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Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range
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notbob
electronics forum beginner


Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

On 2006-07-03, Ken Hall <kenhall2REMOVE@houston.rr.com> wrote:

Quote:
Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50 +/-
$10 range?

Spend the money and get a Fluke. Buy a used one if need be. I'm no
electronics expert, but I can speak with much experience on DMMs. At
one time it was part of my job to purchase and maintain DMMs for a
high-tech company where they were much abused on the production floor.
I've bought 'em, used 'em, and tossed 'em. Every brand you can think
of. As far as I'm concerned, they're all junk compared to Fluke.

nb
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RST Engineering (jw)
electronics forum Guru


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 313

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

Second the motion. I've got one that is a couple of years old and varies by
one digit out at the LSD when comparing it to the bench HP.

Jim


Quote:

Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

Let the guys and gals debate what meter to get here
to their hearts content, while you use the thing.
It is fine for most of what you'll do. And it will
buy you the time to save the money to buy a good
bench meter that you will coddle and treat with
kid gloves. My view is that all meters under $50
are roughly the same in terms of accuracy - far
more accurate than most people will ever need from
a DMM - and vary only by features.

Ed
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Jack F. Twist
electronics forum beginner


Joined: 15 May 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

"ehsjr" <ehsjr@bellatlantic.net> wrote in message news:6XWqg.4651$%61.595@trndny09...
Quote:
Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

Let the guys and gals debate what meter to get here
to their hearts content, while you use the thing.
It is fine for most of what you'll do. And it will
buy you the time to save the money to buy a good
bench meter that you will coddle and treat with
kid gloves. My view is that all meters under $50
are roughly the same in terms of accuracy - far
more accurate than most people will ever need from
a DMM - and vary only by features.

I agree, but I'd opt for their 35017-3VGA instead. It's a
bit more money but a lot more accurate, and shock resistant.
Even if it does bite the dust after a year or two, buy another.
Or three or four. You'll still be far ahead compared to
buying a single obscenely overpriced Fluke.
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David L. Jones
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 286

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

ehsjr wrote:
Quote:
Ken Hall wrote:
I just dropped my 20 year old Radio Shack digital multimeter and it
stopped working. I use it probably once a month so I want to order
another DMM.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50 +/-
$10 range?

Most of the ones I've found on the web don't provide accuracy
specifications. For example, I found this one that looks like about
what I want but no specs http://tinyurl.com/jvkap . I couldn't even
tell if the autoranging can be locked out.

I think I'd like an autoranging model, but I've read that autoranging
meters are not as accurate. I don't see why. Does anybody know the
answer on this?

Anyway, don't lose sight of the real reason for my post which is:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50-$60
or less range?

-- Ken


Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

Let the guys and gals debate what meter to get here
to their hearts content, while you use the thing.
It is fine for most of what you'll do. And it will
buy you the time to save the money to buy a good
bench meter that you will coddle and treat with
kid gloves. My view is that all meters under $50
are roughly the same in terms of accuracy - far
more accurate than most people will ever need from
a DMM - and vary only by features.

How much money does this thing cost you in lost time when it fails?

Yes, all meters in this price range have the same accuracy, but the
point has never been about accuracy, even a 1% tolerance meter is
plenty for most work.

More money buys you measurement confidence, and for many applications
that is *the* essential feature, as one mistake can cost you big $$$$.
But if you don't need that, like for hobbyist use, then sure, buy a
cheapie.

I'll give you one example from a place I worked at. A "calibrated"
cheap meter failed once giving a false reading that indicated that
there was a common fault in the product. As it looked like a common
fault that had been seen before, and no technical person was on hand at
the time to double check, they "repaired" the product using standard
procedure. Only QA were on hand, and they said the meter was OK because
it was "calibrated". Needless to say the product still "failed" after
being repaired and they realised their mistake.
The result? - several thousand dollars in repair cost, and over
US$50000 cost to the customer because the product delivery was delayed
by a day and they lost a days use on their survey boat.

