Author Topic: Review: 6 pocket multimeters Amprobe, Benning, Uni-T and 3 cheaper ones.  (Read 8476 times)

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Offline Spawn

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I was planning to do this review for a while. But Dave was mentioning to do a pocket DMM shout out too also for a while. At the last Poll decision came out for 100USD multimeters, so I thought I can do one and till Dave does his shoot-out on the pocket DMM’s you have to do with my crappy review

I was also waiting to get a UEI DM5B, but I couldn’t find one for right price, the meter itself is 32USD on eBay but the shipment to Netherlands is 46USD, that together and customs for both price is too high for a Pocket multimeter, asked the seller if he could send it with cheaper option he replied he won’t so that’s his decision but I am not going to pay 46USD for a package which is that small.
I am still really interested in one, if someone knows a online store with decent shipment price I would like to get informed.

Meters I reviewed are:
Benning MMP3
Amprobe DM78C
UNI-T UT10A
Voltcraft VC-11 (rebadged UNI-T UT20B)
Victor VC921
XB-866

The review is almost 50 minutes, I had to cut down a lot to make it shorter, was even planning to do teardown but let alone that I couldn’t even fit all test I wanted do in there. So if anyone wants teardown of a specific meter let me know and I will try to make some time for it.

Here is the video:


Offline ecat

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It's good to see reviews of equipment from all parts of the price/feature/performance spectrum, even the pocket sized need some love. I expected these devices to have their limitations but I'm surprised just how much functionality some of them do provide.

Many thanks for you time.
 

Offline Lightages

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Good review, but as always I personally am interested in the insides. I trust no company to state their safety correctly on a meter anymore.
 

Offline Spawn

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Thanks guys,

@ecat, you are right, most of the pocket meters now days have a lot options like normal size handheld meters, like I mentioned in my review some of them lack on current measurement but that is a good thing, it can be quite dangerous if people don’t know what to do.

@Lightages, you are right the Voltcraft, Benning and Amprobe has even good probes for their CAT ratings other 3 have open tip which can cause shorts. Since two of these only have current measurement those two need good protection, with the other 4 there is no need for fuse but there should be some high voltage protection. Like I said I wanted do a teardown but the video got too long only with basic tests and overall talk about them.
You are way more in to the protection of the multimeters than I am, what is the common protection on a multimeter without current range at CATIII 300V?

These meters have low CAT rating so having them in your pocket and use it for fast measurements such as resistor, continuity tester and low voltage measurements is okay.

Offline Wytnucls

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None is required. It just has to survive some high voltage pulses on all ranges, with an intensity based on the CAT rating. For CAT III 300V, a 4000V voltage source with a 2 ohm internal resistance. IEC 61010-1 2nd Edition and UL 61010B-1 (UL 31111-1)
PTCs and MOVs would usually be installed to survive such an onslaught, but not necessarily on the volt range, if there is a current limiting resistor and the traces do not arc over.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 08:15:37 pm by Wytnucls »
 

Offline Lightages

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There are three things I would look for. First, that the circuit traces and connections are spaced far enough for the voltage rating. If it is rated 600v the traces need to be more than 3mm apart at least. That is not a real spec but a rule of thumb. Secondly there should be a current limiting resistor of some rather large size, a PTC to further shut things down should there be problems, and ideally a good sized MOV or spark gap device.

Now I am willing to bet that all of these will not have an MOV or spark gap device. I do not expect any pocket meter to be really safe for anything other than CATII/300V. Even if it is rated higher, it is not to be trusted without the proper third party certifications. These are mostly $20 pocket meters of course but if they claim a certain level of safety they better provide it!

If they have current ranges, then they need another whole level of protection because the leads are fixed and only the selection on the dial is responsible for the correct setting/connection. I sincerely doubt, 100% sure, that any of these pocket meters have the correct fuses and protection inside to allow anything that any CAT rating requires. Fixed leads, pocket meter construction, a current measurement range, and the temptation to use the meter at hand when faced with a impromptu situation is a recipe for a exploding meter and a badly injured hand, at least. Fixed lead meters should not have current ranges.......
 

Offline Spawn

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Thanks guys, I knew some part of it but for some reason it was never clear enough for me when the voltages comes in to discussion. I even have to renew a certificate for safety only specialized to work in high voltage areas, but that contains only how to use equipment and what to do for taking measurements.

About the two meters with hard cases in my review, those claim to have CATII rating but no voltage LOL. Uni-T Claims to have CATII 300V

The UEI I mentioned has removable test leads and can measure till 5A, but there is a big BUT so far I could see on the photos it has only two inputs.

Not fair to compare these meters with a Gossen but those have nice mechanic hole protectors but I also seen a vague video from Mastech multimeter and the inputs light up in certain range so you know which one to use, that is a nice add-on too.


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