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Digital Multimeter recomendation #4369157
04/01/17 12:31 PM
04/01/17 12:31 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,636
Katy, Republic of Texas
blupupher Offline OP
blupupher  Offline OP
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,636
Katy, Republic of Texas
OK, I know this has been discussed before, but wanting a current recommendation.

I have had a few basic multimeters (including one of the free Harbor Freight DMM that so many of us have) and it has worked for me pretty well, and am comfortable with basic uses of multimeters.
I have recently started an online automotive course, and I will be needing a better meter than what I have.
I am not planning on professional testing and such, just the ability to check a little more detail than what I have as a home hobbyist.
Something to use on vehicle systems (alternator, starter, battery, general circuits and motors, continuity, duty cycle, hi/low function) as well as basic in home type use (hot wires, checking batteries etc).
I am not wanting to spend any more than $50, and if there is one in the $30-40 range, even better.
I know Fluke is the brand to get, but I don't need to spend that kind of cash.

In another post, I came across the Etekcity MSR-U1000 that Quattro Pete posted and seems to be what I need, and is around $40.

Anything else out there better than this for the price, or any other opinions on the one posted?


1994 Honda VT1100: Peak 15w-40/PSL/2500 mile OCI
2002 Ford F150: GTX HM 5w-20/EcoGard Syn/1yr OCI
2012 Scion xB: QSUD 0w-20/CQ Blue/5k OCI

Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369164
04/01/17 12:37 PM
04/01/17 12:37 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,290
Great Lakes
Quattro Pete Offline
Quattro Pete  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,290
Great Lakes
You could also look at uni-t u61e: http://a.co/gbWfwy7
It's 22,000 count which gives you more resolution for measuring battery voltages, if it matters to you. It also comes with a cable to log data on a PC. It has no backlight.

BTW, the etekcity one sometimes goes on sale for around $30.


'02 530i (Edge 0W-40)
'15 Q5 3.0T (Edge 5W-40)
'18 Charger SRT (FF)
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369171
04/01/17 12:44 PM
04/01/17 12:44 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Naturally, if you ever get serious and pick up a Fluke 87-V (as in "eighty-seven-five") you will wonder how you got alone without one. It is made in the US; the lower priced Fluke meters are offshore manufactured.

If I were looking today I'd be checking out UniTrend (UNI-T) brand meters. I can't recommend any one unit as your criteria is a bit vague, but you can start with the Uni-Trend UT10A, which will set you back about $15 and is known to actually meet safety spec. Very few budget models out of the orient meet the safety standards they claim to be compliant with, so be very careful with mains voltage or any high current circuit (no vacuum tube equipment, etc).

Check the UL registration here (counterfeit certification is rampant in this category, so it's worth the effort to know for sure):
http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/index.html

You can google the compliance pages for CSA and TUV if you like; same as above ... counterfeits are rampant so know for sure before you buy. Any of those three (and a dozen other labs) can test for compliance for each other's standards, so don't expect a UL mark (for example) just because it's sold in the US.

The CE mark is useless, ignore it. It is self-certifying, for one thing, so don't think of it as some sort of tested criteria; no-one except the manufacturer is testing anything, and you can't be sure they do in the first place unless it's a known reliable vendor. The Chinese put it on everything, even on products that don't require CE certification, for another. Generally referred derisively in the electronics industry as the "China Export" mark.


'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369172
04/01/17 12:44 PM
04/01/17 12:44 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 52
PPOS
d4d Offline
d4d  Offline
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 52
PPOS
I just bought this one cuz I wanted the clamp style meter for household work:
Tacklife CM02A

This clamp meter was also highly rated and is a little less expensive:
EtekCity MSR-C600

I have other multimeters (including a Fluke), but needed a clamp style. Perfect size, great functions, excellent meter, great prices.

Good luck!


2014.5 Camry SE M1 EP 0W20 , Fram Ultra
2012 Corvette M1 EP 5W30 , Fram Ultra
2011 CR-V 4WD M1 EP 0W20 , Fram Ultra
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369174
04/01/17 12:45 PM
04/01/17 12:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 2,720
NC
BigD1 Offline
BigD1  Offline
Joined: Aug 2015
Posts: 2,720
NC
If I had to buy another meter right now, I would go with a clamp style to use around the house, and to work on cars etc..

https://www.amazon.com/UNI-T-UT210E-CURR...A735KH4001CDE47

https://www.amazon.com/Etekcity-MSR-C600...4FAKZ5P8MH65FY8


1992 Toyota Pickup--Formula Shell 10W-30--Fram PH3614
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369176
04/01/17 12:48 PM
04/01/17 12:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,290
Great Lakes
Quattro Pete Offline
Quattro Pete  Offline
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36,290
Great Lakes


'02 530i (Edge 0W-40)
'15 Q5 3.0T (Edge 5W-40)
'18 Charger SRT (FF)
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: BigD1] #4369182
04/01/17 12:57 PM
04/01/17 12:57 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 472
Norcal
Boczech Offline
Boczech  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 472
Norcal
Meters look like they will do the job.


1996 Dodge RAM 2500 5.9l diesel
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369184
04/01/17 12:57 PM
04/01/17 12:57 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
The EtekCity MSR-C600 is known to be un-compliant for safety. Do not use on power supply circuits, switching supplies, high voltage or on mains voltage.