Dave Smile
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Eric R Snow
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

On Wed, 05 Jul 2006 00:45:27 GMT, "Melodolic" <a@a.a> wrote:

Quote:
David L. Jones wrote:

Then it'll probably do just fine. BUt you still don't get the
"measurement confidence" you get with a higher quality meter like a
Fluke.

I use a Fluke at work. My "measurement confidence" in more-or-less cheapie
meters is based on 15 years of hassle free use.


Yes, the new one is a lot better than the older models which were
absolute crap. The new model is "less crap" relatively speaking, but
crap none the less compared to a good quality meter.

So, "a heap of crap" is less crap than "crap", which is the same as
"absolute crap"? I'd have thought the order, from less crap to more crap,
would be "crap", "a heap of crap", and "absolute crap". If I'm right, does
that mean you're talking crap? Smile
Crap, and a heap of crap, are just measurements of the amount of crap.

Absolute crap means there is nothing mixed in with the crap, like
methane, for example. So, the order would probably be: crap, a heap of
crap, and an absolute heap of crap. When you are talking about high
quality measuring instruments the descriptions must also be of a
similar high quality. Speaking of high quality Fluke stuff I have a
non-contact device made for finding the hot lead in an AC circuit
that's made by Fluke. It's called the VOLT LIGHT LVD1. It uses a white
LED as a flashlight and has bi-color led indicater that changes from
blue, through purple, to red, when it senses AC. The really nice thing
about it is the flashlight points in the general direction of the
current carrying conductor. This makes it real useful in low light
conditions. Like when I'm looking for hot wires in a machine control
cabinet.
ERS
Quote:

True, it's not, if that's all you've got. We all survived quite nicely
before autoranging meters came along!

I use my meters interchangeably. Thus far, I have come through forays into
the bad old days unscathed. I'm plucking up the courage to throw a volt or
two at my half-price-15-years-ago Maplin own-brand moving needle jobbie.

Smoke me a kipper...
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Eric R Snow
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 04 May 2005
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

On Wed, 05 Jul 2006 22:58:37 GMT, "Jack F. Twist"
<jack_invalid_f_twist@earthlink.net> wrote:

Quote:
"ehsjr" <ehsjr@bellatlantic.net> wrote in message news:6XWqg.4651$%61.595@trndny09...
Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

Let the guys and gals debate what meter to get here
to their hearts content, while you use the thing.
It is fine for most of what you'll do. And it will
buy you the time to save the money to buy a good
bench meter that you will coddle and treat with
kid gloves. My view is that all meters under $50
are roughly the same in terms of accuracy - far
more accurate than most people will ever need from
a DMM - and vary only by features.

I agree, but I'd opt for their 35017-3VGA instead. It's a
bit more money but a lot more accurate, and shock resistant.
Even if it does bite the dust after a year or two, buy another.
Or three or four. You'll still be far ahead compared to
buying a single obscenely overpriced Fluke.

Though the Fluke meters are expensive I don't think they are

overpriced. It's one of those tools that really is worth the money.
ERS
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Si Ballenger
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:26 am    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

On Wed, 05 Jul 2006 22:20:50 GMT, ehsjr <ehsjr@bellatlantic.net>
wrote:


Quote:
Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

I've got several so I can put them in various places in a circuit
to see what is going on. I've got a couple of the cheap analog
ones too for use where quick meter movements give more info than
an actual value read out (like seeing needle blips when bytes are
sent out the tx pin on a serial port).
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notbob
electronics forum beginner


Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:57 am    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

On 2006-07-05, Eric R Snow <etpm@whidbey.com> wrote:

Quote:
Though the Fluke meters are expensive I don't think they are
overpriced. It's one of those tools that really is worth the money.

