Author Topic: Would you buy this?  (Read 4727 times)

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Offline IO390

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Would you buy this?
« on: June 30, 2014, 06:45:04 pm »
Hi

So for my college project, I've kept things simple and gone for an analogue ohm meter.



It's got six ranges - 10R to 1M. The precision is as good as I could get (within the width of the needle). It's a constant current source design so it doesn't need calibration every time it's used.

Unfortunately, the project has to be 90% BS paperwork (you can actually get away with not building anything at all), and I need to do some market research for my meter.

Basically if you have the time, I'm wondering if you could post here and let me know if you would ever buy something like this, and if yes, how much you would spend. Could you also let me know if you are a hobbyist or if you work in industry etc...

In case you were wondering, I built this because I can only afford a crappy multimeter at the moment, and checking resistor values with it's slow, sticky auto ranging (VC99s don't work so well after a month or two apparently). Having this on the bench is good as it's much nicer to use for quick checks and so on.

Any replies are appreciated. Thanks.
 

Online Flump

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 07:02:49 pm »
I really like the look of that , proper home brew :)

would I buy it ?
Yes but only because I like all kinds of test gear
for resistance readings i prefer digital auto ranging meters.

how much would I pay ?
not much, as i dont need it but say around
£10 as the meter itself would be around £5
and there will be other usefull parts in it.

can we see a pic of the insides ?
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 07:31:25 pm »
To sell something in this modern world, you need a 'hook'. A 'new' analogue meter would have to offer something more than the cheap Chinese meters that can be bought.

I regret that a resistance measuring meter is unlikely to cause much excitement unless it was specialised in some way, such as a very high level of accuracy, 4 wire measurement, data logging and capable of in circuit measurement without biasing semiconductor junctions. With regret, I must advise that an analogue meter such as you have built does not offer such 'hooks'.

The other market that such a meter design could feed, would be the very high quality hand made test equipment arena. This would be where people buy a unit as a beautiful piece of engineering rather than to use it !  To qualify, the meter would have to be hand built from the highest quality components. It would need to be a thing of engineering beauty.

What you have produced is a practical piece of simple test equipment that meets your needs (your college project) but that is unlikely to find a market in its present form or function. The Chinese are mass producing equipment of decent quality as crazy low prices.....welcome to the challenge that faces most Western manufacturers ! The electronics world has come to expect great advances in test equipment, mostly driven by advancements in semiconductor based technology. The old and venerable AVO multi-meter that contained only resistors and a few diodes is little more than a Museum piece to many. I still own one though !

IMHO.....your project could take the angle that no matter what is produced by hand, it will likely be overshadowed by modern mass production techniques unless it has a very specific audience or attractive feature ....the 'hook'.  You should also consider how a manufacturer decides to invest its funds in R&D. It will often look for a hole in the market, a device that does not already exist or one that may be built better or cheaper than the competition. It is also a good idea to NOT build a solution and then go looking for a problem that it can solve ! 'Cart before horse' syndrome that many inventors fall foul of. Good market research identifies a potential customer base.

Background.... Ex Merchant Marine Radio Officer, 25 Years in the electronics and communications industry + Electronics hobbyist. Pessimist and Perfectionist  ;)

Would I buy your meter. No. Reasons - no different features to what is offered elsewhere by named brands, inadequate meter, Ranges very limited, It looks DIY rather than high quality and exclusive. Sorry if this sounds a little harsh but I believe this is how the marketplace will generally view such an item. Take a look at the modern analogue multi-meter offerings.....they are either cheap and nasty or of decent quality and impressive in features. Anything else is likely to fail.

Aurora
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 07:44:53 pm by Aurora »
 

Offline 22swg

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 07:37:07 pm »
You did a good job with the construction and I guess you learned stuff on the way, sorry would not buy, but that's not to say there could be a limited market for it.  perhaps add L and C to the design.
Check your tongue, your belly and your lust. Better to enjoy someone else’s madness.
 

Offline Rory

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 07:56:16 pm »
I suppose if you chrome plated or polished the chassis, hung a couple of gold plated binding posts off the top and replaced the meter scale card with a custom print featuring your brand name, you could market it to audiophiles as a "speaker cable tester". 

