Author Topic: If Brymen BM869s is cheaper and as good, why people would still buy Fluke?  (Read 116099 times)

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Offline Muxr

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Yes, but does Agilent have experience with putting leaky supercaps in high end product? I understand Fluke provided the PCB corrosion and oxidation feature at no additional charge.
It's a Panasonic supercap, it's not like they skimped on a noname capacitor. Duds happen, one of the reasons 87-V is so popular is because it's proven.
 

Online rsjsouza

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Not saying that's a fact, that's my personal opinion, based on the fact that Agilent has a lot more experience in test and measurement. They've done so much it's silly to compare the two.
jadew, Agilent's T&M experience alone does not warrant good products, as several people reported their higher end portable meters have been plagued with several software bugs. Not saying that Fluke is infallible, but that alone shouldn't bias your opinion.

Edit 2: My point is that Fluke didn't keep up with the times. What was great 10 years ago, is common sense territory these days. There's nothing wrong in selling old technology, but they're way too expensive for what they have to offer.
I partially agree with you; Fluke did not keep up with the newer features in their mainline portable DMMs. However, they may have found that exploring other features that are not commodities on other brands may be more profitable, such as their wireless product line. Since we don't have a crystal ball, we can't tell for sure if this is paving the road for portable meters, but I see it as trying to keep up with times (as everything nowadays is touchscreen and wireless). 

On the other hand, they are (or were, I don't know anymore) owned by a parent company that mostly sought after profit (Danaher), therefore maintaining a captive market with their ruggedness at the expense of innovation of their main DMM products probably made sense for their owners...

Take away the ruggedness and protection of any meter and you're left with a cheap meter.
You are right. I can tell this market is highly sought after by the other manufacturers (perhaps another equally rugged contender would be Gossen). Most of the cheaper alternatives have been adding the low-hanging fruits (HRC fuses, PTCs, varistors, better PCB routing, etc.) but investing in research for better case materials, rotary switches, assembly and others is expensive and probably is enough to make up for the price difference. I have a Fluke 179 and a Brymen BM857, and I can tell the Fluke is a war tank (I did a teardown here).

All in all, I think it is the right tool for the job. My main reason to have spent the extra money on a Fluke was the peace of mind of having at least one safe and dependable meter around - also, the initial price would be dilluted throughout its lifetime. I got the BM857 due to other features (higher counts, 4-20mA measurements, etc.), which I use in my lab.

Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline Lightages

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can I trust brymen with my employee when they threat fluke like this ? I doubt it but maybe I am wrong who knows

I think in  your case the question is should you trust your employee if he treats equipment like that!
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 08:32:21 pm by Lightages »
 

Online rsjsouza

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One correction about my previous post: I think I left the idea the Brymens are flimsy. Well, my BM857 is many steps above the average DMM offerings in the marketplace in terms of ruggedness: tight fit between the two halves of the cases with a rubber gasket all around, rubber gaskets on each screw in the back, excellent rubber protection cover, tight fit of the input jacks, tight fit of the rotary switch, etc. The stand is very flimsy, though, and broke with a few uses (although Brymen's excellent support came to rescue)
Vbe - vídeo blog eletrônico http://videos.vbeletronico.com

Oh, the "whys" of the datasheets... The information is there not to be an axiomatic truth, but instead each speck of data must be slowly inhaled while carefully performing a deep search inside oneself to find the true metaphysical sense...
 

Offline XFDDesign

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I think there will be a gap here because "as good" has not been qualified.

As good in what way? Many of the Fluke supporters are including field durability in their standard. The Brymen camp seems to dismiss this standard. When this is the case, it appears that the Brymen camp are merely shopping for justifications for their "team." If "as good" gets qualified, I expect it would fundamentally change the question.

 

Offline Muxr

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Dave summarizes it quite well:

https://youtu.be/whvSl_0p8e4?t=426
 

Offline m100

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87-V is the iterative pinnacle of their half a century long leadership in the field.

