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 633407 times)

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Online joeqsmith

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I like the size. Small is good.

I'm after something small that will fit in my little suitcase along with a bunch of Arduinos and stuff but people will stay say "Oh, a Fluke!"  when I pull it out :-DMM


It's not too much larger than the 101.     I have often wondered just how much the 101 could take.   These are some very impressive meters!


I hope I made it clear that I have never asked for anything free from any of these companies.   I have provided them with the opportunity to be involved with the testing I have done.   It's no hair off my back if they take me up on it or not.    I have only reached out to three companies about these tests.   Obviously both Fluke and Brymen were included.   From the beginning, I stated I would be running the survivor of the low cost meters against some high cost meter to see how they compare.    When we look at Brymen, the cost was $240.  No where near the $410 for the Fluke 87V.  A fair amount of money for what I would pay for a meter.   So it's good to see where these companies stand on their warranties.     In the case of both Fluke and Brymen, I disclosed my intent and wanted to know if they felt their product would survive and if they would warranty them if damaged during the test.     That's it.     

Fluke not wanting to answer these questions is not that big a deal as obviously I went ahead and ran the tests anyway because I wanted to know the outcome.   

I have been clear about the goal for the tests from the beginning.   Nothing there has changed.   

The one thing that the Fluke fan boys are always going to hang their hat on is the fact that the 87V failed at 13KV.   No matter how I attempt to explain that the 87V was only tested at 13KV and I have no idea where it really would fail is ignored by the fan boys.    I had actually thought about blowing up some other cheapo meter at 13KV in the final video and just say "there Brand X didn't fail until 13KV, just like the 87V".   But there was already too much time invested (and it was not going to clear this matter up)

So, for the Fluke fan boys, you want to know just where the 87V fails?   The intent of building a programmable generator like the new one was to answer just this question!   

So get your popcorn out and get ready for the clash of the titans as the Fluke 87V takes on the Brymen BM869s.     
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 01:12:57 am by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Wytnucls

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The crowbar transistor circuit on the Ohms range isn't meant to survive any voltage above 1000V. If you showed that it failed below that level, then that would be interesting!
Many cheap meters don't have such a circuit and instead, rely on the MOV/PTC for sole protection.

Brymen fan boys always brag about the low price, never about the 1 year only warranty. If the meters are so good, why don't you talk to your pals over there and find out why they don't offer a lifetime warranty? Now that would be interesting!
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 09:14:31 am by Wytnucls »
 

Offline Fungus

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The crowbar transistor circuit on the Ohms range isn't meant to survive any voltage above 1000V.

Why not? :-//

I'd expect a Fluke to survive intact up to it's marked rating, not need to be sent off for repair. Isn't that the main reason I'm paying $400 for a meter with less functionality than competitors at half the price?
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Well, its marked rating is 1000V. High voltage transients on the Ohms range are extremely unlikely, unless done on purpose and no circuit protection is required under IEC 61010 above that, except for the blanket 'no harm to the user'.
 

Offline Fungus

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Well, its marked rating is 1000V.
But as you know, "CAT III 1000V" rating requires an 8000V transient.

http://www.ni.com/white-paper/5019/en/

I'm sure this is deliberate design by Fluke but it seems disappointing that their flagship meter is designed like that. Voltages over 1000V aren't that unusual, even in hobby work.

no circuit protection is required under IEC 61010 above that, except for the blanket 'no harm to the user'.

But...aren't we always saying Fluke are expensive because they're above the very basic requirements.  :-//

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 11:11:16 am by Fungus »
 

Online joeqsmith

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Fluke was not willing to provide details on what would be considered abuse and would never give me an answer if they would warranty the 87V if it failed during my tests.   That's their lifetime warranty.     Brymen with their 1 year warranty stated they felt the meter would not survive the 6KV test but they would warranty it anyway, taking part of the risk.    One looks good on paper, the other good in practice.   

To be clear, Brymen has never provided me with any products for free or for evaluation.   

