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(Topic ID: 203481)

Best recommended Digital Multimeter?


By RyanClaytor

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 63 posts
  • 35 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by undrdog
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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    There are 63 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 2 years ago

    Hi all,

    I've got a great friend who is a great pinball tech and a great cheapskate. He has this gimpy DMM that he refused to replace and I'd like to get a nice one for him. (I've asked his preference and he refused to point to a unit he'd prefer.) So here I am, asking the pinball hivemind. He works on electro-mechanical, SS, & DMD titles. Not sure if that makes a difference but I'd like to get him a good meter that he can use across many projects.

    So what are your thoughts? Thanks for your help.

    #2 2 years ago
    Quoted from RyanClaytor:

    Hi all,
    I've got a great friend who is a great pinball tech and a great cheapskate. He has this gimpy DMM that he refused to replace and I'd like to get a nice one for him. (I've asked his preference and he refused to point to a unit he'd prefer.) So here I am, asking the pinball hivemind. He works on electro-mechanical, SS, & DMD titles. Not sure if that makes a difference but I'd like to get him a good meter that he can use across many projects.
    So what are your thoughts? Thanks for your help.

    Geez Ryan that's really nice of you but the meter I have is just fine, really. I do appreciate you wanting to replace it though. Take care my friend.

    #3 2 years ago

    Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeters , Electronic Amp Volt Ohm Voltage Meter Multimeter with Diode and Continuity Test Tester, Backlight LCD Display (Red) amazon.com link »

    This is the one I use. It’s cheap and works for all my pinball testing needs.

    #4 2 years ago
    Quoted from Dayhuff:

    Geez Ryan that's really nice of you but the meter I have is just fine, really. I do appreciate you wanting to replace it though. Take care my friend.

    Ha-ha! That description hit a little close to home, huh? Good seein' you around here, John. BTW, any recommendations?

    Quoted from brenna98:

    Etekcity MSR-R500 Digital Multimeters , Electronic Amp Volt Ohm Voltage Meter Multimeter with Diode and Continuity Test Tester, Backlight LCD Display (Red) amazon.com link »
    This is the one I use. It’s cheap and works for all my pinball testing needs.

    Thanks for the suggestion, brenna98.

    #5 2 years ago

    Best at what price? The BM235 is an excellent meter. Broken Token podcast gives it a thumbs up.
    https://www.eevblog.com/product/bm235-multimeter/

    Buying guide video: https://www.eevblog.com/2010/04/14/eevblog-75-digital-multimeter-buying-guide/

    #6 2 years ago

    It's very nice of you to want to do something for your friend. Instead of a meter why don't you give him a gift card to his favorite restaurant? I own a Fluke DMM that is about 25 years old and was an industry standard in its day and cost over $100 way back then. I used it with an oscilloscope and other equipment to service circuit boards to the component level. Many times after I had used it to help out a friend, they wanted to know the model so the could get one like mine. I have always recommended a $5.00 Harbor Freight meter. I love my Fluke and use it all the time, however the work I do now days could be done with the $5. Harbor Freight one. Your friend is probably very comfortable with his old friend of a meter. That being said, the one from amazon recommended by brenna98 looks like one that would totally meet my current needs. My Flukes yellow rubber case is covered with smudges, and looks kind beat from the number times it protected the actual meter inside. If one of my friends gave me that beautiful new meter I would of course be very thankful and then try to never let them see me using my old friendly Fluke.

    IMG_4286 (resized).JPG

    #7 2 years ago

    Fluke 179 is what I use.

    #8 2 years ago

    Honestly, I’ve just been using a rather basic craftsman unit for several years now. It hasn’t led me astray.

    Sure, flukes and such are nice and all, but I’m no pro, and really all I’m doing is testing continuity and diodes, so I can’t justify spending a gazillion dollars for something that’ll give me a reading that’s +/-0.01% more accurate.

    I actually bought a nice Extech unit a little while ago, but switched back to my humble craftsman meter for the sake of simplicity.

