Author Topic: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?  (Read 18901 times)

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Offline FenderBender

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Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« on: December 08, 2012, 05:55:16 pm »
I have a bit of money that I want to spend on my lab. There are a few things that I've been considering. One is a datalogging multimeter. However, I can't seem to find very many loggers that don't cost a fortune and that don't suck.

I've had my eye on the Agilent U1232A, which would have been perfect if it had a mA range...but it doesn't.

I've seen the Uni-T 71D, but people have given it crap for poor construction and inconsistency.

Then there's a slew of other Chinese meters with RS232 interfaces.

Then there's the big boys like the Fluke 189/289 or the Agilent 1272A. But these are really expensive. I'm 18 years old. My job doesn't pay enough to justify one of these.

---

But the main question is: Do you think a datalogging meter is helpful? Do you think having only ONE datalogger is helpful? It seems that you might want to have atleast two to maybe track differences or something.

What do you guys think? Should I buy one or should I invest into something else like a function generator or something else?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 06:00:09 pm by FenderBender »
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2012, 06:22:26 pm »
several UT61Es ... and a PC nearby, done.
I never ever thought of having a self-datalogging meter because they have limited recording memory anyway
 

Offline jabramo

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 06:40:33 pm »
My rule of thumb is buy what you need. Now that doesn't mean overlook features you may need you may need in the future.

Do you have any use for a data logging meter now? You probably already have a regular meter is that good enough?
Same thing for the function generator do you have any use for it currently?

Those thing will always be up for purchase and as time goes on they should get cheaper and better. You'll know when you need something. Save your money for now and wait until you need data logging and a function generator and then you can make sure it will meet all your needs.

 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 06:59:52 pm »
It's always a tough call. "Do you really need it?"

Because if I had it, maybe I'd find a good use for it. But if I don't have it, I'd never know.

I've been after a function gen and maybe an LCR meter because I want to do some RF stuff eventually.

 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 09:02:11 pm »
It's always a tough call. "Do you really need it?"

Because if I had it, maybe I'd find a good use for it. But if I don't have it, I'd never know.
...

Yes, probably.... I really often use the logging function, but not attached to a PC..... If you want to use it on a PC anyway, it would more likely check for a cheap USB-DAQ like the Labjack Stuff.
The nice part is when you can switch the meter on and let it do it's logging. Then just grab it after a while and process the data. I often used it for checking solar power supplies of our stations now and it's quite handy to see trends and so on.

I can really recommend the U1272A. Maybe check on ebay, as they sometimes pass by on a pretty low price. Maybe it's not that urgent to have a logging meter and then it would be more wisely to wait and grab a used one on the ebay or in some forum or so.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2012, 11:07:39 pm »
After watching Dave's video where he uses the logging feature of the U1272A, I really want one. But that's the key word.."want".

I guess I don't technically "need" any electronics gear, but there are things that would probably higher up on the list than a $300 datalogging meter.

If only I had money. I'll look around. Thanks.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 12:58:16 am »
From time to time I've posted about the Radio Shack 22-812 data logging multimeter. You can usually find it in store for about $80, although sometimes it is discounted down to $50 or so. You just have to keep your eye out for promotions.

Now, it is not equivalent to a $300 meter, but it is well built and works exactly as advertised. The RS-232 logging interface and protocol is fully documented so you can write your own logging program (as I did).

I have two of the meters and have used them to make  graphs like this one (using a third-party thermocouple adapter):



That is possibly the main limitation--no built in temperature measurement facility.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 01:21:31 am »
Then there's a slew of other Chinese meters with RS232 interfaces.
Martin did a review of a $30 one.  You can get it through his store if you like it.





And yes, it has all the short comings of a multimeter in the $30 range, but if all you need is a data logger and will be monitoring low powered circuits, you can't get anything too much cheaper.  It runs on double AAs so you will get close to 500 hours on a good set of Eneloops.

PS. My "name" is mentioned in the video, but I get no money of any kind and I have no financial affiliation with Martin or Amazon.com
 

Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 03:16:44 am »
What about something like the Mastech ms8218? Its about $180 on ebay and does everything you would need (rs233 connection, I believe). You're not getting a Fluke or Agilent but there's a lot of cost built into those names (justifiably so but not so for everyone).

You didn't mention a budget so I hope I haven't exceeded with the recommendation.

EDIT: FYI, I haven't personally used or tested this meter.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2012, 03:18:26 am by StubbornGreek »
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Offline MikeK

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2012, 04:19:03 am »
I have a Uni-T 61-E that I just got.  It has logging-to-PC capability for $50.  My other logging-capable meter is the one Ian mentioned.  I have used that one so much for datalogging that I added a DC jack so I could run it from a wall wart instead of plowing through batteries.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 04:22:45 am »
$150 is about the mark I'd like to keep it under, but I'm seriously thinking about some other things first.

Gahh. Why can't money grow on trees?
 

Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 06:16:25 am »
Gahh. Why can't money grow on trees?

Ha! That's one question very few of us ever stop asking.  ;)
"The reward of a thing well done is to have it done"
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Offline aluck

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2012, 02:02:09 pm »
I've got Fluke 189 more than half a year ago. Still didn't manage to find an IrDA/USB adapter. Also, I have no idea of how much FlukeView Forms costs.

This can give you a slight idea of how much I need it to datalog.
 

