Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
imported post

I'm looking to get my first multi meter. I would like opinions on a good one thats not expensive.

I don't have electrical experience but am looking to get some.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,183 Posts
imported post

People will tell you the Harbor Freight ones are as good as gold, but I use a meter everyday for work, and buy nothing but Fluke meters.

Buy what you need for now, but hit the pawn shops from time to time and see if you can score a sweet deal on a good used entry level Fluke.

Last year I found a $1600 Fluke meter calibrator for $159, turned it over on ebay for $960. You should find a good one for less than $30 to $40 if you get lucky.

Just make sure you check the price they are asking versus what one costs on Amazon, and try to get it for half or less of Amazon price.
 

·
Vintage Rider
Joined
·
2,410 Posts
imported post

At work I have a $600+ Fluke meter, though I don't really need it and all it's features. And it is digital. I do not like digital. First off, I just don't like digital anything, but have learned to deal with my PC and basic cell phone. My personal meter is an older but decent quality clamp on AWS, also known as AW Sperry. It is an analog meter, with a scale and a needle. If you can still get these, I highly recommend them. I believe this one was $50-$60 including a very sturdy case. With the analog meters, you don't get false readings from bleed over voltage, or readings from something that should be dead for any reason. They are way too sensitive, and will show half a volt or less on a completely dead wire.

On the other hand, those little rectangular boxes for less than $20 are pretty much junk no matter what kind they are. I've broken lots of them.

Here's the one I recommend. It's a little different from mine, But as far as I know, it is still the only high quality analog meter out there, it would be accurate, and properly taken care of will last a lifetime. It is fuse protected so if you do accidentally short it out somehow, it just blows the fuse. The clamp is an inductive pickup for reading amps, and even if you don't use it very often, it is a great way to hang the meter on something. The only problem is price. It retails for about $90, But, it will outlast a truck load of those little $10-$20 ones. If you do much electrical work, it will become one of your most often used tools. It works on 12V AC and DC, and up to 600V AC It reads amps, ohms, and volts.

http://www.sperryinstruments.com/product/spr300plus
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
815 Posts
imported post

Here in spain you can get a basic chinese made one for less than $10.

I think that is all you need.

As long as it measures volts, resistance and current.

Is robust and has strong leads clear display.
 

·
Premium Member
1985 GL1200 Limited Edition
Joined
·
3,483 Posts
imported post

I've never used a Fluke meter but I've heard they are a good meter. Me... I'm a Simpson 260 kinda guy!! However, my suggestion is for you to buy 2 multimeter's. One,, an analog type meter with the mechanical display that you can purchase for about $12.00 and alsoa digital display multimeter for around $20.00-$30.00. Why both? You're just learning how to use one and won't be out too much money if you accidently burneither oneup and more importantly, in some troubleshooting situations you're better off with one typeover the other!!! For what you're doing, they are accurate enough in my opinion!!I would suggest some price checking is in order at Wal-Mart's andyour local parts stores is in order to get the best buy for your present needs.



Good Luck and don't hesitate to ask for help with your new meter's:coollep::coollep:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
imported post

There is nothing wrong with a Harbor Freight Digital Voltmeter. What you are gonna use it for, it is perfect and no need for the more expensive ones. $3 is all your out if you burn it up.

I use a fluke at work for everyday usage. HF's are made for the homeowner who will occasionally use a meter to check things. And believe it or not, the HF is pretty accurate.

For my motorcycle, all I need is to read approx. 6v to 15v (battery and working voltage), approx. Ohms (if there isresistance ornot, don't care how much most of the time)and an occasional Amp. (more like milliamp). The HF's are great for that.

So if you are gonna use it all thetime...go ahead and spend the $200-$600 for a good Fluke, Simpson, etc. But forworking on the bikeoccasionally, the HFworks perfect.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,142 Posts
imported post

roscoepc wrote:
I've never used a Fluke meter but I've heard they are a good meter. Me... I'm a Simpson 260 kinda guy!! However, my suggestion is for you to buy 2 multimeter's. One,, an analog type meter with the mechanical display that you can purchase for about $12.00 and alsoa digital display multimeter for around $20.00-$30.00. Why both? You're just learning how to use one and won't be out too much money if you accidently burneither oneup and more importantly, in some troubleshooting situations you're better off with one typeover the other!!! For what you're doing, they are accurate enough in my opinion!!I would suggest some price checking is in order at Wal-Mart's andyour local parts stores is in order to get the best buy for your present needs.