I for one was very interested in seeing how this test would go, so I ran it last night.   If I sound tired in the video, that's the reason.  Without further delay....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Dg1QA71wU&feature=youtu.be
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Well, its marked rating is 1000V.
But as you know, "CAT III 1000V" rating requires an 8000V transient.

http://www.ni.com/white-paper/5019/en/

I'm sure this is deliberate design by Fluke but it seems disappointing that their flagship meter is designed like that. Voltages over 1000V aren't that unusual, even in hobby work.
.
no circuit protection is required under IEC 61010 above that, except for the blanket 'no harm to the user'.

But...aren't we always saying Fluke are expensive because they're above the very basic requirements.  :-//
You said that, not Fluke. There is no point protecting a meter against imaginary threats, pushing up the price and bulk of a meter. Besides, IEC would have come up with more stringent recommendations, if they felt it was necessary, like they do, once in a while.

8000V transients have been applied to the meter, with no threat to the user, as the UL, CSA and other listings confirm.
Voltages above 1000V are another ballgame and are not covered by the IEC low voltage regulations.

Do not apply more than the rated
voltage, as marked on the Meter,
between the terminals or between any
terminal and earth ground.


Measuring Resistance
Caution:
To avoid possible damage to the Meter or to
the equipment under test, disconnect circuit
power and discharge all high-voltage
capacitors before measuring resistance.


Measuring Capacitance
Caution:
To avoid possible damage to the Meter or to
the equipment under test, disconnect circuit
power and discharge all high-voltage
capacitors before measuring capacitance.
Use the dc voltage function to confirm that
the capacitor is discharged.


Specifications:
Maximum Voltage between any Terminal and Earth Ground: 1000 V rms
Overload protection mV, Ohm, Diode ranges: 1000V rms


The warranty does not cover damage from neglect, misuse, contamination, alteration, accident or abnormal conditions of operation or handling, including failures caused by use outside of the product’s specifications
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 01:18:59 pm by Wytnucls »
 

Offline Lightages

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Brymen fan boys always brag about the low price, never about the 1 year only warranty. If the meters are so good, why don't you talk to your pals over there and find out why they don't offer a lifetime warranty? Now that would be interesting!

From Merriam Webster:
"Definition of FANBOY
:  a boy or man who is an extremely or overly enthusiastic fan of someone or something "

others
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fanboy
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fanboy

I guess then that there are UT71D fanboys, Vici 99 fanboys, Fluke fanboys. Hard to tell what really counts if insults start flying.

A warranty is only as good as the manufacturer's intent to back it up. A warranty is one part of the buying decision equation. How it is weighted in that decision is up to the individual and his personal criteria. Is it more important than dual temperature function? Probably the answer is "yes" to many people. Is it more important than 50,000 count?  :-// Would I prefer a lifetime warranty in addition to every function I would want. Of course! Hmm, it is offered by another brand name but is it worth the extra money?  :-//
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Greenlee new 1 year lifetime warranty:  ::)

http://www.greenlee.com/support/warranty.html

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 06:49:23 pm by Wytnucls »
 

Offline mtdoc

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Any test engineer or working scientist knows that you can't draw any meaningful conclusion from testing with an n=1 (or 2) - so all this teeth gnashing about exactly what these tests ultimately prove is misplaced IMHO.  They are certainly interesting and entertaining and make for a good discussion. I say well done Joe! (even though I know he has not tolerated my critique in the past).  Joe's biases come through but that is not a criticism - we all have our biases.  Any strongly held opinions about the  87V based on these tests are unfounded IMO but that's ok - we all have opinions..

As far as Fanboyism.  My favorite and most used meter is my Brymen 257.  I have stated this several times on this forum and it's the meter I continue to recommend to others here as well.    I own several meters of various brands including a Fluke 87V (bought for $200 on eBay).    That said if I was in the market for a full featured high resolution multimeter, I would buy a Brymen 869 simply because on a bang/buck basis it far outshines the overpriced 87V IMO.
 

