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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    24
    I'll be working with the Alberta branch

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    8,271
    I would want to have at least two meters with me. That way you can at least check volts if the clamp meter craps out. You can still check amps with the multimeter....you just are limited in amperage and its a ***** to do.

    But... you always need a spare volt meter around to keep you from lighting yourself up.

    Didnt Jesus say... " Dont put all your eggs in one basket "
    YOU SHALL REAP WHAT YOU HAVE _______ SOWN

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,576
    You will need every setting on the 116 for residential and light commercial hvac service. You will also need some means to measure amps, which the 116 doesn't do. There are several all-in-one hvac clamp meters available that will do everything that the 116/322 combo will do, and some even have a few additional functions and features.

    The Fluke 902 is NOT an all-in-one hvac meter. Some of the ranges are too small, and it's also missing a couple of common hvac functions. It isn't even that great as an amp clamp for hvac work, having no low amp range. If you're bent on one or the other of these options, then go with the 116/322 combo. I have that combo myself and I have to say it's a very nice set of meters. The quality and range of functions is excellent.

    I also have a Fieldpiece HS36 all-in-one meter, a Fieldpiece SC56 all-in-one meter, and a Meterman all-in-one meter. All of those meters will beat the hell out of the Fluke 902. I'm especially fond of the SC56, and made it my primary meter after using it only a few times. Virtually everything I need in a nice neat and very functional package. It also doubles as a fairly good flashlight in a pinch.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    24
    For now I decided on the 902, I figure if I need more I will be able
    To afford it at that time. I can definetly see how a low amperage reading can affect the job though.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    907
    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL21 View Post
    For now I decided on the 902, I figure if I need more I will be able
    To afford it at that time. I can definetly see how a low amperage reading can affect the job though.

    Just keep in mind the ohm range on the 902 is only 10,000. The 902 is a good starter meter as it can take lots of abuse.

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,576
    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL21 View Post
    For now I decided on the 902, I figure if I need more I will be able
    To afford it at that time. I can definetly see how a low amperage reading can affect the job though.
    I'm not saying that the 902 won't measure low amps, what I'm saying is that it doesn't have the same accuracy in general as meters that have a low amp scale, which is specifically designed for low amp accuracy.

    The 902 will measure down to 0.1 amp. The meters with a low amp range on the other hand will typically measure down to 0.01 amp. You won't necessarily need to measure currents quite that low, but the advantage of the meters with a low amp range is their accuracy in the low amp region, which is much better than that of the 902.

    The 902 has a listed accuracy of 2% plus 5 digits when measuring AC amps. The "plus 5 digits" means that the last digit on the display can be off by as much as 5 in addition to the basic 2 % error, and the meter will still be within its listed specs. Suppose you have a motor rated at 1.2 amps and it is actually drawing 1.2 amps. You have your 902 clamped on the common lead. According to the specs you're liable to get a reading anywhere from 1.7 amps to 0.7 amps. I'm not saying that your reading will actually be that far off, but any 902 that does read that far off will pass quality control before it leaves the factory since it's still within the listed specs. If all 902s performed better than this, then the published specs would be tighter, but they aren't, so what does that tell you?

    The Fluke 322 on the other hand has an extra digit, in the hundredths place, so the plus or minus 5 digits represents a much smaller possible error. The basic accuracy is also better, being 1.8%. The possible range of values obtained with this meter on the same motor would be 1.27 amps to 1.12 amps. Big difference.

    True rms is another factor to consider, but it doesn't apply in the case of the motor above.

    The 902 ohms scale is also too small. At some point you're going to need something that will measure more than 9999 ohms. How will you test compressors for shorts to ground? I had one just yesterday that measured 104,000 ohms to ground and was tripping the breaker. The 902 would have been useless. It isn't uncommon to find shorts to ground that are over 9999 ohms. Thermistors also read higher than 9999 ohms at any temperature below 70, so forget trying to test them with your 902.

    If that isn't enough, there's more. You get a call on an older furnace. The customer says that the pilot won't stay lit. The furnace uses a thermocouple. Is the problem a bad gas valve, bad thermocouple, or weak pilot? You have no idea, because your meter has no dc mv scale to test the thermocouple output.

    These are all things that we check on a regular basis, not just every now and then. You need those meter functions if you're going to work on these systems. But its your dollar, spend it however you like.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    24
    Hey I really appreciate the feedback. I bought this meter because it's what my employer recommended. It's good to know all of this though because when I can afford it I will most likely get a multi meter with a better range.

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,576
    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL21 View Post
    Hey I really appreciate the feedback. I bought this meter because it's what my employer recommended. It's good to know all of this though because when I can afford it I will most likely get a multi meter with a better range.
    I'm sorry that your employer steered you in the wrong direction. Has he ever worked on hvac systems?

