Author Topic: Worst handheld multi-meter still available  (Read 6760 times)

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Offline joeqsmith

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Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« on: October 29, 2017, 04:57:51 pm »
What do you feel is the worst handheld multi-meter that is still available today and why?

I've ran a fair number of meters and you may think I would say the free Centech from Harbor Freight, but it's not even close.  As bad as the quality is and as cheap as they make it with it's tiny glass fuse and no fuse for the high current, it's free.  And as a bonus, most of the time they work right out of the box.   To me, the quality, reliability, robustness, cost and features all play into it.  The more I pay for a meter, the higher my expectations are.   Even at the $50 mark, I expect them to survive some basic transients and be somewhat mechanically sound.    So much crap to choose from.  What's your pick?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 07:13:45 pm by joeqsmith »
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 06:16:18 pm »
Some of the mid range meters, which are not free, but where the bang for the buck is not great, and the units themselves are not as well made as that cheap one. The generic 830 meter typically will do for 90% of low voltage ( non mains use) measurement, and do so well enough.
 

Offline kalel

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2017, 06:40:48 pm »
What about this MF-110?

Regardless of the image price, about $2.x shipped from China is available, it was at one point in time cheaper than the DT830 series (similar to the free harbor freight meter).

I actually have one, and have written a tiny review in this thread.

Not to say that it's much worse than expected for the price. If we consider the price, there is not much competition. But the free harbor freight meter costs only a little more and is much better as a multimeter. Continuity (some variants of DT830 have a beeper), more accurate measurements, diode forward voltage check, etc.

If we ignore the price, functionality wise, it's probably one of the worst.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 01:13:06 am by kalel »
 
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Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2017, 07:36:49 pm »
It's pretty easy for me to pick my favorite of the ones I have looked at but picking the worst is more difficult.   There's no wrong answers here as far as I am concerned, as long as you provide your reasons explaining why you picked the meter you did.

The Gossen I bought to run was $850.  It was plagued with problem.  I would say some are even safety concerns   It was far more sensitive to RF than many meters I have looked at and you can't press a button without the thing whacking out from the static field.   The company has virtually zero communications and can't even seem to get their story right.   Still as bad as the meter is, at least it survived the grill starter.   

The UNI-T UT181A was $300.  Basically a Fluke knockoff with color and an few other nice features.   One strike with the grill starter and it was dead.   And as crappy as that was, the ICs that were damaged were available and I was at least able to repair it.   

Many other meters failed the grill starter test and could not be repaired.  But most of these were under $50.  The UT61E, is in this bracket.  Still, at $50 you are not out a lot.   Sure it could be better, but I don't think its the worst meter I have looked at.

For me the one that sticks out is the Summit TPI 194II.  It again has some very nice features.  One of the better hold functions I have seen.   The case is very solid.   I can even forgive that ugly lime green case.  It was one of the four meters that was damaged during the AC line test.  Worse, I was not able to get a replacement part to repair it.  The cost was $250.  Really a shame as just like the UT181A, it has the potential to be a really nice meter.  And I've shown that input protection is not that costly to add to a design.   

So that's my pick, the TPI194II. 
https://www.testproductsintl.com/digital-multimeters-dmms/194-digital-multimeter/
 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Deridex

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2017, 12:05:42 pm »
Sadly i had to work with multiple DMM already that made me quite unhappy. Most of them went straight to the recycling after it. But after all there are now some brands that i tend to avoid.
The Gossen I bought to run was $850.  It was plagued with problem.  I would say some are even safety concerns   It was far more sensitive to RF than many meters I have looked at and you can't press a button without the thing whacking out from the static field.   The company has virtually zero communications and can't even seem to get their story right.   Still as bad as the meter is, at least it survived the grill starter.   
That sounds like a topic for Dave   :popcorn:

 

Offline brucehoult

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2017, 02:08:01 pm »
What do you feel is the worst handheld multi-meter that is still available today and why?

