Author Topic: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?  (Read 41209 times)

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Offline gwet

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Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« on: November 21, 2010, 07:10:07 pm »
I am thinking about buying a Fluke 15B multimeter (link 1, link 2). I am a beginner and it would be my first multimeter btw ;) At first I was going to buy a very cheap multimeter ($10-$30) but I saw that Fluke.

Is it safe? Can I test a car battery or measure mains voltage (230V)? I have read this review about the Fluke 17B but for me it is unclear what can be tested with the multimeter.

Any advice would be welcome!
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2010, 09:19:32 pm »
Why you do not reading the manual of it , at the Fluke web site.

And if you still have questions , to openly talk about it here !!  

 

Offline gobblegobble

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2010, 09:52:24 pm »
Kiriakos apparently haven't done background research and is going by the instict, which I'll have to admit works surprisingly ofter just not now.

15B/17B/18B are China-only models and aren't sold anywhere else. Not to mention the box has huge text in it which states "NOT FOR SALE OUTSIDE OF CHINA". Technically no-one is breaking the law since you are buying the meter from china but I wouldn't count on warranty service outside of China. Although if you buy from a reputable reseller you should be able to send it back if problems arise.

Facts you should note about the meter before buying to name a few (I was considering buying one myself, and still am).
- It's a genuine Fluke, so quality-vice it should be head and shoulders above the cheapest meters
- Is is not cat-rated very high: catII 600 volts isn't much to call home about, although quite sufficient for a hobbyist use.
- It's not tested by any western third party like UL or such, but does seem to have a Chinese third-party test approval
- The accuracy and functions aren't anything to call home about either, albeit probably sufficient for hobbyist use
- You can't find a mention about it from anywhere at Fluke's english site and only manuals I've come across are english service manual and chinese user manual (I believe I have a copy of both if anyone needs).
- You can buy a brand name product for less at equal specs or better (check Dave's  $50 and $100 shootouts)


In conclusion: yes it should be safe and yes you should be able to measure mains at the wall outlet and car batteries without risk.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2010, 09:59:19 pm »
There is a detailed discussion of the 17B here.

About it accuracy:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=896.msg11445#msg11445

The whole thread:

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?topic=896.msg15566#msg15566

The review you linked is quite fair, and I agree with the blogs conclusion.

It should be adequate for use at most from mains voltage coming from an electrical socket to plugged in devices and then, battery powered items. I didn't know it was not certified by a well known third party for safety, the safety certification for China is called CCC, so even as a typo this is strange.  Note CAT II 600V is the same as CAT III 300V in terms of maximum input voltage and transient protection.[ corrected see discussion above]



Have you seen Dave's review of DMM?  He tested both $50 and $100 DMM and I agree 100% with his conclusions.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/multimeter-review/comparison/prweb4237464.htm





« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 11:51:27 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2010, 10:09:00 pm »
gobblegobble   are you always overreacting , or you do that just for me ?

If some one cares to buy the Chinese version of a Fluke , he goes for information at the Chinese site too.

Its simple as that .
And save all those rants about blaming anything Chinese  ..

Every one item - multimeter - device - what ever ... gets an evaluation as product.
And not because of the flag on it .

I hate the flag wars , but if any one start any , I will always support the Chinese side ,
just for the fun of it.   
 

alm

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2010, 10:19:15 pm »
It should be adequate for use at most from mains voltage coming from an electrical socket to plugged in devices
Assuming it's more than 10m from a CAT III source (eg. service entrance) and more than 20m from a CAT IV source (eg. overhead line).

Note CAT II 600V is the same as CAT III 300V in terms of maximum input voltage and transient protection.
What about output impedance? It is different between CAT I 1000V and CAT II 600V, so I imagine it might also be different between CAT II 600V and CAT III 300V.
 

Offline gwet

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2010, 10:33:17 pm »
Thank you all for your replies!

- You can't find a mention about it from anywhere at Fluke's english site and only manuals I've come across are english service manual and chinese user manual (I believe I have a copy of both if anyone needs).
You can find the user's manual in English here: link :)

Quote
In conclusion: yes it should be safe and yes you should be able to measure mains at the wall outlet and car batteries without risk.
That's what I wanted to hear!
 

Offline gobblegobble

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2010, 10:45:04 pm »
Sorry Kiriakos, nothing personal against you.


Note CAT II 600V is the same as CAT III 300V in terms of maximum input voltage and transient protection.
What about output impedance? It is different between CAT I 1000V and CAT II 600V, so I imagine it might also be different between CAT II 600V and CAT III 300V.
I distantly recall reading something similar where the main point was IIRC that the greater CAT rating is actually better despite the lesser voltage.


You can find the user's manual in English here: link :)
Wow. Thanks a million!
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2010, 11:22:48 pm »
Thanks alm for those insights.  I'm not aware of the how the first comment you made fits, can you explain?

As for the second, you are right, I'm wrong.  I went looking for the older table I saw and it includes the effects of impedance.



CAT III and IV can be made equivalent for different rated voltage given the transient protection and assumed impedance:

For example CAT III 1000v ~ CAT IV 600V

But not between I, II, and III because of varying impedance, here written as test resistance, even for different rated voltages.  

