Author Topic: Uni-T 216D Clamp meter for house and raspberry pi? Also how safe are probes?  (Read 2036 times)

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Offline HKJ

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Actually why is this guy complaining that there are no fuses in the uni-t? I thought its not needed?
https://youtu.be/40YUCNYqibk?t=379

Not everybody doing review knows what they are talking about. Fuses are only used on current ranges, on voltage it is high ohmic resistors and on ohm, continuity, capacity, mV, temp it is PTC's. The range switch is sometimes protected with MOV's or spark gaps, but that is only on better meters.
 
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Offline janoc

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If you insist on poking at AC mains then the only way to make everybody people here happy is to buy three meters:
a) A Fluke 101 for the mains (no current ranges)
b) A clamp for your car (probably Uni-T)
c) ANENG meter for raspberry Pi (mA, etc).

You can probably get all three for not much more than $100, delivered.

Can you do it all with a single $120 meter? No, because you won't have a clamp and you sometimes need two meters simultaneously.

That is actually a much more sensible advice than the pooh-poohing everyone who tells you that cheap meters are unsafe to use on mains as exaggerating.

And yes, the Fluke guys show always an electrician wearing the PPE, even where it is not needed - because that's what electricians will do, especially the industrial ones. There you never know what may happen and that because 9x before nothing blew up doesn't mean that on the 10th try you won't die in an arc flash because of some freak fault or a stupid mistake.

The OP was also mentioning photovoltaics - I assume home solar panel installation. There it actually makes sense to measure both voltages and currents and I wouldn't go into that with a $20 meter.
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Actually why is this guy complaining that there are no fuses in the uni-t? I thought its not needed?
https://youtu.be/40YUCNYqibk?t=379

Not everybody doing review knows what they are talking about. Fuses are only used on current ranges, on voltage it is high ohmic resistors and on ohm, continuity, capacity, mV, temp it is PTC's. The range switch is sometimes protected with MOV's or spark gaps, but that is only on better meters.

Correct. The fuses in multimeters are only on the amps ranges.

That has not been my experience.  Some of the cheap meters have shared the current input jack with other features.  In these cases, I have seen a few (not very many) where the fuse for the current also feeds all the other circuits.   The last Analog meter one I saw like this was sold under the tech power brand.  The last Digital one was sold under the Radio Shack brand.

It's interesting how things like this get repeated.   :-DD   Surely in HKJ's case they have come across this.
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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So the safety circuit of aneng or unit meter for voltage might not be safe when using mains, why? (Ok with Aneng you can accidently switch voltage and amps probes input...) Because of bad design and a lightning strike? Is there some other possibility? I mean what spikes can be in the mains if there is not a lightning strike? Does it make a difference if after the switchboard or before?

Actually why is this guy complaining that there are no fuses in the uni-t? I thought its not needed?
https://youtu.be/40YUCNYqibk?t=379
(EDIT: Couple of minutes later he says that he had a brain fart and of course there are no fuses needed ;-))

So this guy also says that these blue things are MOVs? Thats what is needed for the voltage input protection?

I dont want to make everybody happy. I just dont want my meter to explode and burn. I have a policy not to buy fluke. its too expensive. haha ;-)

There are many free documents on-line that cover line transients and their causes. 

If you really need something certified as "safe" per the IEC standards, I would recommend just buying one that has been independently certified.   I've said it several times that I suspect the safety has more to do with the mechanics of the meter and less with the electronics in the meter.   The front end electronics may prevent other components from becoming damaged.   

The guy you link messes up a fair bit.  My advice is not to read too much into the videos you watch, including mine.    I watched a recent one where the guy is calling out random BS as he explains the UNI-T UT210E's circuits.  Funny but not very educational.  (Resistors are diodes, the sense head is just some wire and a quad op-amp is an LCD driver...  The magic of the internet) 
https://youtu.be/0WLpc0mfYi0?t=1023
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 12:25:13 am by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 
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Offline dreno

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Actually why is this guy complaining that there are no fuses in the uni-t? I thought its not needed?
https://youtu.be/40YUCNYqibk?t=379

Not everybody doing review knows what they are talking about. Fuses are only used on current ranges, on voltage it is high ohmic resistors and on ohm, continuity, capacity, mV, temp it is PTC's. The range switch is sometimes protected with MOV's or spark gaps, but that is only on better meters.

Correct. The fuses in multimeters are only on the amps ranges.

That has not been my experience.  Some of the cheap meters have shared the current input jack with other features.  In these cases, I have seen a few (not very many) where the fuse for the current also feeds all the other circuits.   The last Analog meter one I saw like this was sold under the tech power brand.  The last Digital one was sold under the Radio Shack brand.

