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 633438 times)

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Offline Meter Junkie

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What camera are you using for your videos?  It does a very nice job.
 

Offline Lightages

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What I was referring to is this part that I have gleaned from other posts. Remember that I am only going on the parts that I have seen and they might be out of context.

Quote
16.2 Multifunction meters and similar equipment
Multifunction meters and similar equipment shall not cause a HAZARD in any possible combination
of RATED input voltages, and settings of function and range controls. Possible HAZARDS include
electric shock, fire, arcing and explosion.
Conformity is checked by the following test.The maximum RATED voltage specified for any function is applied to each pair of TERMINALS in
turn, in every combination of function and range controls. The test source connected to the
equipment measuring TERMINALS during this test is limited to 3.6 kVA for measurement category I
or measurement category II. For measurement category III or measurement category IV, the test
circuit has to be capable of delivering 30 kVA.

During and after the tests, no HAZARD shall arise.
Multifunction meters and similar equipment are to be tested by changing the Function/Range Selector to all
possible settings while connected to the maximum rated source.”
NOTE If test probes are provided with the equipment being tested then they are to be used for the test.
Compliance is checked by testing to verify no hazard occurs when switching selector settings.
 

Offline Meter Junkie

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What I was referring to is this part that I have gleaned from other posts. Remember that I am only going on the parts that I have seen and they might be out of context.

Quote
16.2 Multifunction meters and similar equipment
Multifunction meters and similar equipment shall not cause a HAZARD in any possible combination
of RATED input voltages, and settings of function and range controls. Possible HAZARDS include
electric shock, fire, arcing and explosion.
Conformity is checked by the following test.The maximum RATED voltage specified for any function is applied to each pair of TERMINALS in
turn, in every combination of function and range controls. The test source connected to the
equipment measuring TERMINALS during this test is limited to 3.6 kVA for measurement category I
or measurement category II. For measurement category III or measurement category IV, the test
circuit has to be capable of delivering 30 kVA.

During and after the tests, no HAZARD shall arise.
Multifunction meters and similar equipment are to be tested by changing the Function/Range Selector to all
possible settings while connected to the maximum rated source.”
NOTE If test probes are provided with the equipment being tested then they are to be used for the test.
Compliance is checked by testing to verify no hazard occurs when switching selector settings.

I agree with you, and believe it does not have to function, just not become a hazard. However, that 16.2 section that you are posting is from 61010-1 2nd Edition.  It is not in 3rd Edition.
 

Offline Lightages

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Does the 3rd edition and the supplements say anything about the need to use the test leads as supplied for the tests?
 

Offline Meter Junkie

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Quote
To be clear, I don't want them tested to ANY standard.  You, more than anybody, should get what I'm saying.
Never assume I understand anything.   :-DD :-DD

Quote
I don't want to test them to a standard, but section 101.3 of 61010-2-033  (attached at the end) would serve as a decent test to base the testing off of.

 :-+

Quote
I don't want to test them to a standard, but section 101.3 of 61010-2-033  (attached at the end) would serve as a decent test to base the testing off of. This section talks of putting the highest voltage the meter can test on the mains, on putting that on every jack, and every switch position.  It does not require the meter to survive, just not become a hazard.

You did not include everything.  The way I understand it, the DUT must survive.  But again, I bet we would get different answers from the manufactures as well.  No big deal.  See below...

Quote
101.3.1 General
Conformity is checked by inspection, evaluation of the design of the equipment, and as
specified in 101.3.2 to 101.3.3, as applicable.

101.3.2 Protection by a certified overcurrent protection device

During and after the test, no damage to the equipment shall occur.

101.3.3 Protection by uncertified current limitation devices or by impedances

During and after the test, no HAZARD shall arise, nor shall there be any evidence of fire,
arcing, explosion, or damage to impedance limitation devices or any component intended to
provide protection against electric shock, heat, arc or fire, including the ENCLOSURE and traces
on the printed wiring board.

