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Reviews For: Tenma Universal Test Center

Category: Tools & Test Equipment for the amateur radio work bench

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Review Summary For : Tenma Universal Test Center
Reviews: 1MSRP: 549.00
The Tenma Universal Test Center incorporates a 2mHz function generator, with sweep capabilities, 1.3 gHz frequency counter, tri-output power supply and DMM in one package.
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
WB6SSW Rating: 2006-04-28
Surprisingly better than expected Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
It is rare that one buys a product and then finds out it is better than expected. That is exactly what I encountered when I received my Universal Test Center. This is probably a result of minimal effort being invested in the marketing of this Korean made unit because the published specs and the skimpy operation manual do not give the full story.

So here is what I found (so far) that is not mentioned in the specs and manual:

1. A front panel switch will cause the frequency counter to measure the function generator frequency. Handy, but never mentioned.
2. The frequency counter is auto ranging. Select the gate time and the decimal point and the appopriate Hz, kHz or mHz indicator will be selected automatically, depending upon the input frequency.
3. The DMM is isolated from the rest of the functions, is battery operated, autoranging, has a 10 minute auto shut off and has continuity, logic and capacitance modes. It also has a very handy secondary display that can display a wide variety of additional information such as min/max readings or the frequency of the AC voltage being read.

The above is not a comprehensive list of all of the functions but rather just the features that the specs fail to mention. For the rest of the specs you can check Tenma's website. You'll find that the capabilities, as published, are just as you would expect from a modern function generator, frequency counter, DMM or power supply, such as selectable output impedance on the function generator, period measurments with the frequency counter, 20 amp current measuring capability on the DMM and digital voltage or current display of the power supply outputs(separate from the DMM display).

Downsides? In spite of the manual stating that this is a "compact" instrument, it is big (14.5"x6.5"x12.5") and heavy (39 lbs). The manual, as mentioned, is marginal. The frequency counter is reasonably accurate, but lacks an oven. The power supplies are limited to 2 amps (3 amps for the 13.8 V supply). The autoranging of the DMM takes an abnormally long time to settle (sometimes 2 to 3 seconds). The frequency control dial on the function generator is somewhat flimsy.

At $549 retail, its not for every ham's workbench. However, if you were to go out and purchase the capabilities of the Universal Test Center as new separate pieces of equipment, you would spend at least that much money.