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Old 26th October 2008, 08:24 PM   #11
HK26147 is offline HK26147  United States
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Sounds like your after a good inexpensive utility meter, so be sure to check out the frequent specials at MCM.
I got a WAVETEK Meterman 10XL for less than $20 and in comparison to my friend Fluke has the same level of accuracy and totally suitable for most functions.
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Old 27th October 2008, 03:09 AM   #12
slam is offline slam  United States
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I have the Cen-Tech meter. While it is useful for measuring DC (power supply and such), it is not very useful for measuring the signal path.

The smallest AC range for that meter is 200V with a 0.1V resolution. Combining that with a 1.2% +- 10 digit accuracy, the meter officially has a potential 100% inaccuracy for anything under 2.5V.

If you want to mesure the signal path, get something that has single digit ACV or even better AC mV range.

If you want to trouble shoot intermitten issues, something that has fast peak/max/min or fast logging will be useful.

For under $150, you can get a high-end Meterman handheld(which is owned by Fluke).

If you are on a tight budget and want logging, you may want to stay away from GPIB. I haven't seen a well supported GPIB/PC adaptor for under $150. I learned the lesson first hand when I bought a HP 3457a on impluse (for under $200 with yet to expire Cal). It is a very nice instrument standalone, but will be much more useful if connected to a PC. I don't know if I can justisfy 3/4 of is price to get a PCI GPIB card...
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Old 27th October 2008, 12:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by slam
If you are on a tight budget and want logging, you may want to stay away from GPIB. I haven't seen a well supported GPIB/PC adaptor for under $150. I learned the lesson first hand when I bought a HP 3457a on impluse (for under $200 with yet to expire Cal). It is a very nice instrument standalone, but will be much more useful if connected to a PC. I don't know if I can justisfy 3/4 of is price to get a PCI GPIB card...
This is diverting from the thread-starter's purpose -- note that with GPIB you can daisy-chain many instruments -- and you can program it in Basic or C.

FWIW, HP 3468's and 3478's seem to be going quite cheaply. These are lab type instruments -- I have one of each. The bargains are starting to show up again on EBay.
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Old 28th October 2008, 12:12 PM   #14
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I grabbed one of these from Amazon (had a gift card) for about $40.

http://www.tequipment.net/Velleman_DVM890C.html

Probably not the best,but it's pretty "full featured' for the price!
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Old 31st October 2008, 11:10 AM   #15
slam is offline slam  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by jackinnj


This is diverting from the thread-starter's purpose -- note that with GPIB you can daisy-chain many instruments -- and you can program it in Basic or C.

FWIW, HP 3468's and 3478's seem to be going quite cheaply. These are lab type instruments -- I have one of each. The bargains are starting to show up again on EBay.
Agreed. For automation of multiple instruments GPIB is very useful. If I have GPIB gears, I will definitely consider it.

I also got a Fluke 287 almost half retail. Recently Fluke has a (rather substential) firmware upgrade on it and they will send you a USB data cable FREE if you don't have one to perform the upgrade. With that cable and a simple C# program, I was able to log 10 AC readings per second. You do pay more for Fluke, but their service is hard to beat.

To the OP, another meter you can consider is the Uni-trend UT81B. It is a very low end scopemeter costing under $200 new on e-bay. While it doesn't have max/min and I found a bug on their AC coupling, you will have a lot more fun than a multimeter alone.
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