Good Luck and don't hesitate to ask for help with your new meter's:coollep::coollep:
Simpson-that reminds me of when guys would test the circuit that fires off the extinguisher bottle squibson the aircraft enginesduring hanger maint. On one particular craft (BAE-146) the "sqibs" would fire off inadvertently, discharging the bottle if a mechanic accidentally used a Simpson over a Fluke as the Simpson actually put a small amount of current into the circuitto check resistance.
Not sure but I believe that's true for all analog meters so in many cases the Fuke is required as it wasin the case of that aircraft. Simpsons are excellent meters however and also pricey. Anyway just pointing out that on occasionthere are specific reasons to use either (digital v analog.)
The reason I would shy away from the HF meter is I've had several inexpensive meters over the years that seem less durable and have had issues such asthe leads breaking internally where they plug into meter causing poor connections and equally poor readings. I would try to think beyond what you need it for now and purchase a meter that is more versatile in the future. In other words features like an inductive clamp, HZ(freq.) readings etc. may come in handy in the future depending on the work you do both on and off bike. I actually use a 12v testlight for most electrical trobleshooting on the bike.
I like fluke, but also have meters by Ideal. Point is most professional meters seem indestructible compared to a cheapie. That's not to say I would't buy a HF to put in my travel trunk-at$3 whattya have to lose? (I mean besides the $3).;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
815 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,382 Posts
imported post

For 12 volt bike stuff I carry a cheap $10-$15 digital but at work where I test up to 600 volts I use my Fluke.

I knowsomeone that had a cheap meter blow up when connected to a 600 volt circuit in an industrial setting. He was badly burned and off work six months.

Meters are designed and built to various service categories. Fluke also tests theirs to the power category for which they are designed. The cheap ones are never tested to any standard.

The manufacturer of the meter that blew up said it was only designed for household use (Max 240V). So why did they put a 1000 volt range on it?

Digital as others have said will pick up minute stray readings but they are more rugged because they have no moving parts. Analogue meters allow you to follow the sweep of the needle and interpret readings. With experience that can tell you a lot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
127 Posts
imported post

Snorebaby wrote:
There is nothing wrong with a Harbor Freight Digital Voltmeter. What you are gonna use it for, it is perfect and no need for the more expensive ones. $3 is all your out if you burn it up.

I use a fluke at work for everyday usage. HF's are made for the homeowner who will occasionally use a meter to check things. And believe it or not, the HF is pretty accurate.

For my motorcycle, all I need is to read approx. 6v to 15v (battery and working voltage), approx. Ohms (if there isresistance ornot, don't care how much most of the time)and an occasional Amp. (more like milliamp). The HF's are great for that.

So if you are gonna use it all thetime...go ahead and spend the $200-$600 for a good Fluke, Simpson, etc. But forworking on the bikeoccasionally, the HFworks perfect.
+1 :thumbsup:
 

·
Monkey with a Football
Joined
·
19,237 Posts
imported post

Tracker1954 wrote:
Snorebaby wrote:
There is nothing wrong with a Harbor Freight Digital Voltmeter. What you are gonna use it for, it is perfect and no need for the more expensive ones. $3 is all your out if you burn it up.

I use a fluke at work for everyday usage. HF's are made for the homeowner who will occasionally use a meter to check things. And believe it or not, the HF is pretty accurate.

For my motorcycle, all I need is to read approx. 6v to 15v (battery and working voltage), approx. Ohms (if there isresistance ornot, don't care how much most of the time)and an occasional Amp. (more like milliamp). The HF's are great for that.

So if you are gonna use it all thetime...go ahead and spend the $200-$600 for a good Fluke, Simpson, etc. But forworking on the bikeoccasionally, the HFworks perfect.
+1 :thumbsup:
+2

And if you don't want to trust what you read on the HF meter, buy more than one so you have a fallback unit to verify the other. Two for less than $10? What was the question again?

