Multimeter recommendations?

This old topic is closed. If you want to reopen this topic, contact a moderator using the "Report Post" button.
Hi folks,

I'm requesting some advice.
After 15 years of no DIY work, I'm back to the trenches. All my equipment is 20 years old so I'll need some updates. The oscilloscope (Hitachi 40 Mhz doble trace) will have to do for now, but my Fluke 77 is in bad shape. I'm looking for a portable with inductance/ capacitance capabilities.
Any suggestions?
Tks ,

I'd kill for one of those Fluke Scopemeters, but they're just TOO pricy :( I'm using a Uni-T model 55 digital multimeter right now... it does both DC & AC current and tension up to 20A, resistance up to 100MOhms (!!!!), frequency up to 20khz, capacitance up to 20uF and also temperature, transistor gain and diode testing. There was a model arround that also did inductance and some other nifty things :) Got it for $50 before the dollar started skyrocketting here and been very happy with it.
I like the Fluke Model 111. This is a 3-1/2 digit true (whatever that means) RMS meter with capacitance and frequency measurements. It's pretty accurate on the cap measurements. I compared it against my SRC LRC bridge meter on a couple of different caps and the Flukes readings were within 0.5%. Nice size too, I can hold it in one hand comfortably. My old Fluke 8020B was just a little too wide for comfort (was just about indestructable though, still working fine when I gave it away after 20 years of troublefree service).

P.S. Take a look at the Pomona Model 6469 SMD Microtip Test Probe Set. These have spring-loaded pogo-pin tips that don't slip off the component leads when you look away. The tips are like tiny tridents and bite slightly into the metal. Way cool, you can wiggle the probe around and the tip doesn't slip. A set of leads cost less than $20 and the tips are replacable.

Pomona also makes scope probes with the same spring loaded tips that are great for making measurements on tight pitched components. I am using some 0.5mm pitch components on my new designs and the probes that came with my Tek scope aren't worth beans for that.

Golden Oldie

Hi Ricren, I've had a Fluke 77 since they came out, and I have used other meters including Fluke 87 and Jap/Taiwan types.

For L/C/F measurements the cheap asian ones are fine, but nothing has the fast capture / stable display characteristics and ergonomics of the 77 that make these a joy to use in repetetive and servicing useage.
I do not know the sampling characteristics of the more recent models, but they look tempting.
I would fix the 77 anyway, and decide on an extra meter for L/C/F testing.

Regards, Eric.
Fluke 77 is fine. Used it at work, no complaints.
My own instrument was a Fluke 85 before i killed to get hand s on a Fluke 123 :) (i did, Lisandro_p :) ).
Best choice i could do, it is my most used instrument. Eventually i use my analogue scope, eventually i use a Metrawatt Unigor 6eP analog multimeter if i need an instument with a needle :) and if i have to measure more parameters at once, i have 3 old Siemens Multizet i bought surplus fr a few bucks.
The Fluke 123 can be bougth with an optical/RC232 interface to shovel data t the PC. Strongly recommeded, this option.
Ahhh Flukes... bench equipment characteristics on a hand sized tool. I dream with those. It will be mine someday....

BTW, no one uses analogic multimeters anymore? I use my dad's regularly, whenever i have to measure something that won't stay still (unfliltered ac, a transient, etc). Digitals are great and very accurate, but most of them aren't fast.
i want a Fluke 123 too

damn you dice45, damn you to hell for brandishing your slick scope-meter around here when most of us are stuck with Radio Shacks and "cheap" Flukes. you suck...

green w/envy,

p.s. i'm actually in the market for a Fluke 177 right now. it has all the features/precision i need and is reasonably priced ($180 new, been looking on eBay for a cheaper used one).
I've always stuck to Flukes, I once had a cheap digital but in those days they often gave weird readings on anything other than power frequencies and sine waves. I suspect that things have got better in the cheap end of the market over the last 20 years.
I spent 5 years teaching, late 80s early 90s, the training department had Beckmans. The Beckmans seemed to give good and accurate results but would die if abused. I replaced the Beckmans with Flukes and never had an ounce of trouble.
I currently use Fluke 97Scopemeter, 2x87, 6080A, 23, 12. The 6080A is over 20 years old and was recently sent in for calibration, come back with a clean bill of health, it passed without adjustment!
I would not be without an analogue meter, I use them for measuring audio signals other than stable sine waves. I use AVO model 8 and Philips PM2504, damn fine machinery.
An analogue CRO, (oscilloscope) is also invaluable at times but its rarely needed.
Regards WALKER
AudioFreak, don't be suduced by high count displays, they're rarely stable or accurate unless you pay the big bucks.
The problem with buying a multimeter on specs is that you can’t tell how long they will stay in calibration and more importantly how good the ADC and input filer is. Cheaper meters often run out of accuracy at a couple of hundred hertz and perform abysmally on waveforms other than sine waves.
Sorry but I can't recommend a cheap brand of meter, I stopped using cheap meters years ago.
Regards WALKER
AudioFreak, sorry I think I finally got the message. I don't know of a one meter that does everything you wan't well.
I have a digital LRC bridge for reactive components but often measure the reactive voltage or current values in situ and calculate the capacitance or inductance.
Apart from that you probably noticed my Fluke bias, having said that any well knlow quality brand gear should do fine.
Make sure you check the frequency limits of the equipment both high and low and remember that the limit is usually the -3dB point so it should be well above or below the frequences needed.
Regards WALKER
At the research laboratory that I work in we have several types of multimeters. But, there is no question about it, the couple of Flukes that we have are relied upon when undisputed accuracy is required. The other types of multimeters are resting on our shelf, while the Flukes are practically being fought over.