Offline Lightages

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Greenlee new 1 year lifetime warranty:  ::)

http://www.greenlee.com/support/warranty.html



If you are going to insult people and try to prove them wrong, at least find the right information instead of just that which appears to support your point of view:
http://www.greenlee.com/products/DMM-500K-COUNTS-(DM%2540d860A).html?product_id=19551

It clearly states for that product, that it has a lifetime warranty.
 

Offline Lightages

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Joe:

I was sincerely surprised to see the 87V fail on the ohms at 1.5kV. Was this the one that you repaired or a new one? This does not remove my confidence in Fluke in any way, but it was a surprise. It is not likely a test condition that the vast majority of people will come across so I don't see it as any negative against the 87V. A person making this error in real life tests should be to blame and maybe shouldn't be working with a multimeter unsupervised.

The fact that the BM869S failed at a higher voltage doesn't mean much neither. I would suspect variation in component manufacturer could have as much to do with the difference as the circuit design.

What was nice to see in both cases is that they were so easily reparable for so little expense.
 

Offline Wytnucls

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in·sult
speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse.
synonyms: abuse, be rude to, slight, disparage, discredit, libel, slander, malign, defame, denigrate, cast aspersions on, call someone names, put someone down.

I don't know why you feel insulted. I referred everybody to a new Greenlee warranty of 12 months for all their products . Maybe I should feel insulted for being wrongly accused of insulting people.
A limited lifetime warranty can be anything the manufacturer wants it to be, even 12 months.
If you have tangible information that the limited lifetime warranty for the Greenlee meters is longer, I'd be glad to modify my previous post with the exact number of years. I don't have a point of view. I'm only interested in facts.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 10:16:19 pm by Wytnucls »
 

Offline tautech

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Joe:

I was sincerely surprised to see the 87V fail on the ohms at 1.5kV. Was this the one that you repaired or a new one? This does not remove my confidence in Fluke in any way, but it was a surprise. It is not likely a test condition that the vast majority of people will come across so I don't see it as any negative against the 87V. A person making this error in real life tests should be to blame and maybe shouldn't be working with a multimeter unsupervised.

The fact that the BM869S failed at a higher voltage doesn't mean much neither. I would suspect variation in component manufacturer could have as much to do with the difference as the circuit design.

What was nice to see in both cases is that they were so easily reparable for so little expense.
Rubbish.

The Fluke (and argueably the Brymen also) is just not robust enough.......do some power electronics with contactors or large inductors and subject a meter to back EMF and poof.  :wtf:

Robust protection of a meter for this work is REQUIRED.
For entry level meters to survive and flagship models not.  :wtf:
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline Lightages

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No, the meters did not fail in an unsafe manner. The tests that Joe did couldn't even show that. Both Fluke and Brymen meet the safety requirements as spelled out by the IEC for their CAT ratings.
 

Offline tautech

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No, the meters did not fail in an unsafe manner. The tests that Joe did couldn't even show that. Both Fluke and Brymen meet the safety requirements as spelled out by the IEC for their CAT ratings.
I agree of course, but Joes tests were never about meter safety, only meter robustness.

That is, will a meter likely fail in real world usage with the transients that Joe defines.
Are those transient levels unreasonable? I don't think so.
Maybe some of the meters were never designed for use in such environments, only bench electronics.  :-\ Wouldn't we expect price to reflect the robustness of meters, we do but Joes tests show this thinking to be fatally flawed.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 10:35:03 pm by tautech »
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Offline Fungus

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The Fluke (and argueably the Brymen also) is just not robust enough.......do some power electronics with contactors or large inductors and subject a meter to back EMF and poof.  :wtf:
Yep. I was messing about with some little Neon lamps the other day and when there's no load on my little 5V->150V transformer the output goes over 1000V, no problem.

(As measured with a $5 meter set to 1000V mode. It survived the spark...)

Yes, you have to set the Fluke 87V to Ohms mode to kill it that way, but still...not good.

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 10:52:30 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline Fungus

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I hope Fluke is watching this thread...  :popcorn:
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Use a high voltage probe when voltages above 1000V are likely to be encountered (Overvoltage Category I only).

40,000V DC 28,000V AC
Division ratio 1,000:1
60$

« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 11:06:06 pm by Wytnucls »
 

Offline tautech

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I hope Fluke is watching this thread...  :popcorn:
Does it matter?