    #9 2 years ago

    A start, for educational reasons, and just on PinSide alone in the last 5 years.
    If a person wants technical breakdown they are available on other electronic sites.

    Some opinions are much better than others, do research.

    Most restorers need two DMM for testing purposes.
    A DMM is a requirement to keep machines fully operational, EM or SS, it does not matter.
    Know the difference between a voltmeter and a digital multimeter.
    Get a DMM and separately a logic probe, if not included with a full kit.
    Make sure it has proper fuse protection.
    Make sure it has 10 A range.
    Preference to digital versus analog models.
    Autoranging is a nice benefit.
    Case insulation is available on higher end models.

    An "old" DMM does not mean "bad", if it works well as this means "reliable", which better that most cheap junk today.

    Cheap/Reliable - Radioshack True RMS 46-Position DMM $50

    Serious/Professional - Fluke 117 and up DMM models series. Personal preference to 179 or higher, if you own many machines. Price range $130-$1000, including all accessories.
    http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/fluke/dmm/handheld/index.htm

    Ultimately, cheap tools mean cheap results, unless you are starting out.
    A person needs to build a tool inventory, not buy it all at one time.
    A person needs to buy their own meter out of preference.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/best-value-priced-dmm-digital-multimeter

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/multimeter-choice

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/what-multimeter-do-you-guys-use

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/need-to-buy-a-meter-which-one-and-why

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/good-enough-multimeter

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/multimeter

    RadioShack "Old Style" True RMS DMM (Digital)
    1a016ae9e487f3c05fd8db1e038a7041.jpg

    Fluke 179 DMM
    http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/fluke/dmm/combo-kits/179-eda-ii.htm?ref=gbase&gclid=CjwKCAiAxuTQBRBmEiwAAkFF1jebhgoZ_XjSFhtrMVLRnY-LzLmPpPDrXcrJlxCSWRse_uNWdO0v9hoCj7MQAvD_BwE
    F-179_Maglite_kit_01d_c02.jpg

    #10 2 years ago
    Quoted from RyanClaytor:

    Not sure if that makes a difference but I'd like to get him a good meter that he can use across many projects.
    So what are your thoughts? Thanks for your help.

    If you are okay with giving him a used one, I have several Flukes that you can choose from. PM me if interested.

    #11 2 years ago

    If you have cash to spare, nothing is going to be more durable, with all replacement parts available, than a Fluke.

    But, you can fix 99% of pinball machines with just a good ole Craftsman meter for $10:

    http://www.sears.com/craftsman-multimeter-digital-with-8-functions-and-20/p-03482141000P?sid=IAx20050830x000545&aff=Y&PID=4485850&AID=11044874&utm_medium=1122587_4485850_11044874

    If you accidentally leave it in a machine at a bar, or run it over after installing a car stereo, you are not going to cry about $10, that's for sure.

    Whatever you buy, just make sure it has a Beep Tone for Diode/continuity, because that is the feature you use the most in pinball.

    b91b707bde8dc25b601e6c31a9dc93e19ff69824 (resized).jpg

    #12 2 years ago

    I have had my Fluke 77 for 30+ years bouncing around in my tool box, still working like day one.

    #13 2 years ago

    Had a Craftsman that worked like a charm for 20+ years that finally quit. Since I'm having a really good year I treated my self to a Fluke 115 that I am certain will be the last one I'll ever buy. Unless I drop it, burn it, run it over... you get the idea. (I no longer buy watches for that reason.) Used Flukes of various models in the military for years and they take a pretty good beating.

    Shawn

    #14 2 years ago

    spend the money, get a fluke. Got my first one from the navy in 2003, still have it, still works.
    if you don't have the money you can get a 15 dollar analog meter from sears that works fine to... for a couple months maybe.

    1 week later
    #16 2 years ago

    Nobody mentioned the free meters from HarborFreight yet?

    Sure, they're cheap, but they DO work. And they're free!

