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 649343 times)

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Offline CDaniel

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3725 on: July 16, 2020, 09:30:54 am »
If your house is fitted with such a device maybe ... but it is basically a transformer + relay , so not very fast for protecting active components if you work in something non insulated from mains
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 09:36:03 am by CDaniel »
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3726 on: July 16, 2020, 09:38:57 am »
like any new bench scope that will go boom if you touch the probe ground clip to a live wire
Wouldn't just the earth leakage breaker circuit/RCDO just trip?

Did they have those in the 1960s...?  :popcorn:
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3727 on: July 16, 2020, 11:23:07 am »
like any new bench scope that will go boom if you touch the probe ground clip to a live wire
Wouldn't just the earth leakage breaker circuit/RCDO just trip?
What's that.... 30mA or so? Can that cause a 'boom'?
We have no whole home ground fault breaker.  I believe GFIs are required in bathrooms, kitchens and in close proximity to water. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline GuidoK

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3728 on: July 16, 2020, 11:54:26 am »


Did they have those in the 1960s...?  :popcorn:
I think they had in the late 60's.

But it's very easy to fit/retrofit, if there's none available it's usually (used to be) fitted on the incoming phase or incoming 3 phases, and then usually a 300mA model is fitted because of the presence of a bathroom/kitchen/washingmashine in the house; so no separate RCD's for wet and dry groups, they just take the whole; just as easy and much safer than not fitting at all on certain groups. I don't see why one would do that last one (fitting a 300ma model it on a bathroom group but leave the others completely out...)

I don't live in the US but in europe, so maybe that clouds my view on the world a bit. In my country there isn't a house that isn't retrofitted by the network providers with at least an rcd on the incoming phases. In my view that all happened here before (guesstimated) the mid 80's so at least 35 years ago.

But indeed if this rudimentary safety is not present, then don't connect the live to the ground of your scope.
Or better yet, use an extention cord/junction box that is fitted with one in your lab  ;) (might be a good addition to the eev video on what you need to start an electronics lab  ;))
I guess safety starts with understanding what kind of mains you have.

If your house is fitted with such a device maybe ... but it is basically a transformer + relay , so not very fast for protecting active components if you work in something non insulated from mains
The ground of your scope isn't an active component.
The RCD is easily fast enough to not have your ground lead in your probe melt. That is (at least according to David Jone's video) the first thing that goes when grounding the scope to live.
But you live in Romania, one of the last countries accepted by the EU. Are there still a lot of houses in your country not fitted with RCD's on the incoming phase(s)? I'm very curious on the general state of development in eastern european countries.
(and I also wonder how this is implemented in the UK, one of the most interesting countries electrically, especially with the dodgy showerheaters (only ever saw them in the UK/ireland))
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 12:17:22 pm by GuidoK »
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3729 on: July 16, 2020, 12:37:15 pm »
But it's very easy to fit/retrofit  ... snip snip

Yes, but that wasn't the question.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3730 on: July 16, 2020, 02:16:24 pm »
For the case with test equipment, I think I would rather have it in just the lab rather than risking shutting down the entire home's power.   

I wonder if this system would have detected the floating neutral.   
https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/cause-of-12yearolds-tragic-electric-shock-revealed-after-the-child-was-left-brain-damaged/news-story/8d60948c20675e647236b2bc2e9e5a3d

I have heard from friends that were forced to use GFI in the kitchens, where their high efficient fridge will have enough leakage to cause a fault.   Then they loose their entire food supply. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline GuidoK

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3731 on: July 16, 2020, 03:22:00 pm »
Yes, but that wasn't the question.
The answer to your question is that if you don't consider or upgrade your 1960's electricity net in the house, then you're living with 60 year old safety standards by now.
If the government/network provider doesn't make it mandatory and calculates the costs in the tariffs, you always get people that rather play with their lives for a few cents.
Not having any kind of RCD/ground-fault circuit sounds extremely ancient where I live. Sure back in the 60's people had a hairdryer and a clock, now they have hundreds of appliences plugged in. Times have changed.
If blowing up your dso is on your mind and have no RCD at all in the phase you're using/probing, use at least something like this (or better; I have no experience with this particular model; everything is RCD protected here). 10 bucks and connect all your sockets that you use in your lab to it.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Masterplug-Single-Socket-Safety-Adaptor/dp/B000RZDNZM
It's strange that something like this wasn't mentioned in the whole 'dont blow up your scope' eevblog video. The way I see it this would at least save the scope. Dont know what happens to your hand if you happen to touch the ground with it at that moment though....