It should be adequate for use at most from mains voltage coming from an electrical socket to plugged in devices
Assuming it's more than 10m from a CAT III source (eg. service entrance) and more than 20m from a CAT IV source (eg. overhead line).

Note CAT II 600V is the same as CAT III 300V in terms of maximum input voltage and transient protection.
What about output impedance? It is different between CAT I 1000V and CAT II 600V, so I imagine it might also be different between CAT II 600V and CAT III 300V.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 11:35:49 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

alm

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2010, 11:43:07 pm »
Thanks alm for those insights.  I'm not aware of the how the first comment you made fits, can you explain?
A residential wall outlet is CAT II, unless it's close to a CAT III or CAT IV source, in that case it's CAT III or CAT IV. So you can't assume that it's always CAT II. The idea is that the extra wiring adds resistance/inductance, which limits transients. It's not like a meter of wiring between a CAT III source and a wall outlet magically makes it less dangerous.
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2010, 11:48:11 pm »
Yes, CAT ratings first, before voltage.  But if you have access to the full test table, as I referenced you can calculate an equivalent using roughly ohms law.

For example, CAT 3 at 1000V, an 8000V transient from 2 ohms delivers 4000A of transient current.
Likewise, for CAT IV 600V, 8000V from 2 ohms delivers 4000A too.  The spike has the same power.

Quote
Note CAT II 600V is the same as CAT III 300V in terms of maximum input voltage and transient protection.
What about output impedance? It is different between CAT I 1000V and CAT II 600V, so I imagine it might also be different between CAT II 600V and CAT III 300V.
I distantly recall reading something similar where the main point was IIRC that the greater CAT rating is actually better despite the lesser voltage.


You can find the user's manual in English here: link :)
Wow. Thanks a million!

Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2010, 01:38:06 am »
Only thing that puts me off it is the fact it's not true RMS.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline Kiriakos-GR

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2010, 10:02:28 am »
Only thing that puts me off it is the fact it's not true RMS.

If the low priced ones , was TRMS , the expensive ones would never sold..  :)
 

Offline saturation

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2010, 03:23:48 pm »
Thanks alm, interesting I've never run into this portion of the category, my bad.  Found the analysis on Fluke education website.  Much thanks.

Thanks alm for those insights.  I'm not aware of the how the first comment you made fits, can you explain?
A residential wall outlet is CAT II, unless it's close to a CAT III or CAT IV source, in that case it's CAT III or CAT IV. So you can't assume that it's always CAT II. The idea is that the extra wiring adds resistance/inductance, which limits transients. It's not like a meter of wiring between a CAT III source and a wall outlet magically makes it less dangerous.
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline gwet

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2010, 10:32:05 pm »
Today I have received the FLUKE 15B multimeter. Nice design and good quality (solid input jacks!). I bought it from dealexcel for €52.42 (69.99 USD).

At first the continuity beep function was working quite bad. I cleaned the probe tips with ethyl alcohol and now it is working reasonably well. The user's manual is in Chinese and English (October 2002 Rev. 4, 1/10, newer than this one in PDF format).

The multimeter is interesting enough to be reviewed by EEVblog in one of their videos!!! (most basic multimeter from FLUKE).

Great multimeter for a beginner, probably better than the Chinese junk I was going to buy... watch this video!:

 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2011, 10:38:50 pm »
Today I have received the FLUKE 15B multimeter. Nice design and good quality (solid input jacks!). I bought it from dealexcel for €52.42 (69.99 USD).

At first the continuity beep function was working quite bad. I cleaned the probe tips with ethyl alcohol and now it is working reasonably well. The user's manual is in Chinese and English (October 2002 Rev. 4, 1/10, newer than this one in PDF format).

The multimeter is interesting enough to be reviewed by EEVblog in one of their videos!!! (most basic multimeter from FLUKE).

Great multimeter for a beginner, probably better than the Chinese junk I was going to buy... watch this video!:



That's not a fluke meter, just sayin. That's a piece of shit.
 

Offline vk6zgo

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Re: Fluke 15B multimeter, is it safe?
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2011, 05:23:41 am »
I am amazed that the first thing people  on this forum want to do when they get a new instrument,is to race out & hang it across the AC mains!

Then you get the reaction "EEEK!! Shock,Horror! from the CAT rating devotees.

No! No! to read 240v RMS you need to have something rated for 6000v spikes!

Most people are unlikely to be messing around on the supply side of the home or work meter box,where  the supply impedance is lower,& if you get between phases,you obviously are dealing with higher voltages anyway.
What they might do is measure the mains coming into a piece of equipment,or perhaps look at a power point.

People have been doing this for many years,way before CAT ratings were even a glint in some bureaucrat's eye,& with proportionally,very few injuries sustained.
DMMs are normally handheld,which makes any hazard closer to the body than the heavy old AVOs & Simpsons which were  normally placed on a bench,or the floor,so if someone is silly enough to hang the thing across 240v on a current range,there is obviously more chance of injury.

Meanwhile,back in the real world,electrical equipment of all kinds are used every day,in the home,& in industry.
When was the last time you heard of a lady using a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner having the thing blow up from an 6000v transient?

OK,these ratings are a good thing,but they are mainly an exercise in butt-saving on the part of the relevant authorities,rather than a reflection of the real world.
VK6ZGO



« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 06:54:35 am by vk6zgo »
 
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