Looking for a new DMM, being wooed by Fluke
Sep 14, 2011 at 8:17 AM Post #16 of 24
Thanks for all the comments. And thanks MisterX for mentioning the option of Agilent meters. From what I've seen so far Agilent have been the leaders in the bench meter market whereas Fluke were better regarded, or more well established in the handheld market. I've probably been rushing into a decision a bit with the Flukes; I'll read a bit more about Agilent meters and weight up my options and what features I really want.
Sep 14, 2011 at 11:33 AM Post #17 of 24
Am I silly in even thinking about the 87-IV? Should I just get the 177 and upgrade later if I really do need better specs?

Most of what I have to say on meters is in this article: How to Buy a Multimeter
...and in the forum threads linked from it.
I don't really need the extra counts the 87-IV has over the 87-V

The thing about the 50,000 count Fluke meters is that they're 50,000 count meters full-time, no special modes. The 20,000 count 87's are 6,000 count meters in their default mode, and you have to switch them into a slower "HiRes" mode to get the 20,000 count readings. Lame.
I have watched some videos about the 189/289 and those do look too big for a handheld

Well, realistically speaking, most electronic work is done with the meter propped up on the desk, not actually hand-held. Hand-carryable might be a more accurate term.
If I had it all to do over I would have bought one of the Agilent hand helds with data logging instead.

There are traps in the data logging world, though, particularly with older designs, or current inexpensive ones.
First, most handheld instruments need special cables to get the data out, and they almost never come with the meter. If you need them, they're often $50-100. Modern bench instruments usually use commodity cabling or media: USB, Ethernet, CF cards, etc. Many handheld instruments tout "USB", but it's rare that there is actually a standard USB connector on the side of the meter.
Second, you may need special software to make use of the data logging feature. The meter provider will want to sell you a $$ software package for this. You may be able to find third-party freeware, but it will often have a poor UI. Bench meters and dedicated data loggers, on the other hand, will usually give you the data in some inherently open format like CSV, so you can use it directly in spreadsheets and other common data manipulation tools.
As a consequence of both these points, I've never bothered to use the data logging features in my Fluke 189, but I have several times with my Agilent 34410A.
Sep 14, 2011 at 3:20 PM Post #18 of 24
The parallelisms are kinda funny.

 Not wanting to track down a Fluke USB-IR cable is what kept me away from a Fluke 189 that sold for $160 on eBay last month.
(I already have the view forms software (came with my Fluke 45) so dropping another $150 on the software + cable, bundled package seemed a bit of a waste).
$30 for an Agilent USB-IR cable and free software both look like wins to me.

Not to sure I can call the current prices for the u127 series meters a win though.
Sep 14, 2011 at 7:17 PM Post #19 of 24
Thanks Tangent, I've read some of your articles but I'll have another read and look at the forum links also.

MisterX said:
 Not to sure I can call the current prices for the u127 series meters a win though.

I had a look at the U1272A last night and while it does look quite nice, $460 new is a bit of a stretch over what second hand Flukes are available for.
Sep 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM Post #20 of 24
Thank you everyone. Problem solved, I've gone and purchased a Fluke 87-IV.
An 87-V would have been more than enough for me, but they're so popular I've seen them going for not much less than the 87-IV, which is a better specced meter anyway. I've seen some go for cheaper but that's uncalibrated and in an unknown state. I'm also too impatient to stalk eBay for weeks to maybe find an awesome deal :p I also had a look at the Agilent meters as I said, but I couldn't go past the second hand Flukes on eBay for price.

Thanks for the help and thanks tangent for your great articles. I'm sure I'll be thrilled with the meter when it arrives :D
Sep 16, 2011 at 7:47 AM Post #24 of 24
Actually, I'll probably be pretty excited when it arrives. I like new toys tools

The measure of a man........
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys......

Users who are viewing this thread