Author Topic: Would you buy your same bench meter again? Or opt for something different?  (Read 5766 times)

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Offline Docholiday

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Now that you have had your bench meter for awhile. Would you buy the same one again or perhaps something different and what would that be?

Offline PTR_1275

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That's a good question and should open some good discussion

I bought 2 x hp 3478 and loved them. Then I bought a 3457 and loved that. Then I bought a keithley 2015 and love that even more.

I have the 2015 as my main bench meter with a 3478 beside it for secondary measuring. The other 3478 and 3457 don't get used very often.

I have to say since using the keithley I much prefer that to the hp meters and would buy another one in a flash. I've been keeping an eye out for other keithley meters if they come up cheap. I know there's a age difference between the hp and keithley meters, but I don't think I would buy another 3457 if I had the chance to go back. The 3478 is a simple meter, very little settings which is part of it's appeal asy second meter.

Hopefully I haven't rambled too much or gone off track

Offline bingo600

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I have

The '58

My most used benchmeter is the HP34401A
My most used meter is a Brymen257 handheld , as it's always "just there"

And I prefer the 34401A over the K2015


« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 06:34:23 pm by bingo600 »

Offline retrolefty

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been very happy with an older Fluke model 45 bench meter that I got at a bargain price. They sometime can be snagged on ebay for far less then it's original $800 retail price.


Offline KJDS

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I've had a couple of Keithley 2015THDs on my bench for a while and they are great, however I've just collected a pile of Fluke 8010A. The displays on the Keithleys are brighter and easier to read, and they have more digits and are more accurate, but it's very rare that I need that accuracy. I'm also happy to see that a pile of Flukes read within one digit of each other despite not having been calibrated in at least ten years which does up the trust.

If you don't need more accuracy than the Flukes then unless your lab is dimly lit and you've poor eyesight, I'd rather spend a lot less on the Flukes than the Keithleys.

There are of course plenty of other options available, but see the link below for what I'm selling the Flukes for, so about ten old Flukes to a Keithley.

Offline dadler

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I bought a Keysight 34465A just after they came out and think it's a great meter.

I recently picked up a used Keithley 2015-P, and for daily use I think I like it more.

It lacks the graphic display and connectivity options of the Keysight, but it starts up really fast (I don't always leave my meters running). I also like VFDs. The Keithley also has an impressively fast dispay update rate, and I like the way the continuity tester works better on the Keithley (seems faster, latching behavior is more consistent).

So different tools for different purposes, but for daily use I think I like the Keithley better. Granted, I usually like the toy I bought most recently better, but in this case I think it will stick.


Offline G0HZU

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I generally prefer to use H/H meters but I do have a couple of bench meters here.

I have a fairly scruffy Fluke 45 that I bought on a low bid on ebay (£35). I actually quite like this meter as it has a nice display, it is fairly small and light and it runs cool as it has very low power consumption. It has a very good user interface as far as bench meters go and I'm pleased with it.

I also have a Keithley 2015 THD. I didn't like the UI/display of these meters even before I bought one and I really only bought it for the onboard DSP. This provides THD and SINAD measurements as well as providing a fairly decent onboard audio sig gen. The 4 wire Ohms feature has proved useful a few times as well.

It's interesting that other people like the display on the 2015. Hopwever, I really don't like the display on the 2015 as it has rather small and crude/odd fonts that really should be better than they are for this class of meter. Also it is physically very long/deep and is very heavy and has fairly heavy power consumption. So it tends to run quite warm.

The front panel user interface isn't great, especially if you want to use the more advanced features and so I generally drive this meter remotely from a PC. eg for THD and SINAD stuff I do it all via some simple programs I wrote in VB. Because I don't need/use this meter very often it is usually just stored on a shelf in another room. I use the Fluke 45 a lot more than the 2015.

Because of the crude/small display fonts and awkward UI and poor portability of the 2015 I really would not like to use this meter as a general purpose 'manual' bench DMM although I'm pleased (actually very impressed!) with its performance when running remotely and making SINAD or displaying the spectrum of harmonic distortion measurements on a PC monitor. So I would buy another 2015 if this one failed BER.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 09:55:11 pm by G0HZU »

Offline Muxr

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I have an old Fluke 8842A. I like it, but I don't use it often. I use my hand held meters all the time.

