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 633277 times)

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Offline retiredcaps

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Greenlee is lifetime, as has been said many times
Again, I have searched on Greenlee's website and there is no concrete number of years as to what "lifetime" means like Fluke's warranty (Fluke 87V is minimum 10 years to buyer who purchased from authorized Fluke dealer).

What does Greenlee's limited lifetime warranty in terms of years to a buyer?  Is it 5?  Is it 10?  Is it 20?  Is it 100?  Greenlee needs to provide a number.  Limited lifetime is a marketing term that can mean anything.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 06:45:50 am by retiredcaps »
 

Offline Muxr

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better DC and AC volts accuracy, better DC and AC current accuracy, AC+DC TRMS selectable on volts and amps, dual display,
Better spec sheet accuracy which doesn't mean much. We all know Fluke, Keithley, Keysight add a lot of margin in their accuracy figures. Brymen certainly hasn't been around long enough to earn that reputation.

50K+ resolution on a DMM is overrated. Brymen BM869s is missing essential features that are actually important on a DMM. 87V doesn't just have a better battery life it has at least 4 times better battery life.

Brymen has been making Amprobe, Extech and other brands for many years. How long is not long enough?

You are demonstrating your preferences, and that is fine. You are also making assertions without facts based on your preferences. OK, whatever.
I am speaking purely pragmatically about Brymen here.

If the intended purpose is a general purpose day to day DMM, you want something quick and dependable. With essential features implemented well, with long battery life. When you grab a meter you want it to work.

Latched continuity and auto hold are essential day to day features.

Even the 20K high res mode on 87V has limited use, because most of the time you just want to measure a value and the extra digits don't really help you, it just makes the number longer to read, the least significant digits are pretty much always inconsequential.

And I am not saying high resolution is useless, there are plenty of uses for high resolution measurements with a proper heat compensated bench DMM. But on a go to hand held DMM it's very low on the list of important features.

And I am not singling out Brymen here, I think Fluke's own 289 fails at this as well for much of the same reasons, although at least it has a proper continuity test and auto hold.

I just think it's misleading suggesting Brymen 869 as an alternative to 87V as this super bargain with tons of features without also mentioning its major shortcomings.
 

Offline Lightages

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Quote
Lifetime Limited Warranty
Greenlee Textron Inc. warrants to the original purchaser of these goods for use that these
products
will be free from defects in workmanship and material for their useful life, excepting normal wear and
abuse. This warranty is subject to the same terms and conditions contained in Greenlee Textron Inc.’s
standard one-year limited warranty

I agree it is not necessarily well defined. "useful life"?

http://definitions.uslegal.com/u/useful-life/
Quote
Useful Life is the expected period of time, in years, during which a depreciating asset will be productive. It is the number of years, as set by the IRS, that depreciable business equipment or property is expected to be in use. The IRS has a depreciation table for almost every item, including computers, vehicles, and other equipment.

Not much clearer to no legal types, but one list of depreciation for tools says 20 years s a suggested "useful life".

This assumes that Greenlee is asserting this legal definition for their warranty. I contact them tomorrow to get an official word.
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Greenlee sells pipes and fishing gear. Who is to say they will still sell rebranded Brymen meters 10 years down the line?
 

Offline Lightages

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I just think it's misleading suggesting Brymen 869 as an alternative to 87V as this super bargain with tons of features without also mentioning its major shortcomings.

It has shortcomings to you, just as the 87V has shortcomings to others. I have stated many times what are the advantages of the 87V and other Flukes. I just did again in this thread. What you like, others don't care. What others like, obviously don't impress you much neither. It is demonstrably true that the BM869s has more features and more accuracy than the 87V and for a lower price. It is also demonstrably true that the 87V has some features that are preferred over everything that the BM869s has. One person's preference should not dictate the "truth".
 

Offline Lightages

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Greenlee sells pipes and fishing gear. Who is to say they will still sell rebranded Brymen meters 10 years down the line?

Please, don't start making red herrings.  Fluke could go bankrupt, or a new owner buy them just to run them into the ground, or the world could end.... ::)
 

Offline Muxr

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I just think it's misleading suggesting Brymen 869 as an alternative to 87V as this super bargain with tons of features without also mentioning its major shortcomings.

