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Old 11th February 2010, 03:42 PM   #1
bburl is offline bburl  Canada
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Default How long do multimeters last?

Silly question?

I picked up one of these Amprobe AM-3E Multimeter Analog Amprobe AM-3E AM 3E AM3E for $6.05 at a garage sale (why .05? I don't know. ). It looks brand new, but it's probably 15 or more years old.

So do multimeters degrade with age? and are the specs on this one good enough to do some headphone amp diy?
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Old 11th February 2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Digital multi-meters?
Probably the first thing to go is the display.
I have a 30 year old Fluke meter. It's still accurate, but the display is almost impossible to read.
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Old 11th February 2010, 04:02 PM   #3
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It's possible that it needs to be readjusted or calibrated. This is easy to do with the help of someone who has a multimeter which is trusted to be accurate (a relatively new Fluke or something like that). Other than that, it will continue to work just fine as long as you don't break it.

Good enough to do some headphone amp diy? I can't see why not!
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Old 11th February 2010, 04:08 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Given it's an analog meter as long as it has not been abused it should last indefinitely. (Also you need to replace the batteries periodically, and before they leak.) Checking calibration against a known accurate meter and making some adjustments if necessary is a good idea.

I have a 50yr old Simpson 260 multimeter I bought at a hamfest last fall for $10 which with just a little TLC it now works just fine and is reasonably accurate within the context of what it was designed to do.

I have a 4yr old Keithley 2002 (LED display) purchased new and a much older FLuke 8050 (LCD display) which both work fine. The Keithley is one of the flagships of lab grade DMM's and has a price to match, I was lucky to be able to get it.

I also have a variety of cheap, expendable meters which are much less robust electrically than the above 3 and also in most cases are much less accurate. (I never use them for critical measurements of any sort.)
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Last edited by kevinkr; 11th February 2010 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 11th February 2010, 06:52 PM   #5
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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I have a FLuke hand meter - a model 75 - I have had now for close to 30 years. It has been used daily all that time, and while it is shop bound now, it was used in field service for the first half of its life, often tossed in my Jensen toolbox in the cargo hold of an airliner. Display still good, works fine.

I have an old Eico VTVM I built from a kit 50 years ago. I rcently dug it out, I plan to clean it up and put it on the bench just for old times sake. I have no doubt it still works, but a battery was left in it, corroding that area, so the resistance function will need work. But no reason it won;t work another 50 years, though I won;t be here to see it.
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Old 11th February 2010, 07:06 PM   #6
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
I have a 50yr old Simpson 260 multimeter I bought at a hamfest last fall for $10 which with just a little TLC it now works just fine and is reasonably accurate within the context of what it was designed to do.
I still have mine from my ham radio days (late 1960s). Black bakelite, taut band meter, scale reflector. I rarely break it out anymore, but it's fun to look at when I do.
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Old 11th February 2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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I have a crappy old no name meter i have had for 20+ years now! still works perfect.
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Old 11th February 2010, 07:39 PM   #8
Spiny is offline Spiny  United Kingdom
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A small 25 year old sanwa pocket meter bought in Japan , still going strong. Meters seem to last until physically damaged or badly overloaded (voltage or current) by accident.
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Old 11th February 2010, 11:11 PM   #9
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Don't know how old my Fluke 73 is, but I bought it new when they first came out. It gets used weekly if not daily. Display still good, calibration has never drifted and I doubt it's used more than 3-4 batteries in it's entire life. A "friend" sheared off the plastic pin that stops the knob so I installed a little metal pin. That was probably a decade or so ago.

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Old 11th February 2010, 11:22 PM   #10
jlsem is offline jlsem  United States
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I still love using my Simpson 269. Don't know how old it is, but man, it's sweet.

John
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