Choosing a multimeter

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Cynthia Mollis, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. Hi,
    I'm just starting out with electronics and I need a cheap multimeter or
    a separate voltmeter and milliameter. For the project I'm working on they
    say I need:

    1) milliameter: range microamps to 100 milliamps or so.
    2) voltmeter: range 100 microvolts to 3+ volts.
    sensitivity 20,000 Ohms per Volt.

    I'd prefer to get two different meters rather than a multimeter. If someone
    could point me towards meters that have at least these
    specs that would be wonderful.

    Thanks.
    Cynthia Mollis, Jan 21, 2004
    #1
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  2. Cynthia Mollis

    dB Guest

    "Cynthia Mollis" <> wrote in message news:<cJkPb.76870$>...
    > Hi,
    > I need:
    >
    > 1) milliameter: range microamps to 100 milliamps or so.
    > 2) voltmeter: range 100 microvolts to 3+ volts.
    > sensitivity 20,000 Ohms per Volt.



    The latter is a conventinal analogue (moving coil) meter. Radio Shack
    used to sell an assortment of them.
    However, I doubt very much that you will find one which is just a
    multi-range voltmeter. They will all have current and resistance
    ranges too.
    dB, Jan 21, 2004
    #2
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  3. In article <cJkPb.76870$6y6.1552701@bgtnsc05-
    news.ops.worldnet.att.net>, mentioned...
    > Hi,
    > I'm just starting out with electronics and I need a cheap multimeter or
    > a separate voltmeter and milliameter. For the project I'm working on they
    > say I need:
    >
    > 1) milliameter: range microamps to 100 milliamps or so.
    > 2) voltmeter: range 100 microvolts to 3+ volts.
    > sensitivity 20,000 Ohms per Volt.
    >
    > I'd prefer to get two different meters rather than a multimeter. If someone
    > could point me towards meters that have at least these
    > specs that would be wonderful.
    >
    > Thanks.


    I bought several DMMs from Futurlec for $6 apiece. The test leads
    were bad on one, but the meter itself worked okay, even came with a
    battery(!) At that price, you could afford several.

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    Watson A.Name - Watt Sun, Dark Remover, Jan 21, 2004
    #3
  4. Cynthia Mollis

    Bob Masta Guest

    On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 01:37:12 GMT, "Cynthia Mollis"
    <> wrote:

    >Hi,
    > I'm just starting out with electronics and I need a cheap multimeter or
    >a separate voltmeter and milliameter. For the project I'm working on they
    >say I need:
    >
    >1) milliameter: range microamps to 100 milliamps or so.
    >2) voltmeter: range 100 microvolts to 3+ volts.
    > sensitivity 20,000 Ohms per Volt.
    >
    >I'd prefer to get two different meters rather than a multimeter. If someone
    >could point me towards meters that have at least these
    >specs that would be wonderful.
    >
    >Thanks.
    >

    The lastest Harbor Freight (print) catalog has item 30756-4JKA
    3 1/2 digit DMM for $2.99 each.
    DC-A: 0-200uA, 2mA, 20mA, 200mA
    Resistance: 0-200, 2K, 20K, 200K, 2000K
    DC-V: 0-200mV, 2V, 20V, 200V, 1000V
    AC-V: 0-200V, 750V
    Also diode, continuity, and transistor test.

    Last time they were this cheap I bought 5 of 'em.
    They are really handy and no worries if you drop it.
    I also have in mind that next time I need a panel meter,
    this may be the cheapest way to go!

    Don't know if the Web catalog has the same price
    <www.harborfreight.com>.



    Bob Masta
    dqatechATdaqartaDOTcom

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
    www.daqarta.com
    Bob Masta, Jan 21, 2004
    #4
  5. Bob Masta wrote:
    >
    > Last time they were this cheap I bought 5 of 'em.
    > They are really handy and no worries if you drop it.
    > I also have in mind that next time I need a panel meter,
    > this may be the cheapest way to go!


    Bob, look at this panel meter. Finally, one that has a built in Dc-DC
    converter so it will run off +5 volts, or a 9 volt battery without
    isolation.

    http://www.mpja.com/viewallpict.asp?dept=52&main=51 14505 ME $8.95 each

    Compact, 3-1/2 Digit, reflective LCD Digital panel
    meter with black plastic bezel & face plate. Chip On
    Board design for economy as well as compactness.
    Ideal for battery powered monitoring or test equipment.
    RANGES: (jumper selected)
    ADC: 200mA
    ACV: 200mV/2V/20V/200V/500V
    VDC: 200mV/2V/20V/200V/500V
    Selectable Power: 9VDC (Isolated power) or 5VDC
    (input & power common Ground)
    1/2" character height Adj. decimal point
    Auto polarity >100Mohm input imp.
    2 readings/sec., .8% accuracy (1% AC)
    Through panel mounting.
    W: 2-5/8" H 1-3/4" D: 3/8" WT: .1

    It looks interesting to me. If it was a 4 1/2 Digit it would be even
    better! Then they would be perfect for a bench power supply to monitor
    voltage or current at the flip of a switch..

    --
    We now return you to our normally scheduled programming.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
    Michael A. Terrell, Jan 21, 2004
    #5
  6. Cynthia Mollis

    JeffM Guest

    >I need a cheap multimeter
    >Cynthia Mollis


    I got some cast-off Sears analog units at http://www.acpswapmeet.com/
    (only happens 1 day out of 60).
    Repaced the fuse(s) and good to go.
    Needles are nice for watching trends.

    I get mailers from http://www.harborfreight.com/
    They often have DMMs under $4 on special.
    You may have a similar tool outlet near you.

