Author Topic: Which multimeter to buy?  (Read 20372 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline x0170Topic starter

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 5
Which multimeter to buy?
« on: June 16, 2010, 10:42:53 am »
Hi.

I already have a hand-multimeter but this piece of shit only got a usage time of <3h until the batteries are empty. I bought it on ebay because it was the only multimeter that has a 200khz oszilloscope in it and except of the battery problem it is a great product. (voltcraft gdm 704)
But now I want a new one. Which would you recommend? My criterias are:
-not to expensive <200€ (250$)
-R, C, V=~, A=~ measurement
-good measurement resolution, perhaps µV and µA if there is a multimeter that is able to do this in this price category
-diode tester, accustic sort-circuit measurement
-temperature measurement would be nice too

I heard heard of multimeters which can only measure 50Hz/60Hz AC signals, that's not what i need. I need a multimeter that can measure AC signals up to "high" frequencies (just 20MHz or something like that). Perhaps there is one that shows the measured frequency on its display?

Thanks so far. Greets.
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 01:57:08 pm »
i never saw a DMM that can measure uV.

This one does ..  at the scale of 75 mV , you can see uV in hundreds .
And with the Fluke 87-5  , in tens ,  with one digit more I could possibly see single uV .

But who cares about such low voltage ..    


 

alm

  • Guest
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 03:40:39 pm »
Plenty of 5.5+ digit bench DMM's that have a resolution of 1uV or better, although not necessarily the accuracy down to 1uV. Many are available for <$250 used, but usually lack features like temperature and continuity. The Keithley 177 is even called microvolt DMM. It's only 4.5 digit, but the lowest range is 20mV. Your test setup (eg. inductive pickup, thermocouple effects) will get pretty important at those low levels.

Many DMM's will go down to the uA range, even hand-helds.
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2010, 12:35:40 am »
pretty nice classic :)


The only thing that I can say , are that I got truly lucky , by getting at 2010 ,
an used  80s model , that still was by far, ahead of it "time " .. 

And as time , we count the completeness about features .

If the Uni-T 71 was build at 90s ,  it would be called as spaceship ..  ;D

After all this time , with all my multimeters at hand,
the only true practical advantages of the Fluke 87-5 against the pack,
are the display speed - True RMS - more resolution .     
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 37584
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 12:48:42 am »
I already have a hand-multimeter but this piece of shit only got a usage time of <3h until the batteries are empty. I bought it on ebay because it was the only multimeter that has a 200khz oszilloscope in it and except of the battery problem it is a great product. (voltcraft gdm 704)
But now I want a new one. Which would you recommend? My criterias are:
-not to expensive <200€ (250$)
-R, C, V=~, A=~ measurement
-good measurement resolution, perhaps µV and µA if there is a multimeter that is able to do this in this price category
-diode tester, accustic sort-circuit measurement
-temperature measurement would be nice too

Almost ant decent DMM over the $100 mark will do tall that, except the uV thing (why do you need that?). They all do 0.1uA resolution on current, more for a 4.5digit DMM. You can get 10uV resolution on a 4.5 digit meter on the 200mV range.

Quote
I heard heard of multimeters which can only measure 50Hz/60Hz AC signals, that's not what i need. I need a multimeter that can measure AC signals up to "high" frequencies (just 20MHz or something like that). Perhaps there is one that shows the measured frequency on its display?

You seem to be confusing frequency measurement and actual signal amplitude measurement. And/or confusing it with an oscilloscope.
There are no meters that only read 50/60Hz, they all do at least 400Hz bandwith, and the more expensive ones might do up to say 100KHz. You generally need an oscilloscope to measure higher AC bandwidth than that.
Actual frequency measurement is another function entirely, and many meters can do 10's of MHz.

Dave.
 

Offline x0170Topic starter

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 5
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 09:06:48 am by x0170 »
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2010, 09:50:39 am »
hmmm. very similar design to Uni-T UT71 series (body, lcd display etc)... another copycat i think. so who's copying who?


 ;D  ;D  ;D

It is one Uni-T unit ,  under the Brand  of  an Major  "electronic devices supplier"  in Germany ..

