Author Topic: Bench multimeter  (Read 6892 times)

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Offline yo3ggx

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Bench multimeter
« on: March 06, 2018, 09:54:48 am »
Hi Everybody,

I'm using now a Brymen BM867 as my main digital multimeter, but I want to buy a desktop/bench model. I'm interested in something with a very good display (in different lighting conditions), fast in auto mode, and a minimum of 5 1/2 digits precision. I need something reliable, with auto-hold(touch hold), TrueRMS up to 100KHz, Min/Max.

The budget is up to ~400 Euro.
Any recommendation based on your own experience and not on product specifications or Internet reviews?

Thank you,
Dan
 

Offline eurofox

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 10:01:56 am »
Hi Everybody,

I'm using now a Brymen BM867 as my main digital multimeter, but I want to buy a desktop/bench model. I'm interested in something with a very good display (in different lighting conditions), fast in auto mode, and a minimum of 5 1/2 digits precision. I need something reliable, with auto-hold(touch hold), TrueRMS up to 100KHz, Min/Max.

The budget is up to ~400 Euro.
Any recommendation based on your own experience and not on product specifications or Internet reviews?

Thank you,
Dan

Agilent 34401A was my favorite for many years, just sold mine like new for this price only to upgrade to a Keithley 2001 with 7 1/2 digits.
Keithley 2000 is nice as well or Fluke with dual display.

eurofox
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:08:18 am by eurofox »
eurofox
 
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Online capt bullshot

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 10:44:49 am »
With some patience, you should be able to get a HP / Agilent 34401. It's simply the best you can get for this money. Next stop would be a Keithley 2000 or 2015, should be the same price range and is the same perfomance, but I like the 34401's display more than the 2000 / 2015 (digits are larger and easier to read).

Edit: These don't have an "Auto-Hold" feature, never heard of that feature with Bench DMM (in contrast to Handhelds)
« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 10:46:35 am by capt bullshot »
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 10:55:14 am »
With some patience, you should be able to get a HP / Agilent 34401. It's simply the best you can get for this money. Next stop would be a Keithley 2000 or 2015, should be the same price range and is the same perfomance, but I like the 34401's display more than the 2000 / 2015 (digits are larger and easier to read).

Edit: These don't have an "Auto-Hold" feature, never heard of that feature with Bench DMM (in contrast to Handhelds)
The latter is surpising to me. It's so convenient to be able to watch where your hands are, rather than having to look at the display. It's one of the features of the 87V I use all the time.
 

Offline yo3ggx

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 11:01:45 am »
As this will be my first bench multimeter, I'm surprised too that the auto-hold feature is not available on such multimeters.
Unfortunately 2nd hand Agilent/Keysight 34401A multimeters are in Europe out of my budget.

« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 11:04:49 am by yo3ggx »
 

Online bd139

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 11:31:29 am »
Cheapest option is GW Instek GDM-8351 and that's probably out of your budget already.

Hanging around for a cheap 34401A is probably the best option. They do turn up for not much money occasionally.
 
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Offline yo3ggx

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 11:40:02 am »
Cheapest option is GW Instek GDM-8351 and that's probably out of your budget already.
Yes, is over my budget. This one is at the upper limit:
http://uk.farnell.com/gw-instek/gdm-8341/digital-multimeter-bench-4-3-4/dp/2460248
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 11:43:55 am »
Rigol 3058/68 have AutoHold  functionality.. They call it Read Hold...

Maybe send Rigol an E-mail if they have something factory refurbished for sale.. They have been known to sell DM3058 for less than 400€, new DM3058E (without Ethernet and GPIB, just USB) is 470€ (with tax)..

So if they have a refurbished one, definitely in you budget.

Also take a look at simpler Siglent meters... And TTi 1604 and 1908
Basically, there are other options for decent meters than two most expensive brands if you don't need 7.5 and 8.5 digit meters...

