Best Multimeter?

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majornelson   100 W

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Best Multimeter?

Post by majornelson » Aug 20 2013 7:29pm

What are the preferred multimeters those in the forum use?

Just trying to fill out my arsenal...
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cal3thousand   1.21 GW

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by cal3thousand » Aug 20 2013 8:04pm

majornelson wrote:What are the preferred multimeters those in the forum use?

Just trying to fill out my arsenal...
I don't think there is any standardization in this area. I have a $17 craftsman that does most what I need for ebike purposes. Functions that I use are Voltage, Resistance and Continuity.

It can do 600V, 200mA DC or 10A DC (depending on the plug you choose), 500V DC/AC continuity.

I couldn't find it for a couple weeks, so I went to Fry's and spent $20 on a different one that does similar stuff and it has worked well enough for ebikes. Spend around $20 on a digital and it should be good enough for ebike needs.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by bigmoose » Aug 20 2013 8:17pm

If you can swing it, buy the best Fluke you can. It will last many lifetimes and holds calibration well. After 25 years or so the displays fluke out because the polymer "zebra strip" dries out, but you can 2nd source those parts now to keep them running about forever.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by majornelson » Aug 20 2013 8:25pm

Get a Cycle Analyst and a Multimeter, you're still a noob if you don't have at least one of each.
cal3thousand- Funny, it was your signature in another thread that inspired the post... I have a CA v3.

bigmoose- I'm not certain how many lifetimes I may need a multimeter but I'm definitely going to check out a Fluke. You can never plan too well... :wink:
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by majornelson » Aug 20 2013 8:28pm

Hmm- looks like I can only afford a Fluke case! Clearly a quality instrument...
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by kfong » Aug 20 2013 8:39pm

Try eBay. Fluke 77 is a cheaper older design. Mine has been very reliable. Better versions out, but plenty good for ebike, and most uses.

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by Drunkskunk » Aug 20 2013 9:03pm

A Fluke 115 would be the "best entry level" multimeter. At $160 its actualy cheap for what you get.
The "Best" is probably the Fluke 289. They're around $700. You don't need it, unless you plan to work on the Hadron collider, or something with higher specs than NASA would ever dream of . (I think it was a Fluke 115 I used when we build cameras for NASA.)

But you don't need best unless you're planning use Lipo, or build your own controller, or something where precision and accuracy matter a great deal.

Really what you need is a $30 from Home Depot, or someplace like that. Avoid Radio Shi... Shack.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by majornelson » Aug 20 2013 9:14pm

My electrical expertise is pretty limited... would something like this be any good?

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3320-Auto-R ... pd_cp_hi_1

I checked the Fluke 117 and it's roughly $135 on Amazon. The Equus is about $17 but is it junk? My use would be troubleshooting and testing on all things ebike.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by friendly1uk » Aug 20 2013 9:49pm

It won't need to be expensive. A continuity sounder is an absolute must. Look for a 20 amp ac/dc currant range and some nice leads. Accessories like crocodile clips and a shock proof jacket. A diode and transistor test are less useful. You can test them enough just switched to continuity.

I got a nice looking one in a yellow rubber jacket that seemed ideal till it played a cheesy tune for continuity. Thing belonged in a joke shop.


Arh, you have posted again. The one in the link seems ok.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by Kirk » Aug 21 2013 5:25pm

I've used the Fluke 87 V for some years now and its managed to pay for itself over time. Not sure how they are today but the Micronta digital meters used to be a good buy.YMMV
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by Ypedal » Aug 21 2013 5:31pm

I started with a Micronta, now i have a Fluke 116..

the biggest difference is the speed of the readout, when i was testing 72v nimh i had to check 60 cells multiple times per charge cycle, the difference between getting a number in 1 second vs 3 seconds adds up. lol..

but seriously, a 20$ unit is good enough as a starter unit, good enough for most jobs.. and accurate enough for troubleshooting basic ebike stuff.
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cal3thousand   1.21 GW

