Author Topic: How good of a multimeter does a hobbyist *really* need?  (Read 49736 times)

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Offline DJPhil

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Re: How good of a multimeter does a hobbyist *really* need?
« Reply #50 on: January 31, 2010, 04:26:55 am »
In fact, a full episode on "what multimeter to chose" is probably appropriate!


I love this idea!

I've been thinking about this a great deal lately, as I'm just breaking back in to hobby electronics after a decade or so. In my (unusual) case, I've got abundant scrounged parts (I knew those ISA soundcards would come in handy), lots of time and patience, almost no disposable income (think $25US/mo), and no reliable instrumentation. After reading the community bench meter thread it seems that the most fundamental metrics are voltage and resistance measurement. From there you can go on to accurate current measurement, LC meters, and all sorts of other things. I'm sure a case can be made that any two of Ohm's threesome would work, but the intricacies of those arguments are beyond my level of understanding at the moment. It seems that current measurement's demon is burden voltage, resistance measurement is more accurate in low ranges with a four wire (Kelvin?) measurement using a known current, and voltage . . . I haven't found the demon for voltage yet, more reading required. All other instrumentation appears to be an assembly of these capabilities (and the understanding of discrete component behavior), and this was an awesome revelation to me(I'm a little slow).  :D

Now I'll try to tie my ramblings to the original question, stand back. My question is, where does 'good enough' sit for various activities?
When does a hobbyist need more accuracy and confidence in their volt/ohm/current readings: basic programmable logic, advanced programmable logic (FPGA stuff fits here?), RF circuits like ham radio, RF circuits that just open your garage door, high voltage experimenting (I suppose you'd better know what you need at this point), op-amp experimenting vs. tube amp experimenting, battery powered circuits, power supply design, etc.?

Or perhaps, is it the case that accuracy and confidence are pretty much 'more is better' after a certain minimum, and it's some other factor that the hobbyist should hold dear? Feature set, 'oooh, this one does capacitance AND duty cycle', portable vs. bench, etc.

I suppose my approach is obvious, give me dependable basics and I'll just build everything else later. :D I certainly don't expect this to be a majority point of view, but I'm hoping to enrich the discussion with some observation. I also have it written down as a long term goal that I intend to make an autoranging analog multimeter someday, just because it sounds awesome.

Offline rossv

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Re: How good of a multimeter does a hobbyist *really* need?
« Reply #51 on: January 31, 2010, 06:51:09 am »
I've got access to a 110 series meter now, so might do a review in the not too distant future.

In fact, a full episode on "what multimeter to chose" is probably appropriate!


That sounds great! I always wondered when you'd cover the 'affordable' Fluke to see if how it shapes up in terms of quality/performance, and I considered offering my Fluke 111 for review :-)



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