Seriously speaking though, I believe that if you're going to sell something in other than one offs in hardened industrial or hobbyist markets you won't be able to get away without a custom molded enclosure with a form factor that mimics other equipment with the same or similar function.

Looking at your design from a user standpoint, is it a piece of bench equipment? Or is it meant for field use? Is it rugged enough to drop on the floor without destroying it?  If it's meant for bench duty, why are the jacks on the side instead of the front or the rear, so you can put it alongside other equipment on the bench, and use it without taking it down off the shelf? 

As earlier posters said, there is very little market for a single purpose analog ohmmeter when there is a plethora of versatile multimeters already on the market with much greater resolution and accuracy.

Professional, 30yrs + in the industry. Would not buy. Sorry.
 

Offline IO390

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 08:26:20 pm »
Thanks for all the quick replies.

Yes, I'm well aware that it really isn't commercially viable. I've basically got to BS as much as I can about how a product like this could, theoretically (in another dimension I suppose) be sold.

That being said, you have all posted stuff that will really help in the project writeup, so thanks.

Flump - here is the Imgur album: http://imgur.com/a/R2LEu

Aurora - Thanks for mentioning the fancy test equipment market - more stuff to add! And yes, my meter never would be able to compete with the Chinese stuff... The BOM was about 40 quid. Also yes it's too simple to be sold. I wanted to make something more complex but there's not enough time on the course sadly.

22swg - One of my personal projects at the moment is designing an auto ranging version of this meter, completely analogue ofc. I also want to add L and C functions as you suggested. It would make for a far more usable meter.

Rory - Would this be sufficient? http://tinyurl.com/ptr9sp3 It's meant to be bench mounted. I ended up not planning the spacing inside properly, so I ran out of room for the jacks to go on the front/back of the meter.

Thanks again for the help.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 08:38:17 pm »
I'm afraid I can only back up what others have said; it's not a commercial product.

Measuring resistance is a commodity function, every multimeter ever made can do it*. I can pick up a meter with any number of virtues - small size, superlative accuracy, extreme ruggedness, low cost... whatever is important to me, there's already a meter out there that does it well. A box that's clearly DIY doesn't add anything.

I have, however, seen instruments which look like this used in labs, to perform measurement functions that are much less readily available. They're highly specialised, and that's why they're built as needed by the people who will use them.

For example, if it measured the 'Q' of a coil connected between its terminals, then that would be interesting. Maybe it could measure frequency response, or insertion loss, or THD. Anything, really, provided it's something rarely included on an off-the-shelf multimeter.

For measuring resistance, though, the no-name '830' meter I've had in my toolbox since I was a student really does work well enough in most cases. More often I use my Fluke 89-IV because - well, given the choice you just would, wouldn't you? - and if I need accuracy I have a Keithley 2000 which supports 4 wire measurements.

I can't think of any reason why I'd ever use - let alone buy - a tool with just one function that's already done extremely well by other, more general purpose lab instruments, sorry.

(Professional engineer)


*pedants who can think of a meter which doesn't, need not bother.

Online Fraser

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 08:47:04 pm »
@ IO390,

Nice construction  :)

Love the cute kitty kat  ;)

Aurora
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2014, 09:01:17 pm »
It needs a high current low resistance mode, then it might be worth £50-00 or more dressed up in a swanky looking case.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2014, 09:20:22 pm »
Yes, I'm well aware that it really isn't commercially viable. I've basically got to BS as much as I can about how a product like this could, theoretically (in another dimension I suppose) be sold.

Then write some BS about the education and DIY kit market. A bare-bone resistance meter for teaching the buyer/builder the fundamentals of resistor measurement, a current source, Ohm's law and the almost forgotten technique of analog meters. Bla, bla, bla.
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Offline dannyf

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2014, 09:35:06 pm »
-It's got six ranges - 10R to 1M.-

I wouldn't - it doesn't offer sufficient value over a regular multi meter.

a milliohm meter on the other hand may be sufficiently attractive.
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Offline zapta

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2014, 09:37:12 pm »
I wouldn't  buy it because I prefer DMM's.

