Author Topic: What is a good electronics DMM to have?  (Read 11766 times)

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Offline tlu

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What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« on: November 05, 2012, 10:04:25 pm »
Hi fellow members,

I would like your opinion on a good DMM for electronics work. I would like to be able to measure very small current down to 10+ mA. Also an important feature is the ability to measure capacitance and inductance of components. I'm looking at the Fluke line and they are relatively expensive for some of these features. I'm open to any and all suggestions.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 10:20:05 pm »
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2012, 10:37:02 pm »
It would be a good idea to try and read all the threads on multimeters on this site. Many of your questions will be answered. What I don't understand is such an open ended question as you have asked. What do you want to spend?
 

Offline tlu

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2012, 11:09:43 pm »
It would be a good idea to try and read all the threads on multimeters on this site. Many of your questions will be answered. What I don't understand is such an open ended question as you have asked. What do you want to spend?

I did looked at the Fluke 87V and the Fluke 179 but these are labeled as "electrician's multimeter" and do not have the range to measure below 60mA. I'm not looking to spend past $200.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 11:39:02 pm »
If you are in the USA, you can find an used Fluke 87V for less than $200 USD on ebay.  All the Fluke 80 series have microamps range.

If you don't need all the features of a Fluke 87V, an used Fluke 87 (< $100) and/or Fluke 87 III (< $125) can be also found on ebay.

The 37XR also supports microamps.
 

Offline tlu

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 11:43:30 pm »
If you are in the USA, you can find an used Fluke 87V for less than $200 USD on ebay.  All the Fluke 80 series have microamps range.

If you don't need all the features of a Fluke 87V, an used Fluke 87 (< $100) and/or Fluke 87 III (< $125) can be also found on ebay.

The 37XR also supports microamps.

I've looked at the spec sheet for the Fluke 87V again and you are correct. I does down to 6uA. I've must of missed that the first time around. Sounds like a winner to me. Thanks.
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 11:44:50 pm »
You won't find many multimeters with inductance measurement. You will need to buy an LCR meter if you want inductance.

My personal recommendations:

Brymen    DM867
Amprobe  AM-140-A
Amprobe  AM-270 (best value in a multimeter IMHO at this point)
UEi           DM397

Runner up: Uni-Trend UT61E, but has no back light nor temperature
 

Offline Lightages

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2012, 11:49:05 pm »
I should add to my post that the meters I have mentioned are those that I see that seem to match their safety ratings and are of good quality. Of course the Fluke 87V can't be faulted neither.
 

Offline FenderBender

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2012, 11:52:23 pm »
I've been a big advocate of my AM-270 around this forum. You might have seen me once or twice recommending one...and that's because I think they are excellent DMMs for the price. They are a Brymen design but it is an excellent design, well built, and with the Amprobe name, you are pretty much guaranteed that your particular DMM is the best it can be and of course good service.

Lots going for it. I do like some of the other Amprobe DMMs also.

Don't be afraid to look at a few Uni-Ts. The 61E is a good one.

You can also get used Flukes and Agilents on eBay for relatively cheap. Or new ones.

If you just started, I wouldn't go rush out to buy an 87V or 189 or anything quite yet, unless you are certain you want to make this a serious commitment.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2012, 01:08:03 am »
Very few multimeter will have inductance, and meters suck at capacitance and inductance anyway.
Get a proper LCR meter along with your mulitmeter.
Almost any $100 multimeter will do what you want, and decent LCR meter is maybe another $150+

Dave.
 

Offline tlu

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2012, 04:05:40 am »
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I will take a look into all the DMM that were suggested here and pick one out of the batch. Much appreciation for all the feedback. Of all the ones mentioned, is there an advantage of one over the others. I'm asking now since I have not started my research on all the DMM posted here.
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2012, 06:26:22 am »
there is a pretty significant variance in price amongst the ones mentioned :)
 

Offline tlu

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2012, 04:25:56 pm »
I've looked at the specs on a few and found the Amprobe AM-270 is a pretty good one with it being $78 on ebay. Meets both CAT III and CAT IV safety rating. It does just about everything. And then I looked at the UNI-T UT61E which is not badly priced either on ebay. However, after going through the post here on that unit, there seems to be some complaints of the built quality of certain aspects on the pcb. I do not know if the latest version of the board address some of the findings on here but all in all it's still a pretty good one. Again, I can get a used Fluke 87V for $130 on ebay as one member pointed out which is a phenomenal deal. I've narrow it down to the Fluke or the Amprobe. Thanks again for all of you with the suggestions.
 

