Best Multimeter - SailNet Community
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 12-29-2009 Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
davidpm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Madison
Posts: 3,953
Thanks: 235
Thanked 61 Times in 52 Posts
Rep Power: 8
 
Best Multimeter

Do to post Xmas blues I'm thinking of treating myself to a new multimeter. I have had cheap ones and most anything will measure voltage it seems. I would be willing if it is worthwhile to move up a step. I'm not sure I want to spend $900 for a scientific quality fluke but maybe about $200 unless you want to convince me otherwise. I like tools and am willing to pay for good tools if they serve a purpose.

This unit was recommended: Clamp Meter MS2108 Inrush Reading

It seems like anything can measure voltage but in-rush amps with a clamp on is where the features start to add up.

What would you recommend.
davidpm is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,006
Thanks: 5
Thanked 18 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 12
     
I like the cheap ones the most because I tend to misplace them, or destroy them, so I like meters I can replace easily and inexpensively, that pretty much narrows it down to radio shack.

The next step up for me is the radio shack meter that has a serial port on it, I like that one because you can easily hook it up to something you want to measure and hook it to a computer so you can use it as a kind of data logger. Nice when you want to do something like measure the voltage over a period of time and see a graph of it, or put the data into a spreadsheet.

Measuring amperage I do in different ways, the less sophisticated way is with a clamp meter I have that plugs into the probe ports on any multimeter and basically gives a voltage reading that tells you how many amps are going through the cable you clamped on to. I usually do that first so I can make sure I am not going to destroy a more precise meter with too much amperage.

I don't have any expensive multimeters, I destroy them too often to spend money on one. I do love my scope, however.

What are you pretending not to know ?

Please support my
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
wind_magic is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Courtney the Dancer
 
jrd22's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: San Juan Islands., WA, USA
Posts: 3,885
Thanks: 4
Thanked 22 Times in 21 Posts
Rep Power: 15
 
Never heard of Mastech, price looks pretty good. I just use a $25 Sears special, figured it would be a throw away but it's actually a lot tougher than I thought it would be.

John
SV Laurie Anne

1988 Brewer 40 Pilothouse

jrd22 is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Just another Moderator
 
Faster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 16,518
Thanks: 104
Thanked 309 Times in 299 Posts
Rep Power: 10
     
For the types of measurements generally needed to troubleshoot a 12 v system on a boat I think even the "cheap" meters will do. For industrial use we insist on at least a 20Kohm/volt rating, and that generally puts you into the $200 and up range.

My students buy a Fluke 179, around $300 or so... but lately most of them are finding them cheaper on Ebay and Craigslists.

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Faster is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #5 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Senior Member
 
mitiempo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Victoria B.C. Canada
Posts: 7,485
Thanks: 0
Thanked 94 Times in 85 Posts
Rep Power: 8
   
I have a Blue Seas clampmeter shown below Mini Clamp Multimeter - Blue Sea Systems
as well as a cheap digital I bought from Radio Shack years ago. The cheap one is good when I'm crawling into a tight bilge on someone's boat and not much of a loss if it gets banged about. I like the Blue Seas meter and it lists for 199 but you could get it for less.
Attached Thumbnails
8110s.jpg  

Brian
Living aboard in Victoria Harbour
mitiempo is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #6 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Senior Member
 
tager's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 991
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 7
 
I would either go for the fluke or the $30 special. Anything in between is a waste of money.
tager is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #7 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Member
 
CarelessNavigator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grande Prairie, Alberta
Posts: 64
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
I just bought a fluke from ebay a few months back. I got a fantastic deal too, the meter was in new condition for a great price.

Before I bought anything I researched like crazy (for about three months) for the features I wanted in a multimeter then I looked all over for the best deal which happened to be ebay.

UEI is supposed to be a good meter but not good as fluke.
CarelessNavigator is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #8 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Arlington, VA
Posts: 1,853
Thanks: 0
Thanked 11 Times in 9 Posts
Rep Power: 10
   
David,

Mastech is a Chinese electronics manufacturer. They turn out some pretty good stuff. I have had their 20A 0-50VDC power supply (HY5020E) for two years, and find it very well made. Based on this, I would expect their other products to be pretty good, too.

