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Old 03-26-2008, 08:18 PM   #1
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Default multimeters

Ok guys,

So what should I look for in a multimeter?

Is this,

http://www.amazon.com/Corporation-73...573320&sr=8-18

really worth 10 times this?

http://www.amazon.com/Equus-3320-Aut...6573281&sr=1-1
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Old 03-26-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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Radio Shack has a NICE one for 30 bucks. I have it, and it's pretty damn nice. Go check them out, it's the 30 dollar one.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:22 PM   #3
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1 feature that is very nice to have is a beeping continuity testing mode. It makes tracing wires a ton easier so that you don't have to watch the screen for 0 ohm resistance. I think it's a fairly standard feature, but I've seen a couple DMM's that don't beep.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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I'm leaning towards the Equus, the reviews say it's better than the Radio Shack. The auto range thing looks cool, I don't see that feature on other low end MMs.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:52 PM   #5
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The $3 one at HF is great. I have the same thing I paid $10 for and it works just fine.
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:55 PM   #6
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I dunno about really cheap stuff I don't know how accurate it is. If the thing I'm measuring is between 0-1v and the slightest difference could mean my engine could blow up then I would want something at least decent...
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Old 03-26-2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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order stuff from circuitspecialists.com and youll get a free one.

otherwise, what do you want to do with it? I love my fluke 179. has a thermocouple feature.
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:21 AM   #8
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How accurate do you need it to be?
I use a my own Fluke for trouble shooting, but if I need to document a voltage I use an old Triplette, that I can check out from the Tool Room.
Multi meters are nice, but nothing beats a good old test light.
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Old 03-27-2008, 12:29 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trito View Post
I'm leaning towards the Equus, the reviews say it's better than the Radio Shack. The auto range thing looks cool, I don't see that feature on other low end MMs.
30 dollar radio shack one has the auto range and a beep function.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:20 AM   #10
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If your just looking for continuity tests get the cheapest you can get. Now lets say you want to check oxegyn sensors voltages I would get something a little more expensive but not over 30 bucks. Nine times out of ten Im just looking for continuity or 12 volts
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Old 03-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #11
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I have a Fluke knockoff (branded Mastech) that I bought about 10 years ago for $30, and it has always worked fine. I wouldn't buy one that lacked autoranging for ACV, DCV, and Ω since you'll probably use those about 95% of the time. It should also be able to read current up to about 10A- more is better but less common in cheaper meters. I'm ---- when it comes to building stuff so I like to measure & verify each component before soldering it in, so some extra features can be helpful here. Mine will also measure capacitance and check diodes and transistors. You won't use those features as often, but they're nice to have. I also keep cheapo $3 HF meters in the car & truck, and they work fine for basic testing & troubleshooting.
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Old 03-27-2008, 06:37 PM   #12
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The meter I use most often is a Fluke 77-I. Basically, it's almost identical to the first one you posted. I also have a couple of others including a Simpson 360, but the Fluke gets the most use.

With Fluke, you are to a certain extent paying for the name. They're been around since Marconi, and are pretty much the Ferrari of portable test equipment, right up there with Aglient and Tektronix. The Fluke will be somewhat more solidly constructed than most other handheld meters, and has a published calibration procedure, meaning then when you pass it on to your grandson in 50 years it'll still be accurate.

For the average hobbyist, the second one you posted will do just fine. It doesn't have a manual ranging feature, but most folks won't miss that. It does have a continuity beeper- it's the symbol furthest clockwise, at about the 4 o'clock position. It also lacks a capacitance meter, but that's the sort of thing you probably won't need unless you're troubleshooting circuit boards.

All in all, most any digital meter, even the cheap ones that Radioshack sells, will be adequate for the automotive hobbyist. ScottFW pretty much covered the bases- ACV, DCV, Ohms, Continuity, DCA. Those are the functions you need. Autoranging is nice, and I'd make sure to get one with replaceable probes. The ultra-cheap meters use probes that are permanently attached- not only can you not replace them when they break, but having the ability to remove the probe and install a different one (longer, having a captive clip, etc) is nice.
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Old 03-28-2008, 02:00 AM   #13
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I have a Craftsman one, I love it. Either one you buy, a DMM is a great tool.
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