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Author Topic: Best all around multimeter?  (Read 10871 times)
K6MMS
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Posts: 33




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« on: October 31, 2012, 02:48:17 PM »

All,

Of course, I'd love to drop $300+ and get a Fluke with all the bells and whistles. That said, what is the best all around workhorse multimeter that I can get for a reasonable price?
Is there one, all around, gee-whizbang unit that is the standard that everyone goes to?

Also, what about bench-top models?

Thanks,
Lenny B.
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N3QE
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Posts: 2078




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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2012, 03:08:53 PM »

I like the Triplett 630 and the Simpson 260.

If you insist on digital... the Fluke 77 is absolutely ubiquitous.

Few of the whiz-bang features in a DMM will be very useful for homebrewing RF stuff - for that you want a simple LC meter.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4368




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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2012, 03:22:59 AM »

If you want to work on transmitters, you need an old fashioned analogue meter. DVMs are nice  but they go mad with RF around.
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12672




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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2012, 05:19:23 AM »

I find Fluke digital meters to be pretty well shielded against RFI. In fact, the Fluke 77 has a specification that it maintains full accuracy in an RF field intensity of 3V/M.
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G3RZP
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Posts: 4368




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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2012, 07:15:39 AM »

I suspect the 3V/m is to meet CISPR standards, and mandatory Eureopean EMC requirements. But what frequency range? These days, it's usually 80 MHz to 2.7 GHz, and below 80 MHz, funny things can happen.
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3655




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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2012, 09:41:18 AM »

I have an older Fluke that went for around $250.00.  The meter I primarily use is a $3.00 Chinese pizza sheet that I bought at a tool sale. The accuracy is almost dead on with the Fluke and if I smoke it, no big loss.

My point?  Buy any old digital meter and then take your time to research specs and decide  what you can afford.  The suggestion of a Simpson 260 is right on.  They are an incredible analog meter that every ham should have.  Or at least an analog meter of some brand.

If you look at a meter that has the LC functions, check the specs of these very close.  Quite often they L and C ranges they offer are quite limited.
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K0BT
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Posts: 176




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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 12:36:23 PM »

N3QE is right.  The Fluke 77 is well regarded.  I have been using the same Fluke 77 since the late 70s and it works exactly as it did when new.  I've also been happy with the Fluke 25.

The $3 Harbor Freight ones give the exact same readings, but without any extra features.  They are free with coupons.  I have at least a dozen of them scattered around in my toolboxes and cars.

An analog meter is high on my must-have list for any type of alignment work.  It's much easier to watch a needle than to look at digits or a bar graph.
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K0IZ
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Posts: 737




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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2012, 06:45:52 AM »

I love my Simpson 260's (I have two).  They typically sell for about $40 at hamfests.  Several series, I think latest is 7 or 8.  There are always a bunch for sale on eBay.  I would lean towards a series 6 or 7.   Here is a current example: 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Simpson-260-Multimeter-Series-6-/281011726788?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item416d9aa9c4

I also have several digital meters.  All from Harbor Freight.  Some were the give-away models, great for throwing into a tool box, taking out to Field Day, etc.  Also have a couple of their better meters, regular prices of $40 or so, sometimes half price.  They really seem to work well.  Here is link to one of the meters I use.  I like the rubbery outside sheath for protection.

http://www.harborfreight.com/general-merch/electrical/ac-dc-digital-multimeter-37772.html
« Last Edit: November 03, 2012, 06:56:39 AM by K0IZ » Logged
K8AG
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Posts: 349




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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2012, 09:42:25 AM »

30 years or so ago I splurged and got a Fluke 77 when they first came out.  Just replaced the battery on it for about the 5th time.  It has been a real reliable workhorse.  Compared to a new meter still seems in calibration pretty close.

I do miss having a capacitance/inductance scale.

My 2 cents.

73, JP, K8AG
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KH6DC
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Posts: 634




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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2012, 08:15:22 PM »

I had a Beckman HD110 for 20+ years until it died a couple of years ago.  I then replaced it with a Fluke 87.
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73 and Aloha,
de Delwyn, KH6DC
KO4NX
Member

Posts: 179




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« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2012, 04:42:02 AM »

I have been using a Fluke 897 for a couple of years. Bargans can be had on the online auction sites for this meter. If I recall corretly I paid around $150.00 for this Graphical DMM. About a year ago, I saw one for sale at $200.00 at the Richmond Frostfest.

If I need an analog High Impedance meter then I have been very fond of my Hickcok 209B VTVM. From a build prosepctive it rivals the HP410C, but does not have the frueqency range (Hickok is good to 100MHz), but nothing beats a 7" Diagonal Panel display when probing around RF Circuits, or tuning filters!'

73

Rich, AJ3G
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KO4NX
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Posts: 179




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« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2012, 02:15:54 PM »

I would like to correct the Fluke Model Number, it is a 867B not a 897!
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5694




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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 09:22:53 AM »

It ain't so much the meter, its the technician using it. 


73
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MAGNUM257
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Posts: 159




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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 08:42:24 AM »

Simpson 260. I've had mine for over 25 years.
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N8NSN
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Posts: 283


WWW

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« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 06:20:34 PM »

Did you ever get the meter(s) you were needing? This can be done on the cheap if you're patient...

The main meters used here are:
 
Knight Grid dip G-30 *free from trash pile with all coils Smiley
Tenma 72-960 LCR meter  *20 bucks at a surplus electronics place S.W. Ohio
Micronta 22-214 Analog *2 bucks - garage sale
Micronta 22-167 Digital *10 bucks auction
Heathkit IM-28 VTVM *5 bucks at Findlay hamfest a few years ago

37 bucks and I'm content for light maintenance and building stuff...

Fluke... yes expensive, but worth the money if daily use is intended. My Service electrician meters are mainly Fluke.
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