Author Topic: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)  (Read 10551 times)

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Offline wild

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Hello folks,
I'm new to this forum. I have been following Dave's youtube channel for about 2 years now, but only recently decided to pour some money to get something really done in this field.
I'm not an electronic engineer. I'm from the other branch of engineering. So I'm certainly not an expert, and I need an advice from you folks.

So a little background, I'm interested in robotics & RCs. I'm about to start a project with the goals to develop an RC drone of some sort, for hobby purpose. And in the long term I also want to build a solid understanding of electronics, because that will greatly complements my knowledge from my own field. I want to start purchasing all the instruments that are required to build a simple robotics lab. A decent multimeter comes on the top of my list.

I haven't start this project yet, but I expect the multimeter would be used to measure the circuitry related to DC, servo, and stepper motor controller, and also the circuitry for the transmitter and receiver of radio signals. For the next step I also have an interest in Electronic Control Unit for a combustion engine, because who wouldn't love a jet-powered drones.  ;D

So there's a lot of things to learn, I don't know how long it will take but I have to start with the first step, getting familiar with electronics. Need a good meter for that. I'm willing to spend about $100 for a nice digital multimeter, and I already set my eyes on several models from reputable brands for that tier. Note that this price are the nett price in my country to get those meters to my doorstep. And all I can say is that the price here deviate pretty bad from Amazon as my source of reference.

I consider buying the following meters:
Extech EX330 $89 (only $60 on Amazon)
Amprobe AM-530 $151 (only $76 on Amazon)  :o !!
Agilent U1232A $98 (costs $173 on Amazon)  :o !?


Note that the price above are indeed the price from their respective authorized distributor. I'm sure they'll never sell any refurbished product. The Agilent one is probably an old stock that needs to go. They offered the deal to me after I reject the insanely overpriced Amprobe. I have to go straight to the distributor because I couldn't find those brands and models in any local reseller in my town.

Now of course the Amazon price is just for a comparison of how much money it is actually worth in the US. It excludes the shipping, customs duty, and other taxes (my country loves taxes so much), but as you can see the Amprobe one is really blowed out of proportion.

For the sake of comparison, Fluke 87-V is only $335 here - this is not from a distributor but from the most reputable local reseller that I believe won't sell any refurbished product. As much as this looks like a good deal (it's $387 on Amazon), I must not buy that because I run on tight budget. If I buy the fluke, then I'll have a hard time gathering the other essential stuffs like variable power supply, soldering station, etc.
I also went in and out of almost every electronics supply store in my town and found bazillions of rebadged-made-in-china-meters-that-won't-even-appear-in-google-search costs roughly around $30. I know Extech and Amprobe also do this rebadging thing, but I believe they have a tight standard that must be followed by the chinese manufacturers. Basically, most local resellers only have High-end DMMs like fluke and the rest are hordes of unknown brands @ $30. So no Extech, no Amprobe, no Brymen, no Uni-T, no BK Precision whatsoever. Either go with top of the line meters or go straight to the bedrock. Don't know why the local resellers don't stock these world-renowned brands, maybe I just lives in the wrong place.

Back to the topics, here's my findings so far about the three models of DMM mentioned above:
1. Extech EX330
  • Not true RMS.
  • 4000 counts.
  • Lots of features for its price range.
  • Rugged design
  • Winner of the $50 multimeters shootout by Dave.
  • It's ready stock at the distributor's warehouse.
  • Should be an affordable feature-rich DMM, however the distributor decided to sell it on premium.
  • From what I read here, the quality control of Extech EX series "appears to be so bad that parts are coming loose inside some meters from the factory", and that the EX series should be avoided in general.
  • The above link also says that the safety rating of CAT III @600V and CAT II @1000V is questionable due to the glass fuse which is rated at 250V. I'm not sure if this is really dangerous for me or not, again I am a newbie in this field. However, I don't think my multimeter will ever touch anything higher than 230V AC, which is my mains voltage in case I need to check/fix the power grid in my house (very rarely I guess). Most of the time I think I'll use it for DC voltage lower than 30V (I even considering to get only a 18V max DC power supply to save some money!)