What matters is, are there mid priced meters out there that ARE electrically robust and WHO will donate them to Joe for further tests?

Daves EEVblog DMM's?

Where's my popcorn?  ;D
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline tautech

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Use a high voltage probe when voltages above 1000V are likely to be encountered.
+1
But how do the inexperienced know when to do this?

We've all made DMM range selection errors and subjected our meters to all sorts of abuse, sometimes it is just supidity, other times unexpected voltages. That the meter should protect you as per CAT or IEC ratings is a given, but simple user errors should not result in a  :-BROKE  :-DMM
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Offline Wytnucls

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There are usually plenty of warning labels on appliances with high voltages inside.
I don't have to tell you that electricity is dangerous and a fair amount of knowledge is required to avoid accidents.
Multimeters are not entirely foolproof and should be used with a minimum of caution.
For what it's worth, I can't think of any high-end meter that has an overvoltage protection above 1000V on the Ohms range. And I've read a lot of manuals to compile the multimeter lists.

This is what Gossen says about their multimeters:
Be absolutely certain that the measuring ranges are not overloaded beyond their allowable capacities.
Limit values are included in the overload capacity table (600V for the Ultra, with a 10 second limit)


Agilent's overload protection on the Ohm range (U1271):
1000 Vrms for short circuits with <0.3 A current.

Amprobe overload protection on the Ohm range (HD160C):
Overload protection, all ranges: 1500 V dc or 1000 V ac rms
Transient protection on voltage ranges only:
12 kV impulse (1.2 uS/50 uS) based on EN 61010-1:2001 impulse requirement for at CAT IV 1000 V/1500V dc product.
This product should not be used in installations where transients exceed 12 kV.

 
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 01:50:41 pm by Wytnucls »
 

Offline Lightages

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in·sult
speak to or treat with disrespect or scornful abuse.
synonyms: abuse, be rude to, slight, disparage, discredit, libel, slander, malign, defame, denigrate, cast aspersions on, call someone names, put someone down.

I don't know why you feel insulted. I referred everybody to a new Greenlee warranty of 12 months for all their products . Maybe I should feel insulted for being wrongly accused of insulting people.

Sorry for the delay in answering, but I wanted some time to think about what you said. I wanted to think if there was another way you were approaching this other than an attack against me, or Brymen, or Joe, or whatever.

Well you did say there are "Brymen fan boys" in an earlier post. That is an insult, I don't know who you were directing it at, but it IS an insult according to the definition you posted. How can you be insulted for doing what you have proven to have done by your own definition that you have provided?

A limited lifetime warranty can be anything the manufacturer wants it to be, even 12 months.
If you have tangible information that the limited lifetime warranty for the Greenlee meters is longer, I'd be glad to modify my previous post with the exact number of years. I don't have a point of view. I'm only interested in facts.

I am also interested in facts. If I insult someone or post information that is incorrect I expect to jumped on. I also post opinions and try to make it clear they are opinions instead of facts. I don't claim to be only interested in facts. People's opinions are also interesting. Are you claiming you don't post opinions?  :-DD

So you then admit that Fluke's lifetime warranty is only what Fluke wants it to be, or are they a special case? I only have the word of Fluke and Greenlee that their warranty is lifetime. Do you have special information? Discount the warranty of Greenlee at the expense of Fluke's. Do you have proof that Greenlee does not honor their warranty and everyone who has had a Fluke has always had their meter fixed without problems or exceptions? I remember evidence on this forum that Fluke decides what is a warranty issue or not even if the fault is obviously not that of the customer's. The 289 supercap corrosion problems are one example. I think I sided with Fluke on that issue but I think they could have handled it better. I remember there are other examples but I can't remember exactly what threads mention them at this point.

I really don't understand why you attack those who think that Brymen is a better buy for them. Do you have a vendetta? You have attacked me for having a bad experience with Uni-T, my experience with Brymen, and now attack Joe for having a well articulated position in favor of Brymen. He has his reasons and has spelled them out.

