Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-14-2016, 07:46 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1968 22' Safari
Tulsa , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 80
Recommended Multimeter

I've never used a multi-meter before. I've found that the best way to determine both presence and strength of current is to just grab a wire near an audiometer and measure how loud I yell "YOUCH".


Seriously, for work on Airstreams, which multimeter do our electrical gurus recommend?

Jay & Lisa

splyb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 08:11 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1995 25' Excella
xxxxx , xxxxxx
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 1,350
The free ones Harbor Freight gives away work fine for me. I have gotten 3 this year.

CRH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 08:22 AM   #3
Free Range Human
Drathaar's Avatar
2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
Currently Looking...
Twin Rocks , Oregon
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 721
Images: 4
No brand recommendation, but get a digital meter instead of analog.
Drathaar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 08:35 AM   #4
Overland Adventurer
AtomicNo13's Avatar
1991 34' Excella
2009 34' Panamerica
Telluride , Colorado
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,913
Being an Electrical Engineer.....
If I was broken down in a Harbor Freight parking lot, I would get a free on there.
Otherwise a Fluke or a Klein...nothing fancy just the basic functions. If I was at a Yard sale and came across an old Radio Shack meter, that would be ok too.
AtomicNo13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 08:51 AM   #5
Rivet Master
AWCHIEF's Avatar
2006 23' Safari SE
Biloxi , Mississippi
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8,248
Images: 33
I have at least a half dozen of the free Harbor Freight meters stached around. They work just fine until they stop and then throw it away and grab another one.

Do you know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says "You know that thing that you just did? Don't do that."
AWCHIEF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 08:54 AM   #6
Rivet Master
Belegedhel's Avatar
1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,233
If all you are looking for is volts and ohms, and are really only caring about wheather ther is voltage or not, and whether there is continuity or not, then any old cheap volt-ohm meter will work.

If accuracy is important to you (ifor example, checking wire insulation to ground and trying to determine if you have a small leak or not, or checking voltage at a campground outlet), then something more professional is in order. I have a basic fluke that has always served me well. One of my favorite "features" of a more high-end meter is that they typically have a variety of probe ends, things like screw-in alligator clips and the like, that will help you to make measurements when you don't have three hands to do the work. A Fluke 101 will run you around $50, so it isn't a major investment to have a little peace of mind.

good luck!
Belegedhel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 09:17 AM   #7
Site Team
, Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 7,042
Images: 59
If you are asking about the best all-around meter, get a True RMS Multimeter.

I use a Fluke 81438*, whch is compact and easy to use. I would only recommend a True RMS because you may be working with Inverters and other devices that don't always put out what you think they do.

*edit: this model is no longer available, but Fluke has several True RMS meters avaiiable. Search on-line.
markdoane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 10:00 AM   #8
2 Rivet Member
2011 27' FB Classic
Camp Hill , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 75
I am a big fan of only buying good quality tools. The cheap ones fail when you need him the most. So I have a fluke true RMS meter. Using a good tool is always a pleasure
LyleRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 10:42 AM   #9
Rivet Master
Wingeezer's Avatar
2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,730
I have quite a number of different ones bought over the years - none extremely expensive but also not the cheapest. I have in the past bought cheap ones and had problems with poorly designed range switches becoming faulty.

The most multimeter I bought about a year ago cost about $120 on Amazon.
It has all the usual scales including a continuity beeper that I also find handy, but is the first multimeter I have owned that incorporates a "clamp type" current meter that works not only on AC but also with DC currents.

Clamp meters that work on AC gave been around for many years, but ones that also work on DC are a fairly new innovation.

I find that having the DC clamp meter function is handy for things like trailer brake wiring - you can simply put the clamp around one of the wires feeding each brake magnet and very easily confirm & measure current flowing.

When I first got this meter I wondered how accurate the DC current measurement would be using the simple clamp as opposed to actually including an ammeter wired into the circuit. It seemed too easy to use the clamp meter that I thought their could be a downside - perhaps in accuracy.

To find out, I did a couple of tests with the clampmeter comparing its readings with simultaneous readings from a conventional ammeter, and in testing up to about 15amps DC, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the two meters matched with about 0.1 - 0.2 amps.

