(Topic ID: 129712)

Multimeter choice


By NoQuarters

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 51 posts
  • 36 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by motorbreth77
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 years ago

    When buying a multimeter what should you look for ?

    #2 4 years ago

    If you plan to use it alot I wouldn't go cheap in my opinion.It's the best tool to have if you plan on working on solid state pinball machines.I'd take a look at a Fluke brand elsewhere.Look at a model that has a diode check option and tone option.All the others will have,VAC,VDC,OHM,AMPS, stuff like that

    #3 4 years ago

    I'm a newbie and looking for something under $100. Looks like Fluke brand is probably more than I want to spend. How about this Klien :

    amazon.com link »

    https://toolsreviewer.com/best-multimeter-under-100/

    #4 4 years ago

    Kleins are decent meters....I've used both fluke and Klein in my every day work and trust them both.

    #5 4 years ago

    I always see people recommending super expensive DMM to people that are just going to be doing basic pinball stuff with it. You do not need a fluke for pinball.

    amazon.com link »

    I recommend that meter. It is cheap, robust, and works well.

    #6 4 years ago

    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Robert - So you think the Klein I found would be a good choice for occasional use then ?

    If I would decide to spend more, say $175.00 or so tops it looks like I could get a Fluke electrician model # 117.

    amazon.com link »

    Would picking between these two, The Klien MM1000 and the 117 Fluke be reasonable choices ?

    #7 4 years ago

    Thanks also barakandl for your suggestion too. I just posted when I saw you had jumped in too. Thanks for the input.

    #8 4 years ago

    What makes that klein meter more expensive is that it can measure a temperature. Who cares for pinball.

    #9 4 years ago

    B&K Precision 2709B helped me track down a chip with a lead shorted to ground on the bus.. Not fluke expensive, but very nice.

    #10 4 years ago

    Tenma makes some good and inexpensive meters, too!

    #11 4 years ago

    For basic troubleshooting you can get less expensive kleins

    amazon.com link »

    Im a bit old school and like non autoranging meters better...can't tell you how many times I'll be measuring ac and the meter has autoranged to DC and reads close to 0.

    #12 4 years ago

    Robert - that model Klien is really inexpensive. I'm old school too - or just plain getting old....

    Getting some good input from ALL. Could be a tough choice. Thanks. Appreciate all the input.

    #13 4 years ago

    I went through several ~$10 Harbor Freight meters, then got tired of having more problems with my meter than with my pins and got a Fluke 289. There is a large middle ground between those two and I'm sure the best quality/cost ratio is somewhere in the middle but a multimeter is used enough that it is worth getting a good quality one. My only regret is wasting money on a bunch of low quality meters first.

    #14 4 years ago

    I use the Klein MM100 that was posted and it's great. Also own a Fluke 323 clamp...but that's not really for pinball!

    #15 4 years ago

    I'm with twenty84. Spend a bit up front (after proper research) to avoid getting nickled and dimed by replacing crap that fails.

    Fluke 117 here. Auto range; analog-ish display bar to show transient spikes quickly; large backlit screen. Continuity has two tones - solid for low ohms and dashed for slightly more than low ohms. There is an optional kit that makes it easy to hang on anything that you can hook, or sink a magnet onto. Far handier than my decent bench meter that lasted me 25 years.

    More expensive is not always better. Too cheap however usually proves itself out.

    That said if you are at just one machine now and not sure how deep or long you're getting into this .. Yes the cheap units will be functionally adequate. Just watch for info about whether it will beep on the continuity test. That is rather invaluable..

    Good luck deciding.

    #16 4 years ago

    I learned on a Fluke for 7 years of electrical schooling so its all I know.I guess I shouldn'recommend only Fluke because they are pricy and I've used no others.
    I'm sure others are just as good.

    #17 4 years ago

    I only use Fluke's because of the amount of accessories available for it. Klein makes damn good tools as well.

    #18 4 years ago

    FLUKE is good because it resolves so fast.

    Sometimes I use someone else's meter and it's so slow it feels like I'm tripping over myself.

