Author Topic: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)  (Read 10528 times)

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Offline Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2016, 03:59:34 pm »
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.
Amazon doesn't sell many because it's a made-for-Asia multimeter. They don't sell it in Europe or the USA. The ones on Amazon will be grey imports at best.

They're easy to get on eBay though: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=fluke+17b%2B

For my little corner of the hobby, the VC97 clone is adequate.
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.

Yep.

90+% of what low voltage hobbyists do (ie. reading voltages, doing continuity testing, measuring resistance) can be done just fine with a $4 Harbor Freight meter (or two).

I understand wanting to have nice things: $120 for a 17B+ isn't a huge investment for most people reading this. I might stretch that high if I was in the market for a new multimeter and didn't already own half a dozen.

A Fluke 87V, though? It's a 'flagship' meter. I doubt that anybody here can put their hand on their heart and say they need their Fluke 87V and couldn't work with anything less.

If you genuinely have that much disposable income then, hey, why not?  :-//

Me? I'll pass until I win the lottery (or somebody donates one...)
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 04:34:28 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline zapta

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2016, 04:46:11 pm »
You want to check this recent video. I am using another 'emerging market' FLUE that I got from AliExpress and am very happy with it. Also posted here pictures some time ago. This one looks even better.


Drain the swamp.
 

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2016, 05:09:14 pm »
  • 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.
The thing is, I'm new to this, and I don't really know what kind of measurements I have to do in the future. I just want my first meter to be able to measure anything I throw at it. The Agilent has a gap in amp range that make me nervous because I knew I won't be able to buy a second meter for a while, except if it costs $5. To be honest nothing costs $5 here, even something that won't show up on google costs around $20-$30.

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
Good for your grandson, he started early and he has someone to guide him.  :)

I have never seen a meter as cheap as that harbor freight here. Like I said, cheap meters here costs $20-$30, and I generally avoid them. Basically I'm a guy who makes buying decision based on review. So if something is cheap but I've saw a good review of it, and I saw a tear-down video of it, I might consider buying it. But if the information about this cheap thing is not available anywhere, I will avoid it. This harbor freight is pretty well-documented, I might consider buying one if it's available in my country with that $5.99 price.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2016, 05:23:51 pm »
IMO, you picked a winner! It was closer to $160 not too long ago which was just too high for what it is.  It's well worth the current price.  It's a lot better than any handheld I ever owned.   The 17B+ I ran is the Asian version.  It has a different outside box but the rest looks the same. 

The front end on this meter is very well designed.   It was much more robust than the Fluke 87V and the Keysight U1231 I tested.  Chances of you damaging it would be slim but I would keep it away from the secondary side of any microwave oven transformers you have laying around... 

In this video, I push the 17B+ to its limit.  Part one I abused it a fair amount as well but it survived.




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

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2016, 05:51:58 pm »
I understand wanting to have nice things: $120 for a 17B+ isn't a huge investment for most people reading this. I might stretch that high if I was in the market for a new multimeter and didn't already own half a dozen.

A Fluke 87V, though? It's a 'flagship' meter. I doubt that anybody here can put their hand on their heart and say they need their Fluke 87V and couldn't work with anything less.

If you genuinely have that much disposable income then, hey, why not?  :-//

Me? I'll pass until I win the lottery (or somebody donates one...)
Actually I don't have much budget on this project, I'm running low on money too. Buying that fluke left me with mixed feeling, kinda happy because I can get my first multimeter "right", but kinda feel guilty too because I have less money to procure all other stuffs. Now I desperately need a power supply to get going, and I've just asked for a GW Instek single output,30V,3A price, they offered it at $260, that's like all the money I have left for this project. I'm not very wise at organizing expense, I tend to get tempted by big shiny brands.
Well at least the deal that I got on this Fluke is pretty good. It is not a rip off like that $89 Extech EX330 (I almost buy that one, luckily the people here told me not to buy that).
 

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2016, 06:02:00 pm »
IMO, you picked a winner! It was closer to $160 not too long ago which was just too high for what it is.  It's well worth the current price.  It's a lot better than any handheld I ever owned.   The 17B+ I ran is the Asian version.  It has a different outside box but the rest looks the same. 

The front end on this meter is very well designed.   It was much more robust than the Fluke 87V and the Keysight U1231 I tested.  Chances of you damaging it would be slim but I would keep it away from the secondary side of any microwave oven transformers you have laying around... 

In this video, I push the 17B+ to its limit.  Part one I abused it a fair amount as well but it survived.

Hey, I watched your review before I decided to buy that 17B+. In fact it is one of the reason that make me chose the 17B+  :D
 

Offline rstofer

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2016, 06:05:25 pm »
The thing about having a fully capable meter is just what you would expect:  The ability to measure just about anything that comes along. The 17B+ certainly fits in that category.  I didn't realize that it was a regional meter.  Good to know!