The high price of Fluke is for their quality and robustness. Every
other meter brand I've used is not robust enough to handle prolonged
heavy use. B&K, Triplette, etc, all break under heavy use. One of
the most common points of failure are the test lead connector sockets.
I've tossed many a DMM due to continuity failure at the sockets.
Never a Fluke. I'll be willing my Fluke to my kids.

If Fluke has a failing, it's their failure to support older equipment.
Their stuff is so good it last forever and they will often quit
providing accessories for discontinued models. Also, some of their
accessories have not matched the quality of their meters. They used
to have some extremely handy spring-steel extendable test leads that
were almost guaranteed to break due to poor design and the breakable
part was not replaceable. But, for their few shortcomings, they're
still the best meters on the market, regardless of price.

nb
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Michael A. Terrell
electronics forum Guru


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 2291

PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

"David L. Jones" wrote:
Quote:

I'll give you one example from a place I worked at. A "calibrated"
cheap meter failed once giving a false reading that indicated that
there was a common fault in the product. As it looked like a common
fault that had been seen before, and no technical person was on hand at
the time to double check, they "repaired" the product using standard
procedure. Only QA were on hand, and they said the meter was OK because
it was "calibrated". Needless to say the product still "failed" after
being repaired and they realised their mistake.
The result? - several thousand dollars in repair cost, and over
US$50000 cost to the customer because the product delivery was delayed
by a day and they lost a days use on their survey boat.

Dave Smile



Why would you not compare the meter to another one if several items
gave the same, out of spec readings? I had a minimum of four 4 1/2
digit DMMS on my three benches at Microdyne. They were compared at the
start of each work day. If I found anything wrong with any piece of
test equipment I took it to our cal lab to exchange it before I started
working. Sure, I spent five or ten minutes each day, but I had the
highest output and lowest return rate of any tech in the plant. i also
kept the cal lab busy repairing minor problems with the test equipment,
rather than waste time fiddling with some touchy test setup. For
instance, the AGC boards had four power supplies, and had to be set to
exactly +5.000 VDC, -5.000 VDC, + 12.000 VDC and -12.000 VDC because the
total allowable error was +/-1.5 millivolt at either 0.000 VDC or +5.000
volts output.


--
Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
prove it.
Member of DAV #85.

Michael A. Terrell
Central Florida
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Robert Baer
electronics forum Guru


Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 1159

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:13 am    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

Michael A. Terrell wrote:
Quote:
"David L. Jones" wrote:

I'll give you one example from a place I worked at. A "calibrated"
cheap meter failed once giving a false reading that indicated that
there was a common fault in the product. As it looked like a common
fault that had been seen before, and no technical person was on hand at
the time to double check, they "repaired" the product using standard
procedure. Only QA were on hand, and they said the meter was OK because
it was "calibrated". Needless to say the product still "failed" after
being repaired and they realised their mistake.
The result? - several thousand dollars in repair cost, and over
US$50000 cost to the customer because the product delivery was delayed
by a day and they lost a days use on their survey boat.

Dave :)




Why would you not compare the meter to another one if several items
gave the same, out of spec readings? I had a minimum of four 4 1/2
digit DMMS on my three benches at Microdyne. They were compared at the
start of each work day. If I found anything wrong with any piece of
test equipment I took it to our cal lab to exchange it before I started
working. Sure, I spent five or ten minutes each day, but I had the
highest output and lowest return rate of any tech in the plant. i also
kept the cal lab busy repairing minor problems with the test equipment,
rather than waste time fiddling with some touchy test setup. For
instance, the AGC boards had four power supplies, and had to be set to
exactly +5.000 VDC, -5.000 VDC, + 12.000 VDC and -12.000 VDC because the
total allowable error was +/-1.5 millivolt at either 0.000 VDC or +5.000
volts output.


