Poll

Handheld Multimeter (OEM) Brand Ranking - Which ones do you prefer in Terms of Accuracy, Build Quality etc.

Fluke
Chauvin Arnoux (Metrix)
Gossen Metrawatt
Keysight (Agilent)
Brymen
APPA
C.E.M.
Mastech
Hioki
EEVblog 121GW ;-)
other Rebranding (see my comment) etc.

Voting closes: October 18, 2019, 05:24:37 pm

Author Topic: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison  (Read 3166 times)

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Offline bugi

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2019, 12:23:00 am »
I sorry, but I don't understand why do "we" want to destroy those devices with extrem torture testing, which will never occur in real life.
A technician, who spends so much money for a DMM like the Metrix MTX 329x-Series or other high end Meter like Fluke, Gossen etc. will take care of his equipment!

I indeed do understand, that good input protection and rigid construction, high quality Materials and electrical parts should be present in higher priced meters. But aren't some of these exaggerated stress tests a little bit absurd. Sorry if I say directly what im thinking, but I'am a very careful person as I know how long I have to work to be able to buy such a high priced meter!
Some people take good care of their equipment, and maybe even try to ensure the devices do not meet unexpected stuff at inputs. Some other people are in a hurry, or they don't pay for the meter themselves and don't care, or are otherwise human and make errors. For the latter combined group of people (i.e. majority), extra beefy protections are nice.

I belong to the latter group, having caused flashy stuff both via accidents (e.g. probe slipped from fingers, ended up hitting bad spot) and via lack of thinking (e.g. forgetting a bit of info that I had figured out earlier, then expected 0V, flash.. oh it was about 160V).

And even for those few people that do not make mistakes themselves and take good care of their equipment may end up having to measure stuff that was made/modified/handled (somewhere out there) by who-knows-which-clown, or needs to deal with the unpredictable real world (lightning, somebody digging through a power cable, etc.)... leading to nasty stuff. For these cases, extra beefy protections are nice.

I prefer to see a meter survive a 2000V hit and break at, say, 2500V, rather than only see it survive a nominal 1000V - the first way gives better confidence and trust to it (or well, to the non-tortured siblings of it).

Or maybe I'm just sadistic towards meters and like watching those videos... (also cheaper than blowing meters by myself.)


On the topic of color displays on DMMs: There is definitely some value to having colors on a well designed UI. Unfortunately, in general (not considering just DMMs) I haven't seen many examples of that "well designed", yet. Seems like the devs just throw various colors for the sake of colors, without thinking how to get the best usability benefit from using colors. It tends to require people that have been educated on that particular area, and using them is often quite a bit of extra development cost... and boss then says "not needed".

But even less sophisticated use of color can help with an UI (as long as it hasn't gone too far). But is it then worth the extra cost, especially on a DMM with somewhat limited amount of info shown. I guess this depends on that extra cost and the needs and preferences of each user.
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #51 on: April 22, 2019, 01:23:14 am »

In my country some people are having monthly salary on a level of how much MTX 3293 cost.
I buy equipment with my own money, too.
So yeah, I'm careful with my equipment. Very.
That doesn't mean I never had slipped probe. Which usually destroys probe and/or DUT..

I didn't work on CRT, or vacuum tube based equipment in a decade.. No 1000V for me. Maybe 400V,on primary side switching PSU.
Pretty much if meter survives static discharge test, that's all high voltage it will see on my desk. And that not much, with ESD mat and such..

I do have some equipment installed on the street, connected to power from street lights. Voltage is 240VAC, but that is CAT IV environment, and there I use proper voltage tester or Brymen BM525S.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #52 on: April 22, 2019, 01:35:52 am »
Or maybe I'm just sadistic towards meters and like watching those videos... (also cheaper than blowing meters by myself.)

 :-DD 

I do still find it interesting just how well designed some meters are at a very low cost.  The Fluke 101 is a great example.    Obviously, designing an electrically robust handheld meter doesn't mean it needs to add a lot of cost to the product.   I would say that is true even for the mechanical robustness (function switch).  That Fluke 17B+ is still one of the best meters I have looked at for switch wear.   Then we see a Keysight with it's glass filled detent spring cracking after a few cycles.   