No, the '87-VI' could be that, if they made the default current measurement DC not AC   |O :palm:

(but despite that I've got an 87-V on my bench)

Fluke = Reputation + backup + quality = expensive at first glance but ultimately very cheap for something that last a generation in everyday service

Brymen  = ????  Unknown?   Who the f*ck are they?  =  The kind of thing that gets bought if money is tight or someone else is pulling the strings

From the reviews we sort of know Brymen have some essence of quality, in some countries they may even have the makings of some credible backup, in 30+ years or more they might have a reputation that people will turn to.  Until then all bets are off, for me it's Fluke every time for a portable DMM.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 10:00:24 pm by m100 »
 

Offline Lightages

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I would love to say that Brymens are as rugged as Flukes, but no one can. Brymen does not have the same time in the field nor do they have the same amount of meters in the field being abused like Fluke. For the build quality and design I would be comfortable saying they they can take quite a bit of abuse. Would I think that a BM829s can take the abuse that the Fluke 27 can take. Definitely no. I might say that it could take the same abuse as an Fluke 87V, but I don't have both to compare so I can't say that in good conscience.


I guess this will have to a subject of a video when I get video production back on track.
 

Offline Armxnian

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Dave summarizes it quite well:

https://youtu.be/whvSl_0p8e4?t=426

You're really just trying to justify your purchase at this point by linking a 6 year old video. The 87 had top of the line specs 10 years ago, that's not the case anymore.

The only pros we've seen so far are build quality and track record. The difference in build quality is highly exaggerated. The Brymen is rated to survive 12kV transients, you don't meet that spec by building a crap meter that falls apart in your hand. It also has a huge rubber case. We have tear downs of both meters, and both are built like rocks. Track record is fine to build trust in a product/brand but it is illogical to buy a product based solely on that. If everyone had that methodology, innovation would stop.

No one is bashing any Fluke products. If you bought your 87v a while ago and it still works then there isn't much point in buying a higher end meter unless you need it. But if you're buying new, I don't see much point in paying more for a lower spec'd unit. The 87v looks like a great meter, it's just old. The 289 looks like a better purchase if you have the cash. But even that is a bit old. Fluke has the rep and money to destroy the competition by building the ultimate meter, they just haven't done so.
 

Offline Muxr

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Dave summarizes it quite well:

https://youtu.be/whvSl_0p8e4?t=426

You're really just trying to justify your purchase at this point by linking a 6 year old video. The 87 had top of the line specs 10 years ago, that's not the case anymore.

The only pros we've seen so far are build quality and track record. The difference in build quality is highly exaggerated. The Brymen is rated to survive 12kV transients, you don't meet that spec by building a crap meter that falls apart in your hand. It also has a huge rubber case. We have tear downs of both meters, and both are built like rocks. Track record is fine to build trust in a product/brand but it is illogical to buy a product based solely on that. If everyone had that methodology, innovation would stop.

No one is bashing any Fluke products. If you bought your 87v a while ago and it still works then there isn't much point in buying a higher end meter unless you need it. But if you're buying new, I don't see much point in paying more for a lower spec'd unit. The 87v looks like a great meter, it's just old. The 289 looks like a better purchase if you have the cash. But even that is a bit old. Fluke has the rep and money to destroy the competition by building the ultimate meter, they just haven't done so.
Brymen has a 1 year warranty, 87V has a lifetime warranty. I am sorry if Brymen themselves don't agree with you.

As far as specs are concerned, there is so much not told in the specs. I am not convinced for instance that accuracy is in fact better, until I see some drift measurements for a given period of time, I am not sold. I am actually genuinely curious. Higher count is largely a gimmick if the accuracy isn't there. And like I stated, it is not easy to achieve the stability required in a handheld meter.

Besides if I cared for the count I would have gotten a 286 instead, not the 87V.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 10:11:49 pm by Muxr »
 

Offline Lightages

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Brymen has a 1 year warranty, 87V has a lifetime warranty. I am sorry if Brymen themselves don't agree with you.

