Author Topic: U1273AX Discussion ;)  (Read 6461 times)

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Offline T4P

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U1273AX Discussion ;)
« on: February 25, 2013, 12:03:35 pm »

Begin the discussion!  ;) -With full thanks to Element14 Roadtest for allowing me to own the most advanced Handheld DMM
I'll bring a review a week after i recieve the Bluetooth adapter
 

Offline T4P

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 05:58:06 pm »


It's a bit hard to chew on the cost i know  :) I shall talk about what i feel after going about with the DMM for about a week
But there are indeed some teething problems.
This is a 450$ multimeter right? WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD AGILENT DIDN'T YOU PUT BETTER PLASTIC SCREENS?!
Well guess what guys, i was cleaning it with my microfiber cloth and i saw scratches  :palm:

And the continuity (Frankly one of my most criticized and mocked-at for my multimeters) ... it's a semi-fail
Sure it's fast and LATCHED but it latches up a bit too long in my taste  :-// I don't know if this is a norm or not but IMO a semi-fail but i'm not sure if this applies to the U127X series or not but continuity has 3 modes (OFF, TONE, SINGLE). Here's what i finally find VERY redeeming about the continuity
Instead of getting a scratchy beep of inconsistent connections you get a array of tones so you can pretty much make a musical with the DMM  :-+
Jokes aside it's really useful to see if you have a inconsistently broken cable (Broken strands and Closed strands)

Autoranging, well yeah fast. Not nearly as fast my UT61E though  :-// Can say it's MUCH faster than a VC8145 but still plenty fast
Though the display rate on resistance is beyond epilepsy-inducing quick! It made me blind ... literally of course

Even though the low-impedance range is set below the "OFF" position but it requires a larger amount of force to push the OFF position down into low impedance. To me it's a good thing  :-+

And there was a minor fail during shipping  :palm:
Agilent sent Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries (The expensive kind, awesome) and element14 pasted the wrong label and therefore UPS wasn't so much near happy if at all and sent it back straight to them!  :-//
Sorry element14 but i've gotta admit  :palm:

I've got a bad feeling with the U1273AX though, it uses lithium batteries, good. And has a setting for secondary lithium batteries but, what's worrying is 50hr battery life
Sure, 50 hours but seriously only 50 on lithium? I don't want to think how much i would get on Li-Ion. And the alkaline is spec'd at 30  :palm:
So basically 30mA draw  :palm: and indeed. 6V @ 180mVA is indeed 30mA
I can't really see what's ahead for OLEDs apart from the fact that they look really brilliant at night and in the sunlight even although AUTO brightness ain't seem to be working for me  :--

Oh and i forgot something! The entire U127X series apparently has a changeable beep frequency! There's only 4 steps but it's rather wide from OFF to 3200Hz, 3491Hz, 3840Hz and 4267Hz
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 06:09:48 pm by T4P »
 

Offline ElektroQuark

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 06:09:48 pm »
It looks like being an OLED multimeter is as important as being a TrueRMS one.
Marketing, grrrr.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 07:41:19 pm by EdoNork »
 

Offline T4P

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 06:10:51 pm »
It looks like being a OLED multimeter is as important as being a TrueRMS one.
Marketing, grrrr.
I agree with you, indeed  :P Agilent's marketing department must have been from Intel.  :P
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 09:16:12 pm »
I have one, and it will only appeal to people who:
a) Want an OLED screen to ogle (or work in dark places a lot)
b) Want to work down in -40degC temps (this is it's main market)

That's it.
Otherwise you are better off with the U1272A.

Dave.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 05:34:49 am »
I have one, and it will only appeal to people who:
a) Want an OLED screen to ogle (or work in dark places a lot)
b) Want to work down in -40degC temps (this is it's main market)

That's it.
Otherwise you are better off with the U1272A.

Dave.
Pretty much correct  :P
 

Offline saturation

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 04:47:13 pm »
Nice meter for indoor lab use, but if the target market is outdoor use, low battery life can be annoying if you use it a lot.  If used in a very cold environment, such as outdoors in the field during winter, changing batteries isn't going to be easy particularly with heavy gloves or just the notion of having to stock them in a bag because its likely to happen in the field. 


"Even though the low-impedance range is set below the "OFF" position but it requires a larger amount of force to push the OFF position down into low impedance. To me it's a good thing  "

The above is a good thing, I think too because in the 1272a I've received the force is the same for any setting of the rotary dial, so often I set it low impedance mode instead of OFF, just drains the batteries unnecessarily, but I use LSD NimH AAA so its not so much an issue.

« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 04:53:37 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline K6TR

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2015, 10:55:58 pm »
I have one, and it will only appeal to people who:
a) Want an OLED screen to ogle (or work in dark places a lot)
b) Want to work down in -40degC temps (this is it's main market)

That's it.
Otherwise you are better off with the U1272A.

Dave.

Dave or T4P

1) Does this unit have The Internal Charger Circuitry built in like the 1253B ?

2) What is the typical recharge time for exhausted batteries ?

3) What is the discharge rate of the batteries in an inactive meter ?
 

Offline K6TR

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2015, 12:33:51 am »
I can't really see what's ahead for OLEDs apart from the fact that they look really brilliant at night and in the sunlight even although AUTO brightness ain't seem to be working for me

T4P I could see OLEDs working their way into Bench Top Equipment very nicely. Their power consumption is just to high for use in battery powered equipment.
 

Offline 128er

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2015, 01:23:02 am »
This is a 450$ multimeter right? WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD AGILENT DIDN'T YOU PUT BETTER PLASTIC SCREENS?!
Well guess what guys, i was cleaning it with my microfiber cloth and i saw scratches  :palm:

This is so true! I like my U1273A very much. But the screen protecting plastic is so sensitive. That is a major issue.

The OLED display is very sexy. Good readability indoor or in darkness. In sunlight it's meh - not that good.
 

Offline K6TR

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2015, 07:41:17 am »
This is a 450$ multimeter right? WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD AGILENT DIDN'T YOU PUT BETTER PLASTIC SCREENS?!
Well guess what guys, i was cleaning it with my microfiber cloth and i saw scratches  :palm:

This is so true! I like my U1273A very much. But the screen protecting plastic is so sensitive. That is a major issue.

The OLED display is very sexy. Good readability indoor or in darkness. In sunlight it's meh - not that good.

Roughly

How many hours per week do you use your meter ?

How often do you have to change out your batteries ? (I presume you are using Akaline Cells)

Do you find the rate of battery change burdensome and/or unacceptable ?
 

Online blueskull

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2015, 07:55:36 am »
I don't generally care about battery life. I turn my DMM off right after making measurements.

Oh, my DMM is the notorious Fluke 289, the one chew battery very fast, if not the fastest.

The really painful thing is it takes seconds to turn on, so I have to wait before measuring anything.

At work, I have a DMM4050 with very bright VFD, and this thing turns on/off within half a second.
 

Offline PA4TIM

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2015, 10:30:30 am »
I have the U1252A for a few years now. It is my most used  DMM (together with a Keithley  2000)
No oled but it eats batteries. I use it on a daily base and I have a second rechargeable 9V battery standby. Changing batteries is easy.
The continuity sucks but I use the very good diode beep function instead.

It is still within specs. It is fast, I like the functions and to work with it.
I only use it in my lab, it is never dropped etc. I repair test and calibration gear. But for the rest.....

The mechanical build quality sucks major. That is realy bad. I had to replace the common terminal. That looks like it is well build but without the plastic covering it, it is worthless. It is only hold in place by a flimsy thin piece of metal.

The blue soft stuf on the cabinet looks not very fresh. It is falling apart. The probes are disintegrating and beyond usable. They are sticky and chunks of foam are missing. The rubber sleeves over the crocks are hardend like glass and broken in pieces. I had to replace 2 plugs because the wires broke  just above them.

I have a Fluke 77-III including the probes, found it on a forrestroad in the mud. Used it over 15 years in my garage. I is dirty but it still is 100% OK. The batteries last forever. I have a Extech too and that still looks like new.

If I buy an handheld meter (I plan to do that next year) I would like a Keysight successor of the U1252A because I like the functional side but I do not think I will take the risk again. I think I will look for a Fluke (but I find them a bit to industrial) or a good Japanese handheld lab meter. ( Like a Hioki  ?) But enough time to think about it.

www.pa4tim.nl my collection measurement gear and experiments Also lots of info about network analyse
www.schneiderelectronicsrepair.nl  repair of test and calibration equipment
https://www.youtube.com/user/pa4tim my youtube channel
 

Offline K6TR

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2015, 07:04:25 am »
I don't generally care about battery life. I turn my DMM off right after making measurements.

