Pocket DMM

Preamble

Remember “Super Size Me”? Well this is Pocket/Wallet/Card* size me…

* Delete as appropriate

See also

Videos

UT210C or Sanwa PM-3 or Brymen 27s or something completely cheaper/different?

  • Sanwa PM-3 has no ammeter functionality.
  • Brymen BM27s has only a 2000 µA ammeter which lets it down
  • UT120C seems to be the cheapest and the most fully featured, except for the 1.4 V diode test, meaning no voltage drop is displayed and LEDs are not able to be lit. Also, apparently, the continuity test is pretty poor (not latched, and quiet buzzer).
  • DE-19s does not have current capability, however, both the DE-19a (RMS) and DE-19b can measure AC/DC current, with a clamp. There is also the DE-10 (wallet), DE-11 (wallet) and DE-17 (large wallet)  (plus the larger DE-14 and DE-15), 19A/B/T/S
  • The Victor/Zotek/Outest VC921 is the same as the Aneng 8203, or Autool DM mini. The Aneng 8203 gets good continuity reviews, but is let down by the lack of ammeter (although for the cost £8, it is still very good). The Triplett 2030-C appears to be the same as the Aneng, but with the added ammeter functionality, however, rather strangely given it looks the same, the continuity seems to be not as good as the Aneng 8203. It is also latched.
  • KYORITSU Kew 1018 has been discontinued.

Manuals

Links

Various shootouts

From this post on Pocket Multimeter Recommendations:

Sanwa PM3
Hioki 3344-60 Card tester
Digitech QM1544 (Jaycar rebadged whatever)
Unit-T UT10A
Wavetek DM78A (lost to hand, but somewhere here…)

I wanted a lot more though, think I had 10 on my list.

Cursory glance:
Digitech very nice all round, feel solid. Quick & loud continuity.
Hioki has the best case (hard plastic) but minimal features.
Uni-T is cheap and crappy looking, but nice 1pF resolution and feature set. Quick cont.
Sanwa could be a rebadged Uni-T, but feels a lot better quality. Quick cont.
The DM78 has always been my personal go-to pocket meter for a decade now, but basic features.

Out of those, at first glance I’d say the Sanwa.

From the EEVBlog video Pocket Multimeter Continuity Shootout

  • Hioki 3344-60 Card
    • gold, slow-ish, loud, latched
  • Digitech QM1544
    • not gold, instant, scratchy, loud
  • DER EE DE-19S
    • not gold, Fast, latched, very good
    • Many buttons
    • Pricey though $50-150
  • UT120C
    • not gold, quick, terribly quiet
  • Sanwa PM3
    • gold, slow, loud, latched
  • BM22
    • not gold, quick/instant, scratchy, loud
    • banana insulated probes
  • Aneng 8203
    • not gold, super loud, latched and quick
    • probe holder, easy to remove probes
  • XB-866
    • fast, not latched, loud enough
    • Terrible battery cover,
    • probe holder, difficult to remove probes
  • KYORITSU Kew 1018
    • gold, fast, not scratchy, not super loud, but ok (latched? not clear)
    • case broken opening battery
  • White ANENG 101
    • continuity very quiet
    • banana probes
    • tilt stand
  • UT10A
    • louder than UT120C

Latching or not?

Some of the meters are latched, but is this what you need? From Latching Continuity Tester by Tony van Roon

A continuity tester is a must on every service bench for testing cables, pc-boards, switches, motors, plugs, jacks, relays, and many other kinds of components. But there are times when a simple continuity test (or your multi-meter) doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, vibration-induced problems in automobile wiring can be extremely difficult to detect because a short or open is not maintained long enough for a non-latching tester to respond. And an analog meter is too slow to react.
This latching continuity tester detects intermittent (and steady state) opens and shorts. The tester will detect and latch on an intermittent condition with a duration of less than a millisecond.

From Wikipedia – Continuity Tester:

There are times when a simple continuity test fails to reveal the problem. For example, vibration-induced problems in automobile wiring can be extremely difficult to detect because a short or open is not maintained long enough for a standard tester to respond.

In these applications a latching continuity tester is used. A more complex device, it detects intermittent opens and shorts as well as steady-state conditions. These devices contain a fast acting electronic switch (generally a Schmitt trigger) forming a gated astable oscillator which detects and locks (latches) the indicator on an intermittent condition with a duration of less than a millisecond.

