Author Topic: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase  (Read 813 times)

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Offline Crambone

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Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« on: June 09, 2021, 02:04:05 pm »
Well I’ve decided to start looking for a nice Bench Top DMM . I have a Fluke and other handheld but want one specifically for the bench. I do test some Vacuum Tube equipment so 1000v is needed and want 4wire resistor testing. The more I look at the more I keep changing my mind, do I buy new, used? I would like to keep it in the $500 US price range. I don’t need data logging But would like capacitance testing capability.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

Offline coromonadalix

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2021, 02:18:14 pm »
An old hp 34401a   could be a nice meter, BUT the prices as gone up

Fluke 8845 8846  could be good too,  outside of your 500$  price range

Keithley 2000 series  good too, same pricing problem(s)


and the list goes on ....   For capacitance  buy an DE-5000   DMM capacitance checks are so so  and pretty basic

For 500$ usd :    4 1/2, 5 1/2  or 6 1/2 digits, precision, resolution ??

usb, gpib. lan interfaces for futur uses ??
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 02:23:12 pm by coromonadalix »
 

Offline bdunham7

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2021, 04:51:34 pm »
You can go to TEquipment, select bench DMMs for $300-500 and you'll see 9 results.  I think there are only 3 or 4 that meet your stated requirements, Rigol, Siglent and GWInstek.  They're probably all OK as long as ultra-precision isn't your game.  A-brands like HPAK, Fluke, K-Tek (Keithley/Tektronix) are out of your budget and with Fluke, you only get capacitance with the flagship 8846A.  Used A-brand meters have gotten both pricey and junky lately otherwise I'd recommend a look at the old Fluke 8842A or the HPAK 34401A plus a separate handheld LCR meter.  If you're considering an eBay special, post it first so we can poach it we can spot any red flags.

Used 8842A models could once be had in reasonably good shape for $100, the 34401A for $200.  Now, not so much...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/402551673465

A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit 7.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 

Offline coromonadalix

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2021, 05:12:38 pm »
You can go to TEquipment, select bench DMMs for $300-500 and you'll see 9 results.  I think there are only 3 or 4 that meet your stated requirements, Rigol, Siglent and GWInstek.  They're probably all OK as long as ultra-precision isn't your game.  A-brands like HPAK, Fluke, K-Tek (Keithley/Tektronix) are out of your budget and with Fluke, you only get capacitance with the flagship 8846A.  Used A-brand meters have gotten both pricey and junky lately otherwise I'd recommend a look at the old Fluke 8842A or the HPAK 34401A plus a separate handheld LCR meter.  If you're considering an eBay special, post it first so we can poach it we can spot any red flags.

Used 8842A models could once be had in reasonably good shape for $100, the 34401A for $200.  Now, not so much...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/402551673465

+1   :-+
 

Online Grandchuck

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2021, 05:56:35 pm »
One way to find test equipment at a decent price is ham radio flea markets.  Most hams are honest and if you live near them they are not likely to try sticking you with a piece of junk.  Also, there is often AC power available for testing.

It has been years since I attended one and maybe the prices have inflated a lot?
 

Offline 25 CPS

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2021, 04:59:48 pm »
You can go to TEquipment, select bench DMMs for $300-500 and you'll see 9 results.  I think there are only 3 or 4 that meet your stated requirements, Rigol, Siglent and GWInstek.  They're probably all OK as long as ultra-precision isn't your game.  A-brands like HPAK, Fluke, K-Tek (Keithley/Tektronix) are out of your budget and with Fluke, you only get capacitance with the flagship 8846A.  Used A-brand meters have gotten both pricey and junky lately otherwise I'd recommend a look at the old Fluke 8842A or the HPAK 34401A plus a separate handheld LCR meter.  If you're considering an eBay special, post it first so we can poach it we can spot any red flags.

Used 8842A models could once be had in reasonably good shape for $100, the 34401A for $200.  Now, not so much...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/402551673465

Any idea why prices have gone up on those meters?  I've seen the same thing.  I'm not in the market anymore but I have noticed the price on 34001A have gone up a lot the last couple of years.

One way to find test equipment at a decent price is ham radio flea markets.  Most hams are honest and if you live near them they are not likely to try sticking you with a piece of junk.  Also, there is often AC power available for testing.

It has been years since I attended one and maybe the prices have inflated a lot?

I think I've told the story a couple of times here but when I started setting up my home workshop, the wisdom out there was that hamfests were the place to go to get good equipment for reasonable prices.  Either that era's been winding down for some time now or it varies regionally but every hamfest I went to in my area was a bust for good equipment except for one HP signal generator I bought from a surplus shop that had rented a table.  The guy there told me that nothing good ever sells at hamfests so maybe the other half of it is a reflection of a lack of a market for good test equipment locally, at least within the ham community.

Things might be different in other areas, though.  Heck, there might even be hamfests in other areas.  Here, no.  We're still locked up due to COVID-19 although at this point it's more for political reasons than lack of vaccine rollout.  The vaccines have been rolling out fast and heavy and disease numbers have been dropping severely but everything's still cancelled and restricted anyways.  By the time the summer window of opportunity for this thing comes around again, it'll be two full years without any semipro football, hamfests, railway museums or anything else where I am.  Again, this might be different in other areas.
 

Online Grandchuck

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2021, 08:09:56 pm »
The hamfest in Gaithersburg Maryland used to be a literal sea of Tektronix, HP, GenRad, etc.  I bought a lot of test gear there.  It was a long time ago (20+ years).

BTW, I think it moved to Bowie, MD but not sure.
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2021, 12:35:37 pm »
For 500 USD there should be plenty of choice in the used A-brand sector in the US.

Even here in the UK where choice is more limited, I've acquired several at prices well below that, including a Fluke 8840A for ~120 USD, a Keithley 2000 for ~300 USD, and even a Keithley 2015 for around 500 bucks US.

You might have some difficulty finding one with capacitance measurement though; with the step up to bench quality, capacitance is usually found in dedicated LCR meters. Depending on which aspects of capacitor testing are important to you, you might need different test gear.
For example, since you mention tube/valve gear, capacitor testing for things like that might not give 100% reliable results at the kind of low voltages handhelds like the DER kick out; sometimes a failed cap might only become apparent at closer to its operational voltage.
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Offline bdunham7

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2021, 01:07:04 pm »
Any idea why prices have gone up on those meters? 

Prices on certain things in various sectors have gone crazy.  Select vintage audio, for example.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/174787992977
« Last Edit: June 11, 2021, 01:09:00 pm by bdunham7 »
A 3.5 digit 4.5 digit 5 digit 5.5 digit 6.5 digit 7.5 digit DMM is good enough for most people.
 

Offline tautech

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2021, 01:37:51 pm »
Solid little units and without a fan are the $ 389 SDM3045X and if you can spring for a bit more the $ 469 SDM3055 however they are fan cooled but fairly quiet.
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline Old Printer

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Re: Bench Top DMM what one to purchase
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2021, 02:11:34 pm »
I have had better luck on Craigslist the last few years. Items don’t get near the exposure that eBay provides and good deals can fly below the radar. I run some basic searches everyday in the morning while having my coffee. Your success will depend a lot on where you live and how far you are willing to drive, or take a chance on asking them to ship... a leap of faith to be sure.
 
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