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Torrance, Ca
    Posts
    172
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacrmedic View Post
    I'm not saying that the 902 won't measure low amps, what I'm saying is that it doesn't have the same accuracy in general as meters that have a low amp scale, which is specifically designed for low amp accuracy.

    The 902 will measure down to 0.1 amp. The meters with a low amp range on the other hand will typically measure down to 0.01 amp. You won't necessarily need to measure currents quite that low, but the advantage of the meters with a low amp range is their accuracy in the low amp region, which is much better than that of the 902.

    The 902 has a listed accuracy of 2% plus 5 digits when measuring AC amps. The "plus 5 digits" means that the last digit on the display can be off by as much as 5 in addition to the basic 2 % error, and the meter will still be within its listed specs. Suppose you have a motor rated at 1.2 amps and it is actually drawing 1.2 amps. You have your 902 clamped on the common lead. According to the specs you're liable to get a reading anywhere from 1.7 amps to 0.7 amps. I'm not saying that your reading will actually be that far off, but any 902 that does read that far off will pass quality control before it leaves the factory since it's still within the listed specs. If all 902s performed better than this, then the published specs would be tighter, but they aren't, so what does that tell you?

    The Fluke 322 on the other hand has an extra digit, in the hundredths place, so the plus or minus 5 digits represents a much smaller possible error. The basic accuracy is also better, being 1.8%. The possible range of values obtained with this meter on the same motor would be 1.27 amps to 1.12 amps. Big difference.

    True rms is another factor to consider, but it doesn't apply in the case of the motor above.

    The 902 ohms scale is also too small. At some point you're going to need something that will measure more than 9999 ohms. How will you test compressors for shorts to ground? I had one just yesterday that measured 104,000 ohms to ground and was tripping the breaker. The 902 would have been useless. It isn't uncommon to find shorts to ground that are over 9999 ohms. Thermistors also read higher than 9999 ohms at any temperature below 70, so forget trying to test them with your 902.

    If that isn't enough, there's more. You get a call on an older furnace. The customer says that the pilot won't stay lit. The furnace uses a thermocouple. Is the problem a bad gas valve, bad thermocouple, or weak pilot? You have no idea, because your meter has no dc mv scale to test the thermocouple output.

    These are all things that we check on a regular basis, not just every now and then. You need those meter functions if you're going to work on these systems. But its your dollar, spend it however you like.
    Last week I had a contactor with a carbon trails on it between the legs. Unit blew three 60 amp fuses and tripped its MCC Breaker. With my old 902 I wouldn't have been able to see that. It was one of those enclosed contactors installed at ankle level. A sets of those fuses can get pricey if trial and error is the only way to you can trouble shoot the unit.

    My first meter was a Fluke T5-600. My boss recommended it and it turned out to be a waste of money in the long run. My 902 was better, but still not good enough for what most of us do. I chalked it up to a lesson learned. We don't know what we don't know. Most of the time it pays to ask some questions even when I'm pretty sure I've figured something out.

    Dan
    If you don't notice, I'm doing my job.

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Regina,SK
    Posts
    153
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacrmedic View Post

    The Fluke 902 is NOT an all-in-one hvac meter. Some of the ranges are too small, and it's also missing a couple of common hvac functions. It isn't even that great as an amp clamp for hvac work, having no low amp range. If you're bent on one or the other of these options, then go with the 116/322 combo. I have that combo myself and I have to say it's a very nice set of meters. The quality and range of functions is excellent.
    Agree with this completely. Had the 902 for a few years but just didn't do everything I needed it to. 116/322 for me. Just wish the 322 had a friggin backlight. Actually also wish the backlight on the 116 would stay on for longer then 30 seconds.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Toronto,Ontario Canada
    Posts
    371
    Just a little off topic. what multimeters everyone uses here? my tool i use is an extech and it has everything i need and it only ran me for about $230 cdn. and explain why you are using the meter you using now, and was there any meters that you would not recommend?
    Get er Done!

    Do what has to be done
    when it has to be done
    as well as it has to be done
    And doing it all the time.

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by Benny99 View Post
    Agree with this completely. Had the 902 for a few years but just didn't do everything I needed it to. 116/322 for me. Just wish the 322 had a friggin backlight. Actually also wish the backlight on the 116 would stay on for longer then 30 seconds.
    I guess I should have went with what I was first looking at. All good though if i need to I can buy a multimeter with larger ranges when the time comes. For just starting in the industry I think the 902 will provide to be substantial for a little while; at least I hope so.

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Mississippi
    Posts
    1,401

    Fluke 332 + 116 OR Just the Fluke 902? Reply to Thread

    I use the 902 as my primary meter. I love it. The only complaint is that it doesnt read low amp draw on things like crankcase heaters. I have to loop the leads to read them. Other than that I strongly recomend it. BTW I have been in the comercial field for 8 years.

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