(Topic ID: 75371)

Fluke? Need to buy a Meter! Which one and why?


By Tkaye

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 44 posts
  • 28 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by wayout440
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    Fluke75.jpg
    fluke_117_efsp_multimeter.jpg

    #1 5 years ago

    So, I'm still a Noob...Less than one year and I think I really need a multi-meter. Question is, which one and why?
    Suggestions anyone?

    Thanks as always for your input!

    #2 5 years ago
    #3 5 years ago

    I have a scope but day to day all I use is a cheapo multimeter exactly like this one:

    amazon.com link »

    Mostly you need continuity, resistance, voltage and a diode check for basic pinball work, the one above has it for like $8.00 US. Of course opinions may differ...

    Hat's off to previous poster, beat me by $3.00. I wish we had a Fry's nearby.

    #4 5 years ago

    What Noahs_arcade suggested if fine but if you plan on using it around the house for other things I would go to your local pawn shop and pick up a nice used Fluke for around $50-100 that should last forever and very dependable.

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from NunjoBiznezz:

    Hat's off to previous poster, beat me by $3.00. I wish we had a Fry's nearby.

    I bought three of them for home use. The only downside is a non-replaceable battery.

    More expensive meters are better, but the features they include are probably not things you need. I guarantee my $2000 Agilent meter at work will give the same readings as the $4 meter when it comes to pinball machines.

    #6 5 years ago

    Fluke makes great devices. But a cheap one can work and be used when you travel.

    #7 5 years ago

    I have used this one for almost 10 years on everything from pinball to testing batteries. Works great and frequently goes on sale in the $10 - $15 range.

    http://www.sears.com/craftsman-multimeter-digital-with-8-functions-and-20/p-03482141000P?prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=G1

    It doesn't seem like there is a lot of difference in low end multimeters. They all have roughly the same functions and they will work fine for repairing pins.

    #9 5 years ago

    Fluke and only fluke.

    #11 5 years ago

    Fluke can be had for 50 bucks or so but it's worth it.

    #12 5 years ago

    I personally found the auto ranges to be the better one to use - helped as I got more advanced with repairs.

    #13 5 years ago

    *Auto range - check

    #14 5 years ago

    amazon.com link »

    Is what im using now. Seems really good for the price.

    #15 5 years ago

    MASTECH AC/DC Auto/Manual Range Digital Multimeter, MS8268

    amazon.com link »

    #16 5 years ago

    I would go with something of quality. Fluke makes great products and I use one at work and at home. I currently have this one for home - http://en-us.fluke.com/products/digital-multimeters/fluke-233-digital-multimeter.html#fbid=wcfDUO4qypR

    #17 5 years ago

    Either go for the best and buy a Fluke or go low end and try not to spend over $50 on Amazon. The Kleins are not bad and the one below is a reasonable deal. Not a whole lot of value in the middle. Make sure you get a meter that is auto-ranging.

    amazon.com link »

    #18 5 years ago

    I use a 30-year-old analog Radio Shack meter. Serves me very well.

    2 weeks later
    #19 5 years ago

    what's everyone's opinion on this one?
    Does it have all I will need for pinball and general household use?
    http://www.myflukestore.ca/p3716/fluke_117.php

    fluke_117_efsp_multimeter.jpg

    #20 5 years ago

    The most important thing is that the continuity beep is instant. Nothing worse than having your head under a playfield and you can't see the meter and you have to hold your probes for what seems like an eternity to listen for the sad excuse for a beep. They use cheap chips to determine resistance, and tie the continuity test to that. It is a non-zero time to figure out the resistance and emit the sound for continuity. Nicer units will either use a separate circuit for continuity, or a chip that is much faster at sussing out resistance. It really is noticeable once you get used to the instabeep.

    #21 5 years ago
    Quoted from appeac:

    The most important thing is that the continuity beep is instant. Nothing worse than having your head under a playfield and you can't see the meter and you have to hold your probes for what seems like an eternity to listen for the sad excuse for a beep. They use cheap chips to determine resistance, and tie the continuity test to that. It is a non-zero time to figure out the resistance and emit the sound for continuity. Nicer units will either use a separate circuit for continuity, or a chip that is much faster at sussing out resistance. It really is noticeable once you get used to the instabeep.

