Author Topic: Oooh, I got a free multimeter  (Read 14814 times)

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Offline slburris

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Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« on: October 22, 2010, 09:20:00 pm »
I recently placed an order with Circuit Specialists, and they send you a free gift
if your order is over $50, so I selected the free multimeter:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/8883

So let's see what we got.  I comes in a very nondescript box labeled
"Digital Multimeter".  Looking inside, we see the multimeter itself, probes,
what looks like a temperature probe, and some rectangular thingy with two
probes sticking out.  Hmm, haven't see this before.





Next up is a close up of the multimeter.  It's manual ranging, and claims to
be 1000v Cat I and 600V Cat II.  Although it is has circuitspecialists.com
written on it, it's also labeled MS8264 which leads me to believe that the
OEM is Mastech:

http://www.p-mastech.com/products/04_dm/ms8264.html

But Mastech's site says it's 1000V Cat II and 600V Cat III.  Hmm....



Now a closeup of the rectangular thing which is an adapter for capacitance,
temperature, and Hfe.  Yes, I know I have it plugged in incorrectly.



Scott
« Last Edit: October 22, 2010, 10:17:36 pm by slburris »
 

Offline migsantiago

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2010, 09:29:31 pm »
Gratz man!  ;)
 

Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2010, 10:24:09 pm »
Now a look at the business end of the multimeter. 

A resettable fuse?  Polyswitches have their uses, but in a multimeter?
And the 10amp circuit isn't fused at all.  I'm not thinking this is a good
meter to use on the mains.



OK, let's look at the PCB.  Main chips is one of those epoxy blob things,
because we certainly wouldn't want to spend the 2cents to put it in
a real IC package.

Look at all those potentiometers!  Not something you see on the higher
end DMMs at all.

Now let's check out the input protection.  There's that polyswitch at the
corner and.....uh.....looking....well, that's about it for input protection.
No MOVs, no real fuses, let alone HRC fuses.  Definitely not going to use this
one on the mains.

You can click on http://electroscott.com/images/dmm6large.JPG for a closer look.



Next up, we'll start testing it, assuming it still works after I put it back together.

Scott
 

Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2010, 11:03:24 pm »
Now for some testing.  First up, I fired up my little 5V voltage reference
and connected this meter and the Fluke 87-V to it.  Hmm, well I guess that's
only 0.006% wrong



Now I'm measuring my 500K 0.05% resistance standard on the Fluke.
It says 500.0K :-)



And now the free meter.  Hey, that's within 1 digit, not bad.



Moving on, let's check out a 10uf tantalum capactor.  First on the Fluke.



Now on the free meter.



I think I'll probably take this in to work, just so I have a meter there,
even though we don't do electronics.

Scott



 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2010, 11:03:50 pm »


A resettable fuse?  Polyswitches have their uses, but in a multimeter?
And the 10amp circuit isn't fused at all.  I'm not thinking this is a good
meter to use on the mains.


Do not worry , make it again in one piece , and I will pay you the shipping so to send it, to me ..

 

Offline allanw

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2010, 11:04:27 pm »
Meter alone seems to be worth the $50, in terms of features. I might have to make a circuitspecialists order sometime...
 

Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2010, 11:17:30 pm »
Circuit Specialists carries the meter for $25, and I've seen the Mastech branded
one for $35.  It seems to be quite a bit better than the $2.99 meter I picked up
at Harbor Freight just to have something in the car.  It's certainly packed with
features.

I ordered a triple power supply from Circuit Specialists, my first order ever, and
that's how I got this meter.  I have to say I was quite pleased with the order.
It was sent quickly, very well packed, and since they are only about 400 miles
away from me, I got my order very quickly.  I'll have to order from them again.
Maybe I can swing by next time I'm in the Phoenix, AZ area.

Scott
 

Offline JohnS_AZ

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2010, 11:39:56 pm »
Circuit Specialists is actually in Mesa Arizona, not Phoenix, and happens to be about 10 miles from my house.