It has shortcomings to you, just as the 87V has shortcomings to others. I have stated many times what are the advantages of the 87V and other Flukes. I just did again in this thread. What you like, others don't care. What others like, obviously don't impress you much neither. It is demonstrably true that the BM869s has more features and more accuracy than the 87V and for a lower price. It is also demonstrably true that the 87V has some features that are preferred over everything that the BM869s has. One person's preference should not dictate the "truth".
Not having a latched continuity or auto hold or a much shorter battery life aren't preferences. They are real shortcomings on the Brymen 869 part when compared to 87V.

Nobody would prefer to have a 100 hour battery life over the 400 hour battery life. Nobody would prefer not to hear a continuity short or open. Ok some may not even realise how useful Auto Hold is.

I know you have a vested interest in presenting Brymen in the best possible light because you use EEVB to push your product. But please don't try to turn this on some fictional preferences I have. They are real tangible shortcomings.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 07:16:53 am by Muxr »
 

Offline Lightages

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Again accusations of me lying to sell product. You guys are really something. You make assertions based only on your preference and call anyone else who does not agree not educated. Logical fallacies and ad hominem  attacks always demonstrates something doesn't it?

Sorry joeqsmtih for suggesting you might be happier with the BM869s when you stated your disappointment with the 87V. Obviously your opinion is worthless to them too and my suggestion was uneducated and only in my interest.

I will not contribute anymore to polluting your thread by arguing. Sorry it came to this. Your hard work and time deserved more respect.
 

Offline Muxr

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Again they are not preferences. Try to acknowledge faults in your own products and you might have better arguments.
 

Online tautech

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Again they are not preferences. Try to acknowledge faults in your own products and you might have better arguments.
Until you attempt to walk the tightrope of a supplier vs a keen electronics enthusist you'd never know.

We select products WE can stand behind, have confidence and trust in, AND KNOW there are many that for one reason or another cannot see what we see and rightly so, have their own opinions.

Is X product better than Y product, of course it is.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is a lesson we must all learn.

Live and let live.
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline Muxr

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Again they are not preferences. Try to acknowledge faults in your own products and you might have better arguments.
Until you attempt to walk the tightrope of a supplier vs a keen electronics enthusist you'd never know.

We select products WE can stand behind, have confidence and trust in, AND KNOW there are many that for one reason or another cannot see what we see and rightly so, have their own opinions.

Is X product better than Y product, of course it is.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is a lesson we must all learn.

Live and let live.
Brymen has its merits. I've also stated in the past, if one of the features it offers are a must then yes. Also the price is pretty compelling. And frankly compared to $400+ on a Fluke 87V I can absolutely see it being a better buy in some cases.

But I was talking about tangible shortcomings that weren't being acknowledged and instead dismissed as just my preferences. Fast latched continuity isn't just a preference. It's superior solution. There is a real reason for it. And that reason is that without it a human ear cannot detect short changes in continuity.

Now one can choose to not care about fast latched continuity and that's absolutely fine. But don't just call it a preference as if the alternative solution is comparable. It's not. It's inferior.

After all this is an engineering forum, not a fashion one.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 08:47:13 am by Muxr »
 

Offline Muxr

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I have to say one more thing and then I am done on this topic. Perhaps I was too harsh on Lightgages.

We all have our biases, but he's generally a really helpful part of this community and I think it was unfair of me to call out his conflict of interest in the exchange.

It was a cheap shot and I should be better than that. Sorry Lightgages.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Again accusations of me lying to sell product. You guys are really something. You make assertions based only on your preference and call anyone else who does not agree not educated. Logical fallacies and ad hominem  attacks always demonstrates something doesn't it?

Sorry joeqsmtih for suggesting you might be happier with the BM869s when you stated your disappointment with the 87V. Obviously your opinion is worthless to them too and my suggestion was uneducated and only in my interest.

I will not contribute anymore to polluting your thread by arguing. Sorry it came to this. Your hard work and time deserved more respect.

