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Old 12-23-2015, 09:10 PM   #1
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Sometimes You Need An Analog Meter, Free Is Good

I have a Fluke Digital meter, but for checking some resistance on DC circuits I still like an analog meter. Harbor freight is giving analog meters away this week with Any purchase if you have the coupon from the monthly ad. FYI
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Old 12-24-2015, 01:20 AM   #2
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I agree. For some reason the simple electrical continuity buzzer function on the analogue types always appears to be missing on the digital ones as well. I find that function really useful. Does it connect..buzz...yes...or not, if no buzz...how hard is that to set up on a digital..? Measuring Ohms resistance just does not do it for me.
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Old 12-24-2015, 07:05 AM   #3
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A most useful function an electric device can perform is finding the location of a break in a wire or a short.

The box stores have cheap devices that will locate AC behind a wall .

A simple 12v bell can be used to make your 12v or 24v DC into a pulsing current.

The tool will locate/follow the suspect wire , and where the juice stops.
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:29 AM   #4
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For cylinder head temperature on the UL aircraft digital was far better as you could see the rate of change even if it was quite slow and it was next to impossible to see it in analog. The rate of change at WOT told it all. For my speed indicator the relative position of the disk (indicator) was fine and it's relative position on the scale was important .. not available on the digital readout. One needs to process the numbers.

But for a spedometer in a car analog is better. If it's big enough. Don't need to know EXACTLY what the speed is or iat what rate you're changing but just close to what it is. A digital means you've got to process a number and even for a small fraction of time it's a bigger distraction.

So it depends on the application which one is better.
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Old 12-24-2015, 09:41 AM   #5
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My digital multi meter beeps for continuity, in fact all the ones I looked at when shopping for one did. It's avery important and muched used function for me. Still, for free, why not have a backup?
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:02 AM   #6
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For cylinder head temperature on the UL aircraft digital was far better as you could see the rate of change even if it was quite slow and it was next to impossible to see it in analog. The rate of change at WOT told it all. For my speed indicator the relative position of the disk (indicator) was fine and it's relative position on the scale was important .. not available on the digital readout. One needs to process the numbers.

But for a spedometer in a car analog is better. If it's big enough. Don't need to know EXACTLY what the speed is or iat what rate you're changing but just close to what it is. A digital means you've got to process a number and even for a small fraction of time it's a bigger distraction.

So it depends on the application which one is better.
Well put. Some things better digital, some better analog. On my boat the tach, oil gauges, coolant temp are all analog. I don't care what the exact readings are, just care that they are in normal ranges.

But on my DC panel, I like the digital voltmeter. It reads 13.8x on main engine, 13.3x on charger once past the 14.3x bulk charge. If it is a half volt off from those readings, something is funky, time to investigate. Seeing a half volt difference is not easy on a analog gauge.

I just replaced my old Fluke 77??? with a Fluke 115. About $150 and I really like the new one. It has a beeper for continuity, can measure Hz and test capacitors. My old fluke got douched with sea water on rough sea trials a few times, my fault, and it still lived for like 12yrs. Can't blame it for finally pooping. I do like Fluke stuff.

Still have an ancient analog test meter, but last time I used it was to sync a generator to the grid!!! Handy for that..
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:13 AM   #7
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I agree. For some reason the simple electrical continuity buzzer function on the analogue types always appears to be missing on the digital ones as well. I find that function really useful. Does it connect..buzz...yes...or not, if no buzz...how hard is that to set up on a digital..? Measuring Ohms resistance just does not do it for me.
What digital multimeters have you found without an audible tone continuity test mode??? Have been using digital for 30 years and have never seen one without that feature yet.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:49 AM   #8
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In my opinion (as a ex electronic technician), a digital meter is far better for taking resistance measurements. No worry about "zeroing" the meter, just put the probes on. Most are so sensitive that the manner of connecting the leads to the device to be measured is important. Clips are better than fingers for this.


Also, digital meters load the circuit far less than all but the best analog meters.


Of course for monitoring a changing voltage (audio, for instance), you pretty much need an analog meter or a digital meter with an analog function.


