A good multimeter? - SailNet Community
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A good multimeter?

I bought a Sears auto-ranging digital multimeter some years back but it didn't last long before the read-outs got squirrely and unreliable. I know Fluke is the top name but they're pretty pricey. I'll spring for one of their less expensive models if I have to, but does anyone know of a reliable, durable and less costly alternative? Thanks for any info.
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Re: A good multimeter?

Fluke are not pretty pricey... They are extortion.

I know everyone will say 'if you refuse to buy a Fluke you shouldn't be sailing' but if you spent crazy amounts on everything you will never have the money to enjoy your boat.

Oh, and if I need a Fluke I probably need to hire a skilled electrician to sort out the problem.

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Re: A good multimeter?

Klein is well respected and are available at some big boxes...but....make doubly sure youre getting one that handles 12v.
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Re: A good multimeter?

Iíve used a Greenlee DMM for many years now. Not the cheapest, but no where near the price of Fluke.

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Re: A good multimeter?

I have a couple of Fluke meters I use at home and at work. They are heavy duty, reliable kit that have given me zero problems in nearly 20 years of ownership. When I bought a meter to keep on the boat, though, I decided on an Extech EX505, which has a large, easy to read display, a good hold function, and carries an IP67 rating for solids and water resistance (fully sealed against dust and dirt, protected for immersion up to 1m). Amazon has them for a hundred bucks. It has been used several times this season and I havenít had any issues.

I couldnít see tying up several hundred dollars in a Fluke for my uses on board. Now, if I were venturing far offshore and depending on electronics for safety, I would be carrying two meters, and one of them would be a used and certified calibrated Fluke stored somewhere protected from water.

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Re: A good multimeter?

Well as I was told many years ago when it comes to electronic test equipment you can have any three of the following accuracy, reliability, durability or cheap. Rarely if ever does anything have all four.
That being said how much are you willing to spend?

Klein makes decent stuff or used to some of it for under 50 dollars.
Fluke doesn't have to be that expensive as a Fluke 101 is around 40 dollars or so and the Fluke 107 is around 87.
B&K Precision makes several models for under 100 a few around 50 or so.
Agilent/HP/Keysight well not cheap by any measure.

I personally own a Fluke 115, around 150 for the basic package. Got me through Electrical Engineer at NCSU, and since only had to replace the battery. As with anything it comes down to how much you are willing to spend, and how much you are willing to put up with.
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Re: A good multimeter?

I can think of nothing on boat wiring that would require more than 1-2% accuracy Go cheap and cheerful .
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Re: A good multimeter?

Whatever you get make sure you can calibrate it yourself, voltage at least is easy and cheap to get a super accurate reference circuit.

A decent DC ammeter clamp type is very useful, and should include voltage measurement as well.

I believe Maine Sail's shop sells a reasonably priced one.
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Re: A good multimeter?

I've used a Extech meter for years as my primary unit. Also carry one or two Harbor Freight meters as backup. HF was giving them away with a coupon for awhile. Have five or six at home. One in every tool box. Work fine for most trouble shooting. Also have two Flukes at home that I used at work. One now has an unreadible display Glad I did not pay for it.
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Re: A good multimeter?

I use UNI on board. A mid-range device, but with a clamp ammeter. This feature is very practical and easy to measure amps in checking solar panel output, alternator output and drainage of service units.
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