But, as more experienced users will tell you, depending of what you do, simpler meters can be all you need, or you might quickly find out they are just not good enough and you need more...

There are many good topics on this here on eevblog. Please search for them and read them..
People don't like to write same things over and over again...

Regards,

 
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Online bd139

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 11:53:36 am »
Good call with the TTi meters. Some of their older meters are quite good as well, particularly in the 5.5 digit range.

Cheapest option is GW Instek GDM-8351 and that's probably out of your budget already.
Yes, is over my budget. This one is at the upper limit:
http://uk.farnell.com/gw-instek/gdm-8341/digital-multimeter-bench-4-3-4/dp/2460248

I actually own one of them. Nice meters. VERY fast. have a look on Amazon - they are much cheaper than that now!

Inevitable photo:

« Last Edit: March 06, 2018, 11:55:23 am by bd139 »
 
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Offline BU508A

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 12:27:30 pm »
@yo3ggx: please empty your inbox, I got a message, that I cannot send you a PM because your inbox is full.

And for the link I sent you: change it from .com to .de and then it should work.


Cheers,

Andreas
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Offline yo3ggx

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 12:37:54 pm »
@yo3ggx: please empty your inbox, I got a message, that I cannot send you a PM because your inbox is full.
Strange as this is my first post and no messages in the inbox at all...

Thank you.
Dan
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 12:41:03 pm »
Strange as this is my first post and no messages in the inbox at all...

Thank you.
Dan
Maybe people can't send you messages because you turned it off or never turned it on.
 

Offline ChrisLX200

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 02:08:47 pm »
You need minimum 5 posts to use private mail...
 
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Offline Deridex

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 03:54:27 pm »
I think the GW Instek GDM-8342 or 8341 are a good choice.

Something that also looks not bad in my sight is the Siglent SDM3045X.

But i think with the requirement 5 1/2 digits its gonna be hard to get a new benchtop multimeter at this pricepoint.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2018, 04:46:55 pm »
With some patience, you should be able to get a HP / Agilent 34401. It's simply the best you can get for this money. Next stop would be a Keithley 2000 or 2015, should be the same price range and is the same perfomance, but I like the 34401's display more than the 2000 / 2015 (digits are larger and easier to read).

Edit: These don't have an "Auto-Hold" feature, never heard of that feature with Bench DMM (in contrast to Handhelds)
After browsing through the 34401A's manual, I have to revisit the auto-hold discussion. It seems the 34401A does have auto-hold, though it's called Reading Hold. It will display a reading if three consecutive readings are within a settable percentage. I just checked and it does appear to work much like Fluke's AutoHOLD function, which I find very useful.

This means that the models intended to replace the 34401A are also likely to have this feature, as Keysight intentionally markets those as superseding the previous model and drop-in replacements.
 

Online tautech

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2018, 09:38:53 pm »
After browsing through the 34401A's manual, I have to revisit the auto-hold discussion. It seems the 34401A does have auto-hold, though it's called Reading Hold. It will display a reading if three consecutive readings are within a settable percentage. I just checked and it does appear to work much like Fluke's AutoHOLD function, which I find very useful.
Only 3 ?
The SDM3k models do 8.  :P
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Online HighVoltage

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2018, 09:50:16 pm »
All the new Keysight bench meters 3446xA and 34470A have the auto hold function built in.

The the OP I would say to wait for a good 34401A to show up.
There are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can not.
 

Offline coromonadalix

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2018, 10:09:26 pm »
maybe the GDM-8251a  would be nice ???  120000 count with hold,  can be found cheaply priced ???  can be calibrated with an short plug on the special rear usb plug ...
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2018, 10:14:15 pm »
Only 3 ?
The SDM3k models do 8.  :P
That isn't in the manual or datasheet as far as I can tell. Am I overlooking something or is Siglent sloppy in specifying the functionality?

Another thing to consider is that the 34401A has been the industry standard for pretty much decades. So much so that newer models are backwards compatible with it, the same newer models the Siglent bench DMMs are inspired on. I think Dave did a video on that.
 