2. Amprobe AM-530
  • True RMS.
  • 4000 counts.
  • Features on par with the Extech, minus the duty cycle (which I haven't done further readings whether I need that or not).
  • According to by TechnologyCatalyst, the input protection seems to be the best among the three models, it got PTC, MOVs, huge resistor, and 2 ceramic fuses that are properly rated.
  • (in my opinion) Very well-balanced in every aspects. My first choice before I heard about the price.
  • It has to be imported from the US, that's one of the reason why the price is insanely high. Waiting time is non-issue for me though.

3. Agilent U1232A
  • True RMS.
  • 6000 counts.
  • It has LoZ feature, which is lacking in the 2 other models.
  • Excelent build quality, very rugged design, the best of the three.
  • Real, working, and useful "Hold" button.
  • Real, working, and useful "Min/max/average" function.
  • Smoothing features to reduce the effect of noise.
  • Elementary data logging capability (can record up to 10 data onboard, can connect to PC via the IR-Bluetooth).
  • Smoothing features failed to show a significant effect in by mjlorton.
  • The IR-Bluetooth dongle not included in the package. Even the thermocouple & adapter is not included.
  • In by Sh Kid, the PC connectivity via the IR-Bluetooth dongle doesn't seems to work.
  • No mA range in the switch.
  • According to this datasheet on page 6: "Notes for DC current specifications: 5. DC current between ± (0.6 mA and 1 mA) is not measureable on the U1232A and U1233A models". Another notes on page 7: "Notes for AC current specifications: 5. AC current between 0.6 mA and 300 mA is not measureable on the U1232A and U1233A models". So the DC current measurement range is between 60 uA to 10 A, except for the gap between 0.6 mA and 1 mA, which is not measurable. And for the AC current, measurement range is between 60 uA to 10 A, except for the gap between 0.6 mA and 300 mA, which also not measurable. Meanwhile the Extech and Amprobe can measure from 0.1uA to 10A without exception whatsoever.
  • According to ,The quality of uA measurements is questionable. At 33:36 marks, mjlorton mentions about burden voltage. I don't really understand yet, but from what I heard the uA scale the Agilent U1232A has a burden voltage of 2.9V, which is bad for the quality of uA measurements.

At this point I really wish that I could get that Amprobe for $100. It looks like a well balanced meter , it is very decent in every aspect. However, does it make sense to get that for $151? It's twice the original price. I could push the limit to $151 but it really feels like a waste of money for me, knowing that in other countries that amount of money could get me something that is a whole lot better.

Agilent, on the other hand, looks like a bargain. Reputable brand, packed with features, excellent build quality, higher specs than the rest. But if it can't measure 600 uA - 1 mA DC should I even consider touching it? " I have no idea what range of current that I will be using for my project. I'm a total newbie and just want to get started. If it turns out that my projects deals with currents between 600 uA - 1 mA a lot, then I will regret getting this Agilent meter so much. If anyone familiar with robotic & RC projects can give me an insight about this I'll really appreciate it. Also the burden voltage thing also bugged me, does it really bad for uA measurements?

And for the Extech, price is not that insane, spec looks acceptable even though it's not true RMS and the input protection seems bad. However some people here says the quality control is horrible like parts coming loose inside some brand new meter from the factory and so on. I really have no problem with Extech EX330 specs and features, but I don't wan't to get a defective product, and somehow the people here managed to assure me that the chance of getting a defective product is pretty high with Extech EX series.

And for the last, do I have to consider getting that Fluke 87-V for $335? If I do that, I'll have a significant delay for my project, because I won't have enough money to buy any variable power supply, even a crappy one. And what can I do without them? My shiny Fluke will just sit in my drawer for months waiting for the reinforcement to arrives :D. It's sad but I don't have that much money floating around right now.

So any advice will be greatly appreciated. I'd also like to thank you for spending your time to read this lengthy post.
 