I too prefer the analog meters. I keep a couple of old Microanta units around but it's hard to beat what you get with your simple HF units and living life in a saddle box year round is not the best thing for electronics. Especially if you paid a lot of money for it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
210 Posts
imported post

Snorebaby wrote:
There is nothing wrong with a Harbor Freight Digital Voltmeter. What you are gonna use it for, it is perfect and no need for the more expensive ones. $3 is all your out if you burn it up.

I use a fluke at work for everyday usage. HF's are made for the homeowner who will occasionally use a meter to check things. And believe it or not, the HF is pretty accurate.

For my motorcycle, all I need is to read approx. 6v to 15v (battery and working voltage), approx. Ohms (if there isresistance ornot, don't care how much most of the time)and an occasional Amp. (more like milliamp). The HF's are great for that.

So if you are gonna use it all thetime...go ahead and spend the $200-$600 for a good Fluke, Simpson, etc. But forworking on the bikeoccasionally, the HFworks perfect.
I agree! If you make your living using a meter get the best. For working on your bike the HF is fine. Buy 3 for under $190 and keep one on board for issues on the road



Don
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,642 Posts
imported post

I have several meters myself, all no name brand but like most we have nothing but Fluke meters here at work. I have a digital meter that I bought when I was going through tech school and it still works today. I have checked it and the other 3 meters I have against the calibrated Fluke and they are all well within what I would call acceptable. I too have an analog meter, there are just some things you can do with an analog meter that you can't do with a digital one......

The Harbor freight one will do most everything you want unless you are going to try and do some really high current measurments..

And yes I carry a small one in my saddlebag.
 

·
Piled Higher and Deeper
Joined
·
4,513 Posts
imported post

Rudy wrote:
Tracker1954 wrote:
Snorebaby wrote:
There is nothing wrong with a Harbor Freight Digital Voltmeter. What you are gonna use it for, it is perfect and no need for the more expensive ones. $3 is all your out if you burn it up.

I use a fluke at work for everyday usage. HF's are made for the homeowner who will occasionally use a meter to check things. And believe it or not, the HF is pretty accurate.

For my motorcycle, all I need is to read approx. 6v to 15v (battery and working voltage), approx. Ohms (if there isresistance ornot, don't care how much most of the time)and an occasional Amp. (more like milliamp). The HF's are great for that.

So if you are gonna use it all thetime...go ahead and spend the $200-$600 for a good Fluke, Simpson, etc. But forworking on the bikeoccasionally, the HFworks perfect.
+1 :thumbsup:
+2

And if you don't want to trust what you read on the HF meter, buy more than one so you have a fallback unit to verify the other. Two for less than $10? What was the question again?

I too prefer the analog meters. I keep a couple of old Microanta units around but it's hard to beat what you get with your simple HF units and living life in a saddle box year round is not the best thing for electronics. Especially if you paid a lot of money for it.
+3

and if you can't find it, go buy another one!!! (my wife hates that).. Seriously, they work fine.... amazing what you can get for a few bucks...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
62 Posts
imported post

I agree that the HF unit will do you just fine if you are just using it for the bike and around the house. I use the better meters at work but there is no need for them at home unless you really need to spend the extra money.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,173 Posts
imported post

Bought one at autozone for 29 bucks not the best on the shelf and not the worst it works fine My buddy that bought the 1200 from Bakersfield is a commercial electrician. He use nothing but Fluke and Klein stuff. When I did all of my checks his read exactly the same as mine. But there is no way I could use mine for what he does. Fluke is the best but it is probably a little overkill for what we use it for.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,173 Posts
imported post

and if you can't find it, go buy another one!!! (my wife hates that).. Seriously, they work fine.... amazing what you can get for a few bucks...

Yep I believe in tha.t If you can't find something then the best thing to do is go buy another one. The lost item will then turn up.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
imported post

Thanks for the input guys!

I read through all the posts and am going to read 'em again and weigh the options.

I had no idea the price spectrum was so wide, from $3.00 to over a thousand!

Lots of good points here to consider. Thanks again!
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top