Good deal on a multimeter: $7.78


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/02/good-deal-on-a-multimeter-7.html


#2

Not a bad multimeter for the price, but that image scares me! I think that should only be used for lower voltage and lower current applications and never touch anything on the mains (like what’s in the image).

I would think that it’s not properly CAT II rated; it does claim a 10A fuse, but I doubt it’s HRC (those cost usually about $5 each alone for the fuse) and I would be really worried about the internal isolation. But for little EE type projects using 5V or Arduino stuff, it’d be great.


#3

I got a new one for Solstice, so while I appreciate the info, it’s too late.

Well, maybe I will buy new meters for my kids. These look like a big improvement over the Hazard Fraught model.


#4

Its nice that you can buy instruments like this for almost nothing but I regret losing the feel of older, and admittedly more expensive approaches. The old Melbourne planetarium had this great mechanical projector. The new one is just a COTS video system. Its just not the same (for me, anyway).

I own a couple of multimeters like this but I bought an analogue one while they are still available. Might not be able to soon. I can’t get good mercury thermometers anywhere.


#5

No kidding, my U1272A (yes, the one with the problem with the current) can be taken from my cold dead hands. Not cheap at about $400 when I got it, but it is great for someone who needs more than just “Okay, is this pretty close to 5V”. Keysight (They will always be Agilent to me) did do right with the current sense issues and I got a U1282A as a replacement… but they never wanted the old one back! So, I now have a mostly functional second meter (that is still my go-to meter for most everything).


#6

Indeed, that has been my first thought too. Would you trust your life to a $7 instrument?!


#7

While I love my newish Fluke multimeter, I still have the Simpson 360 that my dad gave me as a graduation present a long time ago. The Simpson is beefy and substantial and feels like it belongs on a workbench.


#8

Only if there wasn’t a Harbor Freight in town :wink:


#9

That’s sweet! I have my Dad’s that he built from a Heathkit, back in the 50s I’d guess.

I also have a working wiggy I found in some dumpster. They can be very useful, because you can tell if there’s juice by the buzzing and shaking, you don’t need to look at the tool.


#10

I wish the BBS had reaction emoji like Slack does. That one really needs :scream:, not like ^.^


#11

Essential for doing electrical work in the dark.


#12

It’s free with the UselessCoupon, but it doesn’t have the Gaydar and Searchable Bible functions of the 8-function Electronic Multi-Tool.


#13

A question on Amazon: Where is it made?

Answer: It is made in the same country that your smartphone and TV were manufactured. (signed Ke Yang)


#14

The mobile version of that meter was the 260/270. It came with the optional roll top case which had a bakealite segmented roll up front. It was gorgeous. I gave mine away in 1987 when I bought my first digital meter a Beckman 110-T. Wish I still had the Simpson, but if I did I probably wouldn’t use it. It had to be zeroed every time, and had to be upright to read accurately. There was a mirror behind the needle so you would be sure you were viewing from the proper angle, and lets be fair it was hard to tell the difference between 230, and 231 volts. My digital meters only need to be calibrated once a year, and display three decimal places. Give me a Fluke 85 any day

00248_p


#15

Thanks for the find, Mark! I was in need of a few extra meters and the 15 minute power off sold me. I don’t know how many meter batteries (and soldering iron tips) I’ve sent to an early grave because I forgot and left them on.


#16

I still use a sling Psychrometer. About 10 years ago I broke one (very easy to do), and went to replace. I was told they no longer make mercury Psychrometers, so I had to get a red spirit one. Thermostats can no longer have mercury, and even if not completely banned, I doubt you will find mercury thermometers outside of a lab environment.


#17

The carpenter’s Dreidel would actually work, I want one.


#18

I would certainly prefer to avoid actually dangerous voltages, currents, or both, when dealing with a multimeter that probably doesn’t even have properly insulated probes; but it is worth noting that the cheap seats can be surprisingly non-rubbish at those things they do measure.

In this set of tests, even the one whose interpretation of ‘high current fuse’ graces the board below(the notch is for safety, one can only assume)
image
turns in results one could describe as ‘actually competent, unlike the safety measures.’

The more expensive ones were still better; and for a piece of equipment you plan to use for a while the logic of buying one cheap enough that it is in the process of falling apart is questionable; but the speed with which one crawls out of the gutter is fairly impressive.


#19

Mark, where do you find these codes for products on Amazon? Or does anyone else know where he finds the codes? I’m very curious where he finds all these!


#20

Teardowns of cheap multimeters by Dave Jones, Big Clive, and others have pretty much scared me off of using these “too good to be true” priced items for anything of importance.

I have some cheapies in my electronics tool kit that I bought from Harbor Freight for things that don’t require high voltages or tight tolerances and they are fine – but I certainly wouldn’t trust my life to one.