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2018, 10:28:41 pm »
Only 3 ?
The SDM3k models do 8.  :P
That isn't in the manual or datasheet as far as I can tell. Am I overlooking something or is Siglent sloppy in specifying the functionality?
It's plainly visible on Siglent websites.



https://www.siglenteu.com/digital-multimeters/sdm3055-5-%C2%BD-digits-dual-display-digital-multimeters/

Quote
Another thing to consider is that the 34401A has been the industry standard for pretty much decades. So much so that newer models are backwards compatible with it, the same newer models the Siglent bench DMMs are inspired on.
Hardly.
Really how much variation can there be in front panel design in any TE ?
They've all evolved to what we have today and minor differences could be seen as a blatant copy or an improvement. You choice depending on your POV.
What, so now any yellow DMM must be a Fluke ?  ::)
It's what's 'inside', price and the overall functionality that really matters to the marketplace.
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Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2018, 10:54:48 pm »
It's plainly visible on Siglent websites.



https://www.siglenteu.com/digital-multimeters/sdm3055-5-%C2%BD-digits-dual-display-digital-multimeters/

Hardly.
Really how much variation can there be in front panel design in any TE ?
They've all evolved to what we have today and minor differences could be seen as a blatant copy or an improvement. You choice depending on your POV.
What, so now any yellow DMM must be a Fluke ?  ::)
It's what's 'inside', price and the overall functionality that really matters to the marketplace.
I hope we're not supposed to infer specifications from images on the website. This image doesn't seem to be related, as the number given isn't anywhere near the average or within a percentage of the eight measurements displayed below it. If that's the autohold feature it's properly broken, but I suspect we're looking at something else entirely. That's why it's nice to have it in the specifications or manual. It takes out the guesswork.

I'm not even going to argue the similarities to the Keysight models. I understand you have an investment in Siglent and an inevitable bias, but claiming it's anything else than a blatant copy just makes you look silly and seriously hurts your credibility. It's nowhere near reasonable doubt or improving upon a design. Dave's comment was "If there's a more blatant rip-off I haven't seen it". Watch the video from 21:30 to see a comparison to the copied Agilent or Keysight model.

Regarding what's inside, I don't have experience with the Siglents but Dave's comment during the teardown was "It's just not a high quality bit of gear."

 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2018, 10:59:52 pm »
I forget to mention that Yellow and dark grey multimeters are indeed deemed to be too similar to Fluke multimeters in at least some countries. Sparkfun had $30000 worth of multimeters destroyed because they looked too much like Fluke's.


 
https://www.sparkfun.com/news/1428

 

Offline bitseeker

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2018, 12:17:16 am »
It seems the 34401A does have auto-hold, though it's called Reading Hold. It will display a reading if three consecutive readings are within a settable percentage. I just checked and it does appear to work much like Fluke's AutoHOLD function, which I find very useful.

Yep, and what's cool is that you can use Reading Hold with Reading Memory to log, for example, captured readings from various test points without having to put down the probes to jot down notes.

A little DIY accessory for even more control is to make a little foot switch connected to the external trigger input on the back of the DMM. That way you can initiate a reading (or multiple) with your foot anytime (or only when) you want.
I TEA.
 
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Offline Neomys Sapiens

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2018, 03:32:02 am »
Saw a reportedly good Prema6001 go for slightly below 400.- a few days ago on Ebay Germany.
Another one available for slightly above 400.-
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: Bench multimeter
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2018, 07:21:15 pm »
Just to add to the mix of used Bench meters: Keithley 191 and Racal Dana 5001 - both have LED displays, which have good visibility in a wide number of scenarios.

A few comments I made in the past about these:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/options-for-a-5-5-digit-bench-dmm/msg1191836/#msg1191836
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/multimeter-spreadsheet/msg1439518/#msg1439518
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Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 


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