Author Topic: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E  (Read 4666 times)

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Offline totalnoob

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Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« on: May 20, 2016, 01:01:25 pm »
I have been searching for info. on inexpensive multimeters for general around the house use (I don't really do much electronic bench work, need something for troubleshooting woodworking equipment, occasionally tracking down electrical problems in a car or motorcycle, etc.), and it seems like the Uni-T UT61E is generally highly recommended as a pretty good (as far as accuracy) for the price meter.  However, it seems that the Victor 86E is essentially the same meter but includes temperature measurement and has a backlight, two items that most of the reviews have mentioned as being shortcomings of the UT61E, some folks even going so far as to mod their UT61E's to add a backlight (I didn't want to hi-jack the recent thread on this, but seems to me that for the time and effort involved the price difference between the 86E with a backlight already outweighs buying a UT61E and adding a BL to it).  For approx. $10 more, with almost exactly the same specs as the UT61E, the 86E seems, to me, like the better choice. Is there something I am missing that the Victor doesn't do that the Uni-T does?  Is it less accurate than the UT61E? (I have not found any reviews outside of a Russian one that I can't understand.) Why does the 61E get the attention while the 86E is almost ignored?

Thanks.
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2016, 01:38:06 pm »
Low true RMS bandwidth (400Hz) and perhaps perceived lesser build quality for the Victor.
 
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Offline Lightages

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2016, 03:14:44 pm »
Victor really isn't known for making safe meters. You say you are going to use it for more general electrical work. Without seeing the inside of the 86E it is hard to say if it is actually made to survive and protect the user from possible dangers of using it on the kind of work you mention. I would guess it is not. The UT61E is a pretty good meter for the bench, but I would not trust it in general electrical work too much plus it is susceptible to static electrical shock damage.

IMHO, if you want something that is better suited to general electrical work and has a chance of keeping you safe and also surviving itself, then consider a UT139C, an Amprobe AM510, or even better yet if you can spend the money get the BM235 from Dave. The BM235 will serve you long after the Victor 86E is a pile of decaying plastic.
 
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Offline jsi

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2016, 05:35:38 pm »
I just bought the Uni-T UT61E based on the strength of the internet reviews and price.  It works just fine and is far better than the cheapy meter I had.  But, I'm starting a new hobby of working with electronics.  My cheap meter is an old version of this http://www.harborfreight.com/ac-dc-digital-multimeter-37772.html and that meter did everything I needed for more years than I can remember.  If you're just working on 12v low voltage stuff the cheap meter will do everything you need.  Heck I even used the cheapy to do some mains work.  (but, I have an above average understanding of mains and pretty much know what I can and can't do.  YMMV)

Also, you mention the backlight and temperature probe.  Unless you plan on working in, uh total darkness, without a flashlight?   I've never missed not having a backlight, ever.  And I have used my meter in dark areas, but never without a flashlight, because you know, :-// darkness.    IMHO a back light is a nicety, but not reason enough to pass on an otherwise good meter.  The temp probe could be a deal breaker, if you need it. 

The Harbor freight meter is $25 USD and I paid around $40 USD for the UT61-E.  IMHO and I were totally worried about price alone the UT61-E is well worth the extra $15.  However if I could have a do-over I would buy Dave's BM235, because it is an even better meter and it's cooler and it supports Dave.  :-DMM


 
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Offline Arhammon

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2016, 05:44:00 pm »
I have both. Both multimeters not ideal.
They have same initial accuracy, all in spec. Same thermal stability in ~25-35C range. Same build quality. Input protection from box is little bit better for Uni-T and may by easy to mod.
I add Attiny to my 86E for REL function and typically use Victor, because it has more comfortable display and holster for me.
There is Mastech 8240D. It hasn't such problems as 61E, 86E, and it is not popular also. 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 05:52:01 pm by Arhammon »
 

Offline PeterMadach

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2016, 02:35:19 am »
For general, around-the-house mocking around, I'd consider the 139C from UNI-T as well. It has lower counts than the 61E, but the general build and protection of the meter seems to be better, it got blacklight, and it has temperature measurement and NCV functions which can be useful. On top of that, it's a bit cheaper than the 61E.
 
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Offline totalnoob

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2016, 02:14:47 am »
Thank you all. 

I have been lurking here on an infrequent basis over the past 3 years or so.  I have a meter that works pretty good, its a 17+ yo Radio Shack True RMS meter.  Its got no Cat ratings on it and uses a lot of AA batteries (which are frequently dead when I go to use it).  I am not entirely clear on what you all mean by "mains", but if you mean household power, then yes, on an extremely infrequent basis I may need to check a 120V/240V (US standard power) circuit live to track down an issue.  The last time I remember having to do so was a few years ago when I replaced the thermostat for our heat pump and found that two wires that did not quite match up between the two thermostats I had wired incorrectly and blew a fuse.  Normally, I don't work on live household power circuits as I am troubleshooting portable power tools and am checking continuity/resistance.  Also I use my meter to trouble shoot circuit issues on 12V and below (my Honda Passport Scooter is 6V) vehicular electrical systems, sometimes live, sometimes not. 