I've ran a fair number of meters and you may think I would say the free Centech from Harbor Freight, but it's not even close.

I haven't previously heard of Centech or Harbor Frienght, but a google image search finds pics.

For avoidance of confusion: is it an "830" (aka UM7106 chipset) design?

The available ranges and features certainly make it look so.

I'm quite happy with my Mastech MAS830L for the microcontroller/breadboard things I use it for.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2017, 07:35:35 pm »
That sounds like a topic for Dave   :popcorn:

Joe did an excellent series of videos on it.

Dave's had some lemons, too:


 
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Offline MosherIV

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Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2017, 09:13:53 pm »
The OWON B35 is a complete piece of garbage and the manufacturer and its product distributors should be ashamed of themselves, I could easily waffle on for another few paragraphs in relation to this meter but I couldn't be bothered as these multimeters don't deserve any further attention except for negative so as to warn others how shit full these products really are.

 >:( :-BROKE
 

Offline Dwaine

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« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 11:53:04 pm by Dwaine »
 

Offline BMack

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2017, 05:59:46 am »
Hi

I would like to nominate the VC99

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Auto-Ranging-Multimeter-Capacitance-Temperature-Measurement/dp/B00EYYJRC0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1509394350&sr=8-2&keywords=autoranging+multimeter

I do not have one :phew:

Tenma rebrands these also, they're pretty terrible. Very comparable to a lot of the off-brand plastic-y feeling DMMs. Surprisingly accurate but way too slow to be usable in troubleshooting, one of the Techs at my shop bought one as a backup...I tested it out for him with an open mind, I promptly told him to return it or throw it away. He was too lazy to do it and he left it on my desk, sometimes I use it to test batteries.
 

Offline stj

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2017, 06:33:44 am »
i have a problem with any meter that can have it's readings effected by a low battery before it reaches the threshold to actually tell you it's low!!  |O

i'v had a few do that in the past, my current collection is not effected by this issue afaik.
 

Offline Deridex

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2017, 08:46:34 am »
That sounds like a topic for Dave   :popcorn:

Joe did an excellent series of videos on it.

Dave's had some lemons, too:


I thought he was talking about a Gossen DMM at the part i quoted, not a Uni-T
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2017, 08:59:00 am »
That sounds like a topic for Dave   :popcorn:
Joe did an excellent series of videos on it.

Dave's had some lemons, too:
I thought he was talking about a Gossen DMM at the part i quoted, not a Uni-T
I was.  You just missed Fungus's point that I had made a whole series of videos on the Gossen.  If you are interested in seeing them, feel free to visit my youtube channel, select the playlists, then select the one marked for Gossen.   
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2017, 09:03:48 am »
The OWON B35 is a complete piece of garbage and the manufacturer and its product distributors should be ashamed of themselves, I could easily waffle on for another few paragraphs in relation to this meter but I couldn't be bothered as these multimeters don't deserve any further attention except for negative so as to warn others how shit full these products really are.
 >:( :-BROKE

That looks like a very nice little meter.  Nothing in your post says why you feel it is a piece of garbage, just that it is.  How about posting what makes it the worst and save me the time of running one. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline Deridex

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2017, 09:55:08 am »
I was.  You just missed Fungus's point that I had made a whole series of videos on the Gossen.  If you are interested in seeing them, feel free to visit my youtube channel, select the playlists, then select the one marked for Gossen.   
Oh i'm sorry. I really missed that point  :palm:
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2017, 10:28:29 am »
The OWON B35 is a complete piece of garbage
That looks like a very nice little meter. 

