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Basic Electronics » How to Buy a MultiMeter-- Lesson Learned

December 08, 2009
by BobaMosfet
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Everyone, something to bear in mind when getting a multimeter. Don't purchase the thing and assume because it's new that it works.

I did that and now I have a good multimeter, that is parts because it's now obsolete and the function switch is busted. (right out of the sealed packaging). I didn't open it for 2 years (when I actually needed it-- I had bought it and put it away for when I did need it).

So, I went back to the store- of course, they can't do anything now, and the meter is so old, they can't even find that model in their repair service-- sadly it was a S***rs meter. Old = 3+ years.

I bought another meter, not as small or as nice, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. I got it home-- LED test failed, and continuity was spotty. Bad meter.

I was a bit steamed, arguably, because now I had two (2) defective meter experiences from a 'reputable' tool line.

I broke out one of my old, bulky (but known working) meters and took it to the store. I returned the defective meter I'd just purchased, and tested two more meters in the store, with a breadboard circuit and an LED to prove the diode test function worked or not, along with my good meter to check it all.

Both of those meters also failed the diode and continuity test.

Lesson learned: If you're buying a new meter, take a working one to the store and test the new one right then and there.

December 08, 2009
by Rick_S
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I've had a Fluke multimeter since the mid 80's. My folks bought it for me as a Christmas gift. I think through the years I've gotten more use out of that gift than any I've ever been given. For those of you who do this as a hobby, a simple inexpensive off brand such as the meters sold here will often do the trick. If you plan to go far in the hobby or have it become your profession, you can't go wrong with a good Quality piece of test equipment. Whether it be a Fluke, Simpson, BK Precision, Tektronix or one of the many other reputable companies. A good meter, scope, or other piece of test equipment will give you years of reliable service and are well worth the extra money spent.

I don't know who makes S**rs meters these days. Years ago, they were Simpsons. My guess is now they are probably some cheap off brand - re-branded with their tool line's name.

JM2C as usual...

Rick

December 09, 2009
by n3ueaEMTP
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Posted by Rick_S

 A good meter, scope, or other piece of test equipment will give you years of reliable service 
and are well worth the extra money spent.

I couldn't have said it better myself, I've had my Fluke 73, series II for 20 years and still works as good today as when it was new!!

December 09, 2009
by JKITSON
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I HAVE TWO SIMPSON 260'S THAT ARE OVER 35 YEARS OLD. STILL WORKS VERY WELL. THE NEW CHEAP DIGITAL METERS ARE NICE FOR PORTABILITY BUT DON'S SEEM TO HOLD UP VERY LONG. I HAVE BOUGHT 3 IN THE LAST 2 YEARS..

RICK_S IS RIGHT "GOOD IS BETTER"

JIM

December 09, 2009
by Rick_S
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Mine's a Fluke 75 and I wouldn't trade it for 20 of the new budget meters.

December 10, 2009
by Farmerjoecoledge
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I just got one of the nerds (the cheaper one) and have used it twice, to check a battery and a transformer. What do you guy's use your better multimeters for? Do your circuits break that much? or are you cheching all your parts?

December 10, 2009
by Rick_S
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No, like anything in life, you typically get what you pay for. You could compare a cheap multimeter vs. a good one to a Yugo Vs Mercedes. They will both get you where you want to go for a given time but chances are the Mercedes will far outlast the Yugo.

Quality of the components that make up the meter, the overall accuracy of the meter, the overall build quality of the meter, the quality of the probes.

As I said above, for basic hobby work, a cheapie is just fine. If you expect to do the hobby for years to come or plan electronics as a profession, my personal opinion is that a good quality meter will definitely pay for itself in the long run.

Rick

December 10, 2009
by georgio
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Always try and invest in the best products possible. An arm and a leg may have to come off but in the long run, those devices will give you a long productive life.

George

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