Author Topic: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?  (Read 4191 times)

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Offline 13hm13

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Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« on: December 16, 2020, 05:32:30 pm »
I purch'd a Simpson 260 (new) in 1996, but didn't use it much and hence eBay'd it about 5 years ago. A decision I'm now regretting.
I do want a decent analog VOM but am not sure what is the best buy at this time. Maybe, used Triplet or Simpson on eBay, or a new Tekpower (Amazon) ? There are quite a few vintage and used meters on eBay but the S/H costs (even within the USA, where I'm based, is absurdly high).
Not sure I want to spend the big bucks on a NEW Simpson or Triplett (but if I get enough encouragement, who knows  !!)
Anyone with comments re: experience with modern (in-production) meters (like this $35 USD model from Tekpower) would be helpful.


Please make suggestions based on your experience. Thx!
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BTW:
I do have this cheap meter (made in Korea) from maybe the late 70s or 80s. The Oregon (USA)-based company is no longer in existence but they seem to have been legit in their day.






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« Last Edit: December 16, 2020, 05:34:35 pm by 13hm13 »
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Offline james_s

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2020, 06:25:53 pm »
If I wanted one I'd go with a used Tripplet or Simpson, something of that nature. There still a lot of those around in need of homes, I don't think there's much demand anymore. I sold one that I was given a few years ago and I think I got just enough to cover the ebay fees and postage.
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2020, 06:41:19 pm »
Given that you have a working meter I am not sure why you want a replacement. 

Is it that your meter doesn't have shielded lead connections for better safety? 

Do you have doubts about it's accuracy?

Worried that it doesn't have a formal CAT safety rating?

It appears to be small and light, which makes it easy to pull off a bench.  Maybe you are looking for something larger and heavier?

If I were doing this I would stick with my existing meter.  If I wanted to upgrade I would go with a modern DMM, far more capable.  But your needs and desires will lead you.
 

Offline bob91343

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2020, 07:44:26 pm »
I agree that there is little to be gained by replacing that old meter.  It does nearly everything a 260 or 630 can do.  But if you like the others better, I agree that a used one is the way to go.

I have a Simpson 260 and a Triplett 630-NA, both fine meters, but I never use them.  I have an el cheapo radio schlock that I use when I want analog.  And a bunch of VTVMs and scopes if I want fancier stuff.  I have far too many DVMs too; I spend more time seeing if their batteries are still good than actually using them.  The main advantage of the 260 and 630 is ability to measure high voltage, 5k or 6k respectively.  Little analogs and DVMs usually stop at 1 kV.
 
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Offline 13hm13

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2020, 10:57:36 pm »
Sounds a bit silly ... but for the sake of the hobby, I actually enjoy testing and electronics thru an analog meter more than any of my fancy Fluke and B&K Precision DMMs I have in my lab. I'm not in electronics as a profession, and I'm sure normal analog VOMs have very few uses there in the modern era.

That said, I'm not stuck on getting a nostalgic or name-brand VOM (Simpson, Triplett). I want safety, accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics. So if a new $35 Chinese brand like Tekpower does that, I'm fine (better than fine, actually  -- because I saved all that $$). I was kind of thinking, this ($36.00 USD):


Speaking of the two classic brands (Simpson, Tripplet), has anything important about their quality or reliability changed with the latest (and $$$) models?

Finally, I'm not beyond modding cheaper analog VOMs for better performance and reliability. So, for example, a better (safer) fuse, adding internal shielding, etc. The joe smith YT channel did some of that and the project seemed interesting:

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Offline 0culus

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2020, 01:41:42 am »



I think every lab should have at least one analog VOM available...in certain situations they are superior to a DMM. Also worth noting that you can get reverse banana probes for the series 7 and 8 Simpsons from Probemaster for considerable savings over OEM.
 

Offline TimNJ

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2020, 04:13:34 am »
I don’t think I really have a need for one, but I too also like using one. I’ve been considering getting something from Sanwa but a little expensive, plus I don’t think there’s really a solid US distributor so you have to be careful for the “Samwa” fakes etc.

https://overseas.sanwa-meter.co.jp/products/analog_multitester/index.html

They have a lot of neat meters, each with slightly different niche.
 