As for writeup ideas, you can sell it to the education market (e.g. science demos in front of a class high schoolers) or repurpose it into an E meter. ;-)
Drain the swamp.
 

Online Fraser

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2014, 10:32:12 pm »
Ahhhh the milliohm meter ....now that would have been a useful item........

Many years ago a company called Polar produced the ToneOhm milliohmmeter. It was used for finding the location of short circuits on PCB's. The indication of resistance was a small meter and tone that changed pitch with resistance. I have several ToneOhm's but they are the later digital display type. the original was a simple analogue affair.

In my experience a decent milliohm meter like the ToneOhm has much to offer and is a rarity. Prices for such instruments are high. You could almost do a paper on why a standard resistance meter (like the one you built) is not in demand, yet another device that measures very small resistances is  ;)

Do some Googling on ToneOhm and you should find data on the units and how they work. Recent models are more advanced with inductive tracing added to the mix.

Aurora
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 09:37:29 am by Aurora »
 

Offline Stonent

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2014, 12:00:24 am »
I'd copy the label and change the uA to Ohms but not bad.
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Offline SirNick

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2014, 06:35:32 pm »
Neat build.  Respect.  :)

As I understand you're asking for a market study project, I will not sugar-coat this:  It's not something I would buy as I could build it myself if I really wanted a standalone analog meter, there isn't anything unique about it that would require me to buy it pre-made, I already have tools that perform this function, and I have no flat surfaces without stuff on them so a physically large tool that can be made smaller is of little value.

Not much that hasn't been said before, but I would like to second the idea that, for market-study purposes, you might gain traction in the kit market.  "Makers!  Build your own analog resistance meter.  Full BOM and case sold here..."  The OSHW / Maker crowd is overflowing with stuff like this, presumably because there are plenty of folks who like the idea of building stuff from scratch, but don't have the engineering chops / time / patience / motivation / etc. to design it.
 

Offline Po6ept

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2014, 06:59:00 pm »
The only benefit of an analog meter over digital (that I can think of) is for aligning RF and IF circuits in older radios, where it helps to actually see a peak or null.  This assumes a meter with a high input impedance.

It's a nice looking meter though and you can be happy with the result.  As for the writeup, I second the motion of writing it up as a potential kit with appeal for the "maker market".
 

Offline Dave Turner

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2014, 07:13:27 pm »
I agree with the other comments made but would add that for those who cannot afford ready built gear, but that can obtain recycled components the schematic and the reasoning behind it can be useful for the newer players. Perhaps a new forum category might have some value for such projects.
 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2014, 04:03:14 am »
One application where a moving coil meter really beats a digital display, is for watching slow variations over time.
With voltage there are many such cases, but with resistance... um, how about:
 - Observing a light dependent resistor value.
 - Looking at wiring harness and connector resistances, while wiggling things looking for a poor contact.

Which is not to say that a 'scope and current source couldn't achieve the same thing, but your meter is nice and simple.

Your build is neat. For some reason I don't think it ever occurred to me to orient those diecast boxes with the lid on the bottom. It's a good idea, except that then it's necessary to mount internal spacers to the case with glue as you have. I think I'd have mounted the PCB to the lid still, and had longer wires to the case-mounted parts.
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Offline JonnyBoats

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Re: Would you buy this?
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2014, 05:14:43 am »
Your current design has several "advantages" over a mass-produced Chinese meter:

1) Made in UK - there are many people who prefer to purchase a domestically produced product.

2) Open source - presumably you would include a schematic and a bill of material so that the purchaser could repair the product if a problem occurs. Lack of schematics and use of hard to find parts is a big complaint is a big complaint about many commercial products.

3) ROHS? - Do you use lead solder (or could you)? For high reliability applications lead free (and tin whiskers) is a big problem.

4) Bomb proof case - that looks like an extremely rugged case - would it contain a component "explosion" if an over voltage is applied?

5) Well shielded - Once again that case looks extremely well shielded. Does it outperform standard (like a Fluke) meter in high RF environments?

The point here is that while you probably don't have a mass market product, it may have appeal in certain niche markets.
 


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