Its an Honor for the Uni-T , that their products travels even by that way on the German market !!

Only quality items , get as re-branded , at the German market , that has the most regulations world wide about safety and quality , about anything imported ..

The price looks a bit high , but still looks good , as the warranty plan will be 2 years minimum.    
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 09:54:11 am by Kiriakos-GR »
 

alm

  • Guest
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2010, 10:24:38 am »
Voltcraft isn't exactly known as a quality brand, their stuff is usually cheap and sort of works... for a while. There are some exceptions, but I wouldn't consider the fact that the product is sold under the Voltcraft brand a sign of good quality.
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2010, 10:37:52 am »
Voltcraft isn't exactly known as a quality brand

Are you again speaking about 80s  ?  if not  I demand true examples - proofs ..

For the history ...  Voltcraft become known to me, by their own High-Tech Nimi chargers ...
They had stop doing their own stuff at list for 15 years .
Now days  (2000 2010)  they work as middle man , between  East market and Germany.

Lots of products , at any price range .... and the specific one , its not cheap either ..

I bet that this one , has even better quality of leads at least .  
Not to say , that the wacky Germans , they ask even more features from the standard model ,
so to have an advantage when it will be marketed ..    



« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 10:41:57 am by Kiriakos-GR »
 

Offline Simon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 17688
  • Country: gb
  • Did that just blow up? No? might work after all !!
    • Simon's Electronics
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2010, 11:49:24 am »
If your looking for a good general purpose meter with all the functions you want get an amprobe AM220
 

alm

  • Guest
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2010, 12:17:55 pm »
Are you again speaking about 80s  ?
No, I don't usually talk about the past in present tense.

if not  I demand true examples - proofs ..
In what position are you to make demands? We both express our opinions, no need to fight about it. Mine is based on my own experiences and the experience of various other people I know with Voltcraft equipment, and I have no desire to attempt to convince you of my opinion.
 

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4787
  • Country: us
  • Doveryai, no proveryai
    • NIST
Voltcraft was Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2010, 04:09:41 pm »
Don't know them at all but it seems they are mostly distributor and re-brander, and I presume they evaluate their products to meet German safety regulations.  So given this, I would presume the Uni-T DMM are treated similarly.  Here are samples of their product line other than the DMMs.




In the US, sold as the La Crosse charger



was the B&K Precision model line 1870/5, still sold as brands by RSR, Reed or Lutron


« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 04:29:21 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Voltcraft was Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2010, 07:52:01 pm »
In the US, sold as the La Crosse charger

This one are truly an La Chinas .. big failure ...   ;D
I found it marketed under  6 brands , and the unfortunate part , is that it explodes ..

Thats why I become true fun of the latest Ansmann chargers, and battery stations & battery testers.  ( they do their own R&D and they do the manufacturing in China, but at list they use their own original ideas )  

Voltcraft had build at the far past one Nimi 4 channel charger with for lines LCD - and processor running linux , able to charge - discharge - running maintenance cycles , with active coolers , with serial port ,
With extra supplied software , and the device had a cost as 200 Euros , and the cost of  PC software was extra .  
Shape like a round spaceship ..  { True European technology but at a cost }

If the modern Voltcraft , has partners like the Uni-T , has nothing to fear at all .
They will gain lots of market share, and lots of cash ..  


    

 

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4787
  • Country: us
  • Doveryai, no proveryai
    • NIST
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2010, 08:02:13 pm »
That's why you still have to be careful about people who simply brand products, you hope they do their work for safety; but the unit that was tested could differ from the production units, as in the case of this La Crosse charger.  Since the reported burning of this model charger, I think the problem was fixed.  

FWIW, there are other makers who do not have such a reputation, it works safely from day #1, and they make, design and sell their own product, such as Maha Powerex c9000, in the USA market.

In multimeters, I think my friend, you know what I would say  :D

In the US, sold as the La Crosse charger

This one are truly an La Chinas .. big failure ...   ;D
I found it marketed under  6 brands , and the unfortunate part , is that it explodes ..

