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I am looking at getting a new Digital Multi Meter. Should I get a Fluke? Is it worth the extra money? I saw a Klein that was pretty cheap but didn't know if it was good. If I do a Fluke, which model?

 

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I had looked at one of the kits that includes the amperage loop and a couple of other things but there are options even there. I don't really understand what the differences are. The are 15dB's and 17dB's, etc ????

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What? Did you lose my phone number? LOL

Fluke meters tend to be very solid meters that hold up a long time. Mine is close to 20 years old, and it doesn't miss a beat. Of course, you could get a Simpson meter, and your grandsons could be fighting over who gets it. My brother grabbed my dad's Simpson when my dad passed away. That meter is probably about 60 years old and just periodically needs batteries. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002R6MWL0/

What do you want to measure? 

  • AC Voltage
  • DC Voltage
  • AC Current
  • DC Current
  • Resistance
  • Temperature (via a thermocouple)
  • Capacitance (nice if you need to test the start capacitor on an AC unit for your house)
  • Inductance (Are you curious about whether or not that coil is good?)
  • RPM (nice for tuning and setting idle speed)

The catch is that you can't get all of these features in one meters. The Fluke 115 and 117 are good choices if you don't want temperature measurement. The 116 is the one to get if you want temperature measurement more than current. (Frankly, an inexpensive loop meter for current isn't a bad idea. It can be tricky to use leads to measure current and easy to blow the fuse in the meter if you don't do it right. https://www.amazon.com/Mastech-MS2108A-Current-Multimeter-Frequency/dp/B00KXC8GEW)

For RPM, I bought this cheap meter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002LZU7K

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I've got a Beckman multimeter and a voltcraft for the big amps measurement..  only one thing important, buy something you can rely on..  The FLUKE is like a BECKMAN a very good multimeter.  I've used them many times at work.

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My first meter was a BECKMAN back in the 80's... very reliable.  I gave it to my father a long time ago and he still uses it.  I now have a monster Fluke in the garage that is too much meter.... so I agree with SteveJ's list... they are just right.

 

Fluke make a tiny one that seems useful and inexpensive called the 101.  It would be great for your son or anyone that is a young'n ?

https://www.fluke.com/en-in/product/electrical-testing/digital-multimeters/fluke-101

 

 

image.png ~ $70-$100 new

Edited by 240260280
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12 hours ago, SteveJ said:

What? Did you lose my phone number? LOL

Fluke meters tend to be very solid meters that hold up a long time. Mine is close to 20 years old, and it doesn't miss a beat. Of course, you could get a Simpson meter, and your grandsons could be fighting over who gets it. My brother grabbed my dad's Simpson when my dad passed away. That meter is probably about 60 years old and just periodically needs batteries. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002R6MWL0/

What do you want to measure? 

  • AC Voltage
  • DC Voltage
  • AC Current
  • DC Current
  • Resistance
  • Temperature (via a thermocouple)
  • Capacitance (nice if you need to test the start capacitor on an AC unit for your house)
  • Inductance (Are you curious about whether or not that coil is good?)
  • RPM (nice for tuning and setting idle speed)

The catch is that you can't get all of these features in one meters. The Fluke 115 and 117 are good choices if you don't want temperature measurement. The 116 is the one to get if you want temperature measurement more than current. (Frankly, an inexpensive loop meter for current isn't a bad idea. It can be tricky to use leads to measure current and easy to blow the fuse in the meter if you don't do it right. https://www.amazon.com/Mastech-MS2108A-Current-Multimeter-Frequency/dp/B00KXC8GEW)

For RPM, I bought this cheap meter: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002LZU7K

I was getting ready to ping you actually!

I just thought I would make the discussion public for general benefit and noobs.

These, I believe. It will be my truck meter so I will use it at work as well as in the shop.

AC Voltage

DC Voltage

AC Current

DC Current

Resistance

Capacitance (nice if you need to test the start capacitor on an AC unit for your house)

Inductance (Are you curious about whether or not that coil is good?)

 

I can use my timing gun for RPM

What are the pros and cons of a 115 versus a 117?

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If you are really interested in doing AC current measurements, use a loop tester. Chances are the inexpensive type like what I linked will work fine. Just remember to isolate the wires and only put the current loop around 1 wire, otherwise the fields will cancel out.

The 117 offers non-contact detection. The low impedance features are nice but not must-have. If I was getting a new Fluke, I would be happy with either one.

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11 hours ago, SteveJ said:

interested in doing AC current measurements, use a loop tester.

Also for DC current useable..   ( to look at the starting current… at your starter, around 100-130 amps…)

Edited by dutchzcarguy

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12 hours ago, dutchzcarguy said:

Also for DC current useable..   ( to look at the starting current… at your starter, around 100-130 amps…)

Yes, that's what I use on the battery. Also, the loop tester (also called  a clamp meter) is forgiving about polarity. Testing with meter leads is not.

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I am leaning towards this

https://www.amazon.com/Fluke-323-KIT-Multimeter-Clamp/dp/B00DTSLWRA/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=fluke+117&qid=1575730850&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&sr=8-5

One article spoke about "consistant spurious currents", in what conditions do these currents show up? Is this what I see when measuring a section of a 3 way light switch and there is some lower voltage being indicated even though that leg of the switch is off?

