Author Topic: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown  (Read 80042 times)

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Offline electronupdate

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Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« on: October 21, 2012, 11:58:00 pm »
This is a  $35 auto-ranging  multimeter.   I have seen it on lots of blogs and online discussion and it seemed like a pretty good value.  It was hard to resist buying at that price...

The meter's measurement functions and specification are good on paper.   I put it through the paces and indeed, it seems to be as advertised.

It's definitely built down to a specific price however. 

It's interesting how you can buy a multimeter anywhere from  $10 to $100 in $10 increments these days, with each increment in $'s buying just a bit more quality.  Good measurement accuracy, however, seems to be common even in these very low cost meters.



 

Offline samgab

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 12:21:17 am »
Thanks. I was actually pleasantly surprised by your review, it was quite informative and you come across as quite knowledgeable about the subject.
I wasn't expecting much from this meter, as I've seen it come up in reviews in the past, and seen tear-downs of it, but horses for courses: For a hobbyist, who only uses it for small electronics projects that aren't mains powered and are low energy devices, this could be quite adequate.
 

Offline GEuser

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2012, 01:10:42 am »
I got one of these a few months back off the bay , its ok imo , sometimes a bit slow on auto but fine when set to manual .

Is there a way to speed it up a bit or is the chip running at max already?

I tried to look but it looks like the IC is under the display , cheers ...
Soon
 

Offline Wartex

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2012, 01:30:54 am »
awesome review, just one complaint: when measuring voltage with parallel meters, stick one lead of the reference into the black of 1st meter and another into the red of 2nd meter, this way you compensate for meter-meter jumper resistance.
 

Offline Rick

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2012, 03:47:37 pm »
Time to buy:) It's only $35... it's a "no brainer" ;)
Thank you for the very objective review.
 

Online HKJ

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2012, 06:08:51 pm »
awesome review, just one complaint: when measuring voltage with parallel meters, stick one lead of the reference into the black of 1st meter and another into the red of 2nd meter, this way you compensate for meter-meter jumper resistance.

With 10 Mohm in the meter and maybe 60mohm in the leads, it is not going to change anything.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2012, 07:19:17 pm »
Time to buy:) It's only $35... it's a "no brainer" ;)
For USA members, this Fluke 77 IV for $35 USD Buy It Now may be a good deal (with the usual ebay caveats) if you don't mind a missing battery door and no probes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160907013378

Feedback on prior 77 IV sales in the last 2 months suggest you have a good chance of getting a good deal.

Unfortunately, they don't ship outside the USA.  A new Fluke 77 IV costs $346 CDN + taxes.  I'll live without a battery door for 1/10th the price of a new one.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 07:31:04 pm by retiredcaps »
 

Offline Smokey

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2012, 07:38:26 pm »
I got one of these VC99s a while back specifically because it used the same chip with the RS232 functionality people had been hacking.  I didn't expect much from the accuracy, I just wanted something I could mod and not worry about potentially breaking.  The serial port isn't brought out to any kind of connector, but it's still on the IC pins.  What I did was wire up a RN-42 bluetooth-serial adapter from sparkfun and now I have a wireless datalogging multimeter.  I put the bluetooth board into deep sleep mode, so it doesn't use much more power at all unless it's transmitting, and even then it runs all day on a set of AAAs.

When I checked it against my Keithley 175 and Brymen 857 using my DMMCheck ref, it was surprisingly accurate in all the ranges I could check and tracked the other meters pretty well in the other ranges... for now... Well within spec.... for now...

I'd say it's a great buy for what I use it for, which is a spare meter for general low voltage use or as a wireless datalogger checked against a better meter when I need that (which has been super handy to have).
 

Offline Rick

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2012, 09:24:02 pm »
Time to buy:) It's only $35... it's a "no brainer" ;)
For USA members, this Fluke 77 IV for $35 USD Buy It Now may be a good deal (with the usual ebay caveats) if you don't mind a missing battery door and no probes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160907013378

Feedback on prior 77 IV sales in the last 2 months suggest you have a good chance of getting a good deal.

Unfortunately, they don't ship outside the USA.  A new Fluke 77 IV costs $346 CDN + taxes.  I'll live without a battery door for 1/10th the price of a new one.
This one categorically refuses to ship outside USA.
Although I managed to convince several people who normally would not ship abroad. But the shipping cost is prohibitive. For those who complain about China Post delivery times, I have just discovered a nice and cheap alternative on aliexpress.com. One seller suggested to ship with DHL global mail (not the same as DHL express) for only $7 extra cost. You need to use moneybookers though, apparently paypal does not work there.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 09:25:59 pm by Rick »
 

Offline Ivanko1

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2012, 09:24:46 am »
Are there examples of how to do a review of the meter?
 

