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Old 04-24-2007, 06:43 PM   #1
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Many of you, as I did, bought a voltage monitor from CW for about $18. It works but it is not all that accurate and kinda of bulky.



So, I thought I would make something a bit more useful. I stopped at Harbor Freight and picked up a $4 muti-meter. I then stopped at Radio Shack and picked up a set of test plugs (banana plugs) for $2.50. Lastly I picked a small AC plug for $1 at a local hardware store. I soldered in some wire and now I have a monitor, less than $8, that can be turned on/off and can be used for many other purposes. I made a holder out of some scrap Lexan that I had laying around.




I would have posted this earlier but I have been on the road for 3 weeks with internet access.
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Old 04-24-2007, 06:43 PM   #2
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Many of you, as I did, bought a voltage monitor from CW for about $18. It works but it is not all that accurate and kinda of bulky.



So, I thought I would make something a bit more useful. I stopped at Harbor Freight and picked up a $4 muti-meter. I then stopped at Radio Shack and picked up a set of test plugs (banana plugs) for $2.50. Lastly I picked a small AC plug for $1 at a local hardware store. I soldered in some wire and now I have a monitor, less than $8, that can be turned on/off and can be used for many other purposes. I made a holder out of some scrap Lexan that I had laying around.




I would have posted this earlier but I have been on the road for 3 weeks with internet access.
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Old 04-24-2007, 08:08 PM   #3
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by oemtech:
Many of you, as I did, bought a voltage monitor from CW for about $18. It works but it is not all that accurate and kinda of bulky.



So, I thought I would make something a bit more useful. I stopped at Harbor Freight and picked up a $4 muti-meter. I then stopped at Radio Shack and picked up a set of test plugs (banana plugs) for $2.50. Lastly I picked a small AC plug for $1 at a local hardware store. I soldered in some wire and now I have a monitor, less than $8, that can be turned on/off and can be used for many other purposes. I made a holder out of some scrap Lexan that I had laying around.




I would have posted this earlier but I have been on the road for 3 weeks with internet access. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Dale,

While I can appreciate the effort and results I can also recall the legal ramifications the last time a test probe like that was provided for a multimeter. An accidental bump and you have a bare live 110 volt prong hanging from the wall.

I would be inclined to use angled banana plugs and make the holder clamp them to the face of the meter so they can't be unplugged and accidently exposed.

Especially since that seems to be right under a window shade where it would be more prone to getting bumped, please give a bit more thought into making this safer.

Kind regards,
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Old 04-25-2007, 04:41 AM   #4
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I should have added that a bit of COMMON SENSE needs to be used. You would "ALWAYS" unplug the wall socket FIRST and then the multi-meter probes. Whether you use straight plugs or angled you have a potential problem.

OBTW the plugs are insulated. IE - the metal portion is covered with rubber.
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Old 04-25-2007, 08:22 AM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by oemtech:
I should have added that a bit of COMMON SENSE needs to be used. You would "ALWAYS" unplug the wall socket FIRST and then the multi-meter probes. Whether you use straight plugs or angled you have a potential problem.

OBTW the plugs are insulated. IE - the metal portion is covered with rubber. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Unfortunately common sense died quite some time ago. Most never noticed and nobody bothered going to the funeral.

There was a big recall of test probe kits about 30 years ago because of a setup like you have shown, however they did not have prongs recessed in rubber covers.

Keep it safe!
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Old 04-25-2007, 09:37 AM   #6
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Hey...I like it..lenOrge



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Old 04-25-2007, 12:52 PM   #7
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While this is an innovative an economic approach, I have to agree with Neil V. As a retired Chief Electrical Inspector for a major U. S. city and former member of Underwriters Labatory Electrical Council, IMO it is dangerous. In addition to the potentially exposed and energized jack plugs, if someone (perhaps a child) turned the selector switch to another setting there would be arching, sparking, smoke and maybe fire.

Paul
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:15 PM   #8
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Paul/Neil

As with almost everything we have today there is a certain amount of danger involved when something is not handled properly.

Would I leave this plugged in 24/7 with a small child around, no. Is there a possibility of a malfunction that could lead to a fire, yes. But, so can a lot of other things do the same thing such as hair dryers, toasters, irons, fans, heaters etc.

I can't do anything about "STUPID".... If you feel that is dangerous then don't build one. Me I plug it in when I setup to monitor the electricity and then remove it. I only used when I feel it is necessary. It's just a test tool not a permanent fixture.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:34 PM   #9
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Dale, I like your ingenuity and I agree you can neither insure nor legislate against STUPIDITY. The good lord had a lot of extra time on his hands when he decided to create STUPID people and unfortunately he ain't done yet! Ken,'04 DSDP...
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Old 04-25-2007, 08:17 PM   #10
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I thought Dales idea good but frought with problems in the search for an inexpensive but more accurate voltage monitoring system. "EngineerMike" on the Alpine forum posted his solution. you might contact him for details. I borrowed his photo to show
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Old 04-26-2007, 01:22 AM   #11
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If the CW volt meter is rated at 20000 ohms/volt or better, it will be as accurate as the multi-meter.
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Old 04-26-2007, 02:00 AM   #12
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Dale,I like it. I have a CW one,wish I saw this before I shelled out the money.I have several multi meters in cellar.
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Old 04-26-2007, 03:16 AM   #13
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Hi Ho: It is always good to see someone use ingenuity to do something better at lower cost. For what it is worth the ohms/volt rating has nothing to do with accuracy. It simply indicates how much current is required for the meter to function. In other words, it measures sensitivity of the device. Accuracy and resolution are generally both better with a DVM (digital voltmeter) than with an analog meter. Good job!
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Old 04-26-2007, 05:41 AM   #14
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Accuracy... Look at the CW meter, it reads close to 130V and the multi-meter reads 121V.

I just checked the leads and they are NOT insulated. That will be changed today as I found a spare set in my electronic junk box. Darn, $2 down the drain

Just got a new Harbor Freight flyer and the multi-meter is on sale for $2.99.
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