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53 minutes ago, grannyknot said:

"Not intended for electronics" that's kind of limiting isn't it?

I don't really do any circuit board work. Right now I don't see it in my future. I think that is what they are referring to

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Charles, don't stress about it. If you think you'll be doing much in the way of AC current measurement, get the package with the 323. If you think you will be doing DC current measurement, I stand by my earlier recommendations. I have no complaints about my 20 year old Fluke (a pre-116 version of the HVAC meter).

If you are worried about the meter capabilities, then go with the 87V. Here it is with the AC current clamp: https://www.amazon.com/Fluke-FLUKE-87-V-Digital-Multimeter/dp/B004HDUNQ2. Yes, it's pricey, but it's hard to beat the capabilities. 

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2 hours ago, grannyknot said:

"Not intended for electronics" that's kind of limiting isn't it?

I think that comment is simply a reflection of the available ranges for current measurement. Those reviews look to me like they were written by "electricians" who spend their days working on 120-240 AC circuits. House wiring and appliances. They are making a distinction between that type of work, and the "electronics tech" sitting at his workbench troubleshooting a radio. They're implying that the guy working on radios might need something better for measuring low currents in the milliamp or microamp range.

My thought is that even though there are some "really small current" devices on the Z cars, I don't think most people would need a meter to mess with them. Things like fixing a radio, or the clock.

And that other stuff about spurious "ghost" voltages and stuff? Scares me more than it seems like a feature. Best I can tell is they're saying that "ghost voltages" are sources of voltages that have a high source impedance. Goes like this...

Your normal voltmeter draws very little current in order to make it's measurement. In fact, the lower the better. You want to draw very little current, because any current you draw with meter will affect the reading. But they're saying that in "electrician" work, you can run into the situation where you might read a voltage on something (their video measured 4V between H and G on a power strip), but they're saying that if you switch over to their "LoZ" range, it will show you zero volts. The implication is that when you apply a load to that voltage, it drags it down to zero because the source impedance is so high.

Frankly, I'd want to know where the high impedance bleed over is in my circuit that is allowing me to read 4V where I should be reading 0. What's the threshold for ground fault interrupters anyway?

The 117 also has a non-contact voltage alert range, but I'm sure you've already got a pocket sized non-contact indicator you've been using for years and already trust. I'd just stick with that. Personally, I'd always measure it before I go sticking my hand in there, regardless of what a non-contact indicator says.

My bottom line? I don't think there's anything on the 117 that you would need over the 115 unless you want to toss out your old non-contact indicator and want to start taking the 117 to the job site.

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5 hours ago, SteveJ said:

Charles, don't stress about it. If you think you'll be doing much in the way of AC current measurement, get the package with the 323. If you think you will be doing DC current measurement, I stand by my earlier recommendations. I have no complaints about my 20 year old Fluke (a pre-116 version of the HVAC meter).

If you are worried about the meter capabilities, then go with the 87V. Here it is with the AC current clamp: https://www.amazon.com/Fluke-FLUKE-87-V-Digital-Multimeter/dp/B004HDUNQ2. Yes, it's pricey, but it's hard to beat the capabilities. 

My plan is to take my older meter off my truck and make it my shop meter and put the new meter on my truck. It will do mostly AC work with a little DC thrown in there when the truck breaks.

 

4 hours ago, Captain Obvious said:

I think that comment is simply a reflection of the available ranges for current measurement. Those reviews look to me like they were written by "electricians" who spend their days working on 120-240 AC circuits. House wiring and appliances. They are making a distinction between that type of work, and the "electronics tech" sitting at his workbench troubleshooting a radio. They're implying that the guy working on radios might need something better for measuring low currents in the milliamp or microamp range.

My thought is that even though there are some "really small current" devices on the Z cars, I don't think most people would need a meter to mess with them. Things like fixing a radio, or the clock.

And that other stuff about spurious "ghost" voltages and stuff? Scares me more than it seems like a feature. Best I can tell is they're saying that "ghost voltages" are sources of voltages that have a high source impedance. Goes like this...

Your normal voltmeter draws very little current in order to make it's measurement. In fact, the lower the better. You want to draw very little current, because any current you draw with meter will affect the reading. But they're saying that in "electrician" work, you can run into the situation where you might read a voltage on something (their video measured 4V between H and G on a power strip), but they're saying that if you switch over to their "LoZ" range, it will show you zero volts. The implication is that when you apply a load to that voltage, it drags it down to zero because the source impedance is so high.

Frankly, I'd want to know where the high impedance bleed over is in my circuit that is allowing me to read 4V where I should be reading 0. What's the threshold for ground fault interrupters anyway?

The 117 also has a non-contact voltage alert range, but I'm sure you've already got a pocket sized non-contact indicator you've been using for years and already trust. I'd just stick with that. Personally, I'd always measure it before I go sticking my hand in there, regardless of what a non-contact indicator says.

My bottom line? I don't think there's anything on the 117 that you would need over the 115 unless you want to toss out your old non-contact indicator and want to start taking the 117 to the job site.

I do have multiple hand held circuit testers for checking power. My second test after that is the back of my hand ROFLNot recommending this technique of coure

I believe, I have seen voltages like this, mainly on the a 3 way switch. When one traveler is hot the other traveler screw can show a lower voltage like 20 or 25 volts

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