    Personally, I prefer the pencil-style meter. I got mine off Amazon for about $7.00 I think?
    It even has a logic probe built-in that I've never used because I have a whole suite of logic tools.
    But its there if you need it I supposed.

    Anywho, get him a free one from HF and see if he likes it better than what he has.
    Or, let him be happy with the one he has! He seems pretty content with it.

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from SarverSystems:

    Nobody mentioned the free meters from HarborFreight yet?

    Sure, they're cheap, but they DO work. And they're free!

    They don't have a beep for diode or continuity, so for pinball, they are useless. If you have to look up every time you are toning out a connector or diode bank, you will go crazy.

    The one thing that the HF free meters are good for is repairing the FLUKE 12 style meters. The conductive zebra strip in the HF are like 2mm thicker than the Fluke, so it is an instant repair when the Fluke buttons stop responding.

    #18 2 years ago

    The below video was found on another topic along the same lines here on Pinside.

    It is very informative and entertaining.

    #19 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    They don't have a beep for diode or continuity, so for pinball, they are useless. If you have to look up every time you are toning out a connector or diode bank, you will go crazy.
    The one thing that the HF free meters are good for is repairing the FLUKE 12 style meters. The conductive zebra strip in the HF are like 2mm thicker than the Fluke, so it is an instant repair when the Fluke buttons stop responding.

    I've never actually used one, so I didn't know they didn't beep.

    #20 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    They don't have a beep for diode or continuity, so for pinball, they are useless. If you have to look up every time you are toning out a connector or diode bank, you will go crazy.

    I have to say, this one of the reasons I LOVE my Flukes... the tone on diode test is hard to live without once you realize how convenient it is. Keep in mind that some Flukes don't have this so you need to check the features. The other thing I really like about Flukes is how quickly they can test continuity. I can run my probe across the back of a line of transistors looking for a short faster than any other DMM I've ever used.

    Features and speed aside - they are tanks. I've had at least 5 cheaper DMMs just quit working on me over the years before I started buying Flukes.

    My latest purchase is a 287 I picked up from Ebay. I does logging for tracking intermittent voltage problems. It can also measure AC on a circuit at the same time its measuring DC, which is nice for quickly tracking down failing capacitors.

    -Jay

    #21 2 years ago

    Since this is being discussed. Here are two deals on Fluke DMMs at Sears:

    http://www.sears.com/fluke-115-multimeter/p-03481341000P?sellerId=SEARS&prdNo=27&blockNo=27&blockType=G27&sid=IAx20050830x000545&aff=Y&PID=4485850&AID=13166739&utm_medium=1122587_4485850_13166739

    http://www.sears.com/fluke-117-electricians-multimeter-with-voltalert-trade-technology/p-03481377000P?sellerId=SEARS&prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2&sid=IAx20050830x000545&aff=Y&PID=4485850&AID=13166739&utm_medium=1122587_4485850_13166739

    I use Fluke meters both personally and professionally (Fluke 87V). It's just a rock solid meter. I also use it for household and automotive repairs.

    And, I agree with other's comments on the sound during continuity and diode testing. This is a must have feature because sometimes you can't see the meter.

    #22 2 years ago

    That's a great price on the 115 !

    #23 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    That's a great price on the 115 !

    Great price, but you have to find a store to pick it up at.

    #24 2 years ago

    It's Christmas, have your far away cousins bring you one.....

    #25 2 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    It's Christmas, have your far away cousins bring you one.....

    Something is up with the Fluke sale. I can’t seem to find them anywhere as available to be picked up.

    #27 2 years ago

    Could have been a clearance that is almost sold out.

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinRob:

    Something is up with the Fluke sale. I can’t seem to find them anywhere as available to be picked up.

    Just add it to your cart and have them ship it to you. Shipping is free.

    #29 2 years ago
    Quoted from RoyF:

    Just add it to your cart and have them ship it to you. Shipping is free.