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by cal3thousand » Aug 21 2013 5:46pm

majornelson wrote:
Get a Cycle Analyst and a Multimeter, you're still a noob if you don't have at least one of each.
cal3thousand- Funny, it was your signature in another thread that inspired the post... I have a CA v3.

bigmoose- I'm not certain how many lifetimes I may need a multimeter but I'm definitely going to check out a Fluke. You can never plan too well... :wink:

LOL. I'm glad it got through to somebody! Not having these tools is like flying blind.
Get a Cycle Analyst and a Multimeter, you're still a noob if you don't have at least one of each.

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by bigmoose » Aug 21 2013 6:38pm

Any meter is better than no meter.

That said, jut be careful with $20 meters if you use them some day on your mains to the house. I read a report where an electrician got killed on, I think it was like 277/480 volt 3 phase system. The meter did not have enough creep protection on the PCB and it arced over internal to the meter, the internal fuse was not rated to interrupt the plasma ball in his hand. (If you ever take a Fluke apart the fuses are huge in them!) The resultant arc and plasma ball killed him. Note I am not an alarmist, just know the limitations of lower priced meters if you use them above 220 volts where the source can source kilo amps.

I found the article on the guy here: turns out 2 were killed and one injured:
http://ecmweb.com/arc-flash/case-deadly-arc-flash
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cal3thousand   1.21 GW

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by cal3thousand » Aug 21 2013 7:01pm

bigmoose wrote:Any meter is better than no meter.

That said, jut be careful with $20 meters if you use them some day on your mains to the house. I read a report where an electrician got killed on, I think it was like 277/480 volt 3 phase system. The meter did not have enough creep protection on the PCB and it arced over internal to the meter, the internal fuse was not rated to interrupt the plasma ball in his hand. (If you ever take a Fluke apart the fuses are huge in them!) The resultant arc and plasma ball killed him. Note I am not an alarmist, just know the limitations of lower priced meters if you use them above 220 volts where the source can source kilo amps.

I found the article on the guy here: turns out 2 were killed and one injured:
http://ecmweb.com/arc-flash/case-deadly-arc-flash

Thanks for the warning :shock: I don't plan to use mine on anything but 100V DC max. I'll put on some rubber dishwashing gloves in any AC case now :wink:
Get a Cycle Analyst and a Multimeter, you're still a noob if you don't have at least one of each.

Planning on posting questions or buying anything on this site? Put up your country (at minimum) on your profile. This is a worldwide forum and we haven't reached clairvoyance.

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by torqueon » Aug 21 2013 8:23pm

The one thing to watch out for on cheap meters, are the cheap probes that come with them.
I have had the wire break from the tip, thus indicating no voltage!! Than the big surprise !!

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by speedmd » Aug 25 2013 10:41am

I have a older fluke and they are quality. Lately I mostly grab my relatively cheap clamp meter when doing most anything. It has the added benefit of ac current measurements and quickly tells you if you have a dangerous at hand live wire without fuss. Also it acts like a holder when working in the rafters and will hold it for you on any nail, pipe or wire while your probing around with the leads and have both hands busy. Will not do dc amps but some more expensive ones do.

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by friendly1uk » Feb 18 2014 10:31am

I just picked up a right cheap meter that does loads. £25 on my doorstep got me...

Volts up too 1000 ac/dc manual or auto ranging
Amps up to0 20 ac/dc
Resistance too 60M
Capacitance 2000uf
Frequency to 60megs (or duty)
Diodes and transistor hfe
Temperature -40 too 1000c
Null button for work along cell groups without moving the neg, or just to zero leads.
min/max
Bargraph
Rubber holster with stand/hanger
Fairly nice leads with caps that a pencil sharpener can trim down to reveal a legal amount of metal.

All ranges will take 250vac by mistake.

