Author Topic: Voltcraft 6010 DMM (NOS from 1984) unboxing and teardown [picture heavy]  (Read 7824 times)

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Offline frozenfrogz

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Today my Voltcraft 6010 arrived!
It has been sitting in some warehouse for 30+ years and finally will serve its intended purpose.
This will be an unboxing and teardown with lots of images that I have upped to an imgur album (in case you want pics without the talking).

Edit: This meter was introduced in 1982 and was a real game-changer here in Germany, since it incorporated all state-of-the-art technology and features, but was 60% cheaper than the competitors (we are mainly talking Fluke 8020 here I guess). Keep in mind, digital multimeters just appeared on the market for the first time back then.
There is a German article from the 30st anniversary of this DMM.
/Edit





So there it is, lying in its styrofoam bed, sleeping for the past 30 years...




Included in the package is the meter, two test-leads with threading (roughly one meter and 20 centimeters, or about four feet in length), two screw-on alligator clips, a nine volt battery, certificate of guarantee and a manual.
In case you want to take a look at the manual, I took photos and merged them into a .pdf that you can get here: https://document.li/oK4g - sorry, I was a bit lazy and did not do proper scans.




Awesome Korean battery still going strong after sitting in a box for more than 30 years! Who needs batterisers if you can have that? *




Alligator clips screwed on and disassembled.




Front view of the 6010.




Back view of the 6010.
Made in Korea (obviously).

WARNING
WARNING
CAUTION
WARNING

OK, I get it. I will be cautious. Arrow pointing towards battery eliminator jack, but this unit does not have one.

CAUTION

This Instrument contains no operator serviceable parts. Read operating instructions before use.

I guess, we will see about that :)




Battery compartment.




First look under the hood.
I forgot to mention, that I really like the Star Wars AT-AT look and color scheme. And as a first nice feature (from a product designers view) we encounter brass threadings molded into the case! I was missing these on the Fluke 8020B I got last week.
Also another WARNING + CAUTION, because: Why not?
Side-note: There is a spare fuse tucked in the back of the case, wrapped in foam.




The bottom part of the case incorporates a separate strip of molded plastic that sits under the switches.




Back view, opened (sorry about the disastrous lighting).




Some shielding, close-up of the threaded inserts and battery connector.




Label on the shielding, let’s further disassemble and reveal the internals.





With the shield removed and terminals disassembled, we can remove the internals form the upper casing.
Product designers side note: Nice screw-in terminals for the win!




Front view of the PCB - not much to see here, apart from the injection molded clear plastic cover of the LCD maybe.




Teledyne TSC7106CPL (made in 1984?) - 3 and 1/2 digits A/D convertor, DIP-40 package for driving the LCD.
SGS Thompson HCF 4030B quad exclusive-or gate (made in 1982?)




Partly convenient way of an on-the-fly strain relief.








Some more close-ups of the input side.
The white resistor networks read:
Sunics 410A - HC-DMM-V (big one in front)
Sunics 409A - HC-DMM-S

Now, that we have seen the internals, let’s go figure if it actually works. Remember that awesome battery from the beginning?




But it said 9.23V! What is going on?
*In case you don't know what is happening here, go watch Daves batteriser video again.

This cell is dead as door-nail - not too surprising after 30 years of self-discharging, even though alkaline 9V blocks can be quite impressive in this regard.
Dropping in a fresh China made battery and...




It’s working! :box:




Side-by-side voltage measuring with the old Fluke 8020B.






Side-by-side measurement of a resistor clamped to the alligator clips with 8020B and UT139C




So there you have it, the vintage Voltcraft 6010 new old stock that no one wanted to buy for 140 Deutsche Mark and 93 Pfennig (51.04USD back in 1984).
The price translates to roughly 132 Euro or 124 USD when comparing purchasing power now and then, taken from some calculator on the web.

I purchased the old Voltcraft, because my father owns one from since I was born and still uses it regularly today. There is some sentimental value to it and I really like the look and feel. I can see why most DMMs on the market feature a turning knob selector, because these are way cheaper to manufacture and auto-ranging is OK, but nothing compares to being able to simply select the range you need by one press of a button compared to switching through various modes on a dial.
The manual states 1000V DC or AC peak voltage non-switched, 750V AC peak voltage switched, but I probably would want to test it...
Also from the manual:

"Overload protection is guaranteed in all areas (except 20A range).
To protect against excessive voltages, a gas-filled spark gap is used, which has proven itself better than devices with varistors. A pair of fast silicon diodes as well as a fuse ensure excellent protection in all current areas. Furthermore, the input of the alternating current transformer is protected against overvoltage."

