accurate than the 27, but otherwise the exact same) Series 2 with IP67 water proof, water resistant.  Dave Jones video on the U1253A showed the organo LED is difficult to read in direct sun light, washed out.  You have a very nice and accurate multimeter. 

Kiriakos made a note worthy about the possibility needing a process calibrator.  If one is calibrating thermocouples-thermometers for special research or industrial process, then a calibrator is need, because multimeters are not built for that calibration applications internal components inside it.  Your calibration set up will need two multimeters to compare readings for precision and what will be your know source for accuracy?   Agilent process calibrator is expensive at $700.00 USD listed on the Agilent web site.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2011, 06:13:05 pm by Lawsen »
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2011, 07:03:31 pm »
Yeah I know that. I may be interested if they have worked somehow on the display and sth. like that. I saw Dave's video and also the 1252B tear apart and review here.
At least there is no rattling anymore when you shake it .... So then we could have look if anything changed a bit or if they really just update the color apart from the A model ;)

To the process Calibrator.... Just to clear that out. Most out our sensors have a dedicated built in Voltage Supply (or work over Serial connections) and just give us a Voltage Range from 0-10V for 0-30km visibility (line of sight) for example. I don't know much about process calibrators, but as far as I have seen they offer a Calibrated Voltage supply and Multimeter combined. I agree that this would be great for calibrating an amplifier for example, but I think for our Voltage Range sensors the agilent would at least be a big step forward from my old DMM in terms of accuracy. Some of them need a opaque disc to block the laser-path and then you adjust zero offsets and with a reference disc you simply supply a fixed visibility and backscatter and adjust to the gives values (which depends on the sensor from a few volts to as low as 100mV). They do the same stuff in Factory calibration, so a good DMM should at least work for them I think......
In fact we don't have a single thermocouple in our setup. Most of them are working via Voltage range or Serial Commands and get disposed or stored in some dusty dark chambers, after a Project is finished. They mostly run in remote areas for about 2-3Years or get replaced after a while. The biggest work is around our satellite ground truth and fog monitoring station near our University.

Well, and I really don't think I could convince our professor of the usability of a process calibrator. In fact, as I said, I am taking my private stuff to work with because they just use the creepy chinese yellow one, because they show you the voltage, too ;).
Well, a good DMM is no in house, an old LCR should arrive tomorrow (Escort 133A) to have a look on that. I think to have an eye on a used process calibrator over a while isn't the worst idea. Maybe I can get one later on.
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Agilent U1253A/B, built quality / tough environment
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2011, 12:26:11 pm »
Hey, my 1253B just arrived today. So far it looks nice, but the housing feels a bit plasticky for that price range.


The range of DMM for electricians forbids the plastic feeling, but if you do mainly bench-work, you will not realize the difference. :)
 


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