Author Topic: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?  (Read 26205 times)

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Offline retiredcaps

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I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« on: October 23, 2012, 02:20:44 am »
In the second photo of this auction,

http://www.ebay.com/itm/170924523544

it clearly shows that this Fluke 73 III says "Made in China".

From the little history that I know of Fluke Corporation, I thought only the new Fluke 113-117, 15B, 17B, 18B and "infamous" 19 were made in China.  I thought all others were made in USA?

Just curious if someone can fill in the history? 
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 02:32:09 am »
Hmm, first I've heard of that.
Cue Excavatoree, our resident fluke expert...

Dave.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 03:27:03 am »
Looks like a genuine Fluke...I hope they are not moving all production overseas! Oh boy.
 

Offline grenert

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 12:44:48 pm »
I think all of the clamp meters have been made overseas (not necessarily China, but not the U. S.).
 

Offline saturation

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 12:57:23 pm »
Those models were part of a series that were recalled.  Although the III wasn't affected,  later Fluke took back production from China returned to the USA, so the new versions such as  77IV are USA made.

http://www.tequipment.net/FlukeDigital70Multimeter.html

I'd stay away from it, if your going to buy China, either get a more reputable newer Fluke or wait for a used 80s series.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline ModemHead

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 04:20:04 pm »
Here's some quick teardown photos of the model in question.  This one is an eBay acquisition, so I am unaware of its history.

Older 20/70-series models used adhesive labels for the front panel lettering and graphics.  Very sturdy, and the graphics did not rub off or wear.  On this model, the 'faux' label is just part of the plastic mold, and the lettering/graphics are silk-screened on.  It rubs off with wear, as can be seen in the photo.

Internally, the construction is indistinguishable from any US-made 20/70-series, to my eyes.

Functionally, it is essentially identical to a 77-II or a 23-II.  The LCD has bigger digits and separate 'Auto', 'Man', and 'Hold' annunciators.  It is faster at booting up.  The Touch-hold function can be activated with a 2-second press of the button at any time, whereas on the 77-II you have to hold the button while powering up.

NB. the PCB is not really curved, it's just fish-eye from shooting through a mag lamp.
 

Offline Excavatoree

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 04:33:28 pm »
Yes, the last of the 70 series meters (70-III, 73-III and the last 78 (automotive) meters were made in China.  I commented in Dave's videos, but no one watching knows the timing - were these done before or after the 17 and or the 19?

There were two LCD changes, the older two are interchangeable.   I'll have to double check, but I THINK that the first Chinese meters used LCD number 2, but the change may have occurred when production went to China. 

With all of the 70 series meters I've seen, I've never noticed any front panel differences - I've never noticed older ones with a label and older ones with the silkscreen directly on the plastic.   I'll take a detailed look when I get home.

I've never noticed any quality problems with these.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 04:39:18 pm »
Those models were part of a series that were recalled.
I saw that notice earlier, but didn't want to assume the recalls were due to origin of manufacture.
 

Offline ModemHead

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2012, 05:03:36 pm »
There were two LCD changes, the older two are interchangeable.   I'll have to double check, but I THINK that the first Chinese meters used LCD number 2, but the change may have occurred when production went to China. 
I also have an older 73-III that has 'Made in USA' on the back.  It has an LCD that has the bigger digits, but without the extra annunciators of the Chinese-made unit I posted above.  It appears to be segment-for-segment compatible with the older 3000-count LCDs.  This would seem to jive exactly with what you said.

Internally, 75% of the PCB is identical to the Chinese-made unit, but the upper (digital) portion is quite different.  The older unit is slower, and requires pressing the button during power-up to activate Touch-hold.  It has a real label on the front panel.  Not knowing that unit's history either, I was unsure as to whether it was really an early 73-III, or a 'Frankenstein' unit pieced together from compatible parts.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2012, 05:14:11 pm »
I have access to literally thousands of 73-IIIs that do not need holding the button to activate touchhold on startup, i can hold for 2secs before it goes into touchhold but it does proudly claim "MADE IN USA"
Want some teardown pics?
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2012, 07:23:23 pm »
Want some teardown pics?
Absolutely.

PS.  This topic came up due to a PM with ModemHead and he mentioned that he had a Made in China 73 III.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2012, 07:36:44 pm »
Yes, my bad I allude to it, which should not be.  However, this series was recalled at least twice in a 5 year span, IIRC.  Here's what I could drum up.   It would be interesting to see where the models were made for the serial numbers in question.

In 1995

http://www.stephstuff.com/esafe/bulletins/flukeDMMwarn.htm

In 1998

http://web.archive.org/web/20060316143749/http://us.fluke.com/usen/support/safetynote/IMPORTANTSAFETYINFORMATION.htm

Those models were part of a series that were recalled.
I saw that notice earlier, but didn't want to assume the recalls were due to origin of manufacture.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2012, 07:38:28 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline ModemHead

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2012, 08:17:00 pm »
With all of the 70 series meters I've seen, I've never noticed any front panel differences - I've never noticed older ones with a label and older ones with the silkscreen directly on the plastic.   I'll take a detailed look when I get home.
Looking around the input jacks makes it obvious.  First photo here is an older model (before Cat ratings, obviously) with the durable label.  Second photo is the 'faux' label surface with screened graphics.  Only two of my small collection use the latter technique: the Chinese-made 73-III, and a [US-made] 76.

@T4P: Everybody likes pictures. :)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 12:33:50 am by ModemHead »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2012, 09:22:40 pm »
I have access to literally thousands of 73-IIIs that do not need holding the button to activate touchhold on startup, i can hold for 2secs before it goes into touchhold but it does proudly claim "MADE IN USA"
Want some teardown pics?