You should try to find something from a known good manufacturer, even if you have to buy it used on eBay. This won't be a hobby meter, you are going to be measuring actual dangerous circuitry if you are engaging in study. Buying a used kit on eBay will also come with proper probes; the offshore meters have laughable quality probes that will not give you accurate results.

If you have to buy probes, the budget choice is Pomona (owned by Fluke). Also Probe Master, a third-party US-based manufacturer of probes for test equipment.

Amprobe, Fluke, Brymen, BK Precision, some Extechs. DER EE (Japan) is another recommended brand. Around your price range is the recommended Uni-Trend (UNI-T) UT139C.


'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369191
04/01/17 01:05 PM
04/01/17 01:05 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 206
NJ
NJ_Car_Owner Offline
NJ_Car_Owner  Offline
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 206
NJ
Depending on how serious you are will determine what meter to get. For about $40 you can go to Home Depot and get a Klein meter. Fluke makes great meters but they tend to cost a lot. For work I have the 87 III that I love, a 287 that is OK and a 177 that I think is a POS, it feels very cheap but it works... My company took my 2nd 87 III and gave me this.

I bought my son a Klein clamp on meter when he was in HVAC school that I bought Fluke leads and they lasted a long time. He actually liked it better than the one he was using at his job (not HVAC). Lowes may have something as well.

Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369219
04/01/17 01:32 PM
04/01/17 01:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 347
Tennessee
SWS Offline
SWS  Offline
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 347
Tennessee
Great replies! I bought an Etek some years ago for home use. At that time, it was rather highly rated by users. It works as advertised, but I think it has a flaw that is very unfortunate: AC/DC is selected by a push-button, and it is hard to tell if it is in the 'up' or 'down' position. I always check it on a live circuit before proceeding to the circuit under test, but it is a very soft push button on the face of the meter with small up/down travel. In normal handling the button can be cycled to the wrong position very easily, without being aware, and you can't tell at a glance which position it is in in dim light. Doubly unfortunate, there is no indication on the LCD display as to which mode it is in. If I had known this when I was shopping, then I would have rejected this model. I have to consider this issue every time I use it.. not handy, and potentially not safe.

Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369223
04/01/17 01:35 PM
04/01/17 01:35 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
I'm not trying to rain on your Budget Parade, or diss people posting here who are genuinely trying to help.

Lord knows I myself am a relentless bargain hunter, but I have always lived by the maxim that I am too poor to buy inadequate tools, because a poor product you have to replace costs you twice, and you still only have just another poor product in your hands. It's usually cheaper in the long run to get the minimum quality you actually need the first time; even if that means you have to move some money into the kitty you didn't want to; only the rich can afford expensive junk. I can't.

I am saying that you need to be careful in this space, as $40~50 is really inadequate for what you want, unless you happen to choose the one or three models that are actually decent in a sea of poor examples. All these meters use the same chipsets, the same displays, and similar housings which in electronics are unfortunately expensive in proportion to the overall manufacturing costs. So what they do is scrimp on stuff inside that shouldn't be scrimped on, to adjust the price point downward in a very competitive market.

I own some "bad" meters myself; I build electronics from scratch, work with vacuum tubes, and so on. But I knew what I was buying. When you engage in that sort of thing you sometimes use three, four meters simultaneously.

I just don't use them where they could bite me. The good ones get used where it matters, the others where it doesn't.

Continuity testing or small DC voltage checks can be done with almost anything. It's when you expect to be able to use them the way they claim they can be used, such as mains wiring in the home, that you need to really brush up on your safety regimen (such as which hand to use to hold the probes; discharging capacitors before testing, minimizing live testing, never touching the part under test with your free hand, etc).

You do that with a proper meter as well, so it's not like you need special criteria just because the meter won't safely prevent a shock. You assume it won't in the first place.

I just want you to go into this with eyes wide open, and stick around long enough to use your new skills. If you can somehow find a few more bucks to throw at this, and seek out the better options your chances improve considerably. You don't need hundreds of $$, but something closer to $100 would really help.



'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369227
04/01/17 01:37 PM
04/01/17 01:37 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
JHZR2  Offline
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,085
New Jersey
Fluke 87V otherwise an analog Hioki to hit a lower price point.

Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369254
04/01/17 02:14 PM
04/01/17 02:14 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
The Amprobe AM-520 also fits your criteria, and is known safety compliant. It might be the same as the Etek mentioned by sws (AC/DC switch issue). Supposedly can be found for $50.


'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369264
04/01/17 02:26 PM
04/01/17 02:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 19,910
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Trav Offline
Trav  Offline
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 19,910
MA, Mittelfranken.de
I still like Fluke. At the risk of being made sport of this is my old lump I bought in 1985 or so, they last. It still holds calibration a long time and works perfectly. It was expensive back then, IIRC it was almost a weeks pay for this. Was it worth the money? You decide its still perfect after 32 yrs on the job.




Last edited by Trav; 04/01/17 02:31 PM.

ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Digital Multimeter recomendation [Re: blupupher] #4369300
04/01/17 03:03 PM
04/01/17 03:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,755
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,755
Upstate NY
AC or DC clamp on ammeter can be handy. Also a frequency counter if your checking a generator to be 60hz. And a 4 wire ohmmeter to check very low resistance (motor or generator winding).

I got a HF one for $40 that has a wide variety of functions. So now I have 5.

Also one can do temp with external probe and I got a clamp on probe to check various supply and return temps to by boiler.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
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