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Need A Multimeter?

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by timgr, May 9, 2019.

  1. May 9, 2019
    timgr

    timgr Eppur si muove. 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

    Medford Mass USA
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    Basic electrical diagnosis needs at least a test light like this: JENLEY Circuit Tester DC Systems Long Probe Continuity Test Light Car Voltage (6V - 24V) - - Amazon.com There are more expensive ones - this is the cheapest on Amazon, and it should work ok.

    Most will want a multimeter. You can get a free or nearly-free meter from Harbor Freight or Princess Auto or whatever, but you probably want something a little better.

    I've been watching Dave Jones' videos a lot lately, and he reviews this Aneng which is probably the cheapest you would want. Alloet AN8008 True-RMS Digital Multimeter Square Wave Voltage Ammeter MAX Display 9999 Counts Auto/Manual Ranges True RMS - - Amazon.com

    here's Dave's review on YouTube:


    Note that the mains voltage in Australia is 240V, twice that in the USA. Contrary to Dave's warning, I would not hesitate to use this meter in the volts setting to test presence of mains voltage here... JMO. Note also that he cranks up the input voltage to 900V to test the accuracy of the meter with no problem. Hmm.

    The next step up is likely an Amprobe (a company owned by Fluke) Amprobe AM-510 Commercial/Residential Multimeter with Non-Contact Voltage Detection with a NIST-Traceable Calibration Certificate with Data: Amazon.com: Industrial & Scientific

    For education, there are 100s of YouTube videos that cover this topic: automotive electrical diagnosis with a multimeter - Bing video
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Downs, 73 cj5, TIm E and 1 other person like this.
  2. May 9, 2019
    TIm E

    TIm E Member 2019 Sponsor

    NW Arkansas
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    Thanks Tim, great advice as I do in fact need a new one!
     
  3. May 9, 2019
    47v6

    47v6 junk wrecker! 2020 Sponsor

    Washington DC.
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    I am not an electronics guy or an electrician, but I work on circuits all the time. There is no way i could do my job without a multimeter. I use a cheap one I got at home depot that works fine, but that Amprobe one looks to be a great replacement at a fantastic price.
     
  4. May 9, 2019
    Warloch

    Warloch Did you say Flattie??? Staff Member

    Falcon, CO
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    I love a good multi meter and have several in the shop - I will say I broke down and bought a power probe system a couple years ago to help trace some strange things going on in my Mom's motor home. If you have complicated items, or need to power and test stuff to figure things out, or even tracing a wire looking for a short, this thing is the cat's meow...
     
  5. May 9, 2019
    Howard Eisenhauer

    Howard Eisenhauer Super Moderator Staff Member

    Tantallon, Nova...
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    *DO *NOT* buy a meter from Princess Auto- don't ask me how I know :(

    I'm old fashioned- I still like using analog meters, excellent quality Simpson's/Tripletts/Avometers etc. are going for reasonable prices on ebay.
     
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  6. May 9, 2019
    timgr

    timgr Eppur si muove. 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    Oooh, the Avometer... made in the Old Dart! Kinda doubt you'd see many of those in the USA, but Simpsons and Tripletts are out there. Even an old Tandy analog meter would be fine, if it works.

    The analog meters have their fans, but the digital meters usually give you a bunch of additional function, like temperature, capacitance, frequency counter, audible diode test, even inductance.
     
  7. May 9, 2019
    tomasinator

    tomasinator Member

    Redmond, WA
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    I have a good Fluke multimeter, but I like the free Harbor Freight multimeters. I have them all over the house and a couple of them in the garage. I think they're by far the best "free coupon" thing you can get. When I was about 15 years old (circa 1974), I saved $20 and had my dad buy me an Olson multimeter at the Olson Electronics store in downtown Cincinnati. According to an inflation calculator, twenty 1974 dollars is equivalent to $103 2019 dollars. That's why I'm impressed a multimeter can be given away for free. By the way, I still have that Olson multimeter and it still works today.
     
