belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
9/30/12 1:39 p.m.

i bought an Actron Automotive multimeter at sears probably 10 years ago. and it's starting to finally flake out on me.

[unnecessary backstory] it has always been weird. there are two different places to plug in the + lead, and only one for the -. something has always been backwards. if you need to know voltage, instead of using the socket for voltage you must choose the other one that is supposedly for RPM, etc. i was too lazy to return it initially, and have always just dealt with it. [/unnecessary backstory.]

are there any particular diamonds out there i should hunt down?

Taiden
Taiden UltraDork
9/30/12 1:46 p.m.

I'm curious too. Specifically one that can show pwm duty cycle for injectors and whatnot without going full fledged scope. Also one that will read a tach signal for idle adjustment

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltraDork
9/30/12 2:03 p.m.

I have a 90's era Matco Tools branded Fluke. Has yet to let me down.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
9/30/12 2:11 p.m.

I can't recommend a good one, but there has been a Harbor Freight coupon for a free one in all the magazines this month.

EvanR
EvanR HalfDork
9/30/12 2:32 p.m.

I'm an electrician by trade, and 90% of the time, the Harbor Freight meter is what comes out of my box.

Why?

It's accurate enough for my needs. I don't have to care if I drop it, lose it, or it gets stolen.

Yes, there are a few specialty measurements I need to break out my $500 Fluke to do, but not anything on a car.

My advice is to spend $10 on TWO HF meters.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UltraDork
9/30/12 2:41 p.m.

I bought this one a few years ago.

It's overkill, I love it. The temp probe is a nice touch, too.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar UltraDork
9/30/12 2:56 p.m.

that looks nice ^^^

curtis73
curtis73 SuperDork
9/30/12 3:08 p.m.

I have a fluke digital multimeter. Its fantastic for everything except one thing. Testing turn signals. The "processor" speed doesn't keep up with the speed of the blinker and it just registers something in the middle. For that, I keep a $5 HF analog meter.

Mine will measure up to 20A DC so its great for finding drains, and the auto range is nice so you don't have to guess or calibrate.

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UltraDork
9/30/12 3:23 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: that looks nice ^^^

It's served my fumbled fingered, amatuer needs quite well. I know almost nothing about multimeters, though. I just bought it because it was well reviewed and had a little more than I needed.

Knurled
Knurled SuperDork
9/30/12 3:58 p.m.

I am very happy with my Fluke 115. 90% of the functionality of the more expensive models for a LOT less money.

I need to stock up on the 11 amp fuse, though. Every few months, I check current draw on something and forget to swap the leads over when I check voltage on something else. Pop.

Knurled
Knurled SuperDork
9/30/12 4:00 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: I have a fluke digital multimeter. Its fantastic for everything except one thing. Testing turn signals. The "processor" speed doesn't keep up with the speed of the blinker and it just registers something in the middle. For that, I keep a $5 HF analog meter.

Min-max mode is your friend!

jhaas
jhaas HalfDork
9/30/12 4:27 p.m.

^^^ thats why I insist on having a meter with a needle.

the only one I have found that has both displays is this craftsman. when started acting up, I bought a back up on ebay.

if anyone knows a similar professional model, please post.

JtspellS
JtspellS HalfDork
9/30/12 4:33 p.m.

Fluke is THE brand and it will last a few decades, but like others said basic simple and cheap is all you really need on most vehicles anymore.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 Dork
9/30/12 5:44 p.m.

I bought a digital auto-ranging from Radio shack a decade ago. Was great- actually quite high quality feeling until I found out after a power outage that the AC voltage was reading ~40v high. Was wondering why the generator was so poorly adjusted. Ran my fridge and Washing machine at about 80v. Not very happy with that when I found out the truth, and not sure how much damage I did to the appliances. They're working so far, a few months on, but I can't help but worry about it.

The point? I don't know how to tell whether they are reading accurately, or when they are malfunctioning. I guess you need two.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy SuperDork
9/30/12 7:37 p.m.

Find yourself a Snap on Vantage- not Vantage pro, that will be spendy. It was their first "lab scope", which is actually a graphing multimeter. Lots of guys bought them, discovered how useful the scope feature was, then decided they needed a better one, so they show up used sometimes.

Good multimeter, plus the graphing removes the need for a swinging needle on an analogue unit.

Otherwise, I will vote Fluke as well. Also spendy, but good.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 Dork
9/30/12 8:01 p.m.
EvanR wrote: I'm an electrician by trade, and 90% of the time, the Harbor Freight meter is what comes out of my box. Why? It's accurate enough for my needs. I don't have to care if I drop it, lose it, or it gets stolen. Yes, there are a few specialty measurements I need to break out my $500 Fluke to do, but not anything on a car. My advice is to spend $10 on TWO HF meters.

^^This^^
Unless you have a need to read precise measurements the HF meter will suffice. If you do have a need for precise measurements, then Fluke is money well spent. I've done electrical work on aircraft where precise counts and Fluke is the choice. Never had a need for that precision on cars yet and the HF has always done the job. IMHO, the probes/leads are the weak point on the HF meter. If possible, find better leads and it will last longer.

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 Dork
9/30/12 8:08 p.m.

I'm an electrician as well, and my meter of choice is my Fluke. If I am trusting my life on the piece of equipment I am working on being live or not, I am not trusting a HF meter. My Fluke is more than likely my most used tool at work.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro SuperDork
9/30/12 10:49 p.m.

I have a Darson that I'm very happy with.

Buy a good one, if your meter is dead, so are you.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess UltimaDork
10/1/12 8:47 a.m.
wlkelley3 wrote:
EvanR wrote: I'm an electrician by trade, and 90% of the time, the Harbor Freight meter is what comes out of my box. Why? It's accurate enough for my needs. I don't have to care if I drop it, lose it, or it gets stolen. Yes, there are a few specialty measurements I need to break out my $500 Fluke to do, but not anything on a car. My advice is to spend $10 on TWO HF meters.
^^This^^ Unless you have a need to read precise measurements the HF meter will suffice. If you do have a need for precise measurements, then Fluke is money well spent. I've done electrical work on aircraft where precise counts and Fluke is the choice. Never had a need for that precision on cars yet and the HF has always done the job. IMHO, the probes/leads are the weak point on the HF meter. If possible, find better leads and it will last longer.

I earned a living with a multimeter for about 10 years. What do I own? About a 15 dollar (today) multimeter from Walmart for my main one and a few of the HF freebies scattered around.

Fluke is top notch, as is Simpson.

dculberson
dculberson SuperDork
10/1/12 9:53 a.m.
Mazdax605 wrote: I'm an electrician as well, and my meter of choice is my Fluke. If I am trusting my life on the piece of equipment I am working on being live or not, I am not trusting a HF meter. My Fluke is more than likely my most used tool at work.

It's a little less critical on a car; there's not much that's going to endanger your life if the reading is off by a bit.

I have a decent meter and a Harbor Freight meter. I use them about interchangeably and haven't had an issue with either one. The HF meter feels cheaper and doesn't have as many features but it gets the job done. I keep it in my backpack of tools to take on the road; no worries about it being damaged or lost since the cost is so low to replace it.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UltraDork
10/1/12 9:58 a.m.

I have a couple that I've had for eons. One is a Radio Shack analog unit that still works great. It's got to be at least 25 years old. The other is a Craftsman digital that works okay. For automotive work, I'd probably second the H-F idea.

Hal
Hal Dork
10/1/12 9:09 p.m.

I have a Fluke (which I've had for years), a Craftsman, and one of those HF Cen-tech meters. I end up using the HF one most of the time because of the size and the battery tester (output amperage) feature.

The HF is in my desk drawer. The Craftsman is on my work bench downstairs. The Fluke in in its case in a storage cabinet downstairs and hasn't been out in 2 years.

nutherjrfan
nutherjrfan UltraDork
2/27/19 12:28 a.m.

Seven year itch canoe. I was actually enjoying the thread. smiley

sleepyhead
sleepyhead Mod Squad
2/27/19 3:23 a.m.

canoe deleted

sleepyhead
sleepyhead Mod Squad
2/27/19 7:10 a.m.

strike two, canoe deleted

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