I recently pulled some old meters out of the salvage pile. They are the duarable little boxes that are from the pre-war science era. Manufactured by Weston Electrical Instrument Corp. back before plastic was invented. I've given them different amounts of voltages and currents, and they work perfectly. They are quite accurate and have a fast response. Boy, do they look good sitting on the workbench.

But, when I need to measure mundane things such as resistance and such I rely on my own Fluke 77.

Any suggestions on a really good 10,000+ count digital multimeter for lab work??? Benchtop or portable, Voltage, Current, Resistance, Capacitance, Inductance. PC uplink preferable.
The only high quality DVM I know that does everything You`ve asked for (and more) unless the inductance, is a Philips (Fluke) PM2525.
special features (besides the usual auto-ranging Volt, current): TRMS up to 100kHz; AC+DC volts; V peak either positive, negative or peak-to-peak; 4-wire resistance measurement; 20nF to 2000 uF full-scale; wide-range dB function + zero set function + db-reference set function; frequency to 20 Mhz; time 1 to 10^5 seconds full scale; temperature (with optional probe); diode check function; continuity with beep function; analog bargraph display; selectable high/low resolution modes; IEEE 488 - RS232 - IEC-625 interface options.
I doubt that there is a high quality meter that has a similar amount of features (or includes the inductance function).
The PM2525 is out of production so far I know but can be bought used for "reasonable" price (about $200).

Thanks for the input- now LRC?


First at all, thanks a lot for taking valuable time to answer my question.

After receiving such a strong endorsment for the old 77 from Eric and Bernhard, I did some repairing work on it and is now working . This unit survived a drop from a two story building and a lot of abuse since it was bought in 1979. Still works great.

Other: I did some serching at the Fluke site and they offer some interesting new models like the one Dorkus pointed, the 177. But from the specs I understand that the capacitance test range is restricted from 1 nf to several MF. Also, four digits would be great. The 189 have a range of .001 to several MF,but they are expensive.

So now that the 77 is alive and noticing that their new cousins are great but expensive, I'll try to buy some device to measure Cs and inductance.. I have some multichannel active crosovers to buid and that means good matching.

So, any suggestion for a decent LCR meter ?-Portable or bench. Not expensive1



PS: Hey Phil, those test probes from Pomona are great!
LCR and stuff

Ricren and all,

of course i use analogue MM. The Geortz/Metrawatt UNIgor i have is a very precise and convincing instrument and it must have cost more than my Fluke 123 when it was new and modern. I would not like to miss it.

THe Fluke 123 i do use for rough capacitance guesstimations, but only if i am too lazy to use my LCR bridge.
For LCR i would not use any digital meter.
I once owned a digital Escort LCR meter, do not remember the model#, sells for about ¤ 260.- , just fine for electrolytics and medium size caps. But i found it was handing out arbitrary results concerning Q/damping, depending on the selected measuring range, with capacitors and arbitrary inductance results, too, not too reproducable, so i sold it. The instrument was not faulty, it was a flawed design. But similar stuff i have experinced more-or-less from any instrument claiming to be an LCR meter.

For LCR measurements, i use a bridge. An ESI 250 DE impedance bridge, to be specific. I bought it form the local surplus dealer for comparatively huge money, ¤ 250.- but it is worth every cent. Incredibly accurate, versatile, reproducable, yes, even neat and handy. Huge measuring range, i get reproducable results in the single pF range as well as in the 100µF range.
It came from military service, those folks can afford to use non-junk only :) .

For capacitor quality investigations below 1.1 µF i use a Rohde & Schwarz dielectric test bridge, measuring the tangens delta (loss factor) at a chosen test frequency.
What i am still searching for: a voltmeter with infinite input impedance. Useful for measuring dielectric absorption. I know where a certain HP instrument is for sale, just cannot afford it currently.
This old topic is closed. If you want to reopen this topic, contact a moderator using the "Report Post" button.