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turning a PC or laptop into a multimeter

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Tim, Oct 29, 2005.

  1. Tim

    Tim Guest

    Hello. Does anyone know of a device which can plug into the
    USB port of a laptop or PC and give that machine a function
    of a working multimeter? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    google will find several

    also a working o'scope

    baffles me why anyone would use a lap top for that purpose. Make a mistake
    and you have possibly lost a lot more than just a meter.
     
  3. Tim

    Tim Guest

    I've looked, of course, but don't really know what to
    look for in terms of usefulness to the field engineer
    and reliability. Fluke do quite a few meters with PC
    interface, and it's about time I upgraded, so I might
    go for one of those.
    Don't tell me; you use an AVO 8, right?
    That's another reason for my asking here; can they fry
    my laptop, or do they have a fail-safe function to head
    off that kind of, erm, inconvenience?
     
  4. Ben Miller

    Ben Miller Guest

    It depends what you want to spend. If it is for serious work and you can
    afford it, the Fluke 189 does it well, and is fully isolated so there is no
    risk to the laptop.

    Just a plug (no pun intended) from a satisfied owner.

    Ben Miller
     
  5. Tim

    Tim Guest

    It's got a two-level back light display as well. £250 - £300
    might sound a bit steep for a hobbyist to those who don't
    appreciate quality, but I think I'll manage to justify it. Thanks
    for the recommendation; it's perfect for my needs.
     
  6. Tim

    Tim Guest

    The Fluke 189 is about as far as I dare go, and just what I
    need. To be honest, I didn't realise that modern DMMs
    were so easily compatible with PCs. I thought I had to have
    a dedicated gizmo for that sort of thing. Thanks for your help.
     
  7. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    No I do not have one of those. But I do have a couple of Simpson 260's. They
    rarely come out of the box any more.
    Fail-safe, and electrical work is an double negitative, IMO.
    I have seen stupids, ( we all know them ) fry a Fluke scope meter USING the
    optical isolators. Not once but 3 times the guy did this. Even with the
    isolators I would be extremely nervous connecting my laptop to a electrical
    circuit.
    I like to take my measurements, then as your discovering download the
    information for the presentation or storage.
     
  8. Ben Miller

    Ben Miller Guest

    I agree. It is difficult to write down readings when you are wearing gloves,
    so I like the 189 because you can save a bunch of readings then either
    upload them or manually copy them down later.

    I have only blown a Fluke meter once, and it wasn't in the field. I
    accidently got it across the high voltage in a microwave oven, which
    exceeded the 1000 volt input rating. The input protection circuit did its
    job, and for $100 Fluke repaired and calibrated it. That was about 7 or 8
    years ago, so the price may have gone up.

    Ben Miller
     
  9. Ben Miller

    Ben Miller Guest

    If you want to save a few dollars (or £) you could consider the 187. It is
    very similar, but It doesn't do stand-alone logging. I don't recall what the
    other differences are.

    Also, if you find a little extra money, the magnetic hanger is one of the
    best accessories ever invented! You may not think so until you use it a few
    times, then you wonder how you ever got along without it.

    Ben Miller
     
  10. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    =======snipped
    HV is that high voltage? Where I am from high voltage is above 69kv. Anyone
    will to work with a PDA near that should get a good life insurance policy.
    Get a real meter like the durantz/bmi or my favorite the Reliable Power
    Meter now owned by Fluke.

    Make damn sure the equipment is rated for the voltage your playing with.

    I worked for a EOM that intruduced PDA-IR controls to low voltage circuit
    breakers (below 1000v). I agrued against it and fought like hell to stop it.
    During the first roll out it was found that IR had little in the relm of
    security and false signals were causing unintentioned results,,,,,, "But it
    worked fine in the lab. " I will say that the idea of collecting data that
    way was ~ appealing to some. I found that most PDA's lack the memory needed
    for a real study and every time you move data there is a chance for
    corruption.

    I know a lot of people love their "electronic assistants". I have not found
    one that was not just an extra burden to sync the data base. Call me the
    "ancient one"
    I have had execellent luck with Excel. Bit clunky sometimes and ya are
    limited in the presentation. I personally love to give my boss the radar
    graphs. At least now he finds them funny.
     
  11. Art Deco

    Art Deco Guest

    Hey Numby, when do you arrive for the hill climb challenge? Oh, you
    forgot to use the word "retard" in this foam.

    --
    Official Associate AFA-B Vote Rustler
    Official Overseer of Kooks and Trolls in alt.astronomy

    "The original human being was a female hermaphrodite with
    both male and female genitalia."

    "Human beings CAN NOT live in a solar system without a sun
    with a ferrite core and a planet without a solid iron core."

    -- Alexa Cameron, Kook of the Year 2004

    "I am a sean being from another planet."
    -- Darla aka Dr. Why aka Dr. Yubiwan aka ...
     
  12. Art Deco

    Art Deco Guest

    Is your name "Numby Genius"?

    --
    Official Associate AFA-B Vote Rustler
    Official Overseer of Kooks and Trolls in alt.astronomy

    "The original human being was a female hermaphrodite with
    both male and female genitalia."

    "Human beings CAN NOT live in a solar system without a sun
    with a ferrite core and a planet without a solid iron core."

    -- Alexa Cameron, Kook of the Year 2004

    "I am a sean being from another planet."
    -- Darla aka Dr. Why aka Dr. Yubiwan aka ...
     
  13. Observe the meter's maximum voltage ratings, particularly when measuring
    points floating above ground level. Make sure there are no more
    stringent limits when using any adapter. Or you'll turn your PC into a
    boat anchor faster than installing the latest version of Windows.
     
  14. If you buy the Fluke 189, the communicatin link is optical. A very smart
    idea since it helps avoid blown up computer syndrome.

    Charles Perry P.E.
     
  15. Fluke uses optic isolated comms for their meters. Why do you think that is?

    BTW, I run a lab. We blow things up for a living. You obviously never
    heard of Murphy.

    Charles Perry P.E.
     
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