Best Volt meter

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BCTECH   1 kW

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Best Volt meter

Post by BCTECH » Jan 15 2015 1:14pm

looking for a one-time buy voltmeter
which one is the most accurate, high quality, all in one ?
what do you guys use ?

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Doctorbass   100 GW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by Doctorbass » Jan 15 2015 1:43pm

I would go with a FLUKE !!

Solid reputation
Accurate
Well built

That's a one-time buy!

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BCTECH   1 kW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by BCTECH » Jan 15 2015 2:44pm

Doctorbass wrote:I would go with a FLUKE !!

Solid reputation
Accurate
Well built

That's a one-time buy!

Doc
looking at fluke and so many models. first time building ebike not sure what I need or would need in the future.
which model do you suggest? with clamp feature is better down to the road?

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BCTECH   1 kW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by BCTECH » Jan 15 2015 2:49pm

Kiriakos GR wrote:
BCTECH wrote: what do you guys use ?
:mrgreen:

Just say how far your are willing to go regarding cash.
nice collection
which one is the best you found?
just curious in what circumstance you need more then one meter ?

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by Doctorbass » Jan 15 2015 3:08pm

I am using the Fluke 337 for the DC clamp meter and this became my reference. but the voltmeter does not have the same resolution as the 187 does for exemple the 337 is more from a Clamp meter serie

As for the voltmeter the great 179, 187 or 189 work great

These are my next voltmeter. I have actually a Meterman 37XR since 1998 wich is a copy of fluke that I really like because it is still really accurate and does measure capacitor and inductance too!

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by teslanv » Jan 15 2015 3:12pm

I've got a Fluke 77 III. It is awesome.
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by wb9k » Jan 15 2015 5:32pm

My fave is the Fluke 289. It's a bit spendy at around $650, but it has lots of very nice features, including capacitance measurements up to 10 uF, low ohms measurement range with 3.5 decimal space resolution (very valuable for evaluating interconnects, etc.), and it's also a single-channel data recorder. Results can be graphed right on the screen or exported to a PC via the optical USB connection. It's great for capturing charge/discharge curves or verifying the presence of intermittent faults in various devices--just set up the device, and monitor the measurement of interest and walk away. Come back tomorrow to see if the device acted up on you while you were away. It might be the only really good meter you ever need.
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BCTECH   1 kW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by BCTECH » Jan 16 2015 11:07am

wb9k wrote:Well my problem with you is that you do not make the right questions. :)
Volt meter is a single meter usually for panel mounting in analog or digital (format).
Therefore you are seeking for a multimeter, which is an multi-talented instrument.
Nowadays modern even for DC volts is considered the one which is fast at making five measurements in a single second and by display them identically fast on the LCD screen.
Slower meters than three times per second measurements, are considered as 20 years old technology, and is not appropriate for ebike measurements because the voltage changes fast and the meter is unable to measure something that moves faster that the meter it self.
Volts - Ampere - resistance are the set of primary electrical parameters, there is additional parameters as for example measuring capacitance - temperature - frequency - and even digital pulses.


You mentioned ... one-time buy voltmeter = advanced enough and even more than needed so you to advance with it.
The ones with highest performance = value for money are just two in the beginning of 2015.
BRYMEN BM257 & HIOKI DT4252 ( all of them at the price range of 120 - 140$ or close enough ).
When you shopping for such tools at the specific price range, you are buying medium range robustness , performance, reliability, and modern technology in a single package.
At 350$ price range you are finding the true high performing meters, that every professional will love to have.
And at 450 to 600$ you are buying special features as for example 100% waterproof meter, or super large LCD screen for displaying five or more measurements useful for data logging.
Any meter at lower price range is going to come crippled in some of the criteria which mentioned above, and therefore will be imperfect and it would belong in the category of cheap toys.[/quote]

ok multimeter is the right term. I was assuming all volt meter should be including Volts - Ampere - resistance measurement.... those basic parameters
one-time buy because I am looking for something has enough feature or range I need for a ebike . as I mentioned this is my first time , so I don't know what I will be needing more down the road.
I was looking at the fluke as most people recommended and using, they are 200-300 $ .
As you listed above $350 is actually low if for professional use in my mind.
special features as you said like waterproof, not so much needed for ebike
maybe temperature measurement also required

when I looking at some of the specs, what kind of range I should be looking at for ebike use?

