Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Advice for multimeter upgrade

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #16
    I cut my teeth on a cheap meter, til I learned to use them without blowing them up. Then I got a Fluke 112. I don't mind using the cheap meters, but yes, the range limitations would make it just another step to take, as I see it. As Bob P said, MAYBE that 10R resistor reading is accurate, but I can't know! So if it ends up being critical to know for SURE, I then have to pull out my nice meter to verify...

    That said, if I could get a "cheap" meter that DOES go to 1kV, then I could work on Music Mans... on the High setting. My Fluke won't do that... BUT: it also did not blow up when I tried!

    I do agree that a simple On/Off switch would be SO nice, as I always feel like the dial in my Fluke is going to be the first thing to go... And there ARE times when I'd rather just have it stay on. But I do believe there is a way to circumvent that at startup. Somewhere in the manual... :P

    One thing I ALWAYS forget to do: check my test lead resistance before checking really low values of resistance! I need to do that more often when checking bias current resistors in amps...

    Justin
    "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
    "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by bob p View Post
      No, 200 not the meter's range. If that were the case, then a 200-ohm range would make it a very poor excuse for a meter.

      200 is the lower limit of the range. The packaging states that the range is 200R to 20kR.


      You tell me. The manufacturer's specs clearly say that the meter is only rated for 200R to 20,000R, with no accuracy figures provided in that useable range. According to the packaging anything below 200 ohms is out of the meter's stated rage, as is anything over 20k ohms. Sure, you can get "a reading" when you take measurements outside of the stated range, but who knows if they're anywhere close to being accurate? Or precise?

      I take measurements that are beyond that meter's published specs every time I work on an amp.

      If that makes me a snob then yes, I'm a snob, and I don't take offense by being called a snob. In the big scheme of things, we need to stop hijacking the OP's thread. He is not interested in upgrading to a cheap-ass $5 meter. He asked about upgrading his equipment, and the $5 HF meter doesn't answer his question. If anything, its' the kind of test equipment that he's trying to move away from.
      You don't know what your talking about.
      the ohms has a 200, 2000,20k,200k, &2000k.
      Those are all range scales!
      The first 200 scale reads 1-200.
      Now put your meter on 200, and read a 1 ohm resistor.
      good enough for most stuff.
      If you can't figure that out, you need to put it back in the box!
      I rest my case!
      I for one, don't care if anyone uses them but I do, and I like them.
      The biggest short coming, is the short leads, but those can be replaced.
      T


      "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
      Terry

      Comment


      • #18
        Not having one in hand I will withhold judgement. But, it would seem misleading, the printed specs on the back... it may not be intentional to mislead, but it should say the range is 0-2000k. Same for voltages... Just a small point, but may help the company make more sales to upgrade the printed literature!

        Justin
        "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
        "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
        "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

        Comment


        • #19
          Here look at the manual, on I think page 4.
          http://manuals.harborfreight.com/man...8999/98025.pdf
          The meter does not autorange so they give all the separate ranges.
          On 200, it reads <1-200, if the resistor is over 200, then you go to the next larger scale.
          Easy Peasy!
          Last edited by big_teee; 07-01-2016, 08:06 PM.


          "If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride!" Scottish Proverb 1600s
          Terry

          Comment


          • #20
            It is definitely the range setting is lowest at 200. Meaning, yes, 1-200 ohms. I have a similar Centech type meter which was the first one I ever bought. The point I agree with on the other hand is the OP has requested advice for upgrade to his current meter. Auto Range select would be a great upgrade if his current one is like this one. BTW (HEY MWINT50...??) what is your current meter you have right now? If he has a cheapo then he keeps that one and adds another to his collection then he can always use the old meter for certain things to keep the wear and tear down on the new upgraded one.
            When the going gets weird... The weird turn pro!

            Comment


            • #21
              It's also handy-dandy two have two or three meters, for measuring simultaneous things... kinda hard to measure bias voltage at the same time as cathode current with a single meter...

              Justin
              "Wow it's red! That doesn't look like the standard Marshall red. It's more like hooker lipstick/clown nose/poodle pecker red." - Chuck H. -
              "Of course that means playing **LOUD** , best but useless solution to modern sissy snowflake players." - J.M. Fahey -
              "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

              Comment


              • #22
                Terry, I think you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. You've been overtly confrontational and discourteous in your tone without good reason. You've done this repeatedly in several posts, and you've even stooped to the level of name-calling. WTH? Nobody's attacking you or trying to discredit you. If you love your $5 meter then enjoy it in good health. But I think your bedside manner could use a bit of improvement. As a moderator you know that It's OK to disagree with someone and there's no reason to turn things into an interpersonal tete-a-tete.

                Looking at your link to the manual, I see that you're absolutely right and I was wrong about the 200R range setting. The 200R spec is indeed a range setting, and as Justin noted, the specifications as listed on the meter's packaging are horribly misleading. You literally have to buy the unit, open it, and read the manual (or find the manual online) in order to see the meter's actual specs.