BTW: A digital meter is more apt to pass the drop test than an analog meter.
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Old 12-24-2015, 12:23 PM   #9
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What digital multimeters have you found without an audible tone continuity test mode??? Have been using digital for 30 years and have never seen one without that feature yet.
Do web search, starting with this one, speaking of Harbor Freight. Or look at the various Flukes. Mine is a Newmar ESA, which is a rebranded unit.
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Old 12-24-2015, 03:30 PM   #10
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To add just a little thread drift, I have a Fluke meter similar to this one:


It works great, but I hate it! You need three hands to use it; one to hold each probe, and another to keep the meter from spinning around or turning over. The wires are just short and stiff enough, and the bottom of the meter itself is rounded, so that there's no possible way to prop it up or lay it flat anywhere to allow you to read it while taking measurements. Sometimes I have to drag out one of my old, $10 Radio Shack analog meters just to get the job done.

The only saving grace on the Fluke is the continuity beep, which at least makes it functional for that purpose.
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by CPseudonym
What digital multimeters have you found without an audible tone continuity test mode??? Have been using digital for 30 years and have never seen one without that feature yet.


Ah well, as it happens, both of the replacements I got after my favourite analog one slipped off the top of my (ok, overloaded), boat box, as I was leaving her one day, bounced once, and...you guessed it...glub, glub, glub...

Here's the one I have at home. I admit I don't spend big money for these things...
Oh, bugger it, I give up trying to get the pic the right way up. I took it the right way up, it saved to iPhoto fine, but each time I post it - looks like I have the same yips now someone else reported...
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Old 12-24-2015, 10:43 PM   #12
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My buddy Darrell always has a coupon for a free meter when he goes to Harbor Freight. He must have ten of them by now. We went over to Punta Gorda last weekend to get his house ready for renters. We had several projects involving electricity. He forgot to bring one!

I always have a coupon for a free measuring tape.

Ok back to the thread.
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Old 12-24-2015, 11:50 PM   #13
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To add just a little thread drift, I have a Fluke meter similar to this one:


It works great, but I hate it! You need three hands to use it; one to hold each probe, and another to keep the meter from spinning around or turning over. The wires are just short and stiff enough, and the bottom of the meter itself is rounded, so that there's no possible way to prop it up or lay it flat anywhere to allow you to read it while taking measurements. Sometimes I have to drag out one of my old, $10 Radio Shack analog meters just to get the job done.

The only saving grace on the Fluke is the continuity beep, which at least makes it functional for that purpose.
Alligator clips and wire are your new best friends.
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Old 12-25-2015, 09:03 AM   #14
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What digital multimeters have you found without an audible tone continuity test mode??? Have been using digital for 30 years and have never seen one without that feature yet.

I got one at radio shack. They even have analog meters with it.
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Old 12-25-2015, 09:10 AM   #15
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Heres a good xmas gift, well new years gift.



FRYS.com¬*|¬*Extech
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:44 AM   #16
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I must lead a sheltered life gents, I've never even heard of one until this thread. I'll admit to owning nothing but Fluke but have used and tested at stores and suppliers dozens of others.
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:58 AM   #17
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I had a VTVM, Heathkit, that I built, also had a Simpson Analog meter 260 model I think. Now a Fluke digital. Cant remember any recent times that I wished I had an analog meter. Back in the day, trimming capacitors on radios they worked best. Was at Electric museum in Bellingham, and a lot of the stuff I used to work with is on the shelves there. Must be getting old.
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:10 AM   #18
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For most boat electrical repairs, a pretty basic meter is all that is needed. $25 - $50 will get you what you need. Even less will get the job done..
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:42 AM   #19
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I have found a AC/DC clamp meter to be very handy.

It only takes a few seconds to check to see what is going o with solar output, batt charging, alternator output, power consumption .

I felt the 400watt AC/DC model from Klien to be great. Available at Home Depot but possibly available from others as a better deal. $120

Electrical Test Meters - Electrical Tools & Accessories - ¬*The Home Depot
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Old 12-25-2015, 07:54 PM   #20
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Well put. Some things better digital, some better analog. On my boat the tach, oil gauges, coolant temp are all analog. I don't care what the exact readings are, just care that they are in normal ranges.
I agree! The photo below shows the oil pressure and coolant temperature at 12:00. That is optimum for my boat. I also normally cruise at 2000rpm (Even though the photo shows rpm higher than that.) So, when normally cruising, the three gauges that I scan the most are more easily interpreted with the needles at 12:00. I've heard that race car drivers also prefer the analogs as they are easier & faster to interpret at a glance.
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