    Your local version of http://www.recycler.com/
    (magazine where folk sell their old stuff) may do you.

    Used stuff on ebay is another option.


    >I'd prefer...two...meters rather than a multimeter


    Unless you can get surplus meter movements
    (the cheapest new ones are $20), get 2 cheap multimeters.
    JeffM, Jan 21, 2004
    #6
  7. Cynthia Mollis

    Bob Masta Guest

    On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 17:48:52 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"
    <> wrote:

    >Bob Masta wrote:
    >>
    >> Last time they were this cheap I bought 5 of 'em.
    >> They are really handy and no worries if you drop it.
    >> I also have in mind that next time I need a panel meter,
    >> this may be the cheapest way to go!

    >
    >Bob, look at this panel meter. Finally, one that has a built in Dc-DC
    >converter so it will run off +5 volts, or a 9 volt battery without
    >isolation.
    >
    >http://www.mpja.com/viewallpict.asp?dept=52&main=51 14505 ME $8.95 each
    >
    >Compact, 3-1/2 Digit, reflective LCD Digital panel
    >meter with black plastic bezel & face plate. Chip On
    >Board design for economy as well as compactness.
    >Ideal for battery powered monitoring or test equipment.
    >RANGES: (jumper selected)
    >ADC: 200mA
    >ACV: 200mV/2V/20V/200V/500V
    >VDC: 200mV/2V/20V/200V/500V
    >Selectable Power: 9VDC (Isolated power) or 5VDC
    >(input & power common Ground)
    >1/2" character height Adj. decimal point
    >Auto polarity >100Mohm input imp.
    >2 readings/sec., .8% accuracy (1% AC)
    >Through panel mounting.
    >W: 2-5/8" H 1-3/4" D: 3/8" WT: .1
    >
    > It looks interesting to me. If it was a 4 1/2 Digit it would be even
    >better! Then they would be perfect for a bench power supply to monitor
    >voltage or current at the flip of a switch..
    >
    >--


    That 200 mV AC range looks especially good. That's one area that
    cheap DMMs always come up short. Thanks for the tip!


    Bob Masta
    dqatechATdaqartaDOTcom

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
    www.daqarta.com
    Bob Masta, Jan 22, 2004
    #7
  8. Bob Masta wrote:
    >
    > On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 17:48:52 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > >Bob, look at this panel meter. Finally, one that has a built in Dc-DC
    > >converter so it will run off +5 volts, or a 9 volt battery without
    > >isolation.
    > >
    > >http://www.mpja.com/viewallpict.asp?dept=52&main=51 14505 ME $8.95 each
    > >
    > >
    > > It looks interesting to me. If it was a 4 1/2 Digit it would be even
    > >better! Then they would be perfect for a bench power supply to monitor
    > >voltage or current at the flip of a switch..

    >
    >
    > That 200 mV AC range looks especially good. That's one area that
    > cheap DMMs always come up short. Thanks for the tip!



    Bookmark that page for the next time someone complains that they
    can't use a regular panel meter because of isolation problems. I am
    going to add it to a construction tips page for my website.

    I am designing a new five output bench power supply where I am
    debating on using these, or a LCD panel to display all four adjustable
    supplies, and the fixed 5 volt supply. It would be cheaper to use the
    modules, but will look better with a single, formatted display.

    --
    We now return you to our normally scheduled programming.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
    Michael A. Terrell, Jan 22, 2004
    #8
  9. On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 17:48:52 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"
    <> wrote:

    Don't mind me butting in because I've been trying to get some decent
    one cheap. Local prices seem to be around US$60 minimum and so 9 bucks
    sound really good.

    >http://www.mpja.com/viewallpict.asp?dept=52&main=51 14505 ME $8.95 each


    >Compact, 3-1/2 Digit, reflective LCD Digital panel


    What does 3 1/2 digit means? that it will display 4 digits but the
    last one can't be trusted?

    >2 readings/sec., .8% accuracy (1% AC)


    Would 2Hz sampling be a bit slow? It would happily miss a 50% spike
    that lasts for 300msec right?
    --
    L.Angel: I'm looking for web design work.
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    The little lost angel, Jan 23, 2004
    #9
  10. "The little lost angel" <a?n?g?e?> wrote in
    message news:...
    > On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 17:48:52 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > Don't mind me butting in because I've been trying to get some decent
    > one cheap. Local prices seem to be around US$60 minimum and so 9 bucks
    > sound really good.
    >
    > >http://www.mpja.com/viewallpict.asp?dept=52&main=51 14505 ME $8.95 each

    >
    > >Compact, 3-1/2 Digit, reflective LCD Digital panel

    >
    > What does 3 1/2 digit means? that it will display 4 digits but the
    > last one can't be trusted?



    LOL... No, 3-1/2 digit means that there are 3 whole digits, plus a fourth
    one which only displays 0 and 1, hence the maximum number displayed can go
    up to 1999 (plus sign and decimal point). There are also 3-3/4 digit
    displays which can display up to 3999. A full 4-digit display would go up to
    9999.



    > >2 readings/sec., .8% accuracy (1% AC)

    >
    > Would 2Hz sampling be a bit slow? It would happily miss a 50% spike
    > that lasts for 300msec right?


    Probably yes, but not necessarily. A multimeter may display 2 readings/sec,
    but may actually sample much faster than that. I have a Fluke 189 multimeter
    which can catch pulse widths down to 250 microseconds. But this is a very
    expensive multimeter, cheap ones may well miss short duration spikes.

    Costas
    Costas Vlachos, Jan 23, 2004
    #10
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