Previously, we talked about basic on the article multimeter for dummies. Technically You Should Know Formulas, Coding and Use Multimeter For Confirmation, Like Resistors Have Standard Coding. Which Kind of Multimeter Electronics Beginner Should Buy? Any Multimeter Which Works. By beginner, we are taking towards hobbyist not an engineering student. $3 multimeter is better to have for a hobbyist than having nothing. Is they are accurate? No, obviously there will be around 2-5% error. If you increase budget to $50 – $100, some convenient features will get added and error will come down within 0.5 to 2%. If you buy Fluke’s top model spending few hundred dollars, errors will be lesser than 0.5%, of course the thing will be serviceable too. Many within $30-$40 Made in China, US, UK, India etc digital multimeters work nicely for the hobbyists. Untrained probably safely should try a $3 multimeter for not destroying the multimeter itself out of learning. By the word hobbyist, we mean –
- Does work around Arduino like development board
- Has limit of money
- Projects do not have huge number of components, most are shield like things (they are already tested)
- Projects are not AC circuits but within 12V DC
Which Kind of Multimeter Electronics Beginner Should Buy? What Marketing Words to Avoid?
Important things to check whether the multimeter can measure capacitance ($3 multimeters usually can not), calculate the gain of transistor, LED Flashlight, Screen Backlight, Auto power off, USB cable and software for PC, Mac, Android, iPhone etc. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi are good to have for Android connectivity.
$3 China Multimeter has no buzzword. They lack several features including capability to test capacitors. Marketing words start from $30 multimeters.
CAT III, CAT IV at bottom : It is actually important for those who works with AC lines of more than household supply. Those are are safety standards.
True RMS : Usually written on body. It is pathetic buzz words which works – we see review of multimeters giving importance to it. It is actually for AC supply. RMS is root mean square for AC’s sine wave. For 220V AC supply, the zenith and nadir can be +270 and -270.
4000 Count : The thing can display 3.999 before becoming 4.00. Of course it sounds obvious. They want to say that after 3.999 their meter will become two digit after decimal. 4.01, 4.99, 10.99 etc. They can not show 7.999.
Auto-ranging : It is actually not buzzword. It meanings, unlike $3 multimeter, precise dial to 1000 Ohm, 10 Ohm etc not needed – their meter has single point to rotate to set and measure resistance. The adjustment is automatic.
NCV detection : Ummm, their meter can detect live AC plug without probe, if the unit brought closer.
LCR Tester : Inductance (L), Capacitance (C), and Resistance (R). Silly. Real LCR meter actually professional grade and costs huge.
Etekcity, Mastech, Innova are companies which are known. None them has impressive software for PC or Android. There is one China company named Peak-Meter :
We can not suggest much as with increasing Android apps and open source developments, it is not astonishing that a good multimeter will appear outdated after 5 years or so.
Which Kind of Multimeter Electronics Beginner Readers of Your Blog?
$3 multimeter is enough for basic works as long long you are following others guides, slightly modifying them. Your usage is just estimating values of resistors, value of battery, voltage fluctuations, hardly current of some pins. As we told before – you are commonly using modules, shields. They are nicely tested. Your work mostly connecting them, programming.
$25 – $50 required for works where $3 is not sufficient – like you need somewhat idea of capacitor, measure current in milli units. When you are working with SMD components and publishing circuit design of PCB of module, you really need a good multimeter from Fluke, or may be a benchtop multimeter. Good multimeter needed when minor error may decrease lifespan of costly IC, microcontroller etc.