DC
Volts 0V - 120V
Ampere 0 - 500A
resistance ?

AC
Volts 0V - 300V

temperature up to - 300degree

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by Ykick » Jan 16 2015 11:15am

I say get a cheap DVM to start. Under $20USD is not much to throw away compared to $350USD. Use it and abuse for a while and if you desire "better" you'll have the experience and understanding to make an informed choice. Later, if/when you move up $$$ you'll still find plenty use for a cheap beginner DVM.

In other words, why go "Pro" if you're not even sure what you want from your test tool?
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by teklektik » Jan 16 2015 12:00pm

BCTECH wrote:
Kiriakos GR wrote:...Any meter at lower price range is going to come crippled in some of the criteria which mentioned above, and therefore will be imperfect and it would belong in the category of cheap toys.
... as I mentioned this is my first time , so I don't know what I will be needing more down the road.
when I looking at some of the specs, what kind of range I should be looking at for ebike use?
Ykick wrote:I say get a cheap DVM to start.
...
In other words, why go "Pro" if you're not even sure what you want from your test tool?
+1

Here's the thing: you have just asked "What is the best car?" or "What is the best color?" Although well intentioned, these are questions with no 'right' answer.

As always - you need to understand the problem before you look for a solution.
  • Most of the recommendations are for good solid DMMs that will do the job for your lifetime - so amortizing $350 is nothing. But from your questions, you don't even know what to measure or when it will need to be measured.
  • 99% of the electrical debugging on your bikes can be done perfectly well with a $20 meter. Measurements are almost exclusively DC volts, resistance, continuity, and diode verification. The basics. Your bike will need it's own monitoring and that unit can supply your current, voltage, and Amp-hour measurements as a matter of course without the need to break out a DMM.

    If you feel the need to need to measure temperature, get a separate hand-held IR or thermocouple unit for $50. For more abusive riding, you may want continuous motor temperature monitoring and will need an embedded temp sensor and either a Cycle Analyst or a cheapie $5 panel meter. Again - the bike itself can provide the instrumentation you need in lieu of a multi-function DMM with special probes - much more useful on a daily basis.

    If you get to the point where you have a motor stand and are bench-testing motors or repairing controllers, then you need different tools - but no point in going there now.
A volt is a volt no matter how much you pay to measure it and extreme accuracy and fast sample rates are generally not required for fixing the bulk of ebike problems. In cases like measuring cell voltages, comparison with other cells is more important than absolute accuracy.

So - for the shop: a good workable low cost DMM is a perfectly adequate choice for the job (DCV, resistance, continuity, diode test). For the bike: get a Cycle Analyst or simple $20 wattmeter (A, Ahr - optionally DCV, temp) and you will good to go for years. As YKick says: if after some time getting familiar with the tasks at hand, you decide to move up, you can retire your $20 investment and make an informed purchase for the bigger buck unit.

My 2 cents.... :D
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by tomjasz » Jan 17 2015 1:34am

If you had a limited budget and only use the device on your ebike,
what would you purchase. $120 is to much for me.

Why not something this simple. Hioki 3244-60 Digital MultiMeter
http://www.amazon.com/Hioki-3244-60-HiT ... B008S0CFDE

An honest question.
Kiriakos GR wrote:
BCTECH wrote: when I looking at some of the specs, what kind of range I should be looking at for ebike use?

DC
Volts 0V - 120V
Ampere 0 - 500A
resistance ?