I've seen over and over that high cost doesn't equal a well designed and constructed meter.   It's too bad that there are not independent labs testing these products and informing the public so they can make better choices.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Markus2801A

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #53 on: April 22, 2019, 04:09:47 am »
...
I prefer to see a meter survive a 2000V hit and break at, say, 2500V, rather than only see it survive a nominal 1000V - the first way gives better confidence and trust to it (or well, to the non-tortured siblings of it).
Seems like the devs just throw various colors for the sake of colors, without thinking how to get the best usability benefit from using colors.
...

Totally agree with your statements, didn't want to "Quote" all just to keep this thread readable.
UI-Design is very important, so we can only hope that the devs will keep on progressing with colored UI design to make an extra benefit of using a color display. It seems that the C.E.M. - as I have seen on youtube reviews - has got a good visibility. Don't know if every possible information layout possibility is user freindly and logically placed, but reading of values should be very clear.
The DT-9987 is approx 260€-280€, and also has BT Capability, so maybe it would satisfy my needs of showing some device in class und do some basic measurements with possibility of displaying values via BT and over beamer.

But I am somehow a perfectionist and would like to put something special in terms of workmanship and accuracy and professionalism to the day. I know that most of my student will not dig so deep into this topic as we do here. So most of them will not recognize the difference or appreciate the quality of higher priced DMM vs lower Cost Multimeters.
Teacher for electrical Engineering @ HTL and Werkmeisterschule :-)
 

Offline mqsaharan

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #54 on: April 22, 2019, 03:03:57 pm »
The older model MTX3282 had MOVs in it. I can only guess that these blue SMDs under the clear plastic shield are MOVs. The manual does say "Protection by varistors" under DCV and ACV specs. I am not sure how well it'll behave with high voltage transients.

The MTX3293 is using Hycon chip for front end and ES5 TRMS converter from Cyrustek (if I am not mistaken).

Sadly they didn't use a Precision Decade Resistor Divider (hybrid resistor network) like Gossen. I am not sure how linear its ranges are.

It has the worst bar graph for such a high priced meter. I wonder why they'd even put it there.

The meter is also missing Conductance function. I am not sure how many people will miss it.

By the way, does anybody know what "Hold" function is actually for? Even Fluke has opted for "Hold" in 10x series over "Range" which they used to prefer in their older meters.

The good thing is it is speced for 7A continuous current measurement (page 51) while Gossens usually are speced for 0.7A continuous current measurement.
I like single input Ampere jacks with preferably no new manual function selection for uA to A current measurement.
 
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Offline Markus2801A

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #55 on: April 22, 2019, 07:38:42 pm »
I updated the initial post with ne DMM and their images, have a look :-)
Teacher for electrical Engineering @ HTL and Werkmeisterschule :-)
 

Offline Magnum

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #56 on: April 22, 2019, 09:36:18 pm »

That Gossen could easily be switched from outside the box.  IMO, IEC is behind the times to let this sort of thing be allowed in an industrial handheld meter.   Then again, I am surprised Gossen would design a meter like this.     

https://youtu.be/COuCsWDoI9E?list=PLZSS2ajxhiQBTCU8Mq_i9jidT024A0dV6

Just checked my MTX3292: You can switch the relays easily with a magnet. Good to know that you have to keep magnets away.
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2019, 02:44:26 am »
Just checked my MTX3292: You can switch the relays easily with a magnet. Good to know that you have to keep magnets away.

It would be good if someone could take the time to trace out the front end of the Metrix.   Those parts could indeed be MOVs. 

Too bad about the bar graph.  That's always a sign of a cheap meter when they start adding the useless features.    Lack of conductance is also a bit odd.   It the relays change states, IMO, that's a huge fail on their part.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Magnum

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2019, 05:38:51 am »

Too bad about the bar graph.  That's always a sign of a cheap meter when they start adding the useless features.    Lack of conductance is also a bit odd.   It the relays change states, IMO, that's a huge fail on their part.

