Author Topic: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive  (Read 9235 times)

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Offline Jeff_Birt

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non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« on: October 07, 2016, 04:18:40 pm »
I am refurbishing a number of multi meters and need to find decent quality but inexpensive set of leads for them. Some can use probes with shrouded banana plugs and some cannot. I found a decent lead set with shrouded plugs but not un-shrouded ones. I have tried the Pamona adapter but they do not fit every meter and are $4 each. (I'm not just being cheap these are being refurbished to get them into the hands of young beginners so I have to keep the cost down.)

Any links to decent un-shrouded test leads? Or even shrouded ones? Thanks!
 

Offline omgfire

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2016, 05:38:46 pm »
Have you considered retractable shroud for some safety on meters which cannot accept shroud?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/50Pcs-4mm-Retractable-Sheath-Stackable-Male-Banana-Plug-Connector-Solder-Type-/182293723993
 

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2016, 05:53:51 pm »
I had not come across those before. It still may run into a compatibility issue with some meters and adds another step/cost. It is a good idea though.
 

Offline FlyingHacker

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2016, 05:57:18 pm »
I have some of those cheap ones. They are just OK. They defeat the purpose of the shroud (to protect the user from high voltages) because they are stack-able and you can get too close to the female end with your hand when plugging/unplugging.

You can just buy some shrouded probes and then cut the shrouds off with an X-acto. Works great, and they fit both meters. They lose the CAT rating and added safety of the shrouds, but leads worked like that for decades without much trouble.
--73
 

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2016, 06:03:10 pm »
I thought about cutting the shroud off but had not tried it yet. These meters are going to be for beginners so I don't think they will be measuring anything higher than mains voltage and there are 1000 times easier ways to shock yourself on mains voltage than plugging in a meter lead. Besides which, who plugs the lead into a meter with the lead already hooked to high voltage?
 

Offline omgfire

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2016, 06:07:11 pm »
They defeat the purpose of the shroud (to protect the user from high voltages) because they are stack-able and you can get too close to the female end with your hand when plugging/unplugging.
Common jack is connected to A/mA jack so that's the difference? Shroud covers exposed metal. Besides, there are different styles
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/BP454-20pcs-Nickel-Plated-4mm-retractable-In-Line-Banana-Plug-Solder-type/32289367401.html
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 06:15:18 pm by omgfire »
 

Offline FlyingHacker

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2016, 06:32:47 pm »
I agree that the shrouds are generally overkill. High voltages can of course arc. Though you shouldn't be using most meters with regular probes on anything more than 1kV anyway.

I have personally had 3kV arc to my hand when I got too close to something while holding a ground lead. So I can tell you that 3kV will surely arc out of those banana connectors. But, again, you wouldn't be using these with high voltages like that.

The shrouds on the parts that plug In to the meter are at least useful if you happen to have the leads connected to the voltage source when plugging/unplugging. You wouldn't want high voltage dangling at the end of the wire. Again, we are talking human error here, and poor practices. So in general I wouldn't be too concerned if you are careful.
--73
 

Offline nctnico

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2016, 06:41:11 pm »
if you are careful.
That doesn't sound like a good idea for beginners. Especially for beginners I wouldn't want to skimp on safety because earning a Darwin award shouldn't be easy!
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline joseph nicholas

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2016, 06:54:04 pm »
You can just buy some shrouded probes and then cut the shrouds off with an X-acto. Works great, and they fit both meters. They lose the CAT rating and added safety of the shrouds, but leads worked like that for decades without much trouble.
[/quote]

Ditto this, and you still have protection.
 

Offline R005T3r

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2016, 09:16:29 pm »
I'd like to see how it behaves at 10 or 16A, maybe the plastic melts...
 

Offline stj

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2016, 10:27:09 pm »
cant you upgrade them to shroulded sockets?
 

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2016, 02:46:55 am »
I'd like to see how it behaves at 10 or 16A, maybe the plastic melts...
You would like to see how what behaves?

Quote
cant you upgrade them to shrouded sockets?
No, that is next to impossible on most meters and adds another expense. We are not talking about equipment that is going to be used out in the field on HV sources.

Quote
You can just buy some shrouded probes and then cut the shrouds off with an X-acto. Works great, and they fit both meters. They lose the CAT rating and added safety of the shrouds, but leads worked like that for decades without much trouble.

