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  • Please recommend a good multimeter

    I'm looking for a good digital multimeter that can measure: ac/dc voltage, ohms, amps up to 20. Being a homebrewer, I would also like to measure temperature of a liquid, up to about 175F, so having a probe that I can waterproof, maybe using shrink tubing, would be a huge plus.

    I had a craftsman that ended up dying after about 8 years, and my dad gave me a cheap HF multimeter that died in a month.

    There is an electrical supply store a mile away that has a well-stocked parts counter frequented by electrical contractors, and I've bought miles of cable from them. Not sure what brands of multimeters they carry, but wouldn't mind giving them some business after I get some ideas from here and from there.

    Any recommendations? Thanks.

  • #2
    Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

    It all depends on what you want to spend. You can't go wrong with Amprobe, Extech or Fluke, any of which will cost you about $200.00 for the least expensive and probably won't have a temperature measurement. You can handle that two ways: buy the temp. probe accessory or a stand alone non-contact infrared thermometer for about $80.

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    • #3
      Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

      You can't go wrong with a Fluke. I have the 179. It has a temp sensor with a wire that's about 3' long. It reads capacitance, (very handy for motor guys) reads amps up to 10A, I have never seen one that would go beyond that. Gives min/max and avg voltages. Tests diodes and other things including frequency. Not to mention AC/DC voltage.
      Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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      • #4
        Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

        I knew Fluke was a good brand, but the prices...yikes! Anything around $50 that fits my requirements?

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        • #5
          Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

          Originally posted by JoePolvino View Post
          Being a homebrewer...
          Me too.
          Avoid non-contact infrared thermometers for wort temp - they only measure reflected surface temps. I use a simple digital probe thermometer designed for HVAC dudes. Reads fast, real accurate, easy to sterilize.

          As for the DVM... you want a good one, but in the fifty buck range? Kinda contradictory, dontcha think?
          "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

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          • #6
            Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

            Originally posted by Doctordeere View Post
            Me too.
            Avoid non-contact infrared thermometers for wort temp - they only measure reflected surface temps. I use a simple digital probe thermometer designed for HVAC dudes. Reads fast, real accurate, easy to sterilize.

            As for the DVM... you want a good one, but in the fifty buck range? Kinda contradictory, dontcha think?
            I want a more accurate measurement of my mash temps with the cooler lid closed. My floating thermometer is a PITA. I'd also like to verify oven/fridge/freezer temps.

            By "good" I mean it should satisfy my requirements, and be able to give me at least 15 years of service, being used maybe a couple times a month. I'd have a real hard time justifying anything north of $50!

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            • #7
              Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

              Check this one out.

              Tenma 2,000 Count 3-1/2 Digit Multimeter DMM w/Temperature | 72-7725 (727725) | Tenma

              I've purchased a few Tenma multimeters through the years and have had good luck with them.
              Last edited by Doctordeere; 02-23-2012, 05:28 PM. Reason: spelling correction
              "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

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              • #8
                Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                Quite honestly. For all you want one to do, Quality and fifty bucks shouldn't be used in the same sentence. And when you find anything made today that will last fifteen years just setting on the shelf, you have done the impossible.
                Frequently asked questions about pumps and tanks.

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                • #9
                  Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                  Fluke is all we use in the engineering labs.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                    I've been very content with this Multimeter 920 Automotive DMM

                    I've had it over 15 years and had to replace fuses in the current measuring circuit a few times due to my own stupidity, otherwise very reliable. Bought new leads for it a while ago. It came with a thermocouple that I have never used so I cannot comment on temp measurement.

                    This model is an automotive meter. I'm sure they have others that might be more appropriate for your purposes.

                    This one is much more than $50, but was much less than comparable fluke or snapon/bluepoint when I purchased it.
                    This is my reminder to myself that no good will ever come from discussing politics or religion with anyone, ever.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                      I'm NOT an electrician, but have been dealing with "electricity" since about 1960. I hold an Extra Class Amatuer Radio license, have wired quite a few "house" electric circuits, troubleshooted morel, and have put in my own service here in Painted Post. All have passed electical inspection. (I've also built a couple of radio and power supplies and construct my own antenna systems.)

                      I think all the recommendations and comments I've read here are right-on... Fluke meters are unquestionably about the best for the applications that you describe. But like you, they are out of the budget range for me. I don't have a recommendation, as there are more multi-meters out there than I could possibly know. But, I wanted to ask what or why you've blown or broke a couple of meters yourself and what were you doing when they failed?

                      Just curious, but I've never had a meter fail on me, beyond maybe cracking the meter cover/lens, and even then the meter still worked. Maybe I just haven't attempted to measure some high amperage load or whatever. I did have an old VTVM that died a long time ago, but it was from the late 40's or early 50's (someone gave it to me). I think the caps were just dried out. I still have a little Radio Shack pocket VOM from the late 60's and a larger bench-type analog from the 70's... they both still work. I have a couple pocket digital meters that eat batteries, but they still work too. And, I have a Craftsman digital and a couple of HF digitals (the freebe one's) and a cheap little Perry analog that came in a kit. I've used them for normal home electrical work (up to 220 Volts), checking batteries, resistor loads, continuity, and with a couple that have the capability, transistor and diode tests. But they all still work.

                      I've not seen a 20-amp capable meter, but then I'm always just buying "cheap". Likewise, I don't have a need for a temp capability within the meter as I really don't have that need. But, I think even the cheapest meter can handle most of my electrical needs today, providing it's sturdy and meets UL Listing requirements.

                      In any case, I was wondering what caused the failure on your meters?

                      Thanks,

                      CWS
                      Last edited by CWSmith; 02-24-2012, 01:13 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                        I am have always been a huge fan of the fluke, a 77 at first, and the a 115, they are not cheap but you get what you pay for. Milwaukee makes meters now and am not sure of the price, but since that is a consideration possibly look into the greenlee brand, or even GB.Good luck.
                        Their are a hundred ways to do something right, but only one way to do it wrong

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                        • #13
                          Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                          How about this one? A Fluke T5-600 or T5-1000 measures both AC and DC voltage, resistance to 1000ohms and amperage to 100amps. Fluke T5-600 and T5-1000 Electrical Testers T5600, T51000 T5 600 T5 1000 - at the Test Equipment Depot
                          For temperature, Thermapen makes an instant read probe thermometer that is highly accurate and is used by food service professionals and health inspectors. ThermoWorks - Splash-Proof Thermapen Thermometer

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                          • #14
                            Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                            Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
                            In any case, I was wondering what caused the failure on your meters?
                            I'm not certain why the Craftsman model failed. I checked again last night: everything I was able to test on it worked, except for the AC and DC voltages. I even did the built-in fuse check, which passed, and verified I had the probes plugged in correctly. My guess is a cold solder joint around the voltage probe socket, or possibly the selector switch itself. It was knocked around my 50 lb toolbox for a whole summer, so it wouldn't surprise me if vibration is responsible.

                            Thanks everyone for all the advice.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Please recommend a good multimeter

                              Joe,

                              Thanks, having it knock around in the toolbox would pretty well put it at risk I think. I've always considered my meters as "precision instruments", and I think that was certainly true of the old analog meters. Digital meters don't require those jewel-like movements, but the circuit boards can still be effected especially as cheap as they are being made today.

                              But, I primarily wanted to know, simply to avoid whatever could be the cause. My meters are always in a padded case (like a calculator) when carted in my tool bag; I wouldn't dare put them in my tool box, as that would most assuredly have them banged by the hammers, and other such tools.

                              Thanks and good luck with the new meter, whatever you decide,

                              CWS

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