I don't care about the bar graph. If I really need it I connect it to my PC and can see what I need. I also don't care if it can handle high tensions etc., as I mainly use it for voltages below 50V. What bothers me is the magnet problem. The question is, what else is available on the market which suits my needs:
- Good readable display
- Intuitive setup menu
- Fast continuity test, preferable the beeper is selectable for open or close (the MTX3292 can't select that)
- Measurement of temperature with type K thermocouple
- Display of the instruments specifications depending on the measured value (you don't have to dig in the manual to know the spec of the selected range and calculate in your head)
- Display of the input impedance depending on the measured value
- Quick startup

I first wanted to buy the Fluke, but it needs several seconds to start, so it was out. The Gossen Metrawatt seems to have the magnet problem, too, despite of not having some of the features I want. So I don't think there is much left?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 05:41:02 am by Magnum »
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #59 on: April 23, 2019, 06:22:18 am »
I don't care about the bar graph. If I really need it I connect it to my PC and can see what I need. I also don't care if it can handle high tensions etc., as I mainly use it for voltages below 50V. What bothers me is the magnet problem. The question is, what else is available on the market which suits my needs:
.....
So I don't think there is much left?

I assume you were happy with your purchase up until the time you discovered this problem.  Had I not mentioned it, would you even know it exists?  Beyond discovering that the money you spent didn't net you the holy grail of handhelds, maybe it's not really a problem.
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Magnum

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #60 on: April 23, 2019, 06:35:05 am »
I assume you were happy with your purchase up until the time you discovered this problem.  Had I not mentioned it, would you even know it exists?  Beyond discovering that the money you spent didn't net you the holy grail of handhelds, maybe it's not really a problem.

Sure I was happy with the meter. I still am, as I am sure I won't find another one which suits me better. But YOU had to mention the magnet problem. Now every time I pick it up I will search anxiously for magnets. Thank you for that!!! ;) :) :)
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #61 on: April 23, 2019, 06:39:28 am »
 :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD   

Proof that ignorance is bliss!!   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Online 2N3055

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #62 on: April 23, 2019, 06:56:15 am »
Since the days of CRT's, tape recorders and mechanical meters, I was always paranoid and worried about any strong permanent magnets at the electronics desk.
I just realized that only magnet I had close to my desk was magnetic holder for Brymen meter..
It's not going to be a problem.
I use it for"fancy" measurements, like relative percentage, etc etc

When I need a tank, I use Brymen.
 
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Offline mr.fabe

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #63 on: April 23, 2019, 07:12:10 am »
With the lineup, you may want to add the Flir DM285.  It's a multimeter and thermal imager with data logging and remote viewing (bluetooth) capabilities.

 

Offline Markus2801A

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #64 on: April 23, 2019, 03:46:25 pm »
Read about Flir`s Display isn't really scratch proof!
Has anybody experience with Fair DMM devices? Accuracy etc.?

So I would say, one of the top Players are Fluke, Gossen, Chauvin Arnoux/Metrix, Brymen, Appa, have I forgotten some good OEM?
If you don't consider to buy cheap china crap and want to do serious, quality measurements.

But as already seen in reviews or postet here, all of those meters have their pros and cons.
Slow boot up, magnetic interference problem, ghosting of display whatever, BarGraph issues etc... it seems the perfect meter hasn't been developed yet.
Maybe we should create some kind of kickstarter project and design our own like EEVBlog Meter v2?
Teacher for electrical Engineering @ HTL and Werkmeisterschule :-)
 

Offline TheNewLab

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #65 on: April 23, 2019, 05:28:28 pm »


I don't care about the bar graph. If I really need it I connect it to my PC and can see what I need. I also don't care if it can handle high tensions etc., as I mainly use it for voltages below 50V. What bothers me is the magnet problem. The question is, what else is available on the market which suits my needs:

- Measurement of temperature with type K thermocouple...

[/quote]
Regarding type K thermocouple, I find I am always using this on a second multimeter when working in the desk
 

Offline threephase

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #66 on: April 23, 2019, 06:11:57 pm »
Read about Flir`s Display isn't really scratch proof!
Has anybody experience with Fair DMM devices? Accuracy etc.?

