Author Topic: Review: Uni-T UT136B, Tired of the multimeter snobs? A very nice budget meter!  (Read 45085 times)

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Offline Lightages

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I decided to see how cheap you can go and still get a decent meter. What can you get $20? I don't know, but up your budget to $21 shipped to your door and you might be surprised. I was.

Is it safe for high energy circuits or does it even meet its CAT ratings? No, but it is worth buying if you really can't afford $50, $100, or $200 plus.

 
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Online don.r

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Nice review. Now selling on ebay for US$16!
Shippers: for the love of Pete and all that is holy, STOP USING UPS INTERNATIONAL!
 

Offline Lightages

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Wow, $16 shipped! This meter is even more of a bargain than I thought.
 

Offline TerminalJack505

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Thanks for the review.  Looks like a pretty good meter for the money. 

There's a company on Amazon that ships from New Jersey selling them for $13.76 plus $4.49 shipping.  Not as good a deal as the ones on Ebay but probably quicker shipping for those in the western hemisphere.
 

Online don.r

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Great deal if you live in the US but they won't ship outside.

"We're sorry. This item can't be shipped to your selected destination. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order."

Shippers: for the love of Pete and all that is holy, STOP USING UPS INTERNATIONAL!
 

Offline true

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Looks like a decent meter. These are not listed on the English language Uni-Trend site, so to aid search results, here's the differentiators as stated in the video:

UT136A standard meter
UT136B from standard, adds capacitance measurement
UT136C from standard, adds temperature measurement and probe
UT136D from standard, adds non-contact voltage detection

I've already got enough multimeters but at this price I couldn't help but order a UT136B and UT136D as good-enough beater meters. Thanks for the review.
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Nice review. Could be a winner in the 20$ range, just like the 61E is in the 50$ one. Any competitors?
Is that LCD really glued to the PCB?. That's a first for UNI-T, as far as I know. I guess some shortcuts were needed at that price point.
Can't wait to see the 5000 volt test.  :o
 

Offline Lightages

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Nice review. Could be a winner in the 20$ range, just like the 61E is in the 50$ one. Any competitors?
Thanks. I don't think so. I am not in the habit of researching cheap meters except I know that I won't touch another Mastech, no matter the price.

Is that LCD really glued to the PCB?. That's a first for UNI-T, as far as I know. I guess some shortcuts were needed at that price point.
The LCD is held in place by the circuit board being held against the front case with the screw and the back case when it is assembled. The glue on the little locating pins is probably just to make it easier to assemble so that the LCD doesn't fall away from the circuit board when inserting the board into the front half of the case.

Can't wait to see the 5000 volt test.  :o
I don't think I will bother doing that test. The first reason is that the manual clearly states to not use the meter above 500V, and it is only CATII600V rated, and that quite optimistic too. The other thing is if it happens to pass a 5000V torture test then it might encourage people to use it on high energy circuits and I prefer to not encourage that behavior with this meter.
 

Offline true

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Got my UT136B and UT136D in today.

I like the feel. They fit the hand well and don't look as cheap as in the video / photos. VERY solid...I was expecting more plastic creaking at this price. The manual has some pretty brillant engrish. The leads are certainly adequate for the price. I do wish Uni-T would color code the input jacks.

In the UT136D, there are three one-turn pots right next to eachother, labeled VR1, VR2, VR3. VR1= closest to the center screw post and is for DCV, VR2= next one and is ACV, VR3=...? - there is no capacitance range on the 'D and the 'B model has the additional fourth pot way on the left which probably is for capacitance, so I don't know what VR3 does.

DMMCheck Plus measurements are very good for both meters, especially resistance which is at most one count out. Resistance auto-ranging is VERY slow.

Tore down my UT136D as it wasn't doing NCV very well. Nothing looked wrong, soldering looked top notch. LCD came off when I flipped the board (it is held in by pressure, and there was no glue on mine), cleaned with IPA around the NCV area, and tried again...almost nothing. My Amprobe PM55A that I got the day before worked flawlessly and things are plugged in, so I know it has to work. Then I read the manual... and it's for 220V only =( If you are in the USA like I am, don't bother with the UT136D for the non-contact voltage detector; it won't work. Too bad I couldn't find a manual for this beforehand, oh well =(

Nothing I have tried in this price range comes close with autoranging, features, and build quality. I'll still use the Flukes and Agilents on the bench but have no problem using this for basic stuff in the field.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 02:44:23 am by true »
 

Offline Lightages

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Thanks true for the follow up. It is nice to know that the D model isn't worth buying. So in the end I would say that just the B and C models are worth the money.

I am glad you got good leads!
 

