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Simon:
I was thinking, Dave does a great job of reviewing stuff but well he is a one man band and has limited resources. Would he consider creating some sort of "database" where forum members could post (possibly passing through an approval process by dave) written reviews of products they have bought, for example if someone buys a really good or crap peice of equipment they can share it saving dave from buying it again and reviewing it again. for example that Fluke 17B look alike cheap meter on ebay (that Dave is putting into the meter shootout review) I already have one and i know dave will call it garbage, I could have written a few words on it long ago to warn people away from it, particularly as it actually costs what the amprobe AM220 costs !

Any thoughts ?

Kiriakos-GR:

--- Quote from: Simon on April 07, 2010, 07:52:35 pm ---Any thoughts ?

--- End quote ---

Plenty ..

I am  25 years in the field doing repairs , always used  low priced multi-meters .

I got my first  " Digital "  at 1991 ( Big one ) , still have it alive and kicking.
Got my second  (smaller ) few years later ,  for my portable toolbox , still have it .

In our school , we had learned , the basic principals , of  multi meters , and single ones,
and every one, trained technician , knows to evaluate one meter ..  

http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/4939/p4070069.jpg

http://img594.imageshack.us/img594/7610/p4070070.jpg

Those "tools" , thats what they are , they had do thousands of measurements ,
they never got  " Calibrated " ....

" Calibrated " =  " the new myth " that I am reading in everything has the tag " FLUKE " ..
As a " Must do " .
Calibration was needed on the old analog ones , because the meter was mechanical ,
and could easily damaged , in a crash ...
Any respected analog multimeter , uses film metal resistors .
The most accurate design in the planet , discovered  30 or 40 years back .
 

Multi-meters  are one over explored subject ,  at the previews 2 decades .  

Industrial use .. separates the average ones , from the top , but who needs industrial type  devices  any way ?  
Only the  3% of the market segment ...

Reviews ... I like them to watch , but on subjects , not familiar to my .
Reviews ... I do not trust them .

I have my opinion for anything I use , because I am well trained .

Brand loyalty ... I do not have ..  

Products - tools :  every large supplier  builds large catalogs , with pictures and text about anything.
I do not need Internet to teach me , what to buy .  
Other than  ebay , to buy cheaply , second hand stuff .

What the forum needs , its not reviews , but simple guides for the hobbyists in electronics ,
so to get some help , so to find their way , on how to select an instrument , for their needs ..

There is about  50 brands who builds respectable products for measurements  , and so far , I have see just two to dominate the scene in this forum .

I am not going to become part of any fun-club , related to brand loyalty .

Thats my thoughts  ,  described by a limited way , due the language barrier.  

  

PS : what I expect from this forum , are to be a place , that we can all meet ,
and in positive spirit , to exchange  freely  our  experiences ..  
I noticed that some people are afraid to post , because they think that their opinion , right or mistaken , it will receive  criticism , from the knowledgeable ones ..

Well what I need , its a family spirit , lots of jokes , and new friends .
Electronics its our common point , but not the center of the universe .  

 

PetrosA:
Kyriakos,

I agree that ideally, the user should be able to "review" his or her own meter. I think part of the problem nowadays has to do with the export of so much production to Asia and branding the same meters/housings by different companies.

To understand my choices, you should know that I'm an electrician, not an electronics type. I recently bought a new Agilent clamp meter made in Malaysia. They make three models ranging in price from $250-$350 US. Intense research led me to an almost exact replica made a few years ago by Amprobe. The first question that came to me was "Is this the same damn meter that Amprobe stopped selling?" The two look almost exactly the same, prices are similar, and feature sets are similar as well. There are some differences in what's shown on the display. So is Agilent just rebranding some junk that another company felt was out of date three years ago or am I really getting an Agilent meter on the inside? Based on certain performance similarities to the U1253A that Dave reviewed, I'm convinced I have a real Agilent :)

A very real concern for me is CAT II, III or IV ratings. Experience has proved that low end brands may claim a rating that doesn't really match up to the specs. Fuses, build etc. are all very important things to see and you can't take a meter apart in the store to check it ;)

Accuracy and repeatability are paramount. I don't need calibration per se, but I admit that a certificate provided with my meter makes me feel better. My work sometimes involves troubleshooting wiring, systems or equipment that may cost a customer or the electric company thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to fix/replace. My last meter, and Extech 830 was not cheap, but readings seemed at times to be all over the place. Useless.

I think ultimately access to quality, balanced reviews is invaluable since I simply can't afford to buy thousands of dollars worth of test equipment to figure it out on my own :)

Simon:
I think that as a quality inspector I have to clear up a little confusion here over calibration. In my line of work which involves mostly mechanical measurements as I work for an engineering company so it may not be the same for electronics / electrical test equipment by calibration we intend sending something away to be checked only and have it back with a pass or fail certificate. The idea of calibration for us is not to correct but to obtain assurance from qualified testers that the equipment is still working correctly.

I do not care either for brands but look what happened when I bought an unbranded meter: it is garbage it was made to make money for the manufacturer regardless of whether or not it was a usable product.

But this is getting off topic now I was not intending to discuss multimeters

PetrosA:

--- Quote from: Simon on April 08, 2010, 06:54:13 am ---I think that as a quality inspector I have to clear up a little confusion here over calibration. In my line of work which involves mostly mechanical measurements as I work for an engineering company so it may not be the same for electronics / electrical test equipment by calibration we intend sending something away to be checked only and have it back with a pass or fail certificate. The idea of calibration for us is not to correct but to obtain assurance from qualified testers that the equipment is still working correctly.

I do not care either for brands but look what happened when I bought an unbranded meter: it is garbage it was made to make money for the manufacturer regardless of whether or not it was a usable product.

But this is getting off topic now I was not intending to discuss multimeters

--- End quote ---

Simon, I think your point applies to DMMs as well. As far as I know a NIST type calibration certificate is only intended to show changes over time (drift). Meters are not the same as printers and monitors and as such the term "calibration" is a bit of a misnomer. Some can be calibrated (even by the user) to show a specific reading accurately but that doesn't guarantee its accuracy across the entire range. "Certification (of calibration)" might be a better word/phrase to use since the results  are more of a PASS/FAIL indication of minimum specs like you'd have with a CAT 5 network installation.

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