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Choosing a multimeter

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

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  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.

  2. dB

    dB Guest

    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.
  3. 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.

    @@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@,@@[email protected]@[email protected],@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@
    ###Got a Question about ELECTRONICS? Check HERE First:###
    My email address is whitelisted. *All* email sent to it
    goes directly to the trash unless you add NOSPAM in the
    Subject: line with other stuff. alondra101 <at>
    Don't be ripped off by the big book dealers. Go to the URL
    that will give you a choice and save you money(up to half). You'll be glad you did!
    Just when you thought you had all this figured out, the gov't
    changed it:
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  4. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    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

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
  5. 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. 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..
  6. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    I need a cheap multimeter
    I got some cast-off Sears analog units at
    (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
    They often have DMMs under $4 on special.
    You may have a similar tool outlet near you.

    Your local version of
    (magazine where folk sell their old stuff) may do you.

    Used stuff on ebay is another option.

    Unless you can get surplus meter movements
    (the cheapest new ones are $20), get 2 cheap multimeters.
  7. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    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

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis

  8. 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.
  9. On Wed, 21 Jan 2004 17:48:52 GMT, "Michael A. Terrell"

    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.
    What does 3 1/2 digit means? that it will display 4 digits but the
    last one can't be trusted?
    Would 2Hz sampling be a bit slow? It would happily miss a 50% spike
    that lasts for 300msec right?
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    If you really want, FrontPage & DreamWeaver too.
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  10. 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

    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.

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