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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    41

    Starting Multimeter?

    Hi folks,

    I'm a refrigeration student graduating in the spring and I've been scouring these forums over the past few months picking up tons of tips. Thank you! I'm trying to figure out which meter to pull the trigger on but I'd appreciate some input.

    I'm prepared to spend $200-$300, or perhaps more if it's worth it, on a quality meter that will put out for many years.

    I see many guys here swear by the Fieldpiece HS36 and the SC56 looks great, but I'm wondering if they're overkill for me at this point.

    Should I just go for a cheaper Fluke/Klein? I guess I pretty much just need something that does volts/amps/ohms/temperature until I see more and get a better grasp on what I could be encountering on a day to day basis.

    What did you guys start out with? How did it hold up? Any info would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,777
    fp hs36 or fluke 902. UEI makes a pretty good meter for at a cheaper price point. I carry my hs36 and have the 902 for back up. Make sure what you pick will read mfd's, volts, amps, temp, ohms and you should be good.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    121
    I use the HS36 and it's pretty much all I need for most diagnostic issues in HVAC-R. Really can't go wrong with it IMO. Though mine is somewhat old, they come with a lot more gadgets now last I checked.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    1,114
    I understand your thought process about not putting alot of money into tools that are more then you need. However, in HVAC no matter what specialty you have (Refrigeration, residential, commercial, controls, chiller,....) a strong dependable multimeter is a must.

    The reason Fieldpeice is so popular here is because they gear their products to HVAC needs, they are dependable, and the company is loyal to it customers.

    In this case I would tell you a meter is one of your top 5 tools and Fieldpeice is the right way to go no matter how new you are. If your gonna save money tools at this point the meter is not the place to do it.
    If you're too "open" minded, your brains will fall out.
    Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    617
    I learned this the hard way. Spend good money on a meter the first time and save yourself a lot of trouble and money in the long run. Fieldpeice HS36 is what I ended up getting after several lesser quality meters. I like the HS36 because is has all the features I have ever needed and is expandable to do a lot more. It also comes with a lot in the box, including an amp clamp, alligator leads, and a thermocouple. It will cost you but its worth every penny.
    The only true knowledge is the pursuit of knowledge

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    617
    To answer your other question, I started out with an ancient Fluke 23 that was given to me by my grandfather. I still have it today and use it occasionally but in terms or usefulness, it was missing a lot of features i need, including the big one, amps. Then I used a Fluke 902 that was lent to me by my mentor. It was great but had some reliability issues so I canned that in favor for (I hate to admit it) a Craftsman meter. It had every features I wanted but was a Chinese knock off piece of crap. Thats when I bought the Fieldpiece and never looked back.
    The only true knowledge is the pursuit of knowledge

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    2,108
    I agree with all the Fieldpiece recommendations. It also has a capacitance scale which is indispensable. All 3 of our techs use them and are happy with them.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    3,653
    Fluke 116/322 combo. I can't imagine ever needing anything else. The amp clamp is a nice back up for volts and ohms as well.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    tallahassee,fl
    Posts
    380
    Uei 379 phoenix2, does it all.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Hobart, In.
    Posts
    324
    About four years ago I put a FP HS36 in my bag, and I haven't looked at another meter since.
    Twilly is my hero!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3,140
    Get a Fluke 87V. It's a top of the line meter, and it may be a lot more than you need at this point, but you won't have to buy another meter for a very long time. You will have to get a current clamp accessory for it to measure amps. Having one of these and understanding it's features will help you move into troubleshooting complex commercial systems and control systems, also. Fluke has been the standard for decades. Your life depends on the quality of your meter.
    The key to happiness is lower expectations.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Waffleville
    Posts
    10,339
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunyan View Post
    Hi folks,

    I'm a refrigeration student graduating in the spring and I've been scouring these forums over the past few months picking up tons of tips. Thank you! I'm trying to figure out which meter to pull the trigger on but I'd appreciate some input.

    I'm prepared to spend $200-$300, or perhaps more if it's worth it, on a quality meter that will put out for many years.

    I see many guys here swear by the Fieldpiece HS36 and the SC56 looks great, but I'm wondering if they're overkill for me at this point.

    Should I just go for a cheaper Fluke/Klein? I guess I pretty much just need something that does volts/amps/ohms/temperature until I see more and get a better grasp on what I could be encountering on a day to day basis.

    What did you guys start out with? How did it hold up? Any info would be appreciated.
    SC77 is the perfect ticket
    If Guns Kill People, Do Pencils Misspell Words?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An2a1...eature=related

    Before we work on artificial intelligence why don't we do something about natural stupidity?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    2,518
    I have a Fluke 87, Fluke 289, and a Fluke 902. The 902 rides in the tool box so it sees a lot of abuse and use. I have had no trouble with it and only get out one of the other 2 if if need a more exact reading, which does happen.

    Normally I would agree with everyone about buying the best meter you can afford but would like to throw out some things for you to think about. CAn you afford to buy 2- $300 meters. Reason I ask is starting out if you have the meter on the wrong setting and blow it up can you afford to replace it for learning purposes. 2nd, I understand you are still in school. What if you get into the field and hate it? Personally I can't imagine why but something else for you to think about. Tools are always a tough decision, lots of options, brands, features, etc. do your homework and don't just rely or he said. Good luck with the career.

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