Poll

Are you interested in seeing more handheld meters tested?

This testing is pointless! Please STOP damaging these meters!
3 (6.4%)
 Yes, I would like to more meters tested.
44 (93.6%)

Total Members Voted: 47

Author Topic: Handheld meter robustness testing  (Read 647927 times)

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Online rsjsouza

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3650 on: December 26, 2019, 06:44:19 pm »
Maybe it has already been discussed before in this thread, but I am wondering why there are no cheap Fluke clones with good electrical robustness. Most of the techniques are in plain sight. Just copy the board with big clearances, large fuses and MOVs. It may cost a few more dollars for parts, but the margin for "professional" multimeters is much larger.

Because:
a) There's no need, sales of unsafe meters are doing just fine.
b) Certification costs money and you're not going to sell many meters without certification marks.
c) Once a meter is certified you're not allowed to change a single component supplier or any part of your production line without going through re-certification.

I suspect (c) is a real problem for Chinese meter makers.
Fungus, "c" is only valid if you apply for their "listed" program (UL, TÜV, Intertek, etc.). The listing requires annual inspection to the manufacturing plant audits and process reviews. Most Chinese low cost meters do not go through that, but that does not solely explain lack of safety: several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings. It boils down to the manufacturer's reputation and seriousness.

A reasonable meter with decent safety is the UT139C.
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Offline floobydust

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3651 on: December 27, 2019, 12:18:42 am »
[...] several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings. It boils down to the manufacturer's reputation and seriousness.

No- Sanwa, Hioki etc. will "design to" 61010 but never tested, no approvals, so it's another gamble. One spacings mistake and you learn why testing is done in the first place.
Using gas-tubes for protection is a known no-no because of the follow-through current that exists with real mains-transients. OVC aren't just a high-voltage blip. Once a gas-tube is lit due to a transient, you have mains to deal with afterwards and in the 1/2 cycle arc flash happens, the part explodes.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 03:07:45 am by floobydust »
 

Online rsjsouza

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3652 on: December 27, 2019, 12:36:36 pm »
[...] several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings. It boils down to the manufacturer's reputation and seriousness.

No- Sanwa, Hioki etc. will "design to" 61010 but never tested, no approvals, so it's another gamble.
Do you work at one of these companies? If not, you can't possibly know that.

Using gas-tubes for protection is a known no-no because of the follow-through current that exists with real mains-transients. OVC aren't just a high-voltage blip. Once a gas-tube is lit due to a transient, you have mains to deal with afterwards and in the 1/2 cycle arc flash happens, the part explodes.
GDTs are useless, all of them fail exactly the same way and nobody manufactures them anymore. Oh, wait...

You want to rehash the year-old discussion but I am not going to participate in your crazyness. Have a nice day.
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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...
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3653 on: December 28, 2019, 05:57:40 pm »
From:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/blog/eevblog-1274-long-term-alkaline-battery-leakage-testing/msg2845334/#msg2845334

Now I'm thinking that perhaps, rather than run different brands, take the most notorious brand (Duracell) and just test those to discover the best mechanism for leakage FIRST, before testing all the brands?

And maybe get a bunch of small $2 farting novelty gadgets that takes two AA's that has a small standby current. I could get dozens of these on AliExpress and run various combinations.
Product recommendations?

If Dave knows this to be a fact, why does the 121GW ship with them? 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3654 on: December 28, 2019, 06:12:04 pm »
[...] several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings. It boils down to the manufacturer's reputation and seriousness.

No- Sanwa, Hioki etc. will "design to" 61010 but never tested, no approvals, so it's another gamble. One spacings mistake and you learn why testing is done in the first place.
Using gas-tubes for protection is a known no-no because of the follow-through current that exists with real mains-transients. OVC aren't just a high-voltage blip. Once a gas-tube is lit due to a transient, you have mains to deal with afterwards and in the 1/2 cycle arc flash happens, the part explodes.

