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Need a good, cheap multimeter?
WN4AZY
#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:34:20 AM(UTC)
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My Radio Shack digital multimeter finally gave up the ghost after 30+ years of service. It appeared to be a low-end Fluke, and I was sorry to see it go. It cost about $60 back then.

I started shopping for a new meter. I was surprised that there are many Chinese meters for under $30 that look good. I compared specs and features on several meters, and chose this one. It had the best specs of any < $30 meter, and is loaded with features.

My old Radio Shack meter had basic AC/DC voltage and current, resistance, and diode tester, and continuity tester with audible alert. It was auto-ranging with manual override. Most Chinese models have these features and more. This one has everything the Radio Shack had, plus capacitance, and is true RMS with duty cycle indication.

It has a frequency counter that measures up to 20 mhz. The accuracy is such that you won't want to use it for calibrating your VFO, but it is not bad for a handheld multimeter.

It also measures temperature. The temp probe that comes with it is rather chintzy, but it will use any Type K temperature probe. I ordered a stainless-steel one with a braided stainless cable for bread baking from eBay for about $5. The temperatire

There is a RELative button that is not well explained in the manual. It is used for comparing two readings. For instance, suppose you want to measure voltage drop at various points in a circuit. Normally, you would measure your input voltage, then measure the voltage at the points of interest in the circuit, then subtract to get the voltage drop. With the REL feature, you measure the input voltage, and press the REL button while taking the reading. Now just test the various points in the circuit, and directly read the voltage drop. The REL function works on voltage, resistance, and apparently any function.

The backlight is great for working in crawlspaces.

It uses a standard 9-volt battery, which is included. The one that is included is not alkaline, but it is still going strong.

My only complaint is that it does not have an analog bar display that my Radio Shack meter had. I find I don't miss it very much.

I have had mine for a little over a year.

Multimeter
Click to view on Amazon

Be sure to select the 19B model. The 2016 is a great price, but if you are looking for something a little cheaper than the 19B, I think you can find something auto-ranging.

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