Oh, my DMM is the notorious Fluke 289, the one chew battery very fast, if not the fastest.

The really painful thing is it takes seconds to turn on, so I have to wait before measuring anything.

At work, I have a DMM4050 with very bright VFD, and this thing turns on/off within half a second.

blueskull - Understanding the application you will use the meter in is crucial to determining what type of battery to use as well as the type of display to select. Doing a product review that takes up large amounts of time to prove the point this taht doing measurements outdoors is futile because sunlight washes out the OLED Display is lame.....repeat is lame. Tell me something I don't know ! You are quite right the issue of battery-life is far more complex than just how far a meter will go on one charge. Keysight took pains to simplify recharging of the U1253. It is just a matter of plugging the charger into the wall. Plugging the charger into the meter and punching a couple of buttons. Dave never took the time to find out what the typical length of time necessary to recharge an exhausted battery. In his demo the charging circuitry of the meter said 1 hour 7 minutes but we have no idea what state of depletion the battery is in. If that is typical for an exhausted battery I would find the meter acceptable for Lab work in a commercial environment. It's just a matter of developing the habit of plugging in the meter before heading out to lunch. Dave raised the issue of cell reversal destroying the battery but said nothing in the way of how typical that problem is and far more important did nothing in the way of research to inform the viewer how many times the user could recharge the battery before it dropped dead.

Returning to the application of ones meter. Like yourself I have meter dedicated for indoor use. And with my old tired eyes I am forever pushing the Backlight Button. I doubt I get more than 100 Hours on my Fluke 87V and its probably closer to 50. That meter is rated for 400 Hours....if you don't use the backlight.

Another topic I have not seen addressed is the self discharge rated of rechargeable batteries. This becomes important if the meter will sit unused for extended periods of time between uses. Rechargeable Batteries can drain themselves inoperative from a full charge in a matter of a few weeks. This is why it is important for a properly designed meter to have a switchable input voltage to accommodate both Alkaline and Lithium Batteries.

And there was one BIG issue that Dave never touched in his review of the 1253 or any other OLED Product, I'm think of the Keysight Bench Meter, is the topic of OLED durability. This is a big issue and a known weak spot of OLED Technology. I have seen no one, absolutely no one to Internet Reviews of Electronics Test Equipment addressing this topic. But the matter is well known in the industry. This would be a matter that would require getting on the phone with the Keysight Tech Support people and asking them if the device failure rate has been discussed. And also asking them what is Keysight's policy towards stocking replacement parts particularly with respects to OLED Displays. I would hope that Keysight plans to stand behind their product. I find it puzzling that no one has bothered to check in with Keysight to find out where they stand on this matter.
 

Offline marber

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2015, 11:16:12 am »

And there was one BIG issue that Dave never touched in his review of the 1253 or any other OLED Product, I'm think of the Keysight Bench Meter, is the topic of OLED durability. This is a big issue and a known weak spot of OLED Technology. I have seen no one, absolutely no one to Internet Reviews of Electronics Test Equipment addressing this topic. But the matter is well known in the industry. This would be a matter that would require getting on the phone with the Keysight Tech Support people and asking them if the device failure rate has been discussed. And also asking them what is Keysight's policy towards stocking replacement parts particularly with respects to OLED Displays. I would hope that Keysight plans to stand behind their product. I find it puzzling that no one has bothered to check in with Keysight to find out where they stand on this matter.

What's keeping you? :)
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: U1273AX Discussion ;)
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2015, 11:31:19 pm »
Another topic I have not seen addressed is the self discharge rated of rechargeable batteries. This becomes important if the meter will sit unused for extended periods of time between uses. Rechargeable Batteries can drain themselves inoperative from a full charge in a matter of a few weeks.
Eneloops and/or other branded low self discharge ni-mh cells have been around and proven now and that is what I use in my meters.

Quote
And also asking them what is Keysight's policy towards stocking replacement parts particularly with respects to OLED Displays. I would hope that Keysight plans to stand behind their product. I find it puzzling that no one has bothered to check in with Keysight to find out where they stand on this matter.
This has been brought up in past threads before here.  Basically, without re-reading all the posts again on my part, they do not sell replacement OLED displays if I remember correctly.

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/replacing-oled-screen-on-an-agilent-u1253a-multimeter/

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/agilent-u1253b-multimeter/

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/agilent-u1253a-dim-display-lighting/
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 11:33:50 pm by retiredcaps »
 


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