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REVIEW Kyoritsu KEW1021R Multimeter | SKIL 4V Li-Ion Screwdriver

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by BlueRaven, Jun 18, 2022.

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  1. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Edit Sat 2nd July '22: Good evening all, hope you're having a fine weekend. Thanks to Agg for mentioning this review on the news page. :)
    There's a bit of discussion about CAT safety ratings for test equipment further down the thread, so I've attached a PDF of Fluke Corporation's very well written "ABC's of Multimeter Safety" to this post for anyone who needs info or a refresh on what these CAT ratings are all about. Cheers, BR

    OP begins:
    G'day all, hope you're having a fine weekend.
    As some of you may know, I started an apprenticeship (Certificate III in Electronics & Communications) at the beginning of the year, which entitled me to some reimbursement for PPE, tools, uniform etc.
    So this happened a fair while ago now...

    lol.jpg

    ... and I decided that the old melty probe tip wasn't a super-pro look. :)
    Hence acquiring a new meter as per thread title, and a new rechargeable screwdriver since it's one of the most commonly used tools in my new role as a printer technician.
    Bye bye crappy jaycar meter and ancient work-provided Bosch Ixo 3.6V driver!

    New tools_Jun 22.jpg

    Been a while since I did a review-type post, so here we go. I'll kick off with some box shots and general info.
    Kyoritsu review/thoughts follow in post #2, SKIL is in post #3 if you're not interested in the meter.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Kyoritsu DMM was purchased from WES Components (part# KEW1021R) for $109 ex GST/shipping.
    This is the wholesale price as I was able to order it via a mate who holds a trade account with WES.
    You can also get it from WES/Wagner Group's retail site for $149, or find it on ebay/amazon.

    The SKIL screwdriver was purchased from Total Tools for $69 ex GST/shipping, delivered cost was $76.76.
    Both items arrived within 48 hours, the meter from WES' store/warehouse in Ashfield and the screwdriver from the TT store at Castle Hill.
    Prompt and efficient service from both companies. :thumbup:

    Here are some box shots of both tools, listing their various features/optional acessories.
    The Kyoritsu is made in Thailand, the SKIL is made in China.
    DSC08393.JPG
    DSC08394.JPG

    Total delivered cost for both tools was a bit over $207. I should be able to claim $150 of this back, which is nice. :)
    They both feel reasonably well built and pretty nice to use based on my brief first impressions.
    Okay, that's it for the intro post, full reviews and thoughts about both tools will be posted shortly.
    Cheers, BR
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2022
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  2. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Manufacturer's product page with full specs.
    Here is everything that comes in the box with the Kyoritsu DMM:

    DSC08396_Resized.jpg
    The pleather carry case is a nice little bonus at this price point imo, it's tidily made with no loose threads etc. and a fairly sturdy zipper.
    The two black things are interchangeable "holders" which fit to the back of the meter, we'll look further at this feature in a bit.
    Note that the "Certificate of Conformity" only states that the unit was manufactured according to processes which have been audited under the ISO9001 standard... it's not a calibration certificate and has nothing at all to do with electrical/EMI/RFI conformity. It's marketing fluff, basically.
    The "certificate" informs you that you can get an actual calibration certificate from the manufacturer for an additional fee, which I reckon is a bit cheeky!

    DSC08399_Resized.jpg

    The display is large and easy to read, although the transparent front cover is quite shiny and reflective which makes taking decent photos a bit difficult. This could potentially make the display a bit hard to read in certain lighting conditions. Something like a phone screen protector might help with this, I may look into such a solution at some point if the reflectiveness starts to really bother me but I doubt it will be a huge issue. The stand integrated into the battery cover works as advertised.

    DSC08400_Resized.jpg

    The main rotary switch feels robust and well designed, with minimal play between detents. It's possibly a little bit "light duty" feeling, but it's perfectly fine for a $150 meter imo.
    The backlight is enabled by pressing the Data Hold button for ~1 second. It's effective enough in dark areas and it self-cancels after a minute or so to preserve battery life. Speaking of which...

