New multimeter

  • Fri 16 April 2021
  • misc

I recently installed a stereo in the old pickup truck. Unfortunately my old Fluke 12 (ironically bought at the Santa Clara Fry's, a chain which went out of business in the past couple of months) had gotten questionable on resistance setting recently, even with new leads and a new battery, so I was thrown back on very carefully taking the Simpson 260-6, with its fragile bakelite and glass construction, out to work on a motor vehicle.

It was time for a new multimeter. I did some research on my own, made a purchase, and meant to blog about it but it fell to the wayside until a couple of nights ago when a friend mentioned that he was looking for a new multimeter too. I wrote this up and sent it over:

The easy choice would be "buy once cry once" and get a Fluke 87, but at $400 and up depending on the variant but I didn't want to cry and besides, I wanted something that I wasn't gonna be hating myself for if it went flying off some scaffolding or got run over by a pickup truck during Field Day. Or, stated another way, I don't take my grandfather's micrometers outside yet I think nothing of crawling on my back under a truck in a junkyard with my 6" Mitutoyo digital calipers clenched in my teeth when I'm looking for a specific part. I wanted something acceptably good yet, ultimately, disposable to the point where I wasn't scared to take it in harm's way.

What I ended up getting, on the strength of recommendations of others who own them, was the Brymen BM235.

Note that David from eevblog private labels them; that's worth a bit to me as he has a brand to defend. The fit and finish is much better than the stuff you'd get from Radio Shack back in the day but it's not Fluke quality (to be fair, I hear the 100 series Flukes aren't "Fluke quality" either). Adequate, in my opinion especially with the bump sleeve on it. Made in Taiwan not China, which makes me more confident in the insulation ratings - you probably don't measure 480v 3-phase as often as I do (which in fairness isn't that often) but the last thing I want to worry about whether the voltage range on the insulation and other standards compliance stuff got pencil-whipped, which is something that the mainland Chinese have a bit of a reputation for. It also reads down to hundredths of a millivolt, which again may not be something you care that much about but it's useful for measuring across precision (or not precision) shunts. It also has replaceable fuses inside for the current ranges which less expensive multimeters often don't. It comes in a plain box with no documentation manual inside which is just fine by me since you can find it online anyway on eevblog's site.