It's interesting how things like this get repeated.   :-DD   Surely in HKJ's case they have come across this.

But as far as I see it for the devices that I am considering, the current input is not shared with something else????

I looked a bit around. I saw people really love the UT61E. It would cost me double than the ANENGs 870. What is so good with that one? I think it doesn't even have a light... :-D
« Last Edit: January 12, 2019, 11:53:42 pm by dreno »
 

Offline joeqsmith

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But as far as I see it for the devices that I am considering, the current input is not shared with something else????

I looked a bit around. I saw people really love the UT61E. It would cost me double than the ANENGs 870. What is so good with that one? I think it doesn't even have a light... :-D

UNI-T offers a version of the UT61E that is certified.  As you would expect, it comes with a much higher cost.   There is a thread here that goes into a fair bit of detail on them.  You are correct that the UT61E doesn't have a back light but it does offer data logging which is something that the ANENG you mention does not.  I suggest you study the manuals and pick your poison.   

Personally,  any meter that my stupid little gas grill ignitor kills, I don't want.  We get a lot of static buildup and I don't want a meter that I have to put on my kid gloves to use.   I also don't want a meter that can't stand up to some basic transients.    Unless, I am in the garage, then I don't care.   There's not a lot of ESD and the most HV is maybe the back EMF off a solenoid.  Hardly enough to damage a meter, then again, I have looked at some pretty crappy meters. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online Fungus

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I dont want to make everybody happy. I just dont want my meter to explode and burn. I have a policy not to buy fluke. its too expensive. haha ;-)

Only you know how often you really use the meter for each type of measurement.
 

Offline janoc

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I dont want to make everybody happy. I just dont want my meter to explode and burn. I have a policy not to buy fluke. its too expensive. haha ;-)

You don't need a Fluke, I have mentioned it only because they are the gold standard when it comes to safety. Even though that Fluke 101 is very cheap (at least for a Fluke and a safe meter) and built like a brick. I have got one of these for my dad because he was poking around three phase 400V home wiring with one of those $2 specials. However, this Fluke is no good as a general purpose meter (has no current range, for ex.) but it is an "idiot proof" meter for quickly checking whether you have the wiring live and what the voltage is. It is a good option to have as a second meter to a more general purpose one (e.g. that Aneng or Uni-T) when you want to be sure that the meter is safe for poking around mains.

If you don't want Fluke, there are other reputable brands that are less expensive in general - Brymen, Amprobe, BK Precision, etc. In general, if you are planning to use the meter for anything above 24-48V and/or mains, you will want an independently tested meter (e.g. one that is UL, TUV or similar certified). If it isn't, you are potentially risking injury, especially when you are newbie and don't know enough to be able to check the meter yourself (and even then some things may not be obvious even to an experienced engineer without special equipment, e.g. insulation problems).

E.g. the Brymen BM235 that Dave is selling (or the original version in the red holster) are a great option for an all around meter, while being safe even for mains use - and it costs just 85 euro or so - even less than the Fluke 101.

Uni-T meters are cheap but that's for a reason - they are also bottom of the barrel construction and unless you buy the "EU" version that actually has all the protections populated on the PCB (and is TUV certified and more expensive), you are risking problems. If you buy that same meter cheaply from eBay or AliExpress, you will be getting the stripped down Chinese version - they look the same from the outside but the Chinese version has almost no input protection in place and would never pass any certification.

The same holds about most of the cheap Chinese meters - Anengs, Mustools, etc. and all their rebrands. They are OK meters to use for low voltage things - e.g. your car or Arduinos and such. Just don't poke around mains/high voltage - you get what you pay for here and some of these meters are truly atrocious inside.

If you want to work with mains or high voltage (e.g. those solar panels), don't pinch pennies on a meter - it is the only thing that is between your body and the energized wiring!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 12:48:09 pm by janoc »
 
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Offline dreno

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I dont want to make everybody happy. I just dont want my meter to explode and burn. I have a policy not to buy fluke. its too expensive. haha ;-)

You don't need a Fluke, I have mentioned it only because they are the gold standard when it comes to safety. Even though that Fluke 101 is very cheap (at least for a Fluke and a safe meter) and built like a brick. I have got one of these for my dad because he was poking around three phase 400V home wiring with one of those $2 specials. However, this Fluke is no good as a general purpose meter (has no current range, for ex.) but it is an "idiot proof" meter for quickly checking whether you have the wiring live and what the voltage is. It is a good option to have as a second meter to a more general purpose one (e.g. that Aneng or Uni-T) when you want to be sure that the meter is safe for poking around mains.