    I wish - not working. 55152605-30ED-4ED5-82C1-8463F822618F (resized).jpeg

    #30 2 years ago

    I just tried an "Add to Cart" and got the same error as you did. And, when I refresh the page it now shows "Shipping Unavailable" in place of where it previously showed "Shipping" in the picture you posted above. So looks like a "no go".

    #31 2 years ago
    Quoted from RoyF:

    I just tried an "Add to Cart" and got the same error as you did. And, when I refresh the page it now shows "Shipping Unavailable" in place of where it previously showed "Shipping" in the picture you posted above. So looks like a "no go".

    Yep

    2 years later
    #36 6 months ago

    Thanks to Pinside and ebay, this week I upgraded from a Harbor Freight special to a Fluke. I should never need another multimeter.
    upgrade (resized).jpg

    #37 6 months ago

    I love my Fluke but keep that old analog meter handy.
    Flukes have high input impedance so that the meter won't load down the item you are measuring the voltage on. For 99% of the time - this is a good thing. The downside to measuring high voltage with high input impedance meters is you can get phantom readings.

    I was checking voltage on the backside of an unloaded 120VAC circuit breaker to see if it was turned on or off. The breaker was actually turned off but the meter kept telling me there was 120VAC on the terminal. The proximity within the breaker between the input and output terminals was close enough that it was inducing a voltage onto the output terminals. And since the Fluke had such high input impedance, it could actually pick up on this induced voltage. Put in an old analog meter (Simpson 260 in my case) - and it reads properly at 0 volts when the breaker is turned off.

    #38 6 months ago

    You just got to love the old Simpson 260 meters. I have an old Simpson 360 digital meter that had nicads in it that I forgot about because I haven't used it in over ten years. Murphy's law and the batteries leaked. Took the leaking batteries out and now I need to try the toilet bowl acid cleaner trick to try and stop the corrosion. Too many toys to keep track of.

    #39 6 months ago

    Picked up an Amprobe AM-510 a couple weeks ago. Designed by Fluke but built in China under the Amprobe name to keep costs down. We will see how it stands the test of time but I'm very happy with it so far.

    #40 6 months ago

    Fluke, but just bought a basic autorange Klein

    #41 6 months ago

    Old school, Simpson 260 and a Fluke 77

    #42 6 months ago

    In almost ten years I had two multi-meters go bad. One from Radio Shack and one from Home Depot, ranging between $20 - $40. I bought a used Fluke 179 about six months ago for $100 and don't expect to have to replace it.

    Thanks
    Blake

    2 weeks later
    #43 6 months ago

    I found this thread because I’m looking for one, too.

    I’ve tried three HF PoS multimeters, thinking one from a different batch would work.

    Maybe they don’t make em like they used to, but the readings won’t quit jumping around. The instructions say that crossing the probes on 200 resistance should get a zero reading. It doesn’t. It can’t pass that simple test.

    So, for everyone who has had a dependable HF one for years, it may be time to stop recommending them.

    #44 6 months ago

    Fluke meters are the best that I've found.

    I'd warn against using any of the cheapo, Harbor Freight style multi-meters. I read an article about an electrician that was using a cheap multimeter on a 277/480 volt panel and the meter failed, causing a phase to phase fault and arc blast. I can't recall if it was fatal or serious injuries, but not a good situation. The meter was supposed rated for the voltage he was using it at.

    #45 6 months ago

    Are the specs on this one sufficient for checking resistors & continuity on pinballs ?

    amazon.com link »

    #47 6 months ago

    Oldie but goodie...Fluke 77. Still prefer them over the newer Flukes (some of which seem to go thru the 9V batteries rather quickly).

    #48 6 months ago
    Quoted from Kwoody51:

    I’ve got a nice fluke 28ii for sale. Make me an offer!

    Thanks, I’m shopping in the $40 price range.

    #49 6 months ago
    Quoted from undrdog:

    Thanks, I’m shopping in the $40 price range.

    You can pick up a new Fluke 101 for that price on ebay or Amazon.

    #50 6 months ago

    Talked to Fluke on the one I linked to above. Sounds like it'll be fine for pinball. $40.

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