Actually Brymen does not guarantee them for more than 1 year, but Greenlee does with exactly the same meter from Brymen. It just has different colors. I personally guarantee the Brymens I sell for 3 years. I can't do any more than that because a one man show can't guarantee anything for life. My guarantee is against any defect in manufacture, not against abuse or misuse. Fluke doesn't guarantee against misuse neither.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 05:43:30 am by Lightages »
 

Offline Muxr

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Brymen has a 1 year warranty, 87V has a lifetime warranty. I am sorry if Brymen themselves don't agree with you.

Actually Brymen does not guarantee them for more than 1 year, but Greenlee does with exactly the same meter from Brymen. It just has different colors. I personally guarantee the Brymens I sell for 3 years. I can't do any more than that because a one man show can't guarantee anything for life. My guarantee is against any defect in manufacture, not against abuse or abuse. Fluke doesn't guarantee against misuse neither.
I get that you are trying to defend Brymen, since you make a living from selling them. You obviously have a vested interest in this. But I am not convinced they are better meters, sorry.
 

Offline Lightages

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I am stating facts. I have not stated anything that is not demonstrable. I am only trying to educate on the facts and correct where things might be mistaken and have been.

I am making nothing on selling Brymen right now and don't expect make anything more than pocket change in the future. I actually point people to www.tme.eu and to Franky here on the forums for purchases most of the time because I only sell to a very small demographic here in SA. I probably have made more money for them than I will ever make from selling Brymen, especially to this audience. I am selling them because I like the product. I have been "defending" Brymen long before I became a distributor. I was a customer of three models before I decided to try and sell them. I also have been "defending" some Uni-T meters, I have a Fluke 27/FM which I consider one of the best buys I have ever made in a multimeter, some Digitek, and others. I have stated my ties to Brymen to make sure people did not think I was a shill or was hiding any possible bias.
 

Offline MisterBiscuit

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It amazes me how trivially people equate the economics of "warranty" with product quality.

"Warranty" is forced insurance, nothing more. You buy it when you buy the product. You pay for it in the purchase price of the product. The manufacturer makes additional profit off of it. You have no option to "opt out" or decline it and save the cost. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are more than delighted to sell you *more* insurance in the form of "Extended Warranties" at the time of sale. Why? Because its a huge money maker. "Lifetime Warranties" become sales tools for manufacturers ("Our product is so good, we guarantee it for life!") even though the customer bears the entire financial burden for that warranty. Manufacturers laugh all the way to the bank.

If you want to compare product quality, I'd recommend sticking to qualitative analysis. Warranty is a profit center, not a measure of quality. It is backed with sophisticated computer risk models that ensure profit for the insurer, uhhh, manufacturer and has little bearing on quality.

 

Offline Armxnian

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It amazes me how trivially people equate the economics of "warranty" with product quality.

"Warranty" is forced insurance, nothing more. You buy it when you buy the product. You pay for it in the purchase price of the product. The manufacturer makes additional profit off of it. You have no option to "opt out" or decline it and save the cost. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are more than delighted to sell you *more* insurance in the form of "Extended Warranties" at the time of sale. Why? Because its a huge money maker. "Lifetime Warranties" become sales tools for manufacturers ("Our product is so good, we guarantee it for life!") even though the customer bears the entire financial burden for that warranty. Manufacturers laugh all the way to the bank.

If you want to compare product quality, I'd recommend sticking to qualitative analysis. Warranty is a profit center, not a measure of quality. It is backed with sophisticated computer risk models that ensure profit for the insurer, uhhh, manufacturer and has little bearing on quality.

Yeah the Brymens cost less because they have 1 year warranty. The Greenlee re-badges, which are basically the same meter, have a life time warranty, but they are also considerably more expensive.
 

Offline nuno

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Brymen should work a bit on their website, and on English translations. Loved the "fire retarded casing" of the 869 :)
 

Offline jadew

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As far as specs are concerned, there is so much not told in the specs. I am not convinced for instance that accuracy is in fact better, until I see some drift measurements for a given period of time, I am not sold. I am actually genuinely curious. Higher count is largely a gimmick if the accuracy isn't there. And like I stated, it is not easy to achieve the stability required in a handheld meter.

Besides if I cared for the count I would have gotten a 286 instead, not the 87V.

