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Recommend me a cheap multimeter

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by mr626, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Hello all,

    As the title suggests, I'm in the market for a cheap multimeter. I only use it for really basic stuff like checking batteries, occasionally testing small appliances / kids toys etc.

    Would rather not spend more that $30 if possible. Have been looking at element14's range and there are a few 'Tenma' options at this price point, such as:

    http://au.element14.com/tenma/72-10420a/dmm-handheld-manual-3-5digit/dp/2499509

    What should I buy? And where from?

    Thanks
     
  2. ipex

    ipex Member

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    you can pick up cheapies at supercheap for around $15
     
  3. OP
    OP
    mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Maybe I should rephrase- I would like a 'cheap but good' multimeter (if that is possible :lol:). I've only ever had cheapies, but just wondering if there is a ~$30 cheapie that is better than the ~$15 ones.
     
  4. ipex

    ipex Member

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    if all you want to do is the basic stuff of checking batteries and kids toys , the cheapie will do the job , they wont compare to a fluke , but they will get you by
     
  5. OP
    OP
    mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Yeah certainly not in need of a Fluke or similar. Just wondering if there is any really good bang-for-buck units around this price range. I noticed that the Tenma units on element14 can measure temperature as well, which might be a handy feature.
     
  6. slavewone

    slavewone Member

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    Jaycar has options 9 options between $10 and $50 (and another 7 under $100).

    I was after something fairly basic and was recommended something less expensive than I would otherwise have purchased that's stood up to my pseudo/pretend tradesman role very nicely.

    hmmm
    http://www.jaycar.com.au/flux-capacitor/p/OUTATIME
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  7. booksacool1

    booksacool1 Member

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  8. OP
    OP
    mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Thanks, that's the kind of thing I am looking for.

    I think when I get a change I'll watch this- meant to be a good round up of some cheaper units:

     
  9. ShadowBurger

    ShadowBurger Member

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    there's a tiny one at jaycar for under $10 that I got a while back just for my quadcopter field kit... I compared it's voltage readings with a Fluke and it's spot on. Can't speak for its other measurements.
     
  10. Alby1976

    Alby1976 Member

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    I have the jaycar cheapy, works well, just has very thin wires to the probes.
    I'm an auto elec, and have an expensive one too, but for a cheapy around the house, it does fine, and does more than I need it to do, wouldn't go using the 240v side of it tho.
     
  11. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Ha, I love watching EEV Dave rant about this stuff. Such a pedant. I mean, I totally get it - I care about things with equal enthusiasm when it comes to my work place, but for home use I don't need anywhere near the accuracy or cost of more expensive devices.

    I've got a 10 year old Dick Smith multimeter that cost me something like $20 at the time, and just this week I bought a $15 capacitor tester off eBay from China. Both are ample for my needs (most complex thing I do is retro console and CRT repair, and some basic gamepad hacking/wiring for game controllers). I'm not interested in spending $80+ on expensive gear for my needs, no matter how much EEV Dave hates cheap testers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  12. l_ QuadX_l

    l_ QuadX_l Member

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    Been using a dt830b digital multimeter I bought years ago (from Jaycar i guess??) for over 5 years, it's only about $5 new on Ebay. Great for 12volt testing on car batteries, which i mostly bought it for. Been testing some AG10 (1.55v) watch batteries at home recently with it but found it pretty inaccurate for low voltage batteries. I only mention my experience because if someone else can find a reasonably accurate and cheap-ish watch battery tester i may consider buying one as well :thumbup:
     
  13. samus

    samus Member

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    I have a few, my current "cheap" favourite is the uni-t UT61E. The E is important, the others in the range are different. 20K count if that's important to you.

    around $70 from China/HK. Not for 240v either, it says cat 3 but its really, really not.

    Also showing my love for EEVBlog, Dave literally lives and works up the road from me.

    Head on over to the EEV forums, there are lots of threads about cheaper DMM's there.

    EDIT: http://myworld.ebay.com/f-t-2000/

    Frankie is the man when it comes to this stuff. I use his leads on all my multimeters. He was also on the eevblog recently. Top bloke.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  14. Esposch

    Esposch Member

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    What are you using it for? I've gotten away with a Jaycar cheapie ($10, + $7 for aftermarket probes) for years.

    Mind you, I'm using it for basic repair work and 5V-ish range electronics projects.
     
  15. partybear

    partybear Member

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    The only thing you need to do to a cheap one to make it good is really just replace the cables they come with. The cables one I bought came with were made with like 30 awg wire with a huge amount of insulation around it to make it look thicker haha.
     
  16. wpra3

    wpra3 Member

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    I second this, I owned exact same model and it works flawlessly.
    My only problem with them is the continuity function is rather slow, bit it is expected from this price range.
    It also comes with a thermal probe
     
  17. OP
    OP
    mr626

    mr626 Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. As mentioned, just using it for basic stuff around the home really. I had a really cheap one that lasted for years but it's failed, so looking to replace it. Since I was replacing it anyway I thought I'd see what reasonable options are out there at the cheaper end of things.

    So far Vichy VC97 seems to be the frontrunner, but I'll do a little more research first.
     
  18. Life_Essence

    Life_Essence Member

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    If you're going to test Amperes at least get one with a fuse, preferably a proper HRC fuse but even a glass fuse one will do if you wanna be real cheap. Past that the accuracy of even crappy cheap meters are good enough for the type of stuff you're doing.

    I have like 10 multimeters, one >$250 one and nine <$10 ones and the <$10 are just fine for what I use them for which for the most part is just reading voltages (because sometimes you just need to read ten voltages at the same time)
     
  19. vk2fro

    vk2fro Member

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    I have the Tenma 72-7735 of which I cant remember what it cost, nor where i got it, I suspect ebay and guess it cost around $40.

    The nice thing about this meter is it has an optical link to serial port (so isolated) so you can log readings to a laptop.

    It also has a nice loud continuity buzzer, some of the cheapies are too quiet.

    Its readings compare well with a friends fluke which cost 10x as much and doesnt have the computer link.

    With some simple code on an arduino or raspberry pi, you could add on to the meter to turn it into a data logging unit, writing the readings to an sd card which you could then import into your software of choice to graph the results.
     
  20. desertstalker

    desertstalker Member

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    IMO the major reason to get a higher end meter is safety. You can use a fluke or whatever on high energy circuits and be confident that a small mistake is not going to result in the meter exploding in your hands (the arcs the cheap ones are likely to produce can cause severe burns even through the plastic case).

    If you are sticking to devices at low power levels (and voltages) then the cheapies are fine (assuming they are accurate enough, but frankly 1% is probably fine).
     

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