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Reviews For: AnaTek Blue ESR Meter Kit

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

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Review Summary For : AnaTek Blue ESR Meter Kit
Reviews: 5MSRP: $79.00
This ESR meter measures equivelent series resistance and is extemely useful for finding bad electrolytics while still in circuit, locating PC board short circuits, checking contact resistance of switches, connectors and relays, just to name a few!
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K6HOM Rating: 2013-01-13
Great Workbench Addition Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
My hobbies include fixing and electrically refurbing vintage tube and solid state audiophile amps and preamps, vintage AM radios, and an occasional ham boat anchor. Electrolytic power supply caps can lead a stressful life in high-performance audio/ham equipment. After a decade or so of use, many of these caps test as working, but can be under-performing. This AnaTek Blue ESR meter has really made the task of finding under-performing electrolytics easy.

I purchased and built the kit version after reading about this product here on This is a high quality kit and it was an easy build. Mine fired up correctly on the first try. Several of the previous reviewers have posted great comments about this meter. If you are thinking about buying the kit version, my suggestion would be to heed the manual and measure each one of the several dozen small precision resistors with an ohmmeter before installing. It can be difficult to read the color code on these resistors, an ohmmeter will save you from making errors.

This meter is ridiculously easy to use. I find mine to be indispensable for what I work on. Don't know how I got along without one so long! If you need an ESR meter, you'll love this one.
WD4MTW Rating: 2012-12-16
Bench Must Have Time Owned: more than 12 months.
I can't comment on the kit construction as I bought my meter built. It's become an indispensable part of my bench test equipment. In this day and age that many of repairs now are limited to board level exchanges and service docs are either limited or non-existent, this meter gives you a fighting chance over disposal and replacement. I can't say how many times this unit saved a board by identifying a bad cap(s). The 8 y/o computer I'm working on and the 11 y/o LCD monitor in front of me are perfect examples of repairs that under normal circumstances would have required board or unit replacement or would have been considered beyond economic repair. When I consider how many boards and equipment this meter has saved, I can't think of any other piece of test equipment that I own that's literally paid for itself over and over again. I bought mine with the heavy probe set and purchased a tweezer set for smaller smt work. If I had a gripe, it would be the nomograph on the front panel that can be a pain if you're not familiar with ESR ranges. The graph used in the other iterations of Bob's meter is much more practical and useful. There's several downloadable charts on the net or you can copy one off one of the other meter images until you get a feel for ESR vs. cap/voltage rating. One nice addition to the meter is one of those 80's vintage plexiglass calculator holders that used to be sold everywhere. I've had mine over 3 years with no problems whatsoever.
KC0KBC Rating: 2011-11-27
Great kit Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
I just finished building this meter (kit version). I haven't had a chance to put it to real use yet, but was impressed with the kit. There were no missing parts, all parts were separated into clearly labelled bags, and instructions were clear and complete. The meter requires two resistors for use in calibration, and they are included. The blue case is made by Hammond and is a nicer case than it might appear to be in online photos.

It took me a couple of evenings of careful soldering. Tools needed are a good soldering station, fine gauge solder, a DVM, and preferably a variable voltage power supply whose voltage can be adjusted between 5.5 and 9VDC. The PS is used only for calibrating the low battery indicator; if you don't own a variable bench PS, instructions are included to build a circuit for calibration use - though the parts to build that are not included.

I have a supply of very high quality Pomona test lead wire, and used that instead of the supplied leads. The larger diameter Pomona wire (.144") still worked perfectly with the supplied case grommets.

I'm glad to have this tool in my troubleshooting arsenal! It was a very enjoyable, low-stress build - one of those that makes you sad when you get to the part of the instructions titled, "Final assembly instructions."
KA7OEI Rating: 2011-06-09
If you use electrolytics or batteries, you need one! Time Owned: more than 12 months.
If you work on anything that uses electrolytics in a stressful way (such as a switcher found in a power supply, computer monitor or TV) then you'll need one of these to determine which capacitors are still "capacitors"!

Even though your capacitance meter reading may match the capacitor's label, that doesn't mean that its ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance) is what it should be, and if one of these "bad" caps is in a switching supply like the above, it either won't be able to do its job, or it won't be doing it for very long before it dies!

This device does ONLY one thing: Measures ESR. It won't measure the capacitance - but in almost all cases, if the ESR is higher than it should be, you wouldn't want to use that capacitor, anyway and there's also a good chance that its capacitance will be "off" as well!

This meter also measures the "ESR" of cells - from smaller than AAA to larger than D. If, for example, your NiCd or NiMH AA cell, when is fully charged, shows a fairly high resistance, you can be pretty confident that it's probably on its last legs and doesn't have the capacity that it used to! (If you are wondering what resistance range is "good" for different types of cells, just measure a bunch of those that you might have laying around to get an idea...)

The kit was pretty easy to put together and is well though-out and it works exactly as designed.

The only minor gripes have to do with battery life - but since I only have it on long enough to check a few caps at a time, anyway, that's not too much of an issue The other (minor) thing is that the alligator-clip options provided for the test leads aren't really the best for actually connecting capacitors with trimmed leads, but that's not really a big deal and if it bothered me too much, I'd have tried to come up with something else by now, anyway...
WA7URV Rating: 2011-03-20
Excellent addition to my bench! Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
The kit went together and calibrated very easy. After going through several used electrolytics in my junk drawer, I was able to pull out a couple of bad ones. And upon troubleshooting a friend's audio amp, I was able to quickly detect a bad cap in its power supply. Replaced the cap and he was back in the sound business! This ESR meter is a simply device to operate, but adds a huge dimension to my troubleshooting ability. (I need all the help I can get!) I highly recommend this relatively inexpensive test device to anyone that "looks under an electronic hood!"