Well, let's explore that. I had the BM867 for 2 years and after I got it I made a little voltage reference and resistor reference board. Nothing fancy and I believe it drifted a bit (particularly the 5V reference which is different than the reference used for 1.2V and 2.4V. All the resistors are 0.1%. I stopped keeping track of my meters several months after I built it, but I made another measurement just now.

I have 3 meters, the BM867, an AXIO AX-594 and a very $5 DUWI 07975.

The first thing you will notice, is that low drift is nothing to be proud of when you have such low resolution. The DUWI has virtually no drift and it's been abused for the past few months by my son, being one of his toys now. This is a $5 meter.

The other thing you'll also note, is that the BM867 has less drift in 2 years, than the fluke 87 has counts to display it. And I bet a lot of that drift comes from my shitty reference than from the meter.

I really wish I had a better reference, but I didn't think I'll have this conversation at some point, otherwise I would have built a nicer one and would have calibrated my meters more often.

The data is attached. They're .csv files, but had to change the extension to .txt because I couldn't upload them otherwise.

Edit: Changed the year from the last record to 2015, since I made those measurements today.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 10:42:14 am by jadew »
 

Offline XFDDesign

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A shitty reference isn't a big deal. Getting measurement data on it, simultaneously, with the meters in question is.

LTD is a subject on how the measuring device ages and alters its reading over time. Keep in mind, just like Dave's videos on the LM399 or LTZ1000, the internal reference is the predominant dictator for LTD performance. Without actually going out and buying one of each meter new and then begin trying to sort out how to automate measurements every hour or so, you could look at the two meters' internals and identify their reference. If they have the same reference, it is _likely_ they will age similarly.

No one has told me if Brymen make a 6.5 digit bench meter that compares to the Fluke 8846A, so I'm confused as to how they can be equal without having a product.
 

Offline Muxr

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As far as specs are concerned, there is so much not told in the specs. I am not convinced for instance that accuracy is in fact better, until I see some drift measurements for a given period of time, I am not sold. I am actually genuinely curious. Higher count is largely a gimmick if the accuracy isn't there. And like I stated, it is not easy to achieve the stability required in a handheld meter.

Besides if I cared for the count I would have gotten a 286 instead, not the 87V.

Well, let's explore that. I had the BM867 for 2 years and after I got it I made a little voltage reference and resistor reference board. Nothing fancy and I believe it drifted a bit (particularly the 5V reference which is different than the reference used for 1.2V and 2.4V. All the resistors are 0.1%. I stopped keeping track of my meters several months after I built it, but I made another measurement just now.

I have 3 meters, the BM867, an AXIO AX-594 and a very $5 DUWI 07975.

The first thing you will notice, is that low drift is nothing to be proud of when you have such low resolution. The DUWI has virtually no drift and it's been abused for the past few months by my son, being one of his toys now. This is a $5 meter.

The other thing you'll also note, is that the BM867 has less drift in 2 years, than the fluke 87 has counts to display it. And I bet a lot of that drift comes from my shitty reference than from the meter.

I really wish I had a better reference, but I didn't think I'll have this conversation at some point, otherwise I would have built a nicer one and would have calibrated my meters more often.

The data is attached. They're .csv files, but had to change the extension to .txt because I couldn't upload them otherwise.
Thanks for that. I am assuming the last entry is 2015 (says 2013 in the file).

This basically either confirms what I've been saying, which is that the extra digit count is pointless as the meter will drift those digits anyways (or they will be noise), or that it's inconclusive because of the reference drift. Also 87-V is a 20k count meter. So the 5V reference would have shown the difference, but that's neither here or there because it's off by just one digit.

I remember someone distinctly complaining about the Brymen drift while back, which is why I brought it up in the first place. Here I found the post: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/brymen-bm869-short-review/msg553991/#msg553991

I am just not convinced that Brymen 869 actually offers any tangible accuracy advantage over the 87-V.

edit: this video kind of sucks, also warning turn your volume down, but it's an interesting anecdote for the 87-V

basically to summarize, some eastern european guy buys a used 87-V from ebay.. seller from the US sends it to Europe. He gets it and sends it to his local Fluke for calibration. They returned the meter with results of the calibration. Meter had some drift in other functions (all within the spec) But the DC had 0 drift on all the ranges in 5 years.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 03:42:35 am by Muxr »
 

Offline jadew

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Yes, the last entry is 2015, thanks.