This is translated from the manual p.6

To conclude, here is a better shot of the schematic I tried to clean up a little.




Thank you for your patience in scrolling through this picture-heavy post (is there a way to resize the images, or some other convenient way to make it all a bit more readable?), hope you could enjoy it at least a little :)

Feel free to ask and comment!
All the best,
Frederik
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 06:30:37 pm by frozenfrogz »
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Offline frozenfrogz

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Short follow-up, because I forgot to talk about the test leads that came with the device.



The test leads can be fully disassembled, so in case of a broken wire you can fully repair it *yay*
There is some serious amount of copper in them, I measured a little over 1.6mm in diameter aka 14 AWG!
The insulation is rubbery to the touch and has a nice matte finish. Compared to my Fluke TL71(?) they are very stiff, but that is to be expected I guess - given the wire gauge. Insulating plastic parts may be PVC or ABS, but that is just a wild guess. Casing of the meter is also some basic polymer - no glass reinforcement or anything fancy. The flip-up stand in the back serves its purpose, but it is a little flimsy, especially compared to the very sturdy one on the 8020B.

As capt bullshot pointed out in the "what did you buy today" thread, the meter was produced by Hung Chang in South Korea. Some website stated, that the 6010 was originally designed by CTC (Conrad Technology Center) and their first big invention, going to be sold under the Conrad Electronics label Voltcraft and a huge success on the German market. But since there is the Hung Chang 6010 or HC601 (absolutely identical) and the HC markings are all over the PCB of the meter, I doubt that it was really a CTC invention. But who knows... Conrad Electronic by the way is similar to Radio Shack, but here in Germany.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 09:22:57 pm by frozenfrogz »
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Beautiful! And the Intersil... I remember that! There was another to drive led displays. But IIRC it dates back to the 70's not the 80's... (?)
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 11:50:22 pm by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
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Offline frozenfrogz

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As far as I have read, Fluke originally invented the 429100 which was produced by Intersil. Intersil then basically counterfeited Flukes chip and sold it as their own product, the ICL7106. Where and when Teledyne started manufacturing the TSC7106, I don’t know. But both the latter seem to be rip-offs of the original Fluke design.

P.S.: If you like to investigate a little further, here is the thread on the history of the Fluke 8020 that I just found (again).

Edit: Oops, wrong tag on url :/
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 08:14:45 pm by frozenfrogz »
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Offline retiredcaps

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History of Fluke and ICL 7106 explained by one of the original Fluke 8060A team ...

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/old-fluke-multimeters/
 
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Offline Vgkid

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That is really cool. Thanks for showing it to us.
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Offline cdev

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Thats a very nice solid meter.

Can you easily change the ranges with the meter in your left hand and a probe in your right?
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline frozenfrogz

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Can you easily change the ranges with the meter in your left hand and a probe in your right?

Yes, that is absolutely no problem at all. The switches are easily operated with the thumb, since they are a nice usable size and feature a tapered / sloped top, just like the Fluke 8020s. Left hand, right hand, very convenient.
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Offline capt bullshot

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Beautiful! And the Intersil... I remember that! There was another to drive led displays. But IIRC it dates back to the 70's not the 80's... (?)
Yes, thats been the ICL7107. My very first digital multimeter was a kit (sold by Oppermann, Voelkner, ?, can't remember) using a LED display driven by this chip. Next multimeter was the said Voltcraft 6010 - still wonder how I made my parents pay for all that stuff back in these days ...

BTW frozenfrogz: great pictures, they make me feel nostalgic. Recognized and remembered the guts at first sight.
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Offline frozenfrogz

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As it happens to be, I found a couple of meters in the local small adds that were delivered today. Sadly they were not both Voltcraft 6010 (as advertised), but one Hung Chang HC601 and one Voltcraft 6010 (older model with only 10A max. range).

Both power on, but have not yet been tested thoroughly. I already did some cleaning of the 6010, there was a loose screwpost for the shielding that I soldered back in place, the plastic insert behind the buttons is missing, other than that I need to do some more inspection.
The HC601 is really messy. The case needs thorough cleaning and the PCB is flooded with flux residue. One thing I noticed is that the HC601 does not have the precision resistor networks that are featured in both 6010s.