Offline 13hm13

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2020, 12:19:29 pm »
I don’t think I really have a need for one, but I too also like using one. I’ve been considering getting something from Sanwa but a little expensive, plus I don’t think there’s really a solid US distributor so you have to be careful for the “Samwa” fakes etc.

https://overseas.sanwa-meter.co.jp/products/analog_multitester/index.html

They have a lot of neat meters, each with slightly different niche.
Yes, I've been eyeing Sanwa for some time.
Made in Japan (!!) with a long, established and respectable history (since 1941).
They are sold thru Amazon (USA) by "Tokyo Bay Happy Market" at quite a reasonable $$:
https://www.amazon.com/Sanwa-Em7000-Analog-Multimeter-TesterGENUINE/dp/B00CWWRQ56
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Offline 13hm13

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 09:49:42 pm »
I think the best PRACTICAL reason to get a decent VOM is one mjlorton covered in his vlog years ago:


BTW:
Other than cost, complexity and reliability,  what are some good reasons not to opt for a FET or VTVM vom?
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Offline bob91343

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2020, 10:57:25 pm »
One advantage of the old school VOM is portability.  That is, no power cord.  Another is isolation.  No connection to power lines.  A third is the ability to watch changes as the pointer moves, much less pleasant than following a digital readout or even the common 'analog' scale they may have.
 

Offline 13hm13

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2020, 06:17:29 pm »
One advantage of the old school VOM is portability.  That is, no power cord.  Another is isolation.  No connection to power lines.  A third is the ability to watch changes as the pointer moves, much less pleasant than following a digital readout or even the common 'analog' scale they may have.
Not sure you addressed my query:
"Other than cost, complexity and reliability,  what are some good reasons not to opt for a FET or VTVM vom?"
But if you dd then.... not if you've got a portable FET vom. Too many examples out there .... here's a classic one from RS:
Radio Shack Tandy,: Micronta FET Analog Multitester Cat No. 22-220

« Last Edit: December 19, 2020, 06:20:32 pm by 13hm13 »
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Offline wizard69

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2020, 01:42:18 am »
I don’t think I really have a need for one, but I too also like using one. I’ve been considering getting something from Sanwa but a little expensive, plus I don’t think there’s really a solid US distributor so you have to be careful for the “Samwa” fakes etc.

https://overseas.sanwa-meter.co.jp/products/analog_multitester/index.html

They have a lot of neat meters, each with slightly different niche.
Yes, I've been eyeing Sanwa for some time.
If you have been doing all this eyeing then you really don't need a meter at all.
Quote
Made in Japan (!!) with a long, established and respectable history (since 1941).
They are sold thru Amazon (USA) by "Tokyo Bay Happy Market" at quite a reasonable $$:
https://www.amazon.com/Sanwa-Em7000-Analog-Multimeter-TesterGENUINE/dp/B00CWWRQ56
You seem to be obsessed with the cost of a Simpson, I don't see them as expensive at all.   Either you need an analog meter or you don't.    Frankly I have to agree with others here, if you currently have a working analog meter then you really should consider a digital.   I'm a strong believer that a technician should have at least one analog meter available to them.   That is all well and good but the reality is DMM are far superior for most usages a technician will have in the modern world.   In fact I have to agree with Dave you will likely want to have two or more.
 

Offline Trader

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2020, 02:31:11 am »
I appreciate it if someone can explain: What is the "most desirable" characteristic in an Analog Multimeter?

I heard that is the SENSITIVITY (Ratio of Ohms per Volt). (50 KOhms per Volt or more)

Also, What is the advantage of Vacuum Tube Voltmeter (VTVM) vs Transistor Voltmeter (TVM) vs Field-Effect Voltmeter (FETVM). (who is better?)

Some VOM recommendation?

Thank you so much.
 

Online CatalinaWOW

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2020, 03:04:18 am »
Sensitivity is good because it translates into higher input impedance, which means lower loading on the circuits measured.  Meters I remember had sensitivity in the 20-50 k ohms volt range.  All three of the other variants you mention put a buffer stage in front of the meter movement, giving much higher input impedance.  It is hard to say which is better.  Depends on implementation and what you need.  VTVMs for example either need a power cord or bulky batteries.  The power cord isn't an issue in a bench meter.  The bulk and weight of the batteries probably do matter in a portable.
 
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Offline 13hm13

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2020, 08:22:48 am »
What about this argument for the use of an analog (non-active, traditional) , low input resistance VOM (not FET or VTVM) made by the The Radio Mechanic vlogger?

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Offline 13hm13

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Re: Analog VOM meter -- time for upgrade?
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2020, 07:17:09 pm »
I did end up picking up a very-good-cond. eBay'd Micronta FET Analog Multitester Cat No. 22-220. Built around 1986,in almost like-new cond., about $60 USD (delivered). Not quite as robust as Simpson 260 or Triplett ... but very good for the price (now or back in 1986). And the owners manual is WAY better written than the xerox stapled sheets I got with my brand new 260 (back in 1996).

I still want a low-Z analog VOM. Maybe the $110 Sanwa


Sanwa makes a FET vom, too, which sells for about the same price...


« Last Edit: December 27, 2020, 07:19:01 pm by 13hm13 »
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