Offline Achilles

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2012, 06:27:26 pm »
I've got Fluke 189 more than half a year ago. Still didn't manage to find an IrDA/USB adapter. Also, I have no idea of how much FlukeView Forms costs.

This can give you a slight idea of how much I need it to datalog.

I think here in Germany, the cable is about 60Euro and the Programm is about 230Euro........ So actually, it's the price of another 189. The 289 is sometimes on ebay bundles with a case, the software and cable for around 500 USD (Ebay.com). That's quite tempting compared to our pricing here.

@FenderBender: if you're not in the particular need for a meter, I would wait and screen ebay for decent used meters. We don't have many Agilent Handhelds on the used market here, but when they are sold...they go quite cheap compared to a fluke.
Just buy the other stuff you want/need first.

 

alm

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2012, 06:44:22 pm »
I've got Fluke 189 more than half a year ago. Still didn't manage to find an IrDA/USB adapter. Also, I have no idea of how much FlukeView Forms costs.

This can give you a slight idea of how much I need it to datalog.

I think here in Germany, the cable is about 60Euro and the Programm is about 230Euro........ So actually, it's the price of another 189. The 289 is sometimes on ebay bundles with a case, the software and cable for around 500 USD (Ebay.com). That's quite tempting compared to our pricing here.

I think there is a FVF Basic now which is either much cheaper than the full FlukeView Forms or free with the purchase of a cable.
 

Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2012, 06:54:12 pm »
I've got Fluke 189 more than half a year ago. Still didn't manage to find an IrDA/USB adapter. Also, I have no idea of how much FlukeView Forms costs.

This can give you a slight idea of how much I need it to datalog.

I think here in Germany, the cable is about 60Euro and the Programm is about 230Euro........ So actually, it's the price of another 189. The 289 is sometimes on ebay bundles with a case, the software and cable for around 500 USD (Ebay.com). That's quite tempting compared to our pricing here.

I think there is a FVF Basic now which is either much cheaper than the full FlukeView Forms or free with the purchase of a cable.

I've been eying that up, I think its about $130 for the cable and forms s/w.
"The reward of a thing well done is to have it done"
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Offline M. András

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2012, 07:37:29 pm »
just get the cable the software works just fine in the demo mode what you can download from their site but as i remember it wont allow you to save anything. as for the software itself its not copyprotected there is no need to crack or anything if you download it via torrent or other sources. i looked at it before i bought my 289 in a kit. the price what fluke charges for that pretty basic software is nonsense
 

Offline aluck

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2012, 12:34:30 am »
I've been eying that up, I think its about $130 for the cable and forms s/w.
Even for $130 they can go fuck themselves - I am not paying for what should be free.

Gonna make an opensource cable and free basic logging software (just acquiring into CSV file) someday.

Just another $0.02. I sincerely regret that I bough Fluke 189 instead of Fluke 87 V. It was a stupid idea. While basically not bad, 189 boots up for 3-5 seconds, which takes away all the fun debugging with it. Also, in most modes it has a stupid menu which you should navigate with cursor buttons - AND you have to look at screen at the time. No blind operation.

So I always get my trustworthy chinese Fluke 19B for all the basic work - I only power up 189 if I need mOhms/uV range.

And if someone is going to upgrade their Fluke 87V - forget it, unless you absolutely know what you are doing.

Bad Karma to Fluke. Bad, bad Fluke. Don't turn your multimeter into a handheld tablet.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2012, 12:48:03 am »
I've been eying that up, I think its about $130 for the cable and forms s/w.
Even for $130 they can go fuck themselves - I am not paying for what should be free.

Haha. I wasn't expecting to read that! You had me laughing.

More seriously, yeah it's ridiculous. It's a goddamn cable. No monumental feat in engineering.
 

Offline StubbornGreek

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2012, 01:46:09 am »
I've been eying that up, I think its about $130 for the cable and forms s/w.
Even for $130 they can go fuck themselves - I am not paying for what should be free.

Haha. I wasn't expecting to read that! You had me laughing.

More seriously, yeah it's ridiculous. It's a goddamn cable. No monumental feat in engineering.

I had a chuckle myself; thanks for the laugh.

It is a bit ridiculous but unfortunately, I can never find just the cable on ebay. As someone already mentions, the s/w isn't that difficult to find.
"The reward of a thing well done is to have it done"
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Offline nanofrog

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2012, 02:50:29 am »
If you think Fluke's bad for the cable and software, take a look at Gossen (Dranetz) at $450USD.  :o  :--

I have to give Agilent a  :-+ since they sell the cable for ~$30USD last I checked, and the software is a free download.
 

Offline aluck

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2012, 02:52:15 am »
 

Offline perfect_disturbance

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2012, 02:57:43 am »
I recently got a U1242b with the Bluetooth adapter and so far as Dave would say it "works a treat"It allows me to log to my phone or tablet where I can keep old logs and view charts etc. Pretty slick.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2012, 05:05:36 am »
That's what happens when you're under Danaher ... milking money in everyway they can  :-- :-- :--
If you think Fluke's bad for the cable and software, take a look at Gossen (Dranetz) at $450USD.  :o  :--
That's a lot worse  :-- :-- :-- :--
 

Offline ilikepez

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Re: Datalogging multimeter- Yes or no?
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2012, 06:13:45 am »
Keep an eye on the U1272a on ebay. They seem to be selling for around  $200. A Fluke 189 might be good too. More expensive and used though.
 


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