Multimeter Advice......

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by amp boy, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. amp boy

    amp boy Member

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    Hey Folks,

    I am looking to get a multimeter, and would appreciate some recommendations of what to look for.
    I have never used on before, and am looking to get into working and understanding guitar and amp electronics.
    So far i have picked up a Hakko soldering iron, and will be picking up hand tools as needed. I have some of the basics already.
    I believe investing in a quality iron was a good choice, and am now looking to do the same with a multimeter.

    What do i need in a multimeter for guitar and amp/speaker cab work ??

    Any recomendations, and why ??
    I'll most likely be buying used off ebay, since i cannot find anything in Toronto......damn box stores and knock off markets !!!!
    There is one pro tool place i know of...the only place that knew what a hand reamer was for wood working. I'll check there sometime, but the price would be over me most likely.

    hope yer all having a fine day, thank you kindly for your time.


    - Amp Boy, ........ahhhh superman is no match for this wall of sound !!!:thud
     
  2. RussB

    RussB low rent hobbyist Silver Supporting Member

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    I am very happy with my Fluke 87 and 83-V

    These are both auto-rangeing true RMS meters. They tolerate mistakes without nary a flinch, for instance when you try to measure DC voltage while the selector is set to read resistance
     
  3. wyatt

    wyatt Member

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    I have a Fluke 110 that has served me well so far, though I've been hearing grumbles about more and more dying prematurely, and they are expensive if they have to be replaced. Autorange is a nice fast feature, but sometimes it requires getting in there and forcing a range.

    You want AC voltage, DC voltage, continuity, resistance, capacitance, if you get one that does transistor gain levels (hFE), it works great for pedals.

    The Victor Weber sells seems nice and versatile for a midrange piece.
     
  4. DC1

    DC1 Member

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  5. mark norwine

    mark norwine Member

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    I'm a "Fluke man"......nothing else.

    Whatever you decide, make sure it's fused.
     
  6. Trout

    Trout Member

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    If I were a novice,

    I would buy several el-cheapo multimeters rather then spend the extra coin on a mid - high grade fluke.

    Base the purchase on how often you plan on using it, Since most meters in the $5-$50 use the same basic technology and components, they are generally speaking up to the task.

    Read this article,
    Meter Use

    I bought 10 of the Cen-techs from Harbor Freight $2.99 each on an in-store sale and they do indeed read within 1% of each other. They come in several case colors which I also find useful for in circuit monitoring/testing. Leads are where you want to spend the extra savings, I love the long probe style mini grabbers.
     
  7. Gene

    Gene Member

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    I currently use the Fluke 289 because I also restore and calibrate Nakamichi cassette decks now for fun. Guitar amps don't really need this kind of accuracy.

    I used a Sears Craftsman 82175 and still do and it does the job very well for guitar amps. It is rated to 1000v which I recommend. A Seymour Duncan amp is over 600v on the plate of the power tubes.
     
  8. Roundtone

    Roundtone Member

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    +1 on the mini grabbers - worth their weight in gold
     
  9. mbratch

    mbratch Member

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    I would agree with that but with the caveat to choose the "cheapo" meter or meters wisely. I bought a cheaper meter (Radio Shack) only to find out it would not measure electrolytic caps at all, even though it did standard caps. And it would not measure resistance as low as I wanted to for standard amp work. I ended up buying a used Fluke. I bought the Fluke for < $100. The buttons were worn, and the battery lid cracked. I was able to order these parts for total of < $10 on Fluke's website.

    But there are good meters out there cheaper than Fluke, if you research carefully.
     
  10. dtube

    dtube Member

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    I've had bad experiences with the cheap meters. Each one I owned eventually died of the same cause: arcing in the traces. They were fine for basic resistance and continuity; but lots of high voltage readings later, they would start arcing across the traces around the selector mechanism. I now have a Fluke 187 for portable and a 8040 on the bench. Both are still working fine after more than 8-yrs - I have not regretted either purchase.
    -Darren
     
  11. FrankieSixxxgun

    FrankieSixxxgun Member

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    Basically if the label says Fluke you're good to go. I have a Craftsman meter that I bogarted from a friend. I hear they're made by the same manufacturer who does Fluke. Works pretty good.
     
  12. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

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    I bought a "reletively inexpensive" Extech brand MM from Radio Shack. It was about 80$. I tested it against my Fluke 88 I use at work and it seemed fine for the stuff Im doing with amps(bias, minor troubleshooting) Bob
     
  13. voodoo364

    voodoo364 Member

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  14. BillyJoeJimBob

    BillyJoeJimBob Member

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    Check ebay for a Fluke 77. Try and get the older one (series II) that's "square" looking and not the new "inverted triangle" shape (series III)...(yeah, they're both square actually, but the new one has kind of a goofy look to it). They're both great meters but I think the older one might be a little better - but I never managed to break the new one. I was a metrologist for three years at a company that owned 1000s of 77s - both series. Never had a single one fail a calibration. Anyway, they're cheap and plentiful on ebay cuz the 77 was the "standard" meter at about a zillion companies around the world... so many made it home with employees and many saw very light use. It's a basic 3.5 digit guy that will never let you down.
     
  15. DC1

    DC1 Member

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    The only negative for used meters is that the meter will outlive the company's willingness to repair it and provide parts.

    My Fluke 8060A was my studio and field stalwart for more than a decade. Then one day it needed a power switch. NLA and no service/support available from Fluke or anyone else...

    :mob

    I bypassed the switch and use it on the bench and bought a new 115. It's very nice and was about 120.00 USD


    dc
     
  16. Trout

    Trout Member

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    I am still an advocate of the Cheapies when it comes to guys are just starting out.
    One or two mistakes get costly and repair/warranty down time sucks.

    I keep 8-10 cheapo's around all the time, @ $2.99 each you figure that $35.00 covers the cost of 10 meters easily.
    In fact, Harbor Freight has them on sale again $2.49 which is a steal.
    If you need capacitance read capability, they have a cheap-o for that as well.

    My original post to the OP was more a trip over to read about meter use and lead choices. I use those Cen Techs daily. I have had 3 fail in 2 years, 2 were dead wafer batteries, 1 was human error.
    NEVER Connect the meter set 200X ohm scale to read plate voltage! they seem to not like that
    :jo

    I agree though, Fluke is one of the Best! as long as the boss is footing the bill :AOK
     
  17. stoneattic

    stoneattic Member

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    I know I'm bringing back a thread form the dead, but I recently picked up the Craftsman 82175 mentioned above. Of course it comes in one of those blister packs so you can't test it in the store.

    So when I try it out at home I'm surprised how quiet the continuity buzzer is. I can't hear it over casual conversation or pretty much anything unless it's silence.

    I'm going to be returning it. Assuming this is normal for this model, can anyone suggest a similar meter that has a reasonably loud buzzer?

    I want at least 1000v
     
  18. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Member

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    I don't hear those things either but it's because I have a mid range hearing loss from too much jet noise on the flight line. So now I look at the needle on an analog device.
     

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