Offline Kevin.D

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2012, 10:07:25 am »
Thats a nice common sense , objective review ,giving only the information nescessary .
Like you say it's very easy these days to make an accurate meter ,  something like this ideal if your only using it on low voltage electronics or as an often needed  second meter  to your expensive high cat rated one .
 

Offline Rick

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2012, 09:12:54 pm »
For USA members, this Fluke 77 IV for $35 USD Buy It Now may be a good deal (with the usual ebay caveats) if you don't mind a missing battery door and no probes.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/160907013378

Besides that it is quite risky to buy from people who have many negative and neutral comments... even if I were in USA I wouldn't buy from him.
 

Offline Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 07:19:18 pm »
This is a  $35 auto-ranging  multimeter.   I have seen it on lots of blogs and online discussion and it seemed like a pretty good value.  It was hard to resist buying at that price...

The meter's measurement functions and specification are good on paper.   I put it through the paces and indeed, it seems to be as advertised.

It's definitely built down to a specific price however. 

It's interesting how you can buy a multimeter anywhere from  $10 to $100 in $10 increments these days, with each increment in $'s buying just a bit more quality.  Good measurement accuracy, however, seems to be common even in these very low cost meters.




Sir ,
    can you share that website link of vichy please
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Amarbir Singh Dhillon [ Lynx-India ] , Chandigarh [ India ] - > www.lynxdealerstore.com , www.lynx-india.com
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Offline electronupdate

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 09:02:39 pm »
Hi Amarbir,

Their english web site is: http://vicimeter.com/en/index.asp


To the person who asked if the autoranging of the  meter can be speed up: The main controller chip appears to be a  "FS9922-DMM4" from Fortune Semiconductor.  If you google it, a pdf data sheet is readily available.  The only oscillator control appears to be crystal.   In theory that that could be replaced with a higher value, however, this would be overclocking outside of the data sheet so there is no guarantee it work(and the frequency counter, for sure, would now be inaccurate).
 

Offline GEuser

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2012, 03:29:53 am »
Thanks electronupdate , i'll look at it a bit later but i gather it'll have a crystal there that is already at maximum ratings(speed)i hope , did you notice the frequency in the review? but don't fret if you did not as i'll look in mine at a later date ,  yet it will be interesting to have a look anyway of the data sheet of the ic .
cheers....
edited>added> just took a quick look and 4mhz in data-sheet , and wow , alot of features in that small ic imo ...
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 03:53:57 am by GEuser »
Soon
 

Offline Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2012, 07:21:03 am »
Thanks electronupdate , i'll look at it a bit later but i gather it'll have a crystal there that is already at maximum ratings(speed)i hope , did you notice the frequency in the review? but don't fret if you did not as i'll look in mine at a later date ,  yet it will be interesting to have a look anyway of the data sheet of the ic .
cheers....
edited>added> just took a quick look and 4mhz in data-sheet , and wow , alot of features in that small ic imo ...

Well,
     please keep us posted GEuser
Regards

Amarbir Singh Dhillon [ Lynx-India ] , Chandigarh [ India ] - > www.lynxdealerstore.com , www.lynx-india.com
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Online Simon

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2012, 06:33:05 pm »
Haven't read all of the thread but people saying its good, you kidding ? they are a hapless piece of shit ! don't buy one if you want reliable measurements. You can get an amprobe AM220 for about the same price
 

Offline Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2012, 06:46:41 pm »
Haven't read all of the thread but people saying its good, you kidding ? they are a hapless piece of shit ! don't buy one if you want reliable measurements. You can get an amprobe AM220 for about the same price

Well,
 Simon everything in The Vichy VC99 Seems Better Then The Amprobe .The Only Thing Is Safety At Higher Voltages and if someone can remain careful or does not intend to do those measurement its not a bad multimeter ,Plus BTW the amprobe is ugly looking to me Yukkk .
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Amarbir Singh Dhillon [ Lynx-India ] , Chandigarh [ India ] - > www.lynxdealerstore.com , www.lynx-india.com
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Offline trisonic

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2012, 10:16:27 am »
does it have the backlight?
Arduino, MODs e DIY: blackstufflabs.com
 

Offline Rick

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 12:24:15 pm »
Haven't read all of the thread but people saying its good, you kidding ? they are a hapless piece of shit ! don't buy one if you want reliable measurements. You can get an amprobe AM220 for about the same price
The video demonstrates that it is reliable out fo the box for low energy measurements. Now may be he can tell us again in 1-2 years time.
 

