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  • Multimeter with inductance?

    What multimeter do you recommend that measures inductance?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Axtman View Post
    What multimeter do you recommend that measures inductance?
    What kind of inductor are you measuring? If its a pickup, your options are limited.

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    • #3
      I would like to measure pickup inductance and possibly guitar amp choke inductance.

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      • #4
        Might be better off buying a used LCR meter from eBay. You can find something that originally cost thousand of dollars for cheap.

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        • #5
          Dedicated LCR meters give much more reliable and accurate readings.
          - Own Opinions Only -

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          • #6
            While there are loads of hand-held DMM-style LCR Meters on the market now, I still rely on the traditional LCR Bridges with 4-leaded Kelvin Clips and similar on-board 4-terminal lead fixtures, which null out the lead resistance and provide the source potential on one side of the leads and the bridge measurement input on the other side of the leads. They tend to cost more than the new generation hand-held meters, though used. They are the real deal....most being built by major test equipment manufacturers, many offering multiple test frequencies, bias voltages, ability to supply external bias and signal sources to go beyond those built in.

            The new generation LCR meters may be just fine. I'd look to see if there's any comparison reports out there to qualify them.
            Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

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            • #7
              I also value Kelvin clamps. I use and love this LCR meter:

              https://www.peaktech.de/productdetai...tech-2170.html

              Also have an old analog Philips LCR meter but I prefer the digital one. Much more accurate and convenient.
              - Own Opinions Only -

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
                I also value Kelvin clamps. I use and love this LCR meter:

                https://www.peaktech.de/productdetai...tech-2170.html

                Also have an old analog Philips LCR meter but I prefer the digital one. Much more accurate and convenient.
                That's a nice instrument! You sure didn't find things like this on the market when GenRad was in business, selling their Digi-Bridges, one of which I have, along with their 1650B Impedance Bridge, and an ESI 296 bridge. Time marches on, and lots of cool small boxes taking advantage of new technology out there.
                Logic is an organized way of going wrong with confidence

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
                  I also value Kelvin clamps. I use and love this LCR meter:

                  https://www.peaktech.de/productdetai...tech-2170.html
                  Looks like a good instrument. By the way, for measuring guitar pickups, the ability to measure low-Q (high-D) devices is essential - pickups are very lossy inductors.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Axtman View Post
                    I would like to measure pickup inductance and possibly guitar amp choke inductance.
                    Guitar pickups are very lossy inductors, and most handheld LCR meters will claim wildly inaccurate inductances. Note that for pickups, test frequencies exceeding 1 kilohertz are not useable.

                    What we typically use is:

                    Der EE DE-5000: https://www.ebay.com/p/DER-EE-DE-500...eter/691179223 $90

                    There was a thread dedicated to verifying the usefulness of the DE-5000: https://music-electronics-forum.com/...hlight=DE-5000

                    Extech 380193: https://www.amazon.com/Extech-380193...nent+lcr+meter $170


                    Suggested today:

                    PeakTech® 2170 (this is new, but looks very good): https://www.peaktech.de/productdetai...tech-2170.html Euro 218 ($250) or so.

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                    • #11
                      Guitar pickups are very lossy inductors, and most handheld LCR meters will claim wildly inaccurate inductances.
                      This may be true for simple DMMs with L measuring function. but I never noticed such inaccuracies with the digital LCR meters I used. Fact is that apparent inductance varies with measuring frequency and mode (series vs parallel) for several reasons. I always use the series equivalent circuit mode.
                      - Own Opinions Only -

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                      • #12
                        I also own one of these:

                        https://www.ebay.com/p/Escort-ELC131...ter/1978183468

                        It is accurate and reliable, completely sufficient for PU inductance measurements. Measuring frequencies 120Hz/1kHz.

                        https://www.otdl.com/131d.pdf
                        - Own Opinions Only -

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
                          This may be true for simple DMMs with L measuring function. but I never noticed such inaccuracies with the digital LCR meters I used. Fact is that apparent inductance varies with measuring frequency and mode (series vs parallel) for several reasons. I always use the series equivalent circuit mode.
                          You are very fortunate. Here in the US, we had a lot of trouble with handheld (simple = cheap enough?) LCR meters that measured only the absolute magnitude of the reactance, and thus implicitly assumed that the components were pure inductors or capacitors (as defined by which button the user pressed).

                          This works OK for transformers and inductors, but failed miserably for guitar pickups: The errors were by large factors, and not by percentages, and at the time we did not know why.

                          This initially drove me to build a Maxwell-Wien Impedance Bridge, which was widely used by national standards labs before the days of digital. The results were then used to qualify digital LCR meters, and showed that the root cause was that high-impedance pickups are low-Q inductors. Now days, with cheap digital components and expired patents, any LCR meter that specifies an acceptable range of Q or D values is probably acceptable. If no Q or D spec, beware -- assume that it is not suitable until proven otherwise.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Helmholtz View Post
                            I also own one of these:

                            https://www.ebay.com/p/Escort-ELC131...ter/1978183468

                            It is accurate and reliable, completely sufficient for PU inductance measurements. Measuring frequencies 120Hz/1kHz.

                            https://www.otdl.com/131d.pdf
                            I could not find a Q or D spec anywhere in the ELC131D datasheet. Have you calibrated this unit against the Peak 2170? That would be useful.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Joe Gwinn View Post
                              I could not find a Q or D spec anywhere in the ELC131D datasheet. Have you calibrated this unit against the Peak 2170? That would be useful.
                              Yes, it measures Q/D. See datasheet "Features" and "Display". I did compare the meters. Even compared both to the >10k $ HP impedance analyzer in our lab. I tend to make sure before I recommend something.
                              The ELC131D was standard lab equipment with my EEs. I've had mine for 8 years or so.

                              Here in the US, we had a lot of trouble with handheld (simple = cheap enough?) LCR meters that measured only the absolute magnitude of the reactance, and thus implicitly assumed that the components were pure inductors or capacitors (as defined by which button the user pressed).
                              I am used to search the global market.
                              Last edited by Helmholtz; 12-24-2018, 09:11 PM.
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