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Which multimeter?

Discussion in 'Electronic Equipment' started by chrisexv6, Dec 8, 2007.

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  1. chrisexv6

    chrisexv6 Guest

    Im an avid DIY-er, but not a pro. Was looking for a good value
    multimeter........want something that will last and be fairly
    accurate, but I dont think I need Fluke level quality (well, I could
    *use* it, just dont need it).

    Was looking at a Craftsman pro, which seems to be a rebadged Extech
    470. Also looking at Ideal meters as well. Finally, Wavetek/MeterMan
    have been recommended.

    Within those 4 basic brands, what would be my best bet?

    I can get meters for around the same price from each company, with
    basically the same features (the craftsman/extech being
    different.......it has IR temp, K probe temp, etc....but Im not sure
    how important temp readings are.......I dont really use them now, so I
    cant see it being a huge deal).

    Looking at the Ideal contractor grade series, the less expensive
    Craftsman/Craftsman Pro (which still seem to be Extech, judging by the
    cases), and the *XP series of Waveteks.

    Thanks in advance.

    -Chris
     
  2. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Many engineers I know including myself have a Fluke (at least one) for
    'important work' but when it comes to a 'back-up' meter most I know are
    happy with the widely available 'no-name' cheapies. They're surprisingly
    good.

    Until you CAN afford a Fluke I wouldn't fret excessively over it.

    Graham
     
  3. No question, a FLUKE is the BEST!

    pf
     
  4. chrisexv6

    chrisexv6 Guest

    Thanks for the advice.

    So you're saying the cheapo Sperry meters at my nearest HD are pretty
    decent?

    I actually need to get 2 meters.....my dads meter died and I wanted to
    replace it with something decent (he bought a decent Radio Shack meter
    back when they actually sold the things!!! auto ranging, etc). And I
    need one for my limited use. So at least one needs to be decent, auto
    ranging, etc. Also happens that my dad is an EE.

    The only complaints Ive heard about the cheapies is that the readings
    tend to fluctuate a lot, making it hard to get a "read" on what the
    value really is.

    Thanks again.

    -Chris
     
  5. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    They're probably fine. Haven't tested those specific meters but the
    cheap ones are okay for many uses. If you stick with electronics,
    professionally or as a hobby, you'll acquire one or two or several more
    (and better) DMMs over time, so don't agonize too much over whether the
    inexpensive ones are appropriate for any conceivable use.
    One possible solution is a Meterman 37XR, a pretty good meter (got one,
    I like it) from these guys http://www.web-tronics.com/37prectrurms.html
    and they will include a http://webtronics.stores.yahoo.net/my-68.html
    for free (be sure to add the magic code to the order form).

    I have a couple of their previous "free" DMMs (the older models weren't
    autoranging) that live in the garage and trunk of the car, plus one at
    the office in place of a sexier personal meter (and I don't get torqued
    if it is "borrowed").

    #disclaimer: just an occasional, and satisfied, customer at Web-Tronics.
    Not my experience that fluctuating readings is a general problem with them.
     
  6. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Well.... I don't actually know that meter but I've yet to meet a truly bad one
    from any supplier !

    Right. The combination of one really good meter with a cheapie as back-up is a
    sound one. Auto-ranging is a must with your serious meter.

    I haven't actually seen that myself. As a bonus the cheap meters often also
    have things like thermocouple inputs at no great expense which can come in
    useful.

    Graham
     
  7. chrisexv6

    chrisexv6 Guest

    Well Sears sorta came thru. Last week I had ordered their equivalent
    of the Extech 470. It was on sale for 79.99 - 40.00 instant discount
    - another 10%. After a week of fighting with them about my in-store
    order that never showed up, they finally got one in stock and gave it
    to me. For 33 bux, this meter is worth it.

    Still need a meter for my dad.....was interested in the Ideal 61-354,
    True RMS, auto ranging, etc. Cant get it pretty inexpensive, just
    didnt know if its any better than anything from Home Cheapo or Lowes.

    -Chris
     
  8. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Sounds like a good buy to me !

    True RMS tends to be pretty costly. Unless you know you truly need it, I'd give it a
    miss.

    Graham
     
  9. PeterD

    PeterD Guest

    You too? I had the exact same fight with Sears (garage door openers)
    and swore I'd never, ever order anythign from them again. Either they
    have it in stock, or I shop elsewhere! What a PITA, four weeks of "be
    here in one to three days" and hundreds of emails all saying basically
    I canceled my order, went back to the hardware department. There the
    stuff was on the shelf, picked it up went to the register and bought
    it that way. Oh wait, when I got to the register, it was all on sale
    that week--I saved almost 15% over the original order! Cool...
    Do you have to go new? If not, there may be some great buys on eBay
    for high-end meters... You may even find some NIBs that have been
    sitting for a while.
     
  10. chrisexv6

    chrisexv6 Guest

    Actually Ebay is where I found the Ideal meter in question for a good
    price, 35 bux shipped. Not bad, and its brand new in box.

    But! We'll see if Sears keeps up their end again.......my original
    intention was to get 2 of the 81079 meters, one for me and one for my
    dad). The original in-store order I placed was cancelled because they
    were convinced the store didnt have it (yet the store really did have
    it). Called sears.com last night and, since the meter was in stock
    online, told them I wanted the same deal I had last week and I wanted
    them to ship it right to me. Oddly enough, it didnt take much for
    them to agree!! We'll see if it actually shows up (its now out of
    stock online).....if it does its a better value than the Ideal, but I
    might pick up the Ideal just in case (Dad asked for one gift, would be
    horrible not to get it in time!)

    -Chris
     
  11. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/extech/clampmeters/ex800series.htm

    Check out the EX830
    That is a good all round tool box meter.
    it comes with carry case and K-type probe along
    with the built in IR sensor etc..

    I suggested that to a friend of mine because he's a basic electrician
    and auto mechanic.. He loves it..
     
  12. Jimmie D

    Jimmie D Guest

    I really like to have a meter that does capacitance. Often I have to find
    which end of a cable is broken and by measuring the capacitance from each
    end I can tell without tearing both ends of the cable apart. My Fluke will
    measure down to a few pF and it is a really great feature to have.

    Good insulation is a must. My friend was measuring AC voltage in a 3 phase
    panel and he got an arc from a screw on the case the the panel case. Not a
    pretty site. Now he doesnt use cheap meters either.

    If it works its a FLUKE.

    Jimmie
     
  13. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    yeah, I just got my self a FLuke 289 meter.
     
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