Author Topic: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)  (Read 9971 times)

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Offline caius

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Hi all,
my old (chinese) multimeter died some days ago so it's time to get another one.I woul ask you some advice about purchase.
I used my old multimeter mainly for measuring direct/alternate current  and resistance while I use a separate (chinese) capacimeter for capacitance and an ESR meter ( based on Bob Parker design, see here http://clientes.netvisao.pt/greenpal/evb1.htm ) for measuring this value.
I'd want an all-in-one solution at least for LCR/ESR (capable of in-ciruit and out-of-circuit testing) since I don't think direct/alternate current measuring can be included in this kind of equipment (at least the not so expensive ones).
My budget is around $150.
Thanks in advance
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 09:41:01 am by caius »
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2015, 04:52:55 pm »
'The most common question we ask when someone requests an opinion on what to buy:
Where do you live?

This is important to give the best advice based on what is available in your area.

Short answer from me:

Brymen BM257s
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2015, 05:15:31 pm »
Thanks fo reply.Your advice is good but it's somewhat dictated by marketing policies... :)
Anyway, I live in Italy.
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 05:28:55 pm »
This is popular and great value for money, BUT be aware that it can easily be damaged if you try and measure some still energised or charged:
You would still need a good multimeter (such as that which Lightages)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DE-5000-High-Accuracy-Handheld-LCR-Meter-With-TL-21-TL-22-TL-23-DER-EE-/331432433527?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d2ae99777
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 05:30:17 pm »
Dictated by marketing?

Actually I misunderstood your need I think. What I recommended is just a multimeter. If you had another price I would recommend other brands too but IMHO the B257s is the best bang for the buck in the $150 range. You want a multimeter that has LCR and ESR? Or are you looking for just an LCR/ESR meter?

Yago has posted a link to the  best buy in LCR meters IMHO.
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2015, 05:35:49 pm »
Dictated by marketing?

I was joking about since I've seen in your signature you are distributor for Brymen in Chile  :)



Quote

Actually I misunderstood your need I think. What I recommended is just a multimeter. If you had another price I would recommend other brands too but IMHO the B257s is the best bang for the buck in the $150 range. You want a multimeter that has LCR and ESR? Or are you looking for just an LCR/ESR meter?

Yago has posted a link to the  best buy in LCR meters IMHO.

I'd prefer a multimeter that has LCR and ESR but I could survive also by using two different equipment.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2015, 05:39:05 pm »
There is no multimeter that has ESR, but you can get LCR. The Amprobe 37XR

http://www.tme.eu/en/details/37xr-a/portable-digital-multimeters/beha-amprobe/37xr/#

It is a well made meter but has a slow continuity tester from Dave's review, and a rather high burden voltage for current measurement. But other than that I would think it meets your needs and you would be very happy with it. NO ESR on this though.
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2015, 05:39:40 pm »
This is popular and great value for money, BUT be aware that it can easily be damaged if you try and measure some still energised or charged:
You would still need a good multimeter (such as that which Lightages)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DE-5000-High-Accuracy-Handheld-LCR-Meter-With-TL-21-TL-22-TL-23-DER-EE-/331432433527?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d2ae99777

Thanks, Yago.I had already considered the DE-5000 LCR meter since some time and Dave review confirmed its goodness.Do you have it?What do you think about B&K Precision multimeters?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 05:51:51 pm by caius »
 

Offline Yago

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2015, 05:54:55 pm »
I do have one, hardly used it, but when I have it gave a much clearer picture of capacitor condition that my multimeter (I have a Brymen 857s multimeter).
IE multimeters can give incorrect cap value, and when you see the 5000 show low cap value and also show the esr value of cap is out of spec you know to change that cap.

They are really well made, Dave has covered it well, and if you search the forum you'll see that many members got one and are happy with the performance.

Oh and I am a big fan of the Brymen meters, Lightages advice here is very good.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2015, 06:26:20 pm »
Another vote for a Brymen for working on mains.  :-+

Unfortunately, the DE-5000 is not suited for in-circuit testing IIRC (test voltage too low?), so you'd be better off finding a cheap in-circuit ESR meter or kit on eBay (Bob Parker clone or other).

You should also note that your $150 budget would just cover a BM257s from either Franky or TME. But it won't take a huge additional amount to get an ESR unit suitable for in-circuit testing (~$30 for an example that ships to Italy). Cheaper if you're willing to skip an enclosure.
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2015, 06:51:25 pm »
Another vote for a Brymen for working on mains.  :-+

Unfortunately, the DE-5000 is not suited for in-circuit testing IIRC (test voltage too low?), so you'd be better off finding a cheap in-circuit ESR meter or kit on eBay (Bob Parker clone or other).


I have already this ESR meter for in-circuit testing (based on Bob Parker design ) and it works great:

http://clientes.netvisao.pt/greenpal/evb1.htm

Quote
]
You should also note that your $150 budget would just cover a BM257s from either Franky or TME. But it won't take a huge additional amount to get an ESR unit suitable for in-circuit testing (~$30 for an example that ships to Italy). Cheaper if you're willing to skip an enclosure.

I have also a chinese caseless component circuit but the ESR measurement are totally wrong.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2015, 07:11:37 pm »
my old (chinese) multimeter died some days ago so it's time to get another one.
If you want to try fixing this old one, start a new topic under Repair and I will try to make suggestions?
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2015, 07:12:28 pm »
Another possible multimeter/LCR combination for research?

http://www.deree.com.tw/prod141001162828.htm

True RMS (DE-5004)
Integrate Multimeter & L.C.R. Function In One Meter
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2015, 07:26:25 pm »
If you want to try fixing this old one, start a new topic under Repair and I will try to make suggestions?

Well, I repaired a lot of electronics during my life, now I'm specialized in arcade boards and other retro computer,you can read my repair logs here under nickname of 'Caius':

http://www.jammarcade.net/


I have no problem to take a look into it but, you know,  I think it's not worth try to repair an ultra-chinese multimeter, maybe just for fun:)
Actually it's not completely dead, but gives false readings.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2015, 07:48:10 pm »
I think it's not worth try to repair an ultra-chinese multimeter, maybe just for fun:)
Actually it's not completely dead, but gives false readings.
It is up to you.  I'm just offering to help because right now I'm interested in all aspects of a multimeter including repair.

If you are getting false readings, some multimeters give high readings when the battery gets weak.  You can always try a new battery first.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2015, 08:16:28 pm »
caius:

The real question I think is:
Do you really need inductance measurement?

If not, then do you really need and LCR meter for accuracy if it can't do ESR in circuit?

If the answer is no to both, then forget the all in one multimeter, get a proper multimeter and just get an ESR meter for in circuit.

You could get a Uni-T UT139C for $50, and something like this too and stay under your budget. The UT139C is a very good buy too.

Edit:
Oops, just remembered that have an in circuit ESR tester. Just get a BM257s and you will be happy. That is unless you need the inductance function. If so, then get the Amprobe.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2015, 08:20:41 pm by Lightages »
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2015, 08:37:53 pm »

It is up to you.  I'm just offering to help because right now I'm interested in all aspects of a multimeter including repair.

If you are getting false readings, some multimeters give high readings when the battery gets weak.  You can always try a new battery first.

OK, I'll try to repair it and open a thread when I have some spare time.i already replaced battery with no luck, IMHO some component have gone bad (maybe the epoxy processor)
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2015, 09:00:53 pm »
caius:

The real question I think is:
Do you really need inductance measurement?

If not, then do you really need and LCR meter for accuracy if it can't do ESR in circuit?

If the answer is no to both, then forget the all in one multimeter, get a proper multimeter and just get an ESR meter for in circuit.


Well, maybe you are right.Working most of times on digital circuit I rarely encounter inductors.It was just to familiarize with electrical characteristic



Quote
You could get a Uni-T UT139C for $50, and something like this too and stay under your budget. The UT139C is a very good buy too.

I had some Uni-T equipment in the past and I can say they very well made and reliable with a good quality/price ratio.

Quote

Edit:
Oops, just remembered that have an in circuit ESR tester. Just get a BM257s and you will be happy. That is unless you need the inductance function. If so, then get the Amprobe.

I will think about, thanks.

P.S.
Are the BM257S and the UT139C able to measure capacitance in-circuit?
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2015, 09:32:57 pm »
No multimeter than I know of will do capacitance in circuit. Perhaps that DER EE DE-5004 might, but I don't see any voltage specs.

I assume you are trying to everything in one instrument, and that is usually a guarantee of low performance in all aspects. The ESR meter you have is what you should use for in circuit troubleshooting, and then use a good multimeter for the rest.

The reason I suggest the BM257s or the UT139C is because IMHO they both represent the best value in their price range. The BM257s is built to the latest safety standards in Europe and it is properly 3rd party tested and certified. The UT139C is built at least good enough but has not proper third party testing nor certification. Perhaps it would meet standards for Europe but that is not clear. Would I use the UT139C on mains power? Yes I would without a worry. When you are doing troubleshooting, sometimes it is much easier to see voltage and current at the same time. In this case you could buy two UT139Cs to have this capability and still have money left over.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2015, 12:43:50 am »
For some strange reason, I had it in my head your ESR meter was dead as well.  :palm:

But the fact it's working certainly improves matters.   :-+ If you need a DMM and better LCR (but not in-circuit), then a DE-5000 with at least one test fixture (example) + UT139C (example) would make your budget.

Not sure you really need the DE-5000 though.  :-// I'm thinking your current ESR meter + basic capacitance function on a DMM (ballpark range, not precise value) should be enough for your troubleshooting requirements.
 


Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2015, 08:42:44 pm »
I open again this thread asking about UNI-T UT61E.I'm more oriented to this instead UT139C after having compared specifics.Am doing the right thing?
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2015, 09:08:40 pm »
I open again this thread asking about UNI-T UT61E.I'm more oriented to this instead UT139C after having compared specifics.Am doing the right thing?
If it's a better fit for your intended purposes, then Yes as a general rule.

But I'm not sure what the UT61E is truly offering you that makes it a better unit in your case (the drift issue is a big one IMHO as you can't trust it, and higher counts certainly aren't everything). The UT139C has temperature, variable frequency drive, and clamp meter mode features the UT61E doesn't, and what appear to be better protections than even the updated UT61E. There are instances where the higher counts can make a difference (i.e. resolution comes into play or rather tight tolerances matter), but most of the time this isn't the case. So a 6000 count meter is quite sufficient most of the time IME.

Something to think about.  ;)
 

Offline caius

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2015, 09:38:53 pm »
Not the DATA logging fore sure but I find very useful the frequency counter up to 220MHz (yes, I have a dedicated frequency counter up to 1GHz as well).You know, I work most of time on circuit with more than 10MHz of clock.I'm still a bit uncertain but choice is among these two models.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 09:44:43 pm by caius »
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: Advice about good multimeters/LCR meters (please, don't shoot on me!)
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2015, 09:57:13 pm »
I am not sure how useful or accurate 220MHz would be with the UT61E. I don't know if anyone has ever tested it. IMHO 10MHz is more than enough and the other benefits of the UT139C over ride the benefits of the UT61E, except for the PC connection. If you need that, then your decision is done.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 04:21:27 am by Lightages »
 


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