Narrowing down a Wavetek DMM purchase, second post

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ShaneH, Jun 11, 2002.

  1. ShaneH

    ShaneH Stunt Coordinator

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    I am going to get a Wavetek meter this week and am trying to figure out which one would be the best model for me. Heres the link for anyone interested:
    http://www.metermantesttools.com/products/dmms.asp
    the 3 models I'm looking at are:
    16XL little bit cheaper than other two
    25XT has full range capacitance
    27XT has inductance, smaller capacitance range
    I am mainly leaning towards the XT series. The main thing I'm wondering is how often does the need to measure
    inductance arise, and would it be better to have the full range capacitance of the 25xt? My main focus is electronics
    and troubleshooting. Thanks for any info or knowledge you can give me.
     
  2. ShaneH

    ShaneH Stunt Coordinator

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    No advice on the inductance?
     
  3. John Miles

    John Miles Stunt Coordinator

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    I would not go with an "all-in-one" multimeter. They tend to do a lot of things poorly, rather than a few things well.
    For measuring inductance and capacitance, go to Almost All Digital Electronics (http://www.aade.com) and pick up their L/C Meter IIb kit. Its performance is nothing short of miraculous, and it will blow away any DMM-based solution on the market. Cheap at $100, and fun to build, too.
    Once that's out of the way, you can look for a DMM that gets the basics (resistance and AC/DC voltage and current) right. I have a Wavetek portable model that I don't like very much because it takes forever to settle down on a reading. Even the cheaper ones sold by Radio Shack are probably better in that respect. On my bench at home, I use an Agilent HP34401A... it's not cheap at about $1,000 but I wouldn't trade it for anything. [​IMG]
    In general, consider buying a used higher-end meter on eBay, rather than a brand-new lower-end one for the same price. I seldom buy equipment at retail (the 34401A and the AADE meter were exceptions).
     
  4. John Miles

    John Miles Stunt Coordinator

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    Also, in terms of "how often do you need L and C measurement," the answer in my case is all the time. I do a lot of analog/RF homebrewing, and frequently use the AADE meter to sort through the bags of "25 assorted inductors" you get at Radio Shack for a couple bucks. And whenever I need to wind a coil, even for VHF work, the AADE meter provides enough precision to make an excellent first cut. I find I never use my grid-dip meter anymore.

    For general service work, measuring inductance is not extremely useful. An inductor in an existing piece of equipment can simply be checked with an ohmmeter. Capacitance measurements can be useful, but a simple capacitance meter doesn't tell the whole story about a capacitor's health. You'll want an ESR (equivalent series resistance) meter if you're going to be plowing through TV and monitor boards looking for bad electrolytics. Do a search on Google Groups for info on these.
     
  5. ShaneH

    ShaneH Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info John. A good dmm and a good component analyser would be the best, thats what I get to use at work for the next 3 months (summer student). But for me at home I need a cheaper alternative, and I'm apprehensive about ebay so that leaves me with less options. I'm probably gonna go with the 25xt and the better capacitance range and accuracy. I hope it isnt too slow, cause that would get annoying. thx again John
     
  6. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    personally I'd haunt the pawn shops and look for a used fluke DMM. Picked mine up for 25 bucks [​IMG]
    if you know what you're looking for you can find some incredible deals on quality equipment.
     
  7. ShaneH

    ShaneH Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey thats a good idea Philip, thats what I will do this weekend (besides change my damn brakes). Thanks for the tip
     
  8. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    [​IMG] good luck!
    as long as you know what you're buying you can find some deals, especially if you haggle! like I said I picked up a fluke 75, not the best model, but enough for my uses, with gator clips and regular probes for like 25 bucks. I don't ever use capacitance, really all I need is continuity and VDC/VAC and resistence, oh well.
     

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