No matter how this meter is protected (I am treating it as a black box) it needs to survive the test IMO.

That aside...   Watch the following as I amp up the 440V capacitor dump test....

Quote
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEMCrGchLxs&feature=youtu.be

You did not post all of 101.3.3, which is the section that we would be talking about, because these inputs are protected by PTC's and MOV's, and not fuses, which is what 101.3.2 seems to refer to.

Read all of 101.3.3.  It say the protection circuit could be damaged, but that it should not damage other parts of the unit. If that PTC is damaged, the unit will probably not be functional, but would not become a hazard. You stopped your post right at the VERY next key line that says "Any damage to a device used for current limitation shall be ignored".

I am attaching the rest of section 101.3.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2015, 02:24:28 am by Meter Junkie »
 

Offline Meter Junkie

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Does the 3rd edition and the supplements say anything about the need to use the test leads as supplied for the tests?

Yes, that is listed in the documents I posted above.  It states to use the supplied leads, and then to repeat the test with others leads described in the standard.
 

Online joeqsmith

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I am just using my old Cannon camera.   


Quote
You did not post all of 101.3.3, which is the section that we would be talking about, because these inputs are protected by PTC's and MOV's, and not fuses, which is what 101.3.2 seems to refer to.

It states "No part of this publication may be reproduced...".   I am not comfortable posting large sections.     

Quote
and not fuses, which is what 101.3.2 seems to refer to.
101.3.2 is for certified overcurrent protection device.   This can be more than fuses, or they would not state:
Quote
If the protection device is a fuse, ...
I believe this is any certified overcurrent device as it states.   This could be a PTC as long as it has been certified. 

101.3.3 is for uncertified current limitation devices.   This could be an uncertified fuse.  I saw a few of them.

We could debate the standards to no end.   There's really no point.    You see it one way, I see it another.  The manufactures don't agree.   No big deal.   One things for sure,  I would rather have a meter that remained functional than one that does not.   
« Last Edit: July 06, 2015, 02:32:25 am by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online joeqsmith

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Quote
Read all of 101.3.3.  It say the protection circuit could be damaged, b

Quote
During and after the test, ... or damage to impedance limitation devices or any component intended to provide protection against electric shock,...

I have no idea where you would see this as allowing the protection circuit to be damaged.   :-//    It is interesting how many ways a poorly written standard can be interpreted. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Meter Junkie

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Quote
Read all of 101.3.3.  It say the protection circuit could be damaged, b

Quote
During and after the test, ... or damage to impedance limitation devices or any component intended to provide protection against electric shock,...

I have no idea where you would see this as allowing the protection circuit to be damaged.   :-//    It is interesting how many ways a poorly written standard can be interpreted.

What about the line that stated "Any damage to a device used for current limitation shall be ignored"?????
 

Offline Meter Junkie

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  :-//    It is interesting how many ways a poorly written standard can be interpreted.

Maybe they will finally make it clear by the 5th or 6th Edition......
 

Online joeqsmith

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Quote
Read all of 101.3.3.  It say the protection circuit could be damaged, b

Quote
During and after the test, ... or damage to impedance limitation devices or any component intended to provide protection against electric shock,...

I have no idea where you would see this as allowing the protection circuit to be damaged.   :-//    It is interesting how many ways a poorly written standard can be interpreted.

What about the line that stated "Any damage to a device used for current limitation shall be ignored"?????

You only captured part of that sentence.  It states:
Quote
Any damage to a device used for current limitation shall be ignored if other parts of the equipment were not affected during the test.

Quote
If a device used for current limitation is damaged, it is replaced before the test is repeated.

In these two cases I believe they are referring to a user serviceable device.   UL, TUV and the like are not going to pull our their solder stations and start swapping parts.   I can see them changing a fuse.    So, if the fuse blew and no other damaged occurred, to the equipment, you can ignore that failure.   