First let me say that I completely recommend them. Good guys all. Second let me say that you shouldn't bother to visit them.

I've been buying stuff from CS for almost 20 years. They used to have an awesome shop with a couple dozen isles loaded with just about anything any of us would want. About 8 years ago, however, their on-line business took off and their walk-in retail business all but dried up. The retail space has been retasked as warehouse, and there is just a long counter for walk-in service. They're friendly, and will get you about anything you want to see, but it really doesn't warrant a visit.

If you DO come to the Phoenix area, let me know and I'll tell you where you SHOULD visit.  :)
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Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2010, 01:49:28 am »
Circuit Specialists is actually in Mesa Arizona, not Phoenix, and happens to be about 10 miles from my house.

First let me say that I completely recommend them. Good guys all. Second let me say that you shouldn't bother to visit them.

I've been buying stuff from CS for almost 20 years. They used to have an awesome shop with a couple dozen isles loaded with just about anything any of us would want. About 8 years ago, however, their on-line business took off and their walk-in retail business all but dried up. The retail space has been retasked as warehouse, and there is just a long counter for walk-in service. They're friendly, and will get you about anything you want to see, but it really doesn't warrant a visit.

If you DO come to the Phoenix area, let me know and I'll tell you where you SHOULD visit.  :)

I'm using Phoenix in the same sense as I would use Los Angeles to mean just about anything that isn't
San Diego :-)  I've dodged many a photo enforcement zone in Tempe, so I've been pretty close to Mesa.
I take the family out of town over there a couple times a year, usually in the Scottsdale area.

While I now know where are the good bead shops are (thanks to my wife), I'd be hugely interested in
hearing about any electronics/surplus electronics places in the area.  There are very few in the L.A.
area.  I have about 4 or 5 favorite places to hit when I'm up in the Silicon Valley area.

These places wouldn't be in Chandler would they?  Thinking maybe there's some clustering effect with Microchip
being there (and didn't Morotola have a FAB there back in the day)?  Hmm, doesn't Intel have a FAB
there as well?

Scott
 

Offline TopherTheME

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2010, 02:35:00 am »
I've got one of these as well that I got free with my BK5000 rework station. For the price ($0) its a pretty dam good meter. I keep it in my desk at school for those cases where I don't want to lug a 34401a around. FYI, the temperature measurement is pretty close to worthless. I tried measuring something the room temp and it bounced around from 60-150'F.


First let me say that I completely recommend them. Good guys all. Second let me say that you shouldn't bother to visit them.

They're friendly, and will get you about anything you want to see, but it really doesn't warrant a visit.

This is good to know.  I was thinking of ordering some more stuff from them in the near future like their BK3000 iron (can't decide between that or OKi PS-900) and prefer to buy american stores over chinese.

http://circuitspecialists.com/prod.itml/icOid/9749
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Offline JohnS_AZ

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2010, 03:28:21 am »
Nowhere to go in LA? Ya kiddin' me?  :)

If I had a couple days to kill, a free hotel night, and someone to watch all 6 dogs I'd make the 6 hour drive over there -JUST- to go see Apex Electronics. I've known about them for a for a number of years but haven't had anything pull me over to LA in longer than that.

http://www.apexelectronic.com/

A tantalizing picture from their website...


The only great electronics/surplus left here in the valley (to my knowledge) is Apache Reclamation & Electronics just south of Phoenix. Many MANY years ago it used to be Honeywell surplus and sold all the stuff from the many Honeywell Aviation/Avionics factories that use to be here (there are still a few). I could be going in there to pick up a fuse holder and I'll allow 3 hours for wandering around.  :)

As far as I know there is nothing in Chandler (surplus wise) although Microchip and Intel are. An aside, Intel just announced a billion-dollar expansion of their fab facilities here. There used to be a 3 major Motorola fabs here. One is now On Semi, another is Freescale, and the third, a massive fab in Mesa, was knocked down and leveled about 6 years ago I guess.

