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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 08-12-2011
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Multimeter suggestions?

Hi. I'm looking to buy a digital auto-ranging multimeter to have as part of my onboard toolkit. Am looking to find mfg and models that folks have had good experience with.

The Small Extech units like the MN36 have caught my eye. Any advice is appreciated
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Old 08-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScarberiaSailor View Post
Hi. I'm looking to buy a digital auto-ranging multimeter to have as part of my onboard toolkit. Am looking to find mfg and models that folks have had good experience with.

The Small Extech units like the MN36 have caught my eye. Any advice is appreciated

Any cheap meter will work, I have many, but if you want one that will do many useful things on a boat they get expensive. I owned an Extech that was supposed to capture DC in-rush currents and did not, despite a faster published capture rate than Fluke. After many discussions with Extech they took the meter back. I replaced my older Fluke wth the newer 376 and have never owned a finer meter for marine applications. Not cheap though.

Personally I feel you either go cheap, $10-$30.00 or go good... I also own a Mastech clamp meter and it is very quirky.

If you're looking for the utmost in accuracy you won't generally find it in low end meter but you really don't need it for "general" work..

Here's a few of my "cheapies" all monitoring the same battery...
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Old 08-12-2011
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Within the cheap units price range there are some more complete than others...


For instance, I have a 15€ multimeter that features a thermocouple position and came with a thin wire thermocouple. Very useful to check engine temperatures and stuff like that.

Mine if from a brand called UNI-T, just like this:



My advice would br for you to go for a unit bought from a reputable electronic supplies store. Even the cheapest units sold there are often much better than more expensive ones sold at the discount bins of DIY stores etc...

IMHO another useful feature is a high current (10A) current measuring loop. Some of the cheaper units only feature 250mA loops...

Have fun!
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Old 08-12-2011
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Fluke, by far.

The older used Flukes are more accurate/reliable than the newer junk...

All the best
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Old 08-12-2011
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I've never regretted a penny spent on good test equipment. I have a Fluke 12 (no longer made) that lives aboard and I use in my lab. I carry a Fluke 117 in my work bag.
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Old 08-12-2011
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If you want to go on the cheap side, Sailor Solutions has this one, which I have. Haven't used it extensively, but it has done what I needed.
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Old 08-12-2011
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My next one will include a clip on facility to measure at least 50 amps. On a boat troubleshooting alternator output is a common task.

Cuurently I have a cheap Maplin £6 one that covers all the usual ranges up to 10 amps and a clip on DC only unit that is at least 40 years old.
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Old 08-12-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kd3pc View Post
Fluke, by far.

The older used Flukes are more accurate/reliable than the newer junk...

All the best
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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
I've never regretted a penny spent on good test equipment. I have a Fluke 12 (no longer made) that lives aboard and I use in my lab. I carry a Fluke 117 in my work bag.
Fluke fan here too.
I use a T5-1000 at work, and at home. It doesn't do frequency or capacitance, but it's great for AC amps, voltage, and resistance. Small, has a beeper, and light on it, as well as the display.

(post 9/10)
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Old 08-19-2011
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Belated thanks to all for advice
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Old 08-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pedcab View Post
My advice would br for you to go for a unit bought from a reputable electronic supplies store. Even the cheapest units sold there are often much better than more expensive ones sold at the discount bins of DIY stores etc...
I'd suggest getting one from a car (auto) store, the ranges are more likely to be useful on a boat. Flukes are great, I have two at home, but there is no way I'd take one on the boat.
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