    DSC08404_Resized.jpg

    AAA's baby! The package includes 2 x good quality Fujitsu-branded batteries, not shown earlier because I'd already installed them. No more scrabbling around for a 9V and having to tongue-test it to make sure it's good when your meter dies, just steal the batteries from the nearest IR remote or other common consumer device! :D
    You also get a good quality and easily replaceable 3AG HRC fuse for the 10A current shunt, no need to open the meter if you manage to blow it. :thumbup:

    DSC08402_Resized.jpg

    The probe leads unfortunately aren't made from that super-schmik silicone rubber insulated cable. But the PVC insulation is quite soft/flexible and feels like a reasonable compromise for the money.
    There are no irritating mould seams/sprues on the probe bodies. They're supplied with insulating caps for the tips and protective caps for the plugs and have a little Kyoritsu logo moulded in. They feel quite nice in the hand overall.

    Both the flat holder and the wing-type holder have a slot for a lanyard/strap which aligns with a similar slot on the meter body. The flat holder is basically just a vibration absorbing foot which fits to the back of the meter. The wing-type holder allows you to clip the probes into it for storage, as with other meters which have a rubber/plastic protective holster.
    Except, as always with these things, the cables are all loose and floppy if you try and use it in the most obvious way...
    DSC08405_Resized.jpg

    This is the Pro Technique, which minimises strain where the cables enter the moulded plugs:

    DSC08407_Resized.jpg

    Still fits neatly into the carry case this way:

    DSC08408_Resized.jpg

    I'm pretty impressed with this meter overall, considering what I paid for it.
    I'll add some updates down the track once I've had a chance to use it further in a professional environment, but I really don't anticipate giving this thing a poor review in future unless it blows up unexpectedly. You can see from some of the photos that the blue-green rubberised strips on the sides of the meter body are already starting to pick up dirt and smudges, but meh. A bit of workshop/worksite grime just gives the tool a bit of character doesn't it? :)

    Anyway, on to the screedroover:
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2022
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  3. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    And here's the sum total for the SKIL:

    DSC08411_Resized.jpg
    It's nice and light, and comfortable in the hand. Actuating the Forward/Reverse collar with thumb or fingers might feel a bit weird at first if, like me, you're more used to a pistol-grip/trigger style screwdriver.
    But it's certainly not uncomfortable to use, I reckon I'll adjust to it pretty quickly.

    DSC08412_Resized.jpg

    The collet is a standard 6.35mm (1/4") quick-change sleeve style arrangement which should accept most standard hex-shank accessories.
    The auto spindle lock has a little bit of play in it, but it's still easy to manually break a screw loose or nip it up to torque by turning the body of the tool. I like this feature of "inline" screwdrivers as opposed to the pistol-grip style, it feels quite natural and more like a reg'lar ol' scroodreever.

    The power drive is smooth and instantly responsive to the forward-reverse collar switch. I put the included extension bit holder in and tried to stall the motor by clamping my hand around it... slowed up a fair bit but I couldn't get it to stall without getting ouchy. I deem the output torque to be acceptable based entirely on this extremely rudimentary test, fight me. :D

    DSC08416_Resized.jpg

    The "circuit sensor" technology is a handy addition. Press the button on the side of the body once to activate the function, the LED blinks briefly and the speaker chirps to confirm it's working. Hold the button while moving the sensor near a suspected live circuit and the LED/speaker will flash and chirp continuously if AC/DC voltage is detected. Neat. :)

    DSC08418_Resized.jpg
    The dual-LED worklight is usefully bright. No issues there.

    DSC08419_Resized.jpg

    A green LED flashes while the unit is charging, and stays constantly lit at full charge.
    I actually like that they went with a cheap Figure 8 style charge cable, those of us still struggling to survive with phones that have Micro USB ports won't accidentally mistake it for a proper phone/USB data+charging cable.

    DSC08420_Resized.jpg
    The accessory bit set has a few neat little inclusions too:
    - You get an extra #2 Philips bit, because you'll always lose one eventually.
    - The magnetic extension holder is a little longer than the sort you usually find in these chuck-in sets, I can see that coming in handy.
    - The inclusion of a hex-shank pilot drill for driving screws into hardwood etc. is also nice little bonus.