So I would say, one of the top Players are Fluke, Gossen, Chauvin Arnoux/Metrix, Brymen, Appa, have I forgotten some good OEM?
If you don't consider to buy cheap china crap and want to do serious, quality measurements.

But as already seen in reviews or postet here, all of those meters have their pros and cons.
Slow boot up, magnetic interference problem, ghosting of display whatever, BarGraph issues etc... it seems the perfect meter hasn't been developed yet.
Maybe we should create some kind of kickstarter project and design our own like EEVBlog Meter v2?

I would have thought that Keysight could be added to your list of 'Top Players'?

I do not have the DM285, but have a Flir insulation tester and clamp meter. I was thinking about a DM285 as you can link their different instruments together through their software and have voltage / current / insulation tester values displayed on the thermal image and I have an application in mind that could utilise that.

You do pay a lot for Flir instruments and some of their cheaper models look to be CEM lookalikes.

The instruments I have are fine in terms of accuracy / build quality, but do lack a bit of functionality which I would expect in a high end meter, that has wireless connectivity. The accuracy of them does tend to be more towards electrical requirements rather than electronic, so may not suit your needs.

The meters I have all utilise AAA batteries, so battery life is questionable. I believe that the DM285 had a different battery option so may be better. Neither of them came with a carry case either, so that is an extra cost if you require one, or you could go for one of their kit versions.

The test leads are reasonable quality, but are moulded test probes with threaded tip adapters, so are not overly compatible with optional accessories. So again another cost if you wish to use different test connections other than a standard probe or crocodile clip.

If you want to see more, I did review the IM75 insulation tester both on here and on element14.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/flir-im75-teardown/msg1793243/#msg1793243

https://www.element14.com/community/groups/test-and-measurement/blog/2018/08/27/flir-im75-insulation-tester-dmm

Kind regards
 
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Offline Markus2801A

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #67 on: April 23, 2019, 06:28:00 pm »

I don't care about the bar graph. If I really need it I connect it to my PC and can see what I need. I also don't care if it can handle high tensions etc., as I mainly use it for voltages below 50V. What bothers me is the magnet problem. The question is, what else is available on the market which suits my needs:
- Good readable display
- Intuitive setup menu
- Fast continuity test, preferable the beeper is selectable for open or close (the MTX3292 can't select that)
- Measurement of temperature with type K thermocouple
- Display of the instruments specifications depending on the measured value (you don't have to dig in the manual to know the spec of the selected range and calculate in your head)
- Display of the input impedance depending on the measured value
- Quick startup

I first wanted to buy the Fluke, but it needs several seconds to start, so it was out. The Gossen Metrawatt seems to have the magnet problem, too, despite of not having some of the features I want. So I don't think there is much left?

Especially this one question is also what I ask myself?

There are so many DMM on the market available but the problem ist, just a few of them are well made for serious measurement etc. Other are cheap china crap or rebranded or rebadged types. So there are only a few left on the list for me and this list is even getting smaller when considering availability of a Type in Austria.


In my Case you can get (not alle models available): Fluke, Gossen, Chauvin Arnoux & Metrix, Keysight, Benning (which seems to be made by APPA), Brymen
Secondary list: CEM, Extech, RS-Pro and Peaktech, which seems to be made by CEM, Uni-T
So you see there aren't many DMM on the market if you have a few requirements:


  • Accuracy & long time stability etc.
  • good, readable Display
  • Bluetooth (connectivity to PC/SmartPhone)
  • Build Quality
  • Safety
  • all for serious Measuring
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 06:31:37 pm by Markus2801A »
Teacher for electrical Engineering @ HTL and Werkmeisterschule :-)
 

Offline Cnoob

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #68 on: April 23, 2019, 07:12:19 pm »
Quote
Accuracy & long time stability etc.
good, readable Display
Bluetooth (connectivity to PC/SmartPhone)
Build Quality
Safety
all for serious Measuring

The meter I have which ticks all these boxes is my Keysight U1242C it came with a usb lead and I bought the short range Bluetooth module for £37 plus the Android software is free to download. Other keysight meters in that range/styling are also tick those boxes.
Although I prefer my Hioki DT4282 the U1242C is the close thing I own to being an electricians/electronics multimeter.   
 