                Now that we're looking at the manual, take a close look at the specs on page 4. There's a table there that provides accuracy data for the measurement of different parameters. It's a shame that you can't see these numbers before you buy, because they're not printed on the outside of the box. You have to buy the package and open it to see the real specs. And when you get the package open, there is a conspicuous absence of any mention of accuracy in resistance measurements.

                Like every other cheap "meter on a chip" package, this meter is accurate enough for measuring DC current, DC voltage and AC voltage. But notice that the specs conspicuously avoid providing any statement of accuracy in regard to the resistance measurements. Why? Because like most meter-on-a-chip packages, the specs are so poor that the manufacturer doesn't want to publish the numbers.

                As I mentioned in my first post, the accuracy of the $5 bargain handheld meters leave quite a bit to be desired when it comes to accuracy in performing low resistance measurements. And the unit's frequency response for AC signals is bandwidth limited to the point that you can't use it to measure all of the relevant audio signals, like the universal 1KHz test tone. The $5 HF meter's published specs support the assertion that it's a pretty accurate voltage/current meter and that's about it. When looking at the specs it's important to understand what they say, as well as what they don't say.

                You're right, I'm not as familiar with the $5 HF meter as you are. Even though I have 5 or 6 of them in my junk drawer I avoid using them because I have several other inexpensive meters that I think are far better test instruments. Of course, none of this ongoing banter about the $5 HF meter is doing anything to help answer the OP's question about upgrading his equipment, so as a courtesy to him I think we should agree to end the pointless debate and focus on making recommendations about meters that would service his desire to upgrade. Obviously, the $5 HF meter provides a lot of bang for the buck but if it were as great as you say it is, then everybody would be buying meters at HF and Fluke would be out of business.
                "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

                "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Justin Thomas View Post
                  It's also handy-dandy two have two or three meters, for measuring simultaneous things... kinda hard to measure bias voltage at the same time as cathode current with a single meter...

                  Justin
                  Yes!

                  Cheap meters can be particularly useful for simultaneous measurements. The cheap meters are pretty acccurate when it comes to measuring DC voltages, current, and AC voltages if you keep the signal confined within their bandwidth limits. It would be inexpensive and easy to put a meter on the amp's output and another one across the cathode current sense resistor, for example, when biasing or taking power measurements on an amp. The only problem with is that you have to pay attention to meter bandwidth, especially in those cases where you've got a cheap meter that can't accurately measure AC at 1 KHz.
                  "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

                  "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Upgrade to Fluke, as was said. B&k also used to make some decent meters. If you want a decent bench meter, often eBay can get you something older that will outlast you, such as a Simpson or a old HP. I actually have 1 decent handheld, 3 bench meters, 1 cheap meter i will only use for working on a lawnmower.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      That sounds sensible! Thanks. My long term goal is to build guitar amps and stereo amplifiers specifically for turntables. For now I have guitar amps that I love that are not yet repaired. Back to the workbench!

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        How are the new-production Flukes? The market also seems to be awash with Chinese-market only models such as the 15B - what's the deal with those?

                        FWIW, my all-time favourite meter is the Fluke 12. Single-handed operation, robust, reliable, super-quick. I got my first as a service engineer in '92 and it's been dropped, spilled-on, chucked in a tool box, sat on, kicked. It has been subject to HT whilst set to resistance and just shrugs it off. I has been in daily use since new. The leads and probes are still the originals. I like it so much I got another brand-new boxed one last year that came calibrated. I have other meters, but I like the simplicity of the Fluke.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          My 75 and 77 have worked well for decades. I don't need newer bells and whistles.

                          I like the HF cheapies too. I use them for go/no-go readings, not accuracy. If I need to know if a resistor is 198 or 223 ohms, I;ll get out the good meter. If I want to know if the resistor is open or not, then anything works. I leave them in the warehouse to see if outlets are live, if speakers are open, etc. Don't have to bring the good bench meter out to the warehouse. As to measuring 1000v with those probes, well, I can't imagine why I'd be trying. I suppose for that matter I could get out my high voltage probe, haven;t used that in years. 1000/1, use to measure 30kv on CRTs and so on.

                          Point of information: Does HF rate the PROBES at 1000v? I see the METER rated for 1000v, but I see no mention of the probe wires. One might want to assume the probes have the same rating as the meter, but I won't.
                          Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Enzo View Post
                            Point of information: Does HF rate the PROBES at 1000v? I see the METER rated for 1000v, but I see no mention of the probe wires. One might want to assume the probes have the same rating as the meter, but I won't.
                            This might shed some light on the question:

                            The face of my $5 HF/Centech meter says "750VAC 1000VDC 200mA max CAT II" next to the banana jacks. The leads themselves don't have any writing whatsoever on them, neither on the cables nor on the probe handles. Looking at things literally, the meter has a 1000 VDC CAT II rating written on it while the probes are not rated.