Thats why I become true fun of the latest Ansmann chargers, and battery stations & battery testers.  ( they do their own R&D and they do the manufacturing in China, but at list they use their own original ideas )  

Voltcraft had build at the far past one Nimi 4 channel charger with for lines LCD - and processor running linux , able to charge - discharge - running maintenance cycles , with active coolers , with serial port ,
With extra supplied software , and the device had a cost as 200 Euros , and the cost of  PC software was extra .  
Shape like a round spaceship ..  { True European technology but at a cost }

If the modern Voltcraft , has partners like the Uni-T , has nothing to fear at all .
They will gain lots of market share, and lots of cash ..  


    


Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2010, 08:40:56 pm »
In multimeters, I think my friend, you know what I would say  :D


 ;D  ;D 

My kingdom are truly democratic and Universal ...  ;)

 
 

Online Mechatrommer

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 11432
  • Country: my
  • reassessing directives...
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2010, 08:58:25 pm »
now everybody's talking even the charger. eventually as i'm typing right now, i have my MAHA maintaining my nearly dead cells. MH-C801D 8 independent cells n lcd 1 hour aa/aaa battery charger. charge soft n rapid, maintenance/discharge-charge cycle. next is my older energizer charger, just finished charging my other batteries. The MAHA one cost less than $100, IIRC.
Nature: Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness (Stephen L. Talbott): Its now indisputable that... organisms “expertise” contextualizes its genome, and its nonsense to say that these powers are under the control of the genome being contextualized - Barbara McClintock
 

alm

  • Guest
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2010, 10:13:38 pm »
I like both Maha and Ansmann chargers :). The Maha is more fun for the geek in me, since it can display total capacity and has various programs, as opposed to indicating dead/charging/charged. But both seem to charge just fine. The Maha is a bit more picky about dodgy batteries. I chose the Maha over the Lacrosse because of reliability issues at that time (might have been the fire issue).

I didn't mean to imply that all Voltcraft products are bad, as usual with these companies that slap their own label on Chinese stuff, it's hit or miss. I'm sure they are lucky part of the time. My experience (and the experiences of other people I know with Voltcraft test equipment) is that it's usually big on shiny features, but not so great for real-world use. For example, a scope that goes down to 2mV/div, but produces so much noise that it's hard to discern any signal at those levels. Might as well not have those low ranges.

Another example is a 4-in-1 function generator/frequency counter/power supply/DMM unit that I got cheap used. The function generator is usable, although the pots feel lousy compared to Tek and HP/Agilent stuff. The specified range is 10MHz, but you won't get anything resembling a square or triangular wave anywhere near that frequency. The amplitude varies a lot with frequency. The frequency counter seems fine, but I'm not big on RF, so I rarely need accurate frequency measurement. The power supply is a standard LM723 design, which drifts a lot, and the multi-turn pot skips certain values (I believe I have a hard time setting anything between 1.0V and 1.7V). The cooling is badly thought out: the power supply is cooled by a heat sink on the back of the unit. There's also a loud fan, but that's only to cool the power supply for the frequency counter/function generator. Those can be switched separately, but the fan is always on full power, even when they're switched off. The DMM takes multiple seconds to decide on a value, the continuity test takes like three seconds to decide that I shorted the probes. It has several features like relative measurements, min/max/average and data hold, but the interface is so bad, that I rarely bother to use them. Plus it runs from a 9V battery, even though it's a huge 30lbs unit that's definitely for bench use. This means that I sometimes have to change the battery (on the back behind my other equipment). It should have been line powered like the rest.

It's OK for the price, but I wouldn't consider it high quality. They may re-badge some good stuff, but I wouldn't consider the fact that they slapped their name on it a sign of quality.
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2010, 10:49:10 pm »
alm  start thinking by the  today status , fresh new products of 2008 - 2010 ...

If I was had buy an older  Fluke 87 that the fresh 87-5 ,
I would had, by far , more reasons to nag for it ..   :D
« Last Edit: June 17, 2010, 10:51:00 pm by Kiriakos-GR »
 

alm

  • Guest
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2010, 11:10:42 pm »
Actually I don't think the difference between the Fluke 87 and 87-5 is that large, main problem with the original 87 is the LCD reliability issue (which is well documented and easy to fix), no real usability, performance or safety issues as fas as I know.