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Offline RoGeorge

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #69 on: April 23, 2019, 07:39:03 pm »
I have an MTX3283, old version, no color LCD.

Good
- Buttons instead of a rotary switch for ranges, brilliant innovation.
- Another big plus is that the MTX3283 model can log simultaneously the voltage and the current (not all models can do that), good feature when charging/discharging batteries.

Bad
- Very slow, almost unusable when autoranging.  Even when on manual range, it's still slow. (yet, the continuity beeper is very fast, no complains about the beeper)

Other than that, it looks and feels like a solid and rugged instrument.  I suspect it was meant to be used rather by an electrician than an electronist.

I wouldn't buy that model again because it is too slow. 

Offline Markus2801A

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #70 on: April 23, 2019, 09:09:13 pm »
Regarding the Release of the Successor of the Metrix Asyc IV Series with Color Display MTX 3291-BT and MTX 3293-BT, today C.A. Austria called me and they said that C.A.-Headquarter in FR will delay the release of the new type Model C.A.5292BT and 5293BT for approx. one year. So the blue Metrix one is the actual Model and I ordered it right away! It will arrive tomorrow or on Thursday, im so excited about it and will share my thoughts about it ASAP.

The Keysight meters are for sure one of the Top Player, they should upgrade their product line with graphics display and and include BT Modul.

I'm wondering, so many improvements have been made to SmartPhones, but on the DMM-Side they stick to their (of course well designed) "old" Series? Why?
It should be possible to equip all high end Meters with HD-Quality Color Display, better UI, Firmware upgrade ability etc.
Teacher for electrical Engineering @ HTL and Werkmeisterschule :-)
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #71 on: April 23, 2019, 11:48:29 pm »
Regarding the Release of the Successor of the Metrix Asyc IV Series with Color Display MTX 3291-BT and MTX 3293-BT, today C.A. Austria called me and they said that C.A.-Headquarter in FR will delay the release of the new type Model C.A.5292BT and 5293BT for approx. one year. So the blue Metrix one is the actual Model and I ordered it right away! It will arrive tomorrow or on Thursday, im so excited about it and will share my thoughts about it ASAP.

The Keysight meters are for sure one of the Top Player, they should upgrade their product line with graphics display and and include BT Modul.

I'm wondering, so many improvements have been made to SmartPhones, but on the DMM-Side they stick to their (of course well designed) "old" Series? Why?
It should be possible to equip all high end Meters with HD-Quality Color Display, better UI, Firmware upgrade ability etc.

Wow, they CALLED you..  I sent e-mails to export@chauvin-arnoux.fr and posted question on their online site. Nobody got back to me.
Their support makes Rigol and Siglent support look fantastic..
And that is for MOST EXEPENSIVE handheld multimeter they make..

Congrats on your new meter. It is very nice, I find it very easy to use, works well, and has nice features (PT100/1000 and J/K thermocouple temp measurement, zener mode in diode testing, VA mode, math, external current probe support etc..)
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #72 on: April 24, 2019, 12:00:21 am »
I was going to be a smart ass and ask if you had ordered the magnetic strap to go with it.   After doing a search on their site, it appears they don't offer such an accessory.    Gossen does but it seems they may have known better.   :-DD
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online 2N3055

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #73 on: April 24, 2019, 01:43:38 am »
I was going to be a smart ass and ask if you had ordered the magnetic strap to go with it.   After doing a search on their site, it appears they don't offer such an accessory.    Gossen does but it seems they may have known better.   :-DD
LOL :-DD
 

Offline Magnum

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Re: Multimeters with (Color) Graphic Display - Summary & Comparison
« Reply #74 on: April 24, 2019, 01:56:54 am »
Does someone have the calibration software for the MTX329x? Maybe it is possible to sniff the USB data transfer for recalibration. I assume they use SCPI commands for the calibration, as SCPI is already implemented.
 


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