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-   -   Fluke 87 (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/97636-fluke-87-a.html)

davidpm 03-17-2013 09:05 AM

Fluke 87
 
I was browsing in a pawn shop a couple days ago and found a Fluke 87 (True RMS). I've always had the cheap Radio Shack meters but have lusted after the Fluke. The deal was so good I couldn't pass it up.

So now that I've got this fancy new meter what exactly can I do with it I can't do with my basic meters. I've read the booklet, it seems to have many advanced features but I am interested in real live examples of using those advanced features.

SchockT 03-17-2013 06:10 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
I have had a Fluke 87 for many years. Even as a tradesman the vast majority of the time I use it for the basic functions that all multimeters can do; A/C and D/C volts, resistance, and continuity. When I work on motors the Capacitance testing function is handy for checking capacitors, and the Frequency function is useful when I am working on Variable Frequency Drives for motors. I have never delved into the electronics oriented functions because electronics are not my area of expertise.

That meter is a bit overkill for the consumer level, but what you get over the Radio Shack unit is accuracy and durability. I get my meters calibration checked fairly regularly, and the Flukes hardly ever need recalibrating. When it comes to detecting short circuits, the fluke is more likely to detect a high resistance short, where a cheapo meter would just indicate "open circuit" ie no short where there actually is one. When dealing with higher voltages, 600v+ I wouldn't trust a consumer level meter. I have seen a cheapo meter that had a meltdown when used on 600v! (I would hope you wouldn't be playing with that stuff!)

It is an excellent meter that will do everything you need and more. If you take care of it, it will serve you well for the rest of your life!

davidpm 03-17-2013 07:15 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
Well at least when I whip out my fluke someone may think I actually know what I'm doing. :)
The fact that it looks a little worn is a positive on the BS meter.

How do you get them calibrated?

The hi-Resistance issue is a good point.

SchockT 03-17-2013 07:24 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by davidpm (Post 1003889)
Well at least when I whip out my fluke someone may think I actually know what I'm doing. :)
The fact that it looks a little worn is a positive on the BS meter.

How do you get them calibrated?

The hi-Resistance issue is a good point.

My suppliers bring in the Fluke rep with his equipment and they check our meters for us for free. If you want to have yours checked you would probably have to send it to fluke, or go to an instrumentation shop. You probably don't need to unless your readings are way out.

Faster 03-17-2013 08:15 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
For general AC and DC measurements that most of us do I don't think a frequent calibration is likely needed, esp with a Fluke. Shock's fact that the Flukes rarely actually need calibration is good news.

A cheap meter can actually degrade a voltage measurement if they act as a partial short - the advantage of the Flukes is their high ohms/volt internal resistance.

And yes, it will make you look like you know what you're doing ;).. One thing.. if you're experimenting with a good meter like a Fluke you might want to buy a couple of the current cct fuses to have on hand in case you neglect to move the leads to the proper location. I advise my students to buy a couple of each (they're not cheap) and they usually go through them before they figure it out. Also always stow it with the leads plugged into the voltage ports.

At the risk of offending Shock (maybe..?) the only time the fuse on my own Fluke blew was when I loaned it to an electrician....

SchockT 03-17-2013 08:37 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Faster (Post 1003917)
At the risk of offending Shock (maybe..?) the only time the fuse on my own Fluke blew was when I loaned it to an electrician....

No offense taken! I'm not an electrician! I do a lot of controls, single phase and 3 phase motor work in my trade, Refrigeration/HVAC. I am actually astounded at how little some electricians know about controls. I guess if they spend their entire careers pulling wires in houses, that's all they know!

I can truthfully say I have never blown a fuse in a meter! (although I have melted the ends off a couple of probes!)

SolSailor 03-17-2013 08:43 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by davidpm (Post 1003889)
Well at least when I whip out my fluke someone may think I actually know what I'm doing.

David... If you could please refrain from whipping out your fluke in mixed company!

Unless you're talking about anchoring... Then it's just fine. ;)

tommays 03-18-2013 07:50 AM

Re: Fluke 87
 
To get a real calbration is 100 plus dollars as we have to keep all are stuff on a once a year program

To be honest i leave it in the case unless i get involved in something were tiny amounts of voltage are a big deal like a 0-10 volt DC single running the speed of a complex machine

asdf38 03-18-2013 06:13 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
I design electronics, use flukes all the time, but like others have never used more than volts, amps, ohms, C, and an occasional diode check. That said their accuracy and durability is great. I'll get one myself eventually but right now I get by on a $10 online one.

Do not spend money calibrating it. For regular use you'll never need that much accuracy.

I'm not sure about schockt's comment about a high resistance short though. A short is a subjective thing, it's a somewhat arbitrary threshold on a resistance measurement below which the meter will beep and above which it won't (usually around 100 ohms). The fluke will do a better job making that resistance measurement, but I don't see anything special about a meter that just happens to have a high threshold for the beep. And even a cheap meter can make an ok R measurement over a pretty wide range. Perhaps the fluke lets you change the threshold.

boatpoker 03-18-2013 06:56 PM

Re: Fluke 87
 
I often have to check circuits where one contact is several feet away from the other or one is in the bilge and the other in the saloon and I have a NEXXTECH talking meter.
I don't even have to see the meter, she gives me the measurement in a very sexy voice.


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