Offline billfernandez

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2016, 03:37:24 pm »
Burden voltage:  DMMs measure current indirectly by placing a small resistance in series with the probes and measuring the voltage across that resistance (the burden voltage) then calculating the current. The higher this "small" resistance is, the higher the voltage it will develop at each current level.  Depending on the circuit under test this voltage that is "stolen" from the circuit will sometimes affect the function of the circuit.  Generally, lower burden voltages are preferred because they will have less effect on a wider range of circuits.

Given the information you've presented I'd suggest going with the Agilent meter.  You get a good, solid meter that should last for many years, presumably with good warranty support should you ever need it, and you have more money left over for other things.
 

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2016, 07:59:00 pm »
Burden voltage:  DMMs measure current indirectly by placing a small resistance in series with the probes and measuring the voltage across that resistance (the burden voltage) then calculating the current. The higher this "small" resistance is, the higher the voltage it will develop at each current level.  Depending on the circuit under test this voltage that is "stolen" from the circuit will sometimes affect the function of the circuit.  Generally, lower burden voltages are preferred because they will have less effect on a wider range of circuits.

Given the information you've presented I'd suggest going with the Agilent meter.  You get a good, solid meter that should last for many years, presumably with good warranty support should you ever need it, and you have more money left over for other things.

Thanks, I agree that the Agilent seems to be a good solid meter that will last for many years, and the price is a bargain. However, its performance when measuring uA seems to be bad, due to this high burden voltage. Even worse, it has a gap between 0.6 mA and 1 mA in which the DC current is not measurable.
Now I don't know if I'm worried too much about this. I don't even know if I'll do a lot of current measurement at the uA scale. Is uA commonly used in electronics? How often does your current measurement activities returns a value between 0.6 mA and 1 mA?
 

Offline Fsck

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2016, 09:19:50 pm »
for current measurements, you'll probably end up wanting to measure with an amplifier of some sort. (like a uCurrent!) if you can't afford the uCurrent, you can always build your own amplifier setup (probably around 40-50$ of parts?)

whether or not you'll need uA comes down to what you intend to put on your drone = what sensors.  most controllers that I know of and would think you would put on a drone only reach <1mA while sleeping. so, potentially useful for troubleshooting sensors. you'll still be afflicted by burden voltage without an amplifier.

the 87V is really an *electrical* meter. (though truthfully, most handheld meters are oriented to electrical usage over electronics)
What would a brymen BM235 cost you or BM257 or any of the higher end brymens?

I'd avoid the EX330 for 89$ like the plague. way, way overpriced.
not being able to measure 0.6mA to 1mA is really silly, I would try to find the brymens.
"This is a one line proof...if we start sufficiently far to the left."
 
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Offline onesixright

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2016, 09:20:17 pm »
If you can spare it, go with the Agilent, you will not regret it.  Cheap (and i mean, cheap cheap) often comes back, and bites you in the a**.

You could go with a cheap DMM and buy Dave's uCurrent :-) As said by others, the uA is not always (most often) that accurate, and Dave solved that with hi uCurrent for a few bucks.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 09:41:14 pm »
the Agilent ... has a gap between 0.6 mA and 1 mA in which the DC current is not measurable.

 :wtf: How is that possible?

Now I don't know if I'm worried too much about this. I don't even know if I'll do a lot of current measurement at the uA scale. Is uA commonly used in electronics? How often does your current measurement activities returns a value between 0.6 mA and 1 mA?

It all depends on what you intend to build. To me it would be a showstopper - I often build stuff with coin cell power sources and that's precisely the range I need the most.

My thoughts:
a) A Fluke 87V isn't necessary at all. It's a luxury meter - nice to have but about as necessary as a luxury car.
b) One meter simply isn't enough. Two cheaper multimeters will be a lot more useful than one big expensive one.

If I was going to spend that much on a multimeter I'd get one of Daves EEVBLOG branded Brymens or one of those Fluke 15B/17Bs.

But ... would I spend that much on a meter for the job you describe? All those meters are sort of still in the "luxury" range if you're on a budget.

