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Thread: Multimeter with inductance?

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    Multimeter with inductance?

    What multimeter do you recommend that measures inductance?

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    Quote 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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    I would like to measure pickup inductance and possibly guitar amp choke inductance.

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    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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    Dedicated LCR meters give much more reliable and accurate readings.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

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    Quote 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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    Quote 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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    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.

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    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

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    Quote 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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    Quote 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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    Quote 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.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 12-24-2018 at 10:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    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.
    I wasn't precise enough. Mention of D and Q isn't enough. What's needed is numerical specification of the range of D or Q values over which the meter will achieve stated accuracy. I did not find this in the ELC131D datasheet.

    The ELC131D was standard lab equipment with my EEs. I've had mine for 8 years or so.
    That's good to know. Not everybody is up for $250.


    I am used to search the global market.
    In the US, this was difficult until relatively recently. Now it's easy, and I buy many things directly from Europe and China.

    Like Jens Putzier: https://www.jensputzier.com/. This is a one-man shop, but he has stuff that's hard to get in the US.

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    What's needed is numerical specification of the range of D or Q values over which the meter will achieve stated accuracy. I did not find this in the ELC131D datasheet.
    If you look at the pdf spec, you will find that accuracy is specified for DF(D)<0.5, i.e. Q>2.0. I never cared, because I verified by direct comparison. Just measured a lossy steel core inductor:

    ELC131D:
    Ls= 636.4ÁH/Q= 1.88 @1kHz and Ls= 1.19H /Q= 1.37 @ 120Hz

    PT 2170:
    Ls= 639.1ÁH/Q= 1.91 @1kHz and Ls= 1.20H/ Q= 1.42 @120Hz


    Not everybody is up for $250.
    That seems to be matter of priorities. My ECL131D was about 150€ when new.
    The ELC131D has been around since the early 90s.

    Both my digital meters work better with low-Q inductors than my old Philips which uses a Maxwell-Wien bridge.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 12-25-2018 at 04:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    If you look at the pdf spec, you will find that accuracy is specified for DF(D)<0.5, i.e. Q>2.0. I never cared, because I verified by direct comparison. Just measured a lossy steel core inductor:

    ELC131D:
    Ls= 636.4ÁH/Q= 1.88 @1kHz and Ls= 1.19H /Q= 1.37 @ 120Hz

    PT 2170:
    Ls= 639.1ÁH/Q= 1.91 @1kHz and Ls= 1.20H/ Q= 1.42 @120Hz
    Hmm.. Many guitar pickups have Q values of 1.0 and below.

    That seems to be matter of priorities. My ECL131D was about 150€ when new.
    The ELC131D has been around since the early 90s.
    Well, yes. There are many needs and few dollars.


    Both my digital meters work better with low-Q inductors than my old Philips which uses a Maxwell-Wien bridge.
    This is odd. What is the model number of the old Philips?

    I built my bridges from discrete components, each componet's value having been measured to 1% before assembly.

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    Hmm.. Many guitar pickups have Q values of 1.0 and below.
    Never saw one. But both meters are within 1% with an inductor having a Q of 0.4.

    What is the model number of the old Philips?
    PM 6302

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    typo

    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Never saw one. But both meters are within 1% with an inductor having a Q of 0.4.
    I recall discussions of units with very low Q, with lots of #42 wire. Probably for a Base <something>.

    In my notes (of 21 February 2005): "The Eastman" by Kent Armstrong, Model HJGS-1. Rdc = 7.978 Kohms. Test at 1 KHz. 2.776 Henrys, Rac= 10.99 Kohms. (The excess of Rac over Rdc is 3.012 Kohms; this is the eddy current burden, which does count in Q computation.)

    At 1000 Hz, Reactance is 2.776*(2 Pi 1000) = 17,442 Ohms. The Q is this divided by 10,992 ohms, or 1.58. I think that is the smallest I have measured.

    PM 6302
    I found the service manual. It sure looks plausible; don't know why there would have been a problem. Hmm - it may have been hard to detect when the bridge was actually balanced if one is only measuring the amplitude of the bridge null signal, and not the phase. I recall having to bounce between phase and amplitude to find the null. I'll read the manual more deeply.

    I forgot to mention when this all happened. I built the impedance bridge in mid 2004, and very few of the handheld LRC meters of that day worked correctly with pickups.

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    The Q is this divided by 10,992 ohms, or 1.58. I think that is the smallest I have measured.
    In an earlier post you wrote "Many guitar pickups have Q values of 1.0 and below." And I replied that I never saw one having a Q that low.

    As indicated above, the ELC131D has been available since around 1993. It works perfectly down to a Q of 0.4 and certainly lower.
    Apart from that, I don't see a need to measure PU inductance to better than say +/- 3%.