Seems to me that a finiky design like that is a poor design and

should be tossed and re-done from scratch.
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David L. Jones
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 286

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 8:14 am    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

Michael A. Terrell wrote:
Quote:
"David L. Jones" wrote:

I'll give you one example from a place I worked at. A "calibrated"
cheap meter failed once giving a false reading that indicated that
there was a common fault in the product. As it looked like a common
fault that had been seen before, and no technical person was on hand at
the time to double check, they "repaired" the product using standard
procedure. Only QA were on hand, and they said the meter was OK because
it was "calibrated". Needless to say the product still "failed" after
being repaired and they realised their mistake.
The result? - several thousand dollars in repair cost, and over
US$50000 cost to the customer because the product delivery was delayed
by a day and they lost a days use on their survey boat.

Dave :)



Why would you not compare the meter to another one if several items
gave the same, out of spec readings?

Sorry, that was a bit confusing, it was actually only one item, the
meter reading of which looked like a common known fault condition in
that product line that had a standard repair technique. So without
anyone sufficiently technical on hand to question the result, they
believed the multimeter reading. That one reading with a cheap meter
cost about $60,000 in actual cost, but the real cost was probably well
over $100,000 when you include the loss of income from survey time,
plus loss of face with the customer.
That's an expensive meter reading!

Dave Smile
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Michael A. Terrell
electronics forum Guru


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 2291

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

Robert Baer wrote:
Quote:

Michael A. Terrell wrote:
"David L. Jones" wrote:

I'll give you one example from a place I worked at. A "calibrated"
cheap meter failed once giving a false reading that indicated that
there was a common fault in the product. As it looked like a common
fault that had been seen before, and no technical person was on hand at
the time to double check, they "repaired" the product using standard
procedure. Only QA were on hand, and they said the meter was OK because
it was "calibrated". Needless to say the product still "failed" after
being repaired and they realised their mistake.
The result? - several thousand dollars in repair cost, and over
US$50000 cost to the customer because the product delivery was delayed
by a day and they lost a days use on their survey boat.

Dave :)




Why would you not compare the meter to another one if several items
gave the same, out of spec readings? I had a minimum of four 4 1/2
digit DMMS on my three benches at Microdyne. They were compared at the
start of each work day. If I found anything wrong with any piece of
test equipment I took it to our cal lab to exchange it before I started
working. Sure, I spent five or ten minutes each day, but I had the
highest output and lowest return rate of any tech in the plant. i also
kept the cal lab busy repairing minor problems with the test equipment,
rather than waste time fiddling with some touchy test setup. For
instance, the AGC boards had four power supplies, and had to be set to
exactly +5.000 VDC, -5.000 VDC, + 12.000 VDC and -12.000 VDC because the
total allowable error was +/-1.5 millivolt at either 0.000 VDC or +5.000
volts output.


Seems to me that a finiky design like that is a poor design and
should be tossed and re-done from scratch.

What the hell do you know about it? It was a LINEAR 0 to +5 VDC AGC
system used in a $20,000 telemetry receiver that were used in pairs in a
dual diversity receiving system to track deep space satellites. The
test were that critical to ensure that any pair of receivers could be
used together without being aligned as a set. The design worked so well
for NASA that NOAA bought a packaged system to track their weather
satellites for the Wallops Island station. The military uses them to
track remote controlled missiles and drones because they are so well
designed. BTW, there were 14 op amps in that AGC circuit, with a total
allowable error of 5000/1.5 system wide.

That tight AGC voltage system allowed a pair of receivers to track
within .01 dB to let it recover data from very noisy signals. In fact,
with the Doppler compensation we designed, NOAA could lock onto their
birds a full five minutes over the horizon. They were considered the
BEST analog telemetry system in the world at the time they hit the
market, and we kept refining the design, and adding request features.
The Italian government bought two turnkey systems from us, as well. One
fixed, and the other in a large military type communications trailer for
their efforts to launch rockets. The mobile unit also had a special
color IR camera and tracking system to follow the rocket after it left
the ground, till the engines shut down. A second tracking mount aimed
the antenna to track the rocket. The biggest problem was that we had
was the very high received signal level at launch could overload the
equipment, so gain control had to be added to the LNAs without affecting
the noise figure at low levels.


