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  • New DMM

    I have a Fluke 117 I got some years ago. It can't read milliamps and I've been considering getting another meter. I don't make a living working on electronics so I don't need the best of the best but willing to invest in a tool that I can use for years to come. Mostly working on low voltage stuff - guitar pedals, synths. But also high voltage stuff like guitar and bass amplifiers.

    Any suggestions on what meter I should get?

  • #2
    Have you checked the fuse in the 117?
    "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man."


    • #3
      The meter is designed for electricians, it has a 10A scale, but no low current scales.

      There are many many many excellent meters that will do the job. I like my ancient FLuke 75 and 77 meters.

      If you need to measure some milliamps, set the meter to volts, and connect it to a 1 ohm resistor. Now clip that resistor into the circuit where the milliamp meter would have gone. ANy voltage drop across the resistor equates to the same number of amps. In other words 23mv across the resistor means 23ma flowing through it. The exact way we often measure current through power tubes for bias adjustment.
      Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


      • #4
        I haven’t checked the fuse. Would the DMM still work if there was an issue with the fuse?

        enzo - does the resistor need to be a certain wattage?


        • #5
          Meters with current scales often have fuses inside for those scales. Blown fuse affects meter.

          Your 1 ohm resistor can be smallish, I usually use a watt or two just for size convenience. But it all matters what kinds of currents you are leasuring. For milliamps, a small wattage is fine. if you were measuring multiple amps, it works, but you already have a high ampere range on the meter.
          Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


          • #6
            It does not have a milliamp range, but that does not mean it can't read mA on the 10A function. Resolution is 1mA. That would read as .001 on the meter.
            I often use the 10A range on my meter. I don't need high resolution. Within 1 or 2 mA for setting bias is as close as I need to get.
            The only drawback is it's not fused for low current like a mA range would be.

            spec sheet for Fluke 117 attached.
            Attached Files
            "Everything is better with a tube. I have a customer with an all-tube pacemaker. His heartbeat is steady, reassuring and dependable, not like a modern heartbeat. And if it goes wrong he can fix it himself. You can't do that with SMD." - Mick Bailey