    The OP asked for advice regarding L meters suitable for PUs and I recommended a couple that I am familiar with and know that work just fine.
    These ÁC-based LCR meters are much easier to handle than traditional bridges. And they are really accurate.

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    I have a question to owners of the DE-5000:

    The spec sheet lists 4-wire (Kelvin) measurement as a feature. Looking at the picture I can spot only 3 receptacles. How is this supposed to work? Are one or two of the receptacles actually coaxial double contacts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    I have a question to owners of the DE-5000:

    The spec sheet lists 4-wire (Kelvin) measurement as a feature. Looking at the picture I can spot only 3 receptacles. How is this supposed to work? Are one or two of the receptacles actually coaxial double contacts?
    I have the meter but not the Kelvin adapter. Maybe this video will show you something?
    http://electricalandelectronicsandst...lvin-clip.html
    nosaj

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    From what I have read, the socket itself is '4 wire'.

    The TL-21 lead adapter joins the wires inside the adapter box.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The TL-22 SMD tweezers join the wires very near the tip.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is a nice 'teardown' of the unit: https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testge...-and-teardown/

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    Thanks!
    It seems that for the 4-wire measurement the Kelvin adapter is required, which uses the blade contacts plus at least one of the normal receptacles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    Thanks!
    It seems that for the 4-wire measurement the Kelvin adapter is required, which uses the blade contacts plus at least one of the normal receptacles.
    Edit: 4 wire measurement is supported. Each single banana socket is split in 2 inside. The blade terminals are double sided, so 2 conductors per blade.
    Unfortunately, no accessories are sold for 4 wire measurement with this unit. You must build your own by modification of the TL-21 or TL-22.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by g1; 12-29-2018 at 03:13 AM.
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    That's what I suspected originally. Means that the spec sheet is cheating. Confused by the improvements shown in the video. Could still be a 3-wire measurement, which is better than 2 wires if done correctly. This can eliminate/compensate lead wire resistance but not contact resistance.

    Anyway, the PeakTech 2170 recommended above does full 4-wire measurement. Absolutely not necessary for PU measurements but highly welcome when measuring ESR or Q of caps and for designing a dummy load emulating speaker impedance .

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 12-28-2018 at 10:22 PM.
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    The tear down article referenced in post #24 seems to indicate that there are 2 contacts on each of the + and the - blade contacts. Therefore, it's likely that the adapter box does provide true 4 wire connection. The dual contacts are visible in the photos in post #24. (Same photos as used in the tear down article)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reader View Post
    The tear down article referenced in post #24 seems to indicate that there are 2 contacts on each of the + and the - blade contacts. Therefore, it's likely that the adapter box does provide true 4 wire connection. The dual contacts are visible in the photos in post #24. (Same photos as used in the tear down article)
    This would make sense. It means that the two contacts on the blades are separated by some insulating carrier. Not obvious to me from the pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    This would make sense. It means that the two contacts on the blades are separated by some insulating carrier. Not obvious to me from the pictures.
    I think the blades are one sided edge style connections made of PCBoard material. I could not find a photo showing the other side of those blades. That would clear up the situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reader View Post
    I think the blades are one sided edge style connections made of PCBoard material. I could not find a photo showing the other side of those blades. That would clear up the situation.
    This tear down thread should explain it the jacks are split to allow for kelvin measurements.
    https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testge...-and-teardown/Click image for larger version. 

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    nosaj

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reader View Post
    I think the blades are one sided edge style connections made of PCBoard material. I could not find a photo showing the other side of those blades. That would clear up the situation.
    You are correct. I took my TL-21 apart. Sorry I can't post a photo right now.
    What I don't understand is why there is no 4 probe accessory and no mention of 4 wire Kelvin type measurement in the operation section of the manual?
    Unless those 3 slots are a standard type connector, there is no way to hook up 4 probes.

    (edit: I do still need to watch that EEV video, hopefully it will clear everything up)

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    Back side of PCB note the 3 connection points at the bottom 2 are split to allow for Kelvin measurements
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The last link I posted I think is easier to consume than the video by Dave from eevblog.
    nosaj

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    Last edited by nosaj; 12-29-2018 at 12:44 AM.
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    Thanks nosaj.
    Split banana's are definitely new to me. Still think it's very odd there is no mention of it or of an accessory available in the instruction manual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    It does not seem to have kelvin 4 wire capability. It has 2 probe ports and 'shield'. Only 3 terminals of the meter are used at a time.
    On the adapter, the 3 blade terminals are used, the other 3 are 'dummies' and only used for physical support.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yes it does have four-wire support. I have one too. The flat blades have copper on the two sides, and glass-epoxy PWB material between.

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