If microvolts and microamps aren't your thing and if you're working with motors then I'd be inclined to start with a bomb-proof Fluke 101 ($42 delivered) and a $35 Uni-T UT210E for measuring current. They're not as glamorous as the Fluke 87 but they'll absolutely do the job and you'll never have to worry about burden voltages or blowing yet another $12 HRC fuse every time a motor starts up.

With experience you can decide if it's worth saving up for something more exotic.

whether or not you'll need uA comes down to what you intend to put on your drone = what sensors.  most controllers that I know of and would think you would put on a drone only reach <1mA while sleeping. so, potentially useful for troubleshooting sensors. you'll still be afflicted by burden voltage without an amplifier.

Would you need to worry about uA consumption by sensors when you've got multiple electric motors and servos running?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 10:06:16 pm by Fungus »
 
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Offline Macbeth

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2016, 09:45:28 pm »
UNI-T UT210E for the DC current clamp + UNI-T UT136B/C because it's so nice and chuckable. Dirt cheap. 2 meters better than 1.

I can not imagine why you need Fluke CAT IV level when you have no intention of being a linesman or (mains) electrician. Flying drones is battery powered stuff, right?

Hey, the best DMM in the world - $10,000+ HP 3458A - is an utter fail when it comes to these health and safety requirements. (Indeed it is now banned in the EU because of lead solder alone)

I do wonder if the HRC fuse / CAT xx fanatics are not just the equivalent of the Audiophools sometimes...  |O

(also, the utterly scum of the earth freebie "Harbour Freight" 830B meter - really nothing wrong with it when it comes to low volt stuff, and ALL it's haters have tried to fuck it over, but in all reviews it is surprisingly accurate. I actually like the fact that it is NOT autoranging so beginners can soon realise how a meter works!)

PS. For nanovolts and stuff then a proper expensive bench meter, or Daves uCurrent attached to any handheld should do the trick!
 
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Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2016, 09:55:10 pm »
I do wonder if the HRC fuse / CAT xx fanatics are not just the equivalent of the Audiophools sometimes...  |O

Not quite, the Fluke 87 snobs *do* have some science behind them.  :box:

(also, the utterly scum of the earth freebie "Harbour Freight" 830B meter - really nothing wrong with it when it comes to low volt stuff, and ALL it's haters have tried to fuck it over, but in all reviews it is surprisingly accurate. I actually like the fact that it is NOT autoranging so beginners can soon realise how a meter works!)

Yep, nothing wrong with having three or four "nice" ones around. The current ranges are a bit easy to break but they measure Volts and Ohms really well.

(I say "nice" because some are a lot better built than others, even for the same $4 price)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 10:07:26 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2016, 10:09:05 pm »
a) A Fluke 87V isn't necessary at all. It's a luxury meter - nice to have but about as necessary as a luxury car.

I don't consider the Fluke 87 to be a luxury meter. I still have my Fluke 87 I purchased in 1992 and Fluke still maintains parts availability for this meter. A few years ago I had to replace the Zebra strips and apart from the need to to clean the switch contacts its been a reliable meter.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2016, 10:10:37 pm »
a) A Fluke 87V isn't necessary at all. It's a luxury meter - nice to have but about as necessary as a luxury car.

I don't consider the Fluke 87 to be a luxury meter. I still have my Fluke 87 I purchased in 1992 and Fluke still maintains parts availability for this meter. A few years ago I had to replace the Zebra strips and apart from the need to to clean the switch contacts its been a reliable meter.

...and I've got a $20 Radio Shack meter purchased about the same time that still works and I never replaced anything.  :-//

« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 10:12:57 pm by Fungus »
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2016, 10:11:56 pm »
PS. For nanovolts and stuff then a proper expensive bench meter, or Daves uCurrent attached to any handheld should do the trick!

