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YC 1

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Posted: 02/10/18 07:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you are a weekend troubleshooter I would pass on the AC clamp on meter. A DC clamp on meter is going to be used more often.

A Fluke multimeter is fantastic. You can get a clamp on DC meter that has the voltmeter functions built in. I keep mine hanging on a nail with the probes dangling so I can take measurements on things on my work bench.

So one meter does it all.

Keep a cheap "analog" meter too. One that has a needle swing that is. You can get fooled by a digital meter so cross referencing with the cheapie unit will help sometimes.


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Sam Spade

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Posted: 02/10/18 07:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

gbopp wrote:

james144 wrote:

Can not rely on Chinese things

Are you saying Harbor Freight does not sell quality tools like they claim? [emoticon]


That depends on your definition of "quality".

For occasional routine work, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to spend a lot of money on a multi-meter.

The little red ones from HF are more than adequate. I've had several over recent years and none has failed yet. But if one does fail, it can be replaced for $10; sometimes free with coupon.


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boogie_4wheel

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Posted: 02/10/18 08:30am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Take a look at Extech... They are on the same level as Fluke in my opinion.

I personally have the Extech EX730. This is a meter that will do the 'normal' stuff, plus has a built in clamp that will read up to 800A AC or DC. It will record peak values (perfect for measuring inrush current). It also has a probe for measuring temperature (if you so desire). Back-lit display. Little soft belt-clip carrying case.

I've had that meter for about 11yrs now. I packed that meter all over the US on commissioning jobs in the mining industry (Electrical & Control Systems Engineer). I used it for motor testing, on UPS battery banks, simple troubleshooting, ect. A great product in my opinion. The only downside (on this meter anyway) is that it must be manually switched from AC to read DC, but that holds true with most meters anyway.

Found my model on Amazon for $131.

Take a look at their other meters as well. They have numerous multi-function units with built in clamps, as well as separate clamps. Find whatever you think would work best for you.

I'm not knocking Fluke, I have two on my work truck (787 and 175), and have had my hands on everything from the simple T5 to 744 calibrator to 123 scope meters. I just glanced at the Fluke website, a similarly optioned 325 is about $260, and a similar priced 362 doesn't have the same abilities (but you may find it good enough). I'm sure there are other models out there, so don't hold me to just those...


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Matt_Colie

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Posted: 02/10/18 08:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Before we get very far, there is a very simple answer:
Fluke 323 ~ 110$us Will not measure DC with the clamp
Fluke 325 ~ 280$us Will measure DC with the clamp

It is possible to do a DC clamp current measurement (DUH) but it is and has always been expensive to do with any precision.

The number of times any normal RVer will need it in any lifetime does not justify the cost.

Matt - has an original 77s, an 87 and a Bell/Fluke current probe all purchased when they were deductible.


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Posted: 02/10/18 09:09am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been a professional electrician for 25 years. I've used Micronta (Radio Shack), Greenlee, AmpProbe, Ideal, Kelein, Southwire, and Fluke. Fluke is by far the best. Most accurate, easiest to use, quickest response, etc.
There are DC clamp amp meters but not all clamps measure DC, you have to look at the specs carefully. Right now, for a decent DC amp clamp Lowes sells a Southwire brand for about $100. A few guys I work with have them and seem to like them.

DrewE

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Posted: 02/10/18 09:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Flukes are good, but as others have said they aren't the only decent multimeters, and they're rather proud of them oftentimes.

I have a Fluke 73 series II that I got somewhere around a quarter century ago. It still works well and is plenty accurate (so far as I can tell). One nice feature it has, and I assume the newer Flukes also do, is that it can withstand up to 300V applied when measuring resistance, while many lesser meters will let out the magic smoke long before then. I inadvertently tested this once, and it behaved exactly as advertised.





sneakygroundbuzzard

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Posted: 02/10/18 09:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

as an auto tech for most of my adult life i sued a multi meter on a daily basis

i have a blue point meter(the lower end snap on brand but still high quality with out the bigger price tag)

i worked with guys who used the snap on name brand and fluke name brand meters

there are no differences between theirs and mine,they all looked the same and had all the same functions and all worked equally well,mine just wasnt expensive.

mine also came with more leads and probes than theirs did.

it has a really nice dc inductive amp lead,used it many times and it works well to this day(my meter is about 20 years old)

you do get what you pay for,especially when it comes to anything electronic

if its something you are going to use every day to make a living with,then i have no issues with buying the high end stuff. but if its something you are only going to use a few times a year then i dont see a need to spend that kind of money when there are less expensive versions that will work for the occaisonal user.

just like SNAP ON tools vs CRAFTSMAN tools.
yes they will both get the job done,but if your going to be using them every day and using them hard to make a living,then paying more for something that wont need to be replaced is well worth it.

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Posted: 02/10/18 09:52am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Open up a Fluke DMM and look at the circuit board. Then compare it to the bargain basement chew & spit meters. Verify accuracy of a clamp-on by taking direct millivolt readings across a Manganin shunt. A clamp on that measures and holds AC inrush is useful.

Sam Spade

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Posted: 02/10/18 10:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Matt_Colie wrote:


The number of times any normal RVer will need it in any lifetime does not justify the cost.


How true. But that applies to a LOT of things that RV "enthusiasts" seem to think they HAVE TO HAVE. [emoticon]

I can buy 20 of the little $10 meters before the cost adds up to what a high end Fluke will cost. And the $200 ones break if you drop them too.

To each his own; sometimes logic and reason doesn't win out.

Dick_B

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Posted: 02/10/18 10:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I also like one that measures continuity and has a loud enough beep that even I can hear it.


Dick_B
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