I tried this tonight and found that with the leads I have if I leave just 3/16" (4mm) of the shroud left it plugs into every meter I have with no exposed metal, except for the HP 3478A. The jacks on it are a bit odd anyhow due to how recessed they are, they are not designed for shrouded plugs and they will not fit the Pamona adapters. I have one set of test leads that work well, even some standard banana jacks don't fit well. The loss of the CAT rating is not important as meters that do not take shrouded leads all predate the CAT rating system I believe and as Malcom Reynolds once said, "You can't missing something you've never had."
 

Offline FlyingHacker

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2016, 07:15:50 am »
if you are careful.
That doesn't sound like a good idea for beginners. Especially for beginners I wouldn't want to skimp on safety because earning a Darwin award shouldn't be easy!

Beginners shouldn't be working with more than about 30V if they truly don't have electrical safety training, or education (self taught is fine, but there needs to be some study and practice).

Once you start playing with mains or especially with HV circuits things become very dangerous.
--73
 

Offline R005T3r

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2016, 06:49:50 pm »
I've been playing with mains quite a lot, and there are 2 basic rule to observe:
1. make your circuit first and then plug it in.
2.  work with live circuits only if necessary, if so isolate yourself from the ground.

Then everything comes relatively easy, if you keep in mind that things. With HV, things change drastically since you need to have specific-rated equipment and always ask questions before... After it's too late since HV circuits won't forgive, (and transformers are just waiting you to do something dumb... to kill you!) 
 

Offline rsjsouza

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2016, 07:27:45 pm »
I've been playing with mains quite a lot, and there are 2 basic rule to observe:
1. make your circuit first and then plug it in.
1.1 Don't forget to add a compatible fuse as the very first thing between your circuit and the input.
1.2 Double-check all voltage ratings of the components - especially capacitors and diodes

2.  work with live circuits only if necessary, if so isolate yourself from the ground.
3. Don't leave cables dangling outside of the desk area
4. Don't use alligator clips or other clips that may get disconnected during operation


Then everything comes relatively easy, if you keep in mind that things. With HV, things change drastically since you need to have specific-rated equipment and always ask questions before... After it's too late since HV circuits won't forgive, (and transformers are just waiting you to do something dumb... to kill you!)
Just added a few other useful rules... (don't ask how I came up with these  :popcorn:)
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 mtdoc

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2016, 07:35:37 pm »
While not super inexpensive, the Probmaster 8000 series DMM leads with the 8018s retractable shroud are an excellent value at $15.90.   I have a pair I use with my HP 3478A.  They are the best DMM probes I have - better IMO that my Pomona or Fluke probes.
 

Online Cerebus

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2016, 07:55:28 pm »

cant you upgrade them to shrouded sockets?

No, that is next to impossible on most meters and adds another expense. We are not talking about equipment that is going to be used out in the field on HV sources.

Have you come across these type of adaptors, they tighten onto the existing socket with an allen key tightened collet type of clamp:


Cost is £1 GBP each, one off. £0.80 each in small quantities. There may be cheaper sources then mine.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 07:59:19 pm by Cerebus »
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline Fisher77

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2016, 09:14:40 pm »
Didn't see a budget on how much you want to spend, but these are great leads. Not to pricey either.
http://probemaster.com/8000-series-test-leads-only/

Dave did a review on them on a mail bag episode. Can be seen at 21.10 of the video.


The unshrouded ones are the 8010S. Nice and flexible, with 48" silicone wires. I bought a pair for my 1980's Micronta. $15.90 a pair, and free shipping.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 09:19:35 pm by Fisher77 »
 

Offline FlyingHacker

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2016, 09:17:04 pm »
Those are pretty cool Cerebus.. Have a source for them, or a part number?

For meters with the old jacks that lack shroud support, especially old binding post type jacks, I find the military surplus Elwyn test leads works very well indeed. The banana jacks are really strong and stay put in the old binding post jacks.

They are rubber wire, but rubber really feels quite nice (never thought I would say that) in the hands. Actually, they feel better than silicone, IMHO. They will likely eventually degrade, but I will buy new ones by then. You can seal them with silicone lube and they will last many decades.