Here's our very own joe showing how to make "impossible" current measurements on a Fluke 101:



 
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Offline Macbeth

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2016, 10:19:39 pm »
Not quite, the Fluke 87 snobs *do* have some science behind them.  :box:
Aye. When you accidentally short out something low volts with some poke, like a 12V car battery, you can be sure of a very expensive HRC fuse replacement. Meanwhile the same car has super cheap universal car fuses in the engine bay or glovebox all within petrol smellin' distance.

Quote
Yep, nothing wrong with having three or four "nice" ones around. The current ranges are a bit delicate but they measure Volts+Ohms really well.

(I say "nice" because some are a lot better built than others, even for the same $4 price)
It is funny how so many of them are rip-offs of rip-offs... I always love an 830 tear down to see just how much more they can get away with :) I actually bought one for £1.50 a while back because I just wanted its ball bearing switch mechanism...  :-DD
 

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2016, 12:01:31 am »
Thanks for the suggestion guys, I'd also love to get a Brymen or Uni-T, the reviews are generally pretty good for those brands.
However, I can't find any Brymen/Greenlee and Uni-T reseller here, and when I check if they have a distributor in my country it turns out that they don't have any. That means I have to buy from Amazon and the cost might be inflated to nearly 2x the original price due to the shipping fee and all those taxes. Not to mention the hassle I might have to be through when I need to claim the guarantee. I'm trying to stick with the brands that have an authorized distributor here just to play it safe.

PS. For nanovolts and stuff then a proper expensive bench meter, or Daves uCurrent attached to any handheld should do the trick!
I probably can't afford a bench multimeter right now, and the same goes to uCurrent because the shipping fee and taxes will blow its price out of proportion. Building my own uCurrent might be an option later, right now I don't even have a soldering iron, nor the skills to build it :scared:



the Agilent ... has a gap between 0.6 mA and 1 mA in which the DC current is not measurable.

 :wtf: How is that possible?


It all depends on what you intend to build. To me it would be a showstopper - I often build stuff with coin cell power sources and that's precisely the range I need the most.


I don't know why the Agilent U1232A can't measure DC current between 0.6mA to 1 mA, but that's what their own datasheet says. That is now my only concern with the U1232A, knowing that the burden voltage problem also happens to other meters and could be solved later by getting a uCurrent. I really don't have any idea whether or not I will ever measure anything between 0.6 mA to 1 mA. So what you say here is that when I'm working with motors I wouldn't have to worry much about this particular amp range, but Fsck said that I might have to go into that range for troubleshooting sensors. I haven't set my requirements clear here, I guess I have to do more research on it.
Meanwhile I'll ask the reseller for that Fluke 15B/17B, might get a good deal on that.


 

Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2016, 07:26:35 am »
So what you say here is that when I'm working with motors I wouldn't have to worry much about this particular amp range
Yep.

but Fsck said that I might have to go into that range for troubleshooting sensors.

I can't imagine how measuring mA would troubleshoot a sensor.

OTOH I don't even think "multimeter" when I think of troubleshooting sensors, I think "oscilloscope".

Meanwhile I'll ask the reseller for that Fluke 15B/17B, might get a good deal on that.

Brymens, Agilents, etc., are hard to find at the prices people tell you on here, yes.

If you go for a 15B/17B then check very carefully which exact model you're getting. Both of them now have a newer '+' version - (15B+/17B+) that costs more money. It's not that the old ones are bad but don't pay 15B+ money for a 15B.
 
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Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2016, 09:42:18 am »

Brymens, Agilents, etc., are hard to find at the prices people tell you on here, yes.

If you go for a 15B/17B then check very carefully which exact model you're getting. Both of them now have a newer '+' version - (15B+/17B+) that costs more money. It's not that the old ones are bad but don't pay 15B+ money for a 15B.

update  :D
So I call the reseller who was offering that good deal on Fluke 87-V, I ask if she has any 17B or 17B+ on stock. And yes she does. I got the following offers:
$119 for Fluke 17B+
$115 for Fluke 17B

I didn't ask for the 15B though, I think I might need that temperature function on the 17B and 17B+, also the min/max and relative function.

I think the price is not bad at all, I mean it's cheaper than on Amazon. I decide to eliminate the 17B as the price diff is only $4.