Let's assume that companies who design DMMs are not stupid enough to place a MOV or GTD directly across the meter's inputs.   In ALL cases where I have seen them used, there is a surge rated resistor and PTC in series with the GDT, so I am not sure where this explosion is coming from.    Maybe the following video will help you understand.  If you still feel there is a reason not to use a GDT in a DMM because of an explosion, feel free to post details on what conditions will cause this to happen. 



How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3655 on: December 28, 2019, 06:25:15 pm »
They seem to have no problem putting certification stamps on existing meters, whether outright fake or just shady. With plenty of review sites and videos, it wouldn't be hard to get a reputation for real robustness with a few large protection components.

I would like to see a list of these plenty of review sites you mention.   

Some meters I have looked at, like the 121GW for example, have MOVs, PTCs, what appears to be some sort of surge rated resistors, some sort of high speed clamp.   These other review sites you mention may just look at all of that and say it's robust but that is not what my channel shows and certainly not what this thread has been posting about for the last several years.    If I call a meter robust it's not because I think it looks robust, it's because it survived to some basic test levels. 

I would assume that more meters don't handle my basic tests is because there is a huge market for meters lots of features and a low cost no matter how robust they are.     
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online HKJ

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3656 on: December 28, 2019, 06:27:14 pm »
Let's assume that companies who design DMMs are not stupid enough to place a MOV or GTD directly across the meter's inputs.   

That assumption is mostly correct, but in a very few cases it is not.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3657 on: December 28, 2019, 07:12:57 pm »
Maybe it has already been discussed before in this thread, but I am wondering why there are no cheap Fluke clones with good electrical robustness. Most of the techniques are in plain sight. Just copy the board with big clearances, large fuses and MOVs. It may cost a few more dollars for parts, but the margin for "professional" multimeters is much larger.

Because:
a) There's no need, sales of unsafe meters are doing just fine.
b) Certification costs money and you're not going to sell many meters without certification marks.
c) Once a meter is certified you're not allowed to change a single component supplier or any part of your production line without going through re-certification.

I suspect (c) is a real problem for Chinese meter makers.
Fungus, "c" is only valid if you apply for their "listed" program (UL, TÜV, Intertek, etc.). The listing requires annual inspection to the manufacturing plant audits and process reviews. Most Chinese low cost meters do not go through that, but that does not solely explain lack of safety: several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings.

I have been involved with projects where "c" was required but wouldn't think this was required for a DMM.  For example, say your JEDEC 4007 from company X is no longer offered, I doubt you would be required to stop production until you get your new diode certified.   Have anything to back up this statement? 

I use a HIOKI product to work on mains in CAT III.  When their sales team first showed up with it, I told them I planned to run it though the basic tests (surge, burst...) and they had no problems allowing this.   You people who think what I show in my videos is harsh testing have no idea.  When I ran that low end HIOKI DMM (which uses GDTs BTW), I was confident that it would do well based on my experience with them.   

I would have that same level of confidence if I looked at a new Fluke branded DMM.  Funny, five years ago you couldn't pay me to carry a Fluke but my own testing has changed my stance on that.   The same is true for Brymen and to some degree, Gossen.   

From time to time, people will ask me about looking at another UNI-T product.  I've looked at so many that if I procure another, I am now confident that that one of two things will happen.  The grill starter will damage it or it wouldn't survive to the levels that the small generator can put out (meaning it's not as robust as the $50 AMPROBE AM510 meter).    Where HIOKI sales were more than willing to allow me to fully test their products to the actual standards,  UNI-T had contacted me about sending me one of their new meters to review.  I explained what I do on the channel and that ended the conversation.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3658 on: December 28, 2019, 07:17:18 pm »
Let's assume that companies who design DMMs are not stupid enough to place a MOV or GTD directly across the meter's inputs.   

That assumption is mostly correct, but in a very few cases it is not.
I had looked at I think a Tek-Power meter that had previsions to place some sort of clamp across the inputs but they were smart enough not to populate it.   

Which meters have you seen where they did this?   Did any of these have some sort of safety certification? 
****
I think the only times I have seen a GDT used in a DMM was the HIOKI, GOSSEN and that Keysight. 
« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 07:33:09 pm by joeqsmith »
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Online HKJ

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3659 on: December 28, 2019, 08:13:58 pm »
Which meters have you seen where they did this?   Did any of these have some sort of safety certification? 