I'm sure not all of the current Voltcraft products are bad, but their certainly don't have a proven track record of good quality either. So if they put their name on something, it's much less convincing than when Agilent does the same. But vendors don't send me free equipment, so I don't really see the point of buying Voltcraft stuff when other alternatives are available. Why buy a Voltcraft DMM instead of a used Fluke or brands like Extech or even directly from Uni-T? Why buy a Voltcraft charger instead of Ansmann or Maha, or just directly from Lacrosse? Conrad often seems to have trouble telling a transistor and toaster apart, so I doubt that you'll get great support.
 

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4787
  • Country: us
  • Doveryai, no proveryai
    • NIST
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2010, 12:44:48 am »
Since there are 4 older generations of the 87 series, what specific difference you get will differ according to what series.  The general specs are nearly identical for over 20 years.  I have an 85 series one.

At one point, the calibration adjustment became external, while the series one still has screw pots

the older holsters are better, they are all rubber, and the stand has an internal wire frame that can be bent so it acts like a hook to hold onto doors etc.,

the series 1 is not officially CAT rated, since it was around before the CAT rating was invented

the newer LCD are slightly larger

older models have no backlights

the battery in older series and fuse compartment did not have their own external compartments, but were was still inside the case




Actually I don't think the difference between the Fluke 87 and 87-5 is that large, main problem with the original 87 is the LCD reliability issue (which is well documented and easy to fix), no real usability, performance or safety issues as fas as I know.


« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 02:36:42 am by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline MrPlacid

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 277
  • Country: us
  • Hobby Hobbyist
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2010, 01:19:06 am »
the battery and fuse compartment did not have their own external compartments, but were still inside the case

Is the 87v the latest model multimeter? The fuse compartment for that unit isn't external. I don't mind the fuse being internal as I hopefully wont be changing it as often as the battery. Hopefully, I won't be changing it at all.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 01:23:20 am by MrPlacid »
 

Offline saturation

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4787
  • Country: us
  • Doveryai, no proveryai
    • NIST
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2010, 02:33:25 am »
My mistake, you folks are right. I got it confused with the 28II. There is no separate fuse external compartment on the 87V.

the battery and fuse compartment did not have their own external compartments, but were still inside the case

Is the 87v the latest model multimeter? The fuse compartment for that unit isn't external. I don't mind the fuse being internal as I hopefully wont be changing it as often as the battery. Hopefully, I won't be changing it at all.
same here... with the fuse
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • !
  • Posts: 3525
  • Country: gr
  • User is banned.
    • Honda AX-1 rebuild
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2010, 01:10:48 pm »
The Fluke 87 link ,  it will refresh the memories ..

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=354.0
 

Offline x0170Topic starter

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 5
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2010, 01:46:22 pm »
So I bought the Voltcraft VC 920 and I am quite satisfied with it yet. I still need to test the batterylife but the measurement performance seems to be very good. The only disadvantage I found till now is that it can measure temperature up to 1000°C but the temperature sensor is only heat resistant to 125°C.
Is there anyway to get a sensor that can measure higher temperatures? What about compatibility of thouse sensors, how do they work? Can I built one by myself?

Don't say that I sould buy an Infrared Thermometer. I already own such a thing but sometimes its better to touch things like chips than aiming on them with a laser beam. Coffee makes my hands shiver so its hard to measure temperatures of tiny chips with this thing.
 

alm

  • Guest
Re: Which multimeter to buy?
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2010, 02:01:31 pm »
The temperature sensor is probably a type K thermocouple, check the manual to be sure. Does it have dual banana connectors or the standard thermocouple adapter with two flat pins? Most thermocouples have the latter, but there are adapters or thermocouples with banana jacks (Fluke makes one, I'm sure there are cheaper ones).

I think most cheap thermocouple go up to 300 degC or so, but they are available for up to about 1200 degC.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf