multimeter question

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  #1  
Old 12-09-04, 07:17 AM
thirdeep
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multimeter question

I would like to purchase a digital multi meter or a clamp on style. I want one that is of good quality I have been looking at Greenlee and Fluke. any advice on which one is more user friendly and just better all around?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-09-04, 08:54 AM
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Amprobe Instuments is the "standard" for "clamp-on" testing instuments. I presume you know that a "clamp-on" type tester is the most convenient and useful for determining the current of a circuit measured in amperes.

Consider the Amprobe Model FS-3L, $67. The specs.; AC amps to 300, AC volts to 600, Ohms to 100,000. This is an ANALOG instrument which is far more reliable for voltage-testing than digital instuments because it is a needle-indicating mechanical movement.

Good Luck & Enjoy the Experience!!!!
 
  #3  
Old 12-09-04, 10:01 AM
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Amprobe was the first one out there to have a viable clamp on type meter. I personally own a fluke. I've been very satisfied with it's operation and accuracy. I'd say that either brand would be OK. It all depends on what you are going to use the equipment for, how much you are willing to pay, ect.ect.

I wouldn't say that analog is better than digital. I personally remember using the old analog Simpson 260's many years ago. After you dropped the meter a time or two the meter reading was always suspect after that. It took me many years to get used to, and rely upon the new digital type meters. You could always depend on a digital type meter to take a drop without loosing accuracy. Either the reading was good or you got no reading at all.

There's many people posting on here regarding the 'phantom' voltage readings they get when looking at an open 110vac circuit. Any high impedance meter, ANALOG OR DIGITAL, will be subject to the same indications. The problem isn't with the meter. A multimeter is only a tool, it's up to the operator to interpret the reading he/she is getting. Yes, if you are only using a multimeter once or twice a year a digital meter can offer up confusing information to you. On the other hand, if you are a daily user, the meter can be a reliable source of information. You can always just put a small lamp (even a small xmas tree lamp would work) across your meter leads if you find 'phantom' readings confusing. If you do that either you will get a full line voltage reading or a reading of zero. However, if you do that too long you get the idea that for most routine house electrical work a simple test light is all you really need. I own several fancy meters but find myself mostly using one of those Fluke 'multitestors' for routine electrical troubleshooting. You can use it for continuity checking as well as simple go/no go voltage testing on AC and DC circuits. Yea, there are times when you want to measure things like voltage drop or get an accurate line voltage reading. For that I break out the good stuff, use it about 30 seconds, and put it away for another couple of days.

Talking to 'electrical' types about their multimeters is like talking to hunters about their rifles or to computer nerds about their operating systems. Everyone has a favorite that they are comfortable with. I've been using my equipment to make a living for many, many years and anything I say is biased by what ,I've personally, grown accustomed to using. Someone else, in a little different electrical venue, may be comfortable with other types of electrical measuring tools. I'd say ,if you are typical, you have to buy something, use it and abuse it, then decide for yourself what you are confortable with using. Bottom line, there's no right answer, it all depends on you.
 

Last edited by jughead; 12-09-04 at 10:12 AM.
  #4  
Old 12-09-04, 10:32 AM
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I still have a Simpson 260, and a 269 for that matter. I leave the batteries out because I haven't used them in decades!. Also own several DVMs, clampons, VOMs of various 'name' and 'generic' types. The only meter I ever pull out anymore is my favorite Fluke 77, also about 20 years old.

Plumber speaking ( electronic tech in former life!)
 
  #5  
Old 12-09-04, 10:41 AM
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When I go shopping for one, I look at the design. Two years ago I was given an Ideal 61-701 at the SkillsUSA-VICA national championships in Kansas CIty MO where I placed 6th in Ind. Motor Control. I find it to be one of the best I have used yet. Ideal has some other very good units aimed towards pros like 760 and 770 series with dual LCD displays, one in the end of the meter. The number one make or break for me is the storage for the leads and probes. The 701 series is well engineered, with the wires just the right length to wrap them a certain way before snapping the probes into the back.
As Jughead mentioned, each company has some good units for each user.

gj
 

Last edited by green jacket; 12-09-04 at 10:52 AM.
  #6  
Old 12-09-04, 11:32 AM
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I've used various multi meters for 40 odd years. -Really like Amprobe and Fluke, but as I seem to be a 'meter killer' they're a bit pricey for me. For the last 3 years I've had excellent results from a TES clamp-on that cost $89.
 
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Old 12-09-04, 12:13 PM
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I'll cast my vote on Fluke 1st and Fieldpiece 2nd.

I use a Fluke 32 as my daily meter and it's a clamp on.
 
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Old 12-09-04, 03:36 PM
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I've become a solid convert to Fieldpiece (by the way, a number of the Ideal branded meters are Fieldpiece innards). I've been using the LT-10 for a while now. The kit comes with an amp clamp the plugs onto the ends of the standard leads with the interchangeable tips, and a temp. probe.

I like my old Fluke and my Sperry backups, but this has been one of the most flexible digitals I 've bought in a while.
 
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Old 12-09-04, 05:19 PM
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I just purchased an Ideal #61-764 last month and I am very satisfied.Other meters I own are : Fluke 77 ser.II, Sperry DM-4100A & a SPR-300P {analog}. The #764 & the 300P are the only 2 clamp-ons.I like the accuracy of the # 764 & the dual display {backlit}.But sometimes you cant beat "old school" like the 300P.I also have an Amprobe A-47L kit.One device allows current readings with the cord of the equipment your testing plugged in.It also allows for a series connection of a meter to test motors ,etc. I dont remember exactly but I think I found it at a flea market the kit is almost 30 yrs old & is in mint working condition.
 
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Old 12-10-04, 06:55 AM
thirdeep
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After doing some internet searching I think I will buy a Fluke 77 seems simple to use even in the dark and has a good warranty. price is around the same as the other good ones everyone here mentioned. although I do like the amprobe, I shyed away from it because I live in a remote area and there just is not a store here that sells them or any assesories for them. I like the bright yellow color for easy to find purposes. thanks for your imput
 
  #11  
Old 12-10-04, 09:56 AM
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Jughead's right, ask an electrical junky about his tools and he's off to the races. Last company I was with provided me with a Fluke 77. A truly industrial, heavy-duty meter you can practically throw down a flight of stairs and it'll keep on working for you. For my personal collection I always bought A.W. Sperry. Got the bright yellow digital with red clamp a couple years ago for about $85. I think it's the 600 amp model. An excellent unit.

Nomind reminds me of my early days, as a fellow "meter-killer". I started buying the little Radio Shack analog meters for under $10. I'd blow one up forgetting to change the dial from ohms, after a continuity test, to AC volts. POP! Or I'd drop the darn thing. Once it slipped out of my tool belt when I wasn't looking and I found it later flat as a pancake with my tire tread prints tatood onto the holster. No big loss, I'd run off to the Shack and buy me a new meter. Went through 2 or 3 a year. Finally decided I needed a better unit with amp clamp and that I would just have to be more careful. It seems to be working out.

We should have tool chats more often! Thanks for the post, thirdeep.

Juice
 
  #12  
Old 12-10-04, 02:47 PM
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I also agree with Jughead. It has a lot to do with what you do with the meter. I work with a lot of complicated electronic controls, so capacitance testing, temperature probes, a wide range of DC and AC voltage and amperage ranges, are a daily thing for me (I misquoted my meter: the Fieldpiece is a LT-17). Get what will fill your most common needs (and a bit more, because the more you use a good meter, the more uses you will find for it).
 
  #13  
Old 12-11-04, 08:24 AM
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I found this information in the "code Forum" section of the "Mike Holt NEC Internet Connection.";

Q.--- "Perhaps someone will help- we are working on a renovation and receptacles have 18-30 volt readings with the B-C breaker 'Off', and Zero volts with the Main-Breaker 'Off'. "

Ans. ( by "Iwire")--- "STOP USING DIGITAL METERS!!. Sorry for "yelling", but this is a frequent occurence. No need to use a digital for checking for power- use a basic "Wiggy" or a solenoid tester."

From NEMA

quote; "Because of the high impedance of (digital) instruments, a (false) voltage-reading may be detected on open ( circuits). ( capacitance) can cause this this voltage which could be as high as the voltage on adjacent conductors. This is referred to as a 'phantom' voltage'. "
 
  #14  
Old 12-11-04, 09:55 PM
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The statement about digital meters has an element of truth to it. These days just about every digital meter on the market has a high impedance input and just about every analog meter is much lower. The old Simpson 260 meters had an input impedance of about 20,000 ohms per volt (assuming that my memory cells are still accurate). Years ago it was common to have something like the old RCA VoltOhmst on your bench. That was an analog vacuum tube voltmeter with a high input impedance. I also had a Heathkit FET type analog meter with an input impedance in the multi megohm region. People don't use meters like that much anymore because you had to plug them into a 120 volt outlet and let them run for an hour or more before it would settle down and hold a zero. Those analog meters of yesteryear were also quite large and heavy. Today their best use is for a 'boat anchor.' If you are an inexperienced user of a meter your best bet would be to go with an 'el cheapo' analog version found in most home improvement stores. Of course the principle danger would be trying to measure 120 volts with the range setting on 'ohms.' How many of us hasn't done that a few times? Funny, I have owned a few meters with bent needles. For those who want to spring for a few more bucks, you can never go wrong with a Wiggy. Those Fluke voltage testers with the LED's are all an inexperienced user really needs to be using but are way too expensive to use only once or twice a year.
 
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