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Old 28th July 2012, 08:51 PM   #1
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Default Cheap DMM that does L and C?

Cheap DMM that does L and C?
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Old 28th July 2012, 09:01 PM   #2
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Cheapest LCR meters I can think of are over $50. Not sure what you want for "cheap" but check around for LCR meters specifically if you need inductance and capacitance. Most DMMs don't do inductance in my experience
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Old 29th July 2012, 01:08 AM   #3
RNMarsh is offline RNMarsh  United States
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WaveTek makes a low-end DMM which measures L and C. One used to be the model DM27XT.

If you cant find DMM with L and C.. some cheaper ones without DMM function might be from ESCORT LCR meter or B&K Precision.
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Old 29th July 2012, 01:16 AM   #4
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For measuring L, its not just the value but the losses over frequency which are important. A cheap DMM will, if it measures L at all (I've never seen one that does) only measure at a single frequency and not measure loss (or Q).

Worth investing in a decent 4-wire LCR bridge IME.
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Old 29th July 2012, 01:26 AM   #5
DUG is online now DUG  Canada
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Another method:

Signal generator, Oscilloscope, a few reference values, and some mathematics.
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Old 29th July 2012, 03:57 AM   #6
gootee is offline gootee  United States
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The cheapest (but not actually cheap) somewhat-decent LCR meter that I've seen (as of a year or so ago), which is not a multimeter, is the Tonghui TH2821A. It has a four-wire probe setup and measures L, C, R, and Z, and measures Q for L, C, and R, and DF for C. Frequency is selectable from 100, 120, 1000, and 10000 Hz. It auto-calibrates by asking you to short and open the test clips. Check ebay.com .

Or, you could make or buy a bridge.
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Old 29th July 2012, 09:44 AM   #7
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I have the next model up from that one from Tonghui - the only difference is the test frequency goes up to 100kHz I think. Not by any means cheap, but I've found mine invaluable.
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Old 29th July 2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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Default PIC options?

New L/C Inductance Capacitance Multimeter Meter LC200A Tool | eBay

L/C/F Inductance Capacitance High Precision Meter LC-100S New | eBay
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Old 30th July 2012, 02:24 PM   #9
macboy is offline macboy  Canada
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The two that dudaindc refers to can be built if you are into PIC microcontrollers; just google "PIC microcontroller LC meter", and you will find several similar projects. The accuracy ultimately depends on the accuracy of a precision capacitor that is used as part of the measurement (so probably no better than 1%).

You can buy even cheaper meters on eBay, don't search for DMM, search for "LCR meter". You can get a handheld model as cheap as < $20 US. Carefully consider the measurement range vs. your needs, the accuracy or lack thereof, and the measurement frequency. If you will use your inductors at 100 kHz, there is little point in measuring them at 100 Hz (which happens to be the frequency that many of the cheap ones use).
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Old 30th July 2012, 08:29 PM   #10
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This does not look very bad or too expensive.

U1733C 100Hz/120Hz/1kHz/10kHz/100kHz Handheld LCR Meter | Agilent
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