The Vici VC8145 and maybe one or two others (With all the meters I have reviewed I cannot remember each one).
I believe I have posted a photo of it in on of your threads before, but it is some time ago.

Another meter I remember (UT125) had a spark gab in the PCB, it might survive your high voltage tests due to that, but a high energy fault would be bad. I believe I also posted a photo of that.

 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3660 on: December 28, 2019, 08:58:49 pm »
I'm not too concerned with the bench meters but still, not too surprised its a VICI.  I seem to remember someone showing a spark gap intentionally designed into the PCB across the inputs.  That may have been yours.   I think one of the pocket meters I looked at may have been like that.    I've certainly looked at a few where I am sure it wasn't the designer's intention to have a sparkgap but it just worked out that way.   I would assume we won't find any reputable company doing this. 

Doing a search, I did see this one.
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/cheap-multimeters-sub-$20-allosun-em420a-and-bside-adm01/msg927655/#msg927655

A few times people have pointed out during my tests where a meter that broke down survived my low energy transients and they will start talking about how robust they are.  They just don't get that the 20J my jig has available is hardly much of anything when compared to a high energy CAT III fault.   I don't see too many comments like that anymore so maybe all this testing has had some small impact on the community. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline maxwell3e10

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3661 on: December 28, 2019, 09:06:04 pm »
You've probably done more testing and comparison across multiple brands than any manufacturer. Based on all that experience maybe can design your own meter with best protection features and start making it, to compete with EEVblog meter.
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3662 on: December 28, 2019, 10:11:39 pm »
[...] several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings. It boils down to the manufacturer's reputation and seriousness.
No- Sanwa, Hioki etc. will "design to" 61010 but never tested, no approvals, so it's another gamble.
Do you work at one of these companies? If not, you can't possibly know that.

Can we stop shilling multimeters from manufacturers such as Sanwa and Hioki, that have no 61010 safety approvals, only misleading statements such as "designed to" or "conforms to" or "safety rating" or "CE" which mean nothing.
Only Uni-Trend UT139E and S have 61010 certification, the UT139ABC ETL certificate page has a bad URL, surely a little mistake. I've asked for the formal certificate.


As far as the protection circuits with GDT/spark gap, I see most are across the inputs in series with the usual 1.1kohm PTC, like in the 34401a, PM300, and with the extra 1kohm surge resistor for the Keysight handheld DMM'S.
The antique Beckman/Wavetek/Meterman/Amprobe Tech300/3000/HD110 family used 2kV GDT or spark gap directly across the multimeter's input. A bunch of Radio Shack models as well- these are all from pre-1010 era.
Only Fluke had a spark gap after the HV input resistor, back in the day when they used that instead of MOV's.

So an ionized gas tube would give different fault currents, some explosive due to follow-through current, and others much PTC smoke when on a DC bus (where GDT normally extinguishes at zero-cross on mains) where it's a long-term wiener roast due to the tube lighting up and keeping current flowing in the PTC.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2019, 10:14:37 pm by floobydust »
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3663 on: December 29, 2019, 03:10:19 am »
As far as the protection circuits with GDT/spark gap, I see most are across the inputs in series with the usual 1.1kohm PTC, like in the 34401a, PM300, and with the extra 1kohm surge resistor for the Keysight handheld DMM'S.
The antique Beckman/Wavetek/Meterman/Amprobe Tech300/3000/HD110 family used 2kV GDT or spark gap directly across the multimeter's input. A bunch of Radio Shack models as well- these are all from pre-1010 era.
Only Fluke had a spark gap after the HV input resistor, back in the day when they used that instead of MOV's.

So an ionized gas tube would give different fault currents, some explosive due to follow-through current, and others much PTC smoke when on a DC bus (where GDT normally extinguishes at zero-cross on mains) where it's a long-term wiener roast due to the tube lighting up and keeping current flowing in the PTC.

