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Re: [Shop-talk] Need a new multimeter

To: Wayne <>
Subject: Re: [Shop-talk] Need a new multimeter
From: Dave C <>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2012 22:20:47 -0700
References: <> <>
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I bought a Simpson 260 years and years ago when I was still working in 
the trades and it was the go-to meter of the day.  I still have it but 
haven't taken it down off the shelf for ages.  If I had a dedicated 
electronics bench I would probably keep it set up just because it's so 
cool, but I haven't done any real electronics work in decades, and the 
260 is really too delicate to be banging around the shop.  What I do 
have is  four of five of the little red Harbor Freight meters scattered 
all around the shop,  garage and work so one is always handy for 
troubleshooting.  I even put a two pin SAE connector on once to take on 
my motorcycle to monitor voltage while using various electronic 
accessories while riding.  I remember once I took three or four of them 
to work and compared them against a good Fluke and they were more or 
less spot on on a number of voltage and resistance readings.

For checking continuity in motors and control wiring, like a lot of you, 
I prefer an analog meter.  For years I used a cheap Radio Shack model, 
but this year it finally bit the dust and I got this to replace it:
So far it's been fine.

(And of course, about ten or so years ago I also bought an old-school 
black analog clamp on Amprobe, because they are really cool, too.  Don't 
need batteries, either.)

On 10/30/2012 8:29 PM, Wayne wrote:
> On 10/30/2012 9:39 PM, Scott wrote:
>> I suspect my multimeter isn't 100%. The continuity test won't always
>> [snip]
>> So who likes their meter and what kind do you have? I'd like to be using
>> this thing tomorrow, so ideally I can get a decent one from Radio Shack,
>> Ace, etc., but if I really want a whatever I can only get online, I can
> If you need one ASAP, Harbor Freight has a little "CenTech" DVM that 
> sells for anywhere from free (literally, on sale with coupon)) to $10. 
> I have three of them. They're so cheap, I keep two @ work in different 
> locations so I don't have to bother carrying them around, and another 
> at home. All have been reliable for 5+ years. They're not 
> auto-ranging, but they do the job.
> But... I've been an electronics geek for 30+ years since I was a kid, 
> and wanted something nicer. Specifically, one with capacitance 
> measurement for HVAC and motor start/run caps. Fluke is THE name in 
> meters; after using a friend's, decided I needed one too. Kinda like 
> Snap-On tools -- sure, Sears will loosen your bolts most the time but 
> the S.O. just feels better doing it. Same with Fluke.
> Decided on either a Fluke 116 (HVAC tech's) or 117 (electrician's.) 
> Either is about $165 on Amazon. I went cheap, and after two weeks 
> watching Ebay, scored a used very clean 117 for only $70. Lots of nice 
> bells & whistles:  capacitance range, frequency reading on the AC & DC 
> voltage ranges, manual or auto-ranging, simulated analog bar-graph 
> display on the LCD, remote "point in the general direction" hot wire 
> detection, etc. And it feels solid as hell using it  :)
> -Wayne
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