Fluke meter

GM Guy

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#1
What is the most versatile meter to use on automotive troubleshooting?
I use a Fluke 87V or 787 process meter at work every day. I prefer Fluke and can buy them at somewhat of a discount. What do the professionals prefer?
 

billr

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#2
My 77 is about 30 yrs. old, and I have always been happy with it. I'll take a peek at the current Fluke products and see what I would wish for if shopping now.
 

billr

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#3
Well, the list from Fluke was quite daunting, my eyes "glazed over" and I kind of figured the 87-5 (87V?) is what I would choose. Getting pulse-width with that is kind of a pain (get duty-cycle and freq, then calculate manually), but I don't often need that capability. I have to admit, I have a nice scope, too, so a basic multimeter is more what I want. I like that the modern meters have more range in the mV/mA ranges, and better fusing for all, including the A ranges. As an add-on, I would look for a plug-in AC/DC current clamp.

What I don't like is that operation of the new meters is so complicated, so many buttons to push and menus to memorize. I'm sure I would learn the "subset" of functions I use most often and ignore the rest. That's the way it is with my (modern) Tek scope...
 
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#4
For most diy automotive applications any simple DVOM is usually adequate. IMHO, Even the cheap (free) Chinese ones at Harbor Frt. will do. If you use one every day as you say then you probably know more about it than I do.
 

nickb2

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#7
If you also need a scope meter, then I would go with a used 98 series and as Billr said, absolutely get an amp probe which is always an option. I get pissed off at fluke for that cuz they are pricey, they could at least throw in an amp claw in there.

A few 98's can be found used for around 5 to 6 bones. However, they are bulky.

I bought a cheap AC/DC amp claw with built in multimeter that states it can read to 1000amps, haven't needed to go that high, I need mostly to go to 500 or so when checking some diesel starters and such.

I use it quite often and it was cheaper than buying the fluke amp claw. I only use the fluke when really in a pinch and need to graph or capture a glitch. For fast and easy use I use the cheap amp claw thingy. :p

Here is what looks similar to what I got, not same, but options and look are identical. It also came with a temp probe which was a surprise.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ELECTRONIC-...-Probe-Digital-Multimeter-EL655-/112266121735
 

nickb2

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#9
Oh, another goody you might want to look into is a fuse buddy, or make your own.

I sometimes get carried away with threads like this. Sorry for extensive response.;)
 

nickb2

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#10
Pictures of my scanner/troubleshooting cart. Notice the size of the 98II compared to the size of the waist high tool chest. Not something you can bring with you under a dash or in cramped areas. So if you don't need the oscilloscope option, the 88 or 87 should suffice greatly , however, check out the price of the amp probe.

http://www.fluke-direct.ca/product/fluke_i1010_ac_dc_current_clamp

6 bones:eek::money::giveup:
 

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nickb2

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#11
Also, what I like about the EL655, it is small enough to fit into my big bill pant pockets and I can go diagnose a starting and charging situation with only a booster pack and the amp claw. With that, I can switch quickly from starter draw to CCA drain and also determine if voltage reg is doing it's job. The carrying case is about the size of my passed away grandfathers pipe tobacco pouch.

I work in a -40c to -50c environment, so freezing outside setting up hefty and useless leads is not an option, my tears from the winds literately freeze on my face sometimes. That is how cold it gets.
 

GM Guy

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#12
Thanks, billr and nickb2, I appreciate your opinions. I am not a professional wrench, just a diy'er with 3 kids in college, trying to keep a fleet of 6 vehicles reliably working.
I am an electrician/ process control technician by trade and use a variety of really nice, really expensive test instruments. My go to is my Fluke 87V, I often have need to read 4-20 mA and to do that I use my Fluke 771. It reads DC mA inductively. Then I have a Fluke 787 Process meter which I use for a backup or as a second meter in complex troubleshooting scenarios, which is quite rare. Those are just my DVOM's, I have 2 Strongholds cabinets full of specialty test instruments- none of which are designed for automotive. Except for maybe the fluke scope meter, which I have only rare occasion to use at work. I have a 787 that I use in my garage, but it has stopped reading resistance, so I think I'll replace it with an 87V.