Recommend me a good multimeter

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by das Motorradreiter, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. das Motorradreiter

    das Motorradreiter Diehard Extraordinaire

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    My old, cheap, Chinese mulitmeter took a dump on me today.
    Should I be looking to grab a decent one on eBay or go to Sears and get a new Craftsman?
    I was looking get one for auto/motorcycle work and occasional work around the house for less than $100.
    Thanks for any help.
    #1
  2. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    The cheap Chinese meters you can get on sale at Harbor Freight for $2 work fine for most people but if you want a meter that is bullet proof and can be used every day for many years there is no substitute for Fluke. Don't go to Sears or you'll get a cheap Chinese meter but pay a lot for it.
    #2
  3. genka

    genka SUV hater

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    Yep. Their $2 meter is hard to beat. It is actually fairly accurate.
    #3
  4. das Motorradreiter

    das Motorradreiter Diehard Extraordinaire

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    Do all Fluke meters need calibrating eventually or can I expect it to last through all of my infrequent, shade tree exploits?

    I saw a few potentials on eBay.
    #4
  5. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    should never need calibrating. the only issue i have with my fluke is that the super cheapo leads don't fit it. it is indestructible, i treat it with the care of a claw hammer. i drop it regularly, you're always looking for a safe place to put it on a bike, and it always falls. been beating mine up for 10 years. changed the batteries a couple times, and probably 5 sets of leads. i do recommend finding a cheap small analog meter also - it doesn't need to be accurate at all - you just need it to watch the needle move up and down when you are playing with points, searching wire breaks, timing etc, instead of beeps/digital numbers scrolling too fast to read....
    #5
  6. wee-twin

    wee-twin Been here awhile

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    Since 1996 I have been using a Fluke77 which had already seen 10+ years of use by the local utility company. Check eBay, for a model 77. Nothing fancy, and one just went for $30 with leads included.
    #6
  7. das Motorradreiter

    das Motorradreiter Diehard Extraordinaire

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    Saw a NIB Model 78 up there for $99 "buy it now" - told my wife about it and she voiced displeasure so I may need to come down to $50.
    I did some reading on that model and it looks right up my alley.
    What's the difference between the 77 and 78?

    Also, any thoughts on this one?: http://www.amazon.com/Sinometer-Manual-Digital-Multimeter-MS8268/dp/B000JQ4O2U/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
    #7
  8. Stumpalump

    Stumpalump Been here awhile

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    I bought a Fluke 77 in 1984. I've used it as a hammer and when I check it against the new high end Flukes my work provides it reads the same. They don't "need" calibration but lots of industries dictate that test equipment get annual calibration.
    #8
  9. Johnny4x4

    Johnny4x4 Hope 2 B Cool Sumday

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    Fluke all the way!!

    I have an 87 that i have been using for many years, it's never had any problems.
    #9
  10. speedracertdi

    speedracertdi Been here awhile

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    Does she wear $50 shoes? Ask her how much she spent on hair and nails in the last month.
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  11. dieselpete

    dieselpete Been here awhile

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    Another vote for Fluke products
    #11
  12. kiwi_outdoors

    kiwi_outdoors Been here awhile

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    my fave is still my 35 year old home-assembled Radio Shack mirrored scale multimeter, so easy to read, lots of scales, big control knob.

    For knockabout I have had a few digitals, latest one is a Sperry - they measure ok but an analogue movement is easier to read
    #12
  13. FlySniper

    FlySniper Bleh...

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    No arguments on buying a Fluke... but... The lower end Flukes are Chinese made.. take that for what it's worth.

    Before buying a meter, ask youself what you will use it for. High voltage?? If so spend some money and get a Fluke!
    General electronics use? Hah! I bought a Uni-T UT61-E (Chinese) meter that claimed 22,000 point accuracy (it reads to 5 decimal places). Guess what, it IS that freaking accurate, I had it checked against the school's calibration equipment. How much was it? $58. The biggest downside is that it's high voltage protection, while good, isn't the best.... But it does have very good explosion protection!:lol3

    There are a number of lower cost meters on the market that meet or exceed the lower cost Fluke meters and will do just fine for home use.

    Just skip any meter from Habor Freight. Even the best one they carry only uses the little glass automotive type fuses and the housings have NO explosion protection... You may not thing it's important, but it really is!

    A good general use meter is the Extech EX330. Really good voltage protection, accurate and tough... and cheap!

    https://www.adafruit.com/products/308
    #13
  14. Happy Snapper

    Happy Snapper GOMOB.

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    Love Beckmann meters.

    We drove a truck over one at our shop once.... kept right on working!
    #14
  15. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    On the bike ?. Where it's actually useful ?.

    I got a cheap and very small eBay meter, checked that it worked then filled the innards up with hot-melt glue. It weighs quite a lot more now :D, but it's been reliable and available since it lives on the bike.

    For general use a second hand Fluke or a series of chinese meters would be my choice, probably about the same cost over ten years. Sorry, but for anything I do 1% accuracy is fine.

    Pete
    #15
  16. hugemoth

    hugemoth Long timer

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    The only reason I have 3 Fluke meters is because I used them all day every day at work. For working on the bikes a HF meter works just fine. Consider going with the HF meter and taking the wife out to dinner, it may work out better in the long run.
    #16
  17. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    for a bike the harbor freight is fine. They will last many years, and when they don't, get another. You will spend more on batteries and possibly fuses.

    That said a cheap needle meter is often more useful. They usually draw more current, which is better for much troubleshooting, and you can see a needle wiggle when moving a harness that can often be missed on a digital meter.

    Rod
    #17
  18. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Fluke. Ive got a 73 III for my garage and home troubleshooting, it sips its battery - I've replaced it twice in 10 years. If youre handy with a soldering iron, the test lead possibilities are enormous. I carry a small Extech in the bike's toolkit, its a fraction the size of the fluke and is perfectly capable of doing wire checks and voltage tests.
    #18
  19. raypitter

    raypitter Adventurer

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    It all depends on what you want to spend. You can't go wrong with Amprobe, Extech or Fluke, any of which will cost you about $200.00 for the least expensive and probably won't have a temperature measurement. You can handle that two ways: buy the temp. probe accessory or a stand alone non-contact infrared thermometer for about $80.
    #19
  20. SPEIRMOOR

    SPEIRMOOR Been here awhile

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    Fluke T5-600 about $90. I've had this one since I was an apprentice. Great piece. Automatically switches from AC to DC which is its greatest advantage. One probe can be attached to meter case allowing for instant reading in your hand instead of looking at the meter on the floor all the time. Probes store in its housing too.
    #20