Now, getting this $119 Fluke 17B+ head-to-head with the $98 Agilent U1232A I can see how the 17B+ became pale in comparison.
It's not True RMS, it's only 4000 counts, it doesn't have LoZ function, it's lacking a lot of convenient features that are available on agilent like auto-hold, smoothing, min/max/average, and data logging capability, it's $20 more than the Agilent.
However, the 17B+ does not have any measurement gap on uA and mA scale, and I think I saw a review that shows the 17B+ burden voltage @1mA is only about 0.1V or so, compared to 2.9V of the Agilent U1232A. So it looks like the fluke will perform much better on uA and mA scale.

So I guess it goes down to how important is that amp range for me. All I get now is that the motors part of a drone project doesn't even need to go for that low amps, but I think a drone project would also need a lot of work in transmitting and receiving of radio signal. Again, I have zero experience in this so I might be wrong. Can you give an insight about what kind of work that needs to go below 1mA so that I know what I would miss if I buy the Agilent U1232A?
 

Offline Macbeth

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2016, 10:12:32 am »
<1mA could be measuring power consumption while your drone is in sleep mode for example (if you even have a soft power on vs a battery switch). That's about all I can think of, everything else is surely up in the high mA/A's scales.
 
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Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2016, 10:23:17 am »
<1mA could be measuring power consumption while your drone is in sleep mode for example (if you even have a soft power on vs a battery switch). That's about all I can think of, everything else is surely up in the high mA/A's scales.

I see.. Oh yeah, I forgot to say that Agilent U1232A doesn't even have mA range on its switch, so basically just use the A range with a resolution of 1mA, so no decimal value at all for measuring mA. Is that okay?
Meanwhile Fluke 17B+ seems to have a nice resolution of 0.01 mA for measurements up to 40mA, and reduced to 0.1mA for measurements up to 400mA.
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2016, 11:08:25 am »
Get the Fluke 17B+. It's still true RMS for a sine wave up to 500Hz. Few meters do everything right, hence the need for a collection of them. ;)
You'll work mostly with DC and 4000 count should be sufficient for what you'll be doing.
 
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Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2016, 01:31:29 pm »
the 17B+ became pale in comparison.
It's not True RMS, it's only 4000 counts, it doesn't have LoZ function, it's lacking a lot of convenient features that are available on agilent like auto-hold, smoothing, min/max/average, and data logging capability, it's $20 more than the Agilent.

The practical difference between 6000 and 4000 counts isn't worth worrying about.

Fluke 17B+ does have min/max. Maybe you were looking at the 17B.

Both are fine meters, both will do this job. The Agilent has a couple more features, the Fluke is probably better built.

If you want something 100% guaranteed future-proof you're unlikely to find it. Personally I'd be more worried about the gap in the amp ranges than the lack of auto-hold.

So I guess it goes down to how important is that amp range for me. All I get now is that the motors part of a drone project doesn't even need to go for that low amps

Nope. Motors start in the hundreds of milliamps and go upwards.

PS: I'd be measuring motor currents with a clamp, not a multimeter. The fancy HRC fuses used in those meters are expensive to replace.

but I think a drone project would also need a lot of work in transmitting and receiving of radio signal?

A multimeter won't help you with that. For that you need an oscilloscope.

« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 04:51:32 am by Fungus »
 
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Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2016, 03:56:13 am »
After considering all the information I got from you guys, I decide to go with Fluke 17B+. For my first meter I need versatility and reliability, and I trust Fluke for that. I think it can do every job I throw at it.
From what I heard from dave's video and you people here, 1 multimeter is not enough. So yeah, my first meter doesn't have to be fancy with lots of convenient features, I'll save that for my second one.
I'll get it today if possible, since the reseller is just a few blocks away there's no need for shipping & waiting. Thank you guys.  :-+
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2016, 04:24:41 am »
After considering all the information I got from you guys, I decide to go with Fluke 17B+.

It's a solid meter. Enjoy!

From what I heard from dave's video and you people here, 1 multimeter is not enough.