Online Simon

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2012, 01:29:31 pm »
Haven't read all of the thread but people saying its good, you kidding ? they are a hapless piece of shit ! don't buy one if you want reliable measurements. You can get an amprobe AM220 for about the same price

Well,
 Simon everything in The Vichy VC99 Seems Better Then The Amprobe .The Only Thing Is Safety At Higher Voltages and if someone can remain careful or does not intend to do those measurement its not a bad multimeter ,Plus BTW the amprobe is ugly looking to me Yukkk .

Mine always had problems with the resistance measurement, it was very slow to react and auto scale and was not acurate. the selector soon started playing up and needed some turning up and down to clean itself before use. I was a pile of shit, the AM220 is much more reliable, I'd never be able to trust the VC99 so why buy it if i need another meter to back up it's results
 

Offline Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2012, 02:42:11 pm »


Quote
Mine always had problems with the resistance measurement, it was very slow to react and auto scale and was not acurate. the selector soon started playing up and needed some turning up and down to clean itself before use. I was a pile of shit, the AM220 is much more reliable, I'd never be able to trust the VC99 so why buy it if i need another meter to back up it's results

Simon ,
 Might be a little deoxit kinda contact cleaner on the pcb track for selector switch does the trick  .Also I Still Rate is Very good multimeter reason .

1 : Vichy "Possibly is sold much more worldwide then many many brands "
Regards

Amarbir Singh Dhillon [ Lynx-India ] , Chandigarh [ India ] - > www.lynxdealerstore.com , www.lynx-india.com
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Online Simon

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2012, 02:56:54 pm »


1 : Vichy "Possibly is sold much more worldwide then many many brands "

Why does that make it any better ? if you want to be a sheep be my guest, it makes a half decent backup meter but no more, I would not rely on one. I reflogged mine, didn't have the time of day for it !

Look at dave's under $50 meter shootout, he didn't think much of the one he got, i think it was at the bottom of the scale overall and i agree with his assessment.
 

Offline Amarbir[Lynx-India]

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2012, 03:21:34 pm »
Quote
Why does that make it any better ? if you want to be a sheep be my guest, it makes a half decent backup meter but no more, I would not rely on one. I reflogged mine, didn't have the time of day for it !

Look at dave's under $50 meter shootout, he didn't think much of the one he got, i think it was at the bottom of the scale overall and i agree with his assessment.

Well,
      Correct me if you want to .Whats the percentage of users of advanced safety featured multimeters ? .In my country i would say less then 10%  .So from those 90% multimeters meters like the vichy should and will be rated high .Atleast they are better if not in safety then accuracy wise .I would say that a very very large percentage of people out there use that wasp coloured dirty looking 4 dollar multimeter .Atleast this is better then those .Try n understand we cannot and will not compare these meters with the flukes and the agilents .

PS :  On the lighter note simon i just nailed this On Ebay  ;D -> http://www.home.agilent.com/en/pd-1765026-pn-U1253B/handheld-digital-multimeter-45-digit-with-organic-led-display-oled?nid=-34618.920237&cc=IN&lc=eng

For Just USD 210 + Shipping
Regards

Amarbir Singh Dhillon [ Lynx-India ] , Chandigarh [ India ] - > www.lynxdealerstore.com , www.lynx-india.com
Indian Distributor For  [ Autoelectric , Sofitech , IDEOfy ,Peak Electronic Design [UK ] , Anatek And Creatronica ]
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Online Simon

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Re: Vichy VC99 Multimeter Review and Teardown
« Reply #24 on: October 28, 2012, 03:26:15 pm »
As you say this multimeter cannot be compared a a fluke 17B but is was made to imitate one and lead into the false illusion that it is as good.

I would not like to stake anything on that unit maintaining accuracy over time. As noted the calibration trimmers are not even fixed in place. as I said my own one was not reliable for resistance measurements, I had to buy another meter because i was finding i could not rely on it. If your happy to work with such unreliability then that is your affair.
 


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