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Analog Multimeters

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  • Analog Multimeters

    If you’re like me, you probably have a small collection of digital multimeters (DMM) that are suited to different types of measurements. As you know, a DMM shows results as numbers on a screen while an analog meter uses a needle to show the value. Analog multimeters are a thing of the past for most of us as modern Fluke DMM’s have dominated the market over the last couple decades.

    However, working on a variable speed electric motor, I was just reminded not to discard my old analog meter. It still has its place. An analog meter has the advantage of being able to show a changing signal. Watching a needle move up or down is a lot more intuitive and easy to interpret than trying to track the changing numbers on a digital display.

    If you’re old enough to remember that Red Skelton was a TV comedian, you are probably familiar with the vintage analog models like the Simpson 260 and Triplett 630. I’ll be keeping my old Simpson.
    Last edited by AverageHomeowner; 04-30-2022, 04:07 PM.

  • #2
    IIRC, analog meters offer less resistance to the circuit, and are preferred for radio-like circuit measurements (it's been a long time, so I hope I got that right). I still have a couple of small, hand-held analog meters and one larger bench-top 'multi-meter'.



    • #3
      IMO to observe a changing signal a scope is a better tool than an analog multimeter. There are some reasonably priced small low bandwidth scopes around. I have one in my toolkit to observe waveforms on motors and inverter drives.


      • AverageHomeowner
        AverageHomeowner commented
        Editing a comment
        Agreed if you need a lot of precision or want to save the waveform for future reference. I have a hobbyist-class Picoscope I picked up on eBay. It's only 2 channels and I've been looking at the Hantek's as an inexpensive scope for 4+ channels. Some handhelds have screens that display waveforms, which might be what you have, but I prefer the USB scopes with the larger computer screens to see all the details.

      • blue_can
        blue_can commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes I'm familiar with the Picoscope. The one I have is is one which displays the waveforms on a screen and is also touchscreen. I use it in the context of HVAC field work for diagnostics. I like the portability.

        Since I also design electronics and chips for a living I use a lot of high end high speed scopes but thankfully these are usually supplied by the people I'm doing work for so I don't have to pay out $10K+ for one. I did attend a seminar a while ago where they had a drawing for a really nice Agilient high end scope which was also a spectrum analyzer but sadly I did not win it. The one I have supposedly does do FFTs and can display the spectrum of a signal. I did look at the FFT of a squarewve and it does look correct but not really good enough quality for any sort of comms system design or rf work.