It's very possible you will find lots of old technology that will be designed in ways that today would never be approved.   Again, any modern handheld DMM I have looked  at that uses a GDT, it  has been downstream of the surge rated resistor and PTC.   Obviously, if we want to talk about companies doing something so stupid as to place a GDT or MOV directly across the front end of a CAT III + meter, then I think there are countless other stupid design practiced that we should consider as well.   That does not mean that a GDT can not be designed into a product which is basically what you stated.   

Quote
Using gas-tubes for protection is a known no-no because of the follow-through current that exists with real mains-transients. OVC aren't just a high-voltage blip. Once a gas-tube is lit due to a transient, you have mains to deal with afterwards and in the 1/2 cycle arc flash happens, the part explodes.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2019, 03:18:08 am by joeqsmith »
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3664 on: December 29, 2019, 03:32:51 am »
You've probably done more testing and comparison across multiple brands than any manufacturer. Based on all that experience maybe can design your own meter with best protection features and start making it, to compete with EEVblog meter.

 :-DD :-DD  Your faith in my abilities is shown by your setting  the bar so low.     :-DD :-DD

A few reasons come to mind as to why I wouldn't take on the challenge.   First, I have zero interest in designing a handheld meter.   There are some really nice products out there today already.   I doubt I would live long enough to turn a profit.       

I've been playing around with making a source meter for my lab.   It gets used in some of the videos to measure the handheld meter's battery life.   I started to look at that 32-bit TI ADC. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline CDaniel

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3665 on: December 29, 2019, 09:11:33 am »
For high voltage behaviour even a tiny bit of resistance ( teraohms or more ) counts very much  ... sparkgaps have very little as they are phisical gaps , MOV's and the other components obviously have much more . What do we see in the video is discharging in gases vs different dielectric materials . So for easy protection you would want a "leaky" material , obviously not desirable in long term as some degradation would occur . But for a fair test is very important that the equivalent input resistance to ground of the measuring IC is somewhat added after that 10Mohm resistor . I bet it counts very much .
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3666 on: December 29, 2019, 06:27:14 pm »
For high voltage behaviour even a tiny bit of resistance ( teraohms or more ) counts very much  ... sparkgaps have very little as they are phisical gaps , MOV's and the other components obviously have much more . What do we see in the video is discharging in gases vs different dielectric materials . So for easy protection you would want a "leaky" material , obviously not desirable in long term as some degradation would occur . But for a fair test is very important that the equivalent input resistance to ground of the measuring IC is somewhat added after that 10Mohm resistor . I bet it counts very much .

Sorry, you lost me in those last three sentences.  You need to consider that the GDT will switch slower than the MOV.   With the dv/dt of the transients, the capacitance may dominate more than any DC leakage.       

Someone had posted about the MOVs degrading.  With all of my testing, I have yet to have one degrade to the point where I could detect it.  If you follow this link and skip forward a couple of pages, you will see where I run an over voltage test on the Fluke 87V over the course of a few days.       

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/hear-kitty-kitty-kitty-nope-not-that-kind-of-cat/msg1443121/#msg1443121
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3667 on: December 29, 2019, 07:24:53 pm »
[...] several japanese brands (Samwa, Hioki) have excellent quality and reputation and also do not have markings. It boils down to the manufacturer's reputation and seriousness.
No- Sanwa, Hioki etc. will "design to" 61010 but never tested, no approvals, so it's another gamble.
Do you work at one of these companies? If not, you can't possibly know that.

Can we stop shilling multimeters from manufacturers such as Sanwa and Hioki, that have no 61010 safety approvals, only misleading statements such as "designed to" or "conforms to" or "safety rating" or "CE" which mean nothing.
I think what are Canadian friend doesn't realize is that some larger companies will have their own test facility.   Suggesting HIOKI never tests their designs seems rather ignorant, similar to making a blanket statement that GDTs  for protection is a known no-no.   HIOKI has been designing equipment for AC mains testing for decades.   