The Elwyn probes are long (54") and come with various screw in adapters. They are quite cheap on eBay as well, if you look around. They come sealed in foil. So the rubber is brand new when you open it.
--73
 

Online Cerebus

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2016, 10:03:36 pm »
Those are pretty cool Cerebus.. Have a source for them, or a part number?

Those are from https://www.rapidonline.com/pjp-3300-iec-r-red-shrouded-socket-adaptor-17-1605. They have black and green too.

PJP is their "own brand" so they are probably available from other places under other names. The only reason I didn't post the link before was that it's a UK supplier and the OP was in the US. Rapid are now part of the German Conrad group who are fairly widespread in Europe, but not the US.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2016, 10:13:54 pm »
I'm also a Probemaster user (extensively actually). And although I have stuff from both the 8000 series and 9000 series, I'd recommend the latter if you want to use more than the typical probe tips. The reason being, the 9000 series is modular, so they don't attach to the probe; just the lead wire. Which means you don't have the probe weight hanging off of your test point, so your attachment is far more likely to stay put instead of slipping off. BTDT, so I've become fond of attachments that attach directly to the lead rather than the probe. YMMV, depending on what you're working on however.

If all you need are a basic set of probes, the 8000 series are excellent.  :-+ FWIW, they only offer spring loaded probes using the 8000 series probe body, and they're excellent; much better than the Fluke/Pomona equivalents.

Regardless of the series you choose, the kits are less expensive than buying individually. Equivalently speaking, they're also less expensive than Fluke/Pomona, yet don't sacrifice quality in doing so.

As per meter connector ends, the retractable types are effectively universal IME, yet offer some additional protection during insertion/removal; meaning they'll fit old equipment (pre-shrouded input jacks), as well as more recent stuff that uses shrouded input jacks. That said, you can still knock yourself on your ass if you're not paying attention, no matter the lead version.  :o  ;)
 

Offline JonM

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2016, 02:58:06 pm »
Those are pretty cool Cerebus.. Have a source for them, or a part number?

Those are from https://www.rapidonline.com/pjp-3300-iec-r-red-shrouded-socket-adaptor-17-1605. They have black and green too.

PJP is their "own brand" so they are probably available from other places under other names. The only reason I didn't post the link before was that it's a UK supplier and the OP was in the US. Rapid are now part of the German Conrad group who are fairly widespread in Europe, but not the US.

And now they are out of stock for 1-2 months!  Maybe there was a rush of forum readers who drained the supply.
 
 

Online Cerebus

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2016, 03:26:37 pm »
And now they are out of stock for 1-2 months!  Maybe there was a rush of forum readers who drained the supply.

Now that hurts. The reason, when the subject came up, that I had them in mind was I planning to order a few (along with some other 4mm stuff) from Rapid in the next few days to bulk my order for something else up to the magic "free postage" point. Looks like I might have shot myself in the foot. [Fx: Muttley voice: Mutter, mutter, grumble, mutter...]
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 

Offline sean0118

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2016, 02:02:42 am »
I've been playing with mains quite a lot, and there are 2 basic rule to observe:
1. make your circuit first and then plug it in.
2.  work with live circuits only if necessary, if so isolate yourself from the ground.

Then everything comes relatively easy, if you keep in mind that things. With HV, things change drastically since you need to have specific-rated equipment and always ask questions before... After it's too late since HV circuits won't forgive, (and transformers are just waiting you to do something dumb... to kill you!)


That's not enough, even if you isolate yourself from earth....    touch live with one hand while other hand is touching something earthed = dead

The safest way would be to connect your test equipment while the circuit is powered down, step back and power it up and not touch anything while it's live.
 

Online Cerebus

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Re: non-shrouded multimeter probes -> inexpensive
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2016, 02:56:16 am »

That's not enough, even if you isolate yourself from earth....    touch live with one hand while other hand is touching something earthed = dead

The safest way would be to connect your test equipment while the circuit is powered down, step back and power it up and not touch anything while it's live.

A old hand's trick I was taught, so long ago I don't want to remember how long, is if you MUST work on live equipment then use only one hand and put the other behind your back, into a hip pocket or behind your belt to minimize the chances of accidentally earthing the non-working hand. I must have been well drilled because I find myself still doing it automatically.
Anybody got a syringe I can use to squeeze the magic smoke back into this?
 


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