I wonder if this system would have detected the floating neutral.   
https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/cause-of-12yearolds-tragic-electric-shock-revealed-after-the-child-was-left-brain-damaged/news-story/8d60948c20675e647236b2bc2e9e5a3d
Well if you don't have any kind of RCD there is nothing detected for certain.
This is why you either want T-N-S or TT.
Chances of this happening is biggest with TN-C (earth meets neutral in switchbox), which I've never seen over here (I think it's not allowed in CENELEC countries; I live in a 50 year old house and was fitted from new with a better system than that.), but I understand is still common practice in certain areas?
This is of course a very tragic incident and should have been avoided with a proper electrical system. Did they have any kind of RCD in the phase where the power came from?

Where I live I reckon this would be impossible with any kind of RCD installed (it's way to moist over here, any copper going in the ground is probably going to trip 300mA), but I have no idea what the australian soil does. Usually if there's grass (water), there is enough conductivity to get that 300mA, but it's best to get a good, certified ground (I think the standard here is 0,6 ohm or something like that)

(edit: this maybe goes all way too far offtopic, but I am genuine concerned about peoples safety, god forbid your own child ends up in a wheelchair braindamaged due to electric shock from a neglected electrical system or a system that misses basic safety from the beginning, and of course lots of tinkerers here sometimes with a lot of knowledge, and sometimes less: invest in an isolation transformer when trying to repair mains appliences, preferably one that you can regulate voltage, helps with fault tracing )
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 04:24:14 pm by GuidoK »
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3732 on: July 16, 2020, 05:10:29 pm »
(edit: this maybe goes all way too far offtopic, but I am genuine concerned about peoples safety, god forbid your own child ends up in a wheelchair braindamaged due to electric shock from a neglected electrical system or a system that misses basic safety from the beginning, and of course lots of tinkerers here sometimes with a lot of knowledge, and sometimes less: invest in an isolation transformer when trying to repair mains appliences, preferably one that you can regulate voltage, helps with fault tracing )

I'm sure many people are but it was never my intent to use this thread to discuss safety.  The problem is that it confuses people, causing them to equate the tests I have ran with safety.    This IMO places the uneducated at a higher risk, thinking products are safe when they may not be.    Because I actually have concern for peoples welfare, people who promote that these tests have anything to do with safety are normally met with some minor backlash.   

Not surprising that suggesting people use a safety related thread seems to fall by dead ears. 

I had no plans to do anymore with this thread and was unsuccessful in having Dave lock it.  So if this is the place people want to discuss safety, I will inject what little I can.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3733 on: July 16, 2020, 07:07:49 pm »
I'm sure many people are but it was never my intent to use this thread to discuss safety.  The problem is that it confuses people, causing them to equate the tests I have ran with safety.    This IMO places the uneducated at a higher risk, thinking products are safe when they may not be. 

It's not just the product, either. Owning the best multimeter in the world doesn't make the overall process "safe".

Even on household mains you should be wearing gloves & ear/eye protection if the wires are hot.

Don't even think of going near high energy equipment without somebody else standing by with a telephone in their hand,

etc., etc.

(tie a rope around your waist so they can pull you out...)
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3734 on: July 16, 2020, 07:18:54 pm »
I'm often to be seen near colleagues, with a long wooden stick in hand, just in case.