Again, that's just the way I would read it.    If they made the standards clear, like I have to in my job, then companies could produce product which met these standards.  That would put a lot of government inspectors out of jobs and would allow a more fair global trade.   WTC is not tied with TUV for the fun of it.     If they made the standards that the people paid for, free for the people to read, the people may actually think,  :wtf: This is the safety standards we paid $$$$$ for you to come up with??   :-DD :-DD    If you have a TUV safety inspector you work with, ask them next time if some product you are working on is safe.  See what sort of response you get. 

All I can say is that the Fluke 101 can sit on the plate supply of the Drake TR-4 for at least 30 seconds in resistance, continuity, diode check and capacitance modes for at least 30 seconds and you can rotate the switch while the voltage is applied as much as you want.   If I had 10 more meters, I would have repeated that test on all of them.   I may have had 10 more dead meters too!  :-DD

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

Offline Meter Junkie

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If you have a TUV safety inspector you work with, ask them next time if some product you are working on is safe.  See what sort of response you get. 

I have never worked with TUV, only ETL and UL.

But, I have asked questions about standards on numerous occasions, trying to clear things up on standards. In areas where it did not seem clear, I ask specific questions about the meaning, and I have NEVER received a straight answer back. They will pretty much just do their testing, and tell you if you pass or fail. They never clarify the standard, probably because they don't know for sure either.
 

Offline Neilm

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But, I have asked questions about standards on numerous occasions, trying to clear things up on standards. In areas where it did not seem clear, I ask specific questions about the meaning, and I have NEVER received a straight answer back. They will pretty much just do their testing, and tell you if you pass or fail. They never clarify the standard, probably because they don't know for sure either.

The trouble is they can't say "if the fuse blows change it" as someone might have some other way of interrupting the current and they would not want to preclude that.
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe. - Albert Einstein
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Online joeqsmith

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Looks like Hackaday picked up the story.   

http://hackaday.com/2015/07/04/exploding-multimeter-battle-royale/

I was fine with what they wrote until this part:

Quote
What’s the secret to Fluke’s success? You only need to look at what the Fluke 101 can’t do. Fluke’s budget meter doesn’t measure current. If you ever look inside a meter, you’ll usually find two fuses, one for measuring Amps and the other for all the other functions on the scope. There’s quite a bit of engineering that goes into the current measurement of a meter, and when it goes wrong you have a bomb on your hands. Fluke engineers rather intelligently dropped current measurement from this budget meter, allowing them to save that much on their BOM.

Which appears to have led to more confusion.   If people would have watched the videos, they would have known that no meter from the CAT III group was damaged in current mode.   They would also know that I stopped testing the current mode early on because the generator was putting out enough to blow the fuses and I did not want to replace them.   So all the meters were only tested using the modes that used the voltage input connections.   They would also have noticed that the Klein Tools meter had even less features than the 101 and was beat out by even the AMPROBE that has far more features.   The Gardner Bender meter failed in the first round of tests and where is it's current sense feature?

We can only run the tests, collect the data and post the results.    If people want to slant the data, I can't fix that.   

So, why does the 101 hold up so well?   I suspect circuit design, layout and part selection.   I have not taken this 101 apart but there is a video on youtube that shows the board.  Talk about an air gap.     But ... as much as it kills me to say it,  even more than the design, I suspect the culture within the company demands the meters meet a very high level of standards.    Again, some companies I contacted felt it was fine for a meter to not be functional after the surge test, while others require their products are not damaged.     The real test is going to be to get a high end meter and run it through the same tests.  That meter is going to have a lot more features than the 101.   

I gave up on contacting the service groups at the main companies.   If if blows I'll just return the thing and hope they warranty it.    Now if I could just find a meter I like.... 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 11:52:58 am by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline tautech

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Now if I could just find a meter I like....

:-+
But I'm getting low on   :popcorn:
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 07:29:23 am by tautech »
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Offline Lightages

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I think it will be hard to get ANY company to send a meter to anyone who's intention is to try and make it blow up. Even if they are 100% confident that it meets all safety standards and quality. The tests will be continued until failure and no company wants to help show its product failing, reasonably or not.
 