AC
Volts 0V - 300V

temperature up to - 300degree
I did pass to you all ready two recommendations, both have everything needed and it would even please a professional when seeking a small in dimensions true tool.
I admire your interest so to gain knowledge so to form your very own buying decision, a real thinker and a trained consumer is expected to act that way.
But the test and measurement sector is a science which you can not touch with out school training and years of experience.
If you have a difficulty to trust an opinion of one 45 years old active industrial electrician, then start reading the users manuals of several multimeter so to form your very own opinion.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by teklektik » Jan 17 2015 12:50pm

tomjasz wrote:If you had a limited budget and only use the device on your ebike,
what would you purchase. $120 is to much for me.

Why not something this simple. Hioki 3244-60 Digital MultiMeter
http://www.amazon.com/Hioki-3244-60-HiT ... B008S0CFDE

An honest question.
I don't like that style because it has attached/non-upgradable probes and you are paying a premium for the small size. I like big controls, a case heavy enough to stay where I put it, standard probes, optional backlight, big digits, loud continuity signal, auto-off.

Here's a sampling of the kinds of tasks you may undertake on your bike:
  • measure battery voltage (~100v)
  • measure/compare cell voltages (~4v)
  • measure controller/CA ancillary +5v supply voltages (throttle, ebrake pull=ups, etc)
  • measure DC/DC converter outputs for accessories/lighting (~12v)
  • measure wire/switch continuity
  • measure wiring shorts: phase to stator or wire to frame continuity
  • measure hall output (~5V)
  • measure resistors (snooping controller parts or adding little circuits) (typically ~10K, but less than 2M)
  • maybe verify diodes for CA-style throttle override circuits
  • measure accessory current draw (lights, LEDs, throttles, PAS units) (typically under 100ma - no more than 10A)
This is just a sampling, but there's nothing exotic there and it's all simple DC stuff.
  • You aren't going to be doing this a hundred times a day, so fast action that might be meaningful to a technician isn't that important.
  • Accuracy isn't that big a deal - two percent off will be undesirable but fine.
  • Precision is not a big deal either - the minimum 3 1/2 digit display is adequate - no need to spring for high precision units with lots of digits.
Some considerations:
  • More dollars means faster processing, snappier response, and more features. There is something to be said for reducing the feature count to get a simpler, more reliable, and faster unit (a generality, but...) My theory is that a good simple unit is better than a poorly executed 'fancy' unit.
    • Auto-ranging units are typically slower to display than manual-ranging units because they may need to sample first to get scale right. Then you need to squint at the little units display to see what you are reading. Expensive powerful units do this really quickly and can be nice to use. Some provide an optional 'Range' button to let you select a range (e.g. V vs mV) so it won't auto-range and you know a priori what the big digits mean. For inexpensive meters, I like manual ranging. I rarely don't know what (range) I'm expecting to measure, so clicking from OFF to the proper range works easily. (There's a lot of personal preference in this - there are good auto-rangers out there - so take this with a grain of salt...)
  • Inexpensive units sometimes have crappy probes. Most are pretty usable for occasional use but if you end up with something unpleasant, just buy a mid-quality probe kit with nice wires, good tips, and some add-on alligator or wire clips. In the end, this is an optional upgrade - for later.
  • Case quality is usually a big loss for cheap units, but that doesn't really affect utility.
  • The biggest issue with cheap meters is usually build quality and early death. This can be a crap-shoot. Reading reviews can be useful, but for meters, these tend to be skewed to the negative because of noobies writing pissy reviews about their first meter experience - (a generalization, but...)
  • A basic meters from a brand name (e.g. Fluke) look expensive but are built with good parts and quality control. Meters that mention ISO quality and standards compliance are a better bet as well. Here we're looking for indicators of quality based on reputation and standards approval.
I don't have any of these, but here's some candidates that caught my eye on a quick look on Amazon:
  1. Sperry DM6400
  2. Triplett 1101-B Compact Digital Multimeter
  3. Universal Enterprises DM383B Digital Multimeter
  4. UNI-T UT61E AC/DC Modern Digital Auto Ranging Multimeters Multitester True RMS
So - just some thoughts... :D
Last edited by teklektik on Jan 17 2015 4:39pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by hydro-one » Jan 17 2015 1:18pm

candian tire digital multimeter $6.99 i bought three.... i know arlo1 uses them....good enough for me . :wink:
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by wb9k » Jan 17 2015 2:33pm

