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How to spend $150 on a DMM...

Discussion in 'General Electronics' started by rich brenz, Apr 16, 2005.

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  1. rich brenz

    rich brenz Guest

    I'm a home hobbyist and my old Radio Shack multimeter just isn't cutting
    it for my needs. I'm looking to buy an autoranging digital multimeter
    with the bells and whistles(Capacitance readings for instance) to do
    most home repairs. Any suggestions on types?(Remember my budget!)

  2. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Well, there's a good, basic DMM (no cap but does do hfe) that you can
    get for free from with a minimum purchase.
    Follow the instructions at the "free gift" link.

    I've gotten a couple of these over the years and, while they're not
    Flukes, they are OK general-purpose meters. It's the one I use at most
    of the time at work, rather than drag out the $$$$ precision bench

    It isn't auto-ranging but I'm OK with that -- if I don't know if a
    particular trace is supposed to be 5 or 50 VDC then I've got other

    They have some "real Flukes" that are in your price range and have the
    bells and whistles
  3. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Check out the wide range of DMMs that Jameco has; they aer on the web.
  4. Jim Douglas

    Jim Douglas Guest

    I recently purchased the $2.99 DMM from Harbor Freight and love them. I went
    back and bought (10) more to give as gifts. For $150.00 you can get a good
    meter, check out the BKPrecision which I like.
  5. Andy P

    Andy P Guest

    If it doesn't need to be autoranging...I got my meter for ~$50 from and it's got everything except inductance (I believe
    they have one with inductance as well, but I dont know the price, but it
    is over $50). I've got fequency to 20khz, capacitance, resistance,
    diode, transistor (hfe), voltage and current for DC and AC, temperature
    to 1000F audible continuity, and I think tha'ts it. It's the velleman
    DVM890. Not too shabby for 50 bucks, no backlight though.

    --Andy P
  6. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Jameco undoubtedly carries that one, and perhaps at a lower price.

  7. Hello Rich,
    I am a hobbyist too and I have had a run of bad luck
    with DMMs cheap and medium priced. I lost three
    over the last ten years when measuring the 240V AC
    mains. They just when phut. I was on the correct
    range and function.
    So I have learned not to measure high voltage AC with
    my DMMs. OK, I will use the boss's DMM to check the
    240 V mains supply but not my personal DMM. :)

    I now keep my cheapie DMMs for low voltage stuff
    and for chucking in the car glove box.

    For mains 240V or higher I use my old analog
    AVO model 8 or other analog multimeters.

    For work on the bench I have taken a liking to
    an old HP410C electronic mutimeter that was
    given to me lately. The high ohms range showed
    some slight leakage between windings in an RF
    transformer that my old AVO 8 and cheapie DMM
    didn't see. I was pleased about that. Saved me a
    lot of frustration and head scratching when I was
    working on an old valve signal generator.

    I guess what I am leading up to tell you is as a
    hobbyist I wouldn't bother spending all that money
    on a DMM that can go PHUT when measuring
    mains supply voltages or simply loose display
    segments which is annoying.
    Bloody annoying if you paid $150
    Not so annoying if you paid $25.

    For me as a hobbyist I can't see that spending
    $150 on one DMM is good value. I prefer a selection
    of meters. Old working cheap analogs and cheap
    DMMs (since they don't last long).

    If a bells and whistles DMM floats your boat,
    go ahead and buy one. Enjoy yourself!
    You only live once. :)

    John Crighton
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