No. I wants pics of a thousand Fluke meter lined up!

Dave.
 

Offline Excavatoree

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2012, 11:23:33 pm »
The fake "groove" fools me when I take a quick look, so I really appreciate  the detailed pictures, ModemHead.  Thank you very much. 

After perusing my collection, it's clear why I didn't notice this - I have only three or four Chinese made 70 series meters to my name - they all were like new or very clean when I bought them and worked perfectly, so I didn't spend much time looking at them. 

I really only have them for completeness.  Once I learned that the last ones were made in China, I made it a point to ask sellers if the meters said "Made in USA" on the back.  Plus, these are the newest ones, and the least likely to be obtained cheaply.

I too would like to see pictures of thousands of 73-IIIs - I can't even muster 5 of them.  Heck,  I have "merely" several tens of 70-series, just about every type but there may be some holes.

You say there is a Chinese made 76?  I didn't think Fluke made that model that long.
 

Offline ModemHead

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 12:32:39 am »
Yep, the plastic molding and texture is definitely made to closely resemble the earlier style.  In any case, I think the 'beveled' input jacks is a quick way to spot the latest-made units.

...
You say there is a Chinese made 76?  I didn't think Fluke made that model that long.
Oops,  I didn't mean to imply that.  I have two 76 units, one older, one newer.  Both have 'Made in USA' on the back.  The oldest has a label, the newest has the screen-printed front.  Same situation with my two 73-III models, except that the newer one is made in China.  And that's the only Chinese-made 70-series that I've ever seen.  I was a bit surprised when I got it.  But I see no quality issues with it, other than the worn graphics on the front.

And count me in on the one thousand 73-III pix...
 

Offline T4P

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 06:33:12 am »
1000 at a go ... probably not  :( I can at most show 20-40 or so  :(
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 06:56:18 am »
1000 at a go ... probably not  :( I can at most show 20-40 or so  :(
Since you have access to a lot of Fluke 70 series multimeters, can I ask you a question about the feel of its range switch?

Do most of them, after a lot of use, still "hard click/clack" like a Fluke 170 or Fluke 80 series?

I have a 25+ year old Fluke 75 and Fluke 77 II and both range switches feel like "mush".  They don't click/clack like a Fluke 170/80 series.  Instead they slide into their position and can be "over/under rotated" or put in the middle between two settings.

I thought it was characteristic of that generation until I recently bought a newish, but still used Fluke 21.  I couldn't believe it when it clicked/clacked.

I tried to take apart the Fluke 77 II range switch as the service manual shows it breaks into 4 parts (MP23, MP25, S2, and MP24).  Some close examination of MP25 shows that the outer plastic ring might be worn or not springing back like new which might explain the mushiness.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2012, 07:12:02 am »
They feel robust in the beginning but after some abuse they start to feel awful like "TICKKKKKKKK!TARKKKKK!TARKKKK!" Very awful.
And then sometimes the range switch feels like it's punching the board, the meters i have seen doing that are cheap crap meters
But it's never possible to switch "in between" the only meter i have that does that is the UT10A
BTW, they are all about 15 years old i think
PS: That's why i say the UT61E feels more robust just purely because that range switch feels very good, plus the case doesn't creak-krak when you twist it, as dave showed UNLIKE the 2709 ( was it? I can never remember BK model numbers )
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2012, 07:53:10 am »
BTW, they are all about 15 years old i think
May I ask what the Flukes are used for at work?  Even though the 2 I have are probably 10 years older, they probably haven't seen 1/20th of the use compared to the 1000s that you have access to?

After 15 years and potentially tens of thousands of rotary turns, I think that is pretty yeoman service.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2012, 07:58:06 am »
Not exactly where you expect them to be at "work" actually it's the college i'm attending ...
After 15 years and potentially tens of thousands of rotary turns, I think that is pretty yeoman service.
Yeah, thousands of turns by (mostly) idiotic students
 

Offline ModemHead

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2012, 07:14:25 pm »
...  Here's what I could drum up.   It would be interesting to see where the models were made for the serial numbers in question.

In 1995

http://www.stephstuff.com/esafe/bulletins/flukeDMMwarn.htm

In 1998

http://web.archive.org/web/20060316143749/http://us.fluke.com/usen/support/safetynote/IMPORTANTSAFETYINFORMATION.htm
Thanks for digging that up.  I have only one data point to report, a 23-II whose SN matches the 1995 bulletin.  It has 'Made in USA' on the back.

The second bulletin is confusing because it mentions a range switch fault, but there's at least two models in the list that would have a radically different range switch design than the others.  [Strike that, I just looked and it may be similar after all.]  Anyway, I have no SNs that match for that one.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 07:21:37 pm by ModemHead »
 

Offline T4P

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 06:47:35 pm »


Check out the dissapointing 630mA fuse lol
 

Offline jeroen74

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 10:01:38 pm »
I have a SM-77 from 'Heath by Fluke' and it was made in the USA.
 

Offline Excavatoree

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Re: I thought all Fluke 70 series were Made in USA?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2012, 02:42:03 am »
I have a SM-77 from 'Heath by Fluke' and it was made in the USA.

I still need to get one of those for my collection.  I've got 70 series labeled "Square D,"  "Pacific Bell,"   and the ubiquitous "Lincoln Tech" and "Matco."

I've got three versions of Pac Bell - Green/grey holster,  Series 2 with decal, and Series 2 with paint.  I didn't realize they made 23-IIs with painted fronts.   Apparently, the switch to painted fronts precedes the switch to  manufacture in  China.

Thanks to ModemHead for the tip about the painted fronts.
 


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