I was given a $10 Harbor Freight DMM by a friend and it's absolutely horrible. Sure, it makes numbers, but it can't return the same measurement twice--measure the same thing three time and get three different answers. Repeatability is a must if you hope to be able to do more than verify the mere presence of voltage or continuity. That said, there is A LOT of room in between that and the Fluke 289 that I love so much. For $125, there are lots of choices out there that will be just fine. But I would stay away from the bottom of the barrel meters except maybe to augment an arsenal that already contains at least one decent meter that can do what you need reliably and repeatably.
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by tomjasz » Jan 17 2015 3:47pm

teklektik wrote: So - just some thoughts... :D
Exactly the discourse I was looking for. Thanks!

Auto ranging is not important to me. I've learned enough to sort that out without confusion. I didn't know it slowed the reading down on lower end meters. Auto shut off and AA or AAA batteries so I can use rechargeable are a high point on my list.
I constantly forget to turn off the damn thing. The meter I have now is OK but the 9V are goofy priced. It's the single item I own using a 9V. (oops my motor tester might be too) I've converted everything needing batteries to rechargeable AA and AAA and it has made good financial sense. At the rate I'm buying batteries and with my meters expanded use, 9V prices will pay for a fairly decent meter. I'll keep the old one for a reference and back up.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by Gregory » Jan 18 2015 1:52am

The multimeter sticky on EEVBlog has a large comparison of mid to high end meters.

I bought the Uni-T UT139C for $41, but the UT61E also looks like good value.


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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by Ykick » Jan 18 2015 9:15am

So called "Pros" always attempt to justify the high cost of their "meters". Always have, always will...

You don't need to spend the cost of an eBike kit or battery pack to get a DVM that's "good enough".

Ignore anybody who attempts to convince otherwise. Utter bullshit attempting to "justify" a ridiculous expenditure for an end user.
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by friendly1uk » Jan 18 2015 9:50am

I could choose my workwear by brand, but find functionality more use on the job. Not looking fashionable :)

I'm another of them qualified blokes. I test and repair industrial installations and portable appliances. My electronics is weaker, but I have fixed everything ever presented to me. I am, if nothing else, a competent person. I say Don't get a fluke. For $100 if will do nothing. What little it does do will be no better done than a $25 meter. The $25 meter will do stacks more though.

Take my $30 Vichy vc99. In tests it was as accurate as a few hundred dollars worth of fluke. The only thing lacking is inductance for winding my own coils.

The better meters, such as the fluke and my Vichy are adjustable. So they are as accurate as the bloke that set them up. Once dropped, they may no longer be the same. Cheapo meters are not normally adjustable. Thus a cheapo meter takes more physical abuse than a costly one. However, for setting up charger voltages you do need something accurate, and the very cheapest meters are not really good enough.

I would recommend the Vichy vc99 as a meter that does just about everything.
20 amp AC or DC is as high as it gets. Covering the needs of pedelecs. Though a clamp meter would still be nice to have for larger bikes.
Temperature, frequency, duty, diode, transistor, capacitor. Leads with finger guards. Null. Rubber jacket(in fluke yellow). Hold buttons with min and max. Auto off. Stand. Big digits with bar graph.

I could talk about more expensive meters, but the only reason to pay more would be to get the missing inductance range. However, I can't find such a meter. Nothing is perfect. It's a slightly uncommon range which is why I have not seen anybody here test there windings with one. Likewise an insulation tester would be nice, but as they can give a nasty shock they are best left to the professionals. Specific motor/controller testers exist that might be worth having, along with a standard dvm. That would be a quite complete set of testers.
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by teklektik » Jan 18 2015 12:22pm

Kiriakos GR wrote:.... your are just not tall enough to understand my words, the few which are special and talented they do.
Well, gee - let's look at those "words":

Before posting up a short list on interesting inexpensive DMMs on the previous page, I looked for any seriously Bad Reviews that would run up red flags.