Online don.r

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The $16 meter arrived today. 14 days from China to Canada, not too bad at all. Looks and works as expected which is fantastic for $16! Even came with 9V battery installed! :-+

One thing to note, the multipurpose socket that comes with the UT61E fits and functions with this meter (when placed across +Volts and Amps terminal). Bonus! I think this is THE best bargain electronics meter on the market. Far better than 3 DT830B pieces of garbage for the same money.
Shippers: for the love of Pete and all that is holy, STOP USING UPS INTERNATIONAL!
 

Offline david77

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If your in Europe and have a Conrad store close by you can get it as a rebadged VC-170 from them for about 29 Euros.
It really isn't that bad for a cheap meter, even has sort of HRC fuses in it. Conrad specced BS1363 6kA breaking capacity fuses in their version.

http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/124403/Voltcraft-VC170-Digital-Multimeter-4000-counts-CAT-III-250-V

I haven't compared the specs of the two meters too closely, so there might be other differences.
 

Online xrunner

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Thanks for the review.

I found the C model that measures temp. for $18 on Ebay.

Shoot, how can I go wrong for that price?  :-// I'm ordering one tomorrow.
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

Offline Lightages

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The only thing that can go wrong is if you get a bad set of leads like I did. But really, I am quite impressed with this little meter for the price.
 

Offline Jebnor

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  • Absolutely! Yes, kind of, sort of, not really, no.
I just ordered a B and C version for ~$20 CND each. And some 'BEST 402 Ultra-Sharp Multimeter Test Leads' for $5.  Thanks for the great review.
Before this, there was a typo.
 

Offline Lightages

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Those leads you ordered are also going to be in my mulitmeter leads comparison/shootout/torture test. I doubt they will be the "BEST". Anything that is labelled "PRO" or "BEST" is usually the opposite.
 

JuanPC

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I decided to see how cheap you can go and still get a decent meter. What can you get $20? I don't know, but up your budget to $21 shipped to your door and you might be surprised. I was.

Is it safe for high energy circuits or does it even meet its CAT ratings? No, but it is worth buying if you really can't afford $50, $100, or $200 plus.


How many Chinese workers died making that DMM? :-DD
 

Offline Lightages

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How many Chinese workers died making that DMM? :-DD

I bet many less than those who have died making iphones.....
 

Online xrunner

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Got the UT136C today. Quite pleased with it. The leads I got don't seem very plasticky, and they both work.  :)

Nice little meter all-in-all.
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

Online xrunner

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I tested the temp. measurement using my Hakko soldering station which I know is very accurate, having tested it using a Hakko (clone) FG-100. I set the station to 200C because the DMM manual states that only temps up to 230C can be measured with the supplied type K thermocouple.

The manual states that the accuracy from 0 - 400C is +/-(2.5% + 3). So measuring 200C were looking at +/- (5 + 3 counts) or +/- 8C. The meter read 202C.

Note: The DMM does not present any decimal places when measuring temp.

At room temp my trusty digital thermometer reads 81 F which is what my room thermostat is set to, or 27.2C.

The DMM reads 30C which would appear to also be within spec.

+/- (2.5% + 3) @ 27.2C

+/- (0.68 + 3) or +/- 3.68C
I am a Test Equipment Addict (TEA) - by virtue of this forum signature, I have now faced my addiction
 

Offline nukie

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I didn't watch the video, did you do a teardown, the new uni t are shipping with bare copper tracks for the mode selector dial.

Sent from my Nexus 10 using Tapatalk 2

 

Offline Lightages

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I didn't watch the video, did you do a teardown, the new uni t are shipping with bare copper tracks for the mode selector dial.

The traces on mine were plated, either with a nickel plating or a gold alloy. I would bet nickel. I always do a teardown! :)
 

Offline true

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Mine also were plated, IIRC. Would have to tear it apart again to verify, but I use this thing in my work truck so don't have it here...

About all I can add is that the leads have deformed from being wrapped around the meter...but the meter is in the truck, which is parked in the sun with 110F outside heat. No telling what it is inside. I'm surprised that more things don't melt.
 

Offline la6ala

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Great review of that little cheap meter. Ordered one this day.
Bad thing about those testleads but...
 

Offline hgg

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Do you know what is the burden voltage of the UT136B ?
I am thinking of buying one.  The UT136C with temperature measurement.

Also, have you measured the resistance of its probes?
They are usually crap and its always a good thing to buy a set of good leads when using
cheap multimeters.

Finally does the manual state the minimum signal voltage for correct frequency measurement?
I had the UT120C but it had high signal requirements for frequency measurement, while the
UT61E is more sensitive.

I cannot find the UNI-T online manuals for previous products.  What happened, did UNI-T
removed all the info on its 2013 and older multimeter series?

Thanks.
 


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