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 Post subject: Multimeter Recommendations
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 8:32 pm GMT EthGMT 
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Fish Eggs
Fish Eggs

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 1:01 am GMT EthGMT
Posts: 3
My Craftsman digital multimeter fails to provide accurate voltage readings after less than a year of use and it turns out they aren't covered by much of a warranty.

Any recommendations for digital multimeters for use with alternative energy systems? I realize I may have been asking too much in regard to accuracy and reliability from an inexpensive unit but have been told that these should be acceptable for most use. Am willing to bite the bullet, though, for long-term reliability.


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 Post subject: Multimeter Recommendations
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:07 am GMT EthGMT 
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Goldfish
Goldfish

Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:01 am GMT EstGMT
Posts: 97
Location: Long Island, NY
Hi,

It's hard to beat meters made by Fluke. There are many other companies that make good meters too. I would suggest that whatever you get is true RMS.

I have meters made by Fluke, Tektronix, Beckman, Extech, Simpson and Triplet


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 Post subject: Multimeter Recommendations
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 3:46 pm GMT EthGMT 
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Fish Eggs
Fish Eggs

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 1:01 am GMT EthGMT
Posts: 3
How would you rate the Fluke 179 vs 87? (for analyzing inverters, batteries, diesel generator, hydro, photovoltaics, etc.)


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 Post subject: Multimeter Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 11:13 am GMT EthGMT 
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Goldfish
Goldfish

Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:01 am GMT EstGMT
Posts: 97
Location: Long Island, NY
I have the 177 which is a 179 without temperature and a 189 which is one step up from the 187 which is the replacement for the 87. The 177/179 is 6000counts and .09% accuracy. The 87 is 20,000 counts and .05% accuracy. The 187/189 is 50,000 counts and .025% accuracy.

The 179 is about $200, the 87 (series III) is about $350 and the 189 is around $400.

In the field, I prefer the 177/179 since the accuracy is more than enough and they are smaller. With the money you save, you can get a clamp on AC/DC ammeter like the 380947 400A meter from Extech:
http://www.omnicontrols.net/x380942.pdf

It really helps trace down problems with poor connections in multiple strings without removing any wires.


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 Post subject: Multimeter Recommendations
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:20 pm GMT EthGMT 
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Goldfish
Goldfish

Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2003 2:01 am GMT EstGMT
Posts: 97
Location: Long Island, NY
Hi,

I prefer a seperate meter for current so I can read both voltage and current at the same time. Also, the Extech is easier to get around a single wire in a combiner box. I do also have a larger clamp on meter made by LEM but I rarely use it. I also have a couple of accessory current probes that I only use with data logging equipment.


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 Post subject: Multimeter Recommendations
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2003 12:57 am GMT EthGMT 
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Fish Eggs
Fish Eggs

Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 1:01 am GMT EthGMT
Posts: 3
Thanks for your views. I appreciate the input of the more experienced before making investments such as this.

In regard to the clamp-on ammeter, I see that Fluke has the i410 attachment for around $100 less than the Extech you refer to. For my needs, would you consider the i410 satisfactory or is there enough difference to justify stepping up to the Extech?

[ June 12, 2003: Message edited by: jsmith ]


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