Sadly (not really), I haven't yet had the opportunity to use it...
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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3735 on: July 16, 2020, 10:54:30 pm »
I'm sure many people are but it was never my intent to use this thread to discuss safety.  The problem is that it confuses people, causing them to equate the tests I have ran with safety.    This IMO places the uneducated at a higher risk, thinking products are safe when they may not be. 

It's not just the product, either. Owning the best multimeter in the world doesn't make the overall process "safe".

Even on household mains you should be wearing gloves & ear/eye protection if the wires are hot.

Don't even think of going near high energy equipment without somebody else standing by with a telephone in their hand,

etc., etc.

(tie a rope around your waist so they can pull you out...)

Again:
  As little as I know about safety, I know even less about US law.  The DMM is a safety device.  I assume most working in this environment have the training and PPE to keep them safe regardless.  So it may not get tested in the courts.  Still.....

Your brain should be your first safety device then the PPE then maybe the meter.   If your an untrained idiot, there's not much that meter is going to do to save you.   

Many years ago, I had heard about an electrician that had gone near the transformers for a factory and was vaporized.  I am not too surprised after hearing from my friends about this other worker they knew.   Having a rope or stick may not be very effective for an arcflash. 

I think I wrote about a friend who's a master electrician who never believed in PPE.   He an another worker needed to make some measurements, suited up, went in with their long poles, hooked up to the bus and the meter exploded in my friends hands.   He figures the PPE saved him that day and he became a firm believer after that.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline dcac

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3736 on: July 16, 2020, 11:45:01 pm »
I hope I didn’t derail the thread - I probably should’ve mentioned the Heathkit IM28 is a mains powered meter - with really no insulation of the input jack. My thoughts was mostly the safety aspects of following that procedure and that back in those days they even ‘suggested’ something like that. But if you knew what you were doing it probably was ok to follow it. I sure hope though people at least used a suitable insulated screwdriver as 'probe extension'.

The IM28 design is from 1968 but I think my dad bought the kit in 1977 or so - it was sold here in Sweden by a small import company. The transformer could be configured for 240V but it wasn’t delivered with any EU style mains plug. The cord is three wire but the plug that sits on it now is 2 prong - so the meter is floating so to speak. I think it could steer clear of any safety norms as it was sold as a kit and could be considered a 'home built’ device.

It is still probably working fine but hasn’t been used for the last 30 years or so.

I hope this tread stays open - the safety talk is probably unavoidable - now i.e. with the 121gw's high voltage ranging problem - that is a safety problem for sure. AFAIK it has not been addressed yet - it's been 7 months now?

« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 11:47:09 pm by dcac »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3737 on: July 17, 2020, 07:28:52 am »
I think I wrote about a friend who's a master electrician who never believed in PPE.   He an another worker needed to make some measurements, suited up, went in with their long poles, hooked up to the bus and the meter exploded in my friends hands.   He figures the PPE saved him that day and he became a firm believer after that.

I've seen a couple of videos where the worker making measurements put the meter itself on the end of the long pole in capture mode and then made the measurements at pole's length before retrieving the meter to view the reading. That seems to me to be eminently sensible.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3738 on: July 17, 2020, 10:14:54 am »
Your brain should be your first safety device then the PPE then maybe the meter.   If your an untrained idiot, there's not much that meter is going to do to save you.   

Many years ago, I had heard about an electrician that had gone near the transformers for a factory and was vaporized.  I am not too surprised after hearing from my friends about this other worker they knew.   Having a rope or stick may not be very effective for an arcflash. 

I think I wrote about a friend who's a master electrician who never believed in PPE.   He an another worker needed to make some measurements, suited up, went in with their long poles, hooked up to the bus and the meter exploded in my friends hands.   He figures the PPE saved him that day and he became a firm believer after that.

Just so. A rope or stick won't be much use when you're working with intermediate or high voltages.