While I may get a UT139C, it would be pretty much equivalent to what I have now but safer since it appears to meet the cat ratings while the RS one I have was probably designed in the era prior to the CAT requirement.  However, what got me thinking of replacing my perfectly good but old multimeter (at least before I learned about the CAT ratings and how much safer meters are today) was that I was trying to figure out why my car's computer was still giving a trouble code for my emissions system.  I had it checked by a local shop and they ended up replacing the catalytic converter.  When the check engine light came back on, I took it back and they said that everything was fine, emissions wise, they said they tested the levels and it was fine and that it was likely the O2 sensors had gone bad with the bad cat.  They did say they were not going to change them since I had taken the car in within a few days of the CEL coming on.  Anyway I replaced both and the CEL came back on a few days later.  Running through my Haynes repair manual, it gave meter reading data to use to assess the post cat O2 sensor while back probing it (I think that's the term to mean it needs to be plugged in and checked while running and you need to use thin probes to slip inside the plug to get a reading from one of the pins), but stated to the effect that average home mechanic would not have a meter that could get an accurate enough reading (something to that effect), and that only the dealer would have the proper equipment to back probe the upper O2 sensor.  I took that to mean that possibly an O-scope was needed, which I can't afford, but after checking around and seeing the specs on a UT-61E, I thought it might be worth taking a chance on since it could read to better accuracy than most meters a DIY'er would usually buy and it could be used to log the readings, although not an O-scope, I thought that, for the inexpensive price, it may provide just enough O-scope function using the datalogging function of it that it might work enough to give me a valid reading of the upper O2 sensor.  Even if it didn't (and I never really expected it would, for the price though I would not lose much if it didn't and I'd still have a good meter for my use) I just never got around to pulling the trigger because other things got my attention (mom passed away around that time) and I ended up getting the CEL issue squared away, but in the back of my mind, I never let go of the idea of getting another MM. 

I think they'd sell real well if they came out with a UT139D that combined the functionality and accuracy of the UT61E and the safety of the UT139C and added the BL and temperature sensor in and sold it for right around $100 or less.  I came across the Victor 86E almost by accident on aliexpress.com and did a little research to confirm that it appeared to be essentially a UT61E with the added BL and temperature capability, I was not sure that something was not missing on the 86E that the UT61E had, and I see that I must have missed the "REL" function is missing, I guess something had to give.

In all honesty, I don't really use a multimeter very often.  Not even once a month, probably a couple of times a year, which is why the batteries in my current one are usually dead when I go to use it and while I have considered putting in Lithiums (not LiOn), but I can't really justify tying 6 or 8 of them (can't remember how many AA's it takes offhand) in my meter.  While I completely understand that neither brand is in the class of the Fluke or even a Brymen, I did buy a Victor dual input, K-type thermocouple, digital thermometer to use with my grill for making sure my grill is hot enough when I am making pizza or is low enough for smoking meats and it has been a good thermometer for those uses.   I will check out the Mastech as Arhammon suggested and the Brymen as Lightages suggested. 

Thanks again to all who responded. 
 

Offline totalnoob

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2016, 02:16:34 am »
Low true RMS bandwidth (400Hz) and perhaps perceived lesser build quality for the Victor.

Wytnucls,

One question is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I assume you mean the 400Hz applies to the Victor, correct?

Thanks again.
 

Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2016, 06:23:46 am »
Although it may not be critical for your kind of work, a true RMS meter should have the widest bandwidth possible. 40Hz~400Hz for the averaging AC mode of the Victor, while still useful for sine wave signals, is on the low side, compared to true RMS meters.

Modified post, as the Victor 86E is an AC averaging meter.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 06:50:28 am by Wytnucls »
 
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Offline Arhammon

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2016, 06:26:12 am »
Victor hasn't TRMS. AC multimeter readings will be in spec on a sine with a frequency of up to 400 Hz. This is bad for the measurement of AC current consumed switch-mode devices.
 
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Offline bitwelder

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2016, 06:28:54 am »
See the screenshots with (partial) specs from the two meters, and compare the "AC Frequency response" and "Bandwidth (Hz)" fields:
 
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Offline Wytnucls

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2016, 06:40:10 am »
Victor hasn't TRMS. AC multimeter readings will be in spec on a sine with a frequency of up to 400 Hz. This is bad for the measurement of AC current consumed switch-mode devices.
True. Their page has been updated. I'm pretty sure the Victor 86E was listed as true RMS before, along the 189A and 187.
 
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Offline Arhammon

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2016, 06:43:31 am »
Quote
See the screenshots with (partial) specs from the two meters, and compare the "AC Frequency response" and "Bandwidth (Hz)" fields:
This is a look like in manual:


True. Their page has been updated. I'm pretty sure the Victor 86E was listed as true RMS before, along the 189A and 187.
They have mess in the english site. Typically chinese site is actual.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2016, 06:47:27 am by Arhammon »
 
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Offline totalnoob

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Re: Victor 86E vs. Uni-T UT61E
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2016, 02:55:53 am »
A lot of good information.  The 86E was listed as being a true RMS meter, same as the UT61E.  The 86E IS starting to look worse compared to the UT61E.

Thanks.
 


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