I need a new meter for my toolbox - I've done some looking and I haven't yet found something that fits everything on my wish list and I'm wondering whether you guys have any suggestions. Here's some of what I'm looking for (in no particular order):
SELECTABLE LOW IMPEDANCE (hides "ghost" voltages)
CLAMP FOR CURRENT
LEADS FOR CURRENT (all the clamp meters I've seen lack regular current measuring capabilities. This is a problem when servicing 4-20 ma circuits and the like.
FREQUENCY MEASUREMENT for VFDs
All that and just a generally good meter for field service.
Me either, closest would be my old Fluke 87 and the Y8100 Current
Probe accessory for it.
Nowadays I would get a digital AC/DC clamp on for current, use the
Fluke 87 for ma current and look at getting an Oscilloscope meter for
revealing "ghost signals". More than once in my career a look at that
funky VOM reading that didn't make any sense with a scope saved the day.
There are some really nifty meters available today, glad I don't have
to choose a new one ;-)
Would also like an in-circuit static capacitance meter. Mostly for
finding bad electrolytics without having to take them out first. I
still have my old B&K Capacitance meter and it still works fine. But
being able to possibly identify bad caps in-circuit would be helpful...
I have perhaps a dozen HFs and 6 good DVMs with computer interfaces
for datalogging, a UT210E AC/DC clamp-on that resolves to 1mA, 4
Flukes and a Keithley, plus AC and AC/DC external clamp probes. No
single one of them meets all those requirements, especially clamp +
leads, although combinations do. I also have a good collection of
analog multimeters and clamp-ons that can be left in place long-term,
so that for instance I don't move the fridge plug from the wall outlet
to the backup source while it's running.
To extend the list I have a 1GSa HP storage scope, an HP RF spectrum
analyzer and the tracking generator that makes it a scalar network
analyzer, plus power supplies, signal generators, counters, cap meters
etc. I was one of the people who built proof-of-concept models for
space projects at home.
I did industrial field service in the 1970's and appreciate the
demands, but since then I've been in a lab and don't have to carry
everything I need like a primitive nomad or a soldier.
yet found something that fits everything on my wish list and I'm wondering
whether you guys have any suggestions. Here's some of what I'm looking for
(in no particular order):
asuring capabilities. This is a problem when servicing 4-20 ma circuits and
Oh, I've got plenty of meters including four Fluke 8840As, three clamp mete
rs, a logic analyzer and a couple of mixed signal scopes, but none that sui
t the needs of field work. My career path has taken a turn opposite to your
s (and many others). After 30-odd years in an office and at a bench designi
ng products and at the age where many retire, I've finally figured out what
I want to be when I grow up. I really enjoy the hell out of fixing up tire
d old machinery and putting in new controls to get a lot more life and use
out of them.
If you recall a year or so ago I was tackling the ageing refrigeration at a
n ice skating rink. I fixed about a million refrigerant leaks, installed a
bunch of new sensors, replaced pretty much every wire in the machine and in
stalled a modern controller (of my own design - I had used these in the pas
t and have boards in stock). The thing is now purring like a (very loud) ki
tten and running perfectly. What started out as a planned $2 million replac
ement estimate (from the City Engineer) became more like a $50 thousand fix
A bonus is that I picked up (on ebay) a spare pair of compressors and motor
s, identical to the ones in this system for a whopping $5,500 delivered. A
pretty good deal considering that a single oil pump (which I needed) is $8,
500 from York.
A second bonus is that I got myself EPA 608 certified, which must be good f
or something, though even before I got the license I took delivery of 5000
pounds of R22 and nobody asked to see any papers.
But what's missing is an all-in-one meter. Do the manufacturers really thin
k that you do either big currents or small currents but not both? Sheesh.
I like having two meters for insurance against dropping or frying one,
and to measure both voltage and current simultaneously, like the
voltage droop during a starting surge. While I don't recommend them
for field service reliability my UT210E clamp-on is a good size to
hold and slip into a shirt pocket, and the 4-1/2 digit UT61E is stable
on a flat surface.
haven't yet found something that fits everything on my wish list and I'm
wondering whether you guys have any suggestions. Here's some of what I'm
looking for (in no particular order):
current measuring capabilities. This is a problem when servicing 4-20 ma
circuits and the like.
My favorite general purpose meter was a Radio Shack with a serial port
for logging data samples over time. It worked exceptionally well at
proving inconsistent power supply issues from the mains. It wasn't bad
for general trouble shooting either. It didn't do everything you want,
but I'm not sure I ever had a meter that did. The most sensitive meter
I ever used was an analog Triplets I was issued when I worked for
Arizona telephone. Once I got a feel for it I could guess distance to
fault almost as accurately as the call box in the central office. That
is on an 18 mile span it would get me within a mile on the first guess
usually. Then split the line and go from there.
I don't think I have a good meter anymore. Just a bunch of cheap ones
all over the shop and one in each of my vehicles. I have a separate
Amprobe I use for clip on applications.
The old RS 22-805 has a rare 20A (for 30 Sec) current range and the
interface data format is numerical instead of the active LCD segment
like later models, although that isn't hard to hash back to digits.
The relative Ohms function of my UT61E can distinguish between equal
lengths of 12AWG and 14AWG wire. When I added panels to my solar
system I measured the gauge of sections of old wiring by shorting the
far end, forcing 10A and recording the voltage drop. Then I tried the
UT61E and got substantially the same results, often to 0.01 Ohm.
The designer's intent was better than his implementation, notably in
the excessive burden voltage on the current ranges. I think the Peak
function measures motor inrush correctly with a clamp-on probe but
it's hard (and dangerous) to independently confirm with high current
shunts and resistors.
Do you have a 1/8" drill bit and a 1/2 inch bit?
How about a brad point and a carbaloy?
What about a 16 oz hammer and a 5 lb sledge?
Do you have boh a #1 philips screw driver and a #3?
It's called having the right tool for the job - and it is very seldom
one tool will be ideal for several different function.
Nothing wrong with carrying 2 meters in you toolbox!!!