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  8. May 11, 2019
    Keys5a

    Keys5a Sponsor

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    I still like an analog meter around to watch the needle deflect when testing capacitors. Everything else, digital is my go-to meter. I have a few cheap Craftsman digital meters, but no two read the same for 120v house current. They vary as much as 10 volts.
    -Donny
     
  9. May 11, 2019
    sgogpn

    sgogpn I speak fluent Jeepanese... 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    Anyone remember the Keithley's?

    Mike
     
  10. Sep 14, 2020
    mortten

    mortten I can’t put my finger on it

    Peninsula, Ohio
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    My sister finally found my Dad’s Triplett meters.
    CBFE6796-1B25-4783-9E54-6394D8071B01.jpeg
     
  11. Sep 14, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Eppur si muove. 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    I know the name, seen some of their test equipment.

    Those Tripletts are cool. Do they have batteries in them? Leaky batteries can be bad news if they were in there a long time. I'd give them some gentle cleaning and testing.
     
  12. Sep 14, 2020
    mortten

    mortten I can’t put my finger on it

    Peninsula, Ohio
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    I pulled the batteries soon after he passed away. IIRC they are a little longer than a pack of cigarettes.
     
  13. Sep 14, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Eppur si muove. 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    If it needs odd-sized batteries, they can be expensive. Back in the day, these batteries were commonly used for portable radios, and not expensive I presume. Do you still have the batteries?

    This meter from "Ballantine Labs Inc" -

    meter.jpg

    I got for free at a hamfest. It probably works, but when I brought it home, I found it needed a hundred dollars of exotic batteries. It has a 90V battery as I recall? It could be very useful, but I have some other AC voltmeters using line voltage I could repair/restore if I needed more analog AC voltmeters. Label at the top says "Sikorsky Aircraft." The calibration sticker is from the "Meteorology Lab" and dated 04 May 78. So it was in use well into the 20th century.
     
  14. Sep 14, 2020
    mortten

    mortten I can’t put my finger on it

    Peninsula, Ohio
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    It takes an NEDA 210 30 volt and a D cell battery. The 30 volt is about $25.00
     
  15. Sep 14, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Eppur si muove. 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    I see that Excel alkaline battery that's a replacement for a NEDA 210. Pretty sure alkaline batteries cannot be recharged. Maybe you could put together a stack of NiCads to make 30V and have a rechargeable battery? You'd likely have to build a charger for that voltage.
     
  16. Sep 14, 2020
    Cap-n-Cray

    Cap-n-Cray I want to do this again.. Staff Member

    Bainbridge...
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    I still need to repair the pointer...

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Sep 15, 2020
    Dave Deyton

    Dave Deyton Member

    Fuquay-Varina, NC
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    I don't need the kind of accuracy the expensive meters give anymore. The cheap digital meters work fine for me.

    Got a couple of the old Simpson's now used as wall hangers.

    Used to troubleshoot circuit boards with those in the 80's.

    Built a digital multi meter for my senior project in my Computer Engineering class (1983 -84?), The chip I ordered, never came in so I got a C.

    Don't want to go back to those old meters, but they do look good as decoration.
    A rep was showing a really expensive Fluke meter and as part of his demonstration he would knock it off the counter to prove how tough it was.
    He was embarrassed when it broke into a thousand pieces. Did that one too many times, so he got two new ones and proceeded to slam them on the floor. It was funny to watch.

    Dave
     
  18. Sep 15, 2020
    timgr

    timgr Eppur si muove. 2020 Sponsor 2019 Sponsor

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    Or clip together 3 9V batteries in series to test them. It'll be close enough.
     
  19. Sep 15, 2020
    georgecj6

    georgecj6 Member

    Chicago area
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    The Simpson 260 is great to check resistance of a contact closure. You can always zero the ohms reading or the needle. I used to carry mine in the truck in a box with soft foam so I didn't damage the meter movement.
     
  20. Sep 23, 2020
    termin8ed

    termin8ed I didn't do it Staff Member

    Mason, MI
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    ive got an old radio shack fluke lookalike from about 1991. Still use it at work. Keep waiting for it to die but just keeps going. Only thing i wish it had is a min max reading.one of theae days ill get a newer automotive meter and retire my shack meter to home
     

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