Googling the UNI-T UT61E, I found a thread about the DMM on the EEVBLOG Test Equipment Forum.

Here's what KGR had to say about this exact $50 DMM:
KGR-OnCheapDMMs.jpg
KGR-OnCheapDMMs.jpg (28.33 KiB) Viewed 5445 times
Of course, this is the opposite of what he claims on this forum.
ES members can decide for themselves if they are "tall enough" to understand his "words"...

Kiriakos GR wrote: Slower meters than three times per second measurements, are considered as 20 years old technology, and is not appropriate for ebike measurements because the voltage changes fast and the meter is unable to measure something that moves faster that the meter it self.
Kiriakos GR wrote:I did understand that this hub-wheel based ebike application, is so complex which if you really wish to seriously get in the bottom of the problems, you can not do that with out a modern oscilloscope of 1000 EUR at hand,...
Ykick wrote:You don't need to spend the cost of an eBike kit or battery pack to get a DVM that's "good enough".

Ignore anybody who attempts to convince otherwise. Utter bullshit attempting to "justify" a ridiculous expenditure for an end user.
+1 Ykick!

This is pompous nonsense that has little if anything to do with common ebike tasks.
Snap-On tools are great for Pros, but an 'everyman' Craftsman wrench can do an adequate job for years and years....

Kiriakos GR wrote: If you have a difficulty to trust an opinion of one 45 years old active industrial electrician,...
Kiriakos GR wrote:My complain is that as electrician & Blogger working at evaluating professional test and measurement equipments, is that fellow bloggers self called electronics gurus...
:lol:
Who in this thread is waving his credentials as a substitute for technical fact?
Who pulls the same stunt in thread after thread?

There are ES members in every thread with years more experience, who are degreed Engineers, and who take the time to explain the 'why' of things instead of demanding that their sheepskin should be enough for everyone to "trust" their unsupported opinion as Grand Poobah.
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teklektik   10 GW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by teklektik » Jan 18 2015 1:08pm

Kiriakos GR wrote:And Yes, I am also banned from this paradise forum in which your UNIT garbage shines as God just in there and nowhere else.
Are you still laughing ?
If the unit is garbage, why did you praise it?
Were you wrong then or now?

As far as you being a 'criminal' - those are your words and your characterization, not mine. I didn't write about it at all.

Matters of public record are not my invention - although by your insults and name-calling - I might imagine how it came to be....

And yep - I am laughing my butt off! :mrgreen:
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Ykick   100 GW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by Ykick » Jan 18 2015 1:20pm

ROTFLMAO....
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tomjasz   10 GW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by tomjasz » Jan 18 2015 2:01pm

Someone is beginning to be a troll in battery and mid drive threads too.
Thanks Justin_le we're here thanks to you. All the best to the mods for their tireless work keeping it on an even keel.

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by The fingers » Jan 18 2015 2:05pm

For myself, the perpetual/perennial neewbweed; the Harbor Frieght Freebie gets the nod! :pancake: I don't know how I got along without it for all those years. :oops: By having it in my pocket I use it to measure the 12 volt SLA voltages of culls from the discard pile and to check all those randomly appearing loose AAA, AA, C, D and 9V batteries that turn up around the house. :lol: :roll: Thanks for the warning though. I certainly don't want to get electrocuted by trying it out on house wiring. :shock:
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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by spinningmagnets » Jan 18 2015 2:11pm

the apropriateness of a given tool is often indicated by the job that it is given. Someone mentioned that inductance measurements are a more advanced function for someone who might be re-winding a motor, and I agree. If someone were to desire an attempt at rewinding a motor, I believe that is a step above the basic troubleshooting that every E-bike owner should aspire to.