Amprobe (same parent company as Fluke) uses Brymen for some of its meters, as does Extech, as does Greenlee, as does some others.

You seem to find fault with anything Brymen. Why? Please explain how the legal wording in the warranty of Fluke is superior to Greenlee. Please explain how Brymen has ever let down its customers, show examples. If you read the manuals of everything that you have put in your spreadsheet, then you would have seen the warranty for Greenlee.

"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 (my emphasis)  contained in Greenlee Textron Inc.’s
standard one-year limited warranty.
For all Test Instrument repairs, contact Customer Service at 800-435-0786 and request a Return
Authorization.
For items not covered under warranty (such as items dropped, abused, etc.), a repair cost quote is
available upon request"

The conditions being, in bold:

"Goods manufactured by Greenlee Textron will be free from defects in workmanship and material for a period of one year from the date of user purchase, provided such goods are installed, operated, used and maintained in accordance with Greenlee's written instructions."
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 04:03:06 am by Lightages »
 

Offline Wytnucls

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I wanted to think if there was another way you were approaching this other than an attack against me, or Brymen, or Joe, or whatever.
Well you did say there are "Brymen fan boys" in an earlier post. That is an insult, I don't know who you were directing it at, but it IS an insult according to the definition you posted. How can you be insulted for doing what you have proven to have done by your own definition that you have provided?


Mmm....strong accusations on very weak evidence. Don't you have better things to do? I have never attacked Joe or yourself personally in any way. As for Brymen, they make good meters, but they are not perfect and I will point out their weak features, when people just gloss over their shortcomings. AFAIK, Dave's blog still allows free speech and I won't seek your permission before I post anything about Brymen and their products. I just happen to disagree with the way Joe is conducting tests on multimeters and inferring from them that the Fluke 87 is a lesser meter than the Fluke 101.  The term 'Fluke fan boy' (his spelling) was used by Joe in an earlier post than mine (post 496)(1). Did you feel insulted? I didn't think so; it just characterizes people who are passionate about a particular item. Dave himself used the term UNI-T fanboys, referring to people who defend their meters, like myself. If anything, I have a lot of respect for Joe for being able to build a quality high voltage tester at such short notice and for fixing multimeters as fast as I can tie my shoelaces. He certainly didn't convey to me that he felt insulted by anything I said.

(1) 'The one thing that the Fluke fan boys are always going to hang their hat on is the fact that the 87V failed at 13KV.'

So you then admit that Fluke's lifetime warranty is only what Fluke wants it to be, or are they a special case? I only have the word of Fluke and Greenlee that their warranty is lifetime. Do you have special information?

Fluke's lifetime warranty is spelled out unequivocally on the first pages of their manuals:
Each Fluke DMM will be free from defects in material and workmanship for its lifetime. As used herein,
“lifetime” is defined as seven years after Fluke discontinues manufacturing the product, but the warranty period shall be at least ten years from
the date of purchase.
This warranty does not cover fuses, disposable batteries, damage from neglect, misuse, contamination, alteration,
accident or abnormal conditions of operation or handling, including failures caused by use outside of the product’s specifications, or normal
wear and tear of mechanical components. This warranty covers the original purchaser only and is not transferable.

Greenlee should have such a statement to qualify their limited lifetime warranty, but they don't. You haven't found one either, it seems. I take it as being 1 year only, based on their new warranty conditions. If you think it is longer, give them a call and find out.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 09:25:48 am by Wytnucls »
 

Offline Lightages

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Wytnucls:

Fair enough. You are right in that I was being selective on who to call out on the use of "fan boy". It just has been my perception, perhaps wrongly, that you jump on anyone who likes Brymen. I apologize without qualification.

As far as the Greenlee warranty, I did call them. I even made thread about it. They said that lifetime meant lifetime, not one year, "lifetime" as stated in their text. The text I quoted from their website is legally binding and specifically states that it is lifetime for the multimeter using the conditions stated in the one year warranty. This means that the lifetime period is to be substituted for the one year period. The one year warranty is superseded by lifetime by that clause.
 


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