I was looking at flukes tbh, but the 101 was to basic and the one's just above it only read 100uf which is useless to me as an electrician. There not good for electronics either as they put out too much power when testing resistance. I can't quite believe how much I got for peanuts with this meter.

http://www.vicimeter.com/en/productshow.asp?sendid=15

I'm really quite happy with it. My last micky mouse meter looked the bizz, but when you checked continuity it played a christmas card tune :shock: lmao I soon gave that away.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by Ykick » Feb 18 2014 11:13am

Professional technician it’s a no-brainer to buy a Pro meter like Fluke.

However, even the best meter can and will drift outta calibration and/or suffer ill-effects from a dead internal battery, operator errors, etc.

For novices getting into this, south of $20 is much less daunting than north of $100. And much like eBikes, it will always be better to have more than one on hand in order to setup more complex tests or simply verify that another meter is in the ballpark.

Maybe you'll find you need and/or want a higher quality meter? If so, buy it and then also have a $20 spare meter to provide a 2nd opinion when readings fail to make sense.

Personally speaking, you’re much better off directing significant budget toward assembling good quality meter test leads. Heat shrink/gun, connector crimping tools, bulk wire, etc. All of that stuff which comes in handy, time and time again.

Here's a sub $20 cheapo which has been an absolute joy to use for over 10 years. It's helped verify dead batteries from more than few Fluke meters, LOL....
Halltest2a.jpg
Halltest2a.jpg (53.38 KiB) Viewed 2374 times
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by wesnewell » Feb 18 2014 11:31am

For most things, anything more expensive than this is just a waste of money.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by Punx0r » Feb 18 2014 12:07pm

Thanks for the warning Bigmoose - hadn't realised something like that could happen. I suspect they're probably a safety standard we ought to check a meter conforms to.

Another upside to a cheapish meter is that it's not a lot of money lost when you do bad things to it. Like forgetting to change back from the current setting before checking the mains voltage... Or accidentally check continuity or resistance on a live circuit. Or accidentally use the 200mA current setting on a 50A circuit. Stupid things that I've done several times and I'd hate to think I might have ruined a nice Fluke meter in doing so.

Another vote for buying good quality leads :)

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by danjpendleton » Feb 18 2014 12:24pm

Fluke, snap on, or blue point are all very good
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by The Mighty Volt » Feb 18 2014 1:17pm

bigmoose wrote:If you can swing it, buy the best Fluke you can. It will last many lifetimes and holds calibration well. After 25 years or so the displays fluke out because the polymer "zebra strip" dries out, but you can 2nd source those parts now to keep them running about forever.
This. Bought a fluke from an American kid who was finishing in Lincoln Tech {it even said Lincoln Tech on it} and I've loved it ever since. Bulletproof, dropped it at speed once off my first 36v build. Great stuff.

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by Giovanni LiCalsi » Feb 18 2014 1:47pm

I like one with an amp clamp.

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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by friendly1uk » Feb 18 2014 2:56pm

The Mighty Volt wrote:
bigmoose wrote:If you can swing it, buy the best Fluke you can. It will last many lifetimes and holds calibration well. After 25 years or so the displays fluke out because the polymer "zebra strip" dries out, but you can 2nd source those parts now to keep them running about forever.
This. Bought a fluke from an American kid who was finishing in Lincoln Tech {it even said Lincoln Tech on it} and I've loved it ever since. Bulletproof, dropped it at speed once off my first 36v build. Great stuff.
Doesn't that make it stolen goods?


I do have a professional meter, but it don't have a single function I can use on the bike. Typically speaking, pro meters are aimed at a narrow field. The bike is perhaps best serviced by an auto-meter of some sort. Capable of reading high currant but still be used for electronics. That was my brief.

I find having a few helps with calibration.
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Re: Best Multimeter?

Post by ambroseliao » Feb 18 2014 2:58pm

If you're looking to buy a new meter for under $50 then check out this page and video.

http://www.eevblog.com/2010/06/04/eevbl ... -shootout/

http://www.ebikes.ca/ is the best!

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