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Old 05-31-2015, 04:25 PM   #29
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Go to a Ham Radio Swap meet and you will run across somebody selling a used Fluke or on Ebay.....The Harbor Freight are ok in an emergency...but if you are using one all the time, get one that is accurate.....I like know where my batter voltage stands exactly. Plus, I have a Fluke that has last over 20 years and it's still working fine. I picked up a new one that is automatic for 80 dollars at a swap meet. But, what you will really like is a Snap On voltage probe that lights up when there is 12volts present. That's the best for trouble shooting.
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Old 05-31-2015, 04:39 PM   #30
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I tinker a bit.. So I spent $19 on an armored HF multimeter... 2 years so far so good. I did have to "disassemble" recently to re secure some connections... Hate no fixing things.... My "junk pile" is not big!
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Old 05-31-2015, 04:53 PM   #31
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Skip junk from Harbor Freight, check out estate sales and flea markets. It's a guarantee you'll find a good Fluke meter there. Not HF cheap, but realistic!
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:55 PM   #32
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Quality is worth it. I disagree with relying on cheap. It's another thing to have several as the others can be any quality.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:57 PM   #33
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I agree on quality. I have Fluke at home. Traveling, HF.

But you really need "reliable and accurate"... And an analog (dial with needle pointer) can show you fluctuations a "digital" will miss.
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Old 05-31-2015, 10:48 PM   #34
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There are alot of different brand multimeters out there , coming from a automotive background (32years ) and specializing in electrical I have two fluke meters one a fluke 88 multimeter and second a fluke 98 scope multimeter and have never been let down by them , you get what you pay for , if the meter is innacurate what's the use in having one ,also I never loan my meters as you never know if the other person knows how to use it properly and could damage it ! Then it becomes possibly innacurate and can't trust it . With today's electronics in cars you need a good meter, in the airstreams I think a good meter is required with the new electronics tank sensors , etc .
Don
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Old 05-31-2015, 11:39 PM   #35
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Hi, as I said, I have both a Fluke and Harbor freight multi-meters; For the non-electrician checking for a tail light problem or power to his/hers seven pin connector accuracy isn't that important. Most of my career as a mechanic, I found and fixed most problems with a test light. Looking for power or lack of, use a test light. All of these people on this forum don't need a Fluke. Those of you doing it for a living, yes.
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:01 AM   #36
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I'm in agreement with several previous posts that the free Harbor Freight multimeters are worthwhile and will normally provide one with satisfactory results. I actually carry a Fluke True-RMS multimeter too, because it works best for measuring output of a modified-sinewave inverter, and is a high end meter. I've used the free Harbor Freight multimeters when that is all I had available and they are OK.

I have a pure sinewave inverter in my 2004 Airstream (for 120 volts AC), but a modified sinewave (cheaper) in my older 1968 Airstream. Unless one uses a true-RMS multimeter one cannot accurately measure the output voltage on a modified sinewave inverter. A regular multimeter will indicate about 105 volts for the AC output of a modified-sinewave inverter, whereas a true-RMS meter will indicate closer to 120 volts.

For this same reason, I firmly believe in using the more-expensive pure sinewave inverters, as some devices wont run as they should on a modified-sinewave inverter.

I've had good luck on purchasing Fluke multimeters (used, like new) on ebay for very reasonable prices. Another advantage of the Flukes is that many models have the ability to measure minimum and maximum voltages which is very helpful when trouble shooting something such as a solar system. I had a problem when my solar system didn't seem to be charging like it should, but the voltage on the solar controller panel looked normal and the fuse in the line from the solar controller to the batteries was good. Using the min/max feature on the multimeter I determined that sometimes the voltage would drop to zero for no apparent reason. That problem turned out to be a situation, which is common to solar systems, that the actual in-line fuse holder (approx. $2 at WalMart) had to be replaced. It works great after that time.

Speaking of Walmart, I purchased one of their $20 electrical repair packages that includes crimpers, multiple types of crimp lugs, etc. and have found it to very useful too. I've swapped out all my light fixtures, in two Airstreams, with LED fixtures, which really helps when you are doing extended dry camping.

The used true-rms Fluke meters on ebay start at about $40 delivered, and can go up to several hundred dollars from there. If one gets what looks like an almost new unit, with test leads, and a carrying case it should serve you very well. (some of the Flukes are appreciably larger than other units, so you might keep that in mind too, due to space considerations)
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:16 AM   #37
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Once you own a multimeter with a inductive clamp, you'll never go back to meters without a clamp. In addition to the Airstream issues we all have, I have spent the last two years refitting a 30 year old catamaran in the tropics. And being able to clamp the meter around a wire and read the values is valuable indeed.

They're not expensive, especially, but try one next time you need to buy a meter. Something like these:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...ds=clamp+meter

and as for the low end imports at Harbor Fright, I'm totally with Lewster on this one. It's not IF they'll let you down, it's just When and How bad. In refitting the boat, after a previous owner had it for six years, I've learned that whenever I find something with one of the Harbor Freight house brands on it I don't even bother to test it to see if it's working okay or not. I replace it. It's all junk and I'm amazed at people who think they're getting quality because of the bright packaging. I used to say that at least they could do an anvil or hammer with no moving or electric parts, but then I used one of the hammers and realized how soft the steel was.
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Old 06-01-2015, 10:01 AM   #38
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A friend of mine has a power equipment shop. He noted that in helping a disabled man at his home on some equipment that the mans cheap tools simply couldn't do the job. Hand tools, not electronics.

There is a lower limit of quality and HF is below that.
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:44 PM   #39
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I am an EE and 40 yrs in trade electrician. DO NOT rely on cheapo meters for mains work. they are just not designed for it . here are a couple of great links to a nutcase EE that does a $50 meter shootout , and a $100 shootout.
Very long but very educational.
https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=m...meter+shootout

https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=m...meter+shootout

https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=m...meter+shootout


https://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=m...meter+shootout

They are long but well worth watching, better than most TV today.
J.B.

I use FLUKE, GOSSAM or AGILENT sometimes all three.
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Old 06-01-2015, 05:29 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi, as I said, I have both a Fluke and Harbor freight multi-meters; For the non-electrician checking for a tail light problem or power to his/hers seven pin connector accuracy isn't that important. Most of my career as a mechanic, I found and fixed most problems with a test light. Looking for power or lack of, use a test light. All of these people on this forum don't need a Fluke. Those of you doing it for a living, yes.
AMEN! If you don't do electronics for a living, HF multimeters will tell you if a wire has voltage and it will check continuity. For the everyday AS person, that's all you need. If it's more than that and you're not into electronics, you should have someone who does look at it before you do some real damage or hurt yourself.

I have repaired more stuff with my ancient Radio Shack multimeter than you can shake a stick at. Boats, cars, motorcycles, household lighting & appliances, old radios and lots of other things. For AS use, HF multimeters are just fine for checking stuff. Mostly, it's checking fuses or to see if a wire has voltage; any, a lot or a little.
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