    All in all, a well thought out and decently built little kit for 70-odd bucks.
    Lets see how she stands up to daily use dismantling/reassembling printers and scanners, I'll post an update in a month or two.
    Cheers, thanks for reading, ask any questions etc.
    BR
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2022
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  4. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    I didnt know this. Congratulations :thumbup:
    Thanks for the words on the kyoritsu. I've still got my kyoritsu from when I started my apprenticeship some 36ish years ago. Back then they were close to indestructible, I hope this one serves you well.

    [jaded tradie]
    In time those congratulations wane into commiserations. there is an inverse square of time in trade vs happiness of where trade has gone since starting. now get off my lawn, and don't even dream of touching those pliers ! :lol::lol:
    [/jaded tradie]
     
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  5. mtma

    mtma Member

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    Yep, never lend out your good cutting edges!
     
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  6. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Thanks mate.
    I guessed you were a jaded old spark from a few comments here and there about the place, confirmed. :)
    A mate has a really nice made-in-japan clamp meter which I've used a few times while on jobs with him, hence choosing this brand. If it sees me through my time I'll be happy enough.
    tbh, having already done the self-employed thing as an unqualified freelance technician in a van for over 10 years already, I'm very happy being back in a nice airconditioned workshop with a proper workbench and good lighting etc.
    I mean, the place is a fucking shitfight, crap everywhere, it's a workshop. But yeah... pretty happy in my clutter so far.

    And haven't I learned that the hard way. :lol:
    Edges and petrol tools. Nope, sorry mate.

    So after using the SKIL for a week or so I'm pretty happy with it.
    It hasn't done a crib death, which means I'll probably get at least a couple of years of decent use out of it, based on previous experience with cheapo tools.
    It's nice and torquey, and I really like being able to use it like a regular screwdriver to begin/end.
    It's easy to use single-handed where the orientation of the fasteners and the nature of the job suit that, or double-handed for finer work. I like it. :thumbup:

    Edit: One complaint - the bits in the included set aren't magnetised, and the magnetic holder is pretty pissweak.
    The bits won't fall out on you, but they won't easily grab screws. Need to buy myself a new long-shank philips bit and magnetise it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
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  7. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    I'm guessing from the form factor your new DMM is oriented towards electrical rather than electronics work with no dedicated mA range shunt. Be interesting to know how it stacks up to other meters for the same sector -- Hioki, for instance. Also, what's the CAT rating, and have you looked at the anti tracking and arc flash protection included internally?
     
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  8. shadowman

    shadowman Member

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    I was gifted an old Kyoritsu (manufacture date August 1982) multimeter by one of my favourite TAFE teachers during the first year of my apprenticeship in 2001, that thing is still going. It isn't my workhorse anymore, resigned to my hobby building table. I've had to replace the battery terminals on it, but other than that, works like a treat and still pretty accurate.

    They are built fantastically, as good as Fluke's but a better price point.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    It totally escaped me that there's no dedicated mA range on this meter before I purchased, something of an oversight since I've switched from electrical to electronics... d'oh.
    Thanks for pointing that out. Ratings are CAT IV 300V and CAT III 600V, so yeah, it seems to be aimed at the domestic/commercial electrician market.
    I haven't opened it up yet as I wanted to put some hours on it, make sure it didn't kick the bucket early and need to be returned. I'll do so over the weekend and get some pics.
    edit: um, no I won't because it's at work. :rolleyes: Next week then.

    What a legend teacher! :)
    I'd like to own a Fluke, but from chatting with a few people it seems that they're no longer regarded as the de-facto industry standard in electrical and electronic trades (or at least not nearly as much as they were 20 years ago).
    I have no doubt that Kyoritsu's build quality is equal to Fluke's up at the Pro end of the scale e.g. the clamp meter that I mentioned in my reply to MUTMAN which was CAT IV 1000V rated.
    Will be interesting to see how my entry-level model lasts the distance. It certainly feels nice and solid, but I'll probably fumble it onto the floor or knock it off a desk at some point which will be the Truth Test.

    2nd edit: Back to the point about CAT ratings, I was a bit hazy on the category definitions as I've never studied them in-depth, so I went and found this handy post.
    The comparison table in the rear-of-box photo also lists the KEW-1020R model which adds a CAT II 1000V rating.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2022
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  10. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    I'm sure it'll do fine for what you need it. You can pick up external mA and uA range shunts if necessary.
    CAT rating is a simplified representation of available fault current. The way I always remember it, CAT and voltage rating combined represents the amount of arc flash energy the meter is intended to contain while the voltage rating also indicates the degree of electrical potential the meter is tested to isolate against.
     