    $50 meter shootout:

    You don't really need a super good meter for pinball. The most important part is to make sure that the continuity tests audibly beeps. The cheep meters that don't beep are worthless.

    #19 4 years ago

    I have a rat shack ten dollar cheapie I use where it might not survive, a Fluke for important stuff.

    LTG : )™

    #20 4 years ago

    Love my Fluke 117 meter. It's definitely expensive, but it works great and will last forever. I'm an engineer and use it around the house as well. Professionally, I know electricians who have been using the same Fluke for 15 plus years and it's still going strong.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from Boiler415:

    Love my Fluke 117 meter. It's definitely expensive, but it works great and will last forever. I'm an engineer and use it around the house as well. Professionally, I know electricians who have been using the same Fluke for 15 plus years and it's still going strong.

    A good tool will last you a lifetime. Unless its such a specialty item you are absolutely sure you will only use once than by all means hit up harbor freight. For anything else buy proper tools. The right tool for the right job will also cause you less problems when working on projects. Trying to do something with the incorrect tool is almost guaranteed to cause you more grief.

    #22 4 years ago

    Many opinions so I drop mine too As I repair pinball games every week I own a Fluke 177. It is fast, sturdy, can handle mistakes has decent test leads and so on. Why repair a $2000 game with $10 tools? Well, if you need a multimeter only inicidentally....try to be at least somewhere in the middle. Vid posted a nice youtube link. You might consider a "Chinese" Fluke as well. The Fluke 15B or 17B or quite nice multimeters (in my point of view) and are reasonably priced at Ebay.

    Marco

    #23 4 years ago

    Fluke 177 here. No regrets. Worth the coin. Buy once and that's it. 117 is a good product but made in China and has a shorter warranty. 177 is USA made and slightly more accurate on DC.

    -1
    #24 4 years ago

    Fluke meter is my answer. Little bit more expensive but worth it IMO.

    #25 4 years ago

    Although I still have an old Simpson 260 that I use from time to time, my Fluke 87 is my go to meter. Put your money in a good tool and you can't go wrong.

    #26 4 years ago

    My meter was inexpensive at Radio Shack. Money was not a factor, I just don't need a commercial unit. I check continuity and occasionally other things almost exclusively for pinball. It works great. I splurged on a soldering iron and that as worth it!

    #27 4 years ago

    If you don't want to spend the money on a Fluke 87, Extech makes good mid-priced meters. The 520 is very good, and is often under $140 on Amazon.

    amazon.com link »

    #28 4 years ago

    Fluke 117 is $200... the 177 is like $500 i think. I mean i know pinballers seem like they have a lot of money to spend but you really don't have to.

    I messed with a handful of cheap meters. The mastech one i linked up above i like and will do everything an average pinballer needs. Yeah it is going to auto range slow, but you typically know what range you are checking in. I just push the button to set the range and the reading is instant.

    What is the average pinballer doing.

    Is it high or low?

    Is there continuity BEEEEP

    Is the voltage present?

    Is that diode shorted?

    Is the clock running?

    95% is DC voltages. AC stuff is going to be a sound board.. scope

    Do you really need True RMS? What temperatures are you measuring?

    If you are the type of person that has to have the nicest stuff. Get a fluke 117. If you are frugal and just want the to get the job done, use the mastech i linked above.

    #29 4 years ago

    I went through literally 4 DMMs, including a Mastech and Extech before I finally picked up my first Fluke on ebay for $100. Personally, I wish I had saved the money I spent on the cheap ones and just bought a quality meter in the first place. I know some people have had better luck with the cheap ones, this is just my experience.

    True RMS and a diode test that tones are great features for troubleshooting machines and I think are worth getting regardless of the brand you pick.

    #30 4 years ago
    Quoted from jrobinso99:

    I went through literally 4 DMMs, including a Mastech and Extech before I finally picked up my first Fluke on ebay for $100. Personally, I wish I had saved the money I spent on the cheap ones and just bought a quality meter in the first place. I know some people have had better luck with the cheap ones, this is just my experience.
    True RMS and a diode test that tones are great features for troubleshooting machines and I think are worth getting regardless of the brand you pick.

