On any given day you’ll find a miniature multimeter in my pocket. These gadgets are the equal of a Leatherman for digital fanatics. (The Leatherman could be in my different pocket.) More often than not, I wish to examine the voltage of a deep-cycle battery in my electric-vehicle or troubleshoot an issue with a photo voltaic photovoltaic system. However multimeters do issues like present measuring, resistance and continuity, which make them useful for fixing issues starting from residence wiring to electronics restore. (For extra on what do do with one, take a look at Ladyada’s multimeter tutorial on adafruit.com). I’ve used numerous “transportable” models through the years, and whereas many are something however, one jumps out as my strong favourite. Right here’s my tackle a couple of common models.
Transportable multimeter Victor (VC921)
This meter looks like a chunk of crap. The case is all plastic and huge sufficient that it should sit within the again pocket of your denims. I dislike the aesthetics of this mannequin a lot that I’ve banished it to my battery room. This meter can’t measure present in any respect, although that’s widespread within the mini-meter world. That mentioned, the clunky outdated Victor has a some cool tips that the opposite meters do not need.
1. A frequency counter (eg. 60Hz for electrical mains. this beats utilizing $300 / 30 pound oscilloscope to measure frequency.)
2. A capacitance tester (testing small floor mount sized capacitors – not that helpful)
3. A intelligent plastic flap which permits for the meter probes to rapidly be launched.
Transportable multimeter Cen-tech P34907
Cen-Tech (Mannequin P34907) – $10
This Cen-Tech mannequin was once offered at Harbor Freight for $10. Google round and you may most likely nonetheless discover it or a similiar model elsewhere. This has been my major meter for the final three months after I bought it on a whim from my native autoparts retailer. What I like greatest about this mannequin is the check probes could be launched with one hand! Tying the probes again up is far quicker than the opposite two meters as they’re designed to wrap across the case and lock in place. The Cen-Tech doesn’t have the particular options that the Victor mannequin, however can measure as much as .5A—a slight enchancment over the Radio Shack mannequin under. The Cen-Tech can be so much higher wanting than the Victor so if you’ll find it for $10, it’s a reasonably candy deal.
Pocket Multimeter Radio Shack (22-820)
RadioShack (Mannequin 22-820) – $29.99
The Radio Shack 22-820 is arms down my favourite unit. My eyes tear up simply pondering again to this one as I managed to destroy it throughout a freak excessive voltage accident. The feedback on RS’s website have a number of folks stating that they broke the continuity testing. I by no means had that drawback and I exploit the continuity possibility usually to confirm my connections are good on new circuit boards and outdated automotive wiring. This unit is smaller than the others and good wanting with a clean rubber case. Many meters have an enormous foolish dial to alter between settings however I desire this one’s small slider swap. The drawbacks to this unit are worth, .2A present restrict, and the truth that the wire leads take some observe to place away. The advantages are that it’s small and attractive: Whereas I had this unit I did truly carry it in every single place and folks would drool over it. I bought a alternative unit whereas penning this publish. I miss my outdated one. Choose one up as a gift for the geek in your life.