Multimeter quality

Discussion in 'Wrenchin' Secrets' started by Nailhead Ronnie, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. 1973gs

    1973gs Well-Known Member

    After I replaced several of those fuses; I just soldered a fuse holder in one of my leads and installed a 10 amp fuse. Now I just have to replace a fuse that costs me nothing. Plus it's much faster than opening up the meter. I learned that from one of the instructors at the GM training center back in the 90's.
  2. Ken Warner

    Ken Warner Stand-up Philosopher

    I have a Matco digital multimeter with clamp on ammeter that I got off ebay in like new condition for about 1/4 of the price of new and really like it. The clamp on AC and DC ammeter is not something I use often but it's darn handy when you need it. If you are looking at Fluke they will most likely do AC/DC but a lot of clamp ons are AC only so pay attention.

    For the guy that blew up his meter, as mentioned by others, I don't think I've seen a meter without polarity protection in 20+ years. I would guess if you were not paying attention and had the meter set to an ammeter function then did something like put the leads across the battery terminals expecting a voltage reading then you probably popped a fuse or let the smoke out of the meter. Effectively you would have caused a near short circuit condition across.the battery through the meter for a split second. Considering the amount of current an automotive battery is capable of a little hand held multimeter doesn't stand a chance!

    Also as previously mentioned, anything from Fluke is a top notch piece of equipment, but for the average do-it-yourself guy it's overpriced and overkill IMHO!
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  3. Grandpas67

    Grandpas67 Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to add my story. I agree with what others are saying. Myself, i've had 2 in the last 25 years. I'm just a home mechanic so mine don't get used all the time.

    1st one was a $40 unit from radio shack. I overpaid for that one. Bought it when I was 16/17 and was taking electronics in high school. It lasted for several years. Might still have it somewhere.

    The last one I bought was 15 years ago. It's a Fluke 77. Found it at a garage sale. It "wasn't working." They didn't know what they had because I bought it for $1.50 (talked them down from $3). Took it home, cleaned it up a bit, took the back cover off and replaced the battery. It fired right up and has been the best multi-meter I've ever had. Would I spend the money on a new unit. Nope. I'm cheap and can probably get what i need out of one of those "free" harbor freight units.
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  4. woodchuck2

    woodchuck2 Well-Known Member

    I have a Blue Point i use everyday, an Ideal smart meter that i hate and some off brand clamp meter that does HZ values and also amp loads up to 200amp for ac and dc. I also keep an elcheapo digital "so no one steals it" in my tool box in a friends garage as well as an analog meter. My employee carries a Gardener Bender digital and a Craftsman digital and they also work fine
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  5. BadBrad

    BadBrad Got 4-speed?

    Did you check the fuse? Even many of the cheap ones have a fuse. Mine does and occasionally I've had to replace mine.
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  6. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    I think i tossed it
    No i never checked the fuse.
    Rookie mistakes
  7. 70staged

    70staged Well-Known Member

    I use a Fluke T-5. I have 2 of them,one for home and one for work. Work is nothing but the best especially since I work on stuff from 24volts all the way up to 690Volts three phase. It’s a dummy meter. It will tell you if it’s ac or dc current. I also have another Fluke meter at work for more in-depth diagnosising.
    But if you are only doing auto work with it part time a cheaper one would be fine, just not a Harbor Frieght.
    1973gs likes this.
  8. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    So i got my gift early and here it is. But I dont know if it does all a multimeter does and if its sufficient for auto use. Screenshot_20181223-210108.png Screenshot_20181223-210116.png
  9. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

  10. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper Well-Known Member

    I have a fluke meter I payed way to much for, took a over night dump for some reason. Used it at work 12V stuff only for autos.

    It was replaced with a Kent Moore unit for lots less money it has been a great unit except for the major fault I have had and many others no matter the price paid.



    The leads just do not hold up. Even the Kent Moore leads can not handle 12 hours a day 7 days a week wrapping and unwrapping from the meter. It is now 29 years old.

    The oppsite of what plugs in the meter had ends so you can plug in different ends for instance a hollow round that way in many cases you plug into a connector and don't have to hold that lead. Also add longer lead sections by the foot Well they break off the end so it will not contact the acc.plug.
    I have bought extra leads.

    I have 2 of the Habor Freight 5 dollar meters. I got one free when I bought a 212 hemi engine (engine is great on the snow blower by the way.) It has rattled around in my truck tool box for 3 years now and other than the cheap leads you have to be carefull of it is a great tool.

    I got the second one as a door prize in June at a car show. It is carried in a 5 gallon pail with slick mist, crome polish, windsheild windex, Lucas tire shine and other car car care stuff.
    I have used it a couple times to help some one with electric problems on their car find a problem

    While discussing electric problems with cars. Get a tin cheap GM flasher can. Orginal GM has a blue stripe.

    Solider a lead of wire to the spades, red and black. Then solider spade tips on the other end of the wire.

    Remove the blowen fuse insert the wire spades and you can look for the short while the flasher keeps the wires from frying.

    The black outfit that comes with the meter is crap, just doesn't last as long as a flasher can.

    Only works for the fuse panales with the spade fuses.

    :D Al
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
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  11. BQUICK

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    Olde school.....

    Attached Files:

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  12. buick64203

    buick64203 Just plum crazy Staff Member

    Simpson 260! I got one of those
  13. GS464

    GS464 Hopelessly Addicted

    Quick way to dump all of the smoke out of at least the test leads on most any meter is to check charging voltage with your meter set to ohms... Also a good way to spit the test lead right out of the plastic holder and into your face checking for voltage on a ceiling fan. Ask me how I know this. :(:confused::cool::eek:
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  14. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    So will this one cut the mustard?
  15. Premier 350

    Premier 350 Chris (aka Webby)

    I love my clamp meter. Means you can see the current draw in real time. Great for checking loads, alt output. I use one at work, and call it the BS meter, because it saves me so much BS. My clamp is also AC, useful if for checking home appliances. Used it on the camping fridge when it died over Christmas.
  16. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Yeah the more i look at mgmy clamp meter its looking like it will do the job.
  17. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

    My fluke is flawless and it’s smarter than I am turns itself off to save the battery when I brain fart and forget. I’ve got a couple of old craftsman units too but always seem to go back to my tried and true fluke. Hard to screw one up as long as it has over volt/over current protection built in. That’s about the only way to mess one up.
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  18. Utah455

    Utah455 Well-Known Member

    I have two flukes. At least 20 years old. One is an 87 and the other may be a 74 can’t remember. I use a base model 77 (~$300) and a big daddy 789 (~$900)at work.

    I’ve fried wires with too much current and blown fuses but haven’t damaged them. As others said before fuses are expensive, 20-30 bucks a pop. Search Mouser or Digikey for pricing too.

    For a current clamp, I just got an Extech MA445 from Amazon for about 80 bucks. Other sites can sell up to $150. I think it’s great for work.
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  19. Dano

    Dano Platinum Level Contributor

    If you want a new Fluke very inexpensively, there are (at least were) sellers on eBay that sell several different models of the same US meters that Fluke sells in China but for about 1/3 (maybe less) of what they cost here. A guy on YouTube did a pretty thorough evaluation if you search it and determined it was exactly the same as the US version. I'm surprised Fluke hasn't shut it down. I paid about $120 IIRC for mine maybe a year and a half ago. I'm no electrical/electronics guru and wanted a Fluke anyway to replace my old meter but there was no way I could justify the cost of a US model for the rare occasions I need one, but its so nice that now I look for reasons to use it. Model I bought even has a temp probe and was only a few $ more than one w/o.

    Attached Files:

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