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Old 2nd March 2013, 04:31 PM   #21
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Join Date: Mar 2013
I can answer a few of the questions from the last two posts.

I received my Chinese version of the board (SMT ver 2.2) from eBay.

Most of the questions can be answered directly from the documentation from the revamped project at AVR Transistortester - .

The main repository of information is in subversion, but if you don't have subversion, you can browse it by doing to [transistortester] Index of / .

The manual is at . You'll need to download an archive of the complete directly, but there is a PDF in there once you open it up.

The unpopulated USB section is just for charging capabilities, there is no data transfer on it (you can see the USB data pins are not going anywhere). The diode should be removed and a proper 2.5 Zener put in place.

You can calibrate it without much worry. You just need a couple of small peices of wire (to short out all of the test inputs and a capacitor between 10 and 100 nf . It's all in the documentation.

I'm in the process of loading the latest 1.05 version instead of the 1.02 that came with the unit.
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Old 2nd March 2013, 08:53 PM   #22
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Can such a transistor tester also be used for matching of mosfets ?
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Old 2nd March 2013, 09:33 PM   #23
palmito is offline palmito  United States
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Originally Posted by danny_66 View Post
Can such a transistor tester also be used for matching of mosfets ?
I don't know if this test mosfets, but it test a lot of other things and has a nice gui to plot the curve(s). DIY Curve Tracer for PC I have one but have not used it. He sells either the board alone or a finished product on fleabay, the link is in the thread. Costs a lot more though. Sorry for the ot post but thought some here might be interested in this too.
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Old 19th March 2013, 01:17 PM   #24
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Join Date: Mar 2013
I am about to buy one of these little ebay gadgets since they are so cheap and appear to be great value for money (most of them even have free shipping!).

However there appear to be two main designs:

  1. The ESR Tester design (with two test pins)
  2. The Transistor Tester design (with three test pins)

That leaves me with making a choice between the two variants (with their sub-variations!).

The ESR Testers:
  • Comes with a choice of either screw terminals (A); or my personal favourite: with 4mm banana test sockets (B) - either of which makes it much easier to use for in-circuit ESR testing of Capacitors using probes.
  • These seem to be sturdier in design with struts or bolts holding the screen on (and having the sturdier test terminals as mentioned).
  • These devices all seem to come with a backlit screen which is good.
  • Board labelled: ESR Tester v2 (dated 2012 12 12)
  • Unknown Firmware versions and upgradabilty... is this a similar design to the transistor tester platform?
  • Unable to test transistors (unless the extra test pin is there somewhere, but not wired currently)
  • Complex calibration instructions that make no sense to me....

The Transistor Testers:
  • You can buy these very cheap but with uncertain firmware (C), or pay a few dollars more and get the latest firmware pre-installed! (D).
  • These all come with both a set of SMD terminals & a set of Flimsy IC Sockets. (might be able to hard wire in some probes to the underside if required - which would give me maximum choice of testing methods)
  • These devices no longer have backlit screens.
  • Labelled: "Booster Edition v2.2 2012 11 26"
  • Are definitely from the upgradeble platform linked to with new firmwares and better instructions available (from
  • Likely to be able to improve the hardware quality by following advice from others (see posts above by xciton and kubi48 for ideas)

My ideal device would probably be a combination of the good points from the two platforms:
  • so have SMD, IC & 4mm Sockets all on one board! (Ironically there does appear a few pictures on ebay of such a design with SMD, IC & 4mm sockets, but it looks to be an older design that is much more scrappily made, so not one I'd consider!).
  • It would have the backlit screen.
  • It would be the more sturdy design.
  • Would be upgradable, but already have the latest most accurate firmware installed.
  • Would be able to run all the tests, not just the two pin tests.
  • Would have the support of others to help improve and tweak the hardware over time.
However I am currently torn between buying (B) or (D). There are pros and cons to each.

So does anyone know if the ESR testers are fundamentally the same circuit design platform as the transistor testers, or are they completely different? Can you expose the 3rd pin for the extra tests?

So which would you buy?
ESR Tester with 4mm Sockts (B)


Transistor Tester with latest Firmware (D).
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Old 27th March 2013, 04:39 PM   #25
John8 is offline John8  United Kingdom
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I have built an option D into a small box to give the PCB some protection along with 4mm terminals to make connecting components easier.
The display is a standard 16 x 2 line so it would be easy to change it for one with a backlight if required. Because the unit is battery powered I really think that this is not necessary due to the extra current drain.
If you are really interested in measuring the ESR of capacitors then a dedicated ESR meter is the way to go. I completed an analogue one a few weeks ago and it does give really accurate results as well as being fully protected against being connected to charged capacitors. (These PCBs would probably be destroyed if connected to a capacitor with a residual charge) Another advantage of the stand alone approach is that the test voltage is only milli-volts at 100kHz so measurements can be carried out in circuit without forward biassing any semi-conductors.
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Old 27th March 2013, 11:24 PM   #26
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Default MS5308

Hi, I have just received the MS5308 from ebay for GBP 133, they are on offer at the moment. Very impressed.
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Old 28th March 2013, 03:22 PM   #27
The Dastardly Dad of Three
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I got one of these option D ones and it's absolutely indispensable IMO .... Saved me a truck of cash as well as misidentified parts - maybe a touch of irony I guess but I bid for and bought some dual jfets of eBay - before they went into a pcb, I just tested them on this device and it showed them up as dual npn transistors instead of jfets !!! Some more detailed testing and I was certain I had fakes. A pp complaint was duly logged and two weeks later I got my 70 bucks back form the vendor of the fake transistors. So yeah - best 20 bucks I ever spent.
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Old 28th March 2013, 03:24 PM   #28
The Dastardly Dad of Three
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Also in case you missed it, the PDF manual is in post #10, and the gentleman who posted it is the author who also programmed this device. If you like the device, you have him to thank for it...... Adios
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Old 28th March 2013, 03:26 PM   #29
Telstar is offline Telstar  Italy
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Location: Italy
Originally Posted by kasey197 View Post
bought some dual jfets of eBay - before they went into a pcb, I just tested them on this device and it showed them up as dual npn transistors instead of jfets !!!
Can you PM me the name of the seller? So I avoid getting the same fakes
"The total harmonic distortion is not a measure of the degree of distastefulness to the listener and it is recommended that its use should be discontinued." D. Masa, 1938
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Old 28th March 2013, 04:38 PM   #30
The Dastardly Dad of Three
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Done Telstar ....
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