It's kind of sad, really. There used to be great surplus places around here, as well as a half dozen ham radio shops and other great geek hangouts. Not so much any more. Although I have to say with the growth of the "maker" movement if I had a bunch of money I'd open one now.
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Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2010, 04:01:55 am »
Nowhere to go in LA? Ya kiddin' me?  :)

I know of exactly two places.  All Electronics in Van Nuys, allelectronics.com
and Apex, as you mentioned, in Sun Valley.  I've been to both.
The picture from Apex only shows a small part of what they have.  They also
have an entire lot full of stuff outside the warehouse.  A friend of mine found
a rocket nose cone there and tried to buy it, but they wouldn't sell it to him
because they were making too much money renting it out as a prop to the
movie studios.  It's an interesting place, but if you are looking for leftover
reels of SMD parts, it's not the best place to look for that.

Besides test equipment, they have lots of materials.  Need a 4ftx4ft sheet of
copper?  They have it.  Wire?  Oh yes they have almost anything you want.
It's not located in the best of areas so if you do go, go during the daytime.

But in Northern California, there's Weirdstuff Warehouse, HSC electronics,
Alltronics, Excess Solutions, Central Computer, and on and on.

Scott
 

Offline JohnS_AZ

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2010, 04:08:37 am »
The coolest places are NEVER in the best areas.  :)

I've bought gobs of stuff from All Electronics over the past few years. I didn't know they had a walk-in store. Hmmm, now there are two reasons to head west. :)
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Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2010, 04:45:38 am »
All Electonics walk-in store tends to have a lot of stuff that's neither in the
printed catalog or on the website, probably because they have too
few of something to put up.  I've gotten tons of deals on LCD and VFD
displays, a particular weakness of mine :-)

And the shipping warehouse is right next door, so if you want to buy
a catalog item they don't have out on the floor, they just ring it up and
send you over to the warehouse and the warehouse guys seem happy
to go fetch it for you.  Highly recommended.

Scott
 

Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2010, 06:40:06 am »
I fear being in Apex if there was an earthquake!

Most of the shelves go all the way to the ceiling...16' plus....and they are loaded to the top!

I believe if you had enough time to look, you could find anything that ever came in a rack stacked on their shelves.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2010, 06:55:40 am »
It seems to be quite a bit better than the $2.99 meter I picked up at Harbor Freight just to have something in the car.
Using a shit meter for automotive use is a bad idea just imagine what would happen if it short circuited across the car battery. Just because the voltage is too low to kill it doesn't mean the it can't cook you.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2010, 12:27:10 pm »
Awesome review of both the meter and the power supply, more later, great pics!

If the meter is accurate at Vdc, it should work great as a monitoring meter when you design in DC  i.e., when you need to monitor segments of any circuit you can leave this on there.  Since you know what the supply voltage is to the circuit, and have an idea of the whole power distribution, you'll know this meter is well within its range to measure safely.

However, using it as a field meter for troubleshooting can be iffy.  If you probe unknown devices, there is always the chance something is riding on it that not only can damage the meter, but you.  That's when the Fluke's come in.


With all those pots, its unknown how accurate this DMM will be under extreme conditions of cold or heat, such as if you left it in a car on a hot day or in the middle of winter. 

One thing you can try is take the cheapo meter and the Fluke and put it in your refrigerator for an hour, to let the internal temps settle. The 87v is rated to operate below freezing.  Now, take them both out and quickly measure any DC voltage and see how accurate they still are. 




Circuit Specialists carries the meter for $25, and I've seen the Mastech branded
one for $35.  It seems to be quite a bit better than the $2.99 meter I picked up
at Harbor Freight just to have something in the car.  It's certainly packed with
features.

I ordered a triple power supply from Circuit Specialists, my first order ever, and
that's how I got this meter.  I have to say I was quite pleased with the order.
It was sent quickly, very well packed, and since they are only about 400 miles
away from me, I got my order very quickly.  I'll have to order from them again.
Maybe I can swing by next time I'm in the Phoenix, AZ area.