If you don't want Fluke, there are other reputable brands that are less expensive in general - Brymen, Amprobe, BK Precision, etc. In general, if you are planning to use the meter for anything above 24-48V and/or mains, you will want an independently tested meter (e.g. one that is UL, TUV or similar certified). If it isn't, you are potentially risking injury, especially when you are newbie and don't know enough to be able to check the meter yourself (and even then some things may not be obvious even to an experienced engineer without special equipment, e.g. insulation problems).

E.g. the Brymen BM235 that Dave is selling (or the original version in the red holster) are a great option for an all around meter, while being safe even for mains use - and it costs just 85 euro or so - even less than the Fluke 101.

Uni-T meters are cheap but that's for a reason - they are also bottom of the barrel construction and unless you buy the "EU" version that actually has all the protections populated on the PCB (and is TUV certified and more expensive), you are risking problems. If you buy that same meter cheaply from eBay or AliExpress, you will be getting the stripped down Chinese version - they look the same from the outside but the Chinese version has almost no input protection in place and would never pass any certification.

The same holds about most of the cheap Chinese meters - Anengs, Mustools, etc. and all their rebrands. They are OK meters to use for low voltage things - e.g. your car or Arduinos and such. Just don't poke around mains/high voltage - you get what you pay for here and some of these meters are truly atrocious inside.

If you want to work with mains or high voltage (e.g. those solar panels), don't pinch pennies on a meter - it is the only thing that is between your body and the energized wiring!

So the clamps exist in a chinese and a european version. How will I find out which I have? Open it? Maybe some people even sell the the chinese version here in europe?
But as far as I saw on the review video the chinese version of the clamp also had several MOVs?
 

Online Fungus

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So the clamps exist in a chinese and a european version. How will I find out which I have? Open it? Maybe some people even sell the the chinese version here in europe?
But as far as I saw on the review video the chinese version of the clamp also had several MOVs?

The trick is not to take chances. If you're going to poke at mains AC regularly then buy the $45 Fluke 101 (or the $65 Brymen, or any other brand that doesn't mess around).

 

Offline janoc

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So the clamps exist in a chinese and a european version. How will I find out which I have? Open it? Maybe some people even sell the the chinese version here in europe?
But as far as I saw on the review video the chinese version of the clamp also had several MOVs?

If you really want the Uni-T clamp, buy it from a reputable source, not eBay (and similar). That's where you get the Chinese version for sure. Reputable vendors, such as TME.eu or Batronix.com won't sell a dodgy device because they could be held legally liable should anything happen. Neither of them carry the 216D clamp, though (they have others) - that should probably tell you something already.

 

Offline dreno

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So the clamps exist in a chinese and a european version. How will I find out which I have? Open it? Maybe some people even sell the the chinese version here in europe?
But as far as I saw on the review video the chinese version of the clamp also had several MOVs?

If you really want the Uni-T clamp, buy it from a reputable source, not eBay (and similar). That's where you get the Chinese version for sure. Reputable vendors, such as TME.eu or Batronix.com won't sell a dodgy device because they could be held legally liable should anything happen. Neither of them carry the 216D clamp, though (they have others) - that should probably tell you something already.

Look at that please:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/UNI-T-UT216C-Multimeter-600A-True-RMS-Digital-Clamp-Meter-Auto-Range-Volt-Amp-Ohm-Frequency/32891048563.html

Ships from Germany also. So no customs and probably quick delivery. For 58 Euros all included.

So there I will get crap?

Then the only source where it is available here is in Germany (beside some chinese electronics shop), seems to be Amazon (sold and shipped by Amazon, not some Marketplaceseller):

https://www.amazon.de/UNI-T-Zangenmultimeter-Range-Frequenz-UT216C/dp/B01LZ86T94/ref=sr_1_1?s=diy&ie=UTF8&qid=1547417547&sr=1-1&keywords=ut216C

79 Euros. Its a 21 Euro difference. But I am not sure if this 21 Euros is wasted money....
And do you think Amazon is reliable? Maybe they have the crappy meters too. :-D

Actually did somebody buy this meter from banggood or aliexpress?
 

Offline janoc

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Ships from Germany also. So no customs and probably quick delivery. For 58 Euros all included.

So there I will get crap?


Yes, likely. Shipping from Germany only means that they have dropshipped a crate of these from China and did the customs and all that at once to save expenses. Not that you get an actually certified meter.

Amazon also sells everything from oscilloscopes to baby diapers. I guess that tells you how much they know about each of the products they are selling.

