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Old 12-01-16, 02:17 PM   #1
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Default Can anyone suggest an decent digital multimeter?

I'm looking for a new 'niceish' digital multimeter. Unfortunately, both of my nicer ones have kicked the bucket this year for whatever reason. I have a couple of the harbor freight cheapos, and they work for the most part, but I honestly don't trust them THAT much. So, I'm looking for suggestions. Price should be under or around $50 ideally. I don't need features up the wazoo. I use it mainly for dc electronics work. Almost never for AC stuff. Can you guys suggest something that'll work well and last? Or at least some brand names to check out?

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Old 12-01-16, 03:42 PM   #2
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I used Fluke meters in the Navy for years and have had very good luck with them. I used a meters a lot in the Navy.

A few years ago I bought Fluke 87 V it has been a great meter and very tuff.
You might check out on of their cheaper models.
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Old 12-01-16, 06:43 PM   #3
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If you want something cheap, the Sears bottom of the line is pretty good.
I've been using this one 5 or 6 years now..
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-multi...p-03482141000P
Pick one up at your local Sears for $8.99 USDs..
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Old 12-01-16, 10:22 PM   #4
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I have not used this model. I was just looking at lower prices fluke meters that might work for you.

Fluke 101
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Old 12-01-16, 11:28 PM   #5
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A little googling shows this one won a 'under $50 multimeter' shootout. Anyone ever hear of Mastech? It seems quite nice and I like the additional meters it has (lux meter, humidity, temperature, decibel) in addition to the normal voltage, amperage, resistance, etc.

Mastech MS8229
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Old 12-03-16, 07:37 AM   #6
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This is one of those clear areas where "you get what you pay for". A "few" years ago, I purchased an "outrageously" price Fluke meter and have used it hard - and long.

Gone through several sets of leads over the years, one internal current over protection fuse (protected it against stupid me). They even have an extra fuse packed inside so when you blow one - you have another. I was told the Fluke would last . . .

Like the watch - "takes a licking - keeps on ticking".

I like Pinball's suggestion for the $50 ish Fluke. Mine is an upgrade from there (and the rubber case is a necessary upgrade). My case has lots of battle "scars" where it has fallen from many roofs, one five story building, etc. I lost the unit once, but it was returned as I put one of my business cards in the rubber case.

Oh, how "few years" have I had mine? Thirty years this past April (purchased in 1986). I though the $90 (?) price was incredibly high . . .

But has been worth every penny!


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ps - I don't do any consulting for Fluke - but maybe I should do an ad !!!!
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Old 12-03-16, 04:28 PM   #7
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I second the Fluke recommendation. I have owned some and used many, and they are all gold when you are doing testing. Tough as a brick, rock steady readings, and they don't lose their calibration or go crazy on you. When the battery starts getting low, you know WAY ahead of time. In competent hands everywhere, Fluke meters have earned a reputation like the Energizer bunny: they keep working and working and working....

It is actually difficult to make one lie to you. This is not trivial, as many lesser brands of test equipment can lead you astray, chasing your tail for hours or days, until someone tries something else. You can spend as much or as little on tools as you want, but the better they work, the less frustrating and time consuming the project ends up. With tools in general, you can improvise to a certain extent, but accomplishing things is more challenging. With test equipment, an instrument that tells the truth is vital, there is no substitute.

I learned this lesson as part of my OJT in the Navy, from a highly experienced chief. We were testing a generator set for some kind of aircraft on a specialized test bench designed for the purpose, when suddenly, a few gauges started giving strange readings. Rather than just trust this super-expensive government test set, he reached for his trusty Fluke 77. Testing the suspect components revealed that the generator was not at fault, but a part in the control was "spiking" the test set intermittently under load, causing the wild readings. We had the thing fixed in less than an hour. After we were done, he said "That's why I always carry a Fluke, and so should you." I was issued one of the same meters, and became very proficient at operating it. Up until then, I never really appreciated the value of a well-built piece of test equipment.

Over the years, I cannot stress how much time and money these meters have made (and saved) me, and bailed out others of the same. Heck, other techs have bailed me out of trouble with their Fluke instruments! I should have known not to leave mine in the truck (or wherever I did)!

Oh, and they are also a lifetime tool, like Craftsman or Snap-on. So if you drive over one with a bulldozer or something, just send the pieces to them and they will replace it. No hassle, no questions, no problem whatsoever.
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Old 12-03-16, 05:54 PM   #8
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Jeff - that is what I have a Fluke 77. But I did not know that they have a lifetime warranty.

Literally send them the pieces?


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Old 12-03-16, 07:36 PM   #9
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The Fluke 80 series has lifetime warranty. But I have not used it. Mine is in the protective case also that really helps.
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Old 12-04-16, 05:27 AM   #10
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Well maybe I need to upgrade to an 80 series Fluke - but will I live long enough?

More seriously, this meter family is literally an investment.

A page should be set up that describes other truly essential equipment that are not costly. Yes, it would be "nice" to have a D-8 Caterpillar bulldozer and it may be the "best", but at nearly $200 K, I must rent that . . .

What say on general purpose stuff we all use?

I would love to know what brand of tool set (wrenches, sockets, etc) to buy now that Craftsman is no longer guarantying stuff for life and their quality has gone way down.

Kobalt?

My tools are not all lined up and shiny on the wall board for occasional twice a year job - they get USED. I repair my tractors, do most all maintenance on cars and on a livestock farm, you are often using a tool for a purpose it was not intended for.

Examples . . . I use a stubby flat blade screwdriver to dig out foot rot . . . My long screwdriver checks my electric fence wire - hot wire to ground needs to be a fat blue spark with a nice sharp snap noise - . . . . or you can accidentally brush against the hot wire and measure the decibels of your bellowing. The latter works well, but not recommended as it is hard to hold a dB meter while you are screaming.


Steve

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