I think the 5V reference drifted. I'm using a 2.4V reference for the 1.2 and 2.4 voltages and a different one for the 5V. Given that everything else stayed pretty much the same, I'm inclined to believe the 5V drifted.

As for the noise, the display is very stable. On this reference, which I power from a 9V battery so the input is super clean, the last digit (in 500,000 counts mode) simply goes down as the battery discharges. It never jumps around - at most it goes up one count when it's between counts. I'll make a video.

Edit:
Here's a video of the meter measuring the input voltage of the reference: http://youtu.be/P93mj_xvguY

Edit 2:
@Muxr
The Fluke calibration was done in 6000 counts mode. My Brymen has 0 DC drift for that many counts too and again, my reference costs $3 total. If it was lab grade, I wouldn't be surprised if the brymen had 0 in the 50,000 counts mode too.

Edit 3:
The measurements I made were in 500,000 counts mode, which is why the numbers might look higher than they really are.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2015, 04:11:15 am by jadew »
 

Offline Muxr

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Thanks! Doesn't look noisy, you're right.
 

Offline nanofrog

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Brymen has a 1 year warranty, 87V has a lifetime warranty. I am sorry if Brymen themselves don't agree with you.
Fluke does have a longer warranty, but do be aware their definition of "Lifetime" has to do with their product lifetime/cycle, not the lifetime of the purchaser (turns out it's 7 - 10 years depending on the date you buy it, when the meter is EOL'ed, and the availability of spare parts).

As far as specs are concerned, there is so much not told in the specs. I am not convinced for instance that accuracy is in fact better, until I see some drift measurements for a given period of time, I am not sold. I am actually genuinely curious. Higher count is largely a gimmick if the accuracy isn't there. And like I stated, it is not easy to achieve the stability required in a handheld meter.
I own both a Brymen BM857 and Agilent U1252B as my better meters (both are 50k counts). Had both for ~3 years IIRC. Make of it what you will, but checking the same sources, they're both still within spec. So either both are drifting at the same rate, or they're not drifting any appreciable amount, if at all.

I'd actually have to give ruggedness to the Brymen over the Agilent (their HH designs were acquired from Escort), but it really doesn't matter much for bench use IMHO (i.e. surviving a drop of 1m is sufficient; and environment = indoor use). The Agilent has the edge on features, and the display is much nicer to use (BM869 is more in line with the Agilent on features & display).

If things are going to get rough, I've also a Fluke 27/FM when the counts aren't critical (rugged as hell, but only 3200 counts & far fewer features). It's also the only Fluke I own ATM (could easily change if the right deal comes along).
 

Offline Marc M.

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Fluke really thinks about the every day adventures that the average electrician is confronted with :)

3 meters drop on concrete, 1 meter under water, Canyon trip, being frozen down to -15 degrees, 6 meters drop, 12 meters drop, 30 meters drop, being thrown from a car at 60 km/h.

Wow! Seems like Brymen didn't do their homework about every day adventures in the US :)
...the '87-VI' could be that, if they made the default current measurement DC not AC   |O :palm:
Folks, you have to keep things in perspective.  This is an electronics specific forum so most folks here are only thinking about these things from an electronics viewpoint.  What many are failing to realize is that the Fluke 87 series was designed specifically for needs of the Industrial Maintenance and Electrician fields, not the electronic engineer/tech sitting at a clean bench in a climate controlled room.  It is for this reason that it includes things like a low pass filter to enable accurate measurements when checking the output of VFD's.  It's also why it defaults to AC amps and not DC. 

By day, I'm a CNC tech. in a large production machine shop and I'm dealing with AC voltage measurements 85% of the time and AC current 99.9% of the time.  For the most part, the only DC I deal with on a day to day basis is 24vdc control voltage.  If there's a fault somewhere, it will load the 24v line and the voltage will drop.  When I've isolated the fault the 24v supply voltage will go back to normal - no need to check current.  In the few places where there's a current loop, we use a meter specifically designed for checking current loops.