The meter you're looking at has some very desirable features, which many less expensive meters don't. Among these are: In-rush Current measurement and Clamp-on Frequency measurement -- both are very useful for working around generators, electric motors, etc.

I have top-of-the line Fluke meters (Fluke 189 and Fluke 337), but the Mastech meters at about half the price of the Flukes would probably be good values for medium-duty service.

For really cheap multimeters, I prefer the Velleman....can be had for under $20. Handsome, rugged, functional. I open them up, adjust them to read in the 12V range exactly the values measured by my Fluke 189, and give them to my clients! Every boat should have an accurate multimeter aboard :-)

Bill

Last edited by btrayfors; 12-29-2009 at 08:13 AM.
btrayfors is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #9 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Learning the HARD way...
 
eherlihy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Boston / Ft Myers Area
Posts: 3,995
Thanks: 157
Thanked 99 Times in 96 Posts
Rep Power: 9
 
I have an Extech EX830 Clamp Multimeter


It measures: AC/DC Current,
AC/DC Voltage,
Resistance,
Frequency,
Capacitance,
Temperature with an Infrared probe
Diode and Continuity test
Peak function captures inrush currents and voltage transients
True RMS Current and Voltage measurements

I got it on Fleaybay for about $120


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

USCG Licensed OUPV Captain, ASA 101/103/104/105/106/118 Certified Instructor - Also certified in Recreational Marine Electrical Systems
eherlihy is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #10 of 15 Old 12-29-2009
Senior Member
 
Maine Sail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 5,826
Thanks: 18
Thanked 213 Times in 162 Posts
Rep Power: 16
       
David,

I own the Mastech 2108 and discovered that it is not as accurate or fast for measuring DC in-rush as I would prefer. For all other features it is spot on and a great value. When I bough this it was to replace a Fluke that I had loaned to my dad for over a year. The day I got it back I dropped it out of my pocket from the dinghy and into the water. Ouch!!!! Should have left it with my dad a little longer..

The Fluke 337 will accurately measure DC in-rush but the Mastech 2108 is not as fast. It works ok for AC in-rush but I do not believe it captures peaks as well as my old Fluke did for DC in-rush.

I do plan to buy another Fluke but have not been in a huge rush for these very short duration peaks as they have not been a huge priority recently. The Mastech has proven to be a decent meter though. For the price, the 2108 is an good value and a surprisingly durable meter. My only complaint other than the DC in-rush (does AC in-rush fine) is the size of the display numbers, too small..

I believe Extech makes a clamp that will do DC inrush that is as fast as the Fluke so you may want to check them out as well. I also own a UEI meter, though not clamp, and that meter has been beat on for years and years and still keeps ticking...

If you find a good deal on a Fluke 337 let me know, I need a new one. I still recommend the 2108, with the DC in-rush caveat and the small display peeve..

If I had to do it again though, for an in-expensive DC clamp, I might try the Extech EX 830 1000A AC/DC clamp, it has a built in infrared thermometer and will capture DC peaks greater than 1ms in duration (about $210.00) or the EX-730 which is an 800A AC/DC clamp that also captures DC peaks greater than 1ms and costs about $160.00.

Edited: I see Ed beat me to the EX-830 recommendation...

______
-Maine Sail / CS-36T


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.




Images In Posts Property of Compass Marine Inc.



Last edited by Maine Sail; 12-29-2009 at 09:41 AM.
Maine Sail is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.


User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Troubleshooting Raymarine ST-60 speed Quickstep192 General Discussion (sailing related) 2 11-22-2009 01:10 PM
Determining wire polarity Snboard976 Gear & Maintenance 11 10-02-2009 10:29 AM
Troubleshooting Your Electrical System Tom Wood Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 06-23-2003 08:00 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome