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    Recommend me a multimeter

    I'm nearly getting to the point where I need to do some serious electrical work on my project car, and I recently discovered that my trusty Jaycar multimeter that I bought eons ago has been trashed by a leaking 9v battery.

    So new multimeter time. What would PF recommend for a know-nothing PF'er like me doing auto electrical stuff in a shed? Obviously I'm not a professional so I'm not looking to spend mega bucks on pro gear, but I still want something that gets the job done and won't fall apart in 6 months. I'm definitely open to spending more if it makes things easier/better/more efficient. The older I get the more I appreciate things that make life easier!

    I've done a bit of research online and quickly realised there are too many options, I'd basically be taking a stab in the dark. And that's still an option but maybe the PF brains trust can get me pointed in the right general direction?

    Sorry if this topic has been covered already but I couldn't find anything recent.
    Norbie!

    #2
    Jaycar have reasonable multimeters for not much money.

    Comment


      #3
      Yep just grab whatever they have that is auto ranging (movies the decimal for you) and has a temp input. $50-100 should get you a good one.

      Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
      Tow car/camping bus: 2011 D40 Navara ST

      Baby mobile: 2016 Nissan Qashqai

      75 Mini Clubman club racer - DCOE powah

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        #4
        For ELV (extra low voltage) like much of a car, pretty much anything will do the job from $20 up.

        If you are touching anything LV (e.g. 240V mains) get one with proper Cat ratings, proper internal clearances etc.

        How much you wanna spend? Taking say $50 as a starting point this should be alright:
        https://www.jaycar.com.au/economy-tr...meter/p/QM1321

        Backlight is often handy.
        Make sure it has auto power off - some surprisingly don't
        10A is good for the odd low (in car terms) current measurement.
        Min/max is often handy as a quick check for something like voltage whilst cranking.
        Check the probes for quality. Often they skimp out there. But you can replace with some good Fluke probes for surprisingly cheap sometimes
        Check continuity reacts quickly when tapping the probes together.
        Have a go in the store and make sure the selector feels solid.
        Temperature input/sensor with a K type thermocouple might be useful and you'll need to pay a bit more to get into that sort of function.

        I'd say don't worry about "automotive" multimeters with dwell and tacho unless you're working on anything non EFI.

        Altronics range seems a bit cheaper but the pictures don't work for me.

        Comment


          #5
          All of the above, but if you can find a unit with clamp DC it is a big bonus.


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            #6
            As above pretty much any multimeter will do a great job on car stuff these days.

            I'd also recommend a PowerProbe, has basic volt meter, continuity tester, ground and power indication (with green/red LEDs, and different audible tones - great for tracing looms), it's show piece however is the ability to inject either power or ground into the circuit via the probe (up to a few amps), can be used to trigger a relay to test amongst other tasks.
            GT-P
            Bandsenkowagon

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by cub35 View Post
              All of the above, but if you can find a unit with clamp DC it is a big bonus.


              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
              Seconded

              Comment


                #8
                Get a China-spec Fluke off eBay.

                I bought mine 18 years ago, still going strong, had to finally get new leads last year the originals started to get a bit high in resistance...



                I used to work in a NATA-certified Electrical lab, when it was new I tested it for voltage and resistance accuracy, it was "pretty good".
                Jaguar XJR, Freelander 2 HSE, Jaguar XKR, MINI Cooper S
                Originally posted by nutttr
                People must assume you are some sort of drug dealer with all these nice cars turning up to a fibro home

                Comment


                  #9
                  I have nothing to add, other than I bought a test light with a voltage readout on it about a year ago after insisting on using a multimeter for absolutely everything on a car in my life until this point. I don't know why I waited so long.
                  Originally posted by myshortyboomba
                  I've had many gauges in cars. I always found the conrods react faster than a gauge.

                  you can always hear them when they break and they stop the engine immediately so you can't do any more damage.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Jack Nicholson View Post
                    Get a China-spec Fluke off eBay.

                    I bought mine 18 years ago, still going strong, had to finally get new leads last year the originals started to get a bit high in resistance...



                    I used to work in a NATA-certified Electrical lab, when it was new I tested it for voltage and resistance accuracy, it was "pretty good".
                    Thatís the Fluke for the Chinese market not a Chinese clone of a Fluke isnít it?

                    Theyíre a good thing for sure.
                    ---
                    Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T

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                      #11
                      Re a DC clamp meter, generally you won't get an all round multimeter and a decent enough clamp meter in one. Certainly not in budget.

                      SCA used to a have a rebadged Uni-T that was good down to single digit mA which is pretty low for a DC clamp meter, can be good for tracing battery drain issues without having to disconnect. It's a *very* basic multimeter as well. It's only rated up to 100A so can be an issue requiring deguassing if you put too much peak current through it. The other thing with DC clamp meters is they can be very sensitive to magnetic fields, orientation etc. So you need to zero it as close as possible to the test and measurement orientation.

                      This one:
                      https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/UNI-T-UT...e/273598608243

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Aaron View Post
                        Thatís the Fluke for the Chinese market not a Chinese clone of a Fluke isnít it?

                        Theyíre a good thing for sure.
                        Genuine Fluke product, not a knock-off. Just made in China, for the Chinese market. Although when I got mine 18 years ago it was an official product for the rest of the world, not just China.

                        I bought it at Dick Smith's from memory, yeah, that long ago.

                        Originally posted by Fraud View Post
                        I have nothing to add, other than I bought a test light with a voltage readout on it about a year ago after insisting on using a multimeter for absolutely everything on a car in my life until this point. I don't know why I waited so long.
                        I also have one of those. I got a Kincrome branded one on sale a while back. It's a good/handy tool, but a little limited since it can only check for voltage, polarity, and give you a voltage measurement.

                        Doesn't help you for continuity checks when no voltage present.

                        Mate of mine rocked up a few weeks ago with a Snap-On branded one to show off, identical to the Kincrome except it was red instead of blue, and $265 price tag :/

                        Only thing I don't like is the alligator clamp for the neg is huge, sometime makes it difficult in tight spaces or with small things you're trying to probe.
                        Jaguar XJR, Freelander 2 HSE, Jaguar XKR, MINI Cooper S
                        Originally posted by nutttr
                        People must assume you are some sort of drug dealer with all these nice cars turning up to a fibro home

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I will say the Min/Max recording comes in handy when diagnosing bad batteries.

                          Connect the meter up to the battery, start the recording then crank the starter, you can then go back and see what the voltage dropped down to as it was cranking, even if the engine starts.
                          Jaguar XJR, Freelander 2 HSE, Jaguar XKR, MINI Cooper S
                          Originally posted by nutttr
                          People must assume you are some sort of drug dealer with all these nice cars turning up to a fibro home

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Yep, min/max is excellent for diagnosing shit.

                            Connect to a fuel pump power circuit, go for a drive. get a true understanding of whats going on etc.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Thanks for the advice everyone, that helps!
                              Norbie!

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