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Do multimeters "wear out" after so many years? Fluke vs. Ideal, Wavetek??

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Mar 27, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    Noticed that old Fluke meters are selling for $50-$80 whereas
    comparable Wavetek meters, same features, sell for $10-$30.

    Any suggestions on whether the extra cost of a used Fluke is worth it,
    over Wavetek?

    Also, is the Ideal multimeter really a Wavektek? (Buttons are in the
    same position, same functions.) But, why cheaper?
     
  2. Guest

    I have 2 8060A meters, an 8050 and 8000. The 8060As are the work
    horses. Very reliable and tough to break. Only problem with one after
    15 years was the MAC chip (40 pin A/D and switching came partly
    unplugged and died) Fluke no longer repairs these and no parts are
    available. Got a broken one on eBay, which had a good MAC chip and all
    is well. I've used Waveteks at work and they're OK but I want my Fluke.
    GG
     
  3. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    It's more a matter of reliability, durability, accuracy and serviceability.
    Meters don't so much "wear out", rather they tend to get zapped by excessive
    voltage, dropped, crushed, banged around, and calibration drifts with age.
    Just about anyone in the electronics field will tell you to get a Fluke.

    That said, watch out for some of the new low end Fluke stuff, it's made in
    China these days.
     
  4. philo

    philo Guest

    although i've used fluke's for years...
    the last time a got a meter it was a wavetek

    it had more features than the fluke and cost less...
    it's been running fine for many years and i use it in a very rough
    industrial application


    my guess is that if both a fluke and a wavetek were dropped from a great
    height...the fluke would prob hold up better...
    but the wavetek is a good meter
     
  5. Franc Zabkar

    Franc Zabkar Guest

    .... except me. I have a PM97 Scopemeter which cost me AU$2750 but
    which has been a POS from day one. Just get yourself a cheap DMM and
    calibrate it against a 5.000V reference.

    See this simple calibration circuit based on a MAX6350 5.000V
    reference IC. This chip has a claimed 0.02% accuracy (5.000 +/-
    0.001V):

    http://www.siliconchip.com.au/cms/A_30853/article.html

    - Franc Zabkar
     
  6. Rifleman

    Rifleman Guest

    You are so right, there is lot's of good DMM,s on the market for less price
    than FLUKE but those FLUKE are good. I got 2 FLUKE 77 and I had them for I
    don't know how long maybe 15 years or more and they never seem to wear out.
    Even if you are a PRO you even try to measure high voltage with the range
    knob at ohm :)
    I've done this and they are still ok.

    Bjorn
     
  7. melosenoway

    melosenoway Guest


    Buy a Fluke....if your serious about reliability...
     
  8. My Beckman 223 died suddenly the other day.

    Wa-ah!

    I tried to turn it on, nothing. Hmmm. Had a fresh battery, I thought. Opened
    it up. Battery was fairly warm. Main processor IC, however, was almost hot
    enough to burn my finger.

    Darn shame - it was a good one for 15 years or so.

    Limping along with a Radio Shack meter 'til I decide what to buy.


    Mark Z.
     
  9. I had a trusty old Maplin (chain similar to Radio Shack?) blow up when
    measuring 240 volt AC. On opening it up, the cause was brass dust from the
    slip rings bridging tracks. And since it was rarely used on high voltage
    stuff it was ok until then.
    All it took was a couple of transistors - which of course had house
    markings only. Replaced them with a guess and re-calibrated it and it's
    been ok for none critical stuff.

    But treated myself to a Fluke 179 which is super. In the UK it costs
    about 200 gbp. Bet it's half that in the US. ;-)
     
  10. My Lafayette VOM is about 35 years old and still going strong. It has
    a needle. :)

    --- sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ Mirror: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/
    Repair | Main Table of Contents: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/REPAIR/
    +Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/sam/lasersam.htm
    | Mirror Sites: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/REPAIR/F_mirror.html

    Note: These links are hopefully temporary until we can sort out the excessive
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    Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
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    contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.
     
  11. Ken G.

    Ken G. Guest

    I got a Fluke 83 brand new . It has seen little use and sits in a drawer
    in my desk & gets used a bit still & still looks like new .

    the problem it has is .. when i turn it off it makes strange clicking
    sounds till i move the switch on then back off . many times when i turn
    it on it is on some wrong range , once again moving the switch one range
    then back clears it up .
    I have taken itapart & cleaned the switch and checked for loose solder
    e.t.c. & never found the problem . I took it to or local Fluke dealer
    repair center and they could not get it to act up .
     
  12. But if a high impedance input, presumably a valve type so mains operated?

    I love - and collect - old test gear, but the fact remains that you'll get
    modern equivalents which fit in the hand, rather than the bay, which are
    more accurate and work off a battery. ;-)
     
  13. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest


    I just checked, they're available over here for about $200, so yeah, almost
    exactly half. I would guess one could be ordered from a US supplier? I know
    a number of those places will ship overseas and I imagine you'd still come
    out ahead even with shipping.
     
  14. I have an Eico I built in tech school which has a large analog meter.
    20kOhms per volt. Measures a bit too high on DC voltages. Always have to
    switch leads around to measure different polarity voltages. Have to
    interpret readings of several dial scales, etc. Too lazy for this anymore.
    Just give me a good digital!


    Mark Z.
     
  15. No, 30,000 ohms/V, no active components, ohms use a battery.
    The Lafayette get's used daily; my Fluke 89 usually stays in the closet.
    For a lot of things, accuracy isn't the main criteria.

    --- sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ Mirror: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/
    Repair | Main Table of Contents: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/REPAIR/
    +Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/sam/lasersam.htm
    | Mirror Sites: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/REPAIR/F_mirror.html

    Note: These links are hopefully temporary until we can sort out the excessive
    traffic on Repairfaq.org.

    Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
    ignored unless my full name is included in the subject line. Or, you can
    contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.
     
  16. That's good for an analogue meter. The UK equivalent would be the good ol'
    AVO Model 8 which only manages 20k ohms/volt on DC, but also lasts forever.
    Indeed, a low input impedance meter has a lot going for it in many day to
    day measurements. And of course a swinging meter needle can often tell
    more than a digital readout. And is very difficult to blow into the middle
    of next week. ;-)
     
  17. This Lafayette appears to be very well protected. I've done numerous
    stupid things with it and the only casualties have been a couple blown
    resistors and a blown trace on the switch PCB. The meter itself was
    never affected.

    --- sam | Sci.Electronics.Repair FAQ Mirror: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/
    Repair | Main Table of Contents: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/REPAIR/
    +Lasers | Sam's Laser FAQ: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/sam/lasersam.htm
    | Mirror Sites: http://repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu/REPAIR/F_mirror.html

    Note: These links are hopefully temporary until we can sort out the excessive
    traffic on Repairfaq.org.

    Important: Anything sent to the email address in the message header above is
    ignored unless my full name is included in the subject line. Or, you can
    contact me via the Feedback Form in the FAQs.
     
  18. NSM

    NSM Guest

    I used a DVM to check for leakage on an AC line and got false readings. A
    'real' meter worked better.
     
  19. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest


    I much prefer digital for day to day work, though analog meters are still
    clearly superior for certain uses. I suppose it's kinda like manual
    transmissions in cars (which I very much prefer) though the rest of the
    world seems to be lazy and want an automatic but to each their own.
     
  20. You could, of course, simply use a parallel resistor to bring a DVM more
    into line with a needle type. Something like 240k ohms for 240 volts.
     
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