The highest energy systems I have to deal with at work are low voltage customer end, so 400VAC 3ph and generally fused at no more than 1250A.
A wooden stick is more a humorous reminder for people (mainly but not always apprentices) to be careful or I'll beat them even more senseless than the shock they get.
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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3739 on: July 17, 2020, 11:52:18 am »
I think I wrote about a friend who's a master electrician who never believed in PPE.   He an another worker needed to make some measurements, suited up, went in with their long poles, hooked up to the bus and the meter exploded in my friends hands.   He figures the PPE saved him that day and he became a firm believer after that.

I've seen a couple of videos where the worker making measurements put the meter itself on the end of the long pole in capture mode and then made the measurements at pole's length before retrieving the meter to view the reading. That seems to me to be eminently sensible.

Not being there, I am not sure why they worked this way.  Maybe the procedure called for it or the meter had too small of a display to read through the face protection at any distance.  It's possible the procedures changed after that.   Now days, I would imagine the panels allow remote monitoring.  Or they have meters built into the pole with an RF link.   I can't imagine in that video above where the guy puts his handheld on a 2KV bus like they show.   

Just so. A rope or stick won't be much use when you're working with intermediate or high voltages.

The highest energy systems I have to deal with at work are low voltage customer end, so 400VAC 3ph and generally fused at no more than 1250A.
A wooden stick is more a humorous reminder for people (mainly but not always apprentices) to be careful or I'll beat them even more senseless than the shock they get.


I want to say the above was a 4KV and the one I was told where the workers body was vaporized was also at 4KV.   In that case where the worker was killed, a second worker almost lost their life as well from that arcflash.     

I'm not sure with the case involving the larger outside transformers but imagine those are upward of 10KV off the pole. I really don't know.  I heard there were two others with him but I was unable to find any details on what happened.  I knew people that worked at that plant who had told me about it.   

On your 400V lines, do you send your workers out with lightbulbs as Fungus suggests?   I just don't envision workers with their lightbulbs and free HF meters even in these environments.       
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3740 on: July 17, 2020, 12:07:29 pm »
I hope I didn’t derail the thread - I probably should’ve mentioned the Heathkit IM28 is a mains powered meter - with really no insulation of the input jack. My thoughts was mostly the safety aspects of following that procedure and that back in those days they even ‘suggested’ something like that. But if you knew what you were doing it probably was ok to follow it. I sure hope though people at least used a suitable insulated screwdriver as 'probe extension'.

The IM28 design is from 1968 but I think my dad bought the kit in 1977 or so - it was sold here in Sweden by a small import company. The transformer could be configured for 240V but it wasn’t delivered with any EU style mains plug. The cord is three wire but the plug that sits on it now is 2 prong - so the meter is floating so to speak. I think it could steer clear of any safety norms as it was sold as a kit and could be considered a 'home built’ device.

It is still probably working fine but hasn’t been used for the last 30 years or so.

I hope this tread stays open - the safety talk is probably unavoidable - now i.e. with the 121gw's high voltage ranging problem - that is a safety problem for sure. AFAIK it has not been addressed yet - it's been 7 months now?

We were on the safety kick before your post.  As I said, no problem.  I agree that we are much more sensitive about safety now.   I found a website that listed worker related deaths that went back several decades.   Many of the early deaths were linemen who died by electrocution.   At one point in the data, it was like someone through a switch and linemen stopped dying. 
   
The Gossen Ultra as far as I know is still sensitive to the magnetic field from a hanger.   While someone wrote me how they had added a shield similar to what I show in my videos, I have not confirmed this.  How many years ago was this?   

I like the idea of that noncontact voltage clamp that Fluke has.  Yea, I know that ave avg guy was really going off on it but still, if you could take measurements like this without having exposed conductors it would seem to be more safe.  For the most part the technology seems to work but like other meters I have looked at, there are cases where it provides bad data.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3741 on: July 17, 2020, 12:27:13 pm »
Don't forget your proving unit to make sure your meter/tester is working before and after you test your AC circuit.

eg. https://www.fluke.com/en/product/electrical-testing/basic-testers/fluke-prv240fs-proving-unit

[attachimg=1]

I'm sure there's a 400V proving unit out there somewhere.


