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Old 25th October 2008, 11:24 PM   #1
BERENO is offline BERENO  United States
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Default Mulitmeters?

Hey all, I didnt really know where to post this, but I would like to get a multimeter for Christmas, so that i can measure the actual output and performance of my projects. I dont know much about multimeters, so I dont know what to look for in one. I do know however that Fluke makes a quality product, and would like to get one. Any suggestions for a specific model or for certain attributes to look for?
Thanks in advance
DISCLAIMER: Im a noob...
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Old 25th October 2008, 11:43 PM   #2
KP11520 is offline KP11520  United States
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A few months back I was looking for something that had great specs and wasn't crazy price wise.

Ultimately, Anatech pointed me at the Agilent U1242A. I love it!


Check it out! Nice features and affordable. Top notched test leads too!

If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that ACME ****, why didn't he just buy dinner?
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Old 25th October 2008, 11:44 PM   #3
Steerpike is offline Steerpike
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Well, since this is an audio forum, I presume you talking about audio projects:

Problems for audio measurements, things to look out for:
Most 'affortable' multimeters don't measure RMS voltages.
Frequency responses are limited to maybe 1kHz
They dont accurately measure low voltages as found on many preamp audio signal paths.

A frequency counter, a capacitance range, and a transistor check option might be nice extras.

Those LCD oscilloscope types are WONDERFUL, but WAY expensive.
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Old 25th October 2008, 11:50 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Something like the Fluke 87 or 83 would also get my recommendation. (true rms, 200kHz BW in some cases)

Some (older) Fluke (both handheld and bench) models have the dB relative feature which is very handy for doing frequency response measurements.

What is your budget and are you looking for, a bench type or handheld?

Good new ones go for as much as $300, however there are many good, inexpensive, used Flukes (in particular) on eBay at any given time.

The ones to look if you are getting only one good one would be:

Fluke, Agilent (HP) and Keithley.

Many of the meters made by these manufacturers are virtually accident proof which will pay for itself in saved time and aggravation. Ever try to measure a voltage when the meter was set to measure resistance? - you'll know exactly what I am talking about.. Cheap meter bye bye!

A couple of really cheap meters permanently dedicated to voltage/current measurements are very handy for general lab work, but not in lieu of one really good meter.

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine
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Old 26th October 2008, 12:02 AM   #5
BERENO is offline BERENO  United States
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Thanks for the advice so far My budget is very limited because I am a college student. I am assuming that I am going to getting money for Christmas from my parents, but they are not "rich", so I would need to foot the rest myself. I would probably like to spend no more than 150, but if I found a great deal I would fork out the extra money, but no more than $175.

Also, would these maybe to on sale for on Black Friday?
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Old 26th October 2008, 12:08 AM   #6
guitvinny is offline guitvinny  Canada
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Watch eBay, I got a Fluke 77III for 80$. Used but in very good shape !
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Old 26th October 2008, 01:39 AM   #7
x-pro is offline x-pro  United Kingdom
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If you are not looking for a portable battery powered unit I would recommend to get a second hand Keithley 197 or better still HP 3478A - you can pick one up on ebay for about $100-150, for example:


It has excellent DC precision, frequency response, true RMS, and even GPIB interface. I am using one in my home lab and very happy with it.

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Old 26th October 2008, 01:53 AM   #8
chicks is offline chicks  United States
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Just picked up a multimeter today - Harbor Freight Tools, $3.50 with coupon

Don't laugh, it does what I need...

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Old 26th October 2008, 03:04 AM   #9
jackinnj is online now jackinnj  United States
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If you're buying your first DVM, just getting started, don't bother spending a bunch of dough on anything fancy -- you can get really adequate performance from a Radio Shack unit costing less than $50. Save your money for an oscilloscope.

When I started out I had an Eico VTVM -- this in the 1960's -- still own it today as nothing will kill it -- I have a Fluke 177 which is in operation all the time, a Radio Shack unit made in Germany which was less than $100 and has an RS232 port, measures transistors, frequency, caps etc.
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Old 26th October 2008, 07:58 PM   #10
BERENO is offline BERENO  United States
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Thank you all for your replys That harbor freight meter actually looks like a great deal for what I would be doing because Im not that intense yet. That would give me time to save up for a good one later on.

Im not hell-bent on having a battery powered meter. I think a non-batter powered one could possibly be even better.

any other ideas
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