# what to look for in a multimeter before buying it.

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#### pkshima

##### Member
what type of multimeter shud i buy. what to look for. what features to look for (like inbuilt capacitance meter, transistor tester etc). i m basically a software engg. so dont have much experience with multimeters.

#### Phasor

##### Member
When you are looking for a meter, the basic rule, is that the more you pay, the more you get. You need to weigh up:

1) Which functions you need
2) How accurate is has to be
3) Whether or not you need things such as auto-ranging, auto power-off, PC interface, backlit display etc.
4) How much money you are willing to spend.
5) What purpose you are using it for.

As a personal recommendation, for general electronics, you should buy a meter with no less than:
AC Current 0-10A (preferably with a tong attachment)
DC Current 0-10A
AC Volts 0-600V
DC Volts 0-600V
Ohms 0 ohm - 10Mohm
Capacitance 0-1000uF
2% accuracy or better on all ranges.

A transistor tester may sometimes be useful, but is not really necessary.

The best brand, by far, is Fluke - however a Fluke meter will leave your wallet quite empty. If you don't need great accuracy, you can pick up cheap meters for AUD$20-$30 at your local electronics store.

#### pkshima

##### Member
cool.

btw which ones r better (if they r), LCD display ones or simple analogues (those with a needle) ?

and u said its got to have a capacitance range of 0-1000uF ! thats it !!!
isnt 1000uF too small for a range. ?

Shima

#### kinjalgp

##### Active Member
Analog multimeters are sturdy but not very accurate whereas digital multimeters are accurate but if you apply some wrong input on wrong range, you definitely have to get a new one . I have used both types and still suggest digital one since when you require to measure voltage in mV its just impossible on analog one. The scale on analog meter has smallest division of 1V

#### pkshima

##### Member
now thats what i call help.

thx kinjal !

#### bogdanfirst

well, i use a simple mutimeter, those types for abot $5, but i intend of buying a new one. i orientated for a fluke too, they are really good, nut like you said it will leave a great hole in my wallet. and, i have a question too. do you think it is worth to buy on wich has a serial interfce? i mean, what do you use it for? just to read the same value on the computer screen? #### kinjalgp ##### Active Member For hobbyists serial interface is of no use. It is meant for data logging which is generally used in industries where it is required to take readings at regular intervals and store them. #### bogdanfirst ##### New Member taht's what i though too.but couldnt you use it as an osciloscope, or the reading in no fast enough. i know that for a normal digital multimeter the value changes about 1-2 times a second, so if the data is send to the computer that fast, there is no way i can use it as an osciloscope. #### kinjalgp ##### Active Member No you cannot use it as oscilloscope. The sampling rate is limited and very less. #### pkshima ##### Member i cudnt figure any fluke at the shop. so i setteled down for a simple but digital multimeter from mastech. no idea whether its well known. is it ? i got it for Rs. 200 (US$ 4). but it doesnt have a capacitance meter.
those with that capability were Rs. 750 and above. the feature didnt quite look worth the huge difference.

now how do i test this thing guys ? what r the things i try to "play with it"
also do u have a good link where i can find out how to use it to measure capacitance etc.

bye,
Shima

#### pkshima

##### Member
also,

kinjal, would u like to say anything my topic "how do i get more juice from ba6209" ?

its no longer specific to that ba6209 IC. i think thats whats keeping pple from replying to it. though bogdanfirst is doing very well in helping me.

bye,
Shima

#### kinjalgp

##### Active Member
You won't find any Fluke meters in orinary shops. You'll have to get it from Fluke Distributors and one more thing you won't get any model for less than Rs. 5000. These are very good quality, high accuracy meters and I don't think a hobbyist would ever require one. The one you have bought is quite good and believe me it was the first digital multimeter I had bought.

#### pebe

##### Member
I'm a bit late to this thread, but to add to what others have said:

1. A digital is preferable to analogue - it's all too easy to wrap the needle round the stop if you select the wrong range, whereas digi has a constant approx 1Mohm input on voltage and resistance ranges. Digi has fuse protection on current ranges, so it's pretty safe.

2. If you are doing a lot of measurements, go for a digi that has fixed ranges as well as autoranging. It gets very frustrating waiting for an autoranging meter to ramp up to the correct range. Mine has a hold which will hold the autoselected range after the voltage has been removed.

3. In the UK, CPC do a compact pocket meter with capacity, frequency and duty cycle for less than £20.

#### bogdanfirst

##### New Member
well i consider the digital superior to the analog. but it isnt fast enough. if the value changes very fast you wouldnt see that very well on the analog,
but the analog has a high input impedance, some have 10Mohm!!!(but are expensive), but typical is 1Mohm.
y advise all to buy a digital, but have a small not so perfoemant analog too, because you might need it sometimes.

#### mechie

##### New Member
Bogdanfirst makes a good point.
I have both at home, if a voltage, current, whatever is bouncing up and down a lot then an analogue meter will (in my opinion) give a better impression of what is happening.
I know dmms are available with Min/Max displays (mine does that) but I prefer analogues for such occasions.

Don't forget that digital is always an approximation of an analogue world :wink:
I still use a digital most though.

#### pebe

##### Member
bogdanfirst said:
well i consider the digital superior to the analog. but it isnt fast enough. if the value changes very fast you wouldnt see that very well on the analog,
but the analog has a high input impedance, some have 10Mohm!!!(but are expensive), but typical is 1Mohm.
y advise all to buy a digital, but have a small not so perfoemant analog too, because you might need it sometimes.
I was assuming an analogue meter which was a 50uA meter with series resistors for the voltage ranges, and shunt resistance for the current ranges. Those meters (the most famous in the UK being the Avo 8 series onward) had an input resistance which varied with range - being 20,000 ohms/volt on voltage ranges.

I don't doubt that someone has marketted an analogue meter with an op-amp frontend to increase the input resistance, but I have not come across one - except for home-builds.

#### margaret

##### New Member
METER'S

Analogue meter's i must admit i like to keep one around me for cold testing, but to compare the like with digital meter's makes little sense, they are more accurate than analogue with a faster readout and a lot easier to carry with you due their small size, a fluke meter may be desirable for some but not really necessary for bench or field servicing, the fact's are that for less than £15.00 you can buy a digital meter that will do most things a branded name can do, as for testing caps their are two esr meter's available that have more than proved their worth designed for testing cap's pacifically.

Digital meter's,... in 1985 i paid almost £90.00 for a thander digi meter from a firm called Mcllelland data text, still have it and fairly accurate, i alway's treated this meter with respect due to what i paid for it and that was trade only, nowaday's cheap but well made digi meter's are common and should you damage it B.E.R just buy another it might have even dropped in price since your first purchase.

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