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Thread: Best DMM for under $50?

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Best DMM for under $50?

    This has been beat on before, but since the choices change a lot, what do you think would be the best small DMM in the $30-$50 range?
    Say for leaving in several places, not necessary for bench use?
    Like in the truck, boat, or desk drawer?
    Discuss away?
    T

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    Aneng 8008 or Q1

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexradium View Post
    Aneng 8008 or Q1
    Found it.
    https://www.amazon.com/Alloet-True-R.../dp/B072JMBLJS

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well a used Fluke 87, which is what I have, is a bit higher than that. But considering your requirements, which looks to include durability, I can attest that I don't think meters get any tougher than my 87. If the more affordable models are similarly built I might consider a used Fluke meter. Maybe other members here could comment on the viability of such models as the 77 II-III and 115, 116 etc. They go less than $50 on *bay all the time.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I have a Fluke 89, leftover from my comm tech job.
    More meter, than needed for working on cars, boats, etc.
    I like cheapies, for knocking off of cars and boats, etc !

    The Klein meter gets good reviews.
    https://www.amazon.com/Multimeter-Au...32&s=hi&sr=1-2

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    I have a Fluke 89, leftover from my comm tech job.
    More meter, than needed for working on cars, boats, etc.
    I like cheapies, for knocking off of cars and boats, etc !

    The Klein meter gets good reviews.
    https://www.amazon.com/Multimeter-Au...32&s=hi&sr=1-2
    Ah. I understand. There's a big difference between knocking a cheap meter off the gunwale and knocking a nice, used meter that you paid the same price for off the gunwale I don't know exactly why, but that's real.

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    So where are all these used flukes for $50 or less, suitable for knocking off the boat?
    T

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    So where are all these used flukes for $50 or less, suitable for knocking off the boat?
    T
    I thought the point we just made was that there's no such thing as a Fluke suitable for knocking off a boat. I actually wasn't being sarcastic when I said there's a difference (in my head) between ruining a cheap meter and ruining used Fluke of the same price.

    But here you go. These are SOLD auctions so you're seeing the actual prices paid:

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_fro...ete=1&_fosrp=1

    And here's what is for sale right now that you can bid on. It looks like Fluke may have a couple of "economy" models that I know nothing about. I was thinking along the lines of a used 77 or something:

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_ftr...cat=0&_fosrp=1

    Both result lists used the criteria of "used" and "under $50"

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    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Supporting Member mozz's Avatar
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    Back a while ago , there were Fluke 27fm's on Ebay, used military meters, o-ring seals, true rms, etc. I bought 2 and want a 3rd but i don't the see the giant surplus of them anymore.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I've never been that big on purchasing used stuff, I usually get someone elses problems.
    I may try this one.
    Has some features I like, and uses AA batteries, that I have an access of!
    https://www.amazon.com/Tacklife-DM01...9192026&sr=8-4

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    Last edited by big_teee; 01-16-2020 at 09:16 PM.


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    I like picking up the ultra-cheapies ($10 range) to leave everywhere I might need one, like family and friend's places where they are always asking 'do you know what might be wrong with...?'. So instead of asking 'do you have a meter' I can ask, 'where's that meter I left here?' So, yeah, that means I need one in all my vehicles too, just in case.
    Typically the kind we find up here at Canadian Tire, or in the US I guess it would be the Harbour Freight ones Enzo often mentions.

    The main things to look out for with these are the voltage ratings of the probes (usually I would not trust them for tube amp voltages), and the inability to measure AC on top of DC (like ripple but I wouldn't be doing this anyway due to the probe issue).

    Other than that, for a real meter that I would use for everything, and not want to give away or lose, the Aheng mentioned earlier gets rave reviews. I might choose 8002 instead of 8008.

    If I didn't already have a cap meter, the basic cap function on the Tacklife above would be helpful also.

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    "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

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    I sometimes get involved in automotive troubleshooting (especially on bikes) when I visit friends and end up using whatever meters they have in their toolboxes. They're usually really cheap - the sort that get given away in promotions. It doesn't really matter if they're a digit out in accuracy or don't measure RMS - I can figure it out. The main thing is that I have a meter of any sort to measure the basics. So that usually works out ok, but if I were to spend my own money I'd want something a little better in terms of robustness and perhaps proper internal circuit protection. Many cheap DMMS just have a single fuse for the low ranges and (say) a 10A fuse for the high current range. No additional protection such as spark gaps, MOVS etc. which means that the meter can easily get fried by an inductive spike.

    I don't believe the categories printed on many of these cheap meters. Would you trust any of them at 600v or 1000v? You want to be sure that the plug end of the leads is shrouded and secure. You don't want an unshrouded plug coming adrift from the meter when probing something that could shock you.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I have a good meter, and want one around. But having said that, MOST of the time an accurate reading is not the issue. I usually don't have to worry if the 15v rail is 15.1 or 14.9 volts. What I usually need to know is if it is present or not. Is the B+ missing is more important that is the B+ 480 or 490. Is that diode open or shorted or showing roughly half a volt drop? Is that speaker open? Likely the speaker won't be "wrong".

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    There are so many low cost useful ones out there today that it’s hard to say.. I can tell you I like one that has capacitor function (just for measuring value), a diode setting, and a continuity beep... maybe even a signal generator and a thermal probe. I do not like “auto-ranging” meters. I was consulted a while back to find out what was going on in a biotech production line situation application a while back. One of the problems was they had very expensive new Fluke lab spec multimeters. The damn techs couldn’t tell if they had one ohm or one meg resistance in their lead dress. I went to Frys and bought a $14 meter on sale that was not auto-ranging and had a continuity “beep” function. It immediately and simply stopped a whole set of problems.