---------------

Edit: Yep. This one goes up to 690V and can even light up your light bulbs for you :-)

https://martindale-electric.co.uk/product/martindale-pd690sx-50v-120v-230v-440v-690v-ac-calcheck-proving-unit/
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 12:31:19 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3742 on: July 17, 2020, 01:57:20 pm »
I want to say the above was a 4KV and the one I was told where the workers body was vaporized was also at 4KV.   In that case where the worker was killed, a second worker almost lost their life as well from that arcflash.     

I'm not sure with the case involving the larger outside transformers but imagine those are upward of 10KV off the pole. I really don't know.  I heard there were two others with him but I was unable to find any details on what happened.  I knew people that worked at that plant who had told me about it.   

On your 400V lines, do you send your workers out with lightbulbs as Fungus suggests?   I just don't envision workers with their lightbulbs and free HF meters even in these environments.       

Here in the UK the main grid runs between 100kV to 400kV. Distribution stations drop that to 11kV, then local substations drop that to the 400V we work on.

If one of my colleagues tried to use such a method, I'd have them removed from site.
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Offline bd139

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3743 on: July 17, 2020, 03:42:20 pm »
My electrician doesn’t even have a multimeter so this sort of stuff doesn’t surprise me  :palm:

I have made the odd 1-2kv reading by soldering the probes to the DUT  :-DD
 

Offline AVGresponding

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3744 on: July 17, 2020, 04:39:37 pm »
@bd139 A domestic electrician doesn't need a multimeter.

They do need a 2-probe tester. I use a Fluke T5-1000, many others are available.

They also may need an installation tester, unless they're getting another sparks to sign off their work. We use Kewtech KT65s for that.

For some things I might need my Fluke 87V, or for DCA my Mastech 2108A.

I might use my Fluke VoltAlert (voltstick) for some basic safety checks, there are specific circumstances that make that acceptable or not.

Soldering leads to a DUT for 1kV measurements is quite a sensible option, given that I know you're competent at not electrocuting yourself.
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Offline bd139

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3745 on: July 17, 2020, 05:01:11 pm »
He has the steaming remains of a megger equivalent of the kewtech but i actually had to strip it and repair it for him a couple of years back as the batteries leaked in it. Haven’t seen it since. I do the work. He signs it off  :-DD. Nothing notifiable has been done since then though.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3746 on: July 17, 2020, 11:03:15 pm »
https://www.fluke.com/en-us/learn/online-courses/electrical-measurement-safety

Quote
This free, self-paced, online course describes the electrical dangers you may face in the workplace, the safety standards to protect you and the best practices involved with test tool safety.

Making a mistake while working on a high-energy electrical system can deliver a deadly blow to anyone who fails to take the right safety precautions. That’s why, at Fluke Corporation, your safety is our top priority.
[/i]

I'm guessing some of those interested in safety have attended this.   If you have, what did you learn?  Was it worth the 4 hours?   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3747 on: July 17, 2020, 11:25:26 pm »
This is for that ave agv ?? guy who was blabbing about safety all the while showing his hardware fuse installed.  Too stupid to buy the right one.  Worse, people watch this stuff and may actually believe the guy knows what he's doing.   

https://youtu.be/IzwN8yibjjA?t=879

10KA fuses getting lit up:
https://youtu.be/IzwN8yibjjA?t=682

This stuff never gets old: 
https://youtu.be/IzwN8yibjjA?t=1022

Who makes this meter???
https://youtu.be/IzwN8yibjjA?t=1073
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3748 on: July 17, 2020, 11:41:36 pm »
Let me just get my light bulb out and check that circuit...   Nothing like an arcflash test

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

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Re: Handheld meter robustness testing
« Reply #3749 on: July 17, 2020, 11:48:54 pm »
Of course, I play with lightbulbs at home from time to time. 
https://youtu.be/aaZxWMgOz70?t=423
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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