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Old 05-31-2015, 11:48 AM   #15
Setats
 
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I agree with the Fluke. Buy a good basic one, take care of it and it Will last a lifetime. I would not want to risk an expensive rig to an inexpensive meter. Only takes one bad reading to ruin your day.
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:52 AM   #16
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If you have no electrical test equipment, I would suggest three items:
- Multimeter
- Non-contact voltage tester
- AC Receptacle Tester

Home Depot sells a kit by Klein with these three:
Klein Tools Electrical Analog Multimeter Test Kit-69149 - The Home Depot

Milwaukee Tools also sold a similar kit but I think it is discontinued (I have one of these). I really like the Milwaukee Tools Auto Voltage/Continuity Tester multimeter as it is very simple to use:
Auto Voltage/Continuity Tester W/ Resistance | Milwaukee Tool


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Old 05-31-2015, 12:06 PM   #17
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I pick up the Harbor Freight free meters and keep several in "stock" to give away to people who don't have any meter and would like one. They seem to work OK for casual use.

I am a long time Fluke meter user though, and it is my meter of choice for the rather extensive electrical diagnostics and work I do on solar systems. In fact I have three Flukes, one in each car, and one in the house. But they are not necessary for most people. Sears, Home Depot, Lowe's, HF, and even Walmart have decent inexpensive digital meters for occasional use.
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Old 05-31-2015, 12:25 PM   #18
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Is there any need to test with a multimeter the AC power at a campground before plugging in?
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Old 05-31-2015, 12:35 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBBeaubeaux View Post
Is there any need to test with a multimeter the AC power at a campground before plugging in?
Absolutely, in fact get and use a circuit tester for voltage, polarity and proper grounding. Low voltage is very common at campgrounds and can be an appliance killer.
Something like this,
Amazon.com: Prime Products 12-4058 AC Power Line Monitor: Automotive

There are many different options available.
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Old 05-31-2015, 12:43 PM   #20
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I had a cheap one from Harbor Freight. The leads literally melted when testing a 24v battery (2 12 v in series). I believe I had the unit set for 12 v. So I got one of these from HD. It was on sale, but here is is from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Klein-Tools-MM.../dp/B00EO2HFPI There is a slight delay when connecting the leads (since it auto ranges). It seems very well made and good for novices.
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Old 05-31-2015, 12:43 PM   #21
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General Purpose Multimeter

When I was working, I had a fluke T5 1000 that was sufficient for most of my needs. But you won't need a voltage requirement like that one at 1000V in a non-industrial application. You would want a clamp meter to be able to assess current draw through the current carrying conductor. Very useful to assess your amp-hour requirements for RV battery and inverters/converters. Make up a 3 wire extension cord of about 1 foot length with #14 stranded wires and a 120V 15A connector at one end and plug at either end. This is a very useful device whenever you need to determine current draw on any 120V appliance in home or RV. Just clamp meter around either current carrying conductor to check amperage.
The only problem with the clamp meter I used was that it did not have a high resolution to read fractions of an ohm accurately, but I don't think this would matter in most cases anyway. Check the specs on the one you may want to purchase. You can get a good, cheap analog multimeter at Home Depot, Lowes etc for $20 or less I think. These are nice to have for battery voltage checks, low resistance readings, continuity etc.

Another very useful tool is a voltage detector. Gives an audible and visual signal when voltage is present but does not indicate voltage measurement. You can determine if there is voltage present in any unshielded conductor without needing to access termination points.

http://www.amazon.com/Fluke-323-True.../dp/B00AQKIEXY
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Old 05-31-2015, 12:47 PM   #22
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I found that I miss the 'continuity' function on my newest multi-meter. If you have a choice try to get that because it is the fastest way to check for a grounded hot wire or a break. Also if you can, get a set of alligator clips with the meter plug in ends. Trying to hold the pointy things and read the meter while standing on you head .....you'll see that one day, I guarantee!

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Old 05-31-2015, 12:49 PM   #23
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Go ahead and go cheap

I bought a Radio Shack kit back in the early 70's (had to solder all the internal parts), still works great today.
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Old 05-31-2015, 01:01 PM   #24
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Every time I see the free Meter at Harbor Freight I pick one up. Keep one in the trailer and garage. Pretty good meter for the price!
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Old 05-31-2015, 02:27 PM   #25
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Multimeter

You get what you pay for. I was given one of the harbor units from my Dad it was never accurate trying to monitor battery charging was very frustrating. I now have a Klein very happy with it. I have a friend in the Xray repair business and he checked it against his high dollar instruments and found it to be very accurate within its limits. I paid about $120.00 at home depot. Rand
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Old 05-31-2015, 02:35 PM   #26
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I had a Fluke when I was doing cabling and IT, was great until it disappeared when we moved to Florida. (Don't loan tools out)

Harbor Freight is cheap for sure. But it's also a boys store, so easy to spend money galore in there. Yeah it's cheap, but I can get this and this and this and this and I have 4 coupons!!! LOL
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:50 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBBeaubeaux View Post
Is there any need to test with a multimeter the AC power at a campground before plugging in?
Hi, I have a polarity tester and a Kill-A-Watt in my trailer plugged in at all times. [located in my kitchen for easy monitoring]
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:56 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by AWCHIEF View Post
Absolutely, in fact get and use a circuit tester for voltage, polarity and proper grounding. Low voltage is very common at campgrounds and can be an appliance killer.
Something like this,
Amazon.com: Prime Products 12-4058 AC Power Line Monitor: Automotive

There are many different options available.

Hi, this is another great choice.
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