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    The damn techs couldn’t tell if they had one ohm or one meg
    That's strange as auto-ranging meters typically display units.

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    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    That's true but sometimes it's shown much smaller than the digits. I have the same problem with mine, I can see the numbers from across the bench, but I can't see the units without having it right in front of me.

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    "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

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by g1 View Post
    That's true but sometimes it's shown much smaller than the digits. I have the same problem with mine, I can see the numbers from across the bench, but I can't see the units without having it right in front of me.
    To say nothing of the "techs"

    If you can't figure out what the meter is trying to tell you then there's something wrong on one end or the other.

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

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    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck H View Post
    To say nothing of the "techs"

    If you can't figure out what the meter is trying to tell you then there's something wrong on one end or the other.
    Yep.. these “techs” had a chemistry lab tech background. Even the PHD Chemist in charge didn’t have a clue. No idea what that little “M” meant lol! “But it says 20”!

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    And what they are used to. I had a guy try his first digital meter, and gave up and went back to analog meter. Why? The reading was always changing. it didn't matter to him when I pointed out the 5v reading he was taking was changing from 5.016 to 5.017, then 5.015, and so on. I suggested a piece of tape over the irrelevant digits.

    They may exist, but I have never used an autoranging meter that did not have a range hold button.

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    Stray Cap DrGonz78's Avatar
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    I was setting the balance on a SVT I worked on last year. I forgot that I set my Fluke to MV setting while trying to zero out the meter. I was thinking it was on regular voltage scale and kept thinking man this thing is very sensitive. After I set it to zero I then realized it was 0.0000 or something. NASA type precision on an old tube amp. Any way at least it was set as good as it was ever going to be set.

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    I really like auto-ranging meters and my most-used Fluke auto-switches to volts if on the resistance range and a voltage is detected. You can operate it in manual or range-hold mode but it's so convenient as it stands and totally unambiguous on auto-ranging, so I rarely do this.

    The one thing that grinds my gears with cheap DMMs is how long some take to get a resistance reading.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I'm looking at maybe getting this one?
    https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Multi...l%2C276&sr=1-6
    Meter is a little smaller, and comes in a nice kit.
    Would fit nice in a desk drawer, or car glove box.
    I have the Fluke 89, tucked away, for when I need it.
    T

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    I like Brymen multimeters, though the price in the UK is higher than I see in some countries. They're Taiwanese, have excellent internal protection and look to be much better quality than most. Many of the models are properly certified and not just printed up with a meaningless Cat level. The BM235 would be my choice and would probably even become a go-to meter. I notice that this is now endorsed by Dave Jones (EEVblog). It has some neat features such as lead/probe zeroing and auto/manual ranging.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    That's the EEV branded version. Here in the UK that's £117 but the regular version is £75. I also saw it about 2 years ago in a $50 review. The only difference is the branding and blue holster. I wondered if it would be cheaper in the USA, as most things seem to be about 1/2 to 2/3 the price of stuff in the UK.

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    Stray Cap DrGonz78's Avatar
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    I literally just watched EEV blog video where he is giving away 6 meters. They'll go to schools or something of a charitable source.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K44sXJK_5oE&t=330s

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    This isn’t under $50..it’s $150.. but it seems handy. Max 150v rms input but you can use up to a 1000:1 probe. I’ve seen them on WISH for $50.
    Digital Oscilloscope Kit, 3 in 1 Universal Test Instrument, Oscilloscope + Waveform Generator + Multimeter, Large Capacity Lithium Battery(40 MHz + 2CH + DMM + AFG) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PF9TQHV..._jtEkEbWN3VC63

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olddawg View Post
    This isn’t under $50..it’s $150.. but it seems handy. Max 150v rms input but you can use up to a 1000:1 probe. I’ve seen them on WISH for $50.
    Digital Oscilloscope Kit, 3 in 1 Universal Test Instrument, Oscilloscope + Waveform Generator + Multimeter, Large Capacity Lithium Battery(40 MHz + 2CH + DMM + AFG) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PF9TQHV..._jtEkEbWN3VC63
    I don't prefer to see a thread get off topic,.. But that's a lot of bang. I want one.

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    I want one.
    Chuck order me one too!
    T

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    Chuck order me one too!
    T
    Oh I can't get one now. Any more than I can jump to the moon. This is the slim season for painting and I'm about as broke as I get. I'm 51yo and I keep wondering when my life is going to settle into some consistency and I won't be living paycheck to paycheck. It get's tiresome.

    I still "want" one

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    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

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    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Honestly.. they are available at Wish for $49... don’t know the shipping cost.
    https://www.wish.com/

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    Last edited by olddawg; 01-24-2020 at 03:50 AM.

  32. #32
    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    That link is just for the wish login page.
    Is there no link to see the actual item without having to join something?

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    "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

  33. #33
    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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    Unfortunately no.. but I saw a “teaser” for them.. I actually opened up a “special” email account for just this kind of thing.

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    Don't forget the joker g1's Avatar
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    Here's one I stumbled across today. Probably nothing of any quality (ETEPON ?), but a DMM, solder iron, holder, sucker, kit all for $25.

    https://www.amazon.com/ETEPON-Adjust...ef_=ast_sto_dp

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    "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

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    Old Timer olddawg's Avatar
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