Offline HighVoltage

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I have the following:
- Some Agilent 34401A meters and just love them  for all kinds of use on the bench and in production.
- One Agilent 34410A, which I use for precision temperature measurements at the time
- Some Agilent 34461A, just love them for looking at long term signal changes
- One Agilent 34470A, just the ultimate bench meter, with all options activated
(I always wanted a 3458A, but since I have the 34470A, the wish is slowly fading away.)

Yes, I would buy each one again.
What can I say, I just love HP, Agilent / Keysight multimeter gear.
They are extremely reliable and kind of easy to fix, if they break.

There are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can not.

Offline XFDDesign

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I got a Fluke 45 for $200 on ebay some time ago (With GPIB!) because I appreciated it back in 2001 when I first used one on-the-job. I added a Fluke 8846A last year, and find myself using it frequently. I'd absolutely buy another one if I had to make the same choice again.

Oh, actually I did. I had my job order one for me.

Online nctnico

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I liked my VC8145 so much I got two. Older gear is either very old or have poorly readable LCD displays and not so much nifty tricks like fast continuity, capacitance, temperature and 20A current capability which the VC8145 has.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 09:03:59 pm by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.

Offline VK5RC

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Use an hp 34401 for routine measurements,  in case I stuff up. I   have a 34461 which I use for accurate measurements or if maths,  graphing etc needed:  not a great fan of VFD.
Would just use 34461 if over again (or 34465?)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 02:29:28 am by VK5RC »
Whoah! Watch where that landed we might need it later.

Online Vgkid

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I tend to use my 34401a for most measurements in the 5.5 digit mode. For longer term/ more accurate measurements I fire up the 3456a.
If you own any North Hills Electronics gear, message me. L&N Fan

Offline Rupunzell

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Bench meter choices have not changed in decades.

For the majority of V-O-M measurements, several hand held Fluke 8060A are used. Hand held meters can be used to monitor several test points in a DUT knowing they are not going to be power mains related.

*Adding a small value series resistor (10 to 100 ohm) at the DC voltage test point (can be built into the probe) can do wonders to prevent circuit mis-behavior.

*For measurements like this, high accuracy is just not that important.

*hp wiggle meters like 412A are good for adjusting stuff and watching rates of change which digital meters limit by their numeric display. The hp 412A 100 Meg ohm input impedance. The other good hp wiggle meter like this is the 410C.

As for bench meters, Keithley 195A & 192 are plenty good for DC volts and Four wire ohms if needed.

AC volts are a completely different can-O-wiggler.

One of my fave AC meters, hp 3403C thermocouple based RMS volt meter. 3403C has a BW of DC to 10 / 100 Mhz depending on range with a crest factor of 100 to 1. Fast reading, switchable impedance, accurate and no worries about BW limits common to hand held meters and numerous other digital meters made today. db option is extremely useful. The analog version is the 3400A-B, with a BW of 10 Mhz.

hp 400 series analog meters are far preferred for AC volts measurements. The can measure down to 100 uV full scale (400F) with filters or up to 10 Mhz for the 400E series. There are battery powered versions of the hp 400 series which can solve a number of measurement problems.

On the bench lives a 3403C, 3400A, 400E and 400FL if needed.

There are several Sensitive Research electrostatic volt meters that come into their own when needed.

As for display types, LCDs are just not that visible (even back lighted), vacuum fluorescent displays don't work for me. LEDs are good. The fave is the old red hp dot matrix type displays that are no longer made or similar dot matrix display. Beckman neon segment displays are good as could be nixie tubes.



Offline Fsck

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I've got a 3457a and an 8842a for bench meters. They were like 250 and 200$ and well worth it. the only annoying thing is that you need to make unshrouded banana to shrouded banana converters to use normal probes.

I don't regret buying either of them but I tend to use the 3457 for high accuracy and the 8842 for quick measurements. 9V batteries are kind of annoying to blow through so I prefer to use bench meters when I can.
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