    What AC voltages in a pinball machine are you measuring that need the accuracy of true RMS? that is a loaded question cuz there isnt any hehe

    mastech beeps and has been working over a year on the same set of batteries. my only problem is a dropped a soldering iron on it and melted part of the screen.

    #31 4 years ago
    Quoted from NoQuarters:

    I'm a newbie and looking for something under $100. Looks like Fluke brand is probably more than I want to spend. How about this Klien :
    amazon.com link »
    https://toolsreviewer.com/best-multimeter-under-100/

    Fluke 87 or Fluke 88 is well worth the price. You can drop em, overload em, heck, they barely drain the batteries. I use one at work. Bought Snap on, OTC, garbage.

    For hobby applications, the radio shack cheapy is cost effective in a pinch.

    #32 4 years ago

    I bought a Fluke 179 years ago that was on sale at Fry's (it was an open item) and absolutely love it!

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from Kneissl:

    B&K Precision 2709B helped me track down a chip with a lead shorted to ground on the bus.. Not fluke expensive, but very nice.

    I second this one. It is the winner of the EEVBlog $100 shootout. It matches every feature of the 117, for $50 less when talking real internet prices.

    #34 4 years ago

    I'd stay away from Klien, Greenlee, and Ideal. Extech makes some decent meters at really good prices. I have a Fluke 289, 435,434, 1710, 345, 733, 787 etc... but I still like the Extech. Some even come with a built in IR temperature sensor, which is pretty handy.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from barakandl:

    my only problem is a dropped a soldering iron on it and melted part of the screen.

    You get so crazy at the bench.

    #36 4 years ago

    Fluke is a leader for many reasons but it is the snap on of electronics. Still highly recommended.

    Look for long battery live.
    Look for extremely fast latching continuity check.
    Look for diode test. That can light led( not many can)
    Cap and temp are also nice to have.

    Do not fall for the transistor test/check function. An almost clear indication that it is a POS meter.

    BK I have never owned but always liked. Wins the under 100 shoot outs often.

    #37 4 years ago

    I have a Tenma 72-7930 I bought several years back. It's a Cat III 600v manual range meter with a nice buzz tone continuity check and a diode check. Display is pretty large and easy to read. One thing is it does not display a leading decimal point on the diode test which bugs me.

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from barakandl:

    Fluke 117 is $200... the 177 is like $500 i think. I mean i know pinballers seem like they have a lot of money to spend but you really don't have to.
    I messed with a handful of cheap meters. The mastech one i linked up above i like and will do everything an average pinballer needs. Yeah it is going to auto range slow, but you typically know what range you are checking in. I just push the button to set the range and the reading is instant.
    What is the average pinballer doing.
    Is it high or low?
    Is there continuity BEEEEP
    Is the voltage present?
    Is that diode shorted?
    Is the clock running?
    95% is DC voltages. AC stuff is going to be a sound board.. scope
    Do you really need True RMS? What temperatures are you measuring?
    If you are the type of person that has to have the nicest stuff. Get a fluke 117. If you are frugal and just want the to get the job done, use the mastech i linked above.

    Except that a good DMM has many more uses than just pinball. And the more you understand about electricity in pinball, the kore you translate those skills to other applications. Might as well buy a competent piece of equipment.

    #39 4 years ago

    I really like to have an audible beep for continuity. I wouldn't even look at a meter if it didn't have this on it anymore. I have an old fluke and it works great.

    #40 4 years ago
    Quoted from doublestack:

    I really like to have an audible beep for continuity. I wouldn't even look at a meter if it didn't have this on it anymore. I have an old fluke and it works great.

    I have three flukes but one of them the continuity feature is "slow" so not all meters are the same by company it is model dependent. Weird but true.
    If the OP finds a model in the price range he really needs to read honest reviews from pros.
    He should watch some of the eevblog videos on YouTube. Dave does a great job on comparing many meters all at once.