Normally, I would consider shilling from someone tied to the company.  I wouldn't say I give HIOKI any sort of preferential treatment but I will certainly state that this is the brand I am using/trusting on a professional basis working in CAT III.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3668 on: December 30, 2019, 04:42:41 am »
If you have the agency approvals, no need to hide them. It's a selling feature.
They were not found when Dave reached out on the Sanwa PM300, beyond some ESD and EMC report. That's why I default to doubting that manufacturer's claims rather than people here being gullible. I did reach out to Sanwa again and see what they offer for approvals docs. I haven't looked at Hioki.

If you were an employer supplying multimeters for employee use, you are liable if there are no safety approvals, as OSHA requires.

Very few companies have their own accredited in-house approvals department, I have only seen it where they have enough products to keep a team busy and on payroll, compared to a rolling out a few multimeters every few years.
 

Offline CDaniel

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3669 on: December 30, 2019, 07:25:36 am »
Maybe for japanese market is enough and they don't care too much about the rest of the world ...  :)
 

Offline floobydust

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3670 on: December 30, 2019, 07:41:36 am »
Japan has a law mandating third-party conformity testing for manufacturers or importers. This is likely to prevent corruption which happens with self-declared approvals.

I looked for Hioki's approvals and it didn't look promising. A Hioki quality system CofC mentions "EU Low Voltage Directive" which doesn't smell like an overvoltage category to me. I can't find any agency approvals, certificates even for the domestic market in Japan.
 

Offline TheAmmoniacal

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3671 on: December 30, 2019, 09:56:41 am »
Let's not confuse "electrical robustness" with safety. I have yet to see a failure mode on these meters that will hurt the user.

Giving misleading readings is the only safety issue I've seen so far - how difficult would it be to design a meter with a universal HV warning? (AC, AC, DC+AC) Some indicator telling the user if it's safe or not even if the meter can't correctly display the reading.
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3672 on: December 30, 2019, 03:31:18 pm »
Maybe for japanese market is enough and they don't care too much about the rest of the world ...  :)

I wonder that with the German market as well.   
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Online 2N3055

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3673 on: December 31, 2019, 09:37:37 am »
EN 61010-2-033 defines electrical safety for handheld multimeters.

SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT 
FOR MEASUREMENT, CONTROL, AND LABORATORY USE – 

Part 2-033: Particular requirements for HAND-HELD MULTIMETERS 
and other METERS, for domestic and professional use, 
capable of measuring MAINS voltage

It is THE document where CAT category ratings are defined as applied to multimeters for measuring mains voltages....

So no, they are not muppets. I trust them much more nowadays than Fluke run by bunch of greedy creeps that are coming from the same school of management as those scumbags that are running Boeing.. You know, taking some of the best and most respected companies in the world, firing all the engineers that made those companies great and milking  the brand reputation as long they can, until they destroy it..
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter electrical robustness testing.
« Reply #3674 on: December 31, 2019, 05:25:39 pm »
Just a couple of minor comments.

EN 61010-2-033 defines electrical safety for handheld multimeters.

SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT 
FOR MEASUREMENT, CONTROL, AND LABORATORY USE – 

The above is from Part 1: General requirements of 61010-1.

Part 2-033: Particular requirements for HAND-HELD MULTIMETERS 
and other METERS, for domestic and professional use, 
capable of measuring MAINS voltage

The test leads come up from time to time.  These are covered in 61010-031.

It is THE document where CAT category ratings are defined as applied to multimeters for measuring mains voltages....

So no, they are not muppets. I trust them much more nowadays than Fluke run by bunch of greedy creeps that are coming from the same school of management as those scumbags that are running Boeing.. You know, taking some of the best and most respected companies in the world, firing all the engineers that made those companies great and milking  the brand reputation as long they can, until they destroy it..

You're post reminds my of ave, agv, veg ...  videos where he goes off on Fluke.   In the meantime, he appears unable to understand the instructions.  Best part was him hounding on about safety while showing the hardware fuse he had installed.  I've yet to see any new Fluke branded product perform poorly against my tests.   

I think our friend in Canada believes that the lab must be accredited to obtain a CE mark and if the lab is not accredited, it's not being tested.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 


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