Regarding the snarky "...everyday adventures in the US..." comment, the poster obviously has never worked in an industrial environment in any country.  When I have a machine down it's potentially losing hundreds or even thousands of dollars an hour. I can't be wasting time trying to bubble wrap and safeguard my $300 meter (btw, I paid for it, not the company). I need to get the machine running again as quickly as possible. A very common issue on CNC equipment is short/breaks in wiring to proximity and reed switches.  They are extensively used to make sure that commanded movements of things like hydraulic cylinders or mechanical parts of tool changers and pallet changers have completed before the next movement begins so their cabling is often continuously flexing.  Some of these machines are over 20 feet (about 7 meters) high and covered in a layer of dirt and oil and I'm precariously perched on a piece of 2" angle iron on top of it. I'm very careful about all equipment but in these sorts of situations things happen and it may get knocked off and fall down inside the machine bouncing off crap on the way down only to land in a pool of coolant.  I know that when I fish it back out and clean it up, chances are it will function correctly and accurately (it hasn't failed yet in 8 years of use).  Fluke understands the reality of working in these sorts of environments and designed their industrial meters to withstand the abuse they get exposed to.

I also work with 480v bus ducts and entry panels where the instantaneous current available is in the 10's of thousands of amps.  It is these places that a sub-par meter WILL KILL YOU.  If you sniff around the internet for Arc/Flash fatalities you'll start to gain an appreciation and respect for working in these areas.  Am I going to literally trust my life to the new kid on the block with very little experience?  No, I'm going to go with the proven veteran whose track record goes back decades.

On the other side of the coin, by night I'm a ham radio operator, repair electronic stuff for friends/family/coworkers etc., and design and build a wide variety of stuff for my multitude of interests, work, and a few things for sale.  All this at my clean, comfy, temp. controlled bench (OK, maybe not that clean  ;)) and what is my goto DMM?  Another 87V, primarily because I'm so familiar with it, but also because I trust it and its accuracy is more than enough.  There is a lot of volt-nut-itis on this forum and for 99% of folks, entirely overkill.  I do plan on picking up a bench DMM at some point (I'm still using a Heathkit VTVM for general work). Unlike Dave, I much prefer having a line powered, stable meter I can plug/unplug probes without having to hold on to the entire thing as my main meter and use the handheld for secondary measurements when needed.  And again, I will buy an HP/Agilent/Keysight (should have stayed HP  |O) because of trust and reputation for solid, dependable design.

Don't replace the cap, just empty the filter!
 
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Offline Terry Lingle

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I work underground in a Mine. Conditions are pretty harsh voltages are nominal 600 VAC from a 7.5 MW 4160 feed. 
I use an 87V and do  not prefer it for this work for the following reasons first it is by design an auto ranging meter  this feature can lead to a fatal belief that the power is off when in fact it is only compromised  with one or two of the phases open while the third is live from a welded contact in the supply breaker. second the low amp ranges are subject to false lead detection due to humidity induced leakage not terribly serious and easily fixed by putting duct tape over the ports.
That said there is no way I would consider any other brand working in my environment.

My first personal digital meter was an 8012A it is about 40 years old and still works perfectly'
I replaced it as my carry meter with an 8060A when it first became available for size and the built in frequency meter. I used that meter every day. In 2013 the battery door failed and I bought the 87V to replace it. The 8060A has 1000 volt rating on it but has no cat III or IV rating as it was built before the visible code was required so insurance and compliance rules prevailed.
For my personal use it is still my go to meter and much preferred over any auto ranging unit.
I also own a fluke 1504 Megger and ground tester it gets much use in fault detection in trailing cables and exposed teck cable troubleshooting.
Lets see how your meters are working in 40 years  then we can have a fair discussion of value vs price.
 
     
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Quote
I work underground in a Mine. Conditions are pretty harsh voltages are nominal 600 VAC from a 7.5 MW 4160 feed. 

That sounds like 600Vac CAT IV which means your nominal voltage is at the very edge of the specification. Maybe you need a higher rated meter.
 


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