--
Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
prove it.
Member of DAV #85.

Michael A. Terrell
Central Florida
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Michael A. Terrell
electronics forum Guru


Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 2291

PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

"David L. Jones" wrote:
Quote:

Michael A. Terrell wrote:

Why would you not compare the meter to another one if several items
gave the same, out of spec readings?

Sorry, that was a bit confusing, it was actually only one item, the
meter reading of which looked like a common known fault condition in
that product line that had a standard repair technique. So without
anyone sufficiently technical on hand to question the result, they
believed the multimeter reading. That one reading with a cheap meter
cost about $60,000 in actual cost, but the real cost was probably well
over $100,000 when you include the loss of income from survey time,
plus loss of face with the customer.
That's an expensive meter reading!

Dave Smile


Yes, it was expensive, but it is a bad in house process. If there is
a common problem like that, there should have been some requirement to
verify the problem before spending that amount of time and money on
repairs. If we ran into a problem like that it would have been verified
on another bench by a second tech. I built test fixtures, wrote test
procedures, and worked with every department in the company to improve
our products and keep customers happy. I even diagnosed and helped
someone in Antarctica troubleshoot a problem via the net, rather than
them return the equipment they thought was bad and wait almost a year
for it to be shipped to us to find that the problem was in their setup
and cabling.

I never advocated using a $3 meter for work like that, and I have
never seen a 4 1/2 digit meter for that price. We had a lot of Data
precision 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 digit meters, along with some Fluke and HP 5
1/2 digit meters. The 3 1/2 digit units were only used in a handful of
tests, and were left over from the days when Microdyne was in the Sat TV
business and built receivers for CATV and broadcast stations. We had
about 50 extras in the cal lab, but all of the 4 1/2 digit and better
were on the benches.

BTW, I put in over 10 hours overtime one night and saved the company
over $500,000 US. We were going to miss a early delivery bonus from one
customer, and fall short for production for the quarter because of
delivery problems with some National Semiconductor ICs. I tested,
aligned, and did minor rework on well over 150 circuit boards that
night, and left another 150 failed ones to finish after the rush was
over. I pissed off four other techs by doing so much work in that time,
but they finally got over it. Smile QC couldn't get to their desks the
next morning because of all the completed work, and the rework ladies
never did get over it. Oh well! ;-)


--
Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
prove it.
Member of DAV #85.

Michael A. Terrell
Central Florida
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ehsjr
electronics forum Guru


Joined: 03 May 2005
Posts: 863

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

David L. Jones wrote:
Quote:
ehsjr wrote:

Ken Hall wrote:

I just dropped my 20 year old Radio Shack digital multimeter and it
stopped working. I use it probably once a month so I want to order
another DMM.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50 +/-
$10 range?

Most of the ones I've found on the web don't provide accuracy
specifications. For example, I found this one that looks like about
what I want but no specs http://tinyurl.com/jvkap . I couldn't even
tell if the autoranging can be locked out.

I think I'd like an autoranging model, but I've read that autoranging
meters are not as accurate. I don't see why. Does anybody know the
answer on this?

Anyway, don't lose sight of the real reason for my post which is:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50-$60
or less range?

-- Ken


Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

Let the guys and gals debate what meter to get here
to their hearts content, while you use the thing.
It is fine for most of what you'll do. And it will
buy you the time to save the money to buy a good
bench meter that you will coddle and treat with
kid gloves. My view is that all meters under $50
are roughly the same in terms of accuracy - far
more accurate than most people will ever need from
a DMM - and vary only by features.


How much money does this thing cost you in lost time when it fails?

Nothing. We are not talking about using the $2.99 meter
in a professional setting, as your bizaare example below
presents. Sounds like the place was run by the three stooges.