One isn't enough but you can start with crappy $5 meters as secondary meters.

You'll also need some leads with crocodile clips if the 17B+ doesn't include them.

And remember:
* Never turn the range selector with the leads connected to something that's powered on.
* Always start current readings in the 10A position, only move to the mA position when you're absolutely sure about the current (fuses are expensive!).
* Always move the leads back to normal position immediately after you finish measuring current, you don't want to pick the meter up with the leads in the wrong position and blow an expensive fuse.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 05:13:07 am by Fungus »
 
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Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2016, 12:07:58 pm »

One isn't enough but you can start with crappy $5 meters as secondary meters.

You'll also need some leads with crocodile clips if the 17B+ doesn't include them.

And remember:
* Never turn the range selector with the leads connected to something that's powered on.
* Always start current readings in the 10A position, only move to the mA position when you're absolutely sure about the current (fuses are expensive!).
* Always move the leads back to normal position immediately after you finish measuring current, you don't want to pick the meter up with the leads in the wrong position and blow an expensive fuse.

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

update!  :D
I already grab my Fluke 17B+ just now. Got a little discount, final price is $115. Yeah, my haggling skill is not that great, but it's better than nothing.  :)
It's the international version, not that chinese market only version. It doesn't include printed manuals though, only CD.
It comes only with pair of test probe and a thermocouple. The meter itself feels nice, it really feels different in my hand compared to those $30 meters (I'm starting to feel like a snob now  :-[).
The test probe is rather dissapointing to be honest. There's no strain relief in both ends! How come a Fluke comes with this kind of probes? (yes, I'm officially a snob now  :()
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2016, 12:40:49 pm »
Probably TL75. They're not too bad, actually. The leads are on the stiff side though, being PVC. Try a set of TL175, with silicone leads, if you can afford the expense.
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2016, 03:02:42 pm »
I would avoid the Agilent/Keysight - a gap in the current range makes the meter worthless - to me!
I must lead a sheltered life:
  • I have never used the uA scale on my Fluke 189 (my retirement gift from my wife!)
  • I use my VC97 Chinese clone whenever I travel.  I'm not about to beat up my Fluke
  • I can't remember the last time I made any current measurement.  It just doesn't come up all that often on my projects.
  • Mostly I just measure Vcc or Vbatt and call it good.  Everything else takes a scope.
  • I do measure SMD resistors and capacitors before I place them.  My eyesight isn't all it could be and the capacitors don't seem to be marked.
  • I use the Diode range to test SMD LEDs before I place them.  It's not always possible to figure out which end is which.  I test regular diodes before placing as well but they are usually marked.

For my little corner of the hobby, the VC97 clone is adequate.  If I want to actually believe the reading, the 189 is probably more accurate or, more likely to be accurate.  But 3 decimal points of accuracy is just nuts!  I also find my Simpson 260 useful when I want to watch a slow moving change in voltage.  There's no conversion time lag.

I just ordered the eevBlog multimeter, not because I need another meter but because it's cool!

It looks to me like the 17B+ will be a fine meter.  Amazon shows it as currently unavailable but they do show up on eBay.  They may not be in production.

I also bought a half dozen of the Harbor Freight mutlimeters.  My grandson and I used 3 of them to make an elementary school science fair project demonstrating Ohm's Law.  He won first place!  I have a couple of them still in boxes.  They work just fine for automotive work or for just messing around.  If I needed to measure the battery on a drone, out in the wild, this is the meter I would use.  Absolute accuracy isn't all that important, the meter is likely to get bashed around and it doesn't matter because they are cheap!

http://www.harborfreight.com/7-function-digital-multimeter-69096.html

« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 03:05:38 pm by rstofer »
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2016, 03:15:26 pm »
The Duty Cycle scale on the 17B+ will be very handy when looking at servos.  Centered at 1.5 mS (out of 20 mS) is about 7.5% and the normal range is 1 mS (5%) to 2 mS (10%) with a resolution of 0.1%.  The frequency should be close to 50 Hz (20 mS).
 


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