Offline PedroDaGr8

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2012, 05:59:01 pm »
I've looked at the specs on a few and found the Amprobe AM-270 is a pretty good one with it being $78 on ebay. Meets both CAT III and CAT IV safety rating. It does just about everything. And then I looked at the UNI-T UT61E which is not badly priced either on ebay. However, after going through the post here on that unit, there seems to be some complaints of the built quality of certain aspects on the pcb. I do not know if the latest version of the board address some of the findings on here but all in all it's still a pretty good one. Again, I can get a used Fluke 87V for $130 on ebay as one member pointed out which is a phenomenal deal. I've narrow it down to the Fluke or the Amprobe. Thanks again for all of you with the suggestions.

The only main build quality issue on the pcb I have seen on mine is the stacked capacitors. A friend of mine who is an EE said its actually a common way to get a lower inductance from the caps. I dont remember why but he said its commonly done (he said some manufacturers actually sell caps double stacked already preconnected to each other.

I haven't seen the Amprobe internals yet. Does anyone have a link to a teardown?

Of course the fluke is the best quality meter.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 06:01:53 pm by PedroDaGr8 »
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Offline Lightages

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Offline saturation

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2012, 08:24:56 pm »
If you can find a used Agilent 1252a, its one of the better electronics DMMs I've used; it has 1uV and 0.01uA resolution.  I was fairly surprised with its performance against a 6.5 digit HP3456a with 100nV resolution; the 1252a resolves 1uV as specified with the proper low voltage technique.  The newer 1252B sell for $420, but prices between US and EU is often par, compared to premiums asked for Fluke DMMs.  I got mine on close out for $140 from Grainger and while not Fluke 87V or 1272a rugged, its my goto in house lab meter.  See eevblog archives for more details.  I also like the larger LCD compared to the 1272a.

Other options:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Agilent-Technologies-U1241a-FG-True-RMS-4-digit-Handheld-Digital-Multimeter-/330808604748?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d05bab84c
« Last Edit: November 06, 2012, 08:36:39 pm by saturation »
Best Wishes,

 Saturation
 

Offline tlu

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2012, 11:02:26 pm »
Thanks saturation for the info on the agilent dmm and the link. I'm going to look into that one as well.
 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2012, 09:02:40 am »
I did looked at the Fluke 87V and the Fluke 179 but these are labeled as "electrician's multimeter" and do not have the range to measure below 60mA.
I was going to point this out earlier, but got side tracked and forgot.

I don't know how you are reading the datasheets or manual, but the Fluke 170 series definitely measures below 60ma.

I snipped out the relevant portions of the Fluke 170 manual and did a couple of screenshots with my Fluke 175 measuring the current consumption of my Fluke 85 III.

In the DCV range, the Fluke 85 III draws about 750 microamps or 0.75 milliamps.  With the backlight on, it draws around 25 milliamps.  So as you can see, the Fluke 170 can measure below 60 milliamps (0.01 to 400 as per rotary switch diagram).
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 09:04:28 am by retiredcaps »
 

Offline tlu

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2012, 09:07:32 am »
I did looked at the Fluke 87V and the Fluke 179 but these are labeled as "electrician's multimeter" and do not have the range to measure below 60mA.
I was going to point this out earlier, but got side tracked and forgot.

I don't know how you are reading the datasheets or manual, but the Fluke 170 series definitely measures below 60ma.

I snipped out the relevant portions of the Fluke 170 manual and did a couple of screenshots with my Fluke 175 measuring the current consumption of my Fluke 85 III.

In the DCV range, the Fluke 85 III draws about 750 microamps or 0.75 milliamps.  With the backlight on, it draws around 25 milliamps.  So as you can see, the Fluke 170 can measure below 60 milliamps (0.01 to 400 as per rotary switch diagram).

Hi retiredcaps,

I've since corrected myself to your respond a couple of post ago. I did see it could do down to 6uA. Thanks again for pointing this out though.

 

Offline retiredcaps

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Re: What is a good electronics DMM to have?
« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2012, 09:25:20 am »
Sorry, I missed it while catching up.  :o  At least I got a rare chance to measure DC current.  ;D
 


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