Basic troubleshooting jobs that can be easily learned by new E-bikers:

1) Test to see if throttle is working. Hopefully you have a spare throttle (they are inexpensive), and a simple swap-in verifies the E-bike now works again. To test the "bad" throttle if it is a hall-effect unit, a magnet is moved by a handle twist. Dis-assemble to see if the magnet is dislodged, and perhaps re- glue it into place. Next, attach the questionable throttle to a powered system, and see if the 5V signal is present at the proper time and place. (feel free to suggest more accurate testing details with pics to clarify). A DMM is required, but accuracy of voltage reading can be within 0.5V +/- and still determine operability of the throttle.

2) Hall sensors in hub motor. The hall sensors use a 5V on/off signal. Any reading from 4V-6V is acceptable to show which of the three hall-sensors is good, and which is bad.

3) Parts of the system are showing no power, and they should be getting 36V-48V. To find the break, elevate the powered wheel and test the energized sections until you reach the place where there should be power, but there is none. DMM accuracy only needs to be +/- 1.0V

4) Testing total battery pack voltage, and sometimes even individual cell voltages. If you fear a bad cell, usually the voltage of a bad cell is way off enough that accuracy isn't too important. However, when testing the imbalance between reasonably healthy cells, it would be nice to be able to have some confidence that the reading is withing 0.01V of accurate.

5) possible short in one of the three phases inside the motor. Check Ohms resistance between the phase wires. If one phase is bad, there should be a huge difference in one of the three readings, it should have a much lower resistance because the amp test signal has a shorter distance to flow through. (do I understand this correctly?)

I suggest everyone have at least one of the $10-$15 DMMs. If it gets lost/broken/stolen/fried...there is no heartbreak. However, I would like to know what my best DMM options are in the different categories for an upgraded second DMM. How much do I have to pay to accurately check individual cell voltages down to 0.01V? Can it be done with a $30-DMM?, $40, $50...?

What other jobs can be easily learned to troubleshoot with a DMM, and what accuracy is required by that job?
(edit: teklektik makes several $30-$50 suggestions here http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... 27#p995111, he has provided good advice in the past for me concerning electrical issues and components)

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teklektik   10 GW

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Re: Best Volt meter

Post by teklektik » Jan 18 2015 3:07pm

spinningmagnets wrote:the apropriateness of a given tool is often indicated by the job that it is given.
Ya - spot on.

On matters of old technology, safety, speed, and features:

FWIW:
I have a lab with all manner of precision meters (Fluke being prominent), but my favorite daily driver for ebike and automotive work is a Weston 7320 manufactured in 1982. This is a basic VOM (Volt Ohm Meter) that has fixed single ranges, is incredibly fast to display, and has an o-ring-sealed watertight case that rivals any Fluke for fit/finish/robustness. This meter has built and repaired many many autos, motorcycles, and both my ebikes.

Although it's not intended for 'electronic bench' use, it has fixed many laptops, power supplies, and fabricated countless prototype electronic circuits. If you look at the typical tasks for ebike building and debugging, this covers the bases with few, if any, shortfalls. The 200v/500v/600v ratings are more than adequate for common tasks on vehicles or mains.

Meters are built for many target audiences - not just the electronic professional. Picking the right tool for the job is everything. When I'm on the bench, the other meters are typically more appropriate for electronic work - but this meter is what I want for simple electrical work and light electronic debugging: a professional grade basic meter that fits the job at hand. ....I also own different hammers for different jobs. :D

This meter was a modest investment countless years ago that has not only proven its worth, but has become a favorite.
Ebay listing.JPG
Ebay listing.JPG (11.82 KiB) Viewed 4444 times
So - I'm not suggesting that folks run out and embrace Old Stuff - but just to keep the tasks and purchase in perspective and don't reject perfectly good solutions because they are simple or old designs.

Regarding purchases: I don't necessarily look to Amazon as a good source for electronic test equipment, but in the context of this thread, I went there because of their outstanding return policy. If you get a DOA or just don't like the unit after messing with it, send it back. As I called out in the earlier post, build quality and early death are concerns, so selecting a purchase option that allows reversing a Bad Choice can make purchasing an inexpensive or mid-priced unit much less of a gamble.
Visit Grin Technologies at www.ebikes.ca
Build Thread: 2WD Yuba Mundo V4

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