Online joeqsmith

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I think it will be hard to get ANY company to send a meter to anyone who's intention is to try and make it blow up. Even if they are 100% confident that it meets all safety standards and quality. The tests will be continued until failure and no company wants to help show its product failing, reasonably or not.

Getting a meter in the USA is not difficult.  You place the order, they send you the meter.   They don't ask the intended use when an order is placed. 
To be clear, I have NEVER asked Fluke or Keysight to send me a meter.    What I have asked them is if they would warranty their products if they failed before the Fluke 101.  I also provided them the link to this forum.  Only one company responded (not Fluke or Keysight).   

Also, as I mentioned earlier, I don't think there is much more I can do to test the meters at home.  My plan now is to just run the higher end meter through the tests that the 101 has been through and see if it survives. 

Because I plan to keep the higher end meter, there are certain features I would like to have.    I would have bought the Keysight already but to be honest, their lack of response does not give me a lot of confidence in them.      If I could combine the higher count and AC+DC mode with the 28II, I would have bought it.       
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Meter Junkie

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To be clear, I have NEVER asked Fluke or Keysight to send me a meter.    What I have asked them is if they would warranty their products if they failed before the Fluke 101.  I also provided them the link to this forum.  Only one company responded (not Fluke or Keysight).   

How are you contacting these companies? By sending an email to customer service from the website? A typical customer service person wouldn't have a clue what you are talking about, and be able to respond to you.
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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To be clear, I have NEVER asked Fluke or Keysight to send me a meter.    What I have asked them is if they would warranty their products if they failed before the Fluke 101.  I also provided them the link to this forum.  Only one company responded (not Fluke or Keysight).   

How are you contacting these companies? By sending an email to customer service from the website? A typical customer service person wouldn't have a clue what you are talking about, and be able to respond to you.

I work in Biotech and our CS reps are trained to escalate with technical questions to the TS team. If the TS team doesn't know they forward it on to the scientists. I would imagine this is the same for them.
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Online joeqsmith

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Do we pull the trigger???  After all it should at least be as robust as the 101, right?
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 10:41:01 pm by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline saturation

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I concur.  Luckily, eevblog is well indexed by google and appears first when a search is done on a topic discussed here.  Eevblog has more informed members that generate less noise compared to hackaday.

In toto this thread suggests Fluke's low end meters sacrifice feature sets, but maintain safety expected of its more expensive DMMs.  Following the videos as they evolved in the series, its clear to me showcasing Fluke was not the goal, it just happened this way, even if not so, so long as the surge energies be true, the meter has survived, QED.

Electricians often use clamp meters to measure current, so such users can opt to have just what they need and avoid the potential pitfalls that blow expensive DMM fuses.


Looks like Hackaday picked up the story.   

http://hackaday.com/2015/07/04/exploding-multimeter-battle-royale/

I was fine with what they wrote until this part:

Quote
What’s the secret to Fluke’s success? You only need to look at what the Fluke 101 can’t do. Fluke’s budget meter doesn’t measure current. If you ever look inside a meter, you’ll usually find two fuses, one for measuring Amps and the other for all the other functions on the scope. There’s quite a bit of engineering that goes into the current measurement of a meter, and when it goes wrong you have a bomb on your hands. Fluke engineers rather intelligently dropped current measurement from this budget meter, allowing them to save that much on their BOM.

Which appears to have led to more confusion.  If people would have watched the videos, they would have known that no meter from the CAT III group was damaged in current mode.     

So, why does the 101 hold up so well?  I suspect circuit design, layout and part selection.   I have not taken this 101 apart but there is a video on youtube that shows the board.  Talk about an air gap.     But ... as much as it kills me to say it,  even more than the design, I suspect the culture within the company demands the meters meet a very high level of standards.    Again, some companies I contacted felt it was fine for a meter to not be functional after the surge test, while others require their products are not damaged.     The real test is going to be to get a high end meter and run it through the same tests.  That meter is going to have a lot more features than the 101.   

« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 08:47:33 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Muxr

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Do we pull the trigger???  After all it should at least be as robust as the 101, right?
nice! I dunno man.. Grats on the 87V though!  :-DMM
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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Looks like Hackaday picked up the story.   

http://hackaday.com/2015/07/04/exploding-multimeter-battle-royale/

I was fine with what they wrote until this part:

Quote
What’s the secret to Fluke’s success? You only need to look at what the Fluke 101 can’t do. Fluke’s budget meter doesn’t measure current. If you ever look inside a meter, you’ll usually find two fuses, one for measuring Amps and the other for all the other functions on the scope. There’s quite a bit of engineering that goes into the current measurement of a meter, and when it goes wrong you have a bomb on your hands. Fluke engineers rather intelligently dropped current measurement from this budget meter, allowing them to save that much on their BOM.

Which appears to have led to more confusion.   If people would have watched the videos, they would have known that no meter from the CAT III group was damaged in current mode.   They would also know that I stopped testing the current mode early on because the generator was putting out enough to blow the fuses and I did not want to replace them.   So all the meters were only tested using the modes that used the voltage input connections.   They would also have noticed that the Klein Tools meter had even less features than the 101 and was beat out by even the AMPROBE that has far more features.   The Gardner Bender meter failed in the first round of tests and where is it's current sense feature?

We can only run the tests, collect the data and post the results.    If people want to slant the data, I can't fix that.   

So, why does the 101 hold up so well?   I suspect circuit design, layout and part selection.   I have not taken this 101 apart but there is a video on youtube that shows the board.  Talk about an air gap.     But ... as much as it kills me to say it,  even more than the design, I suspect the culture within the company demands the meters meet a very high level of standards.    Again, some companies I contacted felt it was fine for a meter to not be functional after the surge test, while others require their products are not damaged.     The real test is going to be to get a high end meter and run it through the same tests.  That meter is going to have a lot more features than the 101.   

I gave up on contacting the service groups at the main companies.   If if blows I'll just return the thing and hope they warranty it.    Now if I could just find a meter I like....

Sorry but I disagree with you; It VERY MUCH is a big deal. It isn't about the current range being the weakest, that is never mentioned or discussed. It is about the BOM and space savings. The large HRC/HBC fuses are some of the most expensive things on the board and they are some of the biggest things on the board with the fattest traces. The money saved on dropping fuses from the BOM can be used for better higher quality component selection (while keeping the same profit margin) and the savings in space can be used to better route other traces, add cut-outs etc. By cutting the fuses, you can get higher rated MOVs and PTCs, with out the fat current traces and shunt you can get extra space to add cutouts, keep outs, etc. I made just this argument  on another site (would be funny if hackaday saw that discussion and that is where they get their idea from) and am standing by it. I think this was a conscious decision by Fluke because they knew they couldn't make a safe meter, hit this price point AND keep the current function but the thing that enables the performance at this price point IS the lack of a current function. It was very clearly a conscious decision, but Fluke knew what they were doing when they dropped the current function and what it would enable them to do that they couldn't while keeping it.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." -George Carlin
 

Offline Muxr

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I agree, it's important when you look at the economics of the $50 meter. But from evaluating the technical merits of the protection on these meters, it isn't as important. Fluke chose better components, added more creepage, used better PCBs.. it's still the aim of what Joe attempted to test and succeeded at demonstrating. Yes they had to drop current measurement for it, but no one is disputing that.

We all know you pay more for less features with Fluke. I don't think that was ever disputed. Lower end Flukes are very spartan. The aim of the test was to show which meter had best durability/protection, and in particular with the Fluke 101 weather Fluke's reputation for trustiness was justified.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Quote
I think this was a conscious decision by Fluke because they knew they couldn't make a safe meter,
I don't know if the Fluke 101 is a safe meter or not.   I thought I had made it clear, but again, safety was never a criteria.  I was only looking for the most robust meter out of the group.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 


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