Scott

Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2010, 10:51:21 pm »
It seems to be quite a bit better than the $2.99 meter I picked up at Harbor Freight just to have something in the car.
Using a shit meter for automotive use is a bad idea just imagine what would happen if it short circuited across the car battery. Just because the voltage is too low to kill it doesn't mean the it can't cook you.
Done that with a $10 meter with the lead accidentally left in the 10A socket and a PC power supply 7 years ago or so. Still have the scar from the melting wire. And I'm sure the secondary side of a PC power supply is CAT I. Not sure what's the CAT rating of a car battery but I believe it's higher than CAT I due to the very high short circuit current.
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Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2010, 01:46:50 am »
It seems to be quite a bit better than the $2.99 meter I picked up at Harbor Freight just to have something in the car.
Using a shit meter for automotive use is a bad idea just imagine what would happen if it short circuited across the car battery. Just because the voltage is too low to kill it doesn't mean the it can't cook you.
Done that with a $10 meter with the lead accidentally left in the 10A socket and a PC power supply 7 years ago or so. Still have the scar from the melting wire. And I'm sure the secondary side of a PC power supply is CAT I. Not sure what's the CAT rating of a car battery but I believe it's higher than CAT I due to the very high short circuit current.

So measure the voltage at the lighter socket instead and you'll have at least 1 fuse
and 1 fuseable link between you and the battery.

Scott
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2010, 01:00:28 am »
Nowhere to go in LA? Ya kiddin' me?  :)

If I had a couple days to kill, a free hotel night, and someone to watch all 6 dogs I'd make the 6 hour drive over there -JUST- to go see Apex Electronics. I've known about them for a for a number of years but haven't had anything pull me over to LA in longer than that.

http://www.apexelectronic.com/

I visited Apex last week, video soon!

Dave.
 

Offline JohnS_AZ

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2010, 01:02:24 am »
I saw that in your tweet ... looking forward to seeing it.

Oh ... welcome home.  :)
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Offline Time

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2010, 03:37:21 am »
Nowhere to go in LA? Ya kiddin' me?  :)

If I had a couple days to kill, a free hotel night, and someone to watch all 6 dogs I'd make the 6 hour drive over there -JUST- to go see Apex Electronics. I've known about them for a for a number of years but haven't had anything pull me over to LA in longer than that.

http://www.apexelectronic.com/


Sweet, now I know where I am spending this 9/80 Friday scouring for HV parts for my current project :)

edit: corrected typo
« Last Edit: October 26, 2010, 01:10:40 pm by Time »
-Time
 

Offline JohnS_AZ

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2010, 04:03:16 am »
Okay, I'm starting to develop a big case of Apex envy.   :)
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Offline slburris

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2010, 02:02:18 pm »
Oh gee, now I'm going to have to pop up to Apex during lunch sometime this week :-)

Scott
 

Offline Time

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2010, 09:04:07 pm »
Here is something I plan to check out in LA this Satuday:

http://www.w6trw.com/swapmeet/swapmeet.htm

the W6TRW Swap Meet that happens on the last Saturday of every month.  The pictures of last September make it look worth going to.  I hope they have a good turn out this month.
-Time
 

Offline sonicj

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2010, 09:29:03 pm »
Here is something I plan to check out in LA this Satuday:

http://www.w6trw.com/swapmeet/swapmeet.htm

the W6TRW Swap Meet that happens on the last Saturday of every month.  The pictures of last September make it look worth going to.  I hope they have a good turn out this month.

ugh! i wish that sort of thing would happen here! leica stereo microscope just laying in a box of junk! old lathe with motor for $75!  :'(

http://www.w6trw.com/swapmeet/swapmeet_october_2010/target28.html

hope you find something good! cheers!
-sj
 

Offline Chad1

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Re: Oooh, I got a free multimeter
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2010, 09:21:08 am »
Definitely (and obviously) prefer the Fluke, but this seems to be worth the $50. Can't stand that range switch, but the plugs and the overall exterior design seem solid. The board is pretty neat looking as well, I can't lie  :D
 


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