                            For comparison, I recently bought a pair of Milwaukee 2216-20 TRMS multimeters when Home Depot was blowing them out for $30. The face of the meter says "CAT III 600V". The probe wires are stamped with flame test ratings, temp ratings, voltage ratings, etc. that repeat themselves along the wire. The lead wire is rated at 2000 VDC. The probe handles have their ratings embossed into them: "CAT III 1000V CAT IV 600V."

                            These ratings can be kind of an alphabet soup when it comes to deciphering them, but a CAT II 1000VDC rating isn't very good. In terms of overvoltage transient protection for the user, it's not as good as a CAT III 600VDC rating.

                            Some of us might not be familiar with how meters are rated, so here's some reference material that might be helpful:

                            Does Your Meter Safety Measure Up?


                            Explanation of IEC Category Ratings

                            What are Electrical Measurement Categories (CAT III, Cat IV, etc)?

                            The most important take home point is that if a piece of test equipment doesn't have any ratings then you should not trust your life to it on high voltage measurements. I won't use ungraded probes for anything more than testing a battery. There's no way I'd use them to measure high voltage circuits, especially something that could produce a flyback spike.
                            "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

                            "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Whatever meter you end up with, invest in some good test leads. Silicone rubber is a good choice for durability, safety, burn resistance and flexibility. I have a Fluke 8050 bench meter with original leads from when I bought it in 1985 for $400. When I opened my shop I collected every piece of quality test instruments I could get because there was a very active test gear swap meet every month in Silicon Valley before eBay drove the prices of good gear. I collected hundreds of HP, Tektronix, GenRad, Sound Technology and Fairchild lab type pieces for dc-to about 10ghz. Some guys collect guitars, my think was refurbishing good test gear. I say this because of all the meters, analog and digital, my most used meter was the 22 Fluke 8050's I ended up with. It is not autoranging, which I don't care for since the reading is slower to settle and slower to recognize the value. A used 8050 is a modest costs but it reliable, accurate and runs on batteries when turned on for total isolation from the mains. It is kept plugged in to charge only when turned off. A lot of HP meters of the era also ran from internal batteries when turned on.
                              Some of the other features that attract attention to cheap digital are transistor testers, capacitance meters and frequency counters. None are very effective in those roles.
                              A very useful feature of any AC meter is a db scale, with switchable Z . The Z does not change, it simply uses its math functions to calculate the right value for the high-z input impedance. But having dbm, dbv, and dbu over a wide range is very handy for any pro audio application or even quick stage gain measurements. I am surprised more techs working on guitar amps do not log stage gain, it is very handy to know if gain is as it should be and which stage if off compared to logged history of that model in prior repairs. If a customer says the amp is losing power, often he means that he has to crank it up more or feed it stronger signals. A 10db difference will not be noticed on the bench in an amp that has 70db of gain end to end but the owner will feel it has less gain. Log it on every amp that comes in. I have the HP400FL and GL meters for RMS, the 8050, and a Fluke 8921 lab AC meter plus a dozen other types of AC meters here. The Sound Technology 1700B Distortion (I brought 2 of them with me here)test set has a gain ratio function that makes gain measurements as easy as measuring a resistor's resistance.
                              One piece of gear I brought when I moved that was repurposed for amp work is a digital test set for analog tape systems, from Sound Technology that will do all sorts of tests and display graphs of the results. The MOL test (maximum operating level) for a tape and deck plots distortion and compression against input amplitude, or just how much level can be used to hit the tape with before 3% distortion is reached. That is also where compression occurs, where the increase in flux density of the head results in a non-linear increase in recovered signal. One button press and it steps level increases until the distortion and compression is reached. The same thing occurs in overdriven guitar or hi-fi amps. It has proven to be very effective in designing mods for preamps and power amps.
                              Test gear, good test gear, is very cool. I enjoy repairing and calibration of quality gear more than guitar amps which all seem like amateur designs compared to test gear.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by km6xz View Post
                                I enjoy repairing and calibration of quality gear more than guitar amps which all seem like amateur designs compared to test gear.
                                I think the same can be said for audio gear in general. Test equipment is always designed to a higher standard with better frequency response, bandwidth, common mode rejection, etc.

                                Your comment reminds me of the $15,000 "Real-Time (tube) Preamp" sold by VacuumState Electronics in CH. This uber-HiFi design is essentially a diffamp that was lifted out of a 1950s HP oscilloscope.
                                "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

                                "I happen to have an original 1955 Stratocaster! The neck and body have been replaced with top quality Warmoth parts, I upgraded the hardware and put in custom, hand wound pickups. It's fabulous. There's nothing like that vintage tone or owning an original." - Chuck H

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X