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ESR Meter Advice

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Bob Kos, Feb 24, 2004.

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  1. Bob Kos

    Bob Kos Guest

    Hi All:

    I'm still getting into electronic repairs. I'm learning, but the lack of
    formal instruction makes things a little bumpy sometimes.

    Anyways, I've decided that it's time to buck up for an ESR meter. Casually
    searching, I've found the two following URLs:

    To my untrained eye, these units appear identical. But I'm wondering if the
    eBay unit is some kind of counterfeit. Does anybody know of such a thing?

    Also - there is considerable savings by purchasing the Anatek unit
    unassembled. Is assembly & calibration of one of these meters beyond the
    scope of a novice electronics hobbyist?

    Another also - any recommendations on a decent unit to buy? Where to buy?
    I'm mainly interested in repairing computer monitors at this time. I will
    probably get involved with audio amplification & signal processing repairs
    as skills allow me to.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. Tweetldee

    Tweetldee Guest

    These are identical units. They are both Dick Smith Electronics ESR meters,
    designed by Bob Parker, who frequents these groups from time to time. They
    are top-notch meters. The calibration is nothing more than connecting a
    couple of precision resistors (supplied with the unit) and adjusting
    trimpots to the correct reading.
    To my knowledge, there are no counterfeits of these units, because they are
    run by a pre-programmed microprocessor, which can't be copied.
    You will not be sorry for buying one of these units. $79 USD for an
    assembled unit is a great price. If you are concerned about price, you can
    buy a kit of this unit and assemble it in a couple hours. Everything you
    need is in the kit.

  3. Guest

    All I would add is if he is inexperienced at soldering and assembly, he
    might be better off buying a unit that has already been assembled. Just
    thought I would add that since he said he was "Learning, but the lack of
    formal instruction" and was concerned.
  4. buy?

    I have had good experiences with this ESR meter:

    Like the Anatek one this one is based Bob Parker's design. The build
    quality of this unit is excellent and in my opinion well worth the price.
  5. Ken G.

    Ken G. Guest

    Do yourself a big favor spend the extra money and get a Capacitor Wizard
    ESR tester . It is much nicer and easy to use .
  6. In Bob Kos typed:

    Look at his history. That guy has made a business out of reselling
    them, and at the same price as Anatek and probably without the tech
    support! People often buy on ebay without shopping around.

    -Reply in group, but if emailing add 2 more zeros-
    -and remove the obvious-
  7. Bob Parker

    Bob Parker Guest

    Nicolae who sells those meters on Ebay is a good friend of mine who
    works very hard to keep his customers happy.
    There's a ton of support available for the Dick Smith ESR meter,
    for example at
    If all else fails, I'll personally help people having problems to
    get their meter working.
    And of course Ken's comments about the Capacitor Wizard should be
    taken seriously. That's an instrument with a formidable reputation and
    a feature set which is rather different to the DSE meter. It's got an
    adjustable beeper as well as an analog meter, which is easier to
    interpret than just numbers on a digital display. However it doesn't
    have automatic power-off like the DSE meter.
    Have a look at the comparison between those plus another two ESR
    meters on the Anatek website at before you
    make a decision.

  8. Chris Oates

    Chris Oates Guest

    or even this
  9. Bob Kos

    Bob Kos Guest

    It's not the same price. That's what prompted my suspicion of a possible
    counterfeit. Anatek = $110. eBay seller = $80. Big difference.

    I agree that many people just bid @ eBay without regard to what the real
    world value is on a particular item. But this auction seems like a
    reasonable deal if it is as advertised.

    Thanks for your input.
  10. In Bob Kos typed:
    Earlier today I was looking at the anatek site and I thought I saw $79
    for the assembled unit. I don't know how I made that mistake. Sorry.
  11. Bob Kos

    Bob Kos Guest

    Hi Bob:

    Thank you for your reply. I have followed the link offered in one of the
    other replies:

    This meter appears to be an updated version of the Dick Smith unit. The
    seller at the site above claims that you have collaborated with his company
    in developing this meter. Any truth to this? If so, would you consider it
    fair to say this model is an equal to the Dick Smith unit?

    Please share your thoughts. Thank you for your time and insight.
  12. Bob Parker

    Bob Parker Guest

    Hi Bob,
    Yes, we collaborated on the design of the EVB meter. If you look at
    my ESR meter's web page at you'll see a big
    picture of the EVB one with a link to the EVB website.
    The circuitry's identical to the DSE meter except that it's got a
    pair of large power diodes connected across the test leads as "brute
    force" protection against damage from charged caps. It also has the
    high-brightness LED displays I originally designed into the meter, but
    which DSE doesn't use.
    The firmware's been changed a bit for a 3 minute automatic
    switch-off time.
    Construction and component quality of the EVB meter is excellent.
    I'm happy to recommend it to everyone. You can see user comments at
    I hope this has answered your questions well enough. :)

  13. Bob

    Bob Guest

    I've just bought one of the kits from Satcure in the UK and I must say I was
    most impressed with it. It took about a couiple of hours to complete and worked
    first time.
    One question that will probably get an easy answer is, why is it some new 105c
    caps have quite a lot higher ESR than quoted on the front panel. eg 0.2 and some
    are showing 6.0 would this be suspect manufacturer?

    From yet another Bob
  14. Bob Parker

    Bob Parker Guest

    Hi Bob from Bob,
    It's a known fact that high temperature electrolytics usually show
    somewhat higher ESR figures than the 85 degree ones. But it's not
    usually that much higher (usually less than double). Can you check
    some 85 degree caps of the same value and voltage rating and see if
    they're reading approximately what the front panel indicates?
    If they read OK, then these 105 degree caps of yours are rather

    This Bob
  15. Ken G.

    Ken G. Guest

    why is it some new 105c caps have quite a lot higher ESR than quoted
    on the front panel. eg 0.2 and some are showing 6.0 would this be
    suspect manufacturer?

    Because you bought a cheap low cost make do tester . Sell it and buy a
    Cap Wizard and you wont have to go through things like that
  16. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Flames to follow no doubt.
  17. Bob Parker

    Bob Parker Guest

    Thanks Ken,
    You always have a "constructive" comment to make, don't you? :)

    (DSE ESR meter designer)
  18. John Bachman

    John Bachman Guest

    Wow, that is quite a comment and a surprise to me. We have sold
    thousands of the DS ESR meter (and a lesser number of Cap Wizards) and
    have never had a complaint on either one.

    Of course Bob P. has always said that he did not expect his design to
    be so popular. He just ginned it up for himself and some friends.
    Pretty nice "make do" I would say - thousands of happy users.

    Maybe Ken was having a bad day, or off his meds or something.

    AnaTek Corporation
  19. Tweetldee

    Tweetldee Guest

    Well, I certainly hope that was the cause of his slip from reality. I have
    owned a DS ESR meter for nearly 2 years, and have never had it lie to me.
    When it says I have a bad capacitor, it is bad, especially when I'm working
    on a switch mode power supply. Audio capacitors are usually a bit more
    tolerant of ESR, but if the ESR is much higher than the chart indicates,
    replacement does make a difference.

    Ken, please get back on your meds, and maybe talk to your Dr and see if your
    dosage needs to be increased.

  20. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Well I have to say that my DS meter has already earned its keep after its first
    outing by identifying some 'new' caps that were well below standard. I'd spent
    hours on the repair previously so I'm chuffed.
    Enjoyed making the kit too.
    The more expensive one, for me, would have not been economic. Well done Bob P.

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