I would have added a Bryman to the test if they offered one in the $50 price range with a CAT III 600V rating.   The Ex-Tech I tested did not do very well.   In the next video I plan to show the 87V compared with another meter.   Don't expect me to do a full meter review but I thought there were a couple of things that were worth including. 

Personally, I don't mind people presenting alternatives.   There is no way I can afford test every meter out there.   Of course, if you sell products, there is always going to be a conflict of interest (intended or not).   

I have to say one more thing and then I am done on this topic. Perhaps I was too harsh on Lightgages.

We all have our biases, but he's generally a really helpful part of this community and I think it was unfair of me to call out his conflict of interest in the exchange.

It was a cheap shot and I should be better than that. Sorry Lightgages.

 :-+

BTW, that's a huge price difference!!!???   I wonder why it bounces around so much.   The 28II was actually less when I checked and it is sold as a more robust meter.   :-//

Hope to have the video up in the next day.   Get ready for it!
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 02:03:10 am by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline dadler

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BM869s with one year warranty: $310 or less shipped worldwide

Hmm http://www.tme.eu/en/details/bm869/portable-digital-multimeters/brymen/bm869s/

$220.68, plus I paid $8 DHL two day shipping to California, USA. It may cost more to ship "worldwide".

So perhaps "or way less"...
 

Online joeqsmith

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Only one meter will survive as the Fluke 87V is put against the Fluke 101.   


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

Online tautech

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Joe, sit back and have a well deserved rest.
Great work, we are all in your debt.
 :clap:
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Offline Muxr

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That 101 can sure take the abuse. Nice conclusion to the tests.

Were you testing at 12Kv? (not sure if that was the latest iteration of your transient generator box).

I'd still give good marks to the 87V in that test. No arcing, failure in one range of a non voltage measurement function. Way beyond the point of where all the other meters failed (3Kv?).

Hopefully you can get your 87V repaired.
 

Offline miguelvp

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Hopefully you can get your 87V repaired.

He did in the video. Unless I dreamt it since I was watching the video in bed.
 

Offline Muxr

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Hopefully you can get your 87V repaired.

He did in the video. Unless I dreamt it since I was watching the video in bed.
You didn't I missed that part, somehow.  |O
 

Online joeqsmith

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Joe, sit back and have a well deserved rest.
Great work, we are all in your debt.
 :clap:

Thanks. 

That 101 can sure take the abuse. Nice conclusion to the tests.

Were you testing at 12Kv? (not sure if that was the latest iteration of your transient generator box).

I'd still give good marks to the 87V in that test. No arcing, failure in one range of a non voltage measurement function. Way beyond the point of where all the other meters failed (3Kv?).

Hopefully you can get your 87V repaired.

Sorry but I have been running on autopilot for a while now.   I misspoke in a few places during the video.  The surge test was 13KV peak, 100us FWHH, 2ohm source, about 10 second recharge time, three hits per function, both +/-.   No changes were made to the generator from when it was used to test the 101. 

You can be sure, if parts where blown apart like this, there was an arc.   Who knows what that would do with some real energy behind it.   

For $412 US, I expect that the 87V would exceed the 101 in every way!   If the defense for the 87V is that you don't care about the robustness, then I would suggest there are many meters that may be better suited for your needs.    I am not willing to lower my expectations like this.  Fluke are the ones showing their videos of all of the dangers when working with high energy sources, they are the ones showing how far they will go to insure the robustness of their products.     Each and every meter Fluke makes should be at least as robust as their lowest cost meter!   If they can't deliver this, I am not interested.    Fluke would have to give me a meter at this point to prove to me that it would actually meet that goal before I would pay for a high end one.    All the marketing in the world will not change that.   

I would guess based on your last comment that you did not watch the full video.   During the video, I tore down the 87V, showed the damage, repaired it, retested it, then compared it with another lower cost meter.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Muxr

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Yeah I since watched the whole video. (spoke too soon).
 

Offline mtdoc

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Interesting and entertaining videos.  Well done.

That said however, I would hardly call a one-off test of this sort any definitive test of a meter's robustness. 

