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Best Multimeter for working on bike

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by sleddog83, May 5, 2021.

  1. I know this topic comes up periodically, so I hope I am not beating this to death. There was a recent post by Jim on another thread about the best multimeter to buy. I was asked that question recently as well and was somewhat stumped. I was wondering what meters people have and why they like them. For myself, the meter I like the most is the last one I used when I still worked for a living. A Tektronix Tx3.. a very good meter, expensive and also not made any more. We also used an assortment of HP and Flukes.. also good choices but a little out of the price range of most of the average home mechanic. I currently have a Simpson 270 and a Innova 3340a as well as a Tripplet 850 for the bench, not counting the Heathkits that I used to prop the door open. I wouldn't recommend the Innova. It is rugged enough, has all the features I need, is reasonably accurate but has the annoying habit of shutting off after 10 minutes, usually right when you are making a critical measurement. I was thinking of recommending the Tripplet mm350 to this friend and was wondering if anybody had any experience with this meter?
  2. Vww18

    Vww18 XS650 Enthusiast

    In the Tektronix brand, I would go for the DMM4050, if you want the best.

    Easy to snap in a nice leather box strap to the frame, always ready to provide accurate measures.

    Go for it.

  3. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Used the Simpson back in my Air Force days. Still one of my all time favorites. Nowadays I just have the Fluke. Sorry, no recommendations.
    jetmechmarty likes this.
  4. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty Project collector XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    A 12 volt test light is invaluable for troubleshooting. Those free multimeters from Harbor Freight will usually get the job done. Fluke meters are awesome, but I don't recommend a hobbyist spend that money unless you have more money than you know what to do with.
    Max Midnight and Jim like this.
  5. hovel

    hovel ol' stupid XS650.com Supporter

    Wow, now THAT is a multimeter ! My shop standard is a Fluke 179 which makes it look like I cheaped out.
    Jim likes this.
  6. jetmechmarty

    jetmechmarty Project collector XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I wish I still had a Simpson! I can't justify a Fluke, but I'm in the market for a multi-meter. I'm no longer in need of something professional.
    Jim likes this.
  7. RustiePyles

    RustiePyles Semper Fortis XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    My every day meter (I work in robotics and automation) is an older Amprobe 51 series clamp meter and I love it, but its up there price wise with the Flukes. My home shop meters are both Flukes 117 & T6 1000 I use the T6 1000 for my residential needs and the 117 for my automotive needs mostly.
    Jim likes this.
  8. KennyD77

    KennyD77 77 D Model

    I still use a Simpson 270, great meter and sometimes better than a Fluke. I also have a couple Flukes and also a test light which can be invaluable.
    Jim likes this.
  9. JRay77

    JRay77 XS650 Junkie XS650.com Supporter

    Funny. Coincidently I had a Fluke fail on me today. It was a shared meter in a community tool box. Likely someone had it on a wrong lower setting checking higher voltage. Don't always trust the "auto" setting. Hit range until you're where you need to be. This is if you decide the Fluke route. I was checking 480 3 phase after a power surge. Said I had nothing. Closed the box, locked out and called for confirmation. This is where rehearsed safety procedures kept from something bad happening. I had on my gloves and other PPE. Electrician comes and says "Nothing wrong here. It's hot. Why'd you call?" I typically check the meter in an outlet I know is hot, but there wasn't one around.
  10. Jan_P

    Jan_P XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    I miss the analogue instruments with an is it called a pointer
    Like the speedometer on the bike
    I had one for many years i believe it was called HIOKI
    It had a rather large display.
    And the moving pointer made it simpler to quickly see if something had power .
    From a distance
    And shifting the probe placement one could see if there was more or less on another place.
    It came in a cardboard box which I had it in giving some protection outdoors.

    Now i Use $ 20 cheap digital ones I have several .But at times a digital 6 can look as an 8 or 9
    But they do the job.
    The ones I have from an Auto parts supplier have a bit rubber protection.
    So if one drops it they perhaps don't break down.
    Maybe not for finer electronics ,, But overall working

    Test lamp is also good and something one can have on the road .
    I usually have alligator clips on long wires.
    And something around the bulb from a small plastic bottle
    giving a little protection
  11. hovel

    hovel ol' stupid XS650.com Supporter

    I still have an analog multimeter and like it for all the good reasons Jan AP mentioned including the little cardboard box which can sometimes double as a stand. In the mid 80's when all cars began using fuel injection, you had to be able to read DC voltage accurately below 1 volt to do your troubleshooting. Analog meters won't do this. Even then, however, the analog meter was invaluable for trouble shooting a throttle position sensor. You watched for glitches in the meter sweep as you tweeked the throttle.
    JRay77 and Jan_P like this.

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