    Ah...good point.
    Everyone that recommended Fluke...Any idea on this model or do I need to upgrade?

    1 week later
    #22 5 years ago

    I have this Jenson from work,
    http://www.stanleysupplyservices.com/jensen-tools-jtm-69a-true-rms-multimeter/p/jtm-69a

    Which works well and isn't expensive (relative). I like my fluke, but it was a hand me down.

    #23 5 years ago

    Did you check Craigslist? I picked up a nice Fluke that was barely used with case and manual for half its retail price. Still had the protective film on the screen.

    #24 5 years ago

    Fluke, otherwise you will be asking this same question years from now when you realize you should have bought a Fluke.

    #25 5 years ago

    I have a Fluke 77 that I bought way back in the 80's and still working good today even with all the years of abuse at home, shop and on service calls.

    That being said, for the casual user I would suggest just picking up 1 of the cheaper ones listed above. They work just fine for what you would use it for.

    #26 5 years ago

    But does anyone know if the model 117 above will do the job or do I need a higher model?

    #27 5 years ago

    I've been using a 116.

    #28 5 years ago
    Quoted from Tkaye:

    But does anyone know if the model 117 above will do the job or do I need a higher model?

    I have a fluke 88 but the 117 will do more than what you need. You don't have to spend that much there are lower cost meters that will suit your needs. Also that meter is not auto ranging.

    #29 5 years ago

    We have a ton of these Fluke 75s at work and I have one of my own, reliable work horses that have everything you will need for a pin. They last forever (ours are over 15 years old) All the basic features including diode test and continuity, auto ranging and hold. There's a bunch to choose from under 100 bucks on Ebay.
    Fluke75.jpg

    #30 5 years ago

    The Fluke117 will work just fine for pinballs: continuity, voltage (AC & DC), resistance and diode testing.
    That's the one I have. It's built like a tank and should last you your lifetime. The Voltage Alert feature
    is also quite handy. It allows you to test for the presence of voltage just buy holding the unit close to
    a suspected live circuit. ( but you should always check for live current with the test leads though).
    It's also great for houshold electrical work.

    #31 5 years ago

    Flukes are awesome if you're making your living with your measurements, but generally overkill for hobbyist pinball and way overkill if you truly are a noob . There are much cheaper units out there that will do the job just fine without you having to drop $100. You can spend half that on a quality, auto-ranging true RMS unit and never know the difference. Just don't cheap out completely on a $10 job. There are some online reviews that cover this in detail.

    #32 5 years ago

    I have a fluke that's 20 years old been dropped many times used on wrong setting and still works perfect Yeah there more money but they last if your new and use the wrong setting the worst thing that can happen is a blown fuse

    #33 5 years ago
    Quoted from pintime:

    I have a fluke that's 20 years old been dropped many times used on wrong setting and still works perfect Yeah there more money but they last if your new and use the wrong setting the worst thing that can happen is a blown fuse

    Good point--make sure you at least get one with socketed fuses regardless of brand. Super-cheap ones sometimes lack these. Anything over $40 usually does. Just not sure the op needs to spend $200 here. Can you even get a Fluke under $120 anymore (talking new, I wouldn't buy a used one unless you know the source)?

    #34 5 years ago
    Quoted from Tkaye:

    So, I'm still a Noob...Less than one year and I think I really need a multi-meter. Question is, which one and why?
    Suggestions anyone?
    Thanks as always for your input!

    The ones you're eyeballing at Home Depot will serve you well and just fine. Unless you're needing something super-extreme and exacting (you don't), those you've listed at HD will take great care of you.

    Don't go blowing over $100 for a DMM (Digital MultiMeter). The one I bought at HD for $42 has served me great from pinball to my cars.

    #35 5 years ago

    I was told RMS is pretty important feature to have on a meter if you want to be able to check AC ripple. The cheaper units arn't fast enough to pick up accurate readings.

    #36 5 years ago

    I own a fluke 117 and its a great meter. ( does not have mili or micro amps though ) Its made in the USA and I think has a 5 year warrenty. Outstanding meter and I do this sort of work for a living . More than accurate enough and build to last.

    #37 5 years ago
    Quoted from CaptainNeo:

    I was told RMS is pretty important feature to have on a meter if you want to be able to check AC ripple. The cheaper units arn't fast enough to pick up accurate readings.