Go to a dealer that specializes in test instruments if you want something of good quality. For example Distrelec sells the B version of that meter you have found:

https://www.distrelec.de/en/current-clamp-meter-600-aac-trms-uni-ut216b/p/30059446
(the B version doesn't measure DC current or temperature, so beware).

You can find clamp meters (not necessarily only Uni-T) also at Farnell, Mouser, DigiKey, TME and a lot of other reputable sellers.

I wouldn't buy something like this from AliExpress, Banggood, Gearbest, eBay or Amazon. It is not only about possibly getting an unsafe product but also about warranty and service should anything break a year or two later.

 
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Offline dreno

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So I saw that there is also a UT219. They claim you can drop it from 2m and its rated for Cat 4.

219E and 219M don't have the full DC current capabilites. But the 219DS does.

http://www.uni-trend.com/productsdetail_2489_1039_1039.html

Unfortunately I almost can't find it. I am in Germany. I could only find two guys on Aliexpress. What you think about this meter? Overkill? Why isn't it available in my country? Because of any certification process maybe?


 

Offline janoc

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So I saw that there is also a UT219. They claim you can drop it from 2m and its rated for Cat 4.

You can completely ignore any claims of Uni-T meters having any CAT rating unless it is explicitly the European version which has been TUV certified (and then the TUV certification is explicitly mentioned). They are known for putting fake labels on their meters (or rather selling gutted versions of their meters that can't match those ratings).

But I believe we are running in circles here. We keep telling you to get a proper meter from proper distributor because you want to measure mains and such. And you keep coming up with yet another Uni-T meter from AliExpress or Amazon, despite being warned about them (and there are plenty of posts on this forum about meters with fake ratings, including the Uni-T ones).

There is no point in repeating this stuff again. If you want a Chinese Uni-T no matter what (which you seem to), then buy it. But then don't complain if you get hurt or ask for advice if you aren't willing to listen and prefer to pinch pennies on a meter over your life.

 

Offline dreno

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So I saw that there is also a UT219. They claim you can drop it from 2m and its rated for Cat 4.

You can completely ignore any claims of Uni-T meters having any CAT rating unless it is explicitly the European version which has been TUV certified (and then the TUV certification is explicitly mentioned). They are known for putting fake labels on their meters (or rather selling gutted versions of their meters that can't match those ratings).

But I believe we are running in circles here. We keep telling you to get a proper meter from proper distributor because you want to measure mains and such. And you keep coming up with yet another Uni-T meter from AliExpress or Amazon, despite being warned about them (and there are plenty of posts on this forum about meters with fake ratings, including the Uni-T ones).

There is no point in repeating this stuff again. If you want a Chinese Uni-T no matter what (which you seem to), then buy it. But then don't complain if you get hurt or ask for advice if you aren't willing to listen and prefer to pinch pennies on a meter over your life.
+

So do I understand it correctly that if I buy from a reputable source I get an UT216C which is TUV certified (I think it is not mentioned on the sellers  page)? Or I just get a meter which is not stripped down like from alibaba? Or I get everywhere the same?

As far as I understood it, there are more certified meters, a bit certified ones and stripped down chinese ones...
 

Online Fungus

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So do I understand it correctly that if I buy from a reputable source I get an UT216C which is TUV certified (I think it is not mentioned on the sellers  page)? Or I just get a meter which is not stripped down like from alibaba?

Yes, but don't expect it to be easy to find, the price will be 50% more, it's an awkward shape to use on a table, and it won't measure mA so you'll still need to buy a multimeter.
 

Offline dreno

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So do I understand it correctly that if I buy from a reputable source I get an UT216C which is TUV certified (I think it is not mentioned on the sellers  page)? Or I just get a meter which is not stripped down like from alibaba?

Yes, but don't expect it to be easy to find, the price will be 50% more, it's an awkward shape to use on a table, and it won't measure mA so you'll still need to buy a multimeter.

So this is a reputable source I guess:

http://www.rekirsch.at/UNI-T+UT216C.htm

I need to pay 10 euros for shipping to my country.  and 10 euros for taxes.

A TUV certified 216C I couldn't find.

So you think this is better than amazon?
 

Online Fungus

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So this is a reputable source I guess:

http://www.rekirsch.at/UNI-T+UT216C.htm

Price is cheaper than eBay? I'd be very suspicious.
 

Offline frogg

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To the OP: just buy the Uni-T 216C.

It sounds like your needs are for something versatile and cheap - the 216C fits the bill pretty well.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 12:56:40 pm by frogg »
 


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