In the next days I will work on these units and take some pictures for comparison with the meter in the OP. That way y’all can take a look at the history/evolution of the 6010 :)
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Offline cdev

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Re: Voltcraft 6010 DMM (NOS from 1984) unboxing and teardown [picture heavy]
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2017, 04:13:08 am »
As Edsel Ford Fong used to say. "Not too shabby"
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline Bill Fenton

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Re: Voltcraft 6010 DMM (NOS from 1984) unboxing and teardown [picture heavy]
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2018, 09:32:43 pm »
Hello Got one of these in Mid 1980s it was my first digital multi meter ( the Hung Chang Version cost about £35) it was so accurate for the Money and of quality construction. When I got my first job in industry I remember checking it by comparing it to a Philips multi meter pm 2517x which was calibrated to national standards, was only a couple of digits out on all scales. I also got a Hung Chang HM102BZ analogue meter from same supplier via Television magazine quality on these was poor. think cost was about £16. The 6010 died a few years back still have the HM102 mainly for the Buzzer the meter is  not reliable.  Not a Patch on my AVO EM272 still going strong since 1978. Now  Have  a couple of maxcom DVMs from the mid 90s  cheap as chips and accurate Plastic deteriorating, geting bit brittle on one of them

 
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Offline threephase

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Re: Voltcraft 6010 DMM (NOS from 1984) unboxing and teardown [picture heavy]
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2018, 10:40:50 am »
Nice review, certainly some good quality manufacturing options utilised, that have sadly been forgotten on a lot of today's instruments.

Thanks for taking the time to post.

Kind regards.
 
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Offline andi112

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Nice report. I bought this DMM in the beginning of the 80's.
The layout is a little bit different of yours.
As you can see the display isn't working poperly:
Does anyone knows what could be the reason?
 

Offline frozenfrogz

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Looks like a bad zebra strip connection.
You need to disassemble the display frame and then clean both the PCB contact points and the rubber zebra strips with isopropyl alcohol.
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Offline andi112

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Thank you for the answer.
I'm writing from Germany. So what is a zebra strip connection?
The promt translator tells me: Zebrastreifenverbindung. I never heard it before.
How did you managed to remove the display? On my board it is soldered (40pins!)
 

Offline frozenfrogz

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Das sind die Leitgummis die die Anzeige mit der Platine verbinden.
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Offline andi112

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Schön, dass es auch in Deutsch geht! :)

Die Frage bleibt, bekommt man das Display aus der schwarzen Halterung (welches wohl die Leitgummis sind?) heraus? Wenn ja, wie. Ich will keine Gewalt anwenden und dabei eventuell etwas beschädigen.

Oder muss man tatsächlich alle 40 Pins entlöten?

Bei Deinen Photos sieht man ja auch das Display und dann im nächsten Photo ist es weg. Man sieht aber auch die Verbindungsdrähte nicht mehr, geschweige denn die Lötpunkte, wo sie hineingehören.

Weiss man, welche Bezeichnung das Display hat. In der Stückliste, die mir vorliegt, kann ich sie nicht finden.
 

Offline frozenfrogz

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Wrote you a PN. Usually other languages than english are not really accepted here, so please let's discuss this in private. :)
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Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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Ach du lieber Gott!
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Offline andi112

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I forgot a picture of the display. Here is it. The quality of the handycam is not so good.
 

Offline GeorgeOfTheJungle

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There's no zebra strip there...
In the kit that Intersil sold in the 70's, the one with the 7106, the LCD was a DIL package, there was no zebra strip. The LCD was like this one:

But this isn't a picture of the original Intersil 7106 kit.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2019, 03:59:32 pm by GeorgeOfTheJungle »
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Offline frozenfrogz

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Well, that is interesting. I took another look at all of the 6010s I own (6010 10A version, 6010 20A version, Hung Chang 601 2A version) and all of them feature zebra strips connectors on the display.

Bad segments are usually a sign of bad contacts / missing signal line to that segment. I would start by checking the board for possible corrosion and obvious defects in the area where the pins join the glass assembly.
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Offline andi112

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This looks a little bit like mine.
See the attached picture.
Do you think I can try to clean the contacts at the display with a Q-Tip and some alcohol?

Btw I couldn't see any oxidation at the contacts.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2019, 09:29:42 pm by andi112 »
 

Offline andi112

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OK you can say: Trial and Error! But this isn't very useful if afterwards nothing is working anymore: Anyone here who has experience with cleaning the contacts of an LCD?
 


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