I would still look around for a really cheap meter to toss in the toolbox when traveling about.  Even that Vichy VC97 would be a good kick-around meter.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/VC97-multimeter-AC-DC-voltage-current-Capacitance-Resistance-tester-vs-FLUKE-15B-/181034843226?hash=item2a26847c5a:g:CEUAAMXQh8NTdnUd

There are cheaper kick-around meters but perhaps with much less capability.

These days I stick to 12V or less.  I might stretch things to 24V for a drive motor but that's about it.  3.3V works for me!
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2016, 06:34:20 pm »
This harbor freight is pretty well-documented, I might consider buying one if it's available in my country with that $5.99 price.

Americans get them from "Harbor Freight" but I don't believe there's a country in the world that doesn't have shops which are piled to the ceiling with cheap Chinese imported junk.

Find one of those, take a look around. You're bound to find a few '830B' multimeters.

Get one or two - they're really crappy but they're surprisingly accurate and you never worry about abusing them.

(Just don't go anywhere near mains electricity with one).

« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 06:43:38 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2016, 06:45:58 pm »
Now I desperately need a power supply to get going

A lot of people start with a PC power supply. You get most common voltages (12V/5V/3.3V) with plenty of current. The only thing that's missing is current limiting.

(but glass fuses are cheap!)
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2016, 01:49:33 am »
Glad it helped. 

Hey, I watched your review before I decided to buy that 17B+. In fact it is one of the reason that make me chose the 17B+  :D
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2016, 06:33:00 am »

A lot of people start with a PC power supply. You get most common voltages (12V/5V/3.3V) with plenty of current. The only thing that's missing is current limiting.

(but glass fuses are cheap!)

Thanks for pointing this out. I've search some information about how to do that. I don't really like the one in instructables though, looks somewhat unsafe to me. Meanwhile this one looks good:

He made the modification truly separated from the PSU, so kinda modular design, I like it. He basically can plug and play the PSU into his "bench adapter".

I have 2 unused desktop computer laying around. One is my father's old desktop (I think it's 20 years old, I remember it has Windows 95 OS), the other one is not too old. I decided to take the older PSU, I might want to revive the other desktop, it still has some data that haven't been copied.

So I tear it down, pics below, it said Seasonic SS-200A-200W on the case. Now I hope that doesn't mean 200 Amps? It might be very well killing me if I do something stupid with it!
Aside from that, no other written instruction in the case. So I don't know what color give what voltage. I check the inside to see any burns or something like that, can't find any. I can't really remember why my father stop using this computer, not sure if this PSU is still alive.
The jack that connects to the motherboard doesn't seem standard to me, it divided into 2 jacks. I don't know if I can find a matching socket for that.

That's all I can do today, I'll find some more information and continue when I have more time.
Probably I will make a new thread for this later :)
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2016, 10:17:27 am »
no other written instruction in the case. So I don't know what color give what voltage.

You've got a brand new multimeter....

 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2016, 01:09:57 pm »
Too scared to blow the fuses...
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2016, 01:53:19 pm »
Too scared to blow the fuses...

Did I mention you con only blow them when the leads are are attached to the current measurement sockets?  :popcorn:
« Last Edit: May 04, 2016, 02:31:44 pm by Fungus »
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2016, 02:14:11 pm »
You don't say?
 

Offline wild

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #40 on: May 05, 2016, 09:56:46 am »

You've got a brand new multimeter....

Too scared to blow the fuses...

yeah, should've figured that out earlier  :-[

Anyway I've done the test just now.. That was a good practice to get used to using a multimeter  :)

The PSU is still working despite its old age. The good thing about this old PSU is that I don't need to add dummy load and short the signal and ground pins to get it up and running (most ATX PSU in the tutorial that I saw need that). The relay is still attached and simply push that will turn on the PSU.
So basically I got 11.13V readings from all yellow-black pairs and 5.54V from all red-black pairs. But all of those readings are not from the main power line. Some kind of auxilliary power lines I think, they were connected to HDD, cooling fan, and reset button. The main power line that connect to the motherboard have different connectors that are not accessible by my probes (picture attached).
I'm going to make a new thread in beginner section later since this is not about picking a multimeter anymore  :)

Last question guys, when I was measuring the voltage of that PSU, my Fluke 17B+ does 5 consecutive short beeps. It happens twice unintentionally, and I can't reproduce that anymore. No idea why it does that. If I remember correctly, only one probe attached to the pin when the multimeter does the beeps, it happens in between the measurements. I can assure you my probes were not touching each other and the switch were set correctly at V DC. Any idea why it does that?
 

Offline Fungus

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Re: Help me choose my first DMM (Price gone wild in my country)
« Reply #41 on: May 05, 2016, 06:12:42 pm »
So basically I got 11.13V readings from all yellow-black pairs and 5.54V from all red-black pairs. But all of those readings are not from the main power line.
5.54 seems a bit high.

The main power line that connect to the motherboard have different connectors that are not accessible by my probes (picture attached).

Just shove a paper clip in there...  :palm:

 


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