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  11. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Yeah, I figured that 6000-count with manual range select would be adequate for a Cert-III TAFE course.
    If I end up making a go of it in the electronics repair/service/design trade I'll be wanting a proper bench meter soon enough... :)

    Keynote I took away from the linked article, from Fluke's "ABCs of Multimeter Safety" which I can't believe I haven't already read:
    Neatly explained. :thumbup:
     
  12. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Maybe not. Bench meters are nice, but portables are generally more affordable, so damn handy, and usually perform well enough. Most jobs don't need a 7.5 digit Keysight or Keithley meter.
    Although they neglect the fact that many such meters will be dual rated for CAT III-600 and CAT II-1000 as the IEC specification uses the same transient voltage withstand for both (6000V). It can get complicated, and CAT ratings only go so far. That's why industries with more challenging safety conditions tend to be pretty conservative about what instruments they use -- in some cases, their experience base has been built with blood.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
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  13. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Pics of the Kyoritsu will be uploaded soonish, here's a quick glance and a question in the meantime. Cheers :)

     
  14. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

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    I don't know, but guess, the neon is for low impedance voltage measurement ??
     
  15. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    Doesn't look typical for a GDT, but maybe they're doing something creative. It certainly appears to be used for protection given the proximity with the PTCs.

    The meter's not super flashy inside, but they appear to have put isolation in where it was needed, and they've got a nice gasket around the seam in case things go sideways.
     
  16. heller44

    heller44 Member

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    Good to hear when someone is getting in to the electronics trade. So many different avenues to work in, never stop learning.

    I agree with gdjacobs about the bench meter. Get one if you want, but I live with my fluke 289 day to day instead. I find the 289 is not a good meter for field work as I find it too slow to turn on so use an old 175 instead.

    Also be careful with that kyoritsu clamp meter with any switching outputs, ie modified sine wave or vsd outputs. The reason I didn't buy one was the two that I borrowed from other techs to try were out by almost a factor of 10 compared to actual and my fluke clamp that I did end up buying. No, I can't remember what model it was, almost 15 years ago now. Just something to be aware of.
     
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  17. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Thanks for the supportive comments mate, appreciated.

    Interesting about the clamp meters, doubt I'll have a need for one any time soon but will bear it in mind if/when I buy one. :)

    A few more meter photos incoming in a bit.
    Thinking I should pull the Scroodraver apart at some stage too for shits 'n' gigs.

    (perhaps the "not calling it a screwdriver" running gag is getting a bit old at this point.
    But honestly, it's not actually a screwdriver is it? It's a wee power tool thingo... hence the string of varying names.
    I already have a bunch of screwdrivers, there's no need to review those. Most people understand how they work. :) )
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
  18. shaaeseer

    shaaeseer Member

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    Have used those Kyoritsu meters in the past and they are bloody good for the amount your paying.
    I still have a similar one and Kyoritsu analogue IR tester floating around at home for the home kit that's maybe 15 years old now. Still works fine no problems.

    Currently using a T5-1000 for basic fault finding and for further digging a 1587, probably a little over the top for most but great set of kit if you ever get the itch to upgrade.
     
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  19. OP
    OP
    BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Brute force & optimism

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    Meter pics:

    IMG20220704210225.jpg IMG20220704210312.jpg

    Definitely aimed at Sparkies, can open with #2 Philips

    IMG20220704210646.jpg IMG20220705001511.jpg

    Very robust moulded case, I was squeezing the shit out of it in that photo (note the white fingernails), only 1-2mm deflection.
    Simple and robust rotary switch design with two sprung ball bearings to provide the detent resistance.

    Front and rear views of the PCB:
    IMG20220705001632.jpg IMG20220705001716.jpg

    Reassembled and working. :)

    IMG20220705002251.jpg

    Ask any questions etc.
    Cheers,
    BR
     
  20. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    She'll do.

    Didn't realize Kyoritsu shares some models with Yokogawa which is a big manufacturer of process instrumentation.
     
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