Yep. Looks awesome for $66. Bar graph, lots of features, data logging via Bluetooth... it even comes in a case.

http://www.owon.com.hk/products_info.asp?ProID=181

For $66 it's a given that it won't meet CAT ratings, etc., but it would take far more than that for it to be classed as one of the worst meters available.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 11:31:01 am by Fungus »
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2017, 11:15:00 am »
Someone had asked me about running a TekPower branded TP9605BT meter that was in this same price range that also had BT.  Doing some research, it had a fair amount of poor feedback but sadly not much meat in the comments.  IMO, if you are going to take the time to say a something is poor, at least have some sort of data to back it up. 

I was watching some meter reviews over the last few weeks to get some ideas for a review I am working on.  Its amazing the number of reviews where someone at best connects the meter to a resistor or battery and say's how great the product is.   |O  Worse, they ask for money for their expert advice.     Sorry, only my second cup for the day.   :-DD
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Online Fungus

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2017, 11:47:15 am »
I just watched a video review or two of it. It all looks good. The Bluetooth app seems usable. Bar graph looks good. There's an HRC fuse on the 20A input. Meets accuracy specs. The case has embroidered Owon logo. Continuity test isn't very fast, but... that was about it.

The reviewer got his for under $60 delivered so I'm intrigued. What makes this one of the worst meters ever?
 

Offline Muttley Snickers

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2017, 11:55:24 am »
That looks like a very nice little meter.  Nothing in your post says why you feel it is a piece of garbage, just that it is.  How about posting what makes it the worst and save me the time of running one.

No problem but you will have to wait until the morning when I am able to access my other computer where I have documented a number of concerns, most of which are written here on the forum anyway but I cannot link them from this gadget. AVE also did a video on these meters but his criticism had nothing to do with my findings or experience.
 

Online rsjsouza

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2017, 11:57:09 am »
To me the absolute worst is the HY5300 (I have a Brazilian variant). Although it has a very large and high contrast display, that is pretty much the only nice feature. The range switch is very imprecise (important for a manual range meter), the cable tester has a severe flaw (USB connectors are both type A), the signal strength tester (a.k.a. satellite tester) is very imprecise and its construction is very bad. Quality control is bad as well, since my meter came with a bent potentiometer (for the satellite tester) and a loose rotary switch ball bearing inside.

Another candidate is the MS8211D, simply due to the flimsy construction of the retractable tip - the weak plastics broke after only a few uses and the metal is now continuously exposed.

My MAS830L is a fine meter, but it came with a severe quality control flaw: an extra rotary switch contact spring loose inside the housing. It is much better than the M830B models (a.k.a. Harbor Freight), but to me this alone is too dangerous to pass.
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Online Gyro

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2017, 12:28:01 pm »
Anything that shares the mA ranges with the Volts/ohms input jack. That should tick off a few.
Chris

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Offline 3db

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2017, 12:43:30 pm »
Hi

I would like to nominate the VC99

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Auto-Ranging-Multimeter-Capacitance-Temperature-Measurement/dp/B00EYYJRC0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1509394350&sr=8-2&keywords=autoranging+multimeter

I do not have one :phew:

I second that.
I bought one of those things a couple of years ago.
I hated it and gave it to someone because they had nothing.

 

Online Fungus

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2017, 02:14:46 pm »
I was watching some meter reviews over the last few weeks to get some ideas for a review I am working on.  Its amazing the number of reviews where someone at best connects the meter to a resistor or battery and say's how great the product is.   |O  Worse, they ask for money for their expert advice.     Sorry, only my second cup for the day.   :-DD

There's that, then there's Ben Heck's oscilloscope video...

https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/ben-hecks-oscilloscope-throwdown/
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Worst handheld multi-meter still available
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2017, 02:52:54 pm »
The UNI-T UT181A was $300.  Basically a Fluke knockoff with color and an few other nice features.   One strike with the grill starter and it was dead.   And as crappy as that was, the ICs that were damaged were available and I was at least able to repair it.
By grill starter, I assume you mean ignition? If so, what sort of ignition? A piezoelectric push-button ignition, which only outputs a small ESD level pulse or a ignition coil, such as the type found on a domestic cooker, connected to the mains?
 


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