Sure, if the Fluke 87 had failed spectacularly at a relatively low voltage that might say something, but that's not what happened.

If 100 fluke 87s had been compared to 100 101s across a variety of controlled tests then you might be able to make a valid conclusion about their relative "robustness".

I do think the Fluke 87V is a bit overpriced at $400 compared to its competitors but that's a different issue.
 

Offline Muxr

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I agree $400 is too much for an 87V. It was around $350 when this thread started. And even that was a bit steep, but ok.

So we can conclude that 101 is one hardy meter. Is it because of the lack of features that it's as robust? Perhaps.

How robust is 87V really? Is 13Kv just above its threshold of what it can take or is it just like all the other meters? We can't really say.

We know 87Vs have a reputation for robustness. And I or anyone else certainly can't ask for much more from you. You've provided great tests in all of this.

Some parts are supposed to fail (like the fuses) and this is why meters will have reinforced blast shielding in some sections. But it would take way too many resources to really measure all these variables.

Fluke doesn't seem to have creepage issues for instance (like arcing at the selector), which many of the cheap meters exhibited at far lower voltages. And perhaps some features are difficult to implement without leaving the meter exposed to transient vulnerability in a given mode.

So what I take from this is. A well designed simple bare minimum feature meter will have a better chance of surviving than a feature packed bargain. Fluke designs some good meters. But just because a meter is expensive doesn't make it more robust. The added features make it potentially more vulnerable to damage when exposed to unforeseen circumstances.

This doesn't change my mind on the 87V though. It anything it reinforces what I've been saying. A meter with a smaller set of well implemented core features is better than a feature packed meter with less well implemented essential features, because I think that more features increases the number of transient failure vectors.

Fluke 101 is just an extreme example of this. A meter with half of what I consider essential features, is practically indestructible.

Because after all both of these meters come from the same company. And I would imagine they used the same philosophy and know how to design both of these meters. One just happens to be much more capable and expensive meter.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 02:34:39 am by Muxr »
 

Online joeqsmith

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That said however, I would hardly call a one-off test of this sort any definitive test of a meter's robustness. 

If 100 fluke 87s had been compared to 100 101s across a variety of controlled tests then you might be able to make a valid conclusion about their relative "robustness".

I assume you did not watch the entire video as this is what I stated in the conclusion.  This testing was all funded by me, using my time to design the generator and run the tests.   There is only so much I can do as one person.   From your comment, I assume you are willing to take it to the next step.    If not, that's fine too. 

Quote
Sure, if the Fluke 87 had failed spectacularly at a relatively low voltage that might say something, but that's not what happened.

Again, as I stated in the video, it was never my intention to dial the generator back down to see where the meters fail.  I only care which was the most robust.  I will never know at what level the 87V I tested would fail at, nor did I care.   I only know it is not as robust as the 101 I tested.   

Early on I also stated I had no desire to put out enough energy to cause "spectacular" failures.   There really was no point in this.   I even did a short video showing a sustained arc using a second supply.   If you plan to run your own tests, you are free of course to play with as much energy as you like.   I welcome this and I am sure there are many of us who look forward to watching your videos.   :-+   

Yeah I since watched the whole video. (spoke too soon).

Yeah, and I missed the other posts.  :-DD   Was not my intent to call you out, again...  :-DD

I agree $400 is too much for an 87V. It was around $350 when this thread started. And even that was a bit steep, but ok.

So we can conclude that 101 is one hardy meter. Is it because of the lack of features that it's as robust? Perhaps.


I tend to agree with your first comment, the 101 is one hardy meter.   

Quote
How robust is 87V really? Is 13Kv just above its threshold of what it can take or is it just like all the other meters? We can't really say.

We know 87Vs have a reputation for robustness. And I or anyone else certainly can't ask for much more from you. You've provided great tests in all of this.

As I stated above, I agree, it would be good to know where the UNI-T 139 fails as well as the 87V.   But I was really only looking for the most robust, not a metric of how they all lined up.     We can't say that the AMPROBE I tested is just as robust as the 87V because we just don't know.  It very well could be!    The UNI-T may even hold up to higher levels!    :-DD :-DD  Funny as it sounds, we really don't know.    We do know that two 101's were tested on two generators at 12KV in all modes by two different people and it had no effect on both meters.   We know that subjecting the 87V to the same tests as my 101 caused some damage to the meter.   