    #41 4 years ago

    Notice how "Dave" has more than just one?... There is a reason for that, they are all different, each has its limitations and shortfalls. Myself, I only keep 3 around anymore, (Budget, craftsman , and fluke) My voltomist senior is my favorite however (yes a bench model, and does load the circuit) But its got a giant deflection needle that's easy to see.

    #42 4 years ago

    Love my Innova 3320 ( red ) picked up @ Walmart for around $25. . The built in 1.5v - 12v Battery Load tester works great . Check it out at www.iEquus.com

    #43 4 years ago

    I have this cheap one from Radio Shack

    http://comingsoon.radioshack.com/radioshack-29-range-digital-multimeter/2200813.html#.VXWQ8Ec8KrU

    Since I literally don't know any better, I would appreciate any insight as to why it's not good enough. I use it for continuity etc when working on my game. It works fine for tracking down shorts, checking fuses and the like. I've tried using it on boards before and get results that never seem to match the advice given. Mostly I assume it's my lack of knowledge.

    I think what I really need is proper training. A video would be best for me.

    #44 4 years ago

    I have a Fluke 87 from 1988 (the original not the II or III or IV or V). I bought it as part of my first job out of college. It was expensive but it's awesome and very durable. It has the ability to record, which I've used with the clamp on ammeter. It will definitely outlive me and probably any grand kids I may have.

    #45 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    FLUKE is good because it resolves so fast.
    Sometimes I use someone else's meter and it's so slow it feels like I'm tripping over myself.
    $50 meter shootout:
    » YouTube video
    You don't really need a super good meter for pinball. The most important part is to make sure that the continuity tests audibly beeps. The cheep meters that don't beep are worthless.

    Daves a legend. great guy. i like his style.

    #46 4 years ago
    Quoted from gcp:

    Extech makes good mid-priced meters

    I bought the Extech after watching the Davey Jones shoot out and my own research. His video gives a lot of info about what to look for and avoid, so worth watching either way.

    A MM is one of those investment tools, I bought the most I could afford, my 530 was only 99.00 but that was after some pretty patient waiting for a sale from Amazon, normally 150.

    You can get away with less, Davey's video tells you how and how it can work against you, so my recommendation is to watch the link vid shared and start there.

    Good luck.

    -1
    #47 4 years ago

    FLUKE only.

    -1
    #48 4 years ago

    Fluke

    #49 4 years ago

    Great discussion.

    I wound up getting the Klien MM1000. Got it brand new in the package with free shipping for $45.00 from ebay. At that price I figured I couldn't lose. Arrived today packed well in a Priority Mail box to my doorstep. In the box sure enough, a Brand new sealed unit in that adult proof hard clamshell packaging.

    11 months later
    #50 3 years ago
    Quoted from NoQuarters:

    Great discussion.
    I wound up getting the Klien MM1000. Got it brand new in the package with free shipping for $45.00 from ebay. At that price I figured I couldn't lose. Arrived today packed well in a Priority Mail box to my doorstep. In the box sure enough, a Brand new sealed unit in that adult proof hard clamshell packaging.

    Now that you have had this meter for almost a year, how do you like it? I think it is time for me to get a new DVM. That Klein MM1000 is available on Amazon for $59 with free shipping.

    I have an older Fluke leftover from work. It is 25 years old and works just fine. But I find it harder to setup with its confusing series of push buttons than my cheap 30 year old Radio Shack, so I use the Radio Shack more often.

    I don't like to waste my money, so I tend to stay away from spending top dollar when something less will fit the rather limited needs of working on pins. Yet I avoid buying garbage that gets thrown out in a year.

    Many of these comments were helpful. Others just seemed to be reflex - buy the best - without any reason to back it up.

    Some suggest true RMS is important. But I don't see that. If I am measuring AC, it will be 60 Hz. Even if it is not a pure 60 Hz, getting close is all that I need. If it is a more complex waveform, I will be using my scope anyway.

    I want to make certain that I can measure resistance without activating a diode - voltage below the forward bias - is this available on any meter?

    I also want to be able to measure 10A. My Fluke goes only to 2A.

    Knowing how hard it is to get replacement fuses would be nice. Some of these meters have pricey or hard to find fuses - which seems silly.

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