Author Topic: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter  (Read 4914 times)

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Offline laserpon3

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Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« on: December 23, 2012, 04:34:01 pm »
So I'm about to buy a multimeter and I want to save money (one reason being I'm a student and the other being the reason I want to use the remains of my saved up money to buy components).
Now I know the rule go's like: You get what you pay for.

The thing Is I can't make up my mind for one.

The one I first had in mind (despite very expensive in my opinion) is: http://www.elv.de/digital-multimeter-dm9199-ip67.html
Then I did some more searching and found the amprobe recommendation so I'm also considering this: http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/amprobe/multimeters/am-520.htm

I'm not likely to measure high voltage mains stuff or require a ultra high precision meter.
(Closest to high voltage would be the power coming from the wires of a PSU)
I'm not working with high speed microprocessors too much either (at max arduino and stuff along that range.)

I want something just for electronics with at least auto-ranging and that can measure voltage, current, resistance, capacitance and temperature.

Any advice or help would be really apreciated.
I'm located in The Netherlands
 

Offline gszo123

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2012, 05:12:06 pm »
Take a look at UNI-T UT-61E

You can buy it at about $60 so its fairly cheap. There is a thorough review available here:


Though it doesn't have temperature probe and it only updates at about 2Hz.

There is also a great review of <$100 DMMs by Dave:
 

Offline LaurenceW

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2012, 05:13:13 pm »
There are many, many, meters to choose from! a LOT of info on Dave's EEV blog (see various multimeter shoot-outs) and also Martin Lorton https://www.youtube.com/user/mjlorton?feature=watch . Watch these videos to learn about desirable features and traits, not just for which specific model you should buy (which may not be available to you in your country or at this time).

You should think about your future requirements as well as your current needs. You probably want your meter to last you for many years. Cheap ones might work OK, up to the first time you plug them into the mains on a resistance range (an unwritten rule in electronics is that, at some point, you will do this!). Better quality meters should live to tell tales of such abuse.

Do not get too sidetracked by spurious features. Yes, many meters now measure capacitance, but only at a very crude level, and are no replacement for a dedicated component tester. Yes, some meters will measure frequency, but not over the range, sensitivity or accuracy that a dedicated frequency counter will give you. Choose a meter that gets the basics right.

By and large, you will indeed get what you are prepared to pay for, though there are some dogs out there.
If you don't measure, you don't get.
 

Offline laserpon3

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2012, 05:23:10 pm »
This looks like a really good meter.
I would prefer a meter under the 60$ range which this one is so thats good.
I will see if there are more recommendations and then pick which one suits my needs the best.

I have sat through the whole multimeter shoutout of video's on dave's blog, while it does help me what to look out for and what to look for.
I'm still kinda lost :/
« Last Edit: December 23, 2012, 05:25:29 pm by laserpon3 »
 

Offline Jonny

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2012, 09:32:50 pm »
On the cheap side I have one of these   http://www.multimeterwarehouse.com/dt830bf.htm   which equates to about 6 EUR  LOL

Compared to my expensive meter its accuracy is spot on. I'd suggest getting one from a local shop so it's easier to return if it fails, although at that price maybe you wouldn't care if it did. Look after it tho and since you're only using it for low level voltages etc it should be fine.

Jonny
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 10:15:38 pm »
This looks like a really good meter.
I would prefer a meter under the 60$ range which this one is so thats good.
I will see if there are more recommendations and then pick which one suits my needs the best.

I have sat through the whole multimeter shoutout of video's on dave's blog, while it does help me what to look out for and what to look for.
I'm still kinda lost :/

A few comments, first though in full disclosure I own the UT61E and love it.

Now for the comments, the UT61E for what it is is VERY good. The external build quality is second to none, the LCD screen is by far one of the easiest I have ever seen to read. It pretty much meets all of its measurement specs. That being said, its input protection is not up to the level of Fluke, Amprobe, and some of the better names. It's also not as bad as many chinese meters (which are rubbish). It's more of a CATII 600V CATIII300V meter IIRC. For someone who is just starting out I think it is a VERY capable meter. As long as you know its drawbacks: its sub-optimal input protection, rather high burden voltage for uA/mA ranges plus a few other minor annoyance. In conclusion I have no doubt I will be using this meter for years to come.

Depending on which price point you hit the answer to this question changes quite a bit.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." -George Carlin
 

Offline vtl

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 12:49:58 am »
I wouldn't say the build quality is second to none. I have the UT61E and the build quality of the plastics/PCB is definetly a huge step lower from a Fluke or Agilent.That being said, it doesn't feel nasty or anything, the quality is still very good.

The UT61E is certainly the biggest bang per buck multimeter you can buy. 22,000 count at this price range is brilliant and it does not seem to have the typical drawbacks of the cheap meters: i.e. slow continuity buzzer, slow analog bar graph, terrible capacitance range.

Some of the nice features are the RS232 interface, the crazy high frequency counter and peak min max

The drawbacks of the UT61E:

9V battery
No automatic power off
No backlight
No thermocouple
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 01:11:56 am »
I wouldn't say the build quality is second to none. I have the UT61E and the build quality of the plastics/PCB is definetly a huge step lower from a Fluke or Agilent.That being said, it doesn't feel nasty or anything, the quality is still very good.

Note: I said EXTERNAL build quality, the PCB is not as good as a Fluke PCB (but still not bad). I have a Fluke 116 and the UT61E feels WAYYYYY better than the Fluke. The Fluke, quite frankly, feels a bit flimsy when you remove the rubber case. I will admit second to none was not the phrase I should have used either way. I am sure Fluke's higher end stuff beats this. I was just intending to say that the external build quality is actually really really good and when you factor in the cost it just feels insanely good.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." -George Carlin
 

Offline laserpon3

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2012, 02:04:53 am »
Thanks guys!
I'm getting the UT61E !
The drawbacks are seriously not bad :).

The one question I have when it comes to the thermocouple missing incase I would need it at some point: Wouldn't there be some really cheap thing that just measures thermocouple on ebay or something?
 

alm

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2012, 02:19:10 am »
There are thermocouple modules that plug into a DMM and output a voltage proportional to the temperature (eg. Fluke 80TK). Note that you need the active ones, not just a simple adapter plug designed for certain Fluke DMMs with thermocouple support. Not sure if this would be cheaper than a cheap thermometer, depends on whether there is a Chinese factory cranking them out for a few pennies each.
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2012, 03:06:56 am »
I see a couple of active thermocouple adapters (1mV = 1oC or 1oF depending on the selector) on ebay for around $15-20.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done." -George Carlin
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Student that needs help finding a proper/decent multimeter
« Reply #11 on: December 24, 2012, 05:40:18 am »
I have a pair of Beckman TC adaptors. Nice units that have C and F calibrations, along with internal battery check function. Standard K socket on one end, multimeter plugs on the other and all powered by a 9V battery inside. Inside a proper type K input IC, with a ICL7660 to provide a -5V rail for the converter.
 


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