Quote
Some parts are supposed to fail (like the fuses) and this is why meters will have reinforced blast shielding in some sections. But it would take way too many resources to really measure all these variables.

I was planning to run a real surge test on them but the 101 exceeded the limits of what I could do.

Quote
Fluke doesn't seem to have creepage issues for instance (like arcing at the selector), which many of the cheap meters exhibited at far lower voltages. And perhaps some features are difficult to implement without leaving the meter exposed to transient vulnerability in a given mode.

So what I take from this is. A well designed simple bare minimum feature meter will have a better chance of surviving than a feature packed bargain. Fluke designs some good meters. But just because a meter is expensive doesn't make it more robust. The added features make it potentially more vulnerable to damage when exposed to unforeseen circumstances.

You must not have watched my first Fluke.  That thing arcs everywhere at the lowest settings I tested to!    Given no constraints, anything could be built.    As I stated in the video, it would have been interesting to run the 28II which is supposed to be the more robust meter on the generator and see if it holds up. 


Quote
This doesn't change my mind on the 87V though. It anything it reinforces what I've been saying. A meter with a smaller set of well implemented core features is better than a feature packed meter with less well implemented essential features, because I think that more features increases the number of transient failure vectors.

Fluke 101 is just an extreme example of this. A meter with half of what I consider essential features, is practically indestructible.

I agree, if people want a robust meter, they should spend $50 on the 101 and not $400 on the 87V.    Keep in mind again that the Klein Tools and Gardner bender both had even less features so they should have been even more robust but they were not.    And meters like the AMPROBE with all of it's features should have failed much earlier than the Klein Tools, which it did not.   

Quote
Because after all both of these meters come from the same company. And I would imagine they used the same philosophy and know how to design both of these meters. One just happens to be much more capable and expensive meter.

The 101 is not searchable on the USA site.  It could be it was farmed out and the engineers who designed it just did a better job with the requirements they were given.   I have no idea.    AMPROBE is also built by the same company and it fell far short from the Fluke 101.   In the end it really makes no difference.   Every meter is going to be different.  The goal was to see which was the most robust.   Those who followed along watched a $50 Fluke 101 that had been beat down, over and over for several weeks, withstand what a $412 Fluke 87V could not.  Any way we want to twist the story, that was the end result.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline mtdoc

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That said however, I would hardly call a one-off test of this sort any definitive test of a meter's robustness. 

If 100 fluke 87s had been compared to 100 101s across a variety of controlled tests then you might be able to make a valid conclusion about their relative "robustness".

I assume you did not watch the entire video as this is what I stated in the conclusion. 
Yet in several of your posts you seem to be making that claim.

Quote
This testing was all funded by me, using my time to design the generator and run the tests.   There is only so much I can do as one person.   From your comment, I assume you are willing to take it to the next step.    If not, that's fine too.

As I said, they were great videos.  Kudos. Not sure why the defensive tone. I have no interest in doing such testing myself. Is one not allowed to comment or point out limitations of a test? 

Quote
.   
Early on I also stated I had no desire to put out enough energy to cause "spectacular" failures.   There really was no point in this.
Yes, I realize that and I was not claiming otherwise.

My point was that only a failure at a lower voltage with arcing or something of danger to the user would present any meaningful knock on the 87V's  "robustness".

Look,I watched (most) of your videos and I think they're great! :-+  Don't mistake my pointing out the limitations of what conclusions can be drawn as some sort of fatal criticism. Yes, you have stated many of the limitations yourself but you also repeatedly make generalized conclusions based on the tests which I find unjustified.  I think it is very legitimate on an engineering blog to point these out for discussion. Don't take it personally.

I just don't think this test justifies making any generalized statements about relative robustness of a Fluke 101 versus a Fluke 87V. 

In the end, any test with an n=1 is just anecdotal in nature and not evidence. But it does make for fun viewing an interesting discussion.

 


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