    Not really, an RMS feature is overkill. You really only would need an RMS feature if you were designing or measuring ripple that is not a sine wave. Measuring RMS values is a bit more expensive than measuring average values, so most multimeters avoid the former. Instead they presume your signal is a sine and measure the average value for the rectified sine or the peak value, after which they apply a conversion factor to find the presumed RMS value.

    With an A/C millivolts setting, I can measure <.250 volts A/C 60 HZ on the logic rail and say the ICs will be happy with that, or see an A/C ripple near a volt or more and presume the filtering is going/gone. I've been doing this for many years on our commercial products, and when I've identified and repaired the filtering using a simple Fluke 75 it has always fixed the problem. On the average I am replacing 3 to 5 power supplies a week identifying them without the overkill of an RMS setting.

    #38 5 years ago

    FYI,Fluke are really good meters but are NOT bulletproof and are not built like a tank anymore.
    I have 2 dead Fluke 179 that weren't warranty.I dropped one from about 6-7 feet high and the display broke.The other one was dirty inside from being use in a dirty shop and they refuse to honnor their warranty on that one too when it stopped working.
    They are good meters but for pinball hobby,you don't need a Fluke.Plenty of cheaper brands that will do the job as good as a Fluke.
    That being said,a multi meter is the most important tool in my day job...so i bought another Fluke 179.

    #39 5 years ago
    Quoted from Andre:

    FYI,Fluke are really good meters but are NOT bulletproof and are not built like a tank anymore.
    I have 2 dead Fluke 179 that weren't warranty.I dropped one from about 6-7 feet high and the display broke.The other one was dirty inside from being use in a dirty shop and they refuse to honnor their warranty on that one too when it stopped working.
    They are good meters but for pinball hobby,you don't need a Fluke.Plenty of cheaper brands that will do the job as good as a Fluke.
    That being said,a multi meter is the most important tool in my day job...so i bought another Fluke 179.

    Well, with any product - even a great one - you'll find someone that just happens to get a bad luck streak. Fluke 179 doesn't get a single bad review on Amazon - almost all are 5 star reviews. Warranty on almost any electronics test gear is for defects in manufacturing or reasonable use. Dropping one from 6 feet breaking it is a little extreme, don't you think?

    Fluke is a good quality meter, and like anything you do get what you pay for...with any other brand I say you are taking your chances. In 15 years all the ones we have are still working great, that's 9 techs with 9 Flukes...and I am certain some of them have been dropped.

    #40 5 years ago

    Tossing out another option:

    amazon.com link »

    I recently bought this meter to see if I liked this style, and I do so far. It's not spectacular, but the tip retracts, and it has A/C sensing. I think it's well worth $20 if you want to try a pen style meter.

    #41 5 years ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    Tossing out another option:
    amazon.com link »
    I recently bought this meter to see if I liked this style, and I do so far. It's not spectacular, but the tip retracts, and it has A/C sensing. I think it's well worth $20 if you want to try a pen style meter.

    That particular model doesn't measure current at all.

    #42 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    That particular model doesn't measure current at all.

    Yeah, sorry if I didn't make that obvious. I have yet to need to measure current when repairing a pin. I'm sure you have to sometimes, but it's not been a feature that I have missed.

    #43 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayout440:

    That particular model doesn't measure current at all.

    In all my years of working in the electronics industry I never once used my meter to measure current for board repair. I will admit that I have measured current but that was in high current applications (talking a couple hundred amps here) and I used a clamp on current meter for that kind of work.

    IMHO the only options you need is AC and DC voltage measurements and the diode check is handy. I seldom measure resistance and then it is usually because I am too lazy to figure out the color banding (or is hard to tell the colors). One day I just may organize all my spare resistors into labelled drawers instead of tossing them all into one - but probably not since I have been doing it that way forever...

    #44 5 years ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    Yeah, sorry if I didn't make that obvious. I have yet to need to measure current when repairing a pin. I'm sure you have to sometimes, but it's not been a feature that I have missed.

    I probably should have noted that there is another model of that meter that have current measuring, which as you point out is not an often used feature - and I agree. Personally I don't like the pen style because it gets in places where you might have trouble seeing it (or is difficult to get in tight spots) or my fingers are accidentally pushing buttons. Some like it, some don't. Reading the mixed reviews on Amazon, some have had troubles with it.

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