Multimeter

Hi

I hope this isn't too off topic but I'm in the UK and I'd like to buy a multimeter. I'm fairly new to electronics in general so I don't really know what to look for.

Any helpful suggestions would be great.

Michael

Never buy the very cheapest ones, they are not very solid and not very reliable, but on the other hand theres no need to buy one of the very expenive ones with computer interface and what know i, you will probably never need it.

I also depends on how much you expect to use it, i mean if you are starting a electronics hobby and expect to use it a lot spend a little more.

If you want something that wil last you a long time you might look for one with auto scaling, and sligthly more expencive.

I don't know what the pricelevel for stuff like this is in the UK.

I bought one of these off ebay last year, I'm very pleased with it. Not very expensive but not too cheap either.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PRO-DIGITAL-MULTIMETER-AC-DC-VOLTAGE-600V-DIODE-CHECK_W0QQitemZ160409411229QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUK_BOI_Electrical_Test_Measurement_Equipment_ET?hash=item2559255e9d

I'd take the "Professional" label with a large pinch of salt. If I were professional it would be a Fluke......

Looks pretty much like mine :-)

I use a basic $30 DMM from Radio Shack. Better then the 20+ year old analog meter i was using.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103176

Personally, I've never had a problem with the el-cheapo meters from Harbor Freight (discount chinese tool vendor); they tend to last for a fairly long time, they handle light abuse, and the batteries are typically standard 9V.

Not sure how you would be able to tell if there were an issue with one, unless you already owned a quality meter (Fluke or such), then you could probably compare readings...

:)

/not a professional

The problem i had with a (very) cheap one was that the probes were really lousy, the plugs for attaching them to the meter were loose, and atfter some use the big "dial / switch" had a couple of positions that required you to switch it back and forth to "settle".

Well I was spoiled working in industry for decades always using Fluke meters. So I waited for good bargains on E-bay over the years and presently have a couple of Fluke 87s for portable use and a great Fluke model 45 bench DVM( which retailed for $800 new).

I would never pay retail for home hobby use, but the quality is not be dismissed if you ever have a chance to own a Fluke. I also have a Tektronix 2213 analog scope that is still purring along after many years. Fluke, HP, and Tektronix were the gold standard everywhere I worked.

All that being said, $30 will buy a very useful and capable new DVM these days.

Lefty

You should be able to get a decent multimeter for $30 or less (US dollars) that has capacitance, frequency and temperature features. I have a number of the below inexensive Harbor Freight multimeters so I can hook up several in a circuit to see what is going on. The only short coming of these meters for hobby use is they don't have a "beep" function when checking for circuit continuity. Decently rugged too. I'd like to have a Fluke, but can't justify the price, so settled for the $30 range meter.

I'm a big believer in the cheap Harbor Freight meters. They're "accurate enough" and you gain more from having two that you feel safe actually using than you would from the added features of a more expensive meter.

Below is the inexpensive HF multimeter measuring the servo pot output voltage (1.28v) during some servo position feedback testing. Works great. Note that this is the more expensive model ($2.99 on sale) with the little red display backlight button in the upper left corner.

Hi guys

Thanks for these replies. All very helpful. I'm glad to see that that Arduino community is so nice.

In the UK we don't have Radio Shack but we have Maplin which I guess is similar. I think I'll check out eBay first and failing that, go to Manchester's Maplin branch. I believe they have an electronics section up stairs.


Update:

I've just bought the PRO DIGITAL MULTIMETER - AC/DC VOLTAGE 600V DIODE CHECK that Pluggy suggested.

Cheers guys.

Michael

I have a Maplin meter - plenty good enough http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=46390

They sometimes have these: http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=46381 on sale - which would be nice. Not sure I'd use the pc-interface often enough to justify the exta £££

Even Maplin's cheapest multimeter (£7, sometimes on offer for £5) is fine for most uses - its conveniently small too. If you don't know what you want it might be a cheap way to start.

As you're starting out I'd suggest one little bit of advice, never leave the meter with the lead in the current range socket - if you forget you'll short circuit something the next time you use the meter - which can be annoying and expensive.

Hi MarkT

That's great advice. I've just received my copy of Make: Electronics and I think has a fairly long section of multimeter use. I can't wait for my multimeter to arrive!