The latching DMMs are :

  • Aneng 8203/VC921
  • Hioki 3344-60 Card
  • Sanwa PM3
  • DER EE DE-19S
  • KYORITSU Kew 1018 (maybe)

DMM with current readings

  • UT120C 400 mA
  • Aneng 101
  • Brymen BM27s (2 µA max)
  • Triplett 2030-C (Very similar to Aneng 8203 but with mA and µA (400 mA max).

DMM with diode voltage drop

As a comparison, the UT71D has an open circuit diode check voltage of ~2.8V (source: user manual)

DMM with banana sockets

  • Only Aneng 101 has mini banana

DMM display with wiper

Amprobe DM78C

Other runners

There is also a PM300, Sanwa PM300 Pocket Multimeter Review

EEVblog #1007 – Is a $25 Multimeter Any Good? Aneng AN8008, small but with a lot of accessories

Old (15+ years) Pocket DMMs

  • Wavetech DM78A
  • Tenma 72-4040

UT10A

UT120C

Using the UT120C as a reference, 40 MΩ and 100 kHz, and the capacitance range is 4 nF – 100 µF. But the continuity seems t be hit or miss, depending on the luck of your draw (if you get a good unit or not). Seems to be down to the unlatched nature of the continuity, and the quiet buzzer (see A quick test of the UT120C: Pocket-Multimer or “Pokitmeter”? at 7:27).

Aneng 8203

Cheapest, ZOTEK VC921 4000 Counts LCD Digital Multimeter Pocket Auto range DC AC Voltage Ohm Capacitance Diode Continuity Meter Tester, £4.55 £6.15 + £2.66

Summary

Compared to the UT120, frequency is up to 10 MHz! Capacitance is a massive 10 mF, resistance is the same at 40 MΩ.

Triplett 2030-C

  • Triplett 2030-C (Very similar to Aneng 8203 with mA and µA (400 mA max). From this post. Only in the US, so import duties apply, although it is available form Element14 (thai THB 1,193.34).
  • There are some (just a few) bad reviews on Amazon, although, not all of the reviews are for the 2030.

From Triplett 2030-C Autoranging Pocket Sized Digital Multimeter, 600V AC/DC, 40megOhms Resistance, 10KHz Frequency, 100uF Capacitance, Diode Test, Continuity Beeper

The Triplett 2030-C Auto-ranging Pocket Sized Digital Multimeter (also known as a multitester) is a digital meter with 37 measurement ranges including AC/DC voltage to 600V, AC/DC current to 400mA, resistance between 400 ohms and 4 megaohms, capacitance between 40 nanofarads and 400 microfarads, and frequency between 10Hz and 10KHz. The meter also has a continuity beeper which provides audible detection of resistance and a diode test. The meter has a 3-3/4 digit, 4000-count resolution LDC and readings can be held on the display by using the hold function. Test leads are attached to the unit and stored in an attached compartment. Both manual- and auto-ranging capabilities are available and in auto-range mode the meter will automatically select the range that will produce the most accurate reading. This multimeter meets International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards for Category I and II up to 600V AC/DC and overload protection provides resistance to damage from transient overvoltages. It uses two 1.5V batteries (installed) that have a battery life of approximately 150 hours and includes an auto power-off function to help preserve battery life. The wrist strap (included) can be used to make the lid function as a stand for hands-free viewing. The meter measures 3.2 x 4.8 x 0.8 inches (H x W x D) and weighs approximately 4 oz. (H is height, the vertical distance from the lowest to highest point; W is width, the horizontal distance from left to right; D is depth, the horizontal distance from front to back.)

Maybe not as good as the Aneng 8203… Despite what the title states, the resistance and frequency ranges are one order of magnitude, less than the UT120C (4 MΩ and 10 kHz), and the capacitance range is higher (40 nF – 400 µF vs 4 nF – 100 µF). Also the continuity is not good, see Not bad for what it is, some irritations, and Ok for hobby use.

DER EE DE-19x

It is only possible to find the S version on ebay

Hacks

Hacking the Victor VC 921 4000 count to 8000 count

Requires TL866 EEPROM programmer. A similar count increase hack is mentioned in Feeling the need to clamp, although that uses an Arduino to reprogram.

See also Hacking DTM0660L Based Multimeters and Kerry Wong’s datasheet. From this post:

Sources:

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s