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
Wingeezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 11:00 AM   #10
Rivet Master
richw46's Avatar
2006 23' Safari SE
Lexington , Kentucky
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,175
Images: 6
If you aren't an electrician and have need of a couple of hundred dollar multimeter, 90% of the time you're interested in voltage and continuity. I too have the HF freebie multimeters, about 6 laying around here, and they are quite good. They are digital, easy to read and if it breaks, who cares?

I bought a Radio Shack multimeter in the early 70s, it still works, but it's analog and my weak eyes find the digital easier to read. So RS is another option if you want a little better product.

In your email you jokingly state how you currently check voltage . I would say the HF version is just right for you. If you don't follow Harbor Freight, go to one and sign up to get the coupons, watch for the free multimeter coupon, go buy something else there and get the freebie. Keep doing that so you have free meters, flashlights and other goodies. If they had a bar in there I'd be there all day There is always some kind of tool or supplies that I can use.

Rich & Yvonne
2006 Safari SE -Dora-
2004 4Runner SE

richw46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 12:05 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
damonbeals's Avatar
1998 31' Excella 1000
1979 23' Safari
Mooresville , Indiana
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 483
Originally Posted by CRH View Post
The free ones Harbor Freight gives away work fine for me. I have gotten 3 this year.
I agree I have several of the free Harbor Freight meters and they work great for the needs of your Airstream which are only 12v DC and 120V AC. If they are not free this month they are only about $5.

damonbeals is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 12:06 PM   #12
4 Rivet Member
1991 25' Excella
Stanfield , Oregon
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 317
Get a Good mid level Fluke and dont look back
SpletKay06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 01:40 PM   #13
Rivet Master
Al and Missy's Avatar

2002 30' Classic S/O
Melbourne Beach , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 2,496
Both analog and digital meters have their place. I "grew up" as an EE using a Simpson 260 analog VOM, so it is my go-to meter and needs a battery only to check resistance. I recently acquired an obsolete Fluke portable which I like and I have several of the HF units, one in the truck, one in the trailer, so I always have one around. I have had two Radio Shack units that also had counters and capacitor testers built in, but they both failed after a couple of years. If I'm at home I'll use the Simpson or the Fluke, but on the road I use the HF. The HF was good enough to diagnose low AC voltage at a KOA recently that was tripping my AC breaker.


"You cannot reason someone out of a position they have not been reasoned into"

Al, K5TAN and Missy, N4RGO
2002 Classic 30 Slideout
S/OS #004
2013 Dodge 2500 Laramie 4x4 Megacab Cummins
2001 Safari 25 RB Twin (Gone, but not forgotten)
WBCCI 1322, TAC FL-39, AIR 82265

Al and Missy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2016, 01:46 PM   #14
Rivet Master

2007 22' International CCD
Corona , California
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 3,924
Nowadays the Simpson 260 can still be had, but it costs more than a digital meter.

Bulky, but a great meter for some things.

I have a couple HF and others for knock-around use, but the go-to is a Fluke.

Sent from my pocket Internet using Airstream Forums

'The Silver HamShack' (2007 International 22FB CCD 75th Aniversary model)
Multiple Yaesu Ham Radios inside and many antennae sprouting from roof, ProPride hitch
2012 shortbed crewcab 4x4 Toyota Taco TV with more antennae on it
rmkrum is online now   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Multimeter Recommendation (to Purchase) MaineStreamer Electrical - Systems, Generators, Batteries & Solar 39 06-01-2015 04:29 PM
Gas furnace will not light. Thermocouple test with the multimeter thesignlady Furnaces, Heaters, Fireplaces & Air Conditioning 0 02-12-2015 05:23 PM
Recommended shocks for a 71 Overlander? ecomstock Shocks 17 08-17-2006 11:03 AM
Is Windish RV Ctr near Denver Recommended? sarmimi Commercial Listings 7 07-16-2005 11:27 AM
Member Recommended Repair Facilities COArgosy78 Commercial Listings 4 10-17-2003 09:31 PM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:16 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.