Regarding your example: "no technical person was on hand" and
determining that it was a "common fault in the product" rings
an alarm bell. "Only QA were on hand" - another alarm bell.
"and they said the meter was OK" - doubtful. They probably
said it is OK to use that meter in the procedure, but probably
were not saying that the meter was working properly. After
the "repair" was done using standard procedure, the same failing
meter magically "unfailed" and indicated the repair was
successful? No testing of the "repair"?


Quote:

Yes, all meters in this price range have the same accuracy, but the
point has never been about accuracy, even a 1% tolerance meter is
plenty for most work.

More money buys you measurement confidence, and for many applications
that is *the* essential feature, as one mistake can cost you big $$$$.
But if you don't need that, like for hobbyist use, then sure, buy a
cheapie.

Exactly.

Ed

Quote:

I'll give you one example from a place I worked at. A "calibrated"
cheap meter failed once giving a false reading that indicated that
there was a common fault in the product. As it looked like a common
fault that had been seen before, and no technical person was on hand at
the time to double check, they "repaired" the product using standard
procedure. Only QA were on hand, and they said the meter was OK because
it was "calibrated". Needless to say the product still "failed" after
being repaired and they realised their mistake.
The result? - several thousand dollars in repair cost, and over
US$50000 cost to the customer because the product delivery was delayed
by a day and they lost a days use on their survey boat.

Dave Smile
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David L. Jones
electronics forum Guru Wannabe


Joined: 07 Jun 2005
Posts: 286

PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Good Digital Multi-Meter in $50 Range Reply with quote

ehsjr wrote:
Quote:
David L. Jones wrote:
ehsjr wrote:

Ken Hall wrote:

I just dropped my 20 year old Radio Shack digital multimeter and it
stopped working. I use it probably once a month so I want to order
another DMM.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50 +/-
$10 range?

Most of the ones I've found on the web don't provide accuracy
specifications. For example, I found this one that looks like about
what I want but no specs http://tinyurl.com/jvkap . I couldn't even
tell if the autoranging can be locked out.

I think I'd like an autoranging model, but I've read that autoranging
meters are not as accurate. I don't see why. Does anybody know the
answer on this?

Anyway, don't lose sight of the real reason for my post which is:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good basic DMM in the $50-$60
or less range?

-- Ken


Get item 90899-1VGA from Harbor Freight
http://www.harborfreight.com/
On sale now for $2.99 and it includes the battery.

This is the meter to drop, abuse, throw in the tool
box, carry up the ladder, give away as a gift, etc.

Let the guys and gals debate what meter to get here
to their hearts content, while you use the thing.
It is fine for most of what you'll do. And it will
buy you the time to save the money to buy a good
bench meter that you will coddle and treat with
kid gloves. My view is that all meters under $50
are roughly the same in terms of accuracy - far
more accurate than most people will ever need from
a DMM - and vary only by features.


How much money does this thing cost you in lost time when it fails?

Nothing. We are not talking about using the $2.99 meter
in a professional setting, as your bizaare example below
presents. Sounds like the place was run by the three stooges.

Regarding your example: "no technical person was on hand" and
determining that it was a "common fault in the product" rings
an alarm bell. "Only QA were on hand" - another alarm bell.
"and they said the meter was OK" - doubtful. They probably
said it is OK to use that meter in the procedure, but probably
were not saying that the meter was working properly.

Relax Ed, it's only a story that shows how a failing cheap meter *can*
cost big dollars. Yes, the circumstances were fairly unique, but fact
is it happened.

How often do you question the reading on your meter? do you measure
everything twice with two meters just to be sure?

Quote:
After
the "repair" was done using standard procedure, the same failing
meter magically "unfailed" and indicated the repair was
successful? No testing of the "repair"?

Yes, the repair was re-tested with the same failed meter and of course
showed the same "fault". It then clicked to them that the meter was
faulty, and the problem was quickly resolved.

Dave Smile
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