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Good fluke meter runs around $300

  1. Apr 10, 2009 #1
    well im going into the electrical field and was wondering if the "hype" on multimeters is true. i am currently in the automotive field electrical class and my teacher only recommends a fluke meter. he is so certain its the best to go with he swears on it. i dont know much about the quality behind these devices. i could only imagine that it was built to do what it is supposed to do which is read ohms, volts, current, and other test like diodes and continuity. i have been looking around for some low priced multimeters, a good fluke meter runs around $300 and up us dollars. well on a tight budget i bought a sears crafts man for $80. the way this is advertised is that it can do way more which it can than a fluke meter. it has a built in "laser" beam temperature infared sensor, and does some other stuff i cant remeber right now. i thought i was getting a great bargin. only to see that when we used them in class and on tests, they were close but not as exact as the fluke meters. it got me by fine but the teacher always discriminated it for what it was. he said they are cheap and dont put out precise reading. they are off by a little but i dont think it is all that big of a problem. what do you guys think?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2009 #2
    Re: multimeters

    Flukes are indeed high quality multimeter. They may be more accurate to 0.01 volts or 0.01 ohm, but for automotive work you don't need such an accuracy. They are also more rugged, and will last longer than a typical multimeter. You will definitely do fine with your sears multimeter.
     
  4. Apr 10, 2009 #3

    mgb_phys

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    Re: multimeters

    The other thing to be careful of on cheap DMMs is the current scale. They might have a 10-20A reading but have leads which would melt in a few seconds at these currents.
     
  5. Apr 10, 2009 #4

    turbo

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    Re: multimeters

    When you pay $$$ for a Fluke, you are paying for accuracy and rugged build. For a while I was buying, rebuilding, and reselling tube-driven guitar amps, and rebuilding and repairing them for other musicians. I could have justified the price of a Fluke, perhaps, because that part-time pursuit was a money-maker. Instead, I bought an Extech 22-816 True RMS meter from Radio Shack. It is a very versatile meter with a large easy-to-read LCD display.

    Those who work on old tube-driven amps know that Fender, Marshall, etc did not always build to spec. This was especially true in the case of Leo Fender - when he ran out of parts of a certain value, he often kept the production line running by substituting components of similar values until he could get more parts. For this work, I really didn't need Fluke accuracy and the package of features of the Extech (including diode, capacitance, temperature, etc) was handy when troubleshooting old amps.
     
  6. Apr 10, 2009 #5
    Re: multimeters

    yea i figured i dodnt need precise reading just because its cars. they do seem to be well built and offer plenty of accesories like an amp clamp for high amp reading and other stuff.
     
  7. Apr 10, 2009 #6
    Re: multimeters

    FYI, you can get a decent fluke off ebay for ~$100.
     
  8. Apr 10, 2009 #7

    f95toli

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    Re: multimeters

    I agree with the latter, but not necessarily the former. Just about any hand-held modern multimeter will be "accurate enough" for most applications and in applications where it is not you are not going to use a hand-held multimeter anyway. The main problem with cheaper multimeters tend to be the probes which are often of bad quality, any problems are actually often due to them rather then the circuitry in the multimeter itself.
    Also, note that it is almost impossible to e.g. measure with 0.1 ohms accuracy using a handheld multimeter (you usually need a 4-point measurement for that kind of accuracy), so specs like that are not really important.

    That the multimeter is rugged, has a good display etc is in my view more important than any of the electrical specs..

    I use a few Fluke handheld multimeters at work (and quite a few cheaper instruments as well) and they are definitely nice instruments for simpler measurements where a handheld instrument is needed, but I would never spend my own money on one.
     
  9. Apr 10, 2009 #8

    russ_watters

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    Re: multimeters

    One feature you'll want to be clear on whether you need is true rms readings (ie, if your waveform isn't perfect). That adds about $100 to a multimeter.
     
  10. Apr 10, 2009 #9

    dlgoff

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    Re: multimeters

    Well yes. A Fluke is the way to go, and I have one. But sometimes my old faithfull Simpson 260 analog meter can't be beat.
     
  11. Apr 10, 2009 #10

    Averagesupernova

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    Re: multimeters

    Sometimes there are times when you WANT the meter